Saturday, June 9, 2012



No shelter for the heart, the wind
is a wound of torn birds.
Too long in the dark
the star blooms without eyes.

I break a vow of silence with my solitude
and poems materialize
like lifeboats on the moon
in a sea of shadows.

I light my last candle
and the darkness in the room
holds a black mass for what I’ve lost.

Sensitive as a window
the sky changes like a mood ring
and my muse is an albino chameleon in eclipse.

I keep an abacus of skulls
to remind me what year it is
but the hours go by
like pilgrims to their death
and I can’t relate to this eternal view of things.

The ghosts are used to me by now.
I keep the spiderwebs at bay in the corners.
I teach those who died young the names of the stars.
I remain undiverted by death
as the lesser of two differences.

And what do I know of love
I wish I didn’t when the longing returns
to come down like a hard rock from the mountain
into the valley like a rogue foundation stone?

My memories are all the first drafts
of lives I’ve scrapped like bad addictions.
I made a bad play
out of my encyclopedic sorrows
and closed it on opening night as a farce
and everyone on stage applauded for an encore.

Leave a gate open and I’ll walk through it.
Otherwise I’m the stranger at the fence.
I’m passing by. I’m where the road
runs out into the wilderness
and I won’t stop until I’m irrevocably lost.
I’ve decultified myself from my identity.
Even my own mind doesn’t recognize me.
But I’m one of the sacred clowns of words.
I jest with the sublimities of the absurd
to outwit the pain of going mad without a loss of face
or losing my voice to the echo of a death mask.

I sit in the dark like a fire that’s tired of dancing.
I’ve forsaken mystics to hang on to my senses
and I can see colours through my fingertips
that only the boney keyboards of the blind can imagine.

I’m a high-browed home-spun lunatic in a looping universe.
Profound as play, I hone my hunting skills
by painting magical trances on my skull wall
where the slayers lie among the slain
as if an explanation belittled the mystery
of lovers flint knapping the moon into spearheads
to sanctify the rose of blood they both live by.

What’s madness but a diversified neglect of sanity
in the name of counter-intuitive inanities
that break open like Zen fortune-cookies sometimes
or the koans of cosmic eggs giddy with the bliss
of kensha, satori, enlightenment, moksa, the blaze,
for turning your mind over at last like a white stone
to see what lived under it, with lives of their own.

Who says you can take your freedom too far
for the chains to reach? I’ve dragged the whole prison
along with me at times when I had to,
happy to die like an alarm of futile compassion
in an air raid of pre-emptive meteor strikes
trying to chip a diamond in the rough away
from its own image of shining. I was
choosey at the beginning of my entrance,
but the exit’s one size fits all like your next of kin.

I like being astronomical about my intimacy
with the women who cherish the boyish charms
of my effortless buoyancy in avoiding black holes
by never sinking into them like a cue ball,
though there’s no need to mention this
like an old planetismal theory I abandoned
for the more random action of aberrant orbits.

Not very acquisitive, I haven’t accumulated
the brittle polyps of a lunar barrier reef
to keel haul the moon when she’s riding low
over the extinct lava beds of her last rapture
for the cost of an atmosphere and the loss of an ocean.
I’m dog paddling in space without a life jacket on.

People look for words to express their feelings.
I’ve had to transmute a whole new grammar
out of the stem cells of my voice just to
hear myself think without anyone else talking for me.
So you fussed with language over a lifetime?
And you reek of poetry like a cheap cologne
you synthetically distilled from your garden of transplants
not wholly adapted to the soil they grow in
though you’ve uprooted all the weeds to the letter.
But what’s that compared to speaking in tongues
people haven’t been born to speak yet?

You can only write about so much life
as has mastered you at first sight
and if none of your emotions is crazed with hunger
the winners don’t get to plead for a second chance.
The garden is torched by dandelions.
The hydra-headed hollyhocks are toppled by the wind.

I exalt in the liberty of an unattainable excellence.
I fail greatly at everything I achieve.
I believe in what makes the night bird sing
as if its longing weren’t a secret the aspens
didn’t keep to themselves. I can see
no purpose to autumn, no clear reason for spring.
Whenever I forgo my intention, I accomplish
so much more than I could assess in a lifetime.

