Monday, April 30, 2012



Haven’t thought of you in years but here you come again like cosmic weather I never know quite know how to dress for except in flesh and blood and a lot of love. You shine through the valleys of death like Bailey’s Beads through the gaps in the mountains of the moon in full eclipse. I taught you the name of every star in the sky in four languages sitting high up on a rocky ledge of Heartbreak Hill overlooking the neighbourhood. You smiled and taught me to shine. You taught me there are no names for the best things in life. But yours was. And by a reflected glory mine.

Lachrymae rerum. It’s always been your tears that I’ve tasted deep down in the heart of things like a dark elixir of well-aged sorrows that transformed all those yesterdays into vintage tomorrows we never got to drink. Memories. New knives for old wounds that have grown over the years like shortcuts to a chasm. The pain might come and go but like the moon it never loses its edge. And there is no scar worthy of you to close the gap. My blood flows like a flag at half mast for a lonely heroine in a holy war of one Spartan heart against a Persian mind. You told me once that you’d rather commit suicide than surrender. And a truce with the obscenity of human lovelessness that you were living at the time wasn’t an option because your father was a maggot of a man pimped out like a wannabe butterfly who taught his daughters the value of working the street was his lightbulb of a creation plan for the future. And brought his drunken friends home to desecrate what was left of your innocence. You said it made your skin crawl like dirty money that couldn’t be laundered by anything spiritual like death to remove the smell. You were the wooden maiden on the bowsprit of a moonboat the navy boarded every Friday night like a body whose heart had already gone down with the ship. You said you hated the old men most who grabbed your breasts as if they were grasping for time. And those who afflicted their sex upon you like one of the seven plagues of Egypt as a self-righteous punishment for what they had just paid you to do against their religion.

You were my first and best girlfriend. And face to face or back to back we had each other covered on both sides of the moon. It was too dangerous to grow orchids in the shadow of a garbage can but up on our precipice high above the world alone together again at three in the morning I swear by all that is holy and wild I felt as free as the flightfeathers on the wings of a phoenix to escape the ashes of the crematorium we were put through like a racial cleansing of childhood even if I had to walk on stars for you. Or kill your father.

You might have been turned out but you hadn’t learned as you would later to curse the wedding and bless the hearse. And we talked of marriage shyly. You were just looking for tenderness and I’ve been grateful for the last forty years of looking back that you said I gave you that. We gathered each other up in our arms like flowers from a garbage-can, flowers from the grave, and planted them in our hearts like a secret Eden only we knew the way back to like a starpath up the world mountain that kept coming down on us avalanche after avalanche like the premature karma of an afterlife that was killing us in this one. Courage is an elixir of spiritual spit in the fountain of youth when you’re outnumbered by dry-mouthed cowards trying to drink your blood like geriatric vampires in love. And we were brave as silver stakes driven through their hearts. We flintknapped our emotions into Salutrian Clovis-points and hunted wooly mammoth voodoo dolls into extinction. Our eyes were at war with the windows and mirrors that glared at us as if we were thieves and whores of our own making at fourteen. And well beyond the snake-oil redemption they talked about as if they were immune to breaking. But we knew the broken black filaments of fragile lightning that couldn’t jump the gaps in their lightbulb heads weren’t starmaps to the chandeliers they hung above the snakepits of their mangers for wiser fools than us to follow. But we didn’t throw sparrows at their blood-stained windows. We were hard rock partisans of the lower class who knew how to headbutt their crystal skulls into shattered glass. We robbed every butcher baker candlestick-maker who had ever dropped a dime in your jukebox to fit his needle to your groove and dance to a spasm of music. Outlaw justice is full measure and a bit beside. And we got more than our own back. If they bruised an eye. We blackened their seeing with the unholy ghosts of burning businesses rising like demonic smoke from the ashes of amateur exorcists. Eventually they came to realize that we were selling death insurance and stopped taking you like a risk. And for awhile we were as happy as a union of arsonists on an igneous nightshift comparing mythologies with out of work dragons on welfare. We were perfected by each other in our solitude when our lifelines flowed into each other like estranged orbits well beyond the reach of the sun that had driven us out on our own like an evil portent of things to come. We weren’t the warning. But we were the writing on the wall. We were the lie that came true in a beautiful nightmare of love like a happy ending trying to convince itself that as it was above so it was below. Even though we knew better and said nothing to break the spell of the fireflies in the blackholes of our wishing well hearts.

