Sunday, September 25, 2011


Trying to weave a flying carpet out of the stray threads of the snake pit of life themes that so often at this time of night seems the subconscious content of a troubled mind. To get out of here. To rise above it all by conjoining the lowest with the highest and ascending the burning ladder of my own spine like a serpent with wings, no candidate of angels, forsake their feathers for the scales of the dragon? Shall I prophecy? Should I read the sine curve of every wavelength of thought and feeling like the Egyptian glyph for intelligence the viper leaves in the sand, in the stars, in the flowing of the mindstream? Forego the aviomancy of the dove for the Pythian herpetologists of Delphi? When the strong rope of my spinal cord is undone like a million weak filaments of tungsten nerve endings flickering like a lightbulb about to go out, is there one among these I can climb up to heaven on to shine among the stars like Draco around the axis of the earth? A circumpolar constellation. Half the double helix of the sign of a healer with only one wing and a dubious prayer to go on? And is it of any import anywhere in the wide wondering world that I should care to mend the unravelling of so much the full moon cherished before I swallowed it whole like a cosmic glain in a shaman’s nest to bring the rain? That I might be drenched in tears that could liberate my eyes like frogs and thorny flowers and egg-laying stars hibernating in the dry creekbeds of a desert that has spent a long time like a bride with a hope chest waiting to bloom?

Impasses and thoroughfares. Mirages undulating like the faceless veils of torrid atmospheres whose eyes have never known water. Ambivalence. Uncertainty. Doubt. Ambiguity. And the facile, end-stopped resolutions of holistic oxymorons trying to bridge the gaps between reality and delusion by yoking them both like copulating snakes to a chariot of the gods that’s trying to square the circle of its wheels to the passage of the sun and the moon. To the paths of the waterclocks that rise like civilizations living off the alluvial silt of the stars. If everything is one then how can separation stand apart and mourn the loss of anything? Is Orpheus made whole by his dismemberment? Is zero the fullest of whole numbers, and union differentiate the dark abundance and bright vacancy emanating spontaneously out of the void and returning to it just as unpredictably like the ingathering and dissolution of creation in every moment? Are the gods, if any, left guessing as well as we do at the hidden certainties of the elephant in the room. Do they feed their brains at the expense of their starving hearts the way the ideologues steal life and blood and bread like hungry ghosts from the mouths of mute children all over the earth tonight?

Ephemerids. Grave-robbers. Infanticides. I ask you. Would you steal the mummy from its pyramid? The butterfly from its chrysalis? The priestess from her temple? And leave all things speechless? The meaning isn’t in the words. It’s in the resonance that hovers over it like the dying music of an astral body taking flight like a hawk or a kite from your hand. Like a song from a window in passing that no one can hear until you let go of it. You might walk away with the feather of a lyric, a few strands of the melody, the enchantment of a voice when no one’s listening, but it isn’t until you let go of it, as if you were born without ears, that it returns like a bird to your windowsill. Like the sea to an empty shell. Like the sky to the canary in the mine. Like the soft and hard things of the earth to the intangibility of the mind that goes on forever without leaving anything behind. Because even when the sun goes down, and things go on until you’re wholly gone like a nightbird into the dark of your unknowing there is no dusk to time, only the dawn of moonrise giving voice to your eyes in a world of startled dreams. You can hear the echoes of what the stars are whispering in a choir of waterlilies gathering at the edge of the river. Themes of picture-music mingled in the mindstream like the flavours and colours of life on earth long before you had a tongue to taste them or the eyes to see them or the heart to be them, even when you’re a stolen masterpiece that doesn’t know it’s own worth, trashed in a back alley, a favela, a slum somewhere by a thief who doesn’t want to get caught handling something so radioactively hot with beauty and genius he can’t fence it anywhere without being recognized for what it is.