Never had a thought that wasn’t shadowed by a feeling
but I’ve never resorted to espionage
given my awareness is intelligent space
and the clouds of unknowing soon dissipate into stars.
I don’t look for periodicity in the clock of the rain.
The puncture wounds of childhood outgrow their scars
like expanding universes hype the Big Bang.
I build telescopes out of broken windowpanes
unaligned with the axis of the earth.
I made a quantum leap of faith into the unexplained.
I’ve got a unified field theory I call my mind.
I’m the remaining eye of a delusion that illuminates reality.
Just like a star. By the time you see it, it’s left you behind.




Expecting the worst because it is always now
and now is always the downfall of time,
the doomstroke of the present pulse
that goes off like an alarm clock in the grave
that no one will wake up to
but a lonely few raving in their sleep
feverish with dream, I look upon
the tribulation of the willow beyond tears,
the fury of the flagellant pines
that thrash the troubled air to keep from breaking,
the garbled flight plans of the veering birds,
and, prophet of the obvious, presage
the coming of a storm to break you
like a mirror of stagnant water
on the meteoritic thrones
of your igneous foundation stones.

Were you elected by the stars
to skull the earth with bombs,
to crater, gouge and scorch the playgrounds
of the obsolete children
waiting in their makeshift hospitals
for arms you tore from them like daisies; “she
loves me; she loves me not,” until
the night pours metal in their eyes
to seed the fire-fruits of their flowering
that has suddenly matured
in front of the guns and cameras
into a windfall of silent, acrid hearts
buried like landmines in the dazzling road
of their scorned flesh?

And they die for oil, they die
for the corporate spiders pulling the strings
of the Punch and Judy puppet governments
that tour the morgues like spring;
for bridges and contractors, power-lines
and power lunches, foreign policies
that brain them like the jawbone of an ass
they die, in their pyjamas, in their beds,
a kiss goodnight, and their prayers
imploring the disconnected dark to enlarge
the acceptable quotas of civilian dead
like the posters of the martyrs
on the walls of their rooms
shaken by the distant thunder
of computer-guided patriots and prophets
cooking their cities like God. And tomorrow
and tomorrow and tomorrow they die
in twisted, tormented convulsions
of agony and baffled blood they die and die,
learning to read and count
the names and years of their relatives
in the liberated souks of democratic cemeteries, alif
beh teh theh jim, F-l8, they master their lessons
and die in their thousands
because an executive cabal of miserable old men
with platitudes and prosthetic missiles for dicks
are into kiddie-porn snuff flicks
and biblical memoirs of all they begot
for the providence and profits
that redress the way they rot.
Acknowledging that this is not a hallmark greeting card,
I put it to you in the name
of your own enlightened self-interest,
in the name of a heart that isn’t
congested with a fashionable indifference,
in the name of a natural decency
that doesn’t need a teacher, in the name
of the families you came from
and the families you work for,
the daughter that falls asleep with you on the couch
like an island in the eye of a hurricane, the son
who listens to everything you say
as if he were kicking through bushels of autumn leaves
and then steals your car keys,
and your half-estranged wife, hoping
you’ll notice her hair-do at dinner, your mother,
the evangelist of baby pictures, and your father
softly overgrown like an old stone wall;
in the name of teen-age lovers
and their sophomoric glues, in the name
of calcium postal-clerks who smile
like Easter seals; in the name of iron men
with empty wallets, in the name
of the huge, lonely roses in all night bars
that bloom like scabs on the moon and know
they’re not pretty, in the name of physicists
and cabdrivers with chunks of quantum hash,
in the name of the angry crossroads in the singer’s voice,
in the name of the name of the insecure poet
whose last word fell like a drop of water
from a trembling blade of stargrass, I put it to you
because you are not a toad in front of a football game,
because you are not
a pebble-minded cosmetician in a delirium of pink, because
even in a shopping-mall you can feel and bleed and think,
and though you may be slow, you’re thorough
when it comes to putting on new brakes,
and though I know you don’t know what I mean
when I tell you that even the rocks, even
the rarest of ores we draw from the earth
like secret kings and artificial hearts
are freaked with seams of mystic gangrene
that will sever us like bells of blood
from the gardens of the gods we hope for,
rotten hinges from the gates,
bad meat from the starwells; you’re seer enough
to intuit the theme. It’s not about honey,
it’s about lies and death and money
devouring families like yours; it’s about
rich men gigantic with greed
and nations of thugs and thieves
infesting the earth like maggots in an abbattoir,
manipulating what everyone believes,
defaming the weak and the poor, war after war,
to glut themselves on more and more and more
until all of life is nothing but a toxic insight,
and there are children everywhere tonight
making the news, hoping
they’ll need their shoes in the morning,
bleeding through their bandages like dawn.

