Saturday, June 2, 2012



However gratified I am, always I’m left with a hunger
for something more than I’ve tasted before
as if my emptiness were not perfect yet and I were
ready to let everything ride on a single throw of my skull
up against the wall just to see what falls out of its own will,
or change my species once in a while. Over-reaching
perhaps, spiritual pleonaxia, something amiss with my heart
or maybe I just don’t want to be left behind, resigned
to an expanding universe I can’t keep up with.

Things are as they are. It’s clear. My mind’s a hawk
with the blinders off. I’ve thawed the diamond.
Enlightenment flows through my heart like electricity.
I’m shining. I don’t need a star to find my way home in the dark.
I can look upon the earth demonically.
I can see it through the eyes of the angel.
But the fireflies have taught me all they have to share.
And the lightning looks like a slacker compared
to the discipline I exact from myself just to
shock me out of the old growth forest in my heartwood
like a chainsaw, despite the nails I’ve hammered into it
like a crucifix without a saviour, an ark without a sail.

Though I’ve beamed like the full moon out over the harvest
the bounty of life never quite fills me all the way up to the brim.
I’m always a drop shy of my longing for completion,
as if there were always a crack in the cup I drank from.
And this agony has summoned me for years
from as far back as my beginningless beginnings
like a bell that swings both ways between sex and death
and though I answer it like the s.o.s. of a lapwing
by the time I get there, it’s irrevocably gone
as if it were just a ruse that were leading me on.
Deeper into life? Though what I make of it, like the stars,
I make alone? No trysts on the rainbow bridge at midnight?
No god to rejoice in these works of love within me?
No abyss to delight in the sheer absurdity of it?

A gleeman, a jester, a sacred clown, a morose fool,
a mystic, a scholar, a sailor that went down with the ship
just to stay true to the spirit of the storm within me,
an open doorway for the dead to come and go as they please,
an astronomical prodigy, an optician of mirrors and prisms,
a cowboy Zen master who rode into town on a seahorse,
a poet living on the edge of the word that thrives like weeds
around the graves in the cemeteries of the dead metaphors
I’m always digging up like a dog who buried a bone.
A gardener on the moon, an usher of history, a lover
who learned to sing like a martyr in the flames
of a gnostic heresy that gave up all its claims to knowledge,
a triviality that mentored the grand scheme of things
in the mystic specificity of not just the cosmos,
but the chaos under our noses as well, and all these avatars,
this pageant of characters I look back on now
like a children’s crusade, consumed like straw dogs
in the fires of their adoration, and the smoke they left
like a script on the air, unencompassed by any direction of prayer.

A lunar mirage behind a veil of heat, a delusion of water
I raise to the lips of the man on the moon to drink slowly
from his own hands, and the mouth of the man he sees in them.
I hang on a hook through my gut in the air and speak
in tongues of pain nemetic forecasts of the New Year
as a volunteer for the mystic excruciation of agony into bliss,
without insisting that it should be so, and each time
I say next year that’s going to be effortless, but it never is.
I’ve tried denying it to win its affirmation.
I’ve tried affirming it to have it issue a denial
and still it haunts my solitude like a mute siren I can’ t resist.
And don’t want to hear. And don’t want to listen to.
This undemanding imperative to live more deeply, more darkly
than I ever have before such that all my dragons
are diminished into fireflies at a distance by comparison
trying to burn their way out of the blackholes
I enter like a rite of passage I can’t do anything but trust
to the other side of why I risk so much to be here.

I can hear the wind howling through me like a wounded wolf
cauterizing its heart with stars. No mercy on the mountain,
I steel my blood cells with the carbon of old extinctions
and eat the pain, gnawing on a bone in my mouth.
Praying to my own echo for silence, cessation, release,
without taking a step backward over the edge of where I came from.
Let it come, let it come, let it come, encounter or collision the same,
exit or entrance, gate, wall, consummation or the upper limit
of it all just before it turns into a windfall of beginner’s luck
and I’m the chance it takes I’m not playing dice with the universe.
That there’s more to learn from a curse than a blessing.
That all this isn’t just an agonizing farce of humourless shadows,
non-spatial impersonalities slowly being humanized
by life masks of scar tissue as a way of facing up to things.
That a calling isn’t just a matter of putting up a plaque
to commemorate the garden life was first introduced to time in.
That humans weren’t just born to be sundials of the flesh.
That suffering is a dark enlightenment that’s mother of the stars
and compassion tastes of the tears of the tree it ripened on.
That ego isn’t the king of thorns in a world full of balloons.

Or if so. A rose is a mere rhetorical device of the blood
and there’s nothing beautiful about a puncture wound
to a mythically-inflated universe waiting for a heart transplant.
That art’s just the phoney climax of an unbearable impotence
that breeds cunning and guile as an antidote to spontaneity
and it’s an indictable offence to bear true witness
to the untenable relationship between the fiction of beauty
and the delirium of meaning that follows in its wake
like gulls behind a river barge of surgically removed body parts
being dumped out at sea like bad meat down a neighbour’s well.
Anomie. Ennui. Menses and memes of homogenous angst. Normalcy
of reflexive desecration. Solipsistic nihilism. Home-grown anarchy.
Gnats in the dusk. Frenzied star clusters. Saddles without horses
lined up seriatim along the fence like the pelvises of extinct animals
waiting to get asked to the dance by a water ballet of wheelchairs.
Schools of thought slyly amended by X-box.
Heavily armed poets buying bad ammunition for their books
and the clarity of a life that was never there to return to
going through violent paroxysms of withdrawal in de tox.

