Tuesday, July 17, 2012



I'm on some kind of journey
but I don’t know where it’s going;
I’m growing wings and shedding them,
and I’m true to every thought in my head.
I’ve got a heart, worn down at heels,
a used voodoo doll quilled like a native,
a meteorically battered planet
that wobbles between a kiss and a fist
in the way it keeps running itself around.
I spend too much time alone.

There are no obstructions in any direction;
and barefoot, I’m walking on stars and poppies,
talking to myself like a candle,
weaving my way among the shadows
like a fish through the supple harps
of the silver river reeds. I see
that I’m taking a bath in my own grave
to wash the soiled skies of the painted world
off my eyes, to behold
the brief career of the leaf of life
and how the light gusts out from the windows
like curtains and bird-nets. Life is short,
and the new temple never gets further built
than a hole and a single cornerstone, the rest
left to the business of the earth,
all that beauty and magnificence,
unravelled among the mud weavers.

I was inoculated against death
by a splinter of the moon;
by how little time there is for love,
for the root to get drunk
on the fruits of enlightenment and compassion,
by how little I will ever know
of the road to the doorway I stepped through
to stand in awe before the moon spill
on the raven blue waters,
and to look so deeply into the eyes of a woman
who has just conceded an island in her passage,
and the fragrance of unheard music
that I am a pillar of wonder
before the unsayable
as she lets drop her shadows and feathers of light,
and the blood-god assumes
his flowering crown of fire
to enhance the splendours of his courtly intensities.

What I have lost in the river
I will find in the river
and what I have taken from the sky
I will give back to the sky,
and there shall come a day
when the eclipse will be the brighter mirror,
and the darkness that overtakes me now
will be a gate of stars to a water palace
where the dragonflies and waterlilies
are the scepters and crowns of a human divinity
that will endure like a whisper of radiance,
a more haunting taste of light,
the rumour of a black rose
that outshines the angels
that coax the lanterns out of the night.

I will evaporate like the flaring of fireflies
on the windy shore of a trembling lake,
like the blue hat plume of smoke
from a gallant winter chimney
into the vastness of my own mind
like a waterbird without a trace into a sweeter, wilder solitude.
And these words will come and go
like the tides of the ocean I was,
like the providential leaves
of unfurling fortune-cookies,
like an avalanche of gold
washed down from the mountain upstream.

I write them in flowing diamond,
I write them in auroras of blood,
in dawns bluer than the iris of a peacock’s eye,
in fire and water and the mystic inks of the night
in the fleeting, indelible dream
of doors and hands and moons,
in warm breath on a cold window,
in a halo of comets
smeared into light by the sun,
in the sidereal wines that bled from bitter wounds,
I have said what it was mine to say
on a page of the wind
that whistled through me like life
greening the sands of the hourglass
with visions that ripened the bell of blood in my heart
to fall like wisdom from its tower
toward a fallible paradise
that won’t leave me as I am for long.

And I will jump again
into this cauldron of joys and sorrows
to string my spinal cord
over the abyss of the guitar-shaped universe,
walking upright
to plead with my own answers
to thaw like a mirror
estranged from the world it reflects
in the self-effacing flames
of the passionate gardens that dance on the wicks.

The awakening seed
echoes these flowers of fire
in the valley of a voice in the furnace
that lies down in the cool grass
by a stream of idle stars
and arrays its vagrant heart
like a breeze of blood in the dust
to the refugees in the shadows.

They move like eyelids
through all the phases of the moon
from an unspooled well of darkness
to the slash of a razor of light
to the threshing of the full harvest
in the siloes of the nightwind
enthroned like a breath of life
in the midst of its own dispersal.




