Friday, August 3, 2012



It took me light years to trust my voice
to say things my thoughts had to catch up to
like the unrehearsed understudies of hidden harmonies
making their presence manifest in the way
their dark matter bent space and made the words move
into place like water finding its own equilibrium.
The discipline, then, was not to interfere,
but listen when the wind turns the Byzantine green
of the Russian olives silver in the turmoil of its passage.
To pour yourself out of the mirror like the tear
of a weeping telescope when the Milky Way
gets in your eyes like the smoke of a hundred billion stars.
Or the ghost of a summer radiance
summoned to a seance of mediumistic fireflies
trying to fill in the gaps on their spiritual starmaps.

Last night’s full moon has sliced off
part of its waning earlobe shrinking
as it ascends from cantaloupe orange
to a pitted plum of cadmium yellow value eight.
I’m standing in a gravel driveway outside a storage shed
in the industrial part of town, my back turned
to a floodlight in a riot of insights that act like
frenzied insects, and I’m looking for stars
through the feathered ribs and scales of clouds,
toned by a copper moon rise in a cool acetylene sky.

The moon is rising over the roofs of a parking lot
full of transport trucks, and the contrast
makes the view even more surrealistically poignant.
Intensely so when I spot Arcturus burning
solely on its own in an immensity of peacock blue sky
turning Prussian blue and indigo
over a garishly lit garage that specializes in transmissions
and smells like an abattoir of oily orchids
sacrificed like sacred bulls in garlands
on the altar of a pneumatic car lift
where eternity intersects time as history.

Twenty feet from the driveway
to the perfectly latticed wire fence
sequestered on a reservation of useless land,
a pharmacopeia of every weed that grows wild
in southern Ontario, huddled on the crest
of a bull-dozed hill fort in self-defence.
And in one quick swathe of the bush-hog,
stunted runt versions of the same plants
blooming like symbols of underground resistance,
common mullein, tansy, Queen Ann’s Lace, vetch,
viper’s bugloss gone out like pilot lights on a gas stove,
and the sabre cuts and slashes of the tall grasses
waving green banners from their slender masts
and unbroken aerials as fragile as a heron’s legs.

Beauty and utility in a coincidence of contradictories
where abstractions haven’t been multiplied
beyond necessity. The earth turns as it always has
and the moon and Arcturus move accordingly
as the Summer Triangle emerges from the cloud-cover
like the brain child of a birdwatcher
with a taste for myth and mathematics.

Perennializing events in a trivial frame of reference.
And just as the bugs have their communal rapture
in the light, I stand here alone gazing at the stars
trying to see my way into other worlds
by closing the distance with the intensity
of my overwhelming wonder and longing to know
if there might be some poet out there tonight like me
watching the moon rise over bucolic machines
and the space needed to sustain them
at the expense of the trees and weeds and wildflowers
as he’s mystically weirded out by the relative parity
of disparate elements in an impersonally unified field.

And he like me, Arcturus, the trucks, the weeds
and the moon among them, living the ambivalent beauty
of an eternity that breaks its truce with time
once and awhile, to adorn what’s been defiled,
and let unity come forth by itself to forsake the difference
in a voice of its own the storage units trust
like the sacred syllable of a lock on mundane things
alloyed like haloes and horseshoes of stardust and rust.




Get these golden nets, these chains, off me,
these dreamcatchers, cobwebs, suspension bridges
swaying like sticky spinal cords across the shoreless abyss.
I’m smothering under these pillows of sunset
you keep pushing in my face to soften
the impact of my meteoric heart
trying to induce a new species
out of my own extinction
that might accord me a retroactive purpose
for having lived like a root
in the dirt of their flowering.

