Wednesday, November 2, 2011



Frozen cattle corn in the exhausted fields.

Scratching of blunt nibs on dry paper.

Cold wind.

Bitter muse.

Ice on the inkwells.

A white eclipse of the new moon.

Wild geese rise

through timeless hierarchies of chaos.

The ashes of an unseen fire

that consumes without burning its dead.

Sky burials trying to find their wings.

Past the listless whips of the willows

through the abandoned iron gate

whose enlightenment was to stay open

I cross the precarious bridge

knowing there’s not another side

to the one I’m on.

The boards crack and groan.

I’m walking on a grave.

I stare down into the black night creek,

the sole companion of its flowing.

It’s clearing its throat of dead waterlilies

like the ageless pain of old loveletters

so it can sing again

without knowing who for.

Up through the dark pagodas

of the monkish cedars

to the top of the fox wary hill

to look out and away into space,

my eyes two fish swimming

through the silent infinities

of my own mindstream,

I look up humbled by recognition

but the stars have forgotten my name.

The small nebula of my breath

on the inanimate air

breaks into more intimate

constellations of light

and the moon glows on my ghost

as if it were remembering

from a great distance

when I was last alive.




Wild drunk nights on Bank Street

in half a company of comeback poets

and the other half too young

to know what there was to lose.

Winter blues and booze

and the headlights of the evening cars

diffracted through big wet snowflakes

as we stumbled from bar to bar

between Mexicali’s and Noddy’s

among the clockwork throngs of people

we were trying as hard not to be

and they were doing everything they could

not to be us though they envied

our wives and girlfriends

because they were prosperous

and thought of themselves

as a lot more deserving than us

who were obviously not.

Hangers-on without enough life of their own

to put their own show on the road

waiting to see what new circus act

would bring the house down tonight

and the quasi-liberal businessmen

sneering under their breath

like a secret agenda at an open forum

who thought of a vagina as an empty wallet

and sat there all night long

flashing their cash around round after round

like fly fishermen

waiting for something to take the bait

though it was they who were hooked by the gills

reeled in

and left flopping at last call

at the bottom of the love boat.

Romeo trying to rip Bonnie off Clyde.

Blood banks coming on to Dracula’s bride.

You had to be spontaneously self-destructive

to sleep with women like that.

You couldn’t keep one rabbit in your pants

and the other in your hat

for back-up.

Nothing less than everything all the time.

Pot, coke, wine, beer for breakfast, whiskey,

and risky women with neo-romantic anti-selves

who followed us to jail

with taxis and bail after every barfight

whenever life abused the art it imitated.

Oases in the third eye of spiritual storms,

everyone trying to make something big

out of their exponential futility

we partied long and hard into the night

to exorcise the exilic solitude

we shared in common with those

who had also been cast out by their own hand.

After Rimbaud’s dissociation of the sensibilities

what could you do for encore

except take ruination a step too far?

Neo-surrealistic deconstructionism

with a mystically sexual twist.

How to live with a lunar view of life

in the half lights, shadows, and uncertainties

the moon cast through the trees across the road

in a solar culture that leeched the colour out of your blood?

Hang by your legs from the bannister on the balcony

of the thirteenth floor

to prove how much more drastic

life was than death

as down is to up

when you’re sitting in front of a typewriter

wondering if the empty bottle was dark enough

to hold your message of light

like fireflies in your mouth

without swallowing their myth of origin whole.

Total eclipses abridging all the phases of the full moon

in one flyby of a night lyric

like a bird on the wing

crying out in its lonely passage

how sad it is to be so far from home

time doesn’t speak your language anymore.

And your words fall on deaf ears

like junkmail on the moon.

Intensities on the nightshift

poured the gold out of the ore of our pain

as the muses appeared like broken windows

with tragic world views

to give us something to squander

our imaginations on

like stars in the dark

coming up with constellations of our own

to better express what we were not a part of.

Zodiacs for maniacs off the beaten path

of the straight and narrow firewalk

most of us were too enraptured by the night

to stop breaking the taboos of light

like fortune-cookies koans

and severing ostrakons of insight

to stay in the same orbit for long.

And when the cupboards were bare

in the huge cheap apartments of the Glebe

where the uncertain prophets lived

with their dakinis and sybils

in the belly of the whale

before the gypsies were gentrified

by the real estate agents

who liked to slum at our parties

because scum has more heart-felt fun in the flesh

even in a Petrie dish looking for a cure for itself

than someone who owns the earth

without ever having felt the squish of starmud

oozing up like his own biomass between his cloven hoofs

because his clothes are afraid of getting down and dirty;

when there was nothing to eat

and the heat was turned off

we didn’t burn our stamaps

and look for a ride home.

