Thursday, June 7, 2012



When I was a child
I was uprooted like a weed of lightning
and cast like a dead snake
on a festering heap of garbage.

I was angry before I knew
what anger was;
and ever since
radical dismissals
have cored the diamond drills
of their vacuity into my heart,
sudden abandonments
for no reason; the wind
slamming the door on my fingers,
rejection repealing
the flawed doctrine of my skin.

Pariah, poet, exile, outlaw, heretic,
I was passed a shard
of the broken jug of the moon
like an ostrakon
and then the stern angels
painted an X in my own blood
on the door of my house
to ward me off like plague.
I was a child. I was hurt. I was broken.
I became a law
and enforced my acceptance
with the authority of my rage.

Turned inside out
like a dirty sock
or a black hole,
and every second-hand future
the donors ever tried out on me
to see if they could find one
that fit like a straitjacket,
a catastrophe,
I put my mouth to the sky
like a glassblower
to enlarge a space of my own over me
like a planet
rummaging through a wardrobe of atmospheres
until I could give my secret consent
to the stars that shone down upon me
like a wounded bull
in a labyrinth of alleys
and were so inhumanly far away
I was purged like a soiled surgical utensil
in the intensity of their heat.

I was wholly and serenely me.
I found acceptance
in the delicate rainfall
of their enlightened indifference
and made up new constellations
to substitute for the family tree
that had been ripped open
like a zipper of lightning
and left to stand alone on the hill,
a smouldering taboo.

I traced my bloodlines back
to the elemental anvils and forges of iron
that hammered me out
like the relentless metal of a sword
in their fire wombs
and endowed me
with the magmatic pump of a volcanic heart.
I lived alone
in the torrential eras of the early earth,
and swam through noxious seas
of sulphur and methane,
shedding my gills
like the petals of a rose
for scales and horns and feathers and claws
and the accoutrements of armour
I wore like the shale of impossible rivers.

I was raised on an island in a sea
that tore its own eyes out
storm after storm.
I had a mother.
She suffered.
I had brothers and sisters.
They were degraded by alcohol and lies.
And I have had children of my own since
but they have gone out into the world alone
and the miles don’t smile much between us.

And I have laboured for years
to achieve the unacceptable
to turn the reek and rot of the swamp
into a dress rehearsal of waterlilies
getting ready to go on tour
among the stars
to manage something true and beautiful
that might prove this mauling darkness
that prowls all around me
like my own predatory intelligence, wrong.
I have laid my bumbling tribute,
this eloquence of eyes,
at the foot of the blood-stained altars of the world
as if the giving were the last protest
of a compensating heart
trying to crush the agonized ore
of its ancient deficiency,
the lunar slag of my childhood,
into the glowing wine of a mystic metal
as supple as blood,
as cool and rare
as water at night in the desert.

Like a mad hermit
scraped and tanned
by my own austerities
in these godless wastes
where even a man alone
is a crowd
that trespasses on the solitude.
I have flayed my skin with comets
and waited for millennia
like the afterlife of a pyramid
for these demonic ferocities
of salt and sand
to release me like a river,
to open my fist like a hand
and show me the cities I’ve founded
along the banks of my hemorrhaging lifeline.

But now I realize
that it’s all been just a boy’s dream,
an angry child
trying to fly a kite
in the roaring furnace of his heart
just to prove it could be done,
just to prove
by contesting the implausible
he was just like everyone.

Now let the soft ash
bury him gently in his dream,
and the lightning that rooted in his eyes
be inscribed on the night sky
like a neon epitaph.

Let him not fall
like a drop of spite
from the tongue of the leaf
that is urged like the feather of a green wing
by the summoning stars
that have gathered around
the empty lifeboat of his grave
to enshrine his ashes with theirs.

Let him pass like a squall of light,
an urgency of the night
that shook the tree to its roots
until it raved like a woman in ecstasy
with forbidden galas of wonder.

