Monday, September 19, 2011


You phone me up after all these years

drunk and coked up

hot enough to blow glass

and ask me to forgive you

for things I didn’t even know you’d done

until you showed up at my funeral

with more mascara than tears on.

You turn the tap on

and it shrieks like a banshee in the rain

and then there’s a few moments lag time

until the blow back in the pipes

of a great apartment to burn to death in

groans like a foghorn in the desert.

In Perth they put the slums upstairs

to buff their coke in butter urns

just like the pioneers.

But I live like one of the livestock

they brought over on the boats

to go wild in North America

until the whole Sioux Nation

is mounted on winged mustangs

that refuse to be broken

in inspiration and spirit

even when they’re spurred in the eyes

by night riders with stars on their stiletto heels.

You want to know

if I might want to see you again

and I can hear you flipping your zippo

as if you were ejecting

the cartridge of a spent shell

like the coffin of a corpse buried at sea

to ignite the flame of love again

as I recall last time went out

twenty minutes to forever

after it was lit like a love lyric

to burn for eternity.

Now you want to see if it can live longer

on the ghosts and ashes of seasoned desires

than it did on the pyres of elephant bones

you dug up from the graveyard

like the memories of old lovers

to cremate your pet mouse by the Ganges

to give it an afterlife as big as the Taj Mahal

compared to that hole in the wall it used to cower in

for the few crumbs of the dreams

that used to fall from your eyes

into a coke spoon in the morning

like shining from cooked foil

to give an ironic twist to a line from Hopkins.

The black widow with the hourglass on her back

wants to know if she’s lost her sense of timing.

If she can still wake up from her coma

like a ravenous alarm clock

to eat her mate in the throes of sexual rapture

before he can dismount

and scamper away into the sunset

like an eight-legged easel

that paints a picture of itself

running back into a burning barn

like a horse that knows its way home.

The aging undertaker

wants to purge her crematorium

of the smell of burning flesh.

I want to tell her

that perishing isn’t so much

a matter of forgiving and forgetting

as it is a thorough exorcism of everything.

But I bite my tongue to spare the young and say

I was the one who put my heart in harm’s way

like a small warm mammal

thinking the same flute

I used to charm the spitting cobras

could teach an anaconda in pantyhose to lap dance.

You say you had two kids with the same biker

as if that were some kind of new norm for you

but then the government stepped in

and took the two kids and the biker into care.

And you’re on your own now

with no one who knows you the way I do

to ease your inconsolable despair.

And I don’t want to

but I remember how painful it was

patching that deflated vision of you up

when it went flat as a bicycle tire

by gluing my eyelids to your skin

like Japanese plum blossoms

over the holes in your inner tube

that kept letting the air out of the coils

of a Burmese constrictor

that couldn’t find a heart anywhere

to anchor its fangs in

and crush the life out of

and had to settle for the butt-ends of its own tail.

You were always a lamia

picking on sickly knights

who came to your rescue

but you occasionally appeared

almost human to me

whenever you were baffled to tears

realizing as your nerves went off the grid

like Sleeping Beauty

as the spiked apple fell from her hand

(Or was it a thorn she pricked herself on?)

even a full moon isn’t immune

to the poison glands of her own crescents.

And there’s no known antidote

tucked like sweetgrass

in the medicine bags of anyone’s balls

that can do anything for you

to break the fever

except offer them to you like a placebo

knowing the cold sweat of your nightmare

is as terminal as the dew

on the last flowers of autumn

when your blood drops below zero.

You ask me if I remember

when I first saw you

pole-dancing in Vanier

to pay your way through university.

A stripper into kundalini yoga

you wrapped your body

around the axis of the earth

like two wavelenghths

of synchronous serpent-fire

winding its way up the spine

of the winged cross

tattooed like a medical symbol

on the arm of that all night pharmacy

you called your boyfriend at the time.

One to afflict the wound with desire

and the other to heal it

by opening all its chakras at once

like a chimney-fire

making the pipes glow cherry-red with lust.

The silver thread of the moon

interwoven with the golden thread of the sun.

