Sunday, April 15, 2012



If you had any compassion for yourself,
others wouldn’t have to suffer for you
and the world wouldn’t show you
such a sad, woeful, wounded face.
You wouldn’t see the withering leaves
and petals of the rose in autumn
as merely the scar tissue of its thorns.
In winter, mend your severance.
In spring, attend to your joys.
Like fishing nets and snow fences.
Like delphiniums in a garden bed
that’s beginning to bloom like a starmap.

And you know that stranger inside
that’s always witnessing everything we do
like a perfectly clear mirror, even in dreams?
Take another look, you might be surprised
at whose face you see at a meeting of eyes.
It’s important not to pass judgement on yourself
for fear of condemning the world.
Show me a mirage that isn’t a friend to water
or a wishing-well that resents a rainbow
for the pot of gold at the end, though
no one ever knows which end at the time.

Be kind to your delusive paradigms of life,
as you would an old skin you shed like the moon
when your serpent-fire could no longer contain itself
and broke out of its sacred chrysalis like a dragonfly
that had made itself a house of life out of matchsticks
and went up in flames like a snake with wings.

If you could see your life for what it is,
a teaching device for mentoring your own enlightenment
you might read the books of all the sages
rooted and flowering in you like the wisdom of a seed,
or the star in the ore of a panspermic universe
that was planted in you like the garden you’ve been from birth.

You might think that the wildflowers
are looking up at the stars to understand themselves
but, in truth, they’re looking up at their roots
like rain reveres the lightning that engenders it.

You don’t need to convince the wind of your freedom,
you’ve just got to ride it out to the end,
a friend to yourself, a worthy companion,
the intimate familiar of a cloud with a clear blue sky
or a subliminal lover of the darkness
love mushrooms up in like a moonrise.

If you knew how to nurture yourself
by breaking bread with the spirit of life within you
there wouldn’t be millions of children
all over the world who will go hungry tonight.
They’d be licking the spoon with stealthy laughter
like cookie-batter out of the begging bowl of your heart.

Enlightenment isn’t going to add one ray of light
or a single star to the night you’re already shining in,
and whatever wavelength you’re on, regardless
of the mystic polarities your potential flows between,
like dark matter and light, whether the journey you’re on
is orange or infrared or the blue white violet of the Pleiades,
absorption or emission spectrum alike, no wave
of thought or mind, light, heart or water
is discontinuous with the oceanic consciousness
they rise upon, so why turn back to the source
like a solar flare to ask for directions from a starmap
that sent you out like a bubble in the multiverse to look for land.
You know, if you were more of an explorer
without a preconceived destination, more
of a space probe leaving the solar system periodically,
the rest of us wouldn’t feel so lost or out of place at your table.

And even if you’ve made a vehicle
of the wheel of birth and death
and think you have a firm grasp on things
with your arm out the window in the driver’s seat,
enjoying the passing view with the wind in your hair
without clinging to anything along the way
it still might be a good idea to learn how
to come down off your throne like a pauper
and change a flat tire now and again.

Your life is not an untimely interruption of eternity.
The eternal sky does not inhibit the flight of the white clouds,
and it even bends down sometimes toward the earth
to pick up Venus like a lost earring in the sunset.
It’s your point of view that turns your back on yourself
like the retrograde motion of Mars, not
the planet itself playing rope tricks with your spinal cord.

Why go looking for your mind
like a lighthouse with a flashlight,
a flame for the source of the fire
or a star for the constellation it belongs to,
or the homeless for a home when everyone’s
the foundation stone of their own habitation
wherever they are at the moment.
If you chase the wind, it will be you
that loses its breath like the atmosphere of the moon.
And when you run out of air, breathe light, breathe space,
and don’t try to fix an expanding universe
to your nostrils like a bicycle pump
to get you back on the road again.
Or you’ll find you’re swimming out of your depths
to run to the rescue of an empty lifeboat
that’s already unloaded its contents ashore.

