Thursday, May 31, 2012



I would miss you if you weren’t so deep inside.
I would send the fireflies out like a search party
to beat the bushes and the stumps to see where you hide
were you not the stars within that lead me home.
I would cry out in anger and tears, World, you are not fair,
were you not the mystic intimate of my indignation.
I would look upon the illuminated world
thriving in its garden, and accuse the sun of being blind
did I not see more in your eclipse, the abundance
of your darkness, than I do by the vacant light of day.

Let others bathe like birds in the fountainmouths
of happier lyrics, I drown in your watershed,
a starfish on the moon, and the darkness shines
like a nightsea the colour of your eyes. And there’s a sky
full of shipwrecked constellations without lifeboats
that went down into fathomless time with all hands on board
like a cargo of bones that reached its destination
by giving them all up to you, like yarrow sticks
to the Book of Changes, whether you read them as such or not.
Nine in the fifth place. Enlightenment in hell.
I am the nightwatchman with the moon for a lantern
that strikes the bell of his heart three times and says
all is well, all is well on the bottom of the sea.

I would be planting supernovas like a terrorist with i.e.d.s
in the Milky Way by now to add to the chaos
were you not the black hole of a galactic inspiration
that’s mastered me like a magic latent in the heart
to burn the sum of all my destructions in a blaze of insight
by which the light is known to the light, the way
a tree is by a breeze, or ashes know the fire’s out.
How could I reach out to you except with your own hands?
How could I speak to you in any way you’d understand
did not your voice coax the words from my mouth
like a dream grammar of sacred syllables betokening
the things of the earth like the echo of a prayer we forgot?

Too intimate to be the principle of anything
and yet your impersonality can only be approached
with tenderness, like a feather floating through space,
or the cloud that grounds the mountain like the cornerstone
of a temple to the emptiness it floats upon.
Were you not the valley my grieving shadow wanders through
like the lachrymose theme of another lonely psalm
trying to palm itself off as poem, how could the eagles
shriek eureka in the heights at the very next insight
into the nature of your vulnerability moving down below?

We might both dance to the same music as if it were true,
but you’re the silent witness when I listen to the wind,
you’re the charmed locket of darkness the light conceals,
you’re the secret jewel that’s wholly transparent
to all the eyes in the universe that have spent their lives
looking for you like a sky that’s been hidden from sight
right over their heads and under their feet
like an atmosphere and ocean that never left the moon.
Even here on earth, the silver fish are frenzied in your tide.
Lunar horses graze like waves on your seagrass
and run wild when you spook them like an ocean
with a bit in your hands, and the look of an angry teacher.

If your absence were not deeper than my solitude
how could I resist the consolations of oblivion
and carry on as if I’d never missed you? Who
would I long for to affirm my presence in this emptiness
that engulfs me like an eye with something in it
like a star that can’t be washed out? I was not
born a warrior to surrender to anyone less than you.
I do not open my heart and my mouth to sing
lullabies to houseflies growing dozy on the windowsills
as the cold comes on like the sheet music of ice.
Who would I dedicate the works of my nightshift to
like the journal of a dark demon writing to himself
about the spiritual intricacies of jumping from paradise
just to meet you naked in the garden again
as if we were born to be exiled together by the pain
that is visited like swarms of killer bees upon those
who break taboos like white canes over our knees
and throw their cornerstones around like dice
to entice blind luck into taking a chance on their disobedience?
Who would inherit the crazy wisdom of my human divinity
if I did not know how many lives you’ll outlive me
like the randomness of an alibi based upon a truth
that reprieves everyone from death on desolation row
by undermining the limits of our culpability with compassion.

You, the sorceress of meaning, you, the beast mistress
of my savage emotions, you, the fire sylph at the hearth
of my homeless wandering into these evictions of self
that bury the days with no names on their graves.
You shake the lightning like a spear of fury in a lion’s skull.
You wake the dragon from its dream of lotus fire
You touch me on a night when nothing else will
as if I were real, and the solidity of my atoms sublimates
like a ghost of dry ice into a mirage in space
so I could see in the grand paradigm of things
even the most enduring pyramids in a desert
are the work of the wind when the mind is inspired
to move things around like the grave goods of the heart
in the hands of a tomb robber that frees us of them
to travel light without baggage through the gates of Orion.
The past has no need of any other afterlife than the present
nor the future the prelude of a promise of better things to come.
Born into a life with a ferocious childhood for an introduction,
I have grown young again in the ashes of those fires,
like a skin transplant of flowers over a burnt face
to hide the scars, and give the stars some space.




