WILLOW-MINDED FRIEND OF MINE
Willow-minded friend of mine
you’re the star of Isis in the palm of my hand
that keeps me from drowning in a sea of glass.
How often have I been washed ashore
on the coasts of your flesh
like a naked sailor in an icestorm
of breaking chandeliers
and been taken to see the king
by a princess doing laundry?
A firefly in the distance
might be a great star up close
and your every breath
seed the whirlwind
with golden drops of rain
after the tempest has exorcised its pain
and you grow more beautiful picture by picture
like someone who wants to be redeemed
in her own eyes
for things that only she could be.
But that’s not why I love you.
No siren no muse no priestess no witch
no shepherdess of exotic snakes
squirming with the future
like mystic themes around your body
no sacred whore ready to party in the temple
with Minervan night owls and Cepheid movie-stars
that don’t want anybody to turn the lights on
to see what’s going on in the darkness
they are to everybody,
you are to me more
than I have eyes to see
to the beginning and end of things
but I can feel the night within
flowing like dark energy through space
and tendrils of time growing like paisley lifelines
into something sweeter than the wine
the white mirror drinks from its own reflection.
Before the arising of signs
I can feel your presence moving in me
like unborn constellations playing chess with time
to see who shall be the blossom
who the root
who the leaf
and who shall prime the lightning of the vine.
Long before your veils are parted by no one
like rivers of insight
I can hear your stars
whispering things into my ear
that make whole worlds appear
rocking life in their arms like water.
Time is a mental space
with different flavours.
You taste like the wounded grace
of an eloquent truce with flowers
or as Dogen Zenji said in l238
the lucky day is when you discover it’s all one day
meaning one chameleon
turning many different colours
to match the hours it spends
in front of the mirror
that keeps it guessing
who’s the seer and who’s the seen.
The grass turns red.
The flower turns green.
How long have I waited for you
like a tide on the moon to come in
like the spoke of a tree for a rim of stars
like a metaphor in the chrysalis of a dragonfly for wings
you could see through like a stained-glass window
divining the silence like a witching wand
in a waterless church?
And it’s all just been a moment ago
that isn’t at the discretion of birth and death
I learned to breathe with you on the moon
like some atmospheric fish
transformed by a new medium
into whatever you wished me to be
when I was the lifeboat
in the eye of the endless sea
that washed me out like a cinder
with the tears of a passing mindstream
as if I got in the way of my own dream
You were the mystic specificity
as you will always be
in the lunar pearl of it all
that sometimes doubles for my skull.
And isn’t it funny how when the night screams
it’s always an aurora
that everyone mistakes for dawn?
A snail of a comet smears the mirror and moves on
and it’s as good a path as any to follow I suspect
if I had a destination in mind
that wasn’t looping in retrograde like a noose.
I may be as footloose and fancy-free as a ghost
but there’s no end of this longing
that keeps making me up as I go along
trying to be true and strong
to what I love the most about being dead.
I think of you
and I burn in the terrible clarity
of a light that’s never fallen on anyone
as if illumination were endlessly eyeless.
I think of you
like water looking up at the moon as it rises
and I realize the wingless openness
of the dark gates before me
and pass through like a midnight sun
whose seeing evaporates in the morning
like visions and words and waterbirds
that have been transcendentally uplifted out of the graves
of their own reflections.
We are what we need to be to each other
without knowing what that is
like a phantom kind of picture-music
that’s always changing its lyrics
to keep up with the mood of the times
whether it’s the high definition tunnel vision
of the smokey beekeepers
trying to bring law to the unruly flowers
or the dark energy of an expansive space
driving the stars like exiles
into the absolute sublimity of a starless place
deep in the heart of God
that even creation can’t fill
or we’re just kicking pebbles down the road together
through clouds of white sweet clover
like afternoon companions of each other’s solitude.
Time is the poetry of the eternal
when love sits by itself under its willow tree
and watches the stream pass by
like the flowing eye it drinks from.
I drink pellucidly on the moon
from old grails of sacred blood
like an ark that survived the flood
only to find itself abandoned like a farm
on a mountaintop with two of every kind
except for one
who made his way down alone with the alone
to sing his lover up out of the dead
as if he were missing one of his eyes
and the other had turned to stone.