We didn’t gouge the eyes out of a winged horse

with spurs of Spanish silver

when the stars got hard and brittle

and burnt out like lightbulbs

that couldn’t handle the lightning.

We didn’t eat each other in a feeding frenzy.

We were pragmatic divines

with our heads in the stars and our feet on the ground

we went next door and borrowed a cup of sugar

and lived the rest of the week on symbols and signs.

Not better.

Not worse.

Ignorant of the blessing.

Unaware of the curse of those days and nights

and those mystically anaemic sunsets

that fell between the red brick houses

and always reminded me of Eliot’s dying dactylic fall

that pauses and turns around like footsteps in the hall

before some dangerous doorbell

sets off a false alarm

and puts the wick of the lighthouse

that’s sick of taking its own warning out for good.

Necessity should not be abstracted by hungry ghosts

who have no stomach for the fruits of life.

How idiotic to be afraid of making a fool of yourself

when half the magic of living the dream

is being led to real holy water

by a mirage of your own making.

Amputated stumps by the side of truncated roads

mistaking their new branches

for the flying buttresses and crutches

of a cul de sac cathedral

that wouldn’t risk its dead end orthodoxy even for God.

All root.

No blossom.

No fruit.

If you’re not willing

to overcome your convictions

to transcend yourself in a shapeshifting multiverse

to add your moment of excruciation

like the singularity at the bottom of the black hole

in the middle of your seeing

to the human divinity of the transformative whole

I ask you how could galaxies and starfish and sunflowers

have ever come into being

if there wasn’t something curved

about your golden squares?

And aren’t those windows

somebody threw something through

whether from the inside or out

somehow always more believable

than those who haven’t been broken by the moon

to keep from killing the birds

who fall for the shills of sky

that never evolved a wingspan

wider than the beautiful proportions

of the cosmic egg they never made it out of?

Who could imagine then as I do now

the immensities of innocence

behind the blind discipline

of the inspired disobedience

we sacrificed to a life in art

we raised like our own assassin

each after our own fashion

to keep from dying like a lie

in the shadows of lucid taboos

that slept with one eye open

like dragons at the gateless gates

of those with spine

and serpent fire enough

to have all the wrong stuff

for all the right reasons.

Groping our way from poem to poem

painting to painting

album to album

blind star-nosed moles

among the root-fires of the cedars

we wrote so no one could understand us.

We sang so no one could hear us.

We painted so no one could see us.

And we lived in such a way

that no one else could be us

without destroying themselves

like an art that takes

an apprentice years to perfect

and a master a whole lifetime longer to wreck.

Even young I saw through the ruse of originality.

Originality the greatest plagiarist of all.

Takes the low place.

Takes the sea bed.

And let’s everything run down into it

like a million mindstreams all at once.

Originality in an interdependently originated universe

is a measure of how open you’ve been

to the influence of everything

and whether you’ve ever creatively collaborated

with jello telephones and the psychopyrodynamics

of schizophrenic dragons on crack

ferociously obsessed with a paranoid fear of fire.

And there are beautiful things too.

Not just the grotesque and weird

the labyrinths of wormholes in space

people crawl in and out of

hoping in one of these worlds within worlds

to die a maggot and be raised up a butterfly.

Physics is the cruelest science.

Nature the hardest art of all.

But sometimes all you’ve got to do is look up

and the bullets go right through you like stars

arranged into firing squads all shooting blanks

as if no one one of the signs of the zodiac

with their finger on the trigger of the moon

wanted to be cursed by the fact

they killed an albatross with an arrow

fletched with its own flight feathers.

Don’t boil the kid in its mother’s milk.

Or Cygnus in the Via Galactica.

You’ll turn a martyr into a heretic

and you’ll starting writing the first cantos in terza rima

of your Anti-Divina Comedia

and you’ll long for women you can’t have

to delude you onto the rocks

like the daughter of a mermaid raised

in a sacred grove of crucified shipwrecks.

Beautiful things.

Evanescent moments of bliss.

As if you had a secret assignation

with the mystery of the universe

turned into tangible flesh

and you and your six senses and her

were going off to get drunk somewhere

you could let everybody down without regret.