TEN PAGES, LITTLE BROTHER
Ten pages, little brother,
for your edification
and our mutual illumination
but I look forward to the night
when I think of you
and what you’re doing to yourself
and it’s a haiku.
NO SLEEP AGAIN TONIGHT
No sleep again tonight.
Not haunted by anyone.
Not troubled by love
or the lack thereof.
stuck by pins like a voodoo doll
in the hands of a spiteful lepidopterist.
By poisonous flying insects of insight
like a fire in a jungle at night.
Indigestible menus of life
that just don’t sit right in my belly.
Butterflies and starmaps.
I’m an experimental lightbulb
with a six million volt lightning filament
in Nikola Tesla’s lab.
I’m an over-reactive inner core nuclear meltdown
of a demonic hydroelectric plant
overdoing my afterlife
trying to put the fires of hell out
with heavy water that turns to steam
whenever I try to walk on it.
Head on the pillow.
Gas pipes bang and crack.
Whump of car doors
connecting with a right to the ribs
like the corpse of a heavy body bag
that’s just had the wind knocked out of it.
Deploying like a parachute
that’s candled like an exclamation mark.
This is freefall.
This is a comet
this is a coma
this is a comma
that’s been igniting dry ice all day
but doesn’t know how to turn the lights out.
This is insane.
This is like sharing your waterbed
with an anaconda,
your coiled box spring
upholstered by summer thunderheads
with a snakepit
performing a fertility lap dance for lightning.
This is a waking wet dream
without a succubus.
When I crawled into bed
my two eyes had the following
of a soporific colon with popular sex appeal
but now I look at the clock
forty-five minutes later
than it used to be
and all I can see
are the fang marks my eyes left
between three digital numbers
that look as if the poison
is beginning to take effect.
And all I can do
as they slip off into never never land
is envy their toxicity
as I o.d. on my own brain activity
like a crackhead that hasn’t lost consciousness
since the early eighties went punk
The medium isn’t up to the message.
But with the snake-eyed luck
of the insomniac I’ve become
they’ll kill the medium
but not the messenger.
Rosy shades of champagne in the morning
on heritage field stone bank fronts
with ghastly logos of fire-engine red
and a sky growing bluer
than Botticelli by the moment
the harder I try not abhor the dawn
the brighter it gets
and the more I take it personally.
I hate the fucking Renaissance.
Ghosts have their graves to go to.
Vampires their blood banks.
Blind star-nosed moles
don’t suffer in daylight
the way I do.
Who shows up for the nightshift
at the crack of dawn?
Artificial light on a pot plant
trying to get some z’s in the closet.
The sun shines at midnight here.
It crowds the moon out.
It elbows its way like a cuckoo’s egg
into the corners of your eyes
and just sits there
like a lump on the ecliptic
making up alibis
in the face of the conspiracy theorists
who see plots hatching out everywhere
for world domination by the Illuminati.
Used to sleep like the dead.
My head on the pillow.
Not even a dream for years.
Dark, dark, dark,
they all go into the dark blank oblivion
of being no one’s sleep
under so many eyelids
and they sleep like Rilke in the death
he so seductively preferred to life
as the greater intensity of the two
but from this wide-eyed point of view
who can blame him
and as far as I’m irritably concerned
any immediate immensity
that could consume me right now would do.
Wu shi. No mindedness.
I’m trying to throw midnight oil
on my troubled theta waves
to calm my oceanic consciousness
of being lost on the moon
in the Sea of Tranquility
without any way to drown.
I’m doing what the Buddha did
with less effort
thinking what isn’t thought
seeing what isn’t sight
hearing what isn’t heard
my whole head blurred
in a cloud of unknowing
and my bodymind sitting here
bolt upright at my desk
like a lightning rod
giving the sky the finger
attending without attention to this.
Sick of being a nightwatchman
and a sleepwalker by day
as acutely aware as Methuselah
that time is a repeating decimal.
Sick of being a first magnitude star
paled like a wall flower by the sun
a bloodshot albino leper streetlamp
with its third eye perpetually open
in a diurnal caste system
that puts too much emphasis
but isn’t sage enough
to know when to shut it down.
Sick of being singled out
for the eyes in the back of my head
by the dream people
like the thirteenth hour
the thirteenth month
the tristadecaphobic floor
of the thirteenth house of a zodiac
where the elevator never stops
on its way up or down
like a third equinox of the sun
the rest of the family doesn’t talk about
to keep one eye on things
like a Cyclops with tunnel vision
and half a sleeping pill
to do the job of more opioids
than you could bleed
even under interrogation
from an entire Afghani poppy field.