The object of our devotion
finally asks from us
the very eyes that dazzled us into obedience,
and leads us like a wind,
the last breath we’ll ever take,
in the guise of a woman
who beckons at the top of the stairwells and thermals
where the hawk wheels,
a spark of the sun,
to follow her down deeper into a darkness
that even the dead shun
like the deleted shadows of noon,
if I would be her perfect lover.
If I would be her perfect lover,
and the fever of my demon
not go mad looking for her
like water on the moon
to ease the fire, ease the fire
that blazes in my bones,
I must abdicate my consummation
in the intimate otherness of me
and forfeit my eyes
to the deathly absence of the sea
that has unmoored me like a wave.
If I would be her perfect lover
and lift the veil
to see the face she only shows the stars,
I must take myself down
like a torn sail in a storm
and let the current heave me where it will,
the lonely word whose endless sentence is a soul.
I must say her beauty,
I must root her flower in the starfields
and vanquish time from the garden;
if I would be her perfect lover,
I must enlarge my emptiness like space
to linger with the subtle fragrances
of the silks and auroras of her mind
that blow the stars around like dust
and pick the galaxies like dandelions
and raise them like suns above the streaming skylines of her hair
flowing out behind her, the wake of a waterbird
landing like a blossom, the moon, a wing-weary emotion
on the night sky
she keeps to herself
when she bathes alone in the milk of the undulant light
on the other side of her eyes.
If I would be her perfect lover,
and my heart, and my blood,
my mind and my spirit, my art,
this poem says I must
give up this busy corner in the passing world
where my voice
rows and rows
in the leaking lifeboat of an empty coffin
and the guitar in my arms
I’ve tuned to the furthest stars
who have looked the longest
and were the first to believe
their fire could live,
is a rudder on the wind;
if I would be her perfect lover I must leave
my constellation and my bleeding throne,
this courtyard of pleading gravestones
modelling for the dead they’ve made a trend of,
and taking off the polluted water-robe
I wore to my last coronation like an atmosphere,
breathe myself out,
the vapour of a dying candle,
and enter the darkness and the solitude and the silence,
slipping like the pollen of a many-petalled theme
into the alloy of a sweeter dream
than ever slept like honey
in the labyrinths of her hive.
If I would be her perfect lover,
I must not amass her private thresholds with my need
like autumns and autumns of junkmail
banked against her door,
nor implore her to patch like an oracular island
the wounded sails of my ongoing shipwreck
by threading my blood
through the needle in the eye of the siren
I came in on like an abandoned message in a bottle
allured by the tides of her song;
I must not wire myself like spam
and blow up like a holy war
vying for grace
and weighing her place like a feather
in the scales of an insurgent creed,
a star gone nova among the stars,
bury her alive and shining
in the black hole
of the afterlife I am.
If I would be her perfect lover,
if I would be her perfect lover,
if I would be her perfect lover
and old bones screech like owls of chalk across the night,
their talons sheathed
like the thorns and swords of the sun
behind the capes of her roses,
and the matador ungored
by the horns of her crescents
on the bull of the moon; if
old bones would blossom
and the dead branch leaf,
the crutch and the baton and the scuttled coffin
would marrow the dry wood
with the urgencies of the orchards again,
then I must heed the wine
and not the snake in the goblet
she pours out of me like music.
I must not labour in the occult mines
of her diamond infallibilities
like a floodlight
that makes everything blindingly clear,
if I would be her perfect lover
and see how she glows by her own light
in the darkness of her own depths
like a fish or a firefly or a vine
or the flame of a star
tending the brittle wicks of the blind
as if they were the tendrils of a supple candle
and not the black monks of a lifeless paradigm
that flares without light
like the hood of a cobra
that’s sloughed its last eclipse.
Remember, my heart, how thin the moon is
and not rub it away like white-gold
at the snap of a thumb and finger
