ESTRANGED FROM MY MYTH OF ORIGIN
Estranged from my myth of origin
by the astronomical catastrophe
that alienated me from my own kind
life just kept on happening ark after ark.
I wasn’t consulted.
I wasn’t warned.
I wasn’t misguided
by some miscreance of happenstance.
Whatever excruciating transformations you go through
and however perverse your mutations might seem
to the jump-started creationists
holding up a limp finger to God
like the red-capped pole of a positive battery terminal
that hasn’t been fully charged yet
to be is just to be.
It’s as unsayably clear and open ended as that
without the stopwatch of an opposite
to measure the ten paces you walk out
before you turn in a last duel with yourself
with time as the second that stands up
for the defeated honour of your corpse
lying at its feet like a matador gored by a rose.
It’s the darkest inkwells
that reveal the deepest insights
you can bring out indelibly
like a total eclipse of the moon
into the light through words
like night birds in inaccessible groves
whose voices take flight over the hills
and across the lakes
like an echo in an urn
heard like a lonely mantra
under the eras of the stars
but seldom seen for what they are.
So many masks of meaning
I outgrew in the late spring of my life
when I effaced myself
like a Japanese plum tree
until nothing but the wind was behind me
and the gutter of a residential street
that ran through downtown Victoria
intermingling genies of gasoline
with the fragrance of the rain
that doubled as my version of homesick poets
studying Zen in southern China
like ugly ducklings
among the enlightened swans
sailing down the Yangtze to the great sea
where sentience doesn’t taste of such distinctions.
Ask any moment in passing like a stranger
you accosted on the street
like your own reflection
in a storefront windowpane
who you are now
or make discrete enquiries
among the wisest of the spiritual death masks
you sought in the past to emulate
like plastic surgery on the face of a gangster
on the run from himself
and they’ll all ask you for an alibi
and publish your poems
like unwanted posters
with a bounty on your head
for identity theft among the great imposters.
And you might come to think of yourself
as a great trickster,
Loki, a crow, a fox,
a sacred clown of the Ogallala Sioux,
the gleeman of a greater god
with a blacker sense of humour than you
and come to realize in the course of time
your god is a fraud
but his disguise is real.
Tears painted on a clown’s face
are always wetter than the real ones
and there’s nothing you can do to peel them off
like the skins and colours of a bike gang
but let go like a Japanese plum blossom in the spring
or a silver Russian olive in the fall
down by the Ottawa Canal
when the fish are too polluted
for the drunks to eat.
We’re all damaged goods
one way or another.
No one gets out alive or unwounded
and it’s anyone’s fanatical guess
between love life time death God and the Devil
which is the hardest to relate to
when most of the time
you can’t even tell
the fruits of one from another
when you use that as a way to get to know them.
Kafka said that we all lie in the lap
of a vast intelligence
and on a good day
part of me can relate to that.
And on a bad
I’d say most people lie in the lap of their own
as if they were looking after some pet
they called themselves
that spoiled them.
Because of all the miseries they’ve had to endure.
Because of all the places they’ll never be from.
Because of all the times
they offered up more than they had to give
and it was rejected
and they had no use for it after that.
How many times has someone said to me
I’m looking for myself
and when I asked them
what they called the part
that was doing the looking
they immediately saw how impossible
it was to be lost
because the mind
which isn’t anything at all
is just one big cosmic lost and found
and you can fall anywhere in it
and it amounts to the same as rising.
but even the stars aspire to the unattainable
and it can be incredibly exalting
to perish in your own defeat
fighting for something
you don’t know if you really believe in
but never need to doubt your motives
for getting behind
because you just prefer it that way
and that about says it all.
You just prefer it that way.
You don’t need to analyze, disguise
revise, anathematize, apotheosize,
or cover your eyes in an interview
with chameleonic irises
because, yes, there’s a pot
at the end of the rainbow
but there’s as much shit in it
as there is gold
and it’s always been your preference
what you stuff your pockets with,
what you take home
and it’s by that and that alone
not your ideology
not your mystic philosophy
not your myth of origin
not your sense of morality
as if your senses knew anything about ethics
but your preference, just your preference
your simple, single-minded, indefensible preference
that you’re known.