Friday, May 4, 2012



The night in the wounded mirror
is only a childhood away from my face
and there’s always a shattered window
between me and my starless shining,
and a dead bird upturned on the sill
as if the sky, too, had its quota of roadkill.
Looking back from all these
lightyears and constellations away,
on the black day I was born under an eclipse
like a flower clenched into a fist,
an eye without an iris darker than a shark’s,
I suspect there was a lot more suffering back then
than I was able to live my way through,
estranged in the corner of a kitchen
that was a feeding frenzy of knives.

I still can’t leave one out on the counter
without fearing it’s just another punctuation mark,
the claw of a comma in a long sentence of blood.
At best, it’s the silver scar of the moon
that slashed me open like a well-honed loveletter
that wasn’t meant for me.
And I still don’t know how to approach
the child I was, the child I still am
time-travelling through himself like a glacier
as if he could put a stop to evolution
or survive his extinction
by keeping to himself like ice.

I look upon his solitude and silence,
the unaccusing indictment of his face,
like a cold, brass plaque
commemorating the unidentifiable victims
of an atrocity that can’t be understood.

He’s still seven and I’m looping through sixty
like the spine of a calendar
shedding me like autumn,
a picture of turning leaves on every page,
until there’s no way of telling what age we are
in this season out of time,
and I want to love him, I want
to say things that could heal us both like water
before I take him with me into my grave,
but I don’t truly know how,
and there are secret vows of violation
that are taken without a mouth
and assassins of intimacy in the shadows
and children sleeping in snakepits
who make up their own bedtime stories
and dream of things that can’t be told to anyone
who hasn’t been devoured in their ancient infancy
by the furious innocence of the sea.
Dark-hearted jewel
of a child in the night,
older than light
who has made more of me
than I can make of him,
when I weep for what he knows
and will not say, what am I,
what are these words
in the inky shacks of the trees
but the lengthening shadow
of the darkness that pours out of him like blood,
or duct-tape like moonlight
over the mouth of a scream?

And if I come back now
like the legend I have made of his sorrow
to gather him up in my arms
like a harvest under a full moon,
and if I sit with him all night
without saying anything
here on this skull of a rock
until each of us is the memory of the other,
could it make anything better,
would it take the thorn of the moon
out of the eye of the dragon
that sheds its skin like childhood skies,
not knowing where things end, things begin?




Everybody says I’m too intense and I say
you sure as hell aren’t.
And since I was sixteen in highschool
and before that in the local neighbourhood
in the bosom of my family
people have always thought I was mad.
My highschool graduation yearbook says
most likely to become
a mad teacher mad scientist mad poet mad.
An oracular assessment of my peers
that has haunted me for years.

But I say crazy is the only antidote
to the extreme chaos of conditioned consciousness.
Look at the world.
Lies lies lies.
A coalition of lies
that calls itself
the history of civilization.
Crazy wisdom.
The tantric insight
into the fact
there is no nature to things.
You’re not a very wise human
if you don’t understand ignorance
is the clearest expression of enlightenment.
You see what I mean?
It’s hard to speak of unity
in the split tongue of a snake
without making an oxymoron of it
at the fork in the roads
it mistakes for a direction.
Regard the dead parachutes of Babylon
no one can understand you
I said to myself one day dying with a sneer.

It’s the moral obligation of a writer to make things clear.
I forget who said it.
But he was a nitwit.
One of the lice of literature
that makes your mind want to scratch itself raw
for the next half century.
It’s that word moral that bothers me.
Not his preconception of clarity
though when it gets down to that
you smear the mirror
when you try to be clear about clarity.
I said that.
It takes an amateur madman
to be a good shrink
and make reality
try to correspond
to what you think.

But what an impoverished way to live your life.
What a distortion of humanity.
If you’re mad enough
there’s plenty of room in the asylum
to embrace sanity with decorum.
When in Rome do as the Romans do
and try not to make a spectacle of yourself in the Colosseum.

It’s been my experience
that so much of what the world calls mad
is only freedom
with the courage to open its eyes.
Most people look into the eyes
of spontaneous freedom
and it terrifies them.
They don’t want to know
what’s not there.
The world ends at the back of their eyelids.
Things just get too deep
and they drown in their sleep
like pearl divers on the moon.

At every moment of your life
life is more certain than death.
It’s all you can say about
where you expect to be tomorrow
and where this is now.
Everybody always wants things
to look the way they seem.
They want to live the dream awake.
They don’t go along with their own mindstream.
They’re shore-huggers.
They live at the edge
of the great sea of mysterious being
in sandcastles with blowholes
that burp like tiny volcanoes in the receding tide.
Herculaneum and Pompey
are mummified in the flow
down their pygmy mountainsides
but it’s easy to see where they hide
thinking they’re out of reach.

But who am I to preach
quicksand to cornerstones such as these?
Everybody always tells me I’m too intense
but they’ve never been through a nightstorm
far out on the Pacific
where the moon’s your only lifeboat
and it’s just gone down
like a bright penny in a wishing well
like a last longshot in the slots
of an odds-making hell.
And it’s seven to five you survive.
They’ve never fallen in love with a hurricane rose
that’s built like a fortune-cookie
and paints her eyelids
with the blood of ex-lovers
who were sacrificial enough to propose.