but lay it down gently like a kiss on dark water
like the skin of an eye,
the flake of the water gilder,
the first precious breath of your longing
to shake the abyss of the darkness inside
like a white dove at a black window,
if you would be her perfect lover.
And you, my voice, you must become a journey
to what is far and out of reach,
and make boats and birds
of the worn-out shoes of your words
and learn to fly like the barefoot wind
with stars and wings at your heels,
and take down those old bells
that have withered on the bough like apples
and set the seed free from the corpse
and sing like the first of the dead
to sire the living. Not enough
to say your love; you must listen, deeply listen
to the silence within you
that burns like a flame
in the night crown of the lily
and draws you to it
like a gypsy out of the shadows
and know the thread of the candle is the length of a life
that binds the flesh to its own consumption
and you must enter wholly
into your own immolation like a star in the sun
or beg forever at the gates of the fire
like a snake for a mother tongue
that isn’t the rearing hiss
of a forsaken bliss,
if you would be her perfect lover.
And you, my body, are you not a flower
rooted in the greater wisdom of the devil
but decked out in the feathers
of an earthbound angel; sometimes
a great volcanic rose
that sheds its igneous petals like islands
and covers the villages on its slopes
under eyelids of ash like a dream
that won’t awake for eras
to the curiosity of the shovels that exhume the agony
of being buried alive in yourself like an underground fire
moving from root to root like frustrated desire?
What prophet could stand
at the door of your furnace
like a school janitor on a winter morning
and do anything more than add fire to fire
by admonishing your rage
with the strap of his tongue?
O you who have sustained me like a road, like blood,
and never asked where we were going,
who have endured me like a wound
beyond your healing for years,
and never left my bedside,
what an unacknowledged sage you have been
to temper the hot iron of all these celestial blades
that rise like the grass of heaven
out of these deserts and deserts of stars
at the mere whisper
of the shadow of the mahdi at noon
drawing the first crescent of the new moon from his scabbard;
what wisdom to temper the spirit
like a horse of blood
in the cool troughs
of hunger, desire, and sleep. You have been
water and air and bread on the moon for me,
and led me to the tree
I could sit under in the shade
of a woman in blossom
who smiled like the wile of the wine
in the hand of the stranger
who has worn my features
as I have his
like the inside of a face
turned toward its own light,
that’s never known a mirror.
What could I possibly say to you
who are the branch
of my eloquent leafing except
remember, remember,
when you ache with empires,
that all these worlds within worlds as all worlds must
will end like squalls of dust
at her threshold,
and when we’re colder than a windowpane
it will be her breath that moves us like a glacier to tears,
and on her windowsill
where we linger with the dead leaves of an unwatered art,
a patina of dark matter among the new lucidities,
new myths fleshing the bones of the constellations
they throw across the sky to prophecy
the things that shall be and the things that shall not,
it will be her finger that traces the words
that will scatter us again
like birds of the morning in a gust of light,
and it will be the sky that clings to her eye
that we will walk under like a figure in a dream
disembodied by the night
looking for any sign of ourselves
like faces we once lost to the stream
when we danced with her
under the chandeliers of the cherries
and she were the whole of our theme,
if you would be her perfect lover
and not just another king of quicksand
sinking on the throne of his own domain.
And as to the spirit, as to that ambidextrous sleight of the light
that gnashes its teeth
like lightning in a cloud
until it flame out like revelation
from the eye of God
and glimpse the ocean of its own vast features
in the merest scintillance of the furthest star
arcing like the tongue of a serpent of light
in the darkest depths of its own unscrutability;
who could say anything about its origins
that doesn’t drown the listener
