Tuesday, November 8, 2011



Listen well in the dark morning

before the honey bell calls your name

to what the silence means

really means

when there’s nothing at all

not a bird not a voice

no syllabaries of bees in a Mason Jar

no drunks on the street

no tuning forks amending the frosty flowers

just dirty windows

trying to believe in stars.

O my poor wretched culpable humanity

my complicit familiar

the holy infidel of my lonely crusade of one

how often has time bruised our hearts

like a still life on the moon

with burnt loaves

and laurel-edged bread knives

sword dancing on a testy precipice

thorns on the tips of our tongues

like two leeches overwhelmed

by a miscarriage of haemorrhaging roses?

I sit across from you now

no salt on the table

an ambiguity facing a paradox

and say grace over our poverty and hunger

for what we have not received

asking only this of the mirage

we share with one another

that the clarity of the silence

that reveals us to each other

not be smudged by the usual obscurities.

The sky is pouring blue wine

into the tear-stained goblets of the windows.

But you and I will pop the cork

on all those messages of help we sent out

like ice-bergs in a bottle

that came back unanswered

with no forwarding address

post-marked Atlantis

by some anonymous water clock.

Here’s to you my fumarole, my watershed

my empty wishing well full of hopeless blue moons

that blighted the sheaf of wheat in the hand of the virgin.

Here’s to all the nice-trys you made

tilting at me quixotically

like the dragon-slayer you are not.

We grow old together stranded

on this most inhospitable of planets,

two halves of the same hourglass

that’s keeping us afloat like a pair of lungs

or waterwings in a desert of stars

fatal as quicksand.

I’m the timing

and you’re the content

and though we share the same medium

you seem more of a message than I am.

I have to wash my brain in antiseptic lizard blood

at least twice a day

just to stay sane in a world

I can only look upon in demonic disgust.

I look at the stars of the Milky Way

streaming across the night

and all I can see is a radioactive leak

flowing down into the Sharbot Lake watershed

or a snail smearing the black purity of an occult mirror

with its nose.

The sewage of the world

runs down into me in this low place

but more of a beknighted hypocrite than I am

you’re the fulcrum of the spring and autumn equinox

and I’m the solsticial extreme.

The same pair of blue eyes

but you’re the dextrous one

that’s kept busy by hope

and I’m the left hand of everything

that’s clear and sinister.

I haven’t made my peace with you yet

but we’ve managed to maintain a truce awhile.

We’ve got a pipe line in common.

Blue Flower. Black Dog.

Can’t say what I’d do

if I ever got off this food chain.

But you’ve got a star map in your hope chest

gleaming with first magnitude ideals

and a heart like a broken toe in a cast

you keep stubbing on the rock of the world.

You think the mind made the body

and the whole thing is just one vast intelligence

that we’re all amazed to be part of

like a neuron with fifty million connections to the brain.

But I know whose belly you came out of

slippery with birth

and where you see a social democratic cosmology

bright with happy stars

I spy with my little eye

a splitting migraine.

I’m the vehicle

and you’re the ghost in the machine.

I’m the engine

and you’re the destination

with both hands on the wheel

that keeps pushing you around

like an upturned planet in an aberrant orbit.

You look for fireflies of mystic insight in your vertigo.

But I’m the thermal under your wings

and the cold star in the hawk’s eye

scanning the ice-caked fields

for anything that moves.

You see signs of growth under the snow.

For you something’s always about to happen.

I shine down on the Stone Age

and there’s nothing new under the sun.

The simians are still flint knapping ballistic missiles.

An aristocracy of trees

has been replaced by a democracy of grass.

Of the two of us you’re the more lunar.

A moon of cool bliss.

I’m the black sun that shines at midnight

intense as global warming when I’m up,

detached as the dawn of a nuclear winter

when I’m down.

But lately I’ve noticed

how I’m softening into you

and you’re hardening into me

and maybe together we’ll make a stronger alloy

of this two-edged sword between us

than all that voodoo alchemy

you used to practise could have achieved

by casting all those philosopher’s stones

like he who is without sin

at the reticence of my base metal

to be anything other than what it is

refusing to be turned like a rat

as you’ve been trying for years now

into your motherlode of gold.

Maybe we’ll learn to get along like hinges

or a pair of wings

Chinese chopsticks

or a centipede of Viking oars.

Who can say?

Sooner or later everything turns into its opposite.

Every genius must sometime or other

get feet of clay

and embrace kind of polymorphous cliche

as if he were laying his head down

on the breast of his mother

like a son who’s come home at last.

Life’s funny that way.

The good are cursed as messiahs

and the bad are martyrs to the cause

and the rest of everyone else

dogpaddling in their blow holes in purgatory

are the slaughter of the innocents at a seal hunt.

And, hey, it isn’t as if it hasn’t occurred to me more than once

how cool it would be by contrast

to lay my head down

like a freshly baked homemade loaf of bread

on a September country windowsill.

There are nights when even dark matter

smitten by their radiance though it might be

finds the stars a bit tedious

in the way they keep breaking their light up

like loaves and fishes on a hillside

with everyone

until we’re both left sitting here in the dark

with the hydro turned off

and you with your energy saving halo on

still trying to save the planet from itself

and me with my horns fully extended like lightning rods

trying to hook a ride out of here

on a black flash of serpent fire

that runs like an open highway

all the way up my spine

and out of the top of my skull

like the exorcism of one too many cosmic insights

into the pettiness of things

that are vacantly bright and darkly full

like a black mirror endlessly reflected in a white.

Blue Flower. Black Dog.


the ghost of a dying swan in the fog

trying not to cast a shadow

on its own reflection in a cloud of unknowing

and the inextinguishable other

smoke from a smouldering phoenix

with a chip on its shoulder the size

of an eclipse with a bad attitude

that doesn’t care whose eyes it gets in.

Butterfly in a dragon’s mouth.

Goldfish in a shark bowl.

It’s gone well beyond crying

because tears don’t have much

of a sense of curiosity

and the blood that’s been spilled between brothers

has sealed two polarized halves of the same heart

into an oxymoronic concordat

like dead air in the eye of a hurricane

in the womb of the same dark mother.

Even so

the dragon slayers are dying to know

what those they’ve slain are laughing at like crows.