Tuesday, June 5, 2012



House full of spirits, suffering ones, dead flies
punctuate the way
your lives have settled
on the windowsills of an indifferent eternity;
as foretold, the wind
has raked up your footprints like leaves,
and your smile no longer denudes the rose,
not even a rag of flesh
to sop up your exquisite tears.

And still, no one understands your pain,
no one sits around your heart,
the raging blue fire of your fragrant grief
trying to water your eyes like gardens.

And the brides move like waves
without a sea, the shadows of young horses,
and love that promised so much
down on its knees at the end of a wharf
that never led anywhere,
thistled into hatred and smouldering suicide,
and blood that rattled its chains at the moon,
and the years passed without remark
as if the measure of a life
were a butter knife and a French carnation.

Late at night, when the town sleeps,
when every thought
falls like the feather of a passing bird
or a pellet of bitter rain against the weeping glass,
as if the unrighteous were being stoned
by those without sin, I feel you
looking for your passage back through me,
as if you would adorn my voice
with the phantom bells of a forgotten joy
you never told anyone about,
as if you would add the ghost down
of your aimless autumn
to the warmth and moisture of my breath,
and flavour the air
with the subtle auroras, the secret dawns
of your quiet dispersals,
the petal of a blind candle
shedding its light
with every exhalation.

Take what you need,
the sorry cargo
of what you are able to carry;
and even if I don’t know what room
I am the door to,
what window I look through,
use me as your small hunger suggests,
the feast and silo of your unknown needs,
the penumbral gardens of the world next door
that never turns the music up loud.

I will leave myself out
like a portion of the garden
after harvest
for the birds who must winter forever
on a dead branch stiff with time.

And I will not ask about you;
I will not look into your eyes
as if I leaned over the wall of a well
to listen for how far the pebble I wished on
more out of habit than faith
had to fall before it drowned
in the shapeshifting starmaps of your watershed.
Be what you are, the fragrance
of the lingering rose in stale lace,
the hesitation in the shadows of intenser forms,
I ask nothing of you
and expect even less.

I have my own solitudes to cultivate,
the business of being human to get on with,
and beasts at the gate
who stutter like hinges,
energies darker and older than coal,
begging me to be the one
to carry my corpse the rest of this journey
that lies still in its coils
waiting for the last breath,
the last murmurous pulse
to quit my poor body.

Even among faces and hands,
even on the abandoned street
nodding disarmingly
at the suspicious outcasts
ostracized by plaster rooms
and hooded for hanging
in the doorways that I pass,
I am driftwood on a remote and lonely beach,
the bone of a thousand island storms,
each a transfiguration of my heart
rounded out in the brutal tides
and undertows of sorrow.

And the hands of the clock
don’t point at numbers anymore
but shine radiantly in all directions
as if the hour were a vivid gypsy
trying to dance the truth away.

And no one knows more
than the old, wooden office chair
I’m sitting in
as if I were enthroned by the life
of my own mind,
what it is I’ve been doing all these years
stuffing symbols like fortune cookies,
the vulva and wombs
of chromosomatic destinies
every one of which I’ve had to eat and live
before I could read the whisper of blood
that it was written in.

I could have made chairs,
I could have fixed shoes,
nailing on new heels with tacks and stars,
buffing the night with a spin of a brush,
I could have proposed propositions
about propositions,
and been a teacher, I suppose,
toiled at something simple
and recognizably purposeful;
nibbled nocturnally at a salad of money
when the garden was left until the morning
to the shy and the discrete.

But I was a rage
of arrogance, lies, and delusion,
I was black lightning that sneered at repose,
and any notion of the heart was justified
that stoked the furnace with the dead.

And I had to know what love was
and the damp star under the leaf
of a woman’s body,
and oblivions that tasted of honey and chalk,
and the suggestive familiars of a darkness
rich with the ores of a stranger’s voice
feathered with the light
of unknown constellations
extinct as the dice of a crucial gamble.

