Saturday, November 17, 2012



Occasionally a vapour of sadness
condenses into the eye of a tear with a star in it
and the great consolation of the compassionate
is that they see more beauty in a wounded world
than they do the savagery of the suffering that caused it.
They don’t so much exorcise the thick fog
of the ghosts they wander in like empty lifeboats
so much as alloy it to themselves like a star
in search of its own shining. They make deeper ripples
in the darkness of the night than the shallower wavelengths
of apprentice insight, and worlds within worlds
are enlightened by the ingathering of lost harvests
so every ray of the light is someone’s direction of prayer.

The older I get, the more experience ripens into an apple.
A planet in a sunset red shifting toward the sweet end
of the spectrum. There’s still a green star at my core
with half a dozen magic seed moons like eyes of dice
hoping they might root in some kind of continuance
of my starmud and wake up shining in a dark place,
and even oblivion seems a lot kinder than it used to,
and more beautiful those cold, cold nights the moonlight
flashed like a blade of frost across my jugular
in a sword dance of love with my clumsy heart.

But even when I consider the windfall ahead
when the dead go overboard like a burial
at sea in the unsounded depths of their own awareness,
I’m beginning to understand the compassionate nature of space
as more of a receptive embrace of everything I became
trying not to be, and everything I am of what I can
and cannot be, than an impersonal reservoir of my ruin.
Or as someone who understands what I mean might say,
pouring Aquarian tea out into a cracked cup
mended with the gold scar of the last crescent moon,
as above so below, starmaps in the firmament,
water-lilies in the wetlands. At least, I hope so.

Autumn burns like a solar flare in the rain
and occasionally a vapour of sadness
is summoned like a ghost to the medium
of a pilot light of the imagination and even after death
something retains a more flammable impression of life
than the mere forms of the smouldering of smoke
or why post angels with flaming swords
at the gates of Eden if the snake is already out of the bag
like a skin it shed a sky too small to swallow the moon?
Moths and candles, even in hell, birds of a feather
flock together, and neither a true phoenix, nor
a real dragon are born every spring from a shell.
And I’ve heard of flowers that bloom
longer than light years in fire that only
the wisest of children among us know how to exhume.

What’s time to a waterclock if not the mother
of an infinite womb making sure
from one generation flowing into
the empty bucket of the next like
the bloodstream of a body through
the ventricles of a heart, it’s never too late for life
to amaze you with how inseparable you and life are
from the start, not like the reflection of the moon
on dark water, but deeper than that,
like secret jewels dissolved in a solution of light
that taste like star sapphires crystalizing out of the night,
so you can’t help but go where life goes
as it must follow you like the Pleiades from tree to tree
like the water sylphs of the mindstream
they animate into the lyrical dream grammar
of a poet who doesn’t care who’s leading who where
on a long firewalk alone in autumn among the stars.




Aloofly sublime, intimately trivial, everything
is down-sized behind the mirror that reflects it.
Telescopic awareness. Two sides to every story.
A bridge standing like a great blue heron on one leg.
It doesn’t matter if your heart’s a begging bowl
or a full silo, bright vacancy, dark abundance,
is the empty bucket not the child of the well,
does a black hole not feed on the light of the stars
reaped from the terraces of space it’s seeded
with singularities that bloom in the roots of dark matter?

One day your hunger just runs out of appetite,
and if the Zen masters are right, you realize
your cupboards have always been full.
Harvest the dark. Sow the light. Empty your skull
like a horn of plenty on the moon. Be the krill
of a Cetacean star that threatens Andromeda on the rocks
like a blue whale that strains space through a grill of baleen.

2.35$ in my pocket, six thin crusts like the end pages
of twelve grain books, still in the collapsed parachutes
of their plastic bags, foraging in the fridge
like Napoleon’s grand army retreating from Russia,
a can of tuna I’ll share with the kitten
that just knocked my penultimate roll
of one-ply toilet paper into the toilet bowl,
seven sliced mandalas of leftover tomatoes
sinking into the sunset like Mayan calendars,
100$ left on the rent, my car off the road,
and the gas bill way too high to even afford
to commit suicide, as it’s getting colder
than a libertarian’s lust outside, and by tomorrow
I’m out of smokes while I try to paint eyelashes
on a hummingbird sipping from the grails
of the hollyhocks as my hand shakes from withdrawal
with a #1 liner, and all the cornerstones
of this life in art I depended on to get to the other side
earthquake the prophetic skulls in my mindstream
into quicksand I sink deeper into the more I struggle.

