Monday, November 21, 2011



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.

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.

Lights off.

Head on the pillow.

Gas pipes bang and crack.

Whump of car doors

slamming outside

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.

Snap. Whump.

My pillowcase

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?

False dawn.

Fraudulent candle.

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

on enlightenment

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.

Nothing works.

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 subway

a dairy cow

a classroom

a neighbourhood

a psyche

a toilet seat

a third world country

like riot police on Wall Street.




Last toke of the night.

Last cigarette.

Last coffee.

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.

Last cigarette.

Last coffee.

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.