Locusts dying in the starfields they swarmed like civilization.
Mary, Mary, quite contrary, how does your garden grow?
I’m out here in the weeds, ploughing the moon back under.
Let the seeds fall where they will on any night of the calendar.
Intense heat. Unusual sprouts. I’m not a hunter, not a farmer.
No ploughshares beaten into swords, no swords into bells.
I don’t read meanings into what I sow like dragons’ teeth,
open gates to let things in and out or through.
I was an exile in progress the day before I was born
to be returned to my solitude like a waterclock
of siloes and urns on the moon scattering my ashes
among the stars that bloom to be consumed by their hunger,
as it is becoming increasingly clear to me I do
like a salmon leaping upstream against the flow of time,
to spoonfeed the abyss an elixir of remedial eyes.




Shall we dance, shall we spin and wheel, hesitate, advance,
stall and recover, whirl like maple keys, and blow
the ashes of the starmaps we burned like passports
out of the palms of our hands to shine like dandelions
on an eye to eye level with the light they bloom in?
Sister Lunacy, I watch you uprooting your garden usefully
and shaking the stars out of the clumps of grass
as if you caught Medusa smuggling diamonds in her hair,
and I say such is woman when she forgets to be aware of herself,
and the goddess comes down to earth with dirty fingernails,
a gazelle in rubber boots. And no flower of the field,
no planet in the sunset, no eyelash of the moon over a barn
quite adorns the twilight the way her numinosity does.

And I want to take her by the hand like a binary star system
and circle one another like two hawks in the sky
until the night cools and the loons pack up their keyboards
and the stars work the graveshift on into the early hours
of the forthcoming dawn as if the end of all their labour
were extinction in a deluge of light
that doesn’t recognize any of them by name. Shall we dance,
shall we let the picture-music carry us away
like a word that hasn’t hurt us in a long time,
shall we gather wild rice in the holds of our birch bark canoes
as if we were threshing jewels on the shallow end of the lake,
or do you just want to walk the Road of Ghosts with me awhile
and see what blooms along the way, sunflowers and waterlilies
opening up like observatories and prophetic skulls
with a penchant for looking at things the same way?

Sister Lunacy, be kind to the mandalas and paradigms
I bring you like dreamcatchers woven of spinal cords
like tree rings of heartwood, ripples of rain, the net of Indra
where you mark one jewel and they’re all marked.
Or as Jesus said, insomuch as you do it unto one of these,
you do it unto me, and everyone thought he was special.
As if he owned gravity and everyone had shares.
It’s a radical act to come like a sweetness to ripen
the heart of a human that’s stayed green too long.
Just as you and I know madness is the quickest way
of never getting it wrong and if you’re going to argue
do it in song, don’t exorcise the answer
out of the person who possesses it and bid it be gone.
You can’t post a bond against a ghost.
Myriad guests of the mind, but seldom a host to speak of.
And Sister Lunacy you speak as if you were letting
a thousand voices all at the same time use you
as if they had no other mother tongue of their own,
and somehow it comes across as what you had to say.

So I’m asking you now. Do you want to dance,
do you want to bend space the way a body moves,
reshape the universe in its own image, abberate
a few wavelengths into falling out of synch like damp hair licks?
And I’d remember to remember that only horses sweat
and read your aura by the glow of the hot dew on your face.
After the last lifemask comes off, nothing but space.
Nothing but imaginative room to move as if there were nowhere
we needed to go and we didn’t feel bad about it.
We just went off into the ongoing like everything else
that’s looping and coiling its way through time,
a fragility of the air, caterpillars swaying in the wind
at the end of a fishing line tied to the allure of a butterfly.
Don’t be fooled by the vertebrae, everyone’s flying kites
at the end of a long spine when the air revs up.
You can see them tangled in the powerlines of their ancestors.

Sky burials without altars. Road kill. Cheap cremations.
The whole panoply of the tragically absurd.
But here, sister, here volcanoes still strew
islands in their wake and the birds keep arriving with seeds
and coconuts still wash ashore like prophetic skulls
you’re free to believe or not, and the air tastes like emeralds.
Here you could mentor the stars in their myths of origin
as you made them up to honour some quirk in your character
and they began to speak of you as their dark mother.
And nobody need know what you mean when you spoke to me
about those things that encroached on your silence inside.
I know how to listen for dissonant sounds in the night.
I can hear the falling of a single eyelash of light
when the moon goes out, the footfall of a spider on the stairs.
Sister Lunacy, should I take your hand, shall we dance
to the picture-music that overtakes us unawares,
you with your dark tears, and mine so far in arrears?