Thursday, September 22, 2011


As the night and silence fall over Perth

and random voices are dwindling in the distance up the road

as I vow not to remember anything at all the right times

to the muse of broken gates hanging on the hinge of the year

and o most rare

not to forget a single intimacy

of the mystic love tokens she’s offered me

like black walnuts and ruby-throated humming-birds,

I realize I’m swimming in beautiful illusions

where the starfish lie down with the sharks

and inspired by my own absurdity

and the lack of any kind of enlightened credibility

I’m free of delusion and reality alike.

Crazy wisdom.

The penultimate insight into nothingness.

Who could wish for more?

The streetlamps are still in bud

in the third week of September.

And there’s a painting on my easel

with an autumn sun covered in black spidery birch branches

like a detached retina

that’s been keeping its eye on me since midnight.

Free enough to risk entreating the stars to be kind for once.

Free enough to be attached to the things of the earth that are perishing

to ensure they don’t as if I were one of them

on the inside of the joke

that’s stranger than not getting it at all.

Show me the wise man who hasn’t learned

to take his inner clown seriously

and I’ll show you an eagle born without eyes.

Fortune-cookies with all the answers

like dancers with knots in their muscular thighs.

Overhead I hear the Canada geese off into the going

as things are slowing down

and there are fire hydrants all over town

who’ve exhausted themselves trying to put the autumn out

that long to go with them just to know

what they’ve been left out of by holding their ground.

Does in the headlights,

two young women ditching a roach

at the approach to Rainbow Bridge

wondering if I’m the troll

or the pot of gold that lives under it.

I sublimate my indifference with a smile

and keep my distance

not to spook their high

as I pass unnoticed as I can

up the wolf path to lonelier timberlines

without them knowing

I think one’s a willow with slender blonde sorrows

and the other’s a raging sumac with phoenix wings

who eats her own ashes

like the flesh of the anti-Christ

just to get a rise out of things.



The stars so near it seems the approaching morning

could wet its thumb and forefinger

and pinching their wicks like intimate candles

that have held the lovers close

and the ghosts at bay all night

put them out with a hiss.

An ancient mirror deep within me

I couldn’t bring myself to bury

with the woman who once looked into it

is beginning to flood like a river of eyes with autumn rain

and I want to cry for things

that have departed like water birds

from their circuitous reflections on the mindstream

and leave the heart knocking

like an empty lifeboat against the rocks

that no one sings from now.

I’ve stared at the moon several nights in a row

as if we drank from the same skull

and I want to elevate my tears to a higher level

as a rite of passage worthy of what I mourn

but no lights on in the lockmaster’s house

me and the moon both know

how impossible it is to raise the dead

from their watersheds

by adding a few tears to a dry seabed

out of the largesse of the living

in the wake of so many shadows.

I’m trying to align my third eye like a bubble

in the middle of a balance beam

and build on the cornerstone of the moon

a Taj Mahal of lunar coral to commemorate

the loss of so much beauty

to the things it touched like braille

as if it wasn’t enough just to light them up

but parting the depths of its fathomless veils

open their eyes as well.

I shall turn three times in the silver grass

and stretching my body out like a scar upon the earth

lay down in a deer-bed by the river

with her absence bigger than the night for awhile

and listen to the frogs and crickets

as I used to listen for her footfalls on the creaking stairs

and the moon won’t lay its sword of light on the waters

like a vow of separation to keep us apart

and I shall ask every star

down to the sixth magnitude of time and shining

what has become of her who used to weave

English ox-eyed daisies into her hair

as if she were already among the constellations

showing off the lesser luminaries of earth

as if there were nothing so small

nothing so slighted or disregarded

no moment of life so devoid of inspiration

even the fireflies that can’t stay fixed in one place

long enough to beat a path into a zodiac

and elaborate their own creation myths

into something unborn and unperishing

weren’t enlightened

by the immaculate darkness of her transience.

To suffer everything as if it were a blessing she once said.

I look up through the leafless bough of an aging maple

twisted like a burnt match stick

whose fire’s just flared out.

I look up at the stars

as if they’d built their webs between the branches

like momentary dream catchers.

And I can’t manage it.