Saturday, November 10, 2012



I have grown significantly to understand that every throne I’ve ever sat upon was quicksand and that I am living leniently on the match-head of a planet waiting for the thumbnail of the moon to ignite it with one quick flick of a crescent. Equine and apocalyptic as hell, and the irony is, more than possibly accurate. I’m running out of doors where I can billet my assassins; I keep giving my heart to women who reject it like a bloodbank without an overdraft. I’m a diffraction pattern in the twilight zone, in media res, between this world and the next, and that’s not the one where the herders and the hunters are having it out in a range war of religions. Like a page torn out of the multiverse, I’m just a zone of local cooling, a sunspot, and my neighbour is another, though we know we’re both just fooling when we call each other brother. Forty-eight years a poet and a painter, intoxicated by the picture-music threading the fog of the sirens like a theme I couldn’t resist. Foolish, I suppose, not to have tied myself off like a lifeboat and rowed and rowed for years just to stay where I am, but I had to jettison my landing gear to achieve cruising altitude in the oxymoronic abyss that the sirens demanded, saying, live this, if your poetry isn’t just the romantic bloodletting of a rose from a vein that you’ve slashed on the moon, prove you’re not a lie to us, and conduct yourself like a terrorist, prepared, are you prepared?---to die for us. I cut the eyes out of an eclipse and wore it over my face like a ski-mask, and walked around in the busy market, weighing the world like a tomato in my hand, the original primordial atom, packed with explosives, ready to detonate on command, to delete and improve the world by splashing myself against the wall like a bucket of paint and see what I could make out of myself in the mess of the ensuing vision. It’s amazing how suggestive a real siren can be when you’re lying in an ambulance without any legs. So I learned to swim like a fish among the stars; the last archon of an extinct species from Mars, evicted when all the water went south, and I had to come up with a completely new medium, new atmosphere, new idiom, out of myself, ingeniously, given what I had to work with. I adapted to the solitude and silence of my own vast spaces within, and vowed like a candle, to root my flower in the dark like lightning. Now there’s a squad car outside the candy-store and a swan that barks like a god. Make of it what you will. The pebble doesn’t enquire after its ripples. I write without feedback, without telltale bubbles of meaning rising to the surface like survivors who want to crawl back up on land and start it all again. There’s not much point in panning for gold in an asteroid belt when the only way to tell one nugget from the next is to break your teeth biting into them like fortune-cookies enshrining the haloes and the horns of the prophetic comets that dash by like bunting on a campaign tour. Elect me your fate, and I promise to find a place for your day old reflection somewhere on the plate, and a way to flag the fools down for easier detection. But I won’t tweak your mountainous erection like a gunshot when there are avalanche warnings all along the road, and the echoes return, born again, rehearsing their own names like fleeing refugees on a rosary of boulders that were left overs from Soddam and Gomorrah. Better to write this way than to lie buried like the last laugh of a kingly line in the barrow of a dunghill, pleading like a seed for an upgraded resurrection. I may well be the last extant defect of a fallible perfection, and all the mistakes of the bruised morning glory are mine, and the snakey tines of these tendrils of blood get tangled up in the twine of my thought and no one knows how they got in nor how to get out, and the homologous combs of the mentally coiffed are useless against the love knots that have coiled into nooses around the neck of the wind that’s run out of excuses for inciting the spring to riot, but at least I don’t snitch my way through a poem like a hydrophobic divining rod rooting out the terrorist wells of the watershed in order to secure some heartland in the back pastures of God. It’s dangerous wherever I am. And flawed.




Enrobing my nobility
in the aloofness of a spurned beggar,
or a musician on a street-corner
opening the coffin
of his exhumed guitar for change
to keep his humiliation
enraptured and alive,
his song denied its bough
by a warning
from the window of a squad car
enforcing the petty complaint of the loveless
who douse
the flaring of the flowers in law
as if all that unimposing ecstasy
were merely another match
that failed to consume them,
I conceal the generosity of the stars
that urgently lavish their light
on the deepening night that reveals them
in the lordly pockets of my impoverished repose.

I want to want something again
that isn’t an expletive of acquisition
that ages into the accusing silence
of an unattended toy.
I want to knock down all the probabilities,
all the odds and evens
of the gravestones placed like bets
in a cemetery of bookies
that have hedged their deaths
with double or nothing on the long shot.

Love bides its time in me
like fire in a stone
that rings the ashes of its last revelation
and over the clamour of ghosts at war,
I try to live up to myself in the silence
like the impossible conditions of an unsigned truce.
I have plucked the wings of angels
and feathered my heresies
in the tars and flammable shadows of the night.
If I have withdrawn into myself
it is only to advance and transcend and array
like a wave or a breath
when the abyss gathers me into its unassailable immensities
and then sprawls me out like a map
on the shore of an uninhabited island
to discover what I’ve buried.

I am always curled
like the sickle of a harvest eclipse,
a question-mark, an imported executioner
over the pure, black point of my existence
even as I offer myself up
to the hidden face of the moon
as the first, shining stalk of wheat
to venture out of the tomb
under her inscrutable auspices.

But I am not the redivining of an old sacrifice,
I am not a child in the attic
playing in the valley of the kings
with the castaway cargoes of a rudderless moonboat
scuttled in time.
I don’t dress up in the abandoned wardrobes
of the oversized past
to practice the mute afterlife of my future.

Denied the bough of the day,
I am the nightbird perched in your roots
and singing,
not to summon,
not to warn anyone away,
and even less to convey
the bitterness of unrequited beatitudes
or the serpentine intoxicants of unanswerable longing.

Sometimes it feels as if
I were an extremity of fire
frozen in the ice of hell,
or I find myself lingering
over the petals of the pimped-out magnolias
like the pages of a torn book
or old Venetian blinds askew at the window,
to look for eyes between the lines
I might add to the watersheds of my seeing like rain,
but I’m never a pilgrim on a road of smoke for long.

And I don’t know
if I have enhanced the waters of life
with the tears that fell inwardly
from the lightless side of my eyes,
but I am not the urgent miscellany
of the misunderstood
and I have always been suspicious of the bread
that calls itself good
and founds its thunderous, empty silo
on a curse in the cradle of the grain.

I don’t peck like a pigeon
in the holy squares of the doctrinal,
and it’s been an ironic consolation at times
to wryly affirm with a quizzical smile
that only my uncertainty is certain.

My life may have been blown about
like the windswept froth of a pathetic guess,
and everything I know
be phantoms of foam clinging to ruinous rocks,
but I have that in common with the stars,
and there are tides I ride bareback without a bit
like my own bloodstream
that fly like wild horses on the moon,
muscling the dead seas of the heart like waves
that expound no more
with the gavelling of their hoofs
than the astounded pulse of the running.

I am no longer estranged
by the parsecs of solitude
that are the true measure of my age,
once I realized
it was my only way of meeting everyone.
And I have never mistaken a chain
for the rosary of a dead liberator
and linked the name of God
to anything that is bounded by what it binds.

My freedom is slanderous,
lightning and a star,
but my devotion glows like a firefly in a jar
when I consider that I owe more
to the things I got away with
like a fugitive
compelled to cross the unknown badlands
by a posse of judicial compasses,
than I do to the foghorns and lighthouses
that bellowed over my unsalvageable corpse
because it rose on its own
like an unschooled coast,
there’s still a morning in my smile I can’t regret.