Friday, August 31, 2012



Were there stars in your hair that night?
I cannot remember,
so taken with your face
and the mystery and the silence and the sorrow
of the tender bell in your eyes
that could summon ghosts
of yesterday’s embodiments to the fire
of any passion that lost itself prophetically
at a rave of shadows among the trees.

You eased out of your wardrobe of rivers
like a snake on the moon
sloughing its skin like the eclipse
of a far more vulnerable shining,
and I couldn’t tell if you were
a doe or a lynx
stepping out of the alder groves warily
to lap the moonlight
that flaked the shore
with the silver petals of an undulant rose
older and darker than nightblood.

I could feel the danger within you,
the abyss of the early grave
that waited for you like a key
to come in out of the pain
that bled you like a shadow
pouring out of an open wound
that whispered to you like a secret scream
only the dead who owned you could hear.
Your hunger desperately sought salvation
from the eyes
that pleaded with you
to blow yourself out like a candle,
cancel the inevitability of your suffering
with the shudder and sigh of sex.
We lay down naked together
by the willow-stained waters
in that summer of flesh
and sought oblivion from each other
like two compatible cremations
that concealed a ravenous phoenix
ending its fast of fire.

Purified by the depth and darkness
of your intensities,
I burned in you
and felt the flames
of a dangerous angel
who had broken her afterlife like a curfew
flow over me
like dawn at a keyboard of feathers.

Your breasts still come up overnight
like supple mushrooms against my chest
and the moist heat of your mouth
throbbing with flowers like July
as you seized your joy
from the agony of the roots you tormented
to give up their dead
like bruised cherries.

I have never died as fully since
at the insistence
of any woman’s appetite
nor known a night so final,
so brutal with time and beauty
as the pendulous moon swung
like an executioner’s ax
over the nape of its own reflection
swanning on the waters.

We made love as if
we were both defying
the truth we didn’t need to say.
I wanted to plead with you,
I wanted to call out into your emptiness
like a beseeching bird
disappearing into a dark valley,
but my voice ran ahead of its echo like light
and the things I would haved asked you
not to do
had already been achieved.

Heroin, your asp,
at the funeral I stood back
beyond the baffled wreaths of flowers
and the ambivalent silence
of the modest gathering that mourned you,
maculate in the shadows
of the Japanese plum tree
we once made love under
and I kissed the rose of your blood
shedding in mine
like a wound
my love was never sword enough to heal
as they closed
and boarded you over like a well.

I spent the night like an empty vase
beside your grave
until the stars that bloomed above you like wildflowers
thawed my tears in the morning light.

I walked out of the cemetery
through the hard harps and spears
of its iron gates
and I have never been back.

The years since have been
chameleonic as a hooker
who plys her art
on the stairs of a temple
even the priests of my lust
are forbidden to enter,
but as you said I would
as you lay with me that night
like a knife beside the sea,
I have returned to you over and over again
like a witching wand
looking for water in hell,
like a cult of one to a lost island
that holds you like a secret
and wept like a candle of honey
in the dark hive of your unasnwerable silence,
intoning the names
of an impossible god
on a rosary of black suns
until my heart hangs like a bell
dumb with grief
looking up at the stars
you rinsed like a tide from your hair.

And I lean on the crutch and the crook
of a shepherd’s question,
looking everywhere for you
like the wind
sweeping the shadows of fireflies
like the fall of hair from your eyes
that night you tore yourself away from me
like a veil of blood and sorrows
wounded by the terrible light
of the black pearl
that ripened within you like the skull
of a full eclipse.

O my poor, broken angel,
you might have been fat and frumpy by now
if you had lived.
I could have watched your beauty
shed like the moon over the years,
and smile like an island
to remember how lost I was in your tides once,
a constellation of starfish
tumbled like dice in your dark undertow,
trying to shine, god, how
I tried to shine for you, how
I ached to embrace your planet safely
in the mandala of an empowering radiance
that could show you
I was worth living for
if nothing else.

Given the freedom
of the emptiness that engulfed us both,
we could have lived within each other,
we could have evolved our own atmospheres,
appointed our own stars,
written our own myths of origin
on the black pages of that journal of skies
where you scribbled down the events
of your pre-emptive afterlife
as if you wanted to make your ghost indelible.
As it was, the only thing I could do,
was take you in
like the last breath of a summer night
I could never let go of
without following it
like a shadow of you into death.

I haven’t wished for much over the years,
and the dreams have come and gone as they will,
and my hair has gone gray
and my eyes are looped like powerlines
and the sad bells of a heavy solitude
that has yoked me to the grindstone of the turning world
to mill the stars like a tide
on the bloodwheel of a worn heart.

I finally burned and broke all the weeping mirrors
I consulted like half-assed mediums
to see if I could restore you somehow
to the more intimate shining of that last night
you turned and ran back,
your shoes in your hand,
to make sure your final kiss would endure like a temple.