in the widening wake of the wind?
Most of the world goes on like a secret;
and what do we ever know
but the little bit of ourselves
we overhear amid the clamour,
shadows through a keyhole,
people breaking like twigs on the pathway behind us?
But the secret of one is the spirit of all,
the same finger of silence held up to myriad lips,
so there’s no need to lament
we’re not in on it
when it’s the secret itself that leads us to see,
a firefly in a valley of mist,
that the best place to hide is out in the open
with everyone else. How many times, my spirit,
washed away in a dark tide
that’s never known an island,
have you come looking for me like a dolphin,
and found me
and nudged me back into the vine-covered lifeboat of the world?
Life is the mother of death
who gave up her own
in giving birth to it,
but you are unborn and unperishing
and your deepest joy is playing
freely alone in the world you array
like the nations of rocks and stars and willows
spread across the hills
where you bed for the night to dream
of the mornings that have yet to come upon you
like clarity to an uncertain lover.
What shadow of a star,
what radiance on the mindstream,
could spar with your flamboyance,
when you are the fire, you are the breath
that crazes my delusions like a poet
into this body of burnished gold
you have raised like lead
from the coffin of a seed long buried
in the fertile valleys of the book of the dead?
And yet and yet and yet
if I were to be her perfect lover,
I must not imperil the night
with deeper dangers and ordeals
than I have the courage to requite
when the daylily fails
and the light is breached in the wombs of my sails
and I wait for you like the premium
on all these returnable grails
to fill me again with the quest
for the coast of a spiritual rumour
that thrives and confides in itself like a woman
far to the west of the world’s disclaimer
there are no more continents to risk.
You, more than all, my fleetness, my caul,
the kite and comet of my fall to paradise
when you’re the voice in the fire
that speaks to me in tongues,
or scarfing the air with phantoms
from the eye of the sacred lake
whose holiest dream is the loneliest bird
of a free imagination, you must
seep like water at night through her roots
as she’s closed up in her flower
and summon the radiance of your lightning
to flash from her tears
when she mourns for herself in the night
like a lost earring,
if I would be her perfect lover.
If I would be her perfect lover,
you must not rise and abase yourself
like the suppliant sun and the sky
that touch their foreheads,
facing west,
to the earth she walks upon,
huddled like wildflowers in the dying light;
you must do this for me, my spirit, my starfeather,
you must weave the subtlest silk of your radiance
on the looms of the space that surrounds her
like the master spider behind a Persian rug
into a vision of life
where the beauty of things that must fly
doesn’t evaporate like a mirage of water
in a desert eye,
and the lie between the parentheses of the moon
has no fangs,
and the stars don’t burn underfoot,
and the all night windows aren’t widows of glass,
and love isn’t the maiden voyage of a flagship
that lowers its pennant of blood on the bottom,
when the sea smashes its bottle against the scuttled prow.
You must befriend her solitude without intrusion,
you must be everywhere an open gate,
the wings of the crow and the dove
that are hinged to the days and nights of her passing,
and in everything, in the rock, in the rain,
in the small nugget of the bird
that beats like a heart in the dark,
there must be a whisper of stars,
the suggestion of another world
breathing in the shadows of the lanterns of this
like a door left ajar for the night,
where the dark lucidities
that hang their weary bells in the lost groves
of the shrines she’s fled
like divinity from its likeness,
by morning,
are the first words of the light
to begin these worlds within worlds anew,
if I would be her perfect lover,
and drawing myself out like a sword of water
from the wound of my oceanic view,
succumb like a wave on the shore of the island I belong to,
you must be, as you have been to me,
the earthly excellence that abides
in every starbound breath of what the world can mean
when the sails that enter the bay of the rose
like the leaves of a distant lover
are truer than green.


