Saturday, December 1, 2012



The grey rain riffs on the windows
as if it’s been listening to too much rap.
Fragrance of gasoline blooming in the gutters.
People all look like daffodils in baseball caps.
Wish I wanted something enough to buy it again,
and it’s been a while since I’ve been with a woman
who wanted anything for me. I’m inside here
dethorning the intensity of the black rose
imploding under its own mass as its core
condenses in a withered star like a heart
whose light’s run out. The fire in my blood
took it all one nightshift further than red
and now I can see in the dark like a black hole.

Nightvisions in broad daylight. I can see the stars
shining through the smudged pearl of the sun
trying to glow its way through the clouds.
I can see the skulls of insurrectionist dreams
deep underground in the cults of my cells
trying to assess the direction of the bomb blast
to insure the maximum damage. Not all roads
are trying to make friends with people
who walk them like cowpaths littered with road kill.
It’s better to be lost as the lesser of two evils
when clarity scorches the heart radioactively.
Dissociation, Deconstruction, Disintegration,
I’ve evolved like a language into a grammar
of oxymorons just to keep my thoughts and feelings
together in a syntactical world of unpunctuated scalpels.
Alloys of a stronger metal are not estranged
like copper and tin from the cutting edge of the sword
by the colour of their skin or religion in the Bronze Age.

Love comes at me in the darkness of these depths
like a crossroads of light from all directions at once
by which I know the radiance that’s found me
is not just another flashlight that’s still looking.
And there are Sufis whirling like weathervanes
in blue woollen robes, and enlightened Zen masters
gently picking the fleas out of their chest hairs
and thanking the thieves for leaving the moon in the window,
and demonic demons with the insight of black diamonds
all telling me you lose control if you hesitate in the moment,
or stand up, sit down, walk, or run, but whatever you do
don’t wobble. And I plunge into the galaxy with both feet
hoping to make a big splash in the red tide of the stars
and I either drown in the light, or I end up
blowing hyperbolic bubbles into a bulky multiverse.

I haven’t turned my senses into lenses,
starmaps, and spectrographs, but I’m not blind
to what’s living under my eyelids in a chaos
of crazy-wisdom playing picture-music
in a band of clowns, just to get a good laugh
out the oracles that are prone to never
take their own advice so seriously
they couldn’t change their minds.
You can’t refit a round suggestion
into a square meaning, and it’ cruel to try.
I have long wavelengths of thought
that burn like iodine and salt in sea kelp
but I don’t whip the eyes of the tide
just to get things flowing like tears my way.
I don’t throw acid in the faces
of tomorrow’s beauty queens learning to read
the writing on the wall as just the wall’s way
of threatening you into letting it protect you.
I don’t boil kids in their mother’s milk
and I don’t practise the kind of spiritual judo
that uses a person’s best ideals against them.

Especially as I get older, I would rather be
obliterated by wonder and gratitude
that I got to be all this without any effort of my own
than have my awe underwhelmed
by petty renditions of the black farce
that welds some people’s eyes shut like
an eclipse stronger than the original bond.
But there again, if you’re happy being a scar, mend.
What could it mean to the stars
if you can’t see them during the day?
And I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again
to those of you who have taken a more radiant path,
blazing is a kind of blindness too
that keeps you from seeing the diamond in the coal.

Yesterday oxygen was alien ore as toxic
as the love apples of superstitious tomatoes
two hundred years ago it was death to eat.
And it’s poignant to remember that any ground
you plant your flag in like a flower without a root,
like a placard without a rally, is
a charged particle field that reverses spin
synchronistically like a revolution
in an hourglass relationship with what it overthrew.
Consciousness is necessarily bifurcated by its blossoms
into two points of view, but deeper down
in the bloodstream of its darkest roots
it doesn’t make a distinction between an I and a You.
Subject and object aren’t separated
by a skin of water empty as the mirage
of a bubble within and lustrous as the stone
that broke the window without. This world
isn’t happening to you from the outside
and you’re not making it up within like a lie
you can tell your children about being alive.

No one’s wholly wise who still possesses a mind.
No one’s totally ignorant if they give
a red cane to a blind traffic light to see it coming.
I don’t trim the wicks of my comets
as if they were candles at a black mass.
I can breathe fire like Draco at the North Pole,
but when I’m not axially aligned with the earth
I can look into the eyes of my fiercest dragons
and see at the bottom of a telescopic well
millions of fireflies lost in a labyrinth of mirrors
looking for an insight into the nature of life
that would true all the others like crystal eyes
caught in the eleven dimensional net
of enlightened lies where time and the timeless intersect
and synteretic sparks ricochet like spiritual eagles
off the slopes of mountainous eras of grace.




Tenderly the evening descends into a dark bliss
and lays its poultice like a cool leaf against my forehead
and draws the fever of the day out of the night.
I ease back on my elbows like an easel down by the river.
When I’m burnt, I make a blister
and cushion myself with water,
a more useful approach to tears.
The mosquitoes swarm like insistent circumstances
that thin my blood, but a soft wind
is blowing them away from Pearl Harbour.
The long blue grass yields as easily to a man as a deer.
I want the stars near enough to overhear what they’re whispering.
Still amazing to me I can embrace all of them with a thought
as if they were my idea in the first place
and feel humbled and exalted at the same time
by the sublimity of their radiance and the strangeness of my own.
The river sustains its clarity by wandering.

