Monday, October 31, 2011



You’re a sweet little zookeeper

but I’m not the beast

you need to fill your cage.

You’re a constellation of fireflies,

a chandelier of warm spring tears

but these burnt out eyes of mine

aren’t the reflecting mirrors

you’re trying to make them out to be

by adjusting their focus

to see you shining in the dark.

You might dance like a star

a glow worm in a Mason Jar

the chimney spark of a good fire

on a cold night

a go go dancer behind bars

enflaming the tinder of desire

in the love nest of a rising phoenix

but I’m the total eclipse of hope

seen through the wrong end of the telescope.

And even if you were to turn me upside down

and burn me like a heretic at the stake

to correct the error of my ways

I’d still be the snake on the cross

nailed to the doors of paradise

like a notice of eviction

like a warning against trespassing

and not the waterbird with folded wings

you’re trying to get a rise out of

like a moonlit lake waiting

for a footsore messiah

tired of walking on waves

whose feet you can wash with your hair.

Hic sunt dracones.

I’m not the dark window of wisdom

you want to consult like a starmap

to see if you can find in my eyes

any glimmer of insight

like a star I named after you

you can wish upon.

Go away from my window little bird.

I don’t want to see you hurt

trying to fly through your delusion of open sky

like Alice in the looking glass

when the moon is cast through it like a stone

to see the whole in every part

of a broken heart.

I am not the stem cell

of a new relationship to hell

and you are not the vital organ of the clone

that might come of it

were I to love you as my second self.

Beauty is the moonboat of the heart.

Life fill its sails with gusts of stars

when things are full

and when they’re not

takes them down like daylilies in the fall.

I am not the new moon of another beginning

and you are not the total eclipse of mine.

My sails are black and bloody.

Yours are white as waterlilies.

Sunny laundry on the line.

The shroud of Turin

with the shadow of your mother burnt into it

and you playing nearby on the lawn

as the late morning light grows too strong

to stay outside.

Go home now.

Go seek the other you’ve kept waiting.

Go follow the song

until the longing stops

and that’s where you’ll find him

waiting like a guitar

carved out of heartwood

strung with circular tree rings

keyed to the tuning forks of the rain

like all the springs he’s dreamed about you.

I’m as deep as a star receding

into the boundless darkness within me.

There are planets in my wake

that make me wish I’d been

a better gardener than they thought I was

and I don’t want you to be one of them.

Thorns lie along this path.

Long firewalks in the company of ghosts

who were once great enough to let go

of what they cherished most

like water and blue air

and nights when a single candle

lit up the whole universe

in a way that baffled the stars

when love blew it out

to make the darkness shine

with eyes everywhere

eyes in our blood

eyes in our flesh

eyes in our voices

eyes on the tines of our tongues and fingertips

like large pheromones of light

that looked into the black mirror

that made things appear

inconceivably mysterious and near.

Your way back will be strewn with flowers.

Apple bloom and asters.

Chicory and the petals of wild roses.

I could make you the high priestess of my art

but those robes of night

and snakes of insight

would weigh heavy on you.

So go home now.

Travel light.

Someone waits to offer you their heart.

To turn your suffering and solitude into music

and teach you how to play

all ninety-nine chords of the rain

as lucidly as the willows down by the Tay

strung out like harps on their pain.

Apprentice yourself to the light awhile

like blossoms on a windy day.

His radiance is white.

I shine by a different light

that life in time without a teacher

will pour into the fruits of your seeing

when the darkness

grows sweeter than your sadness

like wild grapes on an autumn vine

and you feel something fall from your eyes

like cataracts from a crystal skull

like winter windows from starless skies

like fountains that offer you the elixirs

you seek to drink from

like flowers and grails and wishing wells

rooted deep in their fathomless watersheds.

When the sun shines at midnight

and the hour comes round at last

like a lamp in the hands

of its own long dark radiant journey into insight

you will taste the waters of life

in the tears of the sorceress

standing in the doorway to clarity

that summons her to leave everything behind

and without hesitation or reflection

know for yourself

the dark wisdom in the heart of the light

that makes the black mirror

older and deeper than the white.

There’s nothing in this world

however far you wander from home

nothing you’ve experienced

nothing you’ve known

you can claim as your own

until a stranger comes back from the stars

with no trace of personal mythology

her hands full of the earth

she weeps upon

and shapes like starmud

until it flowers in her eyes

into a universe where poppies and wheat

see you in the same light

by which you see them.

Dreams and bread.

Opioids and magic mushrooms.

Passion and common sense.

Peasant gypsy fish

with hoops of the moon

hooked through their earlobes

and long scarlet scarves of fire

streaming from their necks

like portentous comets

that aren’t trying to scare anyone

nibbling at the broken loaves of the flesh

being distributed by a foodbank on the hillside.

Go home now.

Go dance naked and alone in the rain

whenever you feel like it.

Who needs to bind themselves to the void

when their emptiness is everywhere?

Be as kind and compassionate

toward your follies and delusions

as you are to the deepest of your insights

and one day you’ll see the crazy wisdom of it all

and be humbled like a fool in tears

by that which exalts you

like a constellation of fireflies

deep in the darkest nights of your being.

Those brief flashes of lucidity

that are half the silent rapture

of the cool bliss that blows on the fire

and half the last flaring of a call for help

when what you treasure most

sinks to the bottom like a sea chest

full of hope and desire

and comes to rest like the moon

in the breast of a big-hearted shipwreck.

Stars in the well.

Night lights in a morgue.

Candles in a coffin on nightwatch.

The sacred syllables of the fireflies

on the snake-tongues of neural lightning

witching for rain on the moon

in a sea of shadows and mirages

putting down roots in the darkness

like zodiacs along the cowpaths of the starmaps

that laid out the Milky Way

the Road of Ghosts

like the short cut of the mindstream

that follows its own inclinations

like wild flowers through the abandoned star fields

to keep the lights on in this house of life

long after nothing else will.