Wednesday, May 30, 2012



By the light I have been given to go by,
I can see how homeless the journey truly is.
How provisional the shrines along the way like milestones
we stop to paint like the inside of our skulls
or the caves we first dwelled in with our dead
buried under fire and the numinosity of our picture music
impregnating the womb walls of a space made sacred by fear.
The darkness bears my secrets, and in the torchlight,
in carbon and red ochre, a diary of shamans
gored by defecating rhinos speared to death.

I have imagined my way into an understanding
that is a rite of passage into a space that is
a vast abyss of intelligence, a nothingness
that speaks through an intuitive grammar of things
as if a galaxy, a star, stone, tree, raindrop were each a thought,
a sign, a word, the syntax of a growing paradigm
of creative awareness that we’re completely alone
and lost at sea like fish on the moon crawling out of its tides
as if nothing bound us, not even detachment,
nor a god that exists as a confession of the way we do,
nor any medium we work in as reflection of our presence
labouring away at an unattainable world that won’t exist
until we do, and it’s 7 to 5 against anyone making it that far.

But what a joy to emerge out of our own nothingness
like a secret we’re letting ourselves in on,
making it up as we go along like a deportable myth of origin
we can adapt to our infinite beginnings
because for starters, it has none of its own.
We were born to express ourselves like apple trees.
We were born to see and be happy marvelling at the event.
To enjoy longing for things we were never missing
and be guided by wise men we never listen to
back to a silence that has nothing to say for itself
that we didn’t already know in the first place.
Everywhere is the threshold of the return journey.
Life is either an exile, or it stays at home like a follower.
Bless the enlightened apostates of the dangerous religion
that desecrates the mind by worshipping it.
Why make a chain out of your umbilical cord
and get your head wrapped around it like a noose
because you forgot meaning was an art
and not a way to take yourself way too seriously to heart?
Why go to war with your own mind
just to administer to the needs of the suffering
when you can paint a god in blood and ashes
and decultify yourself with the creative freedom
of your imagination deconstructing the fable of your belief
that it’s the being, not the becoming, that endures.
And you can do this without even knowing how to draw.
A starmap doesn’t shine. A blue print doesn’t open a door.
If you ask a crutch to do your walking for you,
it’s going to throw you away like a miracle
at the top of the stairs of Notre Dame de Coeur.
Better to be the sacred whore of a thousand profligate gods
than the unrepentant nun of one who shuts the world out,
like art for art’s sake, to revel in her own extinction
in a mystical connubium with an unregenerate imagination.

You can burn your gates and cages in a wild field if you like
for not being able to keep the flowers in, or keep the wind
from rioting with the leaves way past curfew,
but there was never any risk of being granted what you ask
because life is the unpredictable moon rise
that deepens the calendars with a renewed humility
towards the extraordinary mutability of time.
What have you ever been that baffled your imagination?
It isn’t reason that inspires us to become a stranger tomorrow
to the self we knew today. Genuine faith isn’t
an artificial life support system to keep something alive
that should have been allowed to die quietly away yesterday.
Millions upon millions of facts like a graveyard of skeleton keys
to a door we can’t find open within ourselves
as if we’d just stepped through it to be here where we live
deciphering the shapes of the clouds as if we lived in code.

Hide your secret deep enough if you want it to be known.
Walk alone as far as you can until you can’t
if you want the world to walk the rest of the way with you.
The white demon that knows heaven and hell experientially
mentors the senses in the spiritual subtleties of the black angel
that comes like the new moon of a third eye
to help the exegetes of light see further into the dark
by blowing their candles out like flowers.
All seekers are roads looking for a map to follow.
Preludes after the fact, that set out to look for their own endings.
Be a star. And keep your afterlife behind you
like the shadow of the last form you cast upon the earth.
Be an eye that doesn’t leave any room between the moon
and it’s reflection so that the substance of life is seeing
not that you’re a distinct and separate entity
that cosmically identifies with your exclusion
but that you’re wholly within easy reach of everything
that depends upon you for its existence. Just as every leaf
you let fall in the autumn like an adage of wisdom
about how you can know the world by its fruits
first came to the tree like a smile to your face
when you realized your imagination was
the inconceivable dynamic of a creative state of grace.




Going through a dark time. Antares, the red ant,
the bitter berry in the heart of Scorpio. Why not
blame it on the stars? How could they deny it?
Living penumbrally in the eclipse of a celestial body.
I want to paint my first old rusty bike that I found
languishing under the neighbour’s stairs, its
deflated tires, spider looms and jinxed prayer wheels
that hadn’t turned for years, want to paint it
with model airplane enamels again and run
a perfect red stripe down the middle of a black fender
gleaming like anthracite in the blue-yellow sun.
How many worlds away I am from that pure moment.

Dark in my heart, gnawing on the skulls of dragons
that have finally become like the moon
that’s never known rain, a frozen watershed
in a locket of ice and no light bulb in the well.
I’m striding down the corridors of a well-polished hell
and I’m turning the portraits of my heroes toward the wall.
Why not? I’ve got no use for their eyes anymore.
I’ve drained the lies out of the samples of their deaths.
I’ve chewed the flavour out of what it was they had to teach.
I’ve trashed my best features in dangerous neighbourhoods.
I’ve broken my own brain like bread with them,
offered them my blood like a rose with teeth
and watched them evaporate like stars in the sun
as if they never really knew they had my devotion.

