Saturday, July 7, 2012



When my heart isn’t a hummingbird on a keyboard,
it’s a spider on a guitar. The long fingers of a surgeon
my mother used to say, the air bright with potential
and the creature with a purpose, a future it meant,
a destiny it was born to fulfil like a chain reaction.
Now it’s an error of evolution just to make it through another day.

And nights, sidereal ballerinas leaping like Cygnus at zenith
over the toxic wavelengths in this snakepit of street life.
Blessings on everyone’s head, I’ve shed a few lives of my own,
but I mean the nights, sometimes the nights,
scatter my own ashes over my head in mourning
like a nuclear winter that won’t let me forget.

Now there’s nothing perennial about my paradigms
and the flowers don’t grow as imperial as they used to.
Ferocious weeds spring up among the downtrodden
and swarm the gardens of the sun-king, the cattails
impaled, and the heads of the poppies on pikes by the gate.
I’m looking for new moons in the calendars of chaos
to sow the teeth of a dragon under. Soil made vintage
by the dissolution of the dead who are buried in me
as I keep on living their deaths like an impossible ending
to a recurring dream I haven’t woken up from in years.

Red alert. Don’t climb higher than the mountain is tall
unless you’ve got a star in your eye you’re going to follow
for the rest of your denatured life. But no one’s listening.
They’re all taking polls of bad examples on talent shows.
Can’t stand the artificial lights or the trained hilarity
of the audience defrocking sacred clowns at a cult ritual.
But I found a flap at the back of the circus tent
I like to slip out through and let the darkness
wash the patina of blazing out of my eyes
and encounter six thousand stars whose shining
ease the mind by enlightening its unique insignificance.

I like to blunder my way into places alone
where who I am is nobody’s business but the willows
and they’re not saying anything to the wind
that’s heard it all before. One moment you’re the canvas
and the next you’re a paint rag up to your alligators
in muddy oils trying to save an orchid from its own hysteria.
If there’s any rafter of my life left standing
it’s as fragile as a compass needle wobbling on a thorn.
One moment you’re teaching spiders to play the guitar
without barring their chords, and get rid of
those old harps of theirs that have been collecting in the corner
like dreamcatchers they couldn’t hold a note
if it were a velcro butterfly, and the next
you’re boiling strings like spinal cords in a bird bath.

But alone, where there’s no assent or denial,
and the false redeemers are orphaned
in their baskets and mangers among the hay and bull rushes,
I can juggle the crazy wisdom of myriad worlds
bubbling up in my blood like a playful multiverse
without dropping one of them, and swallow the swords
the moon lays down on the lake in tribute.
No blackboards in my freedom. No chalk fossils
among my crayons, I have been schooled
in the ghettos and still life studios of my solitude.

Here where the river emerges from a larynx of dead trees
I can think my way into the most open-minded modes of death
without having to turn around and go home again
or forget I’m just an organ of light that makes things visible
for anyone with an eye to spare, or the time
to listen to the picture-music where their senses meet
like parallel lives that have suddenly come into focus.




O no witness to me you can’t go,
though I long for it, you don’t follow,
my shadow stops leaving itself behind as a sign.
I have been ungrammatized by the madness of scientific magic,
a waterclock of life boats I kept bailing out of
until I threw the baby out with the bathwater, mushy as soap.
I tore down the shrines of chaos as an act of irreverent devotion
and the dead thanked me for stealing what they couldn’t give away.
Divine solace without earthly consolation,
I wanted to be crucified diagonally as a random act
of symbolic defiance, but I was buried
under an avalanche of skulls on the moon
and all these voices in my head that swear they’re prophetic
keep baffling me with alternative universes
that have no interest in cultivating me as a way of life.

But you my heart, dark star, dying insurgent of my solitude,
homeless door into the open, your eyes more beautiful
than reflecting telescopes on a cold mountain
far from the city, I am a casualty of space, what hands
do I have to hold you with? Time has ripped out my tongue
like an autumn leaf, and the clouds gather, sweetness,
the clouds, hushed like a book-signing at a mortuary.

Whatever value I had once as a man has turned
against the mirror of miracles, the chthonic excellence
of elegizing the teen age suicides and untactical drunks
that curled up in a coma on the train tracks
as the inevitable came into view with a warning whistle.
I poured libations of poetry to beseech the poppy gods below
among their immortal bees, to explain something to them
gentle and soothing, cool honey on a burn. Delusional
but compassionate in a useless kind of way. A gesture
of ineptitude that swept me away in tears for how much
has yet be lost in the abyss of human affairs
that doesn’t even taste of us after all these years.

At the window of wonder, if you don’t throw
the moon through it, you’re going to drop like a fly.
No more questions to pin down like the head of a snake
to keep it from turning on you like the lethal insight
of a gamma ray burst into the nature of nothingness
across the great divide of the razorwire
that twinkles like stars that are deaf and dumb
to the wishes we make upon them. I wish I may,
I wish I might be seen by you as the missing wing
of your cosmic symmetry, and you, the dark matter of mine.
Could we fly? Could we shine? Could we go mad together
under your bedroom window in a connubium of moonlight
and even the insincere candles from the dollar store seem sublime?
This far out at sea, would you be my island galaxy,
would you let me be washed up on your coasts
among the drowned, my whole life flashing before your eyes
as I reached out for you ingenuously as the tide
leaves things at your door like nomadic starfish
and my fingers, almost touching your face,
as I have so many times imagined
an enlightened savage might your talismanic sorrows,
feathers of joy and sacred dirt in a sexual medicine bag?