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.