Thursday, May 24, 2012



It’s good to know you’re there;
though the world is a diatribe
of waltzing trains and threshing razors,

it’s good to know
a door burns for me somewhere in the darkness,
a bell waits like a nipple of silence
and your blood waits like a language,
a rose of rain in a starfield,
that my mouth alone can say to the night
in a shudder of light that only the blind can hear,
sipping from a chalice of water
spiked with diamond nails.

My heart flashes across the sky
and buries itself like a meteor
at the cornerstone of a sightless temple
pillared by faithless candles
that flirt with the shadows
of the fire in their eyes,
and I’m bridges beyond any way back the way I came,
my wake the scar of a vapour trail
in yesterday’s cherry sunset,
and I still catch myself at my worst
whenever I’m good;
there’s always a thread of blood on the water,
and a half-finished suicide note on the mirror
scrawled in manic lipstick,
and a gravestone
I carry around on my shoulders like a skull
that feels like the weight of the world,
and a child leftover from an ancient crib-death
that is often afraid of me,
and a ferocity of freedom
that thaws my deepest thoughts like chains,
and bleaches every feeling like a wound
in the antiseptic of the sun
that bites like a mystic arrow
that was feathered with a message
before I was born to find me;

but it’s good to know
your fury and your gentleness,
the glow and heat of your chimneys and fireflies,
your altars of wind and smoke
spuming across the vastness of the solitude
like blood and chalk
and lines written after school
on the blackboard shale of my river skin
still trying to reform its way to the sea;

it’s good to look at the moon
through your passionate windows
and taste the fragrant honey of your darkness
attuning the tines of my tongue
to a fork in the road of your body,
to the delta of an unknown civilization,
to the mystery of rivers entwined like serpents.

And the vines of the words
that have sought me out
like blood vessels and burning bushes
and the blossoming fingers of someone
kneading a face
out of the huge volume,
the pure space of my unattainability:
o you have said things to me
in ink and water and brandy and fire,
in night and moonlight and poppies and tears
that have made the hardest rocks
on the highest slopes
of my mountains and cloudy ladders bleed
to be opened like a harvest of love-letters in a bomb-shelter
by the tenderness of your knives again and again,
urgent with beauty and joy
to be overthrown
by the whisper of your voice in the valley
triggering this skyborn avalanche
of nocturnal thrones.

And the bells turn into vases
and the vases into urns
and the urns back into the wombs
of a thousand terminal exiles
tolling like a heartbeat
with a passport and a threshold,
and though I am no longer
the leaf of hope
that aspired to rudder
the firestream of these volcanic transformations,

it’s good to drift awhile
in the dreamtime of this endless night
like recoverable salvage
among the lanterns of your searching lifeboats
and the reaping eyes
of your eloquent islands of light.




It isn’t that I’m looking for eagles in a barnyard
or a phoenix in a match-head
when I observe
by the number of wrecks on the rocks
how few lighthouses there are these days
among so many flashlights.

What can the hair say about the horn
or the feather teach the wind
or quicksand preach
for the edification of the cornerstone?

And must I put a healthy leg
at the service of a broken crutch
to limp along with the mob
at the end of a dying culture
that insists that all roads end
in a cult of cripples?

If I’m walking alone to the stars
on a pilgrimage of one
finding my way in the going,
my heart aligned like the needle of a compass
to a darkness brighter than the light,
and the only map the clarity of my eyes,
why should those
who weep in their ashes like rain,
trying to put glasses on a fly,
who have never dipped
the thorn of the moon
in the night of their blood
and written a love poem
to a skull in a desert,
care if I want to roam
in the hills and valleys of myself
like some homeless shepherd of the wind
taking the stone of the earth for a pillow to dream on
in the high grasslands
where the stars walk
whispering eternal intimacies like black swans
barging the ores of a vacant throne
through my bloodstream,
as all along the shores of my flowing
ancient flowers wake mysteriously
like candles in an eclipse?

If I take the sky for the walls of my house
and leave the rest
like an autumn of junkmail
looking for a door and a last known address,
if I choose not to contrive a world
to accommodate my absence
in the available dimension of the future,
wiping my shadows and ghosts
like mirrors off at the threshold,
even letting go of the door
to enter empty-handed
as the applause
for an understudy of the dawn
that never got over its stage-fright
in the abyss of an abandoned theater,
happy to let the river pan itself for gold,
not laying a claim to anything,
making sure the gate-latch
clamps down like a dog on a bone
when I close it up
like a straitjacket in its own thoughts,
not stringing my spinal court to a wishbone
or the warped neck
of an obvious guitar,
but taking my voice with me
like a wounded bird in my hands,
a star struck from a stone,
moonlight in an empty boat,
the taste of silence
in the mouth of a mask,
my name a rainmark
on the eyelid of a dusty bell
I’ve left to the dream it keeps returning to;
why should it matter to anyone
who lies to the bleeding door
that is wounded by their entrance
everytime they say it’s just me
as if a pillar answered?