If you don’t eat the pain you can’t taste the pleasure. But if the pleasure gets eaten like the last apple in Eden, all you’ll taste is pain. I repeated that kind of sententious symmetrical bullshit for lightyears to myself like a mantra to control the terror of your absence after you just announced one night out of the starless blue of your eyes you weren’t the woman I deserve and putting your clothes back on disappeared. Just disappeared. Poof. Gone. A candleflame. As if we had never existed. And then, yes, the note that came six months later like a flightfeather from the wings of a loveletter passing high overhead. Forever. One word. That’s all you said. One horrifying word that came down like a life sentence without parole on all I’ve lived ever since. In isolation.

I don’t ask the birds anymore on my windowsill that peek through the bars if they’ve heard any news of you the way I did in the first few years and when I’m out in the yard by myself alone with the stars in their gun towers trying to make out the constellations through the glare of the light pollution I don’t search the open sky for you as my longing once used to. Because the impersonality of your absence is rooted so deeply in me like dark matter that can’t be seen everything that blossoms like eyes and stars and earthly light on spiritual apple-trees anywhere is an intimacy of that first morning we woke up beside each other and began learning the hard discipline of how to keep a soft dream of love alive by sweeping it aside as if it were nothing.




I look into people’s faces
and I see the same wound
under many different scars.

I look into their hearts
like a stranger at night
through a passing window
and I see how suffering through
the agonies of life
has ripened some
with sweetness and compassion
and others are already
rotten before they fall.

I look into people’s eyes
and some are vast starlit skies
and some are the iota subscripts
of scholarly fireflies
that footnote the constellations
at the bottom of the page
with details off the beaten path
of their MLA mainstream cosmic thesis.
And some are like moons
with parenthetical crescents
with nothing in between
both sides of their smile
that isn’t a cynical aside
about the lost innocence
of a phase they’ve already gone through.

And some stare back like eclipses
that have pulled the blinds down
over their eyes
like sunglasses disguised
by a witness protection program
but you just know
they’re oilslicks
on the Sea of Shadows
as they were in the womb
and in the Gulf of Mexico
the black blood
of an incorporated miscarriage
that hemorrhaged like the pot of gold
at the end of the oleaginous rainbow.

I look into people’s souls
and I see how afraid
they must be of life
to hide out in the open
like an ocean
that hasn’t kept faith
with its own depths
and tries to pretend it’s
as airy and light as the sky.

The birds are flying through the roots.
The fish are swimming in the treetops.
I see judas-goats chained
to the stakes of their ego-Is
like sacrificial tiger bait
devoted to their cunning.
I see the anti-muses
that shadow Mt. Helicon
like black holes
in the death valleys
of human imagination.
And I wonder how they ever got here.

What bend in space
led them to this twisted place
like a forsaken road
they keep taking
like a wormhole through time
into the womb
of a stillborn universe
where the moonlight
burns their embryos
on pyres of lime
beside the dry creekbeds
of nameless rivers going nowhere?

Along their flowerless banks
I see the rib-cages of dead snakes
that went witching for water
with tongues and tines
of Kundalini lightning
that ran up their spines
like time through a waterclock
and the hulls of empty lifeboats
that died in the desert
at the bottom of the mirage
they drowned in
hoping to find themselves
among those who survived
by learning to swim through sand
like fish in an hourglass aquarium.

I’d rather walk on stars
reflected in the shattered mirrors
of my last self-image
than repay
the generosity of my solitude
with mass ingratitude.