Enamoured of the eloquence
of the rarest paradoxes and absurdities,
considering the nature of the sea
I lived beside, and the moon
that edged her crescents on the anvil of my heart,
and the agony of being alive
that I could not overcome, the unanswerable emptiness
that always stands like the last syllable
at the deltas of the silence,
before I enter the unimpeachable abyss of its wisdom
like a falling tower
trying to bridge the infinite
by skipping mystic stones out over the sea,
and the way I always splinter into tears
like the eyes of a message in a glass bottle
that bobs at my feet to tell me I am lost and cast away,
what else could I be, born
with this talent for autumn, but a poet?




Feel like there’s a beast in the darkness
eating my eyes.
I’m a moon-bull
at a crossroads of solar swords
down on it knees
hemorrhaging like a poppy.
And there are constellations
I’ve never heard before
playing the harp of my horns
with pensive fingertips.
How strange this rag of life
soaked in tears and blood is.
Everything dies like a snowflake on a furnace,
a rock on an autumn mountain,
no two the same.
There are nights, there are
vigils of darkness
when the mirror can no longer bear
the weight of this feather of fire,
this vision of life
that estranges the spirit
of those who love it most
like a funeral bell
that once drank to the folly of love.
I am a snakepit of lightning
knotted in a glacier of ice
and every emotion
is the undertow of the tide in a sea of eyes
on the cold skull of the moon,
every thought, a stone lifeboat
inundated by the waves
it’s convinced it’s saving from drowning.
Once I was the dupe
of my own ideals,
now I am the master of none.
This far into the abyss
you forget the name of the god
you died in the name of;
you have squandered your certainty
on greater and greater risks,
the enciphered lotteries of mythic necessity,
only to discover,
though you traversed eras like deserts
that made a skull of your faith,
the donkeys have eaten all the mangers,
and there is as much radiance in the eye
of the dead serpent on the road
as there is the eyelash of a star.
A tear is not a fountain of seeing,
nor a drop of blood, a rose.
How rare the sword in its silence
among all these chatty scissors at war
trying to cut along the dotted lines
of their border highways
crammed with refugees
they once called lovers,
the horizon slashed
and bleeding like a letter.
I want to calculate the half-life of pain;
the pillar of ore it calls home;
the elemental devolution of its atomic evictions
into the leaden passion of a base metal.
I want to know what I’ve turned into.
I want to know what’s making the stars
throw down their spears of light at my feet
though my heart’s out in the open
like a voodoo doll
waiting for a donor transplant.
I want to see myself
opening a door in the mirror
to someone with absolute eyes
irrevocable as yesterday’s rain.
Let the star know
the flower it engenders;
let the rose
taste its own honey.
Blind in a dream; blind,
what light roots in the darkness
that I should want to
throw off this robe of blood like a sky
to slip through the eye of the needle
that binds the seams of this world
like a bird
with the single thread of a life in its beak,
washed out of God’s eye
like a firefly snuffed
in a torrential downpour of stars?
Why am I
always one heart too many
over the threshold of the truth
I had to leave home to discover?
Am I a hoax in tears
or a tear away from a gate and a rafter?
Let the wave know the sea
that packs its caravan on the moon,
let the silence of the waking abyss
write indelible preludes
with a last kiss
that goes on forever
like the white autumn wind
in a turmoil of seeds
that demonically exceed
the life they’re after,
flower by flower,
death by death
like the pulse of a bell
setting the doves free
in the towers of farewell.
It’s the eloquence of a tree
to say what life is
when the full moon ripens
in its leafless branches
and the heart beats
like a windfall of silver apples,
though I have tried,
but love is a bridge
on a finger of water
that not even the moon
can slip off like a ring
when the wind rises
like a gaping fish
to swallow the chimes and eyehooks
of its matriculate ripples.
And with each breath of the night
I took and returned,
I have aspired to succeed
at every failure I was ever inspired by.
I raised every sail,
crossed every wave,
every eyelid, every petal
of the sea of life
in the heart of the rose
only to drop the first crescent of the moon
like an anchor
in the furnace of a dream.