Friday, October 7, 2011


To see the glee in your eyes at eighty

as if you were about to achieve something as big

as you did at three.

And you, there, shy one, freaky adolescent

day after day in the same corner of the restaurant

like a bruised mermaid

riding the clock out like a sea turtle

until it’s time to go home again and face the music;

you who drive your pen so deeply

into the fleshy paper

of your black arts journal

as if you were carving up a body

or intensely wedging the tiny bird tracks

of your hieroglyphic footnotes

like some bitter aside

into the shin of that Ramsean gigantism

you’re standing in the shadow of

waiting for it to get dark enough

the fireflies might come out.

To see you light up like a rainbow at a black mass

when I ask if I can look

and you turn your book over like a leaf

and show me a breakthrough masterpiece

that’s good enough to start a school of crocuses

with no instruction from anyone.

To see you afraid to believe in your own excellence

the juno of your aristos

yet risking the possibility it might be a fact

you’re the mysterious matrix

of a genuinely creative act;

that you might feel

like you’ve got a lump of coal for a heart

and a La Brea tar pit for a mind

but when the mascara comes off

like a Gothic eclipse

you’re a new moon

and you’re starting to shine like a diamond.

To see the black dove in your eyes

liberated from the cages of disapproval

imposed on you by white crows in disguise

is to know

what human beings are doing on earth.

To see what softens the angry blue eyes

of the next generation

of gram masters of Gore Street

with their heads shaved like Auschwitz

or the Stalinesque inmates of the Thief’s World

with its rock pile laws

trying to stay true to the Rosetta Stone

of their prison tatToos

like the sacred syllables

of the mother tongue of darkness.

To see in the glee in their eyes

when their girlfriends take them back

that their hearts are not hard enough yet

to be immune to alienation

and for all the rocks that blister in spoons

the occasional angel still keeps its place

as Francis Thompson knew better than these

under the stones that love turns over

like eclipses of the moon

that weren’t indelible enough to last.

To see the glee in the eyes of a child

when it looks at an animal

and sees the same instinctive innocence

that’s just as wild as it is

and watch their minds go crazy

trying to give their tongues

a jump up on their amazement

at meeting a senient life form

that speaks the same language they do

and shares in the original parity

of the undifferentiated freedom

they still enraptures them in Dilmun

Shangri La


and the Garden of Eden.

To see such ecstasy in their eyes

is to know how much wonder is lost

how much joy in just being here with everything else

is driven out of us

as we age our way into separation

deluded by the truth

that perfects our isolation

from the small and big furry things with startling eyes

and the Bolshoi Ballet of fins and veils

that makes my gold fish Toke a dancer

or an underwater comet

high above Atlantis

like a good omen on the eve

of some catastrophic decision

to rise again with more imagination to live

than the dead have reason not to.

To see the glee in the eyes of a friend in winter

like the bouquet of good brandy

beside a warm fire mythologizing

the first drafts of the stories

that are being told and retold

by the blind poets of an oral tradition

sipping red gold

from the snifters of inspiration

they swirl like the whirlpools of the muses

warming to their palms like the head of a glass rose

with its stem between their fingers.

To see in their eyes how good it is

to recognize we’re all linked like tree rings

to the same heartwood

through all four seasons of our lives

is to make a friend of your own human nature

by remembering even in the midst

of this blitz of blazing that blinds the world

on the frantic midways of its cheap thrills

like a heart under a roof heavy with snow

the best things in life

like fires and friends

and goblets of auburn Courvoisier

still glow without diminishment.

To see the glee in the eyes of the rain

that they can behold the whole of the sky again

and all its stars

in the single drop of a tear

though the rain doesn’t know who it’s crying for

is to understand in a flash of insight

even though you fall

like the small flower at the tip of a blade of stargrass

like a grain of sand down the slopes

of the oxymoronic mountains in an hourglass

you contain it all within yourself

and you can’t pour the universe out of the universe

anymore than you can be driven out of paradise

or be obliterated out of existence

whether humanity immolates itself

or dark energy accelerates us

into an entropy of starless ice.