I listen to people’s voices
and they all seem like the same echo
with many different mouths.

I’ve tried to respect
the mystic specificity
of the thousands of fierce individuals
I’ve met over the years
but the more I’ve learned
about myself and others
the more I see the same mind
in many different skulls.
The same genius of inspired water
that poured an ocean
of sentient awareness
into everyone of our cells.
Union differentiates.
Separation binds.
I look into people’s faces
however young or old they are
and I see infinite spaces
moonlighting as time
on the nightshift of the stars.

I see horror and compassion.
I see butterflies sipping
the nectar of diamonds
like honey in the promised land
and maggots born in excrement
thriving on offal
like the janitors of the dead
because everything grows best
in the soil it was born into
like karma in the fortune-cookies
of wombs and eggs and cocoons.
I look into people’s eyes
like sad stars
through the generous end
of the telescope
that brings the far near
like impact craters
and I see how some people
cling to the memory of themselves
like underground seas
in frozen lockets
of water on the moon.

I look into people’s secret shrines
they build like birds
in the eye of the storm
looking for salvation.
And I can hear
the echo of their prayers
bouncing back off hydrogen clouds
like a nineteen twenties radio show
thousands of lightyears away
as if they just said them yesterday
and the universe as usual
threw the words back in their face
like the cosmic background hiss
of snowflakes on a furnace
going out like stars.
I’ve seen the innocence of fireflies
making halos
and the blood-rose weaving thorns
around the massive blackholes of death
as if they were merely
a pinprick in a voodoo doll
that got into white magic by mistake.
I’ve looked into
the nuclear blaze of madness
like an A bomb with shades on
and seen the flash and shadow
of embryo silhouettes
spit out like cave paintings
on the firewalls of the fusion wombs
that give birth to the heavier elements
it takes to survive.
But the water’s not mad
just because the moon’s a lunatic.
The mirror might seem
just as angry as you are
but it doesn’t feel a thing.
Learning wisdom is learning space.

It doesn’t eat flowers
and the weeds don’t sting.
It takes everything it embraces to heart
and nothing’s left out
from the very beginning.
Like the whole of the moon and the sky
in every eye of water
that’s ever looked into me
and seen that everyone
is the heart of a mystery
whose lucidity
is their only true identity.

It’s our seeing
that makes the flowers open
and the stars shine.
It’s our hearing that gives
the wind something
meaningful to say
and the grass something
to whisper about.
Whatever you touch
walks in your skin from thereon.
Whatever you taste
be it roses and nettles
or sulphur and wine
or the sour-sweet radiance
of the stars on your tongue
you’re the flavour of the day
in everything.

It’s your nose
that gives the burning leaves
in the urns of autumn
the spectral fragrance
of chrysanthemums
that are barely holding on.

And it’s your mind.
Your heart.
Your blood.
Your body.
Your imagination.
Your intuition.
Your wisdom.
Your ignorance.
Your darkness.
Your light.
Your spirit
enlightened or deluded
whatever you think or feel
is abundantly missing
or dream you’re waking up to
that makes the world real
in every mystically specific detail
of who you are.
Who else?
I look into myself
as far as the stars
at the edge of my seeing
fourteen point five billion lightyears away
and I can see how much time and space
how many species of life
generation after generation
have been born to give birth and die.

All the roses swept
from the stairs
of our hopeless tomorrows
because they were a tribute to love
meant for someone else.

All the spontaneous joys
that cast their long random shadows
like occasional fireflies of insight
across the lunar mindscape
of this afterlife of sorrows
where every church is the gravestone
of an unsuspecting god.

I look into my own seeing
like light upon light
in the vast expanse
of an unknowable night
and I’m cosmically astonished
by how many worlds within worlds
eyes within eyes
minds within minds
lives within lives it takes
to make a single habitable human being
meaning everyone of us sacred fools
fit as a genius
for the crazy wisdom
of a creative life
in a self-inspired universe.