More compassion spent on lies
than truths, the sun might come up
in the morning and pour honey
all over its head like bees in the dawn,
but it isn’t the same for active volcanoes.
Half the world waiting to receive
what the other half wants to take from them,
via positiva, via negativa, sure
all roads lead to Rome eventually
like most rivers make the sea
but haven’t you noticed the mystic path
is cobbled like a calendar with the lunar skulls
of birds and gurus all along the way
who mistook the windows of opportunity
in their third eye, for the real sky up ahead?

I know you believe time heals all things,
and day after day, this implacable pace
can be construed as some kind of advance,
and even the dust on the windowsill
will be redeemed as the pollen of windblown stars,
if someone would only give love a fighting chance.

May it be so, sweet one, but life isn’t
the agenda of the blossoms, it’s in
the corporate boardrooms of the roots
trying to put a good spin on death
like the propaganda of decay. But even
castigation has lost its joy in life
and the sages that might have saved us
yesterday, are muttering like madmen to themselves
in murderous alleys that end
in cul de sacs of laughing children
without any idea of how absurd
it really all is for them as well as the homeless
they stab in the back in their sleep
for ratting life out like the black plague of their dreams.

Even if I had no legs, I wouldn’t want to spend
the twenty or less autumns and springs of life
I have left, if that, walking on water with golden crutches
like the principles of the dilemma I stand on,
I stole like oars from a lifeboat on a shipwreck
that had no more use for hope. I don’t
want to cook the books of my cosmic home recipes
and make a diet a messianic way of life
that greets the moneylenders at the door of the temple
and feeds the people the tongues of doves.

I was born into life raw as a new wound.
The same insights that touched your eyes like fireflies
were runically striated across mine
by surgical glaciers without any anaesthetic.
A street gang flashing its smile
like an iconic switchblade of moonlight
trying to leave its mark on life like scar tissue.

I’ve seen diamonds on the fingers of adamantine saints
turn back into infernal coal bins of ungratified desire
as soon as someone blew the candles out like photo-ops.
I’m wary of good people these days.
I’ve mythically inflated the illusion of my isolation
up into a rogue planet of habitable solitude
where nothing’s ever wrong or right
but endlessly intriguing in an interstitial kind of way
like a fish that swam out of the sea
or a bird that flew out of the sky
to adapt myself to the inchoate spaciousness
of a new medium of transformational events.

I’ve jumped the synaptic gap
between the earth and the heavens,
like the sound of one hand clapping
at its own performance, the sonic boom
that ruptures the eardrum of the sky
like a clown shot out of a cannon
without a safety net to disqualify the risk.

Whether I’m Zen duelling in the snake pit of the Id,
or studying the logic of the lightning
in the mirrors of prima donnas putting on their make-up,
to let the trees in the open fields know
where it’s going to strike their nervous systems next,
I don’t cling to things like a bat in the burdock
or a monk enduring the earthly ordeals
of his immaculate detachment like spiritual velcro.
I live in a world without handles, where the atoms
free associate into elements of their own choosing
and base metal can as easily be seen
as the grey dawn of gold, rather than
the long, hard discipline of learning how to be
self-destructive creatively and calling it a sacrifice
to the new moon on the altars of occult learning.

I don’t sail my poems down river like
paper-mache swans in a labyrinth of locks
trying to make their way gracefully to the sea
without waiting for a gate to swing open
like a crane on a backwater loading dock.
I shed them like the blossoms of the moon on a lake.
I can’t dance to engineered versions of this lunar ballet
that can’t walk on water without
feeling vertiginously out of its depths
whenever the road leads through a black hole
like the easiest way around the mountain of the world.

Slavic enough to take the whole burden
of the integrity of pain upon myself
as one of the eventualities of suffering
it’s as crucial to live through as it is not to,
I still reserve the right to shake my fist at the sky
like an extra gang railroad lineman
at four every afternoon before I fling a shovel
like an inkwell at the decapitated sun,
all the fruits of my labour you shall know me by
surrealistically Sisyphean as the tracks I’m laying
keep on decoupling my thought trains in the wilderness
as if this were as good a place as any to jump off.