Sunday, June 10, 2012



Don’t cover your eyes when the stars begin to fall; don’t
orphan your fire in a well. Your heart is not a museum of roses,
your love not a misdirected airdrop over a refugee camp.
Friend of these sidereal affinities we spread like table-cloths across space,
friend of these lonely silos in my eyes and this blood that breaks like bread,
still, you are the flower in the vase, impassioned, an urgent poppy.
All the blind librarians of the morning star agree
you are not who you say you are
when you show the shadows of authority your passport rainbow.
Sometimes the tongue of a forsaken seer dances like a drunk at a funeral
down the liberated allies of a sleeping ghetto
while the moon watches like a cat on a windowsill
high overhead. Shy bird feathered by your sudden flaring, your heart,
young and quick, darts easily from branch to branch
barely a presence behind the green jubilation
of a million silver leaves trembling with rain on the reborn tree.
Before the bird sings, we hear it. Before the star shines,
the night is fully enlightened. And home is always a bridge
where we wait to be rescued from hurling ourselves off
into our own desperate reflections. Let the fall save you.
You are the priestess in the shrine of mysterious apples,
sybil and empress of opulent oranges. No matter how many alphabets
enshroud the fairies in the legendary brilliance of ancient skies
and over the telephone cancel the sacred islands in their eyes,
your blood will bind them to this vital afterlife of now like fish
swimming through the flawed water palace
of a drowned engine. You can bet your lies on it;
your sorrows are not the face-paint of weeping clowns,
nor your natural humanity a moat around a zoo for dwindling dragons.
When you sprawl like a wave of wine across the living room floor,
unspooling the honey and gold of your body’s flower-mine,
I see orchards in your guitar, wheat fire,
the landscape of a small, borderless country
trying to decide which of all its trees should form a government.
Compassionate zero, water your only foundation stone,
you string a harp between your fangs
between the unblooded crescents of the moon
and sink your music deep into the heart of your astounded prey.
Little killer, don’t you know, little killer,
let me tell you,
the saints are crueler than the sinners, the virgins
cheaper than the whores, and reason in its nest of crows
a bird that never soars. Through dangerous doorways, under
lethal skies, the ghost dance of the blind tiger, the white faun
while the widows of light pawn their eyeless rings
in the brutal crucibles of dawn. You want some advice?
Only the great fools who plead for nothing
know all the words to the song.




You don’t come. Your absence is a guillotine. My heart
plummets from the altitude it risked in looking forward
to a day with you outside of time and circumstance, jumps
from the edge of paradise, the flat earth, the back
of a winged horse. You don’t come and such
is the nature of love
I go out of the plane not knowing
if I’ve got a parachute on and my heart
pulls the rip cord to see if there’s any salvation in the fall,
any flowers for me in the bag, morning glory
or dandelion seed, or this is just another
mode of acceleration to death. You don’t come
and my heart candles without a reserve,
I haven’t packed a spare dawn
and though I will make every effort to understand
there’s a grave waiting down below like an open mouth
and the void is laughing at the persistent folly
of my believing you would come,
and my fear of not being worthy of love anymore
sends my mendicant self-image out
wandering over thirteenth century Europe like some flagellant
on a pilgrimage of flogging, ribbons of blood running down my back
from salted wounds, and though I know
the expectation and the disappointment are both delusions,
birdshit on the claws of a sphinx, and I will try to be
intelligent and wise about the whole thing,
tugging my heart out like a garbage-scow into deep space
where it will be laced with explosives and scuttled once again,
and I will be awarded another paradoxical brownie-badge
by another scout-master Tibetan rinpoche
for knowing how to survive alone in this empty wilderness,
a tiger of will, a Viking of resolve,
an aging clown without children or laughter, a jester-king
officiating from the throneless butt of his own joke,
a poet with nothing to praise, a painter
with cataracts in the eye and flowers in the sky, I
know there is nothing I can tell myself, no spiritual weed
I can poultice over the vacancy that goes on forever
to draw out the infection from my heart, the gangrene
from the broken pillar of the foolish temple I erected
to serve the goddess in any of her lunar phases,
and though I struggle like a diminished thing to accept my dejection,
to imbibe the toxins from the left tit of the Medusa
while trying not to turn into stone, while trying
not to avert my eyes from this crone-form of the moon, let
Kali drink my blood, in the name of insight, clarity and courage,
good wolf, I know this, too, is delusion, another
projected holograph from the third eye of the pineal gland,
and kick the chair from under
the useless fruit of my head in a noose. Back to earth
without a heat shield. Impact. You don’t come
and your absence is filling up with people I like as far as I know
but don’t want to see, people who walk into
the sad forests of my solitudinous melancholy with chain-saws
for conversation, stupid lost bored people who just can’t help it,
looking for cigarettes and companionship in the life-boat,
the leper-colony, stars on the Titanic, and I am compelled up
from the depths of my cosmic despair like a white whale in a holding pen
to jump for the tourists, make a big splash, make
anything happen to amuse them, and I try, I honestly try, regretting
even the shabby sincerity of my own incapacitated efforts to love them
by pulling something out of the guts
of my own anonymous dismemberment, a hand or an eye or a smile,
and it all feels like the work of a tired ox grinding social corn
on the zodiacal millstone of its own heart
but everyone leaves like a gray day anyway, the sun eclipsed
and I am returned to myself like polluted water
running like a desert flashflood through the dry creekbed
of your undeniable absence. You don’t come. You have forgotten me
as you said you wouldn’t and all the promises
of intimacy and vivid affection
are unleashed like a plague of locusts on the moon
to devour the open-faced swordless clocks of the flowers
I planted there for you to know eternity in the hour.
