Saturday, December 3, 2011



These late night sessions with myself

that crowd the world out

to make room for me to be alone

delinquently with myself

while the rest of the town sleeps,

barring a cabbie, a cop, the grocery clerk

that works at the all night Mac’s Milk.

Can’t sleep.

My pillow’s a hive of killer bees.

I’m swarmed by the lethal trivia

of high-maintenance anxieties.

The picture-music’s running the rapids

in a jazzy clash of high hats

and I was hoping for something like Paul Simon.

The medium waits like a seance

for me to appear

like the message that was summoned.

Something resonates like a wavelength

from a tiny point in space

and calls me home like a Martian rover

though I can’t say for sure where I’ve been

like a shadow at noon

I know the sun shines at midnight

when I’m together enough again

to remember what I’ve seen.

And when the dawn makes the fieldstones

of the bank across the street

blush with pink

like some shrink’s idea of a more quiescent prison,

I’m pinching the wicks of all my feelings

like candles in the morning

just to see if I’m still awake or not.

Between now and then

I’m watching a poem evolve like a chromosome

that’s trying to make me up on the go

in a game of snakes and ladders

as one enzyme opens the door to six others

like a Chinese puzzle box

or a Higg’s boson particle accelerator

and after awhile I’m looking at the genome

of a mirror image of myself

that refuses to recognize me.

As if a dragonfly

crawled out of the chrysalis of a fortune-cookie

and spread its wings to dry

like a winning lottery ticket

that just went through the laundry

in effusive elations of wind and sky.

One grey thread

of stray cigarette smoke on my shoulder

and I accuse myself of having a love affair

behind my own back

with someone more exciting than I am

when I wasn’t looking

and walk out on myself swearing

I’ll never trust anyone like me ever again.

Vagaries of unconditioned consciousness

feeling the first continental shudders

of seismic archetypes

slipping their continental plates

like a bad clutch on a fault line

pushing their seabeds up to the surface

to expose what lurks beneath

on the highest slopes of a mountain top

just to call the poker-playing stars’ bluff

as they lay their constellations down

like the losing hand of a Japanese fan club.

In the timelessness of this aloof hour

when it feels as if I’m the only one left alive

to know how the town died in its sleep

and there’s no one out on the desolate street to tell

no one to call,

awareness is all

as I drift off disembodied into all my past lives

to ask them if they’ve got any clue

about where I went

and what I’ve been doing for the last ten years.

I’m a snowman waltzing in an ice storm

under the brittle chandeliers

of the brutal stars of the first of December.

Warm blood in a cold northwest wind

there’s a scent of wolf in the ravenous air

and a death panic in the hearts of the rabbits

who risk a nightcrossing of Wilson Street

out in the open under the noses

of the dozy heritage streetlamps.

The ice age perils of Pauline

tormented by Oil Can Harry.

Where does the dream begin

like a myth of origin

that keeps you awake


when the next firefly of insight

is going to appear in your rear-view mirror

as if you were being followed

by the ball lightning

of some great revelation of reality

that promises to return your eyes to you

as soon as it’s opened them to what isn’t there.

I’m sleepwalking like the Bolshoi Ballet across Swan Lake.

I’m miming the sidereal signage

of blind men with prophetic vision

like a journey man among master seers

with hundreds of billions of stars in their eyes

looking for a planet that’s human enough

to cry like this one sitting alone at a desk

for the enormities of starless sadness

that underwhelm the trophies of those

who’ve lived a life of risk

and were victorious long enough

to be able to squander a living on their own defeat.

Picture this.

A bull elk being run to death

through deep snow,

the cold air slicing its lungs

like frozen strawberries,

turning to face a wolfpack

rack to fang

to wound them into

respecting their noblest prey

with a last act

of self-destructive defiance,

incite a little wolf fear

in those who fear none

to return the compliment

water to water

blood to blood

heart to heart

as if all parties realized

from the very start

it doesn’t mean much

but it accounts for everything

and that’s the way it’s supposed to go down.




Watering the roots of a mirage this morning,

rain and sleet, big gobs of snowflake

thawing like emotionally sloppy galaxies on your scalp

as if you were just anointed for something

and it came as a shock.

November windows foggy

with mocha-grey cataracts

of self-effacing grime

slowly closing the eyelids

of the wounded winter mindstream

with the scar tissue

of old comets of dirt and ice

that had their fifteen minutes of sun

and now resort to pedalling the prophetic advice

they’ve derived like spiritual hash oil

from the shake of their personal histories.

The gram masters of Gore Street

are trying to unionize

into grandstanding delusions of OPEC

to standardize the price of Christmas,

and the housewives

are buying baby clothes at Giant Tiger

for their pregnant teen-age daughters.

Carpenters, plumbers, electricians,

masons, vets, farmers,

middle-aged real estate agents

with puffy alcoholic eyes

trying to be practical

and wryly jocular

about what they remember

of an acquaintance who died last night

between bites of toast, sips of coffee,

sections of the newspaper

that float from table to table

like gossip, Caspar’s ghost,

and affectionate anecdotes

about notable eccentricities of the deceased.

Disenchanted adolescents pooling change,

hockey moms in morally amended hairdos,

clinking spoons on the edge of their cups

as if they were calling a wedding to attention

and institutionally white restaurant platters

being laid down with Zen authority

like flying saucers

with a take it or leave it attitude

toward the Flat Earth Society.

Breakfast is always more

a riot of morning energy

than the sloth of dinner is in a small town.

People are more in synch

with the exuberant feeding hours

of the birds shortly after dawn

when they’re less late for anything

than they are in a city

where birds don’t set the agenda

and too many people died last night to care.

I can see what’s extraordinarily ordinary

about people in this small town in the morning,

and blessings on the head of everyone of them,

worthy or not,

but don’t really feel I belong here

anymore than I have anywhere else for that matter

having been accepted more by acclamation

because no one else

was as surrealistically qualified as me

to fulfill the drastic absurdity of the position

of being spaced out enough as a poet

that Perth has taken up residence in me.

I can bitch about the tractor trailers

crushing Toyotas like lady bugs

in the narrow streets of the town

and the millennial old need

for a bypass on Highway 7

but how can I add laconic comments of my own

like soiled blueprints I throw down on the table

about the progress of what I’m doing,

what I’m laying the forms for,

what bullshit I’ve got to put up with

at three in the morning

when the only callouses I’ve got to show

for all my work

are on the fingertips of the words

that keep tearing me down

like ten acres of old growth forest

to shape guitars out of my heartwood

that resonate like seasoned nightbirds

that are virtuosos of every branch

on the tree of life

every stave and leaf of a note

that stands on the threshold of its coffin

and sings like a home-made lifeboat?