Now I know
for all that he suffered,
for all that he bore like an ox
under the whips of the shadowmasters
that yoked him to a wheel without a road,
his heart, a rusty oil drum
glutted like a backyard incinerator
with the half-burnt pages
of the obsolete encyclopedia
he committed to the flames like his life,
he was only a black snowflake,
an arctic error
in a glacial blizzard of misery,
a manger of fire in a hovel of ice
with nothing to burn but himself.

And I shall miss him like an era,
the igneous ripening of his last eclipse
sloughed like a skin of the moon
and honour him with tears
that will fall like eyes
from the dragon’s watershed.
Was there ever a poet or sage or fool
who wasn’t verified by their failure?

But it’s as clear as cruelty
that he must go,
that the private constellations
he hung like spiderwebs and flies
in the corners of the room
must be swept by the trees
like dust across the distant threshold of the hills,
and the sail of a starless sky
rise like a black dove
from the boat of his hands
and surveying the eyeless abyss before it
never come back.

When I first opened my eyes,
there was a darkness in the room
that outshone the light,
and when I opened my mouth
to give voice to the dreams of the dead,
for all that I have sung and said,
it was only the wind
swinging like a lonely child
on an unlocked gate.

And lastly I opened my heart,
the deepest bunker of my heart,
as if my pulse were a stranger knocking
on the outside to be let in
and I let her in
as if I played host to the world,
and she taught me how to leave.




Crazy, sunny day outside, blue sky,
and my shadow’s got me in a choke-hold
so I can barely breathe. I’m wrestling
with the black angel in the way, my own vacuity,
the absurdity of the burning gate that affronts my emptiness.
I’m in a truce with a room that tolerates me well enough.
Sometimes a hush falls over it like a nuclear winter
or somebody’s about to read a poem,
but it’s got big windows, and it’s safer
living above people than it is on eye-level
and I don’t mean that in any kind of way
except everyone’s afraid and that’s when
they’re at their most dangerous. But you can
see them coming from afar off from a second storey.

Most days I’ve got a fix on what I’m doing.
I follow the star in my eye. Portable north.
I lay my strange gifts of refuse and lucidity
on the temple stairs of a goddess I’m beginning
to lose my faith in, and as far as I can tell they’re cherished.
Wonder what it would be like to send a muse packing for once.
Ungenderize inspiration, be the wellspring, instead
of drawing from it with a desert at your back
eyeing you from the crests of the sand dunes.
But how would you get the flavour of sex
into a bottle of water without it
souring into a message for help?

Even the salmon-flaked brick walls
of the chic boutique across the street
that caters to witches and fairies, seem bleak
behind their facade, with a darkness fairies can’t people.
Utter black, impenetrable, unregenerative,
and every petal of sunshine, trivially epiphenomenal,
every gust of stars that wheels into a galaxy
like the evolutionary emergence of birds,
neither the cause nor the effect of anything cognizant.
Life just the flimsiest of distractions
on the skin of a bubble walking on thorns.
There’s a black hole in my heart
that’s lapping blood from the rose.

I’m trying to upgrade my eyes to be able to relate to it.
I’m cloning eclipses out of the stem cells of the night.
I’m grinding lenses out of anthracite, colour cones
without irises or chromatically aberrated rainbows.
I’m transplanting the eyes of all my dead flowers
with black diamonds on the same wavelength
as the X-ray star I can sense shining behind everything
that ever mattered to me, to achieve some kind
of nefarious harmony with the unilluminated doorway
that is neither the exit nor the entrance of being.

Everybody seems mesmerized by the temperance of the day,
all the things they’ve seen before, they’re looking at again,
as if the light could ever be new in yesterday’s eyes,
but I’m inside the seeing like a dragonfly in a chrysalis
trying to pass through this black hole
into an entirely new world that isn’t
just another sketchy metaphor for this one.
I want to see the roots the blossom’s wired to
if at all. Or if it’s just one big disconnect
and all understanding is playing unplugged
like a downed powerline with the oracular powers
of a snake-oil salesman selling holy water to the fish.

