Monday, October 3, 2011


Better to flash a sharp knife quickly across someone’s throat

as the last remaining mercy

than bludgeon them to death retroactively as you do.

The first is just another big city workaday murder on the nightshift

but the way your offended sense of righteous indignation

has turned to hate

as you sit there sliding needles into your arm

like loveletters into a bruised envelope

you’ve addressed in blood to yourself

I can tell you’re sticking pins into the eyes

of black madonna voodoo dolls

deep inside a secret hiding place in your childhood

where you indoctrinate them into genocide.

You’re a beautiful woman with lots to hide

and I don’t want to know where the corpses are

as if the only intimacies worth caring about

were all long buried in this desert of stars.

And twice before I’ve tasted the blood of the black widow

and yes it may be sweetened

by all the butterflies it’s eaten

but then your heart goes numb as an ice-cube

in the fix at the end

that comes on like an eclipse

of the light at the end of the tunnel

where all your dead relatives

are dying to greet you again.

I wear my heart on my sleeve

like the colours of the ghetto I was born into

to watch my mother die of overwork for nothing

of any estimable value including me

when I look at it from her point of view.

And I like the sexy West Coast sixties look

of those black Stevie Nicks Gothic spider webs

you wear more like skin

than the net of Indra

with jewels at every intersection.

And I’ve always been tempted and still am

by dangerous pariahs on the lamb

from the witch-hunts of medieval men

who fear a female messiah

that can cast her nets wider

than any constellation

among the fishers of men.

And o sweetness don’t doubt yourself.

It’s still a cheap thrill to feel so sublimely vulnerable

daring the taboo event horizons of your powers

like a firefly going eye to eye with a blackhole

even as I bend space to stay clear as a gravitational lense.

But you’re hooked on your own elixirs

like a dealer who wants to get out of it

on his own product

and in my world magic shoots the stars

like whitewater in the Ottawa River

in the spring run off in May

when the toxins wear off like cataracts

and you get high on the risk for free

in the name of sick children

waiting for heart transplants.

And yes, yes, yes, there’s still a Neanderthal in me

that wants to paint your face

in carbon and red ochre

on the inside of my witchdoctor’s mask

to make all this space seem

a lot less lonely in here

since I killed off the last cave bear.

I could so easily encrypt my starmaps

on the mystic enigmas of the dice

I’ve carved like small Kaabas

and Rubik’s cubes out of my own bones

to see if the nightbird calling out to you

in this mutual darkness of ours

were worth taking the chance

if it should happen to come up snake eyes.

Or if I could learn to be hypnotized

without turning to stone

by a Pythian priestess

with a Medusan hairdo

with oracular highlights that bite

and you could learn to dance

to the picture-music

of a different kind of flute

like Salome for Herod

and John the Baptist’s head.

Love doesn’t begin where lust leaves off.

The expense of spirit in a waste of shame.

I think that’s only true for those who are no good at it.

Or dominated by a spiritual Gestapo

that makes the body wear a yellow star.

Three phases of the moon.

Maiden. Mother. Crone.

I’ve seen the spider with its crescent fangs.

And I’ve hung from my own spine more than once

like a mummified fly on a trophy line

waiting for my next afterlife

assuming I had one

and Merlin I may seem to you

but I still fear a starless power darker than my own.

And there’s the maiden like Morgana la Fay

beguiling as lunar waterlilies and deadly nightshade

renewing her virginity in a snake pit.

The urge to possess you overwhelms

the certainty of being bit.

One fang kills you.

The other fang cures it.

But even death eventually wears out its welcome

and the spring isn’t enough to make up for it.

But where’s the middle extreme

defined by the other two?

Where’s the mother?

Where’s the summer

that warms the bloodstreams of the garden snakes

like water in a basking hose?

Spring and winter

but where’s the harvest moon

that shines down on the fullness of life

and adds her mother lode to the gold of the grain

like Demeter in the Eleusinian Mysteries

adding little mushrooms of gratified desire

to the wine you only need to drink once

out of your own skull

to stay intoxicated forever?

Prosperpine may have gone down into the underworld

to shoot jewels with the dead

when a serpent bit her in the heel

like a dirty syringe

but when is she going to live up

to the rest of her myth

and drive the snakes out of her garden

long enough for a rose bush or two to take root again?

You leave two kids at home alone

with a couch-surfing crackhead

you met in a bar last weekend

and you expect me to trust you?

Lady I can look through you

like a broken windowpane

and still appreciate the beauty of the view

without cutting myself on the flint knapped glass

and yes you can still cast a spell

that can turn seasoned sailors into swine

and I could so easily

buy into any delusion you wanted me to

just to sleep with you.

But I’m standing at that window with your kids

and there’s a crackhead behind us

flipping channels like cards in a game of solitaire

and we’re looking out at the view together

pretending none of us are there

because we’re all scared

of the cranky stranger with the tarantula tatoo

and all we can see as far as we can look to get away

is this mindscape of you

salting the flesh of the good earth

like Carthage on crystal meth

when you should be planting seeds

in the hearts and minds of those

who look to you for love

like a chance to flower

even on long starless nights

to live without fear

unmenaced by shadows

swarming the night light

like a seance of anti-matter.

You belong to those who love you in life

and blood may be thicker than water

but without water

it coagulates like a rose that’s lost its colour.

It makes raisins of the grapes on the vine

long before their time

as if someone cancelled summer

and no one gets to taste the wine.

And it’s probably wise

to pour both into the cauldron of your heart

until they’re both so intermingled

the rain doesn’t put

the scarlet desires

and phoenix fires

of the passionate poppies out

and the hot-blooded gypsy witches

don’t turn the rain to steam

on first contact with their skin.

We’re standing at a broken window

and we’re looking in

and what we see is that in you

there is no summer

and where blood should be thicker than water

the water’s turned to ice

and the two rosebuds

standing like your daughters at this window

like two cut flowers in a shattered vase

are haemorrhaging like too much turpentine

on two brushes loaded with red paint

too thin to bloom.

Because the ladybug

is too busy playing with matches

trying to get a rise out of the fire-hydrants

to see if she’s still the arsonist she used to be

to know when her own house is on fire

her kids are alone

and it’s time to fly away home.