Thursday, October 13, 2011


All that I could wish for you or anyone else

is more than I could attain for myself.

So far from home for so long

as if home were the alibi

that put the distance between me and a lie

I got sick of telling myself

to feel I belonged somewhere to some people

who might look up from the compass

of what they’re doing once and awhile

into the thirty-six years of my absence

and care that I’m not there anymore.

So I wish you a door that opens

before you need to knock.

And a thief in a window you leave unlocked

so he can steal your heart like sterling silver

and pawn it off as moonlight.

I suspect most people are way too clever

to ever be loved the way they want to be

and I’m not saying that I’ve never been graced

by the mystery

of waking up beside someone I loved

dreaming next to me

about things I know nothing of

because love keeps its deepest secrets to itself

like water on the moon

but I wish you the purest of fountains

from the sweetest wellsprings of life

that don’t look upon the reflections of the clouds

or the leaves and birds that come to sip from its glass

as just another mouthful of polluted words

indelible as headlines

disposable as trash.

My light’s been bent

by a lot of black holes and gravitational eyes

in the five billion light years it’s taken to get here

like a past I almost forgot I had

and I’m not saying that’s bad

though its relatively slow

compared to the speed of thought

that overtook it like a hawk

coming down on a morning dove.

But I wish you the immensity of a clear night sky

it will take you forever to disappear in

because of all the things

you can learn to say good-bye to in this world

the hardest farewell to master is love.

I’ve always been grateful

for the gifts I’ve been given

and endeavoured like any other B.C. salmon

to make a gift of a gift

by swimming upstream

like a waterclock doubling back on its way to the sea.

Like the retrograde motion of Mars

there may be loops and nooses and garottes in my orbit

and small raw pieces of my heart I used

to bait the trapline

to catch and skin the fishers

that kept killing my cats when I lived on a farm

not very far from here

without meaning any harm to the wildlife

that accepted me as one of their own

and like I did them

left me alone.

Except for the fishers.

So I wish you a free passage through life

where every breath you take

adds another inch of feather to the wind

like a mindstream flowing into an older river of stars

with wild irises blooming along its banks

like blue flames of hydrogen

that stick their tongues in each others’ ears

as if they had something to say to one another

like lovers and celestial spheres

and oceans in a seashell

not well-intentioned highways lined with roadkill

like the primrose path to hell that most of us take

like a short cut back to a worse mistake

than the one we made to get here.

Most of my life

I’ve felt like a fluke of the truth

that was able to win out against

the astronomical odds

of my small chances of having the courage

to stand up for it like a strong voice

in a lottery of echoes

but fortunately I’ve always been

self-destructive enough

to risk everything in the name of nothing

I’ve ever seen

but sensed was near and clear to me

like a warm spring rain on a dirty window pane

like the gardens of ice

that grew out of my breath

like the tendrils of ferns unfurling

like the treble clefs of blue violins

in a sad exiled place

where the truth was music to my ears

that fell like the sound of rain from home on my roots

but felt like all the shattered chandeliers and broken mirrors

had gone into diaspora.

A crystal nacht of jackboots

refused to see the whole

reflected in every part of me as in them

like the yellow star

of the myriad-eyed conspiracy theory

that out shone the black hole they wanted to bury it in

like something you could catch

and put in your pocket

and save for a rainy day

like a ghetto or a bank to bail you out

whenever they got so fanatically deep into themselves

everything they felt

everything they had to say

was a debt to someone

they couldn’t possibly repay

even if they could turn

the bad luck of their swastikas the other way

like the prayer wheel of a poisonous flower

like hate mail disguised as a loveletter

even the wind and the light refused to answer.

So I wish you the mindscape and spirituality

of a generous country with a big sky

where the constellations have no nationality

other than free access to the great sea of awareness beyond

that reflects all the colours of the colour blind stars

and makes them feel they’ve made it home

as soon as their light arrives

like honey bees without borders

to open the flowers

like the passports of Japanese plum blossoms

that travel without i.d. anywhere they want

like the billions upon billions of fingerprints

that never lie about our common humanity

to anyone who needs to ask

who we all belong to

if it isn’t each other

and where we all come from

if it wasn’t from the same dark mother.

Poetry has been the most ardent folly of my crazy wisdom

for as long as I’ve known how to weep and wonder

in joy and sorrow

at the mystery and the horror

of what’s arrayed before us here

with such immensity

even time feels small in its presence.

Keats once said load every rift with ore

and so I have

but the greatest discipline of my calling

the gravest risk

the royal quatternio of Orphic alchemy

in the hands of a master shapeshifter

in the smile of a sacred clown

has been to approach the shining

without turning gold into a base metal.

To taste the water without fouling the well I drew it from.

To look at the stars without getting in their eyes.

To pursue an earthly excellence

that expressed the human divinity

that was born of suffering in everyone

without giving offense to the transcendentalists

who like to keep their gods unattainable

because I could see its immanence

was a lot closer to them

than they were to it.

I could see it in the hunch-back baglady

sorting through a garbage can at four in the morning

for the hidden jewel she was sure to find

if she looked deep enough.

I could see it in myself from time to time

when my mind strayed like a white horse

with an odd-shaped birthmark

in the middle of its forehead

because it wasn’t born lucky enough to be a logo

into the star fields of my reclusive neighbour

like the constellation Pegasus

through a gap in a fallen fence

and she was there to lead it back like a muse

along the Road of Ghosts

and you could tell by the smile on her face

that she’d always met me this way

and that there was nothing supernatural

in what she wasn’t trying to hide.

I can see it in you like light in a lamp

that isn’t cagey enough to keep a dove in

even if it wanted to

and it’s as clear as fireflies on a starless night

that it can’t and it won’t and it doesn’t.

So I wish for you a long love affair

with a passion you can’t marry.

A calling that doesn’t have your name on it

because it doesn’t belong to anyone

but loves the sound of your voice in the stairwell

whether you’re coming or going

and the picture-music you set it to

like morning glory on the moon

to let life speak through you in dead earnest

as if you were wholly possessed by the play

of the hero’s entrance

and the villain’s exit

though you know they’re both taking

a standing ovation in the same doorway.

I wish you the sublimity of a single blade of grass

and a darkness as profound as the shadow of an ant

and a heart like a bell of sorrows so sweet and deep

even in a single tear

it’s way out of its depths.

And in the evening just before the stars come out

and Venus is following

the last crescent of the moon

down in the west

having wandered as far as it dares from the sun

I wish you a soul so expansive and radiant with light

all the nights to come can’t help making

enlightened gestures of glee

toward the court jesters

who illuminate your crown with laughter

like waterlilies that shine up at everyone

out of their dark wisdom

and their artistic genius for working with water

like a Zen master amusing himself

with paper boats that float

like the moon on the mindstream

knowing there’s nowhere to go

nothing to do

no one to be

and no one to set free.

Because the people all know

there’s never been a river

that doesn’t lead to the sea

or a hand or a brush or a pen

following its own cursive script

like the holy book of a lost art

that isn’t written in blood

but makes itself up as it flows along

like a spiral galaxy without a star map

all the way to the heart.

And once the lightning’s rooted in your mind

and blossoms like fireflies

in a garden of insight

I wish you never a thought

whatever the mode of expression

whatever the fashion

whatever the theme

the scheme

the dream

that doesn’t tend like all lucidity

to sweeten the fruits of compassion.