Disoriented in the starlessness of the blazing afternoon,
I’m waiting like an image of the imageless
for the darkness to adjust to my eyes as if this time
it was up to God to get used to me, and evolve accordingly
and there were no other recourse for getting around me
except creatively. Except to tell the Hox genes
where to put your eyes, where to fit your mouth
in that lifemask that disguises you like a surrealistic scar
grappling with experience with nothing but your innocence
to fall back on for an alibi no one accepts when you lose.

Farewell to all that. Evolution can take its cue
from me for a change, and branch out dendritically
like a flash of lightning rooted in my starmud like a cedar fire
sweeping underground through the valley I just passed through
like the mirage of a waterbird through
a shapeshifting hourglass of stars
that are not fixed, but protean myth givers responsive
to the darkest insights of the human imagination
that doesn’t create worlds in the likeness
of a preconceived image but each to their own medium
turns the light around on them like a revelation
of what they conceal like a jewel of water in their eyes.




The loneliest, most protean modes of madness
rage in my cells like nightmares in isolation
watching the fireflies dance through the bars
as a secret gesture from unknown, sympathetic stars
in a collusion of constellations to keep up with the times
and shuck off their old myths of origin
like the straight jackets of a fixed place,
debate whether the light-bending darkness is chaos or freedom
or the old heirarchies of seraphic emanations of insight
still trickle down like oracular snakes on burning ladders.

Now if I wanted this to mean something
I’d look for a precedent for the shadows that dart like birds
across the tunnel vision of my line of sight
and I’d drink from the same fountain where the leaves
lap their water like books full of experience
and I’d borrow light years from other men’s eyes
to verify my seeing may be new, but it’s sound.
I don’t have any use for knowledge
and that’s why it trusts me and let’s its hair down
as if there were nothing of any significance to impart
to the diamond-hearted translucency of an engaging madman
whose enlightenment sweats the details
in a fever of crazy wisdom that plays with his mind
like a child on the moon fascinated by the solitude of its intensity.

But you who can hear me in your blood without asking
will recognize me by the accent of light in my voice
and know that I don’t walk in the footprints of grammars
that wore down this trail like a carpet that wouldn’t fly away
until they got as far as they could vocally could
then turned home for good, as if that were the end of the tail
that began and ended like alpha in the mouth of omega.
But time sweeps eternity away like a waterclock in a deluge,
like chalk on a blackboard, a ferocity of jewels out of the eyes
of bitter ores that couldn’t see anything shining in the dark
by their own light like a fish out of the reach of the sun,
that became a lantern unto itself, a revelation
on its own wavelength that illuminated the depths
of a darkness deeper than light years are far
and there’s no way to divine a sign in the immaculate darkness
for a teacher or a star. Here where the ladders don’t reach
and there are no reflections of a higher clarity
all senses are intensified into one medium of perception
that doesn’t individuate the morphology of knowledge forms
your mind holds up like a black mirror to a chaos
of hidden harmonies that depend inexhaustibly upon you
to add your voice to a new species of seeing,
like a mutant gene that’s never been heard from before.

Even in a cage, my humanity is what’s measureless
about all things if you enter them deep enough to understand
you can’t drown in the mirage of your own emptiness
or badger the stars to break their vow of silence
without giving yourself away like a secret
everybody’s been keeping to themselves like tears
under their breath, in the wells of their heart,
in the dessicated watersheds of their art
with nowhere to fall but up into the nights within them.
The unattainable aspirations of a madman grasping at fireflies
like the cornerstones of a new palace of stars
that dance like chandeliers in the rain
to the timing of their musical visions in the night.

Among the journeymen who labour for lasting results
I do with great discipline exactly nothing,
masterfully done. And the picture-music is undeniably
perishable. I burn colours in the sun on a pyre of hawkweed
like the works of a dead chameleon evaporating
like a rainbow body that isn’t making promises to anyone
you’ll ever hear from it again, though mantras
echo through the mountains like the shrieking palettes
of wild birds revoking the ease of the nocturnal silence
with more vivid mixes of the hues in the eyes of crazy wisdom.
I make great leaps of disbelief into the abyss
off the ledge of a lover’s precipice into the emptiness
and my heels flower into wings and it feels
as if I’m departing at last like a hermit down a mountain
with a contemporary vision of my own empty immensity.