Bright, bright, bright,
they all go into the light
but the rest I’m up for
looks more like a re-run
of the simulcast
of a saturnalian white night
in a blizzard of shattered glass
that makes the sound
of one Zen chandelier
break dancing in an ice storm.
Even the mirrors are noisy.
And if a brilliant insight
ever had a down time
this has got to be it,
one of those anti-eureka moments
when your eyes just don’t give a shit
if you had a fulcrum
and a lever long enough
you could move it off the dock.
I’m bushed. I’m whacked.
I’m wiped. I’m wired.
I’m so fucking tired
tar looks overactive to me
and the pyramids have a.d.d.
The sun’s setting fire
to all my starmaps
and even the fireflies
have been cryonically frozen
like the genome of a new ice age.
A crackhouse in downtown L.A.
during a police raid
caught in a brush fire
in the middle of a 7.8 earthquake
on a digital Richter scale
gets more sleep than I do.
Or a drug cartel with attitude.
Or a hive of killer bees,
oversensitive to the sound
of anything it can swarm
like a shopping mall
a bus stop
a dairy cow
a toilet seat
a third world country
like riot police on Wall Street.
LAST TOKE OF THE NIGHT
Last toke of the night.
Thinks with his kind of luck
they’ll put a no smoking sign behind him
while he’s blindfolded
in front of a firing squad.
He takes the garbage out
at three in the morning,
puts his one seaweed green plastic bag
next to five others
from the insurance brokerage downstairs
leaning up against a one-eyed parking meter.
Desolate small town November streets.
The red coat Scotiabank
glares at him like a U-boat in Halifax Harbour.
One drunk moving from door way to doorway
like a waterclock from bucket to bucket
as if they were all connected in his mind somehow
in series, not parallel.
Abandoned things, leafless trees,
a bad hair day for the flowers
down in the dumps
with their municipally rustic whiskey barrels.
He remembers learning several summers ago
if you put the flame of a zippo
under the petals of the petunias
they change colour better than a mood ring
and more melodramatically than a rejected adolescent.
Deep Persian blues
freaked with celestial Chinese greens
that almost made him believe at the time
that a petunia must have been a peacock in another life.
Waste, litter, leaves, traffic lights
swaying in the wind
like a trainman with a lantern down the line
trying to slow things they have no effect upon down.
Stop. Go. Pause.
The magic is gone.
Nothing moves the way it should.
The train starts mourning from a long way off
like a dog that’s lost its master.
Space is laid out like a Nazdac runway
with omnidirectional perspective
but no one’s taxied up to the tower yet
to ask for permission to take off.
He looks up.
Just past zenith, southwest
of the Alley Cats Bowling sign and gym.
He lives above and one apartment down
from the narrow tunnel into the courtyard
of the old coach house where the horse culture of Perth
used to stable their overexuberant buggies.
Past the gold and soot coloured mailboxes
that look like they’ve been in a plane crash
and were waiting to be reassembled
as soon as the mailman can find the flight recorder
in the right black box.
Through three doors
up one worn flight of stairs
through an unpainted veneer and cardboard door
down a long haul past a gas furnace and a coatrack
he returns to his private chaos
nebulous with insomnia
as the counter-intuitive nemesis
of overexhaustion and the last of the good bud.
Last toke of the night.
Over and over and over again
like a mantra looking for oblivion.
Nada. Nada. Not enlightenment.
He thinks of an Irish bank teller he likes
because she scares and excites him
with the possibility of her beauty and darkness.
He looks at last year’s masterpiece
propped up in the silence above his desk
but one look at his eyes
and it’s said all it’s going to say to him tonight.
Which leaves the lamps for late night conversation
but they’re about as scintillating as the coma he’s in.
The air in the room
one long pregnant pause
before the crack of dawn or doom
or whichever comes first,
he watches his mind like landfill
for any sign of his corpse.
The darkened see-through coffin of his aquarium
worthy of Napoleon or Lenin lying in state
to see the lineaments of greatness stone cold dead
where his goldfish recently died
like the Bolshoi Ballet or a comet
with an urgent dispatch for the sun
who killed the messenger as soon as it arrived.
He would have buried him at sea
for the sailor he was
but all he had was a toilet at the time
and no flag to wrap him in but cellophane.
No twenty-one gun salute.
Just the salvo of a thin gas chimney pipe
warming up like shallow heavy metal.
The indignity at the end always hurts worse
than the broken promise of a false start
but such is life he tells himself
without really knowing what he’s agreeing to.