I can’t find anything
less than everything to call a self
and there are no mirrors
in an abyss more naked than the sky
to consult like the oracular flights of words
that litter the windowsill of this seeing
like flies that spent themselves,
flints on an empty lighter,
wicks on a glass candle,
consuming the ferocity
of their lives against the illusion of the world outside
they brain themselves against again and again
like small meteors
doused like torches in the eye
of the upper atmosphere
just above the open window.

When everything is absurd as this,
and even the tuning forks of the rain
are an era off in their pitch,
and music is merely
the coming and going of ants
in an abandoned syrinx,
and the drum of the heart alone
isn’t enough to start a band,
and the only melody
is a road the wind blew away
like a hair off the shoulder of the night,
and everyone’s trying
to unmarrow the moon like a fortune-cookie,
and every snowflake in the furnace
of this dark fire
thinks it dies like a galaxy
when it’s only an inflection of tears,
am I not free to walk in harmony
with the savage senselessness of it all,
without hanging a bell of advice over my head
like the only corpse
on an island full of gravediggers
who can’t get out of the holes they’ve dug
to bury me in?

I don’t want to live waiting for yesterday
like the light of a star
that’s already gone,
or dream like a seed of constellations to come
like a roll of the dice,
or watch the surplus of your smile
rotting on the docks of a famine.

And don’t think these harvests I leave you
like a trail of breadcrumbs and dead flies
out of this wilderness of thought
are any more than stars
caught in the throat of the labyrinth
that follows itself like a snake with its tail in its mouth,
trying to find a way out of itself
by eating its own head.

And by some chance
if you ever make it out this far,
I’ve mailed back
the same map of fireflies
with its legend of smoke,
three lifetimes a lightyear,
you once handed me to find you
and marked every place I’m not
with a black hole.




Deep in the night that shells its husk of blue
to pan the nuggets of its stars from a darker stream,
the heart an executioner with a fistful of pardons,
and the soft, moist, lulling of the evening air,
the threshing of slow fish,
I’m enthroned alone in a crucial palace of light
that realigns its domains to the borders of the wind,
and I don’t want to feel lonely but I do,
and I don’t want to miss so many, so many faces
stripped from the bough like a savaged telephone-book,
so many feathers of light drifting through the shadows of their names,
and the black granite of the uncarved bell
that turtles the blood under the eyelid of the knowing,
that makes my eyes want to scream
until the pillars of the dead sea fall like rotten salt:
how long can one road endure the passage of everything
walking life off into the stars that measure the miles in skulls?

Was I young? Were you there in the brindled moonlight?
Did I remember how to love you well; did I see with long eyes
how you rose out of the chest of the hills like a spirit leaving,
the blue effulgence of your nebulous departure
almost a cocoon of morning mist, the last breath of a lake
as if an indigo thistle released its silk to the wind
or a dandelion relinquished its ivory mane?
Were you the soul of me that lingered by gates and wharves?
Have you come back now with your bells of blood and lamps of flesh?
Can I feel again the leaves of the silver herbs
in the gardens of your fingertips?

Touch me like the breaking of a fast,
find me like a river in the night,
the dazzled theme of a wandering valley,
and pour your journey into mine like stars into a vine,
shadows running down the worn convictions of the stairs,
the midnight wines of old eclipses in the goblets of your eyes.

Once for the flame that dances on the wick of the tongue,
Once for the orchards that plead with the heart for birds,
Once for the envelope that read the letter it married,
and you, by the river, a sapphire among rocks,
tender blue grass in the translucent water-skin of the night,
loving me once as if your hands were autumns full of departure
and your eyes, the gulf of the world in your eyes, your eyes
were the soft flowing of the dark honeys
that leak from the wounded hives
we carry like knives to the grave.

Distinguished among broken clocks,
sultry and bitter, a quarantined bay of refugee stars,
caught in the threshing blades of a circular waterfall,
a mess of tents I’ve furloughed across the milky distances
like a chain-letter from a secret constellation to you,
I blue the intimate spaces between us with time
and patch the maps with the confluence of our lifelines
and try to restore the eyes in the sockets of our bridges
under a brow of swallows in the dusk. And I remember
all the names of the flowers, all the names of the stars,
all the badges of love that heaven and earth once offered
in lieu of the reasons why
love bares the skin of a poppy
to the teeth of the hunting sun
and then flares like a firefly
over the water-lamps of the moon,
but when it dies of its own self-inflicted wounds,
slashed by shadows among the ripe fruit of its vowels,
and the seed wasn’t asked and the harvest had no choice
there are always two skies,
one bound by roots, the other, eyes,
at the back of every voice.