What I made of them to set my own potential an example.
Something unattainable to aspire to
so I would be sure to lose as they did
preferring a brilliant failure to a mediocre triumph.
I think the quality of a human is a direct function
of the depth of their suffering. And I loved the ones
who cried out so beautifully in their agony
the night birds didn’t dare lift their tiny voices
up again for fear of being put to shame
for the pettiness of their desire. Or the wolves
ever howl at the moon again without being aware
of the absurdity of their longing for an old stone.
I have danced barefoot on the splinters
of the winter chandeliers that brought the trees down
like a palace of tears in a brutal ice storm.
I’ve heard the Pleiades crash like silverware
all over the ground of a botched burglary
and seen the junkies run like collapsed veins
to pick the spoons up like fences and crows.
Going through a dark time. The shamans
are dying in the treetops from the shock
of what they had to see and live to be
if they wanted to die thoroughly back into life again,
apprenticed to their own foreseeable pain like savage healers.
Winged serpents angered by the humiliation of the flesh
like a rose too beautiful not to be abused
by those who desecrate life out of their own self-hatred
that they are possessed by what they despise the most
and beauty will have nothing to do with their power
that isn’t forced, or broken, or garbaged.
The mirrors of the spirit freak and flake away
from the ideals of their silver lining in horror.

Funny how you can come to look upon
even the most passionate of loveletters
with the eyes of a three hundred million year old reptile
as if life could not be borne any other way than as a thorn
through the heart of a voodoo doll
that cursed the good in life for the passing of it.
What have I not buried in this desert of stars
as if one night I would be able to come back to it
and ask it what it dreamed of in my absence?
To see if the afterlife of a mirage tasted
like water, blood, or wine, or more real than death,
the tears of someone who had aged into understanding
when the windows that looked out on life
like a valence of silicon dioxide slow down
like glaciers of glass, and the mirrors speed up
as if they were running out of time for reflection.

Ask a man what he misses the most and listen to the echo
of how long it takes to reach his ears and if
there’s an ocean in his eyes he drowns in
and I’ll reintroduce you to someone you already know
talking to themselves in the dark to keep from going mad.
Who toys with the smiles of their approaching assassins
like the slash of a snake’s mouth breaking into blossom?
Life is the puncture wound of the staple
that was meant to mend it like a bridge
that sat cross-legged on a lotus in meditation.
And it’s easy enough to look at the fireflies after a storm
and the stars so out of touch with the world as it is
you long for the innocence of the childhood distances
you traversed every night you crawled out of your sleep
to approach the mystery of your own solitude
like an estranged familiar calling you to come alone
to the furthest extremes of the night and beyond.

Going through a dark time. Too many gates.
Too many doors. Too many worn thresholds
Too many threadbare carpets under the one-sided window.
Too many dead birds killed by a lack of transparency.
And still, I refuse the blindfold when I’m standing
in front of a firing squad of stars
armed with the latest telescopes.
I’ve always been one of those who prided myself
upon my strength to see it coming from afar off
and stare at my own death in the third eye of it.
And what monument could you possibly raise
befitting someone who made exile and rebellion
the two monolithic cornerstones of their life
if not a rogue planet beyond the reach of gravity
looking for a star they could thrive in the light of
without the slightest shadow of ulterior spontaneity?

Going through a dark time. I will not put my eyes out
by turning up the light on what befalls me,
as if there were something I could save myself from.
I will eat every detail of the pain and not waste
one unmarrowed bone of it. I will consume it whole
like a prophet in the belly of the whale, make the message
flesh of my flesh, blood of my blood, and then
I’ll spit it out like a bullet I pulled out of my heart
with my teeth, my soul, the elegance of my desolation.
I’ll make key chains for the blind out of spite
and striate the rocks of this cold prison with the runes
of the horned ones who linger here with me.
I’ll be a mile-high corrective lens of ice
and putting one hand over my third eye
I’ll read the writing on the wall from memory
and renounce every sacred syllable of it like heretic
that thrives on fire, that scatters his ashes in triumph
and feathers the wind like a gnostic phoenix
with gospels of my own where there’s not one imperative.

