Saturday, November 12, 2011



O little sister you’re an alley-cat alto-sax

howling on the fire escape

under a blue moon

that’s driven you into heat

just outside my window

for that arsonist boyfriend of yours

who used to puke in my potted geraniums

every time the two of you got drunk enough

to crash across my coffee-table laughing

even with each other for a crutch

you haven’t got a leg to stand on.

I was charmed by your romantic desolation.

I was intrigued by how much original sincerity

you both saw fit to squander on a cliche.

C’est la vie, c’est l’amor, c’est le guerre.

Elvis Presley is well and living in Tweed.

And Arthur Rimbaud is running guns

with Jim Morrison in Ethiopia for Al-Shabab.

Most people work harder at hope

than they do at achieving their downfall

and you were a fire hydrant

and now you haven’t got a hose.

No pun intended

I’ve known you too long

to see you this upended slurring your words

like the simultaneous translator

of an hourglass speaking

out of both sides of its mouth at once.

I don’t know why he left you.

Maybe there was nothing left to put out.

You burned out.

A piece flew off your heat shield upon re-entry.

Maybe any man who couldn’t hold his liquor

realizes sooner than later he couldn’t hold you.

I don’t know.

Go ask my geraniums.

They’ve got more to say about him than I do.

You make your death bed.

You got to die in it.

Next time build your house on stilts

in Stanthorpe Queensland

to keep the snakes away from your pillow.

What can I say?

He had a shoulder on his chip

that just couldn’t hold his end of the world up?

And don’t get me wrong.

I’m not laughing at your pain.

I don’t laugh at pain.

Pain is pain.

Different planets.

Different moons.

Who hasn’t gone swimming with dolphins

in the saturnine seas of Titan

or dropped a comet like a match

on a methane moon of Neptune?

Endomorphs and dopamines

can make you do a lot of funny things

that love is at a loss for words to justify.

Even if just for one wild night

of occult hunting magic

everyone longs to run with the wolves.

And howl, o little sister, you can hear them howling

in their blood agony at the waxing moon

as if something had died within them

that was so deep and crucial

it tore their hearts out

in an ecstasy of unrepentant pain.

And many many years later

when the solid abyss and hollowness of life

has grown even greater

you can still hear their voices

screaming like winter winds

above the timber-line

so high-pitched no echo

has ever been able to reach that high again

without shattering like a night bird

against the mirage of the open sky in the window.

Like you, little sister, now.

I’m not a sump-pump for anybody’s tears

not even my own

but I’ve been known

to throw a little heavy water

on a nuclear meltdown every now and again.

Pain. Separation. Loss. Dream death

you keep reliving like an afterlife in your sleep

you’re dying to wake up from

like a coma that’s lost everything worth waking up to.

Not two. Not two. Not two.

That’s the way it is here.

That’s as far as words go.

That’s where Statius takes over

from Vergil on the nightshift

and the stars nod off like children

who couldn’t finish the story

and the quality of the poetry drops

as dark genius opts out

of the company of bright mediocrities

trying too hard to make it a better world

than it needs to be.

For things it didn’t do.

And in a merciful world

that lived up to its teachings

and didn’t shrink the heart

with fear of its own extremes

while everything else is expanding

shouldn’t be asked to suffer like a placebo

in the glands of spurious cure.

And, yes, I know sometimes

it’s hard to keep up with the mysteries

like the elements of life on a geometric scale.

How many jugulars does a woman have

for someone to cut

like the downed powerlines

of the Medusa’s head

for having cast the first stone at herself?

You can wake the serpent fire

at the base of your spine

just above your coccyx

the hardest bone in your body

the little throne

the modest gravestone

you’ll be resurrected on

when you’re summoned from the dead,

but you can’t train love

to bite the people you want it too

and run like an antidote to the rescue.

That’s why you’re getting high

on your own poison right now.

That’s why your drunken tears

oscillate between a broken chandelier

that’s bleeding out

and acid rain that burns like love

congealing into a new ice age.

However deep you dig the grave

to bury someone you once really loved

even a desert at night

when the stars weren’t looking

wouldn’t be enough to fill it in.

It’s a wound without scar tissue

for the rest of your life.

The ghosts keep being pulled out of the box

like that kleenex you keep using

to dry your eyes at this seance

you’ve called on the spur of the moment

to be appalled by how lonely it is

to plead with the dead for severance.