Monday, October 15, 2012



Every insight, the Big Bang, and the thought that follows, a universe.
Every image that flashes across the moonscape like a silhouette
in reverse of the dark matter and starmud that surrounds it,
a black swan among the white when there’s snow on the river.
Worlds bubbling out of the mouth of a fish through a hole in the ice
that looks like the third eye of a glacier taking a long, hard look
at whether it was worth opening all those lakes
and then filling them like eyes with the runoff of its own tears
as it disappears into a more fertile approach to letting go of itself.
I could always see a human shape hidden in the landscape
and I wanted to free it so I scraped and gouged
and dug my way into it like a dog unearthing the fossil
of a distant ancestor that ran with the wolves.
Even now when their ghosts howl it’s a sad ballad
of the lyrical hills going mad by themselves
and sometimes it breaks my heart like water
in the cleft of a pseudomorphic rock to write picture-music
in striated cuneiform on the cliff faces to sing to themselves
like a lost people with more legend than life in its veins.

I can take a single thread and weave it into a flying carpet.
I can take a string theory and make it resonate with membranes
that occasionally break their eardrums like water from a womb.
There are protocols of the imagination that have been imposed
by iconic means like straitjackets fitted to the inside of your psyche.
Cuckoos in your nest, memes in your mind,
nudging your cosmic eggs out to smash on the rocks below
like the stillborn of the sun. Embryos and fractals,
astronomical forensics sweeping the night sky for fetal stars,
hidden paradigms ferreted out like secrets
that will bloom each in their own good time
like the mysteries of life unravelling
the sequel of a waterclock that keeps on outliving itself
by transcending its own emptiness by pouring itself out
like a serpent that’s always shedding its own skin
or a zodiac confabulating a false dawn
of mythically deflated metaphors, red giants
burnt out into black dwarfs and sink holes
where the stars plunge like butterflies into
the gaping maw of the dragon that consumes them like krill,
knowing its destiny, too, is just a provisional scaffolding of quicksand.

Yes, but how many make it all the way through
like wild salmon responding to the death call
of the spawning ground on the far side of the white hole
when the hourglass gets turned around like a fountain
instead of leaking out of a mortal wound in the side of the universe?
The morphology of knowledge is the history of shapeshifters.
Cosmology is an aesthetic expression of enculturated preferences.
Zero among the Hindus the form of the abundance of their emptiness.
Among the Greeks, a political exile. And for a Westerner
far sighted enough to see in aerial perspective,
the bluing of a way of life that’s always over the next hill.
Sight is a kind of love I once read on a poster the sixties.
So astronomy for poets. And poets for astronomy.
Observatories on forbidden mountain tops
opening their eyes like blind prophets to the visions
engendered by a seven year eclipse of their visuals.
Who hasn’t stepped out of their own well lit doorway
and walked up to the high field on a cold winter night
and watched their breath mingle with the Milky Way
like a tributary of a river on intimate terms with the mindstream
we’re all flowing into like red-tailed hawks
riding our own thermals for the sheer joy of it
down the helical stairwells of our own polished bannisters of dna.

Twenty years a Druid in a vatic college learning
to speak to trees in the demotic of their own alphabet,
poetry isn’t the calling of a clown or a gleeman
amusing the whimsical caprice of the king’s court,
it’s a summons to risk your life exploring the mystery
of every facet of what you’re doing here turning jewels
like stars in the translucency of your own light
reflected in a brainstorm of parabolic mirrors that bloom at night.
Haul yourself up out of your tidal pool of awareness
into the rarefied bliss of a whole new medium that exceeds
the planetary boundary stones of the space time continuum
you’ve been so far, by devoting your disobedience
by bringing back enlightened serpent fire
from the hearths and the middens in the starfields
of the gods who first domesticated it like a selective ordeal of birth
in the imagination of a hungry human thief enough
to root a new kind of lightning in the earth that bears
all the birthmarks of the compassionate fruits of insight
into the nature of a mind that embodies all this
as if one moment the crescents of the moon were scars on its eyes
and the next, the talons of an owl flying out of the abyss in the grip
of a nocturnal imagination that’s as wise as it is dangerous.
All my thoughts have fingertips. Blood your abstractions.
Lavish your mindstream on the available dimensions of the future
as if what you wanted to achieve were already behind you
like a star in pursuit of an earthly excellence.
Humanize the uninhabitable as if it were just
another room in a spatially enchanted palace
you haven’t finished yet like Thomas Jefferson.
If you look for the cure in the heart of the disease,
by corollary, look for the disease in the heart of the cure
like the lesser vehicle in a pathology of grails.
Safer to drink from your own skull to an eclipse
that patched the eye of the moon with the crossbones
of its colours, than sip rainbows from the goblets
of lilaceous irises blooming like an effulgent halo
around the pupil of a black hole on a starless night
anticipating a cadaverous moonrise
like the dark beginning of death breaking into
the unimaginable radiance of another side to all this
that makes the light seem a mere carbon copy
of the shining that can be emanated by an enlightened mind
that never hesitates to contaminate the purity
of its numinous ignorance for the sake
of opening the gate like an exile to a secret garden
everybody must enter at the crossroads of a threshold
without the screening myth of a backdoor to duck out of.




