Sunday, May 20, 2012



Among the skeletons of the sundials
what deficits of time remain unlived, unfulfilled?
So much forfeited to what crowded it out.
And the more that was said, the more
fraudulent and incomplete what we wanted to sing.

Too many murmuring windows, too many
trashed doorways to the collusive shelters of the heart.
We saw the stars, and how few learned.
We went to war for reasons
that have forgotten us now
and though there were those
who sternly waited like iron gates
no one returned to their secret gardens
or the silence as they had left it.

I watched from an island as the sea flexed
into the muscle of my generation
to celebrate a dream that hasn’t happened yet
and tear the veils off the multi-eyed spiders
and make them wince in a succession
of photo-op acid flashbacks
that stunted the weaving a moment or two.
It was what we could do, not what we did it for,
and the idealism of it all was merely
the afterthought of the alibi for the release
of so much sunamic energy that would sooner
walk on water in Jesus boots, than float
the way the usual bloated corpses did.

The earth shook and the bridges and cornerstones
sank into quicksand, and the black roses
of the La Brea tar pits swallowed their worms.
And then the profit margins of the corporations
went helical as a stairway to heaven
and heaven came down to earth, and money was made.
Love and understanding exploited
as natural human resources. Spiritual materialism.
Light My Fire became the enlightenment path to cars.

I was there. I still wear more scars than I do flowers.
And I can remember the day the sundials died
in aesthetic gardens of unconcern and though
I loved the colours and the creative efflorescence
of unconditioned minds here and there
who had avoided madness by an eyelash,
it was only our lack of years for a summer or two
that kept us from saying the word, pure, with filthy mouths.
Too early for the fountains to fester yet.
Too late to heed the omens of the sundials.

Alchemists of liberty, we had turned our iron cages
into golden ones and the doves shook against their bars
like philosophers who could still see the stars outside
that beckoned them to leave, the doors were open,
but stayed within the precincts of their lamps and candles,
like Luna moths and houseflies. And you
who see the tv sixties like the capstones
of ice bergs and pyramids, the all too human concerts
of the indefatigable music where the painted breasts
of the wild Pictish women from California
danced like the fruit of low hanging branches,
give some thought to the sweating horses of the past
and the number of flies that fell into the Milky Way.
So that purity doesn’t appear like a ghost again
detached from the earth or swept clean of mirages
in a desert of stars that didn’t keep our footprints very long.

You might have missed the greatest party on earth
but you didn’t suffer the depressive hangover of the end
when the junkies sat up against the wall listening
to Jimi Hendrix kiss the sky for them all,
paralyzed in the shadows of their own gigantism
as the tragic heroes bemoaned how useless their deaths were
to those who were determined to live to the end of the play.




for Kristine Marie

When someone loves you and you’re no one,
what happens then? What do you have to give
that they aren’t already in full possession of?
The many I have loved have become one woman.
And this is an orchid that blooms in fire at night.
And this is the dove that returns from earth
with a wing like a broken arrow and asks to be healed.

When someone loves you and you’re no one,
what happens then? This picture-music flowing
like a carillon of bliss and despair through
my body, heart, mind as if they were all
poured like dragon iron into the casting of the same bell
that yesterday raised like a sword to kill it back into life?
And this is a doorway you can stand in forever
as if you were greeting someone who never comes.
And this is that butterfly among wildflowers
that flutters about like a symbol of the mind
as if it didn’t know whose loveletter it is yet.

When someone loves you and you’re no one,
what happens then? Do you give them your emptiness?
Do you wrap space around them when they’re cold
like a star-studded shawl you asked the night to weave
for someone very special into astrology?
Or do you minutely examine the mystic specifics
of your life as you’ve known it up to now
and from somewhere in some dark room
way back of the heart, feel the urge to apologize
to the stars for how much their light’s been through
for so little? The star labours, and candles are brought forth.
And this is the delirium of a window the moon drinks from.
And this is that jewel of a tear that didn’t
make a big splash on the rock like other tears
and by that you know it’s a diamond in disguise.