Everything on the garbage dump
like the picked over pyre of an unholy death.
The rubes seeing through the ruses of the rich
straight into their computerized living rooms
behind the razor wire and grapevines.
Bad mistake. The poor begin to compare,
and where they wanted to be elite yesterday,
today they smoulder like a root fire
at what’s been done to them
many days before by what goes on under
the cornerstones of our quicksand institutions
imploding under the mass of corruption at their core.
Lies so immense, even the media can’t eat them,
and scum-bag politicians wallowing in what
they don’t want anyone else to have. A cure
for a child that’s dying, after having lost her hair,
a bed for a homeless man who’s off his meds,
a job for his son and daughter, open-handed economics
where the destitute aren’t eating the scraps
that fall off the elemental table of the obscenely overfed.

And this is to put it as mildly as I can
so as not to bully anyone with the truth,
but I grew up at the bottom of a garbage can
and I know who’s sitting on the lid of a buried i.e.d.
that’s about to go off like a volcanic toilet-bowl.
The black dove cries to the burning heavens
and earth’s about to show us why you don’t
steal from your own crib, or piss in your own womb.
The flesh-eating disease has gone too far.
There’s smog in our children’s hearts and eyes.
The wealthy come into a focus on a gun sight.
Revulsion deepens. Everyday you can hear
the backbones of people’s wills breaking
like the great boughs and small twigs
of an old growth forest in an ice-storm.
People close up like stores and the candling parachutes
of the daylilies who stay in bed all day,
grateful for twenty more minutes of hallucinating
an oasis in a desert they know they’re going to die in.

Bad meat down the well. Corporations
with more of an identity than your daughter has,
but ask any drone who she is
and there’s a databank somewhere
that would be happy to tell you for a considerable fee.
She’s nobody that concerns us yet. But the time,
and I mean it more today than I did yesterday,
is coming, that nemetic moment when the guillotines
are brought out like garden shears pruning roses
of their buds, and Wall Street ticks swollen with blood
of their heads. One after another. The regenerative hydra
clear cut like the trees and the tribes of the Amazon jungle.
No more listening to the Lord of Flies brainwashing us
into believing its maggots are butterflies. No more
second, third, fourth, fifth innocence, reborn or otherwise,
for the retroactive alibi that tells us how sorry
and concerned he is that others don’t follow
the same psychopath that he’s making money off,
even if it’s been going on since Uruk and Ur.
Even religion being rendered unto like Caesar.

The shepherds of the black camel build tall buildings in the desert.
No birds sing in the eucalyptus trees of Israel
that spring up like political spin over bulldozed Arab homes.
And the last man born on earth will grovel in the dust
at his sister’s feet. Signs of the end times articulated
by an annihilated Sufi in a zawiya of the thirteenth century.
Who born among us today, doesn’t know exactly
what he was talking about? As we run out of water,
breathable air, edible food, futile hope and dangerous inspiration.
Mineralized humanity fossilized in the Burgess Shale
of a virtual reality exploding into millions of alternatives
to evolution in the Pre-Cambrian Age of mutative technology.

And people will gather according to rule and ask for change.
But their shepherds will only shorten the chains
and tighten their grip on their hearts like a man
in a strip club keeps a grip on his wallet,
but the intensity unvented will supersaturate the air
and mount the event horizon like the anvils of thunderheads
and much will be struck down in an atavistic replay
of the polymorphous perverse trying to figure out
what shape it should assume so the cure remains
more plausible than the disease that the ideological scalpels
just cut out with no distinction made
between a human heart and a tumour.
Beauty and intelligence will become suspect
to the mediocre and ugly, and the ethics of the day
will be the stage directions of a bad morality play
as the captains of commerce and the nabobs of worse
thresh the salted earth like necrophagoi
watched over by the scarecrow of a c.e.o.

I can hear the karmic atrocities of the sorrows
that have muscled the birds out of the trees
with hortatory elegies for the windfall of sour bells
that were cut down like the fruit of a noose.
Injustice will redress injustice with mob sentiment
adamant about the rabid obscenity of human lovelessness
that has been perpetrated like a myth of origin in their name.
Things will still burn, but not in a flame as they used to,
but in a scalding acid bath of eyes learning to read
the graffiti on the wall as if it were written
on their own gravestones. Sybarites with desecrant sensibilities
will destroy without creation anything that reminds them
of who they are not. Art will become
the artificial antiseptic to the toxin of life
and there will be more joy in cynicism than there is
the natural love of a man for his wife and children.