And what am I doing, and what have I done,
in between the feasts and famines
of these last fifty years, between the fat kind
and the lean, but sit here like a tenant farmer
writing poetry in a lunar landscape
that might bring the coldest windows to tears
of how little there is to show for the labour
of all these light years of waiting for the weather
in a non-existent atmosphere to change for the better?

How many times have I gone down into the underworld
like Orpheus where the dead lap jewels from the hand
of the dark lord of death to sing some muse
back up into the light only to discover in my absence
my bed as empty as it ever was, and I was made
King of the Waxing Year to be nailed to an oak in July
by a corporate fertility ritual that insisted my dismemberment
would not only ensure the future yields of their profit margins,
my body parts providing food for thought and mood in the arts,
but vastly improve the singing voice
of my chorus of prophetic skulls as well.

Anxiety used to turn my waterbed into a snake pit
of self-flagellating wavelengths and me into a hamster
and for years I couldn’t sleep, my ears trying
like radio telescopes not to hear the background cosmic hiss
of mystic glains breaking into baby rattlesnakes
with black lightning in their fangs that illuminated nothing
when they struck like the sign of a madhouse
in some default zodiac I wasn’t aware I was in arrears to.
The moon threw acid in my eyes everytime I tried
to learn to dream again about overcoming
my fear of happiness eating me alive to sustain itself.
I was keel-hauled on the pontoon of my own sea plane
like some noble clown going down like the captain
of a log boom I was trying to dock like a houseboat
deep in the woods like an ark scuttled on field stones
that held only one of my kind in a room
as vast and empty as an aerodrome reserved
for hermit thrushes and mocking-birds alone.

I could hear people listening in like a party-line
on my spinal cord when I hummed
and spit electricity like a snapped guitar string
as the amps and the staves of my hydro towers
went down in a sheet lightning storm
trying to write the music down in quarter-notes of rain
before my band of punk birds got fried on stage
getting on the nerves of the wishbones they broke
like the power harps in the black voice boxes of their rage.

I’d like to say I’ve come of age since then
and maybe I have, but just the same,
there’s a Martian retrograde motion of time
that’s always trying to double back on itself
to resurrect some emotion like a deathmask
that once helped you save face in a hard place
when the black rose bud of the new moon
went into a total eclipse of your eyelids.
Your rainbow body chalked by artistic forensics
like a local hit painted in blood on the sidewalk
in a neighbourhood you grew up in and thought
you’d left as far behind you as education could
without forgetting who or where you came from.

But let it come, let it come, let it come,
if the whole universe is looping eternally
with its tail in its teeth in a periodic orbit
like an ellipse, a noose, a bow on a gift,
or a shoelace that’s come undone
like an unmoored lifeboat drifting through the fog
like a wasted salvation putting words in its mouth
that would have been better spent on an inflatable lighthouse.
Daring says feathers and falling takes flight
some of the time. Sometimes not. But I’ve lived
on such slim hopes for such a long time
I’ve jumped out of a plane more than once
with nothing more than a dandelion seed for a parachute.
And once I almost managed suicide
by putting a clown in a cannon to my temple
and blowing my brains out without a safety net
to make a circus act of Sitting Bull in a rodeo.
And it comes to me as more of a shock than a surprise
that I’m still a ghost dancer with laugh lines around my eyes
for all the shapeshifting I’ve been through
to be true to all these labours I’ve inflicted on myself
to pursue my poetic vision like a muse
that speaks to me like the Virgoan starfields of Spica
with a stalk of wheat in her hand fletched
like the arrow of a hawk with a snake in her talons
to see if I’m still poet enough to enjoin
the highest to the lowest in a unitive symbol
that can shriek like a dragon in pain without being heard
to utter a word of false prophecy to the tail wind
that doesn’t waste its time trying to maintain
the cruising altitude of a weathervane
that never learned to fly straight in the face
of its aristocratic poverty in an elevated space
in this dumpy, four room, over-priced,
under-wired, creatively radioactive asylum
where I spend my nights and days
diverting my tears like funereal rivers
to bury myself like the secret death of a khan
deep in my mindstream as the tributary return
of the sword the moon laid out for me upon enlightened waters
to pick up so I’d have something worthy of surrendering
should I ever grow wise enough to fall upon it like a poet.