Sweet one. In the shadows. In the sorrows. In the corner of your room. The spiders weaving veils to cover your eyes, and your back to the light like the far side of the moon, stroking your heart with your thumb like the black walnut of the soft bird skull that someone you love hurled like a rock through the window with a message for the occupant to get out of his life. Terrified by the sublimity of the silence when a song as innocent as a sparrow God overlooked dies and there’s no one there to pick it up but you. A nugget of pain. A moon-dipped arrow fletched with the flightfeathers of an iron weathervane lodged in a heart that doesn’t know which way to turn in a hurricane of hurt. I address this to you like an August wind, a rising thermal under your wings, a stairwell with serpent bannisters in a water palace of wavelengths light years from here where the prayer-mats can fly in any direction they want to answer the cry of the wounded princess like dragons on red alert. I address this to you out of the fathomless emptiness of a full heart. I lift the veils of the spiders that suck the light out of your eyes like undefineable singularities at the bottom of their black holes and I stand before you like the stalwart timbers of a loom with the skilled fingers of a Spanish guitar shaped like the universe, ready to follow your voice like the musical shadow of a new creation myth into the liberated skies of celestial spheres that flow like tears from your eyes when they hear how well you can sing. Your beauty can be as whimsical as a Japanese plum blossom, a sulphur butterfly, the eyelids of a black rose in a Stygian bloodstream that flows out of hell like oil from the injured earth. And still I will dig my heels in like the stubborn root of our shared humanity and draw you up like a fountain mouth from the deepest voids and darkest watersheds of hidden wisdom in the whole of the enlightened multiverse, to bloom again and again and again as if there were no end of spring when the phoenix sings. I will stand with you now like a spirit that knows its own in a wardrobe of flesh and even more so after my death when the potential for life returns to the realms of the boundless like water taken from the stream and raised to your lips like music to your mouth is returned to the stream with reverence and gratitude. When one hand is empty because someone let go I will open the palm of the other clenched like the fist of a flower and place the new moon in it like a black pearl of inestimable worth you wove like a flying carpet high above the earth and laid out on the waters of life, the waters of earth, to receive the return of the waterbirds. To hear in the urns of the Canada geese crying high over head late at night, returning the souls of the dead to life as they once carried them off to the west in autumn, my voice. And in a way that you can know that I am near. These words.



And you, angry one, down to splitting roaches

between the thumbnails of the moon

to make something flower in your poverty

because the soil you’re rooted in

keeps coming up snake-eyes and stinging nettles.

You whose heart is swarmed by fire ants

like the corpse of a hummingbird

that was lighter than gravity and faster than light

until it sipped from the sugar-coated feeder

of the double-dealer who spiked its drink.

You for whom the sound of life

is the snarling of a blue chainsaw

in an old growth forest of rootless trees

living in tent city on the cutting edge of grace

driving nails through your heartwood

to keep from being felled by those

who are more at fault than you are

for why the birds no longer sing in the morning.

You who weep like acid rain

on the bells and the gravestones

you keep writing your name on

and keep one dark card

like the Tarot up your sleeve

to trump the game your playing now

as if you were bound to lose your will to win

by pushing your chair back from the table

like an exculpatory suicide with nothing left to bet on.

I learned a long time ago from you

there’s a terrorist in your roots

that keeps twisting your nerves like candy kisses

with short fuses and blasting caps

that can go off in anyone’s face like a beaver dam

for nothing at all except trying to build

a small eco-system in the wrong place;

for trying to sow seeds in your wounds

where the plough of the moon cut into your flesh

and left the planting to the wind and the weeds;

for trying to turn all that pain

into something you could harvest

like golden loaves of bread

fresh from the ovens of a volcano

like small islands of life

cooling on the windowsills of your magmatic rage.

For years I’ve winched my heart up from a wishing-well

to pour sweet water on your burns

and watched you turn into a steam engine

whenever I suggested the tracks on your arms

were the wrong gauge

for two parallel lines to ever meet

like predestination in the wrong seat of here and now.

So many futures I could have had with you

that have learned to live outside the womb

like embryos in exile

like homeless thresholds no one ever crossed.

Strange and sad sometimes

when I look at you

to feel the loss of things I never had to lose.

Me in my sanctuary

and you in your asylum

though we’ve maintained mutual embassies in both

with high walls and barred windows

that have kept the measure

of how close we could have come to being lovers

instead of these refugees

seeking shelter from one another

like two storm birds under the overturned lifeboats

that saved no one from drowning

off the same shipwrecked coast.