Saturday, April 28, 2012



Out here alone so late at night
with all these spectacular stars
burning through the clean glass
of the freezing winter air
I can almost hear them thinking
behind the myths of the cover stories
they’ve told for years
dark truths about life and light
it would be madness in a man to understand.

Don’t try to stuff the impersonal secret
of the universe
into your sentimental heart.
How could you ever fit its likeness
into a locket
and finger it lovingly as your own?

Out here alone so late
even if you have come
like a thief in the night
to steal from the light
when nobody’s home
there are no cracks no facets no gaps
no backdoors, unlocked windows
or emergency exits,
no stairwells or entrances
in these jewels of insight
that can feel your eyes falling upon them
like rain running down a mirror
that shuts you out
like someone in the bathroom crying
for reasons that are light-years beyond you.
However deep and sincere your tears are
they’re still only dry wells
in that vast ocean of awareness,
black snowflakes
on the roaring furnace of the abyss
and if you reach out with affection
hoping to make things better
by embracing it all
you’re still only tendering a kiss
to the gaping jaws of your own lipless skull.
There’s a silence older than space
in the bottomless heart of things
that makes intelligence seem
the unlikeliest of exaggerations
a human could ever mean
holding his mind up like a lamp to the stars
as if he could find his own way back by his own light
without the dream that themes his mindstream with creation.
But as foolish and futile as it is to surmise
or try to get a leg up on the wise
I don’t think the darkness
is the negative space
around the troubled face that appeared
after all the dots were connected
like rising constellations
in a child’s colouring book.

And I don’t think there are gods
squatting like frogs
on the lotus of the world
making us up as they go along
like wheels and roads
to the grunts and groans
of an axial mating song
anyone could mistake for a joke.

And I don’t think the stars
believe the things we say about them
or even remotely feel the mystic dread
of what it is to be a human
looking up at their shining
out of deeper darknesses within
where no direction can be given to the lost like eyes
that would never find their own way home again
were it not for the stars and fireflies that mislead us
from one illumination to the next
by giving the finger to the braille of the text
that would school a gust of stardust into us
like God gave life to Adam
and Eve gave life to God
long before there were any laws to blind them
like Satanic lightning bolts
uprooting their eyes like rain from the clouds
to put those fires out.
I look up at the stars
with the eyes of an exile
through the diaspora of my breath
and I want to think them all to death
like the people and things I’ve left behind me
when it was time to go my own way
anywhere into the darkness inside me
to see if I could shine a light upon myself
that didn’t blind me to the fact
neither in the beginning
nor in the end
was I there to witness the act
that made a certainty as good as a doubt
to the great indifference
that wasn’t trying to find me
like a needle of light in the heart of a haystack.

I look up at the stars
like a scarecrow in winter
trying to put its pants on
one leg after another
like a man
with nothing but time to burn
scattering his ashes among the stars
urn after urn
skull after skull
of the heretics and mystics
that were martyred by his scar-crossed heart
in the name of nothing real.

I don’t know what they feel
but I look up at the stars
like a black rose
of blood and starmud
in the last death throes
of self-immolation
and see in my own image
what I’ve always had
in common with creation.




for Sally

The painting finished, I sit at my desk
and go on painting windows and computer screens.
My body is grateful and my heart a submarine.
I don’t know if I expressed what I meant to mean
but there it is and that’s an end of it for the night.
Time now to rely on my resident metaphors.
Stop looking at things that flower in space like stars
and coercing the light into compliance.
Sit in my apartment and watch the weave of the rain
unravelling the loom of the window in tears.

Feel like a seance trying to talk to an exorcism
when I address myself in my solitude
at cruising altitude over the sirens and car horns,
the wailing of long distance freight trains
like graffiti art shows on the road all the way
from North Carolina, the land of talented spray bombs,
and the gleeful shrieking of a gaggle of girls
as shrill as apostate nuns of narcissi in the rain
that have just broken their vow of silence
and are making up for lost time impishly.

Relatively serene, the composure of chaos,
I let the starmud settle in the puddle
until my mind becomes as clear as
a refracting telescope without chromatic aberration.
And then you show up in a blur of stars
like the Andromeda galaxy,
a smudge of shining, a gust of wavelengths
and what had been unfocused in me,
like the cosmic background hiss
when I’m sitting here like this,
the afterbirth of a man wondering
where the rest of me is, and suddenly
I’m whole and focused again on an old wound
I had thought was scarred over forever
some time ago by the moon
that keeps re-opening every spring like a rose
as I realize that love isn’t done with me yet.