The leaves tremble at the tips
of their half-denuded branches
against a flat gray sky,
the ruination of yellow and green
and the maples afire.

The house to myself;
four hours to myself. My head
jammed with the business
of swarming blackflies,
the crucial trivia of the morning,
crankshafts and cabs,
fitting the lid
over the spoon in the coffee can,
drinking brewer’s yeast
to coat my neuronic synapses
with vitamin B
to counteract the stress
that just handed me the single rose
of an unrequited cold sore.

And I’m chain-smoking
contraband cigarettes,
and I’ve got enough money,
I’ve got enough smokes,
I’ve got enough food to last until tomorrow
and the coffee’s not bad
and I don’t even mind
this ashen hour of October
as I wait for the mud in the puddle to settle,
the turmoil of the soiled cloud,
the ecliptic commotion of the meteor shower
to stop smearing and smashing
the silence of the eyeless mirror,
and my feelings are waiting for mouths
like the interlaced fingers
of a Druid who doesn’t know
what he wants to say
but knows how to say it
a hundred and fifty ways.

I look for the column shift
and put the world in park.
I look for my heart
and it’s a small, scuffed planet
trying to throw a curve at me
as if I were nothing but space.

I’m the key to a forgotten lock
in the spirit’s lost and found,
and part of me likes it this way
because for several eras now
the sleeves have been too long
on the winter straitjacket
time sized and knitted from my solitude,
and I hate the stingy herb of the colour.

I have lived like wings without a sky,
fire in the heartwood of a weeping willow,
and the birds piled up on my windowsill
like the craven junkmail
of an insincere migration that kept turning back
and my tears were always pall-bearers
at the death of water,
and I couldn’t understand,
couldn’t fathom the shallowness
of the infinite interpretations
that sprawled like lavish waves
across the sandy inclinations of my mind
with shells and starfish and seaweed for proof.

How could everyone not be right,
each according to the ruler of their spine,
a full measure of the truth?
The universe five ten and a half feet tall,
and flowers that taste like stars to the blind,
and wounds that heal like scalpels
in the hands of the surgical moon,
and emergency rooms full of clowns,
and shovels like iron valentines
indifferent to gardens and corpses;
and the beautiful arches of the women
who collapsed like aqueducts and bridges,
the stones of their plundered geometry
collaged into the gaps of makeshift hovels
to keep the cold night drafts out?

And I put it all down as a poet.
I was faithful to the vagrancy of my voice.
I offered the first born of my blood
to the law of my heart
and my soul was an ardent shapeshifter
with the wardrobe of a theatrical poppy
forgetting the lines of a dream.

I was an arsonist waiting in the dark
for the bell of a woman in the doorway,
and my cells were haunted
by the ghosts of the vacant thrones
of dark intensities
that swept me like rain over the masks and hills
of faceless domains.

I squandered myself
like confetti, fire and cherry blossoms
at the weddings of water and gasoline.
Everywhere was threshold and door,
and the world a ghetto of exiles,
a refugee camp for stars and humans alike,
an oildrum under an urban overpass
where I spray-bombed the hunting magic
of the beast masters
who danced to keep warm
under the horns and hides of their sacred shadows.

I have never been anyone
I ever thought I was.
Alone and alone and alone,
the hidden eye under a robe of light,
gazing out at the world from the inside,
I could never claim my thoughts and emotions as my own,
and without realization
I could be the vision
but I could never say that it was mine;
and slowly I was poured out on the ground
like blood and blue wine
and what was left was space, was
the whole palace in a single cornerstone,
a way of keeping everything in mind
and mind in everything,
of holding the world with an open hand,
letting the rivers
slip through the delta of my fingers
back to the sea they issued from
and I was always the last drop of water
to leave the moon. Empty and dry,
I lived on ashes and salt, a gnawing thing,
breaking its teeth on minerals,
trying to build a house of transformation
with glass nails, speaking
in the liberated tongues of broken mirrors.

How many days, deserts, dragons,
surviving on the marrow
of thorns, fangs, claws,
on the exhausted fruits of the fire,
on the flakes of blood
I shed like brittle roses,
like the paint of a condemned post office.

There was no more meat on the bones of the gate
and my heart turned into a loaf of coal.
My annihilation was perfected
in the crucible of my skull
by an excruciating isolation
that wept like the swords of diamond clarities
and the women and the children and the books,
and the abandoned shrine
in the tiny grove of my name,
fell away behind me
like wharves in my wake,
points of departure,
everything I’d ever cherished
lost in the undertow of the abyss.

Days of defamation and reptilian discretion.
I lived on nothing, a habit of breathing,
my heart a looping reflex,
terrified by the carnivorous gray of everything,
the short somewhere in the house
that would burn everything down,
the unforeseen event
that would snatch me
from the auroral approach of joy
by making me stand at the window
behind the stone curtains
of a harsher delusion,
always returning me to the same moment
as if a lesson I hadn’t quite mastered yet,
convinced again and again I was a chronic clown
proofreading the encyclopedic obituary
of someone who didn’t know when to quit.