Sunday, April 29, 2012



Silence here, long whispers of moonlight
suggesting things invisible appear,
occult constellations I read in reverse
on the chilly night air. Wildflowers
in the high abandoned starfields
soaked in the dew of ten thousand eyes
as the lone nighthawk of my overview of life
tilts its wings toward you as if the wrist
of the falconer were the bough of a tree
in the sacred groves on the island of Mona,
though I know you sleep in the shadows
of the mountains of Arizona.
Hear me, sweet one, do you in your dream?
I’ve filled your pillow with clouds
and the whimsy of mystical flight feathers
to replace the hard rock of the world
you lay your head down upon,
and pull the sword out of the wound
like the thorn of a star
from the palm of your hand,
from the kissing stone of your meteoritic heart.

And I circumambulate it thrice
like a rogue planet with shepherd moons
like lambs that lie down with the wolf
as if you were all directions of prayer at once
and I was marking out magic circles around
your house of life like a wolf star on the wind
high above the timberline
in an agony of longing to touch you
like candlelight in the secret shrine
where you go to heal the eyes of the flowers
the blazing of the desert sun
blinds like midnight at noon.

Too long I’ve been a lighthouse on the moon
for shipwrecks well past warning.

Too long I’ve been a night light in a morgue
to usher the ghosts of the dead to the best seats
in the darkened theatre of classic reruns
of the karmic movies they made
like double features of their lives.

Too long I’ve been the antidote of those
who were snake-bit by happy endings
that were mesmerized stone cold in the eyes
of snakeoil salesmen in a cult of spitting cobras.

Too long I’ve been the nightwatchman
who walks the long lonely halls
in a library of Coles notes and cheat sheets
where the ingenuous come to apprentice themselves
to the arcane grammars of an antiquated magic
that long ago dropped out of nightschool.
Too long I’ve been shedding
these old musty graduate robes
to walk alone in the skin of dragons
who know that true enlightenment
doesn’t maintain a teacher, as the masters say,
making a deep bow
and then going their own way
knowing their small magic is merely
the porchlight to a palace of wisdom
where you leave your eyes on the threshold
of a doorway into a zodiac of eclipses
where all the house lights have been turned off
and aren’t the signs of anything
you can see better in the dark than you can
by the light of fireflies trying
to organize their insights
into a constellation of first magnitude stars.

Existential mobiles! Humanizing chandeliers!
Who asks for passports from the mirrors
that coyote us through the desert
like mirages without any tears?
I’m a mountain range of ice bergs on the move.
I’m breaking up camp like a star cluster
to follow a gazelle across
the grasslands of the Sahara
long before paradise poured like sand
between the fingers of an hourglass
to tell it how beautiful it is
when it runs like a flash flood over the rocks
of a dry creek bed with a frayed delta
of lines around its eyes
like a waterclock of life
that knows it’s never too late to meet the sea.
And how much thrives in the wake of the journey.




So far down this road
without a destination
my childhood doesn’t
recognize me anymore.
So far into this life
I’ve never been outside of
I can speak to myself
in a foreign language
that no one can understand
as if it were the ancient dream-grammar
of a past tense
that talked its way into the future.

So far into what I’ve become
the peduncle is lost
in the ensuing phylum
and of all thought
I’m the first monkey
to look for its origins in an asylum.
The crow on an autumn branch
in the white rain
laughs more than it ever did
at the specious foundations
of my ephemerid profundities
dropping like apples at my feet.

The minstrel warrior of the forlorn hope
I took up arms in a holy war of one
I was doomed to lose
like a sad generation of demons
who knew the wound would never close.

If heaven isn’t a club-med in a specific place
but saturates all of space
like mystically dark matter
then we’re all falling toward paradise
like particles and wavelengths of water.