To perceive the stars and the fireflies in the eyes of the rain

is to comprehend that your mystic specificity

is so unique and broad-shouldered

that down to the slightest detail

what makes you so crucially you

is that it upholds the whole of the rest of the world

in every cell and grain of gold and dirt

like a mountain of a cornerstone

that’s as boundless and high

as its bottomless valley is deep.

To look into the eyes of the stranger

the child the friend the lover the corpse

the eye of the hurricane the enemy the Medusa

the wounded white tail buck in the barbed wire fence

the black-eyed Susans the English ox-eyed daisies

or the yellow suns in the hydrogen clouds

of the New England asters

or the white eclipse of the black holes

in the eyes of the shark as it rolls to kill

or to attune the expression

to the sensibilities of the moment

as a fourteenth century German mystic once wrote

the same eye by which I see the multiverse

are all the eyes by which the multiverse sees me.

What you see

everyone sees.

When you understand

everyone understands.

Lost causes flaws and imperfections.

The lamp the road the night the light the journey.

You can ask the fireflies.

You can ask the galaxies.

But when you’ve exhausted all your cul de sacs

it’s going to be your own seeing

without starmaps

that gives you the right directions

like true north on the inside

and then reminds you in a gentle aside

that it’s impossible to be off the path

because it’s as wide as your field of vision.

When you see for yourself

who’s watching you in this dream of life

even the blind are enlightened

and as many as the ways

and as myriad as the eyes there are

to see in and through your mind

like a jewel turning in the light

it reveals like infinite insight

from the dark source of its own radiance

we rejoice in the genius

of compassion and courage

who took a Pax gene and a moonbeam

and in a moment of omnidirectional inspiration

that included all points of view at once

made it the muse of our eyes.

When you realize

that sight is a kind of love

as I once read on a poster in the sixties

everyone realizes

when you open your eyes

like an expanding universe

even our imperfections shine

in the available dimensions of the darkness before us

and born from the very beginning of everything else

to see and be happy

eye to eye with your own vision of things

as they appear and disappear

like thorns and roses from your heart

like leptons axions and quarks

like the stem cells of your own creative potential

to enter the dark spaces of your own imageless realms

and revel like a child in the art

of making worlds within worlds

like an opening night that everyone’s invited to.

Comets bombarded the earth

and the waters of life

broke from their fire wombs

and for the children of that union

there’s never been a way

to look into the eyes of their opposite

without seeing themselves.

Whether in sorrow or joy

whether in love despair ignorance or wisdom

out of our minds

or biding our time within them

like a flower that knows when to bloom

our shadows cast on a winter night

by the approaching light of Venus

or exalted by the crazy wisdom of life

in the thriving tides of the moon

eyes in the sky

like spy satellites extraterrestrials

and Hubble telescopes

eyes in the water

eyes in the blood

eyes in the wine

eyes in the wheat the apple the pomegranate

eyes in the forbidden fruits

that make all things believable

two eyes and a third

in the word for imagination

to conceive of the inconceivable.

When you see this

through your own eyes

even the mirages the delusions the lies

confess to themselves creatively.

Don’t judge the immensity of the world within

by the grain of sand it comes in

or the density of the pyramid

by what the thieves left of its grave goods.

Imagination is a dragon fly

that can take the fallen and broken

the duff and decay

the twig the leaf the petal

and glue it into a small house of transformation

so the worm comes out breathing fire

like a burnt matchstick with wings.

Point is.

Don’t waste the creative potential

of your own imperfections.

You can find holy water in a tainted well

if you know how to look for it.

The moon dips her cup

in the waters of life

because she has none

and as she raises it to her lips

what looked like a skull

turns into a long-stemmed goblet.

Doorways of light.

Doorways of night.

We open them both alike.

White sails.

Black sails.

We part the veils of space

to see who’s wearing our face

like a mask in the guise of a universe.





When you understand

everyone understands.

We weep rivers of stars

into our own hands

to drink from our own reflections

just to taste the light and the life

of the mysterious insight

that burns within us

when the sun shines at midnight.