And I say to myself, here comes the mystery again,
the fire, the desire, the moon with its black pearl
and its white, its eclipse and its harvest,
and the one blue one that’s too shy to come into the light,
but everyone sings and dances under just the same,
the harvest in and the labour done.

With love. That valley of a word that can wound mountains
when they get lost in it, as their lifestreams bleed out
like gold from the undiscovered ore of their darkness,
and they become snowmen riding their own melting like glaciers.
Love when it isn’t just a sound beavers make
when they slap their tails on the water like a warning
there are wolves around. And everyone takes a nose-dive
and heads for the lodge like Montezuma’s capitol in the middle of a lake.

Love. That ghost of an abstraction that holds everyone in its wake
like a symphony of seagulls at the stern of a moonboat
navigating waterways through the mountains of the moon
like a muse or a voice coach, or a lapwing with a broken rudder.
Imagine that. A word so mute it doesn’t have any senses of its own,
and yet it can enflame even an old growth forest with desire.

And I’ve had banshees wailing, and ravens saying nevermore
at my window before, and felt every beat of my heart
like the dull thud of small birds who mistook
the mirage of the sky in the window for the real thing
and thought even in the body of a swallow, what immensites
are contained within such a tiny locket of a heart
barely the size of a raspberry, if that, and yet
this small thing could ride out a hurricane if it had to,
and not even a Boeing 767 can do that.
And I buried it in my heart with reverence
like an obsidian Clovis-point arrowhead.

Love is the third wing on a bird, the third edge on a sword
of Damascene steel forged and folded like the first crescent
of a metal from the ore of love-struck moonrocks
to kill you deeper into the rapture of life
like a loveletter you weren’t expecting.
Engendered from two extremes, love’s the intensity
in the middle, the rebel of a third eye between
and slightly above the other two, like a star
you’re trying to point out to the child within you.
And then someone comes along out of the anthracite blue
of a spring night like a comet
out of the black halo around the sun,
you can identify with as a radiant omen of things to come.

And you can’t believe it, it’s inconceivable
given the badlands you’ve just cowboyed your way through
like a dinosaur on its own waiting for the sign of a meteor
heading toward its extinction like a prophetic skull.
And then comes love with its starmaps
like this last-minute change of flightplan
and you’re a warm-blooded mammal again
and all your scales turn into the feathers of songbirds
waiting for the return of Quetzalcoatl, the plumed serpent,
in which is conjoined the highest and the lowest
in a godhead of opposites that can’t be explained
any more than desire can explain
why it’s a soggy matchbook in the rain one moment
and the next it breaks into flame like a poppy with big dreams.

And just look at me now, sitting here like a Zen monk
in the pagoda of a pine-cone germinating
a whole new wilderness to explore
out of the seed thoughts under my half closed eyelids
sprouting in fire and putting down roots in the rain at the same time.

Love’s doing it to me again, and the mirrors
are beginning to thaw like Mayan observatories
as they open their eyelids at the first sign of a star
to make contact with them like astronomers who’ve
been buried in the mines of their prophecies
and cosmological calendrical theories for lightyears now.
And suddenly the urge to jump zodiacs like orbitals
comes upon me like a homeless photon of insight
on the threshold of a whole new house of life
it’s attracted to like a lost starless stranger
to a porchlight in the distance
in the shadows of the mountains of the moon

And when I’m in love I smile like the white
but in my heart I’m the black Taj Mahal reflected
in pool of liquid moonlight. Everything is
mystical and intense, full of wonderment
in the smallest details, in the cosmic uniqueness
of every event, however seemingly insignificant
and raises the trivial out of the dirt
into the stardust of the universally sublime,
and even the antheap of day to day life
gets turned into a shrine I lay poems on the stairs of
in the name of love, where yesterday I lay like an orphan
on the steps of a halfway house to heaven and back.

Love. That can turn your head and your vision of life
from a computer screen into an Arizona moonrise
of a woman in the Sonora desert, a siren in the sands
of an hourglass full of stars that pay no attention to time,
and me an old sailor on a ghostship who should know better
drunk on the delirium of the song she’s singing to me
like a seance to summon me back to the living
and my whole life flashing before my eyes as they drown
in the wellsprings of hers, like a poet in the tears of a muse.

Love and the lack thereof taught me a long time ago
there are dark jewels in the ashes, and secret sorrows
in the crowns of life, and mystic terrors in every piece
of the broken mirrors and exalted chandeliers of love
that reflect the radiance of the Beloved
after a storm has passed over the distant hills
in every drop of rain that hangs
like the sun and the moon and the Pleiades from her earlobes,
as if they were the personal Faberge jewellers of her light
or as Elizabeth the First said ascending the throne
at the beginning of her reign, thanking her god,
this is your doing and it is marvellous in our eyes.