THE BLONDE SHOCK
The blonde shock of wild sea grass from New Brunswick.
At first I thought it was your hair.
And tiny beads of iridescent peacock seeds
as small as the myriad hopes of a poppy
she’ll come again
that fell out of the envelope
into my coffee
as a muse of patchouli oil
inspired the air like an Egyptian temple
tending to the rites of Isis
when the moon’s in the nymph phase
of her ancient seduction.
And a drawing of a rainbow phoenix
in the form of a flower
and a money-order for five hundred dollars
to paint violet horns
on the black inverted star
with its plinths open like legs
giving birth to helical vines and snakes.
A symbolic tattoo
that means you
that will hang like a flag from your spine
down your back
as a sign of whose country it is
should anyone ever get lost.
You can’t draw butterflies.
But your darkness intrigues.
Your light is true to its star.
Space bends around you like water.
And there’s not a chained tree
in the whole of your wilderness.
The gates of your rivers are open and free
as the salmon who jump them
conjured out of the sea
by the siren who sings to them
like a journey of things to come
at the end of the long way home.
Love breathes life into death
and even on the fly
love is the prime circumstance of now.
And I feel the gold of your harvest in every seed.
And there’s no scarecrow with a sword
trying to defeat the ploughshare
it was born from
like the moon as it moves
like a white horse
through a wounded valley
looking for its lost rider
somewhere out there like the wind.
I’ve been blinded by squalls of stars before
the sphinx blew in my face
and I have felt my eyes
evaporate in the blazing
of certain fireflies
who could read the braille of my face
like elegant fingertips of light
deciphering the writing on the wall.
And I’ve lived through it all like space
whether I was a celestial snakepit of passion
with a mouse for a heart
or I was blowing kisses
like the petals of bruised flowers
into the grave of an enlightened starfish
passing by in a deathcart.
And sometimes the geni gets his wish
by rubbing the lamp on the inside
and asking the night to need him
like water needs a fish
like fire needs a tree
like air needs a bird
like earth an unpoached elephant.
I’m not a species bent on martyrdom
to any cause lesser than the love
I aspire to
and I won’t burn my eyes
on insincere candles at a black mass
or the votive fires of delusional crucifixions
that yearn without conviction
for a better infancy in their afterlife.
Things have been tough
but I still go to bed at night
with the door wide open
as hope to folly
to catch a thief
that might put the moon back
she stole from my window
like the coin from my mouth
I had hoped would pay for my passage.
And I’ve been given up
like the sea gives up its dead
like the ghosts of old cliches
to the voice of a new medium
and I’ve discovered
that love isn’t the forensic history
of a mystery that can be cracked by the truth.
It’s apocalyptic lightyears beyond both
like a prophecy
uttered in the secrecy of your solitude
that can only be overheard
with your eyes.
And there is no age in it
no youth that leaves the stage
a wiser happier skeleton
no shrines to spring
no pyres of autumn.
It isn’t the beginning or end of anything
that wanders in a world of forms
like a road with all the answers
to questions it never stops to ask.
Love isn’t a lost cause
looking for someone to take a risk.
And it isn’t the silence
it isn’t the singing
it isn’t the longing
to be pulled out like the lucky straw
in a random draw among exiles
to decide who should go first.
It isn’t a thumb in a plum pie.
It isn’t the kiss that lifted the curse.
Or a lifeboat on the moon
that overturns like a blessing
that only makes matters worse.
And it would be unforgivably spacious of me
though I have loved long and intensely
to say what love is
when it wings its own immensity
like a nightbird of blood
that sheds its hood
to fly among the stars
like a fire feathering its own solitude.
But if I were to say anything
I would say
love might be a mighty sword
drawn from a dark ore
tempered in secret waters on the moon
enfolded like time in space
like a worldly loveletter
in a cosmic envelope
with a return address by the sea
that keeps faith with its prey
by giving its word to life
it’s not the expedience of the slayer
or the obedience of the slain
not the exaltation of joy in death
or the mystic terror there is in birth
that calls the lightning down
to make the weathervane crow at midnight:
I have tasted the light on my tongue
like the tine of a new direction.
A dragon sheds it skin
like the ashes of a spent fire.
And the serpents of desire
dance to the flutes
of a lyrical resurrection
like words that take
their meaning from us
when love’s the native language,
the grammar, the muse, the voice, the silence
the playfully profound way the picture-music
hides like a Rosetta stone
that doesn’t want to be found
like a key to the meaning of everything
when we’re what it’s trying to say.