If you don’t want to go blind as a starless night
it’s prescient to eclipse your blazing from time to time,
turn the lights down low, snuff the candle,
and learn to see in the dark there’s just as much reflected
in the depths of the dark abundance
of a black mirror, though it takes time to focus,
than there is in the expansiveness
of the bright vacancy of the white
that takes things in at a glance.
The seed of a every glimpse of insight contains
the whole of the vision in advance,
and at the core of the apple of the issue
is a green star with dark auburn eyes
on the nightshift of the maternity wards of spring.
And o come on now, how long can you hang on
to being this box kite on a string
watching another phoenix ride your thermals
like inspiration on the wing, without feeling
like the premature ghost of yourself at the onset of spring,
all smoke, and no fire, your flightfeathers smouldering
like a pyre of wet maple leaves who haven’t got the courage
to break into flames and flap their wings and rise above it all.
Better to be a weather balloon losing altitude like Icarus
or even a candling parachute taking the fall for all of us,
as daring said feathers and falling took flight,
than not risk falling through the black holes of life to paradise?

And what if I were to tell you’re they’re just the pupils
the light enters through like your eyes into your imagination
to be transformed from a visual into a vision,
the visible form into the invisible shining of the spirit
that raises everything in the known and unknown multiverse,
and the trees and the stars, the rocks and the clouds
are all counting on you to do this for them,
because this is what you’re here for,
if you’ve ever wondered,
to raise them up to eye-level
with a human who knows the names of things
like parents know the names of their own children
running toward them down the street. It’s how
we were meant to meet and greet the universe.

So if once, just once, for my sake, your sake, the sake
of the forsaken with their elbows on the windows of the world tonight
watching it all go by like stars on the firewalks beneath their noses,
that are not embedded in cement like a mausoleum
of movie-stars that refused to become fossils
before their shining was spent,
you took a chance, and that’s all it would take,
one step forward with no return address,
to risk falling down at the dance,
and seven times down, eight times up,
such is life, get up on your own two good feet again
and discover you’ve got wings and spurs on your heels
the rest of us wouldn’t feel so lame
when we came over to your place
like a riot of erratic fireflies to celebrate
the lightning moves of the rain that’s dancing on our graves
where the dead lie down like the corpses of candles
knowing they’ll be reincarnated
as wildflowers and Luna moths
because nothing that’s ever given its life up
to this business of shining on everything alike
from a first magnitude star, to the night light in the hall
that shoos the ghosts away from their portraits on the wall
so the whole world can bloom in the tears of your eyes,
the fire in your heart, and in the human divinity
of the spirit of your imagination, can ever be put out
because every shadow of doubt
leads back the light that cast it
in love and sorrow, time and space
like the life and death mask of your own face.




