Saturday, September 22, 2012



It isn’t that I’m looking for eagles in a barnyard
or a phoenix in a match-head
when I observe
by the number of wrecks on the rocks
how few lighthouses there are these days
among so many flashlights.

What can the hair say about the horn
or the feather teach the wind
or quicksand preach
for the edification of the cornerstone?

And must I put a healthy leg
at the service of a broken crutch
to limp along with the mob
at the end of a dying culture
that insists that all roads end
in a cult of cripples?

If I’m walking alone to the stars
on a pilgrimage of one
finding my way in the going,
my heart aligned like the needle of a compass
to a darkness brighter than the light,
and the only map the clarity of my eyes
why should those
who weep in their ashes like rain,
trying to put glasses on a fly,
who have never dipped
the thorn of the moon
in the night of their blood
and written a love poem
to a skull in a desert,
care if I want to roam
in the hills and valleys of myself
like some homeless shepherd of the wind
taking the stone of the earth for a pillow to dream on
in the high grasslands
where the stars walk
whispering eternal intimacies like black swans
barging the ores of a vacant throne
through my bloodstream,
as all along the shores of my flowing
ancient flowers wake mysteriously
like candles in an eclipse?

If I take the sky for the walls of my house
and leave the rest
like an autumn of junk mail
looking for a door and a last known address,
if I choose not to contrive a world
to accommodate my absence
in the available dimension of the future,
wiping my shadows and ghosts
like mirrors off at the threshold,
even letting go of the door
to enter empty-handed
as the applause
for an understudy of the dawn
that never got over its stage-fright
in the abyss of an abandoned theater,
happy to let the river pan itself for gold,
not laying a claim to anything,
making sure the gate-latch
clamps down like a dog on a bone
when I close it up
like a straitjacket in its own thoughts,
not stringing my spinal court to a wishbone
or the warped neck
of an obvious guitar,
but taking my voice with me
like a wounded bird in my hands,
a star struck from a stone,
moonlight in an empty boat,
the taste of silence
in the mouth of a mask,
my name a rainmark
on the eyelid of a dusty bell
I’ve left to the dream it keeps returning to;
why should it matter to anyone
who lies to the bleeding door
that is wounded by their entrance
everytime they say it’s just me
as if a pillar answered?

I can’t find anything
less than everything to call a self
and there are no mirrors
in an abyss more naked than the sky
to consult like the oracular flights of words
that litter the windowsill of this seeing
like flies that spent themselves,
flints on an empty lighter,
wicks on a glass candle,
consuming the ferocity
of their lives against the illusion of the world outside
they brain themselves against again and again
like small meteors
doused like torches in the eye
of the upper atmosphere
just above the open window.

When everything is absurd as this,
and even the tuning forks of the rain
are an era off in their pitch,
and music is merely
the coming and going of ants
in an abandoned syrinx,
and the drum of the heart alone
isn’t enough to start a band,
and the only melody
is a road the wind blew away
like a hair off the shoulder of the night,
and everyone’s trying
to unmarrow the moon like a fortune-cookie,
and every snowflake in the furnace
of this dark fire
thinks it dies like a galaxy
when it’s only an inflection of tears,
am I not free to walk in harmony
with the savage senselessness of it all,
without hanging a bell of advice over my head
like the only corpse
on an island full of gravediggers
who can’t get out of the holes they’ve dug
to bury me in?

I don’t want to live waiting for yesterday
like the light of a star
that’s already gone,
or dream like a seed of constellations to come
like a roll of the dice,
or watch the surplus of your smile
rotting on the docks of a famine.

And don’t think these harvests I leave you
like a trail of breadcrumbs and dead flies
out of this wilderness of thought
are any more than stars
caught in the throat of the labyrinth
that follows itself like a snake with its tail in its mouth,
trying to find a way out of itself
by eating its own head.

And by some chance
if your ever make it out this far,
I’ve mailed back
the same map of fireflies
with its legend of smoke,
three lifetimes a lightyear,
you once handed me to find you
and marked every place I’m not
with a black hole.




I’ll wear this robe like a desert;
and release the hinges on the gate
that is closing like a rib cage
on the heart of the nightbird
that returns to the silence
like water taken from a river.
I’ll pour the moon out of its stone cup
and let this vine of eyes,
this bone of light
wander where it will
in search of a face in the darkness
sweeter than the blood-vows of wine.

These flowers aren’t the rags
of the legends of radiance
and a dragon doesn’t waste eclipses
on the blind.
The wind opens its hand
and I disappear like a gust of crows
in the startled nightgroves.
I will drag this empty robe of blood along the ground
like a wounded sky,
a desolate poppy
broken like a kite
on the powerlines of its dreams.
I don’t know what hurt me;
so long, so long ago I was a child,
and now I am a man, and aging
and the water snarls
and bares its fangs of frost,
and impales my heart
inflamed with grief for so much that has passed
without understanding
on the horns of the moon.

My ignorance has been
deeply authorized by life
and more and more often now
my blood coagulates into roses
and seals my mouth with wax
like a regal mandate
to succeed myself in silence
and let my throne
avalanche down the mountain
like just another rockslide,
another round of asteroids,
another fallen temple
freaked with mystic ore that never made it to the surface.

You ask me where I’ve been
like a road you befriended along the way,
but I’d have to know where I was going
to tell you that
and I’ve come to the end of myself
like starlight in a loaf of bread,
a candle that burnt like a voice in the night
to obviate the emptiness,
to warm the abyss momentarily
with the glow of our human divinity,
to say we were here once
like the flower in the field,
the star over the hill,
the face in the window
that watches as we pass
like the shadow of a bird
cast by the flames of a hidden fire,
a pulse of the moon,
the eyelid of a wave
that imagined the sea beneath it
before it broke like a vision
on this shore of flesh
where everything must be abandoned.

I want to be with you
like your eyes are
if you’ll let me be.

I want to silver my breath
in the longest night
of your loneliest fountain.
And many have sworn,
and many along the way
have perished like echoes and flowers
at the insistence of a rootless word.

And there have been nights,
eras of darkness and sorrow
drawn from a stranger’s well
that have bent the path I took,
and scattered my footprints
like refugees and colonists
that turned native
like an exhausted emotion
when their loneliness went wild and crazy
in a solitude even the moon couldn’t fill.
And I have stared
long and deeply into the abyss of the night
and felt the stars stub themselves out
in the sandy hourglass of my ashtray heart.

How desparately
I have rummaged through
this encyclopedia of lives
to find one that wasn’t a prelude to tears,
my heart a lost boot,
laced with a snapped spinal cord,
its mouth
muzzled like a junkyard dog
with an elastic band
to keep body and soul together,
only to proofread sky after sky,
page after page of stars
pricked out in braille,
fingering my name
carved in funereal kells and runes
on another boundary stone.

Nothing binds me.
No one wants my heart enough
to consult it like a map
to where I’m buried like gold
under the tongue of a dangerous angel
who wants to wake up beside you
like a spear of fire
I will fall upon like life, like a lover,
to wound my way back into paradise.