Heaven may be the whole cup
and hell a crack in the wine
and earth the place you sober up
like a bad hangover from the divine
but it’s a party I walked out of aeons ago
more a stranger than when I came
like a manger without a sign
like a magus without a logo
to an inn that had been empty for years.
I don’t presume to teach people
what they already know.
Even hanging on
is going with the flow.
This is a delirious place
where the mysteries cut deep
and silence is the native tongue
God speaks to herself in.

So far down this mindstream
like a paper boat I made of a poem
and set aflame like an orchid of fire
to honour a poet
who said it right in China long before me,
I bloom on the water of a prophetic dream
true to the unpredictability
of a sleeping dragon
to wake from the brevity of oblivion
with the eyes of a narcoleptic chameleon.

Joy binds
what sorrow releases.
And thought might prick the lifelines
of an amniocentesis
and offer up my embryo like a thesis
on whether I should have been born or not,
but I drink from my own skull like the moon
when it’s full to the brim
above the starwheat in the Virgin’s hand
to the stealth of the wind that dropped me here
like a lone seed in a huge empty silo
I’m trying to stud like the Venus de Milo.
It’s not easy rooting in stone
like the invasive metal
of a sword that will make you
king of the waxing year.
Things just fall apart on their own
like grain from the chaff of a fickle harvest
that rose from the dead
like the bitter bread
of an abandoned homestead
that walked out on itself too soon.

But I’ve never been one to talk
about leaving it all behind
like some dark gate of the mind
I could pass through
like a unilluminated comet through space
to shine in the light of a star
that was alarmed at my approach
and blind to my passing.
I’m more at home in the dark
with a firefly and a chimney spark
rolling koans like constellations of loaded dice
as if they were two diabolical buddhas
in the back alleys of enlightenment
pushing their luck to the wall.
They rise
and I fall.
I rise
and they fall.
Readiness is all.
Ripeness is all.
Lear shakes his fist at Hamlet.

The blue harvest moon in total eclipse.
All loveletters die like political pamphlets
up against a closed door.
So far into this cloud of unknowing
I have given up hoping
will ever become a star
and break into light in all directions
to show me where I’m going
I give up on myself like rain
and release my waterbird eyes
to fall wherever they might.

Readiness is spring.
Ripeness is fall.
Seven come eleven.
No one wins it all.
Two squared skulls
up against a crooked wall.
I shake the dice
and you call.
You shake the dice
and I call out to luck like a random goddess
to see if she still loves me
as she did once tomorrows ago
when I won everything back.

Whether you’re giddy with happy truths
or more profoundly belled by the sad facts
it’s scary at night in the spirit’s lost and found
when the lights go out
and no one’s around to look for anything.
Gardens of black umbrellas,
the wings of folded bats
stacked like unseasonal eclipses
that have lost the will to bloom
like flowers at a lavish funeral
for impoverished aristocrats.

And courage isn’t a home
that’s all that easy to return to
when you’re out here on your own
like a lifeboat full of midnight on Mars.

So far along this long homeless road home
I have worn out my faithless friends like shoes
I took from the feet of the dead
to walk on ahead of myself
like a star with a jump on where it’s been.
Now even I don’t know what I mean
when the words say me
like some black benediction
over an unknown grave
as I mourn the roadkill
and try to bless the turkey-vultures.
Earth. Air. Water. Fire.
Four cultures that bury their dead differently
but all to the same end.
Who could have guessed
the angels that came to earth first
had the wingspan of loitering scavengers?
I give my soul up to the birds.
I give my eyes up to the sky.
I give my voice up to these words.
I give my mind up like water to water
light to light
darkness to darkness
to the star that has misled me this far
into this wilderness of myself
where I’m preaching stealth to shadows
and air to ride the wind.
I give my heart up
to the thorn that gored the rose
like a deep insight
into the nature of the moon’s
bright vacancy
dark abundance
like two sides of the same face.
I give my will up to chance.
My blood to the conviction of the poppy it’s fire.
So far beyond my last event horizon
I’m never coming back this way again
what does it matter if the path
is crooked or straight?