I am eaten alive by a million mouths
and even yesterday’s demons banished from the feast
are called back from lean exile
to this jubilant feeding-frenzy that consumes without mercy.
You don’t come. And I don’t blame you. I understand
the flux of time and circumstance, I understand
how a man goes to bed at night thinking
he’ll be drinking wine in the morning
and winds up being offered vinegar on a cross,
I understand that there are events that appear like sharks
in this water droplet of a world, that there are crossroads
that baffle the journey with traffic cops
and starless unknowns, with roadkill and dangerous vagrants,
that there are off road shortcuts across the far fields
that seem to take forever to return us to where we began. Alive
fifty-four years, I understand what it is to walk this road of ghosts, a refugee,
carrying your own body to a shower in a concentration camp,
to mistake the apocalypse of a nuclear explosion
for the advent of dawn, to mistake the knot in a river of wood
for a ship on the horizon, an island in the stream. Castaway again
on the cold rocks of some extraterrestrial shore
to follow my own footprints back to me, every life form on the planet,
including myself, a fossil of nirvanic spontaneity,
some indecipherable glyph broken off
the loaf of some lost continent like a crumb of stale bread, a bone-fragment,
a dead civilization, to feed the curiosity of time-travellers
who fix like junkies on the mystery of their passage
through empty alien rooms, though I burn like a library of reasons,
and mock my own scholarship, mustering arguments against myself
to excuse your absence and justify another fleet of coffins
sailing to the rescue, I do understand. You do not come. This negligence
is unintentional. You are young, free, a gust of wind and a leaf
that flares up in a back-alley throwing gold-dust in your eyes,
fire-fly north that can’t be constellated, a dolphin off the bough,
and I am no fisherman with a net, no obvious lures,
who’s trying to draw you up on deck out of your element,
but a captain going down with the ship, his hands at the wheel out of habit.
You have not come and I am a thousand years older and more correct
than I was on this delirious bird-mad morning,
lyrically awaiting you, than I am now looking upon all these sad eggs
smashed like a junkyard of embryo suns and broken crowns
at the foot of a nest in the bent axle of the cosmic tree
where I hang like the pagan god, Wodin, a sacrifice unto myself,
one pathos to another, inaudibly whispering last words
into the ineffable silence of a non-existent ear.
You have not come and all your reasons are valid. Brutally,
I understand the firewalk of this excruciation on crutches,
limping over hot coals to transcend myself for clarity’s sake,
for poetry’s sake, your sake, my sake, love’s sake, the seeing’s sake,
I have worn out the road and the bridges of my feet
with my walking across the rivers of hell to understand:
I am aging and the ignorant insane children of this black spring,
brought up on logos and T.V. only come to look through
the rubble of Tintagel for the lost jewels of Merlin,
for any heart-stone they could pull the sword out of
to establish their own thrones once again
in the fields of glory beyond the round table of the calendar.
I have drunk from the cup and passed it on and all the shining skies
that I have ever walked under, all the legends of my stars,
my former radiance, in their eyes, are cemeteries of dead stars,
black dwarfs and the holes of exhausted graves in space, the blue-white
of their ingathered light that once could stir a planet into life,
now the braille of an effaced epitaph runed on a poet’s tomb.
And it’s not as if they don’t come bearing gifts when they do come,
flowers and compliments to the green patina on my erudition,
small obeisances at graveside, gratitude
for my gray-haired kindness, token offerings to the dead,
to the prophetic skull of one of their ancestors
consulted like the weather or Moses
on the future of the promised land that I’m forbidden to enter. No blame
in their approach to the disembodied, no fault
on either side. I understand. You do not come. No word
to allay the silence, no sword to fall upon in the stoic shadows
of your portentous eclipse, no way to scry, haruspicate, divine
the meaning of the darkness that overtakes me
like Herculaneum under the canning-jar ash of a volcanic heart
putting up preserves. My dick falls off at forty. At thirty
the colour runs from my hair like a sunset. At fifty
I’m a desert in an hourglass. Fifty-four and my blood chips off
like flakes of paint from a dry rose. Two thousand a.d.,
at the turn of the millennium, my eyes turn into clouds,
my tongue, the spent autumn of a leaf on the wind. By forty-nine
all that I remember is on display in a museum, my eviscerated heart
sinks through a convenient tar-pit and my brain, cracked mud,
orders a modest sarcophagus and rents a small room under an affordable pyramid
close to the valley of the kings. Today
I shed a few tears tinged with acid that die
like rain looking for roots on rock and bury my riddle of bones and vertebrae
under the snuffed fire-pit of a cave floor
for an archaeologist not yet born to guess at what I was.
You do not come. I understand. Tired of scratching at my coffin lid,
I must get out, I go to the Perth Restaurant and call to see
if you need a ride even though the wheel
is ten thousand years in the future, fire hasn’t been discovered yet
and I’m back in the Jurassic, a tiny mammal, trying not
to be stepped on by a stampede of doomed dinosaurs.
Wrong number. Wrong life. You do not come. I understand,
the flag of my heart at half-mast on the pole of my spine,
and no one but strangers and hired mourners,
mirages and self-inflicted nightmares
to carry me out of my hapless resignation into a waiting hearse.