Famine, disease, war, poverty and ignorance,
under what sign was this planet born
that this should be the birthmark of black stars
that forsake the constellation
burning like a kite
tangled in the powerlines?
And do not tell me these abominations, these
ominous eclipses of the heart
that fit the skull with lichens and cataracts
sunspots, polar caps and death shroud victory flags
are the labour of mineral casinos
playing the sluts and slots of chance
for a material immortality composing sexual requiems
on the keyboards of our genes.

These are the smiles of old scythes,
rusted and bloody,
that reap what they do not sow,
the chronic harvest of blood, bone, tears and flesh
threshed by the rotating blades of the moon;
these are the wounds and gashes,
the indecipherable science and scripture of scars
that stroke the lunar fury of the wild boars who plough with tusks,
the salt and lime and ashes that spice
the tasteless, eyeless, childless grave
with famous reasons for murder. These
are the ballroom courtesies of dancing cannibals,
these are the mothering headphones
of a twenty year old tank commander
who smothers the screams of casual children
in his video line of fire
with the curative gasolines of American rock and roll.
These are the occult imperatives
of cosmic ghouls whose mouths
are roses of blood, whose idols and ethics
are praying mantises dismembering the world,
tent-caterpillars and locusts
blighting the leaf and the grain
with the eggs and afterlives of imperial insects.
These are the arcane scales
of old serpents sloughing skins
like epochs and empires and straitjackets
that couldn’t contain the life within
the market gardens of original sin, these
are the hinges of its gaping jaws
and these the fangs and poisons
of its septic laws undone like lynch pins
to take the whole world in, disgorging again
the used condoms, the withered shells
of the nations and nests they’ve plundered.

Let the blind ambassador
whose morals are as breezy as his teeth
number the spoon-fed nightmares
propped up like dolls in unnegotiated corners,
their glass eyes open for keeps
like guide dogs at the fatal intersections
of dark, delinquent streets
that only the children cross,
hysterical in sleep. Let him explain
to the pillows of the children in the furnace
why their feathers will never make a bird that flys;
let him explain to the bracelets and bells,
the twilight of hair in the comb,
the glacial sages preserved in the cracks of the mirror,
the drowned lumber of mothers
dismantled by violent coasts, their children
snagged like cod in the purses of political fishing nets,
why death is the only guarantor of human liberty,
let him choose his words carefully
as if he were loading a gun with birthday candles,
let him drop seedlings in the bullet holes
and talk of future forests gleefully
to the press corps generals
spewing pulp fiction like chainsaws in a feeding frenzy.
Let him mark well the small graves in the footnotes
of his text, the fragile starmaps of braille
that will later come forward like witnesses
to accuse his sterling composition
of the mountainous corals of the dead,
all the polyp people that he brained into stone bread.

And when like death he’s out of a job,
let him run eagerly door to door
delivering newspapers to the mob
like personal resumes, or let him carve gravestones
for unofficial children
on the dead letterhead of his own.
Then take the presidents, the bankers,
the ministers, executives, and pimps
equipped with the long spoons and supple shovels
of their death-divining tongues
and let them dig like star-nosed moles
deep holes in the earth for the corpses of the young,
black poppies in the shadow of a white-washed bloodhouse
enthroned on a summit of dung.