Sunday, September 23, 2012



I have never said to anyone that I loved them
and not meant stars, not meant soft green lanterns, not
meant the light coming out of the dark
and fireflies on a windy summer night by a black lake
or the lamp that draws the doe out of the shadows
or the moon drunk quicksilver in the inebriated window
warping its image through the delusional weeping
of dirty winter glass signed like a guestbook
by everybody’s tears, inside and out, and this
still the case though I’m old enough to know
all that crying never turned into a single chandelier
and sad ink’s a bigger liar thread for thread
than the dyes of joy that colour the whole head hopeful.
And I have lain like an island of flesh in a coven of candles
beside cool dolphins with seabird hands
off the coast of my longing, and marvelled
at the amazing bridges of their bodies
and how they nudged my shipwrecked heart ashore.

I have never said to anyone that I loved them
and not meant the mountain ribbon of a bloodstream
that could fill to the brim the infinite cosmic goblet
of an eye, emptier than a telescope dying of thirst
in a desert of stars, with the wine of its endless flowing;
never said I love you to a tree or a door or a cat
or the chain of footprints I drag through the snow like the past
and not meant some era of a woman
who came and stayed awhile with me
in the desolate shadows of a late afternoon apartment
like the first rising of a second moon
I could live on alone in a garden of skulls and fountains.

And even when I draw the suicidal hypotenuse
of love’s descresence across my left wrist
to bury myself in an alma mater of unsanctified ground,
having given a hand to the death of a savage passion,
or swept my continental vision off the table
back into the coffin like an archipelago
of missing jigsaw pieces, more vacancies than a honeymoon hotel
everytime I try to assemble it, I still know
even if it isn’t vouchered to me,
that love is life, and life is a bride
that walks to the altar of her mysterious sacrifice alone,
trailing her ancient veil of stars
along this endless road of ghosts, and somehow
even when I’m the corpse of a fox in the ditch
among the white, sweet, wedding clover,
having been struck from the glare of her highbeams,
it is always somehow strangely okay and foolishly worth it.




The ironic smile of a sword that’s tasted blood.
Bless the slayer who wounds me. I’ve been
hemorrhaging roses ever since. And bless
the tormentors of the heretical truth, voice coaches all
who taught me to sing in the fire to no one
without feeling the pain. Bless the executioner
for dropping the double-bladed axe of the moon
on the nape of my neck. I transcended thought,
tore all the wire-mesh down from
the home-made aviaries of my voice
and released all my cages from the grasp of my doves
in a slum of rapture that pitied the landlords
who had none. I bless the manipulator who taught me
how to love the joys of spontaneous chaos without contrast
and the psychosexual sadist with the intimate private life
of an X-rated hardware store who sold me a sabre saw
that allowed me to cut my umbilical cord to the puppet masters
and fly without strings like a burning box-kite among the birds.

O, and the long erosive sorrows of an afterlife
with nothing to hope for anymore, what gifts
have they not arrayed before me like wine to a grape,
enlightenment sweetening my heart
with the fluid fruits of compassion?
Namaste, my old teachers, namaste.
I sing it from a low-hanging bough
like the new moon in the heart of a nightbird
and when I went like a wolf to dig up
where I was interred, to give myself
a decent sky burial, I discovered
a motherlode of constellations had replaced
the dusky, sad marrow of my bones
that lay all around like the clappers of bells
that had their tongues cut out by the silence.

Praise be to the assassins on top of the world mountain
and the Old Man who wheels and deals
in sex and drugs like a false prophet who casts
a shadow upon the earth like a tarpit
where the trophies of extinction sink into time
and the abattoirs are redesigned as museums of the mind.
I decultified myself like a contract killer
and rehabilitated my existence by letting a full moon
kiss your eclipse on the lips like the birthmark of a man
who’s about to die at the hands of an apprentice
he raised like an orphan as one of his own.
Ever since you died, the flowers don’t mind coming to my wake.
I shall always sing lyrics of acid rain over your grave
that sting the heart like a child choir of scorpions.

And I want to honour the pettiness of all the maggots
and leeches and tapeworms and high-minded parasites,
who pitched their love like tents in the place of excrement
as Yeats remarked, and spoke like monostomes
out of the same mouth they ate and eliminated with
for teaching me that karmic retribution is instantaneous
and reincarnation isn’t a single event of birth
but a kind of regressively transformative justice
that can swarm one lifespan with many afterlives
like a law of diminishing returns. And that a lion
can learn as much from its unlikeness to these
as it can from all its shining solar affinities.
And humans are known not only by their friends,
but the qualities or lack thereof of their enemies.
Which is why wolfpacks don’t hunt flies.

Out of the effluvium of the swamp I was born into
I broke into poems like nocturnal waterlilies
and even as the eyeless night darkened around me
my fireflies of insight deepened their radiance
into first magnitude stars. And all the lunar deaf-mutes
of my scars opened their mouths for the first time
in a long time, and my blood begin to sing
to the picture-music of songbirds returning
to a sacred grove of first violins branching out
to watch the bud of the moon blossom like a whole note
at the tips of their horse-hair pernambuco sticks.
Praise be to the krill that nemetically created the blue whale.

I’ve learned to fractalize the singularities of black holes
into radiant galaxies lavishing themselves
on billions of life forms upon as many worlds.
Out of a single atom being told it won’t amount to much
by the encroachment of the abyss, I have
elaborated myself out of a dangerous contradiction
into a creative heretic disciplined by the unconditioned
without making an orthodoxy of a lack of tradition
like a great barrier reef of dead polyps mouthing
sacred syllables to the lunar seas they’re buried in like cement.
My eyes have been guided by the shadows of sundials
toward the light. Born with nothing
but the love of a mother who taught me
even a breadcrumb can be as generous
as loaves and fishes on a compassionate hillside,
I have been squandering the riches of my poverty
like a scarecrow on the hungry ghosts of the unfulfilled
like an inexhaustible silo ever since,
growing sunflowers for the blue jays in winter
corn for the raccoons that come with their kits in the night,
and whatever they like for the white-tailed deer
who enter the garden I’ve laid out for them,
shy as moonlight, with no intention
of ever harvesting anything but the wind
that sowed it in the first place with the teeth
of a dragon with starmud in its heart and mind
that brought the rain to temper and heal
the starfields of grain that had felt
the forge and blade of an igneous heart
that knew the dark abundance that would come
from the bright vacancy of the crazy wisdom
that evolved out of adverse nothing
the sublime absurdity of its efflorescent art
of breathing in coal dust like the black lung of a mine
and exhaling diamonds as expansive as a palace of water
to house the homeless radiance of the stars
in the largesse of a mind you could only enter
like a wound through the heart you could feel
in the pain of everything else like steel through your own.

Born like a star or a dragon in a cold furnace of your own ashes,
when you come across a muse chained in a dungeon of ore,
is it not a mystic act of love and compassion to fire her up
and pour her out like gold from the crucible of a base metal
with wings like bellows to fan the flames
of your own extinction into the creative immolations
that illuminate these dragon paths out of hell
with fireflies, stars, and the deeper insights of the night
burning like enlightened serpent sages
up the spinal cords of black candles
dancing on their own funeral pyres like heretics
sacrificing themselves to their own shining
well off the beaten paths of the orthodox nightwatchmen
who make the rounds on the graveyard shift of the zodiacs?