Monday, October 22, 2012



From the tree to the ground the seed is unbound
as a bird in a space capsule re-entering the earth’s atmosphere
like an apple at splash down withering like a parachute.
Or the wind uplifts you like a lion with the mane
of a solar corona, and you roar in the abyss awhile
and then it lets you down like a dandelion
in a windfall of paratroopers crossing the Rhine.
Rags of the flags of last year’s nation of leaves
stuck together like the pages of a wet history book
made sacred by the earth I’m walking on bathed in blood.
Nature red in tooth and claw as if the hot passionate colours
that advance to the foreground were more violent
than the more distantly passive violets, viridians, and blues.
Chill out means stop aiming at everything as if
you were a sniper in a belfry with a machine-gun
looking for God with your third eye laminated to the lens
of a high-powered telescope that’s got you in its digital crosshairs.

I’m not seeking freedom to not have to look for anything.
I’m not turning over every stone to see where the angels
keep their ancient places as a junkie-poet once said
in the gutters of Victorian London, or peeking under every leaf
to see where I left my eyes like reading glasses
under a sheaf of poems packed on my desk
like the layers of the Burgess Shale after the first good snowfall.
Things come of their own accord out of a time-zone
that’s unique to them, and delight in their reception
like strangers in the doorway of an open heart,
every step of the way the threshold of a journey
that would never depart like the bloodstream of a ghost
evaporating from the palace it built in the salt flats
if you didn’t give the flowing a purpose, a destination,
the drift of your circuitous blossoming something to find
when you arrive at the place you lost it like an exit
at the front entrance of your mind. Peace isn’t
the consolation prize of a new pair of eyes
trying to make up for the loss of your happiness.
It’s the only cornerstone of the stars
in a desert of quicksand saturated with the mirages
of the tears you keep sinking in like the delusional oceans
of the moon, in a tidal pool of unsalvaged shadows.

Black walnuts all over the ground this year
like incinerated solar systems from a Rumi poem
lying at my feet like unracked cue balls that didn’t break
but I don’t take them as signs of things to come
because things to come come quietly in the night
without making the grand entrance of a moonrise
or heralding their farewell with the garish sunset
of a trumpeter swan. They come on small feet
that barely make a whisper through the grass.
And then they’re gone like a bubble in a mirror
that breaks into ripples on the surface of the mind
once it makes contact with an atmosphere vast enough
to contain it like an enlightened vision of the wind it rides
to ends of the earth like the breath of life within us all
from birth to death, the mysterious door left ajar ahead of us
and the one behind, opening even wider in our wake.




Rain at five in the morning. Can’t sleep.
Too many shards of broken mirrors
of the way things are in my mind.
Not enough windows to look through
for a star or two between the clouds.
No one on the streets. And the doorways
keeping their thoughts to themselves.
The pipes of the gas furnace creak
like an octopus with arthritis
and the aquarium filter leaks
like a mindstream on the rocks
not the lyrics of a fountain with a dolphin’s mouth.

My eyes observe the protocols of seeing
into the sturm and drang of my awareness
like a lighthouse, but the dragon’s awake
scalding my heart until my blood seethes
like the toxic glands of a cold-hearted reptile
in a cauldron of volcanic mistakes
reversing the spin of the spells I cast
that had more of an air of forgiveness about them
than is seemly for a curse but still too much
the smouldering of the Druidic glais
dedicated to the ashes of the Burning Man
to be a blessing in the eyes of the beholder
who sees his own features in it, good or bad,
depending on how raw or cooked he is.

My subconscious mind surfaces
like the dorsal fin of a sundial
to circle the lifeboat I’m in
like a prophet in the belly of a killer whale
trying to knock a seal off an ice floe.
I’ve disciplined my karma like a martial art
but my heart is a miasma of provisional compassion.
Dead dog’s dream self snarls like a junkyard
of bad performance poetry behind an electric fence
I wove out of the optic fibres
of a discarded dreamcatcher
hanging from a rearview mirror
in the middle of a windshield
swimming against the flow of things
like a salmon up the mountain
in the slipstream of its own wake.

I keep my rage on a chain and a muzzle.
I keep my sorrow to myself like a child
I never wanted to grow up to be me.
I can be a heretic devoted to the freedom
of my own creative apostasy
as a decultified mode of poetic disobedience
but there’s a gleeful buoyancy
in the experience that bubbles up
within me like a tar pit liberated from itself
that says touch even this lightly
in your passage through here.
Listen to the wind in the trees
with your nose as well as your ears
but follow the stars like a shepherd of wolves
hunting in the same high fields
their fires graze upon themselves,
not the wheeling of the world’s wavelengths
in these earthbound coils of renewal and extinction
crushing the life out of me like a beached Leviathan
suffocating under its own weight, or oracular pythons
with their tails in their mouths like the last word
of anything left to say on their deathbeds.

My despair is still contaminated with hope
and the lucky long shots that ricochet off chaos
but still hit the target like the master stroke
of a random God particle, haven’t done anything
to improve the aim of my hadron collider.
The secret of life is confided only to those
discrete enough not to tell it to anyone else.
They wear it on their sleeves like silence.
Their tongues are not candles in the niches of their mouths
they keep blowing out with every breath they take
looking for emergency exits in the fire traps of their shrines.
And woe to the hypocrite that tries
to love me unconditionally as if I didn’t have
a mind and a heart of my own to see
what a ploy it is to climb a burning ladder
up to heaven, only to let people down conditionally
like a fire-escape in a cheap hotel
that stops half way to the ground.