I lay my tiny wisdom down like a hazelnut
on the track of the silver thought-train
to see if it can crack it like a koan.
I lay the mantle of my dynastic ignorance
over the shoulders of an avalanche like snow.
However much
you love the valley
it will be the mountain
that sweeps you off your feet.

I give my imagination up like a black wine
that tastes a little like me
to the muses who bruised it
like the great night sea
they drank from my skull
whenever the moon was full.
Among so many sages
it was good to be a fool.
One by one the schools
dropped out of me
and settled like mud at the bottom
of a clarified way to see
that everything that passed through my head
like a shapeshifting cloud
was just water looking into water,
me looking into me with water for eyes.

Why be shocked
by the predictability of death
when it’s life that always comes as a surprise?

I may have been lame
in my approach to things
and limped my way like an iamb into wings
but I wanted to look down
from way up there
as if I were a star without strings
and be the way things are
when they shine down on nothing
until a nightbird in a far tree sings.

Carrying forth into the carrying forth
eternity might be the ghost
in the starmud of time that perishes
to give forever a meaning
but it’s this life now
that talks the talk
and walks the walk
of a human being.

I give my eyes up to the seeing.
So deeply lost upon myself
like an empty lifeboat drifting through
these veils and visions of things
that appear like sails in the fog a moment
and then evaporate into their nebularity.

I give my blessing to the waywardness
of the course
that took me the way I am.
I give up my pain
I give up my sorrow
I give up my love my joy my laughter
like orchids and ashes on the mindstream
that flows out of me like a waking dream
that doesn’t insist on seeing me here tomorrow.
But most of all
I give my gratitude
to the mystic vagrancy of the great solitude
I approached like a friend
on my way to nowhere like the sea
as if everything came to an end in me
like a life I couldn’t foresee.

Though I have mourned
life’s preemptive reverses
I have not scarred my lips with curses.
I have not tainted the well I drink from.

And nothing’s ever spoiled
the bread I broke with others.
The feast is free
but it isn’t hunger or thirst
that makes us sisters and brothers
it’s the way we raise
the cup to each other’s lips
like a lunar elixir to a solar eclipse
as if we knew we would pass
long before the darkness did
but still made the gesture anyway.

It’s the way we hope
we know what we mean
when we say we love people
we’ve never seen
as if they were everyone in particular
and love’s mute theme
were helplessly gesticular.

You can’t keep
what you won’t give away.
Life’s a long sleep
before a short dream
that wakes you up far from home
beside the unknown road you’re on
that winds like smoke among the stars
whispering ghost stories around the flames
of their unbelievable fires.
By all means pursue what is true
but don’t forget
mercy has its liars too.
I give my life up
to the mystic specificity
of the medium that sustains it
like a wavelength of light
to a sea of dark matter.

And more than I could have ever lived
living alone together with everyone
crammed into the same planetary shoe
I give up all the vastness
of my awareness of the space within
and how far there is to go like light
before you can open
even a single flower of insight
to end your long winter night.
I give up space
like my place at the table
where I stood like a tower of salt.
I give my imagination up
like an underground cult
that gave its secrets away to everyone
like dark spots on the sun.
And whatever beginnings
are behind me now
like things I’ll never finish
I give my past and future up
to the omnipresence of time
in all I live today
as if something
were always coming my way
without expectation
from lightyears beyond my eyes
like letters from home
that never reach me
in time to call me back.

If I have shone among luminaries
like a firefly in an ice palace
of radiant chandeliers
that froze in their own tears
it was as a small lighthouse
on the coast of turbulent mirrors
that kept a nightlight on.
I spent the gone on the going
and trusted the darkness
to keep things flowing along
like a river coming down a mountain
without knowing about the sea
that summoned me to the lowest place
like an unfathomable watershed
in every eye of the fountain
that cried out to the birds
in words that feather the dead
for their long flight through the mystery
I am I am I am
the future memory
of my own prophetic history
before I wrote it down
like the path I took
on my way out of town.