But it’s been a long time

since the tapestry

of that flying carpet came undone

and though Aladdin’s magic lamp still burns

it shines like a night light

in a morgue among the urns

of the afterlives

of a phoenix prone to nightmares.

So, yes, pop over if you want.

Sit down.

Unburden yourself like a volcano in therapy

and I’ll try to show you as I always did

the tropical islands that became of all that fury

when things cooled down enough for birds.

As the Oxyrhyncus sayings of Jesus Christ point out

what you bring forth will save you

and what you don’t will destroy you.

You can take the same approach to i.e.d.s

if you’re enough of an apostate not to kill.

Whether you’re a junkie

a wise-guy or a terrorist.

Not to make the hit

and then frame God for it.



Post-mortem conversations with myself.

Dissociated memories of old fires and distant smoke.

Rainbows in eclipse.

Gothic lovers with oilslicks on their lips.

Covens of doves at a black mass for bleeding hearts.

Echoes returning like smart comebacks

to the original lines of the voices

I keep trying to slip between

like a love note waiting for a name

to address it to

as if thinking weren’t a dialectic at all

not this not that

being and non-being

but an ancient mode of migrating

without anyone noticing you’re gone.

And I still burn in the memory of some fires

that weren’t worthy of the heretic they consumed.

Creative intensities that turned my eyes into glass

to clarify the darkness of the black stars

that kept their shining hidden

from the cults and constellations

on the fast track of the zodiac

that liked to see their name in lights.

I preferred hydrogen to inert gases at the time

and there was always something garish about fame

that made me see all that neon

flickering like a cheap one night motel for attention.

All outlaws are wandering scholars

but these days I feel more like a Druid

walking between warring factions

with the diplomatic immunity

of an estranged superstition

to put an end to old conflicts

that live and die like blackflies

in two intense days of direct sunlight

at the end of May when they cleanse the temples

of what winter tracked in like a shelter for demons.

The victory is as boring as the defeat.

And I’ve run out of white flags and red capes

to use for bandages to stop the bleeding

so I let my wounds mummify themselves

without interring any grave goods

under the geoglyphs of their scars.

And here come the righteous rich again

like another crusade against the infidel poor

to dislodge them from the global expansion

of the holy lands over the whole earth

like dandelions in the lawns of Disneyland

within the corporate reach of napalm

and bell-curves of white phosphorus

going supernova

like the Star of Bethlehem

burning through the eyes and skin and hearts

of the children of Gaza

like the evil side of Tinkerbelle

spreading the fairy dust of ethnic cleansing

like a foreign policy that salts hell

with deathstars no one can make a wish upon.

Six pointed stars.

Eight pointed stars.

And that square constellation of fifty

arranged like beer in a box

over thirteen wavelengths

of blood on the snow

with no return on the empties.

And there the bloody handprint

of the red maple

of my own autumn country

complicit in the history

of bigger fires on the world stage

than this one little flame

we’re all huddled around

trying to keep one side of our hearts

warm and human

in the first storm of the new ice age

that keeps blowing it out

like a candle in a manger of straw

like a phoenix in a barn-fire of heritage ashes.

Armoured war mice

war elephants

warring troops of snarling baboons

with red decals painted on their asses

like underbellies of Mitsubishi Zeroes

to identify the friendlies

from the swarms of killer bees

raising cults of i.e.d.s

like terrorist drones

in hives of milk and honey

wired to cellular phones

like bombs in the promised land

that break the word of God

like the bodies and hearts and minds of children

who huddle in their ancient places with the fairies

under the concrete rubble

of the stone that slew Goliath

and all his children

like a ricochet of collateral damage.

Hashashim pouring out of the mouth

of the Old Man of the Mountain

like fire ants down the slopes

of their heaps of formic acid

to sow the olive groves with stinging nettles

and make war on weddings

by rending that which God has joined together

asunder in Islamabad.

Undoing the zippers of their flies

as if they were parting the Red Sea

like the chromosomes of the unborn.

Half their genes on crusade

and the other half on jihad

where love has pitched its tent

as a disappointed Yeats would say

in the place of excrement.