Pain demands my obedience, threatens to break me.
I smash myself on the rocks like an empty wine goblet
and say, you can break what remains. You can grind
me down to dust, if you like, you can step over me
like Spinoza lying down in the threshold of the synagogue
to atone for what he opened the world’s eyes up to,
but my vision of life, though a squall of stars, remains my own
and the seeing isn’t in my eyes, and the one who suffers
isn’t in chains, nor the door locked on my heart
for fear of the night, for fear of turning to stone
when I look the snake pit in the eye with a microscope,
and observe the minutiae of the heart’s addictive attention to detail.
Though every word be a thorn through my tongue,
Yet will I sing of the agony of lemons and roses
bleeding on the razorwire in No Man’s Land for mercy,
and those compelled by the whips of circumstance
to dance themselves to death because it amuses the cripples,
and the little, amoebic man who never amounted to anything
and his wife who has aged like salt in a conquered city
still thinking she’s a garden ornament, I will sing
in the name of what even the worst must endure,
just to set this methane moon afire in the darkness
like a furnace in an abandoned school of unregenerate clowns.

Going through a dark time. A rite of ordeals,
the brutal pit of the mystery you can break your teeth on
like a koan or an iron-nickel tektite in Antarctica
to get at the life inside your own panspermic mind.
I should happily break my flesh like bread upon the waters
for the fish and the birds, and save the life
of an unworthy man from drowning
like bad meat in a well, or lose
my own precarious foothold on the precipice of an abyss
that humbles me to the point of no return. I should do this
for the thought-trains of the birds that shall come after me
high and late at night through the bars of my longing,
yearning to return to my ancestral homelessness
like a wandering planet that doesn’t give off any light of its own
but shines with life, despite the odds, shines
tenaciously with life through all these transformations
I take on like a river in its own running,
pouring myself out of one life wholly into another
like an igneous fireclock on the nightshift
that keeps adding more carbon to my steel.

Going through a dark time, I will not suffer
this passage passively like smoke, I will not plead
to abstract my senses from reality to deaden the pain
or thin my blood with holy water from a dirty fountain.
This dark child of my life shall not be an orphan.
I will not disown the pain, I will not drive
myself out into the wilderness like a scapegoat
to wash the soot off the temple I cry in
though they were my doves that were stained
in their own blood in the name of a useless sacrifice
to a unity that includes as much of separation
as of love that welds a stronger bond
that doesn’t scar the spirit, or dull the eyes,
or deaden the tongue to the taste of the stars
on the lips of the people who pass through our lives
like thresholds on their way to somewhere else
than this palatial homelessness we dwell in alone
throwing boundary stones like asteroids through the mirrors
just to keep things abundantly clear and open between us.

Going through a dark time. Swimming through a tar pit.
Another doorway without an exit or an entrance.
Another keel-hauling on the hull of the moon
trying to maintain discipline aboard a shipwreck.
And the unbearable sadness that crushes your heart
like a pop can in the depths of an unrevealing ocean.
Your face is a skin graft on a burn victim.
People reach out for you, but only with their hands
when there’s nothing at all, nothing at all to grasp
of what has already come and gone for good or bad,
who can tell? I’m centered like rain in my falling.
And there’s something vaguely radioactive about the way
I glow in the dark, though there are dozens of dead fireflies
on my windowsill that dropped like exhausted stars.
I move into the available dimension of a future
that hasn’t won my confidence, and the past
is the burnt foundation of a crack house in the zodiac
cooking rocks like a meteor shower with its radiant
in the eyes of everyone I meet who’s trying to shoot the stars out.

Going through a dark time. A bardo state. Nirvanic doubt.
The new moon no brighter than the last eclipse.
I hear the disembodied thunder of my amplified heart
making its way toward me like an enlightened storm front.
I’ve always chosen the hardest teachers to ignore
and where the road divides, I’ve gone both ways at once
just to give my earthbound guides a chance of a wishbone
to find their way back on their own by following
the choices they made to get here like an avalanche.
I’m as effortless about my despair as I am about bliss.
I treat them both as if they were none of my business.
The birds and apples come to this rootless tree
of their own accord and the tree does not protest
the unleaving of an earthly excellence
that blossomed awhile in the human heart and was gone.
A windfall of loss. The dead flower frosted with winter stars
in a dream where the waterclocks are frozen in time
and this is perfect and that is perfect and if you take
perfect from perfect, it’s still as perfect as it was then
and as it is now and shall be tomorrow.
I watch the moonrise without breathless aspirations.
I observe the sunset without lingering disappointments.
What I have received in joy, I will not deceive in sorrow.