Monday, November 14, 2011



Sitting in the dark

being who I am by acclamation.

The solitude half memory, half exorcism.

No one else ran for the position

so I’ve settled on trying to live up empathetically

to this person that’s tried for so long to be me.

The sound of the occasional car on Highway 7

six blocks away

puts its hand over its mouth.

Everything’s a secret at this time of the night.

And it occurs to me

I’ve always been a stranger to myself.

The enigma in the doorway across the street.

My windows. My keys. My locks.

But always looking up at my own place

as if someone else lived there instead of me.

A man with no return address on his homelessness.

As if I were always catching a glimpse of myself

going around the next corner

and I’m the tail I’m trying to lose.

Or giving the occasional mirror

caught totally off guard

cold chills in passing

like a ghost with unknown enterprises of its own.

My freedom enclosed

within the sum of its limits

I live in an elsewhere zone

where the mystery of what I’m doing here

goes to extremes

like a tent city outside

the vacancy of an unoccupied metropolis

of anti-social landlords

to prove I have a right

to the portable threshold of my homelessness.

I’m beached like a birch bark canoe

that isn’t going anywhere

on the shoals of my stream of consciousness

trying to figure out who’s doing the saying

and who’s doing the listening.

Though most people think

one is the spitting image of the other’s reflection

verbal expression is not thought

and you can’t hear it before you say it.

Even too late for the drunks to be out

I like the way the half-hearted moonlight

interprets my face through its fingertips

as if I were having my portrait done in Braille.

What could that look like

when you’ve connected all the dots

if not an eclipse or a new moon?

Take your pick.

And I may be somewhat out of touch

with how dark things have become

but I know this much

this much at least I know.

Worse than despair

is learning how not to care.

I mean what have you got left

when all’s been said and done and gone

if not for a few old reflexive delusions

in a holy war of tribal mirages

that have made a habit of your heart

just as drugs become the cosmology of junkies.

It’s no more absurd

to be left standing like an echo in a doorway

long after the house has been torn down

than it is to paint realistic watercolours in the rain

en plein air.

I thought I had a message once

worthy of descending doves.

I could feel the wind under the dragon’s wings

open like the firedoor to a furnace full of prophets.

And the words were mine true enough

until I realized how much life like art

is totally plagiarized from the medium it creates in

and how imperative it was

to be reborn from your mother-tongue

like a whole new language of evolving memes

if you want to be taken at your word

even in hell as in heaven

you know how to speak for yourself

without resorting to paracletes

even when you’re persuasively certain

no one can understand you.

Every word might contain a dead metaphor

but when mine aren’t demonically possessed

and speaking in tongues

they’re buzzing around the azaleas

like hummingbirds and bees

sipping black kool-aid in Jonestown.

I start out writing like a new moon

but by the time it’s done with me

I’m a total eclipse in an ink pot,


That’s why I’m sitting here in the dark

trying not to adulterate the light

with cosmic thoughts of all night streetlamps

in an empty parking lot

where everyone overpays a price

for their little square of time and space.

I’ve got a digital alarm clock

with three and a half numbers that glow in the dark

like an informant trying to warn me

before it’s way too late for all of us

to adjust my time-zone and dial it back.

To when?

To when it was a better world?

To when I was a better man?

To the last chance I had to become one?