When someone loves you and you’re no one,
what happens then? Does the air as now revel
like autumn in a gleeful chaos of images and insights
the wind unravels like leaves in a tantric realm of crazy wisdom?
Do you see a woman coming through a gate
as if she’d lived her whole life among roses and razor-blades?
And she’s not asking for rapture, but you’re beginning to feel
there’s a peony of a supernova in the house of Cancer
waiting to express itself in the beauty of the way
it relinquishes itself like the moon to the waters of earth.
And this is that mysterious spell that beguiles
the expert hunter into baiting his trap with his own heart
hoping it’s irresistible to the fox he wants to take it.
And this is that dawn of a new day that arises like
a strange exorcism of everything that’s ever possessed you before
as you greet every ghost in passing off the lake
the same as you’ve always done, the waterbirds.

When someone loves you and you’re no one,
what then? You stare as I do at Venus in the sunset
and write long poems that tunnel through mountains
like work trains full of precious ores that glow in the dark
more intensely as it approaches like a lantern from a long way off?
Or is it just another firefly at the end of my nose
casting galactic shadows across the time and space
it takes to behold them in the furthest reaches of my mind?

I sense a gentleness I haven’t known before.
I see a beauty that’s as easing to the eyes as moonrise.
And the seeds of words that haven’t passed between us yet
are already beginning to open their eyelids and flower.
And there’s a soft gray blue sky with a scattering of ashes
to honour the dead and give the wind its due
I can see spilling out of the urn of your heart
to make room for the phoenix I am about to give you
as if it were child’s play, when I’m with you,
wholly absorbed like light into bread, to rise from the dead
and feel hunger again, to drink from the fountain mouths
of fire again, and desire and long as I once did
and imbibe the wines of life as if I’d never existed before
without cutting my tongue on the taste
or succumbing to the inconceivable as if everything
that followed thereafter were the afterlife of the inevitable.
And this is the era in which you know
you’ve already tied your blood like a scarlet ribbon
around a gift no one can determine the value of
if she opens it in wonder, haste and love.
And this is the moment you dread the joy of
when death tastes as sweet as birth in the mouth of life
and autumn lives out of the suitcase of all its memoirs
like the blossoms of a manuscript that has come to bear fruit.

I saw you and you were a gazelle at the easel,
painting the moon like a beauty mark on the forehead
of a sacred slave girl dancing naked in the light that released her
like a butterfly in the jaws of a dragon she could awake with a whisper.
I saw you in a gust of stars, and felt the wings and dust devils
sprouting out of my heels to let me ride the thermals of my heart again
as if the long, dark, strange, radiant journey I’d already come
were merely a hair of the way I had yet to go like the sole copy
of a love poem I had committed to the wind so hopelessly
such a long time ago when my solitude could play
the rosey-fingered sea like a musical instrument
that could make the waves sing like mermaids
without a plectrum or a pick or a ship, as long
as there was desire in your fingertips and urgency in your art.

When someone loves you and you’re no one,
what then? Let them be everything to you even
if there’s no you to be anything to. Pour your emptiness
into hers and fill the cup up to the edge of the moon
and let it spill over with light as if it had a leak in it
bigger than a record harvest in the horn of the moon at full.
I’ve cut star wheat in a virgin’s hand
in a total eclipse of my senses
and touched flesh as if it were fresh bread
cooling on the windowsill of a hungry man
who can taste the light in it like letters from a child hood
far enough away from home to learn to love it again
with a second innocence more indelible than the first.
As for me and my treehouse with open windows,
I shall welcome a songbird on the cusp of Leo
to every branch and rafter of it, or if need be
at sea on the moon, in the event of a storm,
a lifeboat fashioned out of my own bones
to hang on to like the eye of peace in the skull of the dragon
who looks at you and reads you like fireflies on a starchart
delineating a new constellation out of homeless space and time
and a habitable myth of origin for two exiles in love
among the sacred groves of the rootless trees.

With you I have not come to revere the pain and longing
of hungry ghosts hanging on to every blade of grass
like a flag at half mast in a high wind.
I have come to appeal any destiny
that doesn’t bear the seal and signage of your heart.
Nor will I ever surrender any sword to your waters
that wasn’t first tempered in the translucent fire of diamonds
that feel like a fool of cool water running down your skin
like a spring thaw of the crystal chandeliers
that melted down their spear points into rain,
that dipped their swords in wax
and trimmed the wicks into fuses
and lit them up like Roman candles
such that my eyes and my heart
are still flowering wildly with you in these starfields.