If you go looking for the meaning of life sincerely
sooner or latter it will find you
like one fact final enough to delude all the others
into thinking it’s ultimately true.
Complete one act well
and you’ve accomplished everything
because one act begets another
until everything is done of its own accord.
Because your birth isn’t terminal,
your death is ongoing.
And the same is true in reverse.
How do I know this is so?
I let go.
I blossom like the memories of a dead branch
in the apple orchards of the Hesperides,
everyone of them
a full moon.

I see how innocent my doubt is.
So even my darkness
is a singing bird on a green bough.
I’ve looked at drops of water
at the tips of the blades of the stargrass
like the thin-skinned tears of the sky in childbirth
and everyone of them
was the seed of a new world.
Worlds within worlds
whose only conventions
are the creative dimensions of the perceivers.

Not one size fits all.
I don’t put my finger to my lips
like an ego-I
to eclipse the great silence.
I let it say me with its eyes.
And we both come as a great surprise to each other
when we’re standing
on the same side of the mirror
on the far shore of the mindstream
like two eyes of the same seeing
astonished we’re here at all
without lying to the miracle
about our reasons for being.
Have you ever considered the enormous distances
in the body of a small bird?
Or how strangely intimate a star can be
from thousands of lightyears away?
A whisper of lucidity in an oceanic ear.
Something you’ve heard for a long time
but never listened to before.
Never this near.
This clear.

Have you ever wondered which of two sisters
is the older of the elements.
Fire or water?
Or why spring lies about her age
when she’s as old as autumn
and then claims
to be the daughter of the grain
when in fact she’s the womb of summer?

Is it insane to wonder?
Is it too intense to fear
living my whole life
as if I were never here
to take a good look?
Is it deranged to feel
the enlargement of my seeing
is not the diminishment of my being
because I opened my eyes
and saw they were both
two ends of the same telescope?

It’s one thing to let the light in through the gates of your eyes.
It’s wholly another to let it get this far
into the palace of your imagination
without being announced
or scrutinized.
Life’s a breeze
when you don’t look at it
like a disease you’re afraid to get over.
If I’m inspired by the vastness of my ignorance
to turn a leaf over now and again
like a new page in an old book
to avoid being obvious
am I looking for a happy ending
or am I just delighting in my indolence
when I read it like a map of my own lifelines
by running my finger over it as if I were blind
and it were the one who could see?

If I don’t believe we appear briefly
to disappear forever
because everything here
is a vast collaboration
with creative emptiness
and it isn’t going anywhere
what do I care
if you’re confused by my endeavours?
What’s it to you
if I’m a mirage on a grailquest in a desert of stars?
Or if I practise compassion spontaneously
toward myself and others
as if we were all the same wound
under many scars
and if my lies heal,
are they not the fruit of insight?

If I’m the dark genius
deeply intrigued
by my own misdirection
that you say I am
though that doesn’t change a thing
about the way I can’t help being
and not being myself,
what makes you think
there’s only one star
you can point out
like the needle
in the impoverished compass
of your last course correction
as if there were only one way to go
and the truth were always
somewhere north of you
instead of under your feet
in all directions at once
like the radiance of stars
before the arising of signs?

Today Jesus and the Buddha walk on water.
Tomorrow Lucifer and Kamamara will walk on fire.
But when the opposites
get their baggage together
and realize they can’t lift it
and abandon it by the side of the road
like an outhouse on a trailer hitch
or a hubcap in a country ditch
that’s stopped spinning around
and come to rest in an oxymoron
posing as the full moon
that’s come to liberate
an empty asylum
they both walk on earth
bewildered by their innocence
when they discover
they’ve never had anything to do
with the course of events
that made them who they are.

Wasn’t the Buddha enlightened
by watching Venus in the dawn
lead the sun up
like the morning star
that once was Lucifer
before he took the fall like a ripe apple,
before he stole fire from the gods like Prometheus
the thief of inspiration,
knowing the moment of his perfection
in all realms of knowledge
infernal or divine
was the best time to jump?

And the darkness will always seem like a liar
to those who don’t know the truth.

If I don’t see life as just a bag of water
with nine holes in it
leaking out of itself
as I once used to
eras and eras ago
and you still do
when I look at what remains
of the desicated parachute of a jellyfish
you’ve made of your brains
clinging to shore
next to the sewage drains
that poured you out
and washed you up
and wiped their mouths of the taste of a dead ocean
what’s it to you
if I run so far out to sea
from so high up
on the down side of the world mountain
I’m swimming with dolphins on the moon?

I’m teaching blind starfish how to shine
like dark matter with a mind of its own
and no sign of a constellation
with feet of clay
afraid to leave home.

Say what you want to say.
Be what you want to be.
Enlighten your ignorance
and then ignore your enlightenment.
Don’t drive the darkness out of your lucidity
like a scapegoat into a spiritual desert
you’re afraid to enter
because you’re not bright enough to see
that under every threshold
between the inside and the out
certainty and doubt
insanity and the sane
the trivial and profound
the homeless and a habitable planet
there’s a sphere
spinning on a tilted axis
in the immensity of space
that’s so far out it’s in.