But the litany of metaphorical omens is perilously long
and eventually even Lao Tzu rode out of town on an ox
into the available dimensions of a future in the hills
to die alone among the doomed wildflowers undistracted
by the human race. And Jesus had his wilderness.
Buddha, Venus and his Bodhi Tree, Moses, his desert,
in lieu of the Promised Land, and Muhammad, his cave.
Everyone of these enlightened masters had to get away for awhile
to receive what was given to them to believe.
That all the threads of the strong rope
would come undone in time like spinal cords
and all a decent human could do, when life
oversteps its own bounds into unconditioned chaos
is drive a small herd of goats up to the mountain top
to get out of the way of the avalanche of prophetic skulls
coming down in a rush to avoid their own warnings.

So, yes, if you really care, if you’ve cared all along,
don’t crowd into the shrine of your third eye
to escape the approaching storm, expecting shelter
from that sense of goodness that hovers over you
like an angel using drones. As Muhammad said
the red-haired, one-eyed liar will amaze you
and many now lustrous, but empty, will succumb to its power.
And trivialities will cat walk in the robes of the sublime.
And only branded cattle in the abattoirs of a violent education
will learn the true power of a name. The arks of yesterday
will save themselves like luxury lifeboats
that jumped the ship of state, on its way down,
when it turned into a hospital barge on the rocks,
full of the body parts of abandoned children
who didn’t live long enough to learn how to sink or swim
before they were shucked like baby turtles by seagulls
and the undertakers came, like parasites, to finish off the rest.

Take a break. I know how bilious a heart can feel
eating a spoon of ashes a day from the urn of the world
as if you had nothing left but your spiritual ancestry to live on.
Change your diet. Eat the buds of day lilies, eat
the purple pagodas of the stag horn sumac before
it immolates itself in the fall. Grow yourself a new tail
to replace the one they tried to catch you by, skip your koans
out over a large midnight lake like water birds taking to flight.
Buff the horrors with wild raspberries and the overnight sensations
of mushrooms as big as a skull or the moon emerging from death.
Rejuvenate. Restore. Let the shoemaker tack new soles to your cells,
and reattach the flight feathers to your calloused heels.
Let the wind blow the stars through your hair like the willows.
And the moon hang awhile like dew on the mandalas
of your musical spiderwebs. Learn how to carry a tune again
like water in the bucket of your larynx
or the fire in your gut that once could weep like diamonds
that cut through your tears without doing any damage.

Breathe in and forget that long or short every breath
is infinitely intimate with everything that’s ever lived.
Detached. Disconnected. Cut off. Unplugged.
Renew your erotic affiliation with your body
and see, though bruised, how the starmud still shines
even after you’ve taken a bath in your own grave
and the water runs off your skin like moonlight.
Do this for yourself without throwing salt
in the roseate wounds of your conscience.
Do this in a solitude that doesn’t try to cram the mystery
into the small locket of the human heart
that carries your counter-intuitive likeness
of the way things ought to be in the better world behind us.
Do this to remind yourself of the bliss of what it is
to be a human alone with stars, so you don’t forget
the experience you’re trying to convey to the unmindful and lost
must be renewed from generation to generation
like a dragon breathing into a tinder box of flammable emotions.

And then even if it’s just for the dignity of a lost cause,
or merely the preference of this absurdity to that,
or enlightened self-interest with too much intelligence
to have completely transcended itself inconceivably,
return to the maelstrom like the cult of a contemplative
that’s at least an initiate in the mysticism of action
who doesn’t mistake a sword that kills you back into life
for the wishbone of a harp that pleads with hell for the dead
who will always double-back on you
like the retrograde motion of Mars as you overtake it,
an orbit with an inside track on the sun that naves the wheel.
A habitable planet with a genius for life and love that’s real.