The leaves tremble at the tips
of their half-denuded branches
against a flat grey sky,
the ruination of yellow and green
and the maples afire.
The house to myself;
four hours to myself. My head
jammed with the business
of swarming blackflies,
the crucial trivia of the morning,
crankshafts and cabs,
fitting the lid
over the spoon in the coffee can,
drinking brewer’s yeast
to coat my neuronic synapses
with vitamin B
to counteract the stress
that just handed me the single rose
of an unrequited cold sore.
And I’m chain-smoking
contraband cigarettes,
and I just lit up a joint
and I’ve got enough money,
I’ve got enough smokes,
and the coffee’s not bad
and I don’t even mind
this ashen hour of October
as I wait for the mud in the puddle to settle
the turmoil of the soiled cloud,
the ecliptic commotion of the meteor shower
to stop smearing and smashing
the silence of the eyeless mirror,
and my feelings are waiting for mouths
like the interlaced fingers
of a Druid who doesn’t know
what he wants to say
but knows how to say it
a hundred and fifty ways.
I look for the column shift
and put the world in park.
I look for my heart
and it’s a small, scuffed planet
trying to throw a curve at me
as if I were nothing but space.
I’m the key to a forgotten lock
in the spirit’s lost and found,
and part of me likes it this way
because for several eras now
the sleeves have been too long
on the winter straitjacket
time sized and knitted from my solitude,
and I hate the stingy herb of the colour.
I have lived like wings without a sky,
fire in the heartwood of a weeping willow,
and the birds piled up on my windowsill
like the craven junkmail
of an insincere migration that kept turning back
and my tears were always pall-bearers
at the death of water,
and I couldn’t understand,
couldn’t fathom the shallowness
of the infinite interpretations
that sprawled like lavish waves
across the sandy inclinations of my mind
with shells and starfish and seaweed for proof.
How could everyone not be right, 
each according to the ruler of their spine,
a full measure of the truth?
The universe five ten and a half feet tall,
and flowers that taste like stars to the blind,
and wounds that heal like scalpels
in the hands of the surgical moon,
and emergency rooms full of clowns,
and shovels like iron valentines
indifferent to gardens and corpses;
and the beautiful arches of the women
who collapsed like aqueducts and bridges,
the stones of their plundered geometry
collaged into the gaps of makeshift hovels
to keep the cold night drafts out.

And I put it all down as a poet.
I was faithful to the vagrancy of my voice.
I offered the first born of my blood
to the law of my heart
and my soul was an ardent shapeshifter
with the wardrobe of a theatrical poppy
forgetting the lines of a dream.

I was an arsonist waiting in the dark
for the bell of a woman in the doorway,
and my cells were haunted
by the ghosts of the vacant thrones
of dark intensities
that swept me like rain over the masks and hills
of faceless domains.
I squandered myself
like confetti fire and cherry blossoms
at the weddings of water and gasoline.

Everywhere was threshold and door,
and the world a ghetto of exiles,
a refugee camp for stars and humans alike,
an oil drum under an urban overpass
where I spray-bombed the hunting magic
of the beast masters
who danced to keep warm
under the horns and hides of their sacred shadows.

I have never been anyone
I ever thought I was.
Alone and alone and alone,
the hidden eye under a robe of light,
gazing out at the world from the inside,
I could never claim my thoughts and emotions as my own,
and without realization
I could be the vision
but I could never say that it was mine;
and slowly I was poured out on the ground
like blood and blue wine
and what was left was space, was
the whole palace in a single cornerstone,
a way of keeping everything in mind
and mind in everything,
of holding the world with an open hand,
letting the rivers
slip through the delta of my fingers
back to the sea they issued from
and I was always the last drop of water
to leave the moon. Empty and dry,
I lived on ashes and salt, a gnawing thing,
breaking its teeth on minerals,
trying to build a house of transformation
with glass nails, speaking
in the liberated tongues of broken mirrors.

How many days, deserts, dragons,
surviving on the marrow
of thorns, fangs, claws,
on the exhausted fruits of the fire,
on the flakes of blood
I shed like brittle roses,
like the paint of a condemned post office.

There was no more meat on the bones of the gate
and my heart turned into a loaf of coal.
My annihilation was perfected
in the crucible of my skull
by an excruciating isolation
that wept like the swords of diamond clarities
and the women and the children and the books,
and the abandoned shrine
in the tiny grove of my name,
fell away behind me
like wharves in my wake,
points of departure,
everything I’d ever cherished
lost in the undertow of the abyss.
Days of defamation and reptilian discretion.
I lived on nothing, a habit of breathing,
my heart a looping reflex,
terrified by the carnivorous grey of everything,
the short somewhere in the house
that would burn everything down,
the unforeseen event
that would snatch me
from the auroral approach of joy
by making me stand at the window
behind the stone curtains
of a harsher delusion,
always returning me to the same moment
as if a lesson I hadn’t quite mastered yet,
convinced again and again I was a chronic clown
proofreading the encyclopedic obituary
of someone who didn’t know when to quit.