You pitied the agony of shapeshifting
you knew the black water ahead
was about to go through
as it smashed like goblets and crystal chandeliers
on the roaring skulls of the rocks.

You pitied me because you knew I loved you,
because you knew you were already
a future memory
and I was a prophecy from the past
that had ridden beyond itself like light
to illuminate nothing but your absence
measured in the filaments and lifelines
of eyeless oceans
like a seabird
circling a blind lighthouse on the moon.




Weary of the world tonight. Can’t stand the lies.
Some drunk loud-mouth out on the street
wants all the girls to know he’s there,
My noise is bigger than your noise.
Someone playing a guitar badly in a doorway.
A homeless cat cries, lets out a howl
of torment as if its sinews were being keyed
as tight as guitar strings about to snap.
Out of the window that hasn’t said anything yet:
you touch that cat again, slugger,
and I’ll be right down with an axe
to give you a gender change. He looks up
startled. But all bullies are cowards
trying to deny it to themselves
while wearing their sister’s underpants.
The cat makes a quick getaway
through a dark heritage alleyway.
Supercharged like a fire hydrant full of blood
throbbing through my temples, and demons
I haven’t seen in years smiling darkly in the mirrors
my shadow always regretted like left-handed virtues
that got the job done. Demonic compassion,
colder than intelligence, with a deep
poetic sense of of infernal irony
whereas a muse ago in this specious present
I was longing for a small hobby farm
on the dark side of the moon, now
I’m a dragon eating waterlilies down
by the banks of my mindstream
quietly letting go of itself
like an unmoored lifeboat full of emptiness
drifting no where in particular I want to be
except here where I can shed my humanity for awhile
among the living and the dead
who don’t care what I am and am not
as long as I’m not a threat to them.

Darkness, my solace, moon, my longing,
Star, warmer than any fire I’ve ever
sat around to exorcise my ghosts,
you, who’ve danced like my third eye
with the other two still chained to their irises,
the poetic lucidity that mentored me
in the ways of light and taught me
the creative rapture of the fish
that still swam like flashs of insight
to the surface of my oceanic tears,
I don’t know how many light years
either of us have yet to shine or cry over,
but tonight, come down from your unindictable heights
and sit with me like the intimate stranger of a candle
in my eyes, in my soul, in my blood,
be the small flame that trembles in my breath for awhile,
be the sole illumination of my spirit for awhile,
ease my bodymind with the elixir of your radiance
emanating from the inside, and let me
be born again of that fire that burns within me,
purge my starmud of these urns and bones and black dwarfs
that weigh me down like disappointed bells
and feisty mastodons in the tarpits of my heart
that sink deeper the more they struggle to get out.

And I don’t even care if you’re the last firefly
to transcend my cosmic solitude like a wavelength
of the transmorphic singularity at the beginning of time
that woke the valley up with the roar of a dragon
in that elemental morning of mad genius
that’s be the dawn of every moment ever since
in this chiliocosm of energies and forms
flashing out of the mystery of the questions we ask
about the inconceivability of being here to ask them.

No purpose. No meaning. Except the one
we all live vaguely as ourselves like a nebularity
out of which we might precipitate stars
of a different order of shining beyond what we can see.
Sit with me awhile as if we both had the same nature.
And you can look at the world and me through my eyes
and I’ll look at you through yours as if I were seeing you
from the inside out, and there were ashes in my heartwood
even before I began to burn, as in yours,
there were the urns of heavy elements even
before they were born of their own afterlife.

Be that moment within me when time breaks into light
and even the shadows, like sunspots, shine
in their own right, and nothing is disturbed,
not even the silence that is intensified when the fish jump
or a dog is barking hills away at what approaches
out of the dark, and the waterbirds in their onceness
might seem to fly away, but have been here from the start.
Fill my life with the unimaginable splendour
of all those nights you’ve looked down upon the earth
and witnessed the horror and the wildflowers
in the same breath on a cold windowpane in winter
etching the light like an artist with an eye for life
or the praying mantis of a small telescope in the summer
its legs spread like a doe about to drink from her own reflection
or one half of a collapsed bridge to the other side
of everywhere at once. I don’t ask for bliss or enlightenment.
Just show me how you make the shadows luminous again.
Even on a starless night, how to mourn like the eyeless rain
even as it renews the leaves and roots of the constellations
of the wild asters with their violet plinths and yellow suns
burning fiercely as a distant relation of your myriad myths of origin.
Do that for me and I’ll show you how to intensify
the darkness into a diamond chrysalis of transformation
like a deeper mystic bliss in life, enhanced by the ores of pain,
as your light is by the night, or the flying stickshifts
of the dragonflies put the waterlilies in park for the night
as if they’d just got out of a car by the side of an unknown road,
not to find out where they are, but just
to gape up at the stars in the midst of decay
and let the wonder of it all heal me as it always has
by showing me how to make a cradle out of a grave
or the long, slow art of a human out of a wounded heart.