Wednesday, December 21, 2011


Something beautiful, lyrical, tenderly heart-felt
like a child reaching out of its innocence
to test a bruise that used to hurt
but now has mellowed into a wild flower
with just a touch of local colour.
Wild irises among the breathless willows
along the shores of the Tay River
adjusting the catfish to its flow
like underwater weathervanes
and it’s summer on earth
and the sun ripens like a tomato
on the inside of your eyelids
and the hum of the dragonflies
buzzing your ear like a flight control tower
lulls you into a narcosis of physical well-being
when even an hour of being so at peace with life
as it is, was, appears, ought to be or not,
the distinctions are as unreal
as water consulting a nautical chart,
and even time stops judging things by its first impressions.
Something easy, inclusive, and true as it needs to be
without going to any special efforts.
Just to lie back in the fresh summer grass
and wish you were a white horse
with a black star under your forelock
that could graze upon the young blades
that smell so much like cool green peas
and stare into the endless cerulean blue of a sky
with an eye for antique clouds
the burgundy-tipped brushes of the birches
are scumbling a little alizarin crimson into
just to warm things up a bit.
I want to see wet mammals
gleaming with water and light
sliding down a mud bank back into the river
otters, muskrats, beavers,
and forget all about evolution
like any other corporate utility
that can wait to be paid.
The turkey-vultures and the red-tailed hawk
circling high overhead without disturbing
a feather on their wings
when they’re riding their thermals for the sheer joy of it,
like kids sliding down a bannister
that find the most fun in what
there’s the least purpose in
and even less reason to question.
I want to look upon life
as if its only secret agenda
is as it always has been
hidden out in the open
for everyone’s eyes only.
I want to let my mind
sprawl and cluster as it will
like the waterlilies in lieu of stars
giving illustrious astronomy lessons
inside the dark planetarium
of the abandoned beaver hut
on the far shore
that’s just as big a mystery
as the disappearance of the Mayans.
For the moment I don’t
want to go anywhere a maple tree
wouldn’t grow of its own accord
whether it made it through
the first few winters or not.
Listen to the leaves on the aspens
lapping like the small waves
of an incoming tide of shadows
as the afternoon slowly withdraws its assent
like a hand from the hand of a sleeping lover
to reveal your sacred absence when she wakes up
like the best gift you had to give her
though she’d never dream
of asking for so much.
Powder-blue eyeshadow on the damselflies.
My spiritual dakini dancing voluptuously
making Hindi hand gestures of light
that flash off the backs of black watersnakes
that roll with the waves
like a melody to music
your whole body hears
like serpent-fire roaring through a chimney
to clear its throat of birds.
Enlightenment might be akin
to galloping on a horse through a busy market
without bumping into anyone.
There are enough fools who doubt it
to convince you there must be some truth to it,
but here where the red-winged blackbird
sings from the dead branch
as often as the green bough,
the deathless insight is effortless
and ignorance and enlightenment
are just the front and back doors of bliss
in this house of life that takes a worm
and turns it into a Monarch butterfly
or takes a landscape
and turns it into a state of mind,
a dynamic equilibrium among opposites
that stand before each other
like a man before a mirror
without one asking the other
which of them is real.
Not as I am but as it is
is true of everything in creation
from the atoms in a lost osprey feather
on up to the superclustering of black holes
like voodoo dolls in the hearts of the starfish
who gather in covens to sacrifice their light
to the darkness, making a ritual
of the natural order of events
emerging from the chaos of a random universe
like a school of fish
or the flight of birds
or even the improbable concourse of these words
when they all swerve the same way.
Reeds in the river.
The hair of the willows.
A human who seeks peace in a low place
down by the water
and lets his thoughts go along
with the flow of things
like the main theme of a waterclock
with a heart and a bloodstream
discrete enough to ignore me for a while
as I drift like an empty lifeboat down the Tay River
like one of my unmoored poems
whenever I am whatever it is
standing in the shadows of the answer
that’s been liberated from the slavery
of responding to the question that belabours it.
We are consummate nothingness.
The metaphoric vapours of a drug we inhale
like the fragrance of white sweet clover,
distillations and elixirs of the moon
we drink from our own skulls,
semaphoric fireflies waiting for the stars
to answer back, shapeshifters
bending space to the shape
of our momentary cosmic minds
to have everything fall into place prophetically
like wild grapevines into bottles of dated wine.
Go ask the water if a reflection
standing on its own two feet
like a mirage of stars in the desert cold
of the upper atmosphere
waiting for someone at a wishing well
is any less real than one that’s lying down
to look up at the passing clouds
until it disappears like a mirror
that doesn’t inhibit them
into whatever they’re the image of
in a fraction of sunlight
on the wing of a blue heron
startled into flight by something
on the far side of the river.
Mesmerized by the mystic specificity
of the extraordinarily ordinary,
one dandelion in a wild raspberry patch
overwhelming it like a tsunami,
the fate that must have befallen
the one-legged gull
I gave bread to here last summer
favouring him above all
to humanize the radical impersonality
of the randomly accidental
that did this to a bird
without purpose, will, or meaning,
I sit here among these,
my senses attuned
to the vagaries of consciousness
as they’re beaten off like crows
by nesting sparrows
or keep a journal like a leaf
that set out young to explore the river
like a water god that went looking for water
and found it when he came upon
what remained of himself and cried
when things went oceanic
as if it had happened to someone else.
Something beautiful, lyrical, tenderly heart-felt.
Two ruby-throated hummingbirds
hovering over a bouquet of daylilies
like single quotes.