NARCISSUS LOST HIS FACE IN THE MIRROR HE STORED HIS IMAGE IN
Narcissus lost his face in the mirror he stored his image in
while Lady Nightshade was saying grace over the wrong coffin
rats from the shipwreck were rowing ashore
in the last lifeboat with a trapdoor in it for an emergency exit.
The holy men who couldn’t speak our language
without trying to fix it with an accent of their own
were recruiting for an army on the moon
to start a new crusade against futuristic infidels
who didn’t share the same direction of prayer
as the wavelengths that reached the ears of the extraterrestrials
with high ideals encoded in a scripture of esoteric starmaps
that spoke like oracles stoned on volcanic gas
so when you asked how things were going,
they always answered, perhaps, in an ambiguous tone of voice.
I was sitting in the window of a burning house
trying to write poems that smelled like smoke to the Holy Ghost,
when you showed up like a stranger’s doorway
out of my solitude like the bell of a three alarm death knell
with the smile that lingered like junkmail on the threshold
of a black hole that said jump right in, there’s light
on the other side of sin if you go through this
like a death in life experience in love with cosmic bliss.
Who could forget that day you came like a muse
up the leaf strewn stairs of an abandoned orphanage
looking for a heart you could inspire with the ruse
of the poetic refuse you left in the wake of your pilgrimage
like the desolation of your absence from the earthbound
that languished in the eclipse of your innocence
like a spiritual lost and found trying to make sense of itself
like a horse with a broken leg on a zodiacal merry-go-round.
I felt the fangs of your crescent moons pierce my flesh
like a staple gun under a rosebush in league
with an alliance of thorns that liked to see a poet bleed
as if the great mystery of love were nothing
but a conspiratorial intrigue of sword dancers on drugs
though I did everything I could to prove to you I was wrong
about the moonrise, you weren’t strong enough to be right for once
without starting a pogrom that interrogated
the light in my eyes for all those dark winter months
I never confessed, I never cried out as if ice were my only alibi.
I sat in the corner like a left-handed guitar with a dunce cap on
and wrote out lyrics that sang like the stars with a lisp
on your celestial blackboard until I felt like Sisyphus
a note shy of pushing my heart like a moon rock over the top.
It was the immanental sixties on a grailquest
for the objective correlative of a universal paradigm
it could fight under as the sign of a revolutionary new design of chaos
that made love not war to the thunder of home-made sonic booms
in a battle of bands with saturation bombing riffs and rimshots
that urged us to surrender to the enemy as if
they were dragonflies and quarter-notes of music
in a riot of helicopters dropping tear gas over Watts.
Even the madness wasn’t enough to mollify the sadness
of what we lost when everyone turned the lightshows out
in the concert halls and went back to the their atavistic law schools
to get a grip on the necks of the things they had let go of for a lark.
And the last time I saw you, before things went totally dark,
you were trying to set fire to my voice-box
like a lightning rod with bad wiring shorting out
like a bass amp on the stage of your burnt out farewell
to the audience that made a gracious bow to your frantic id
and headed for the exit like an arsonist long before you did.