NO SHELTER FOR THE HEART
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.