Single male in the autumn of life, I’ve let go of so much
the only thing left to let go of is the letting go itself.
I’ve forgone the commotion of inducing myself into creation.
Things will fall out by themselves. Playfulness
return to surrealistic perversity
to explain the shape of the universe
and fools like me counter-intuit the crazy wisdom
of squandering their lives on voices in the distance
leading them on deeper into the subtleties of a poetic narcosis
that haunts them like the face
of a beautiful woman they once knew.

Don’t we all belong to a nobility of longing, even though
we don’t live up to it, and start to grasp and scratch
like dead branches screeching across
an intransigent windowpane on a stormy night
that let’s us look at the fire, but doesn’t let us in?
Where do you go with your serious spirit
when you’ve been rejected by your solitude?
Do you know the secret art of being enhanced
by the qualities of anything you’re not attached to,
without killing off the desire for what you’re missing?
Live with gratitude for the abyss in your heart
it’s impossible to fill like a grave
that took more out of you than it put back in.

You can be adorned by your failures.
You can be humiliated by your victories.
Coming and going, your path can be strewn
with roses or thorns. You could be walking on stars.
You could be lying down beside a river at night like I am
savouring a sorrow you like the poetic taste of,
because it includes everything within it
like the skin of the dew and the moon as the source of life.
Even sweeter than a rainbow body of light
or an atmosphere with ocean to match,
this last touch of clinging before you evaporate
into the mystery of everything you’re leaving behind.

No more than you can pour water out of the universe
through a black hole, can your mindstream be poured by time
into the uncomprehending darkness of the black mirror
you’re looking for an image in tonight
in the eyes of all these stars shining down upon us,
knowing our starmud is just as old as their light
and we’re not wandering orphans lost in their shadows.

We’re firewalking on water like stars in the shapes
of self-immolating swans, two parts flammable
from the start, and one of oxygen like a toxin
we depend upon for life like an alien export we adapted to.
Same with death. Until you include it in the nucleus,
inviting your enemy in to feast behind the gates
that laboured like water to keep life in the seas,
you’re vulnerable to the delusion of your own exclusion
like the face of an exile in your mirroring awareness.
Don’t underestimate the creative potential
of the dark genius of death to come up
with new paradigms of seeing and being
that make us feel we lived our whole lives
confined and blind in the coffin of a seed
that stored a harvest of what we’ve reaped in a silo.

Out of the dead ore of the moon
pours the white gold of wheat
like metal from a stone in a starfield
that yields more life than can be lost
in the living of it. Without a sword. Without a ploughshare.
Isn’t it in the nature of our evanescence to move
like light and water and wind from urn to urn
of one sky burial to the next at sea and then the earth
like a water clock that runs so urgently
from full to an emptiness that has to keep expanding
like the human heart just to contain it
so when the cup’s broken like a skull
you can drink the whole of the sea and the sky
in every single drop of your mindstream
and the stars will still be climbing your roots
up to the flowers within that bloom every year
like a deepening insight at zenith into
the dark generosity of becoming something
even beyond the scope of death to imagine extinct?




Clacking home from high school
in my rugby cleats, metallic castanets
clicking like crickets on the cement sidewalk,
battered, soiled, blessed. The anger
expurgated by violent body contact.
Knees, green, bleeding. Grass stains,
mud. My black and gold-striped jersey,
a wasp. I’d see them, on their backs,
perfectly intact, the filaments of
their black legs extended like oars,
delicate fossils of tv aerials,
looking for better reception in death
out in the open. Death, are you
still vulnerable?---scuttled lifeboats
where anyone could crush them,
the mysterious beetles, heritage jewellery
that seem to die for no reason.
An old woman drops a brooch.

Iridescent greens and pigeon pinks,
rainbows on oilslicks. Were they
scarabs of immortality in another life,
rolling the world up into a ball of dung,
pushing the sun along, little engines
with black holes big enough to sink it
like a cue ball, a marble of light?

Millions of years of random variations
in evolution estranged us. Was I
as much an alien to them at this
dangerous bus stop of a planet?
Unknown destinations, the seriatim
of a vague beginning elusive as a ghost
in the prenatal shadows behind us
the only bond between us? Or was
something against us both as
sentient life forms straight off the boat?

A common enemy that built a bridge
to gap the spark plug with light years
of stars firing us both up like a car
on a cold morning, lacquering its valves
with hot lubricants? I didn’t look
under the hood to see if beetles
have blood, but they had life and that
was taken from them as mine will be.
Their coffins were open as lockets
someone had torn the pictures out of,
unrevealed secrets, maple keys of love.

I was tough at the time. Fit. Proud
of my broken bones and scars,
a successful initiate into young manhood,
uncowed by my energies. I could
carry the ball without dropping it,
negotiating a labyrinth of contusions
and collisions in broken field running patterns
that brought the crowd to their feet.
I made the try. I got the ball off
down the line. I drop-kicked the field goal.
I was a cosmic egghead with knuckles
and books of astronomical poems
that weren’t all that easy to crack.
In the world’s eyes, I’d earned the right
to the madness in my hermeneutic solitude.

Nobody watching, I’d dig a hole
with my finger in the unwalked
boulevard grass. I’d pick them up
like a crane on the wharf of a drydock
and lower them into their graves
out of respect for dead metaphors.

I’d cross two blades of grass and say
a small prayer over them and
send them on their way, as I to mine
not knowing whether we shared
the same gods or not, if any, but feeling
the silliness of the gesture wasn’t
lost upon what might be circumspectly sacred
about standing in rugby boots
and glorious bruises, burying beetles
like lifeboats in a grave whether it made
the slightest difference to bugs, gods or people
what was destroyed. What was saved.