Tuesday, December 11, 2012



This ghost of a voice isn’t doomed
by the silence of your false dawn.
I’ve outlived many more graves
than you have stones to cast at me.
You might fancy yourself a nabob
of taste and sophistication
but you’re afraid to step out of yourself
into this wilderness where everything
is anointed toxically in a crown of fangs.
The jealousy of shepherd moons
grazes a small herd of scapegoats
on the astroturf of greener pastures
than I could ever imagine
the rising tides of these lunar dunes
the wavelengths of the vipers negotiate
through the coral reefs like the shadows
of sun dials in the abysmal valleys
of the quiet mountains, ever transcending
the lowest stations of the superficiality
you aspire to like the polish
on an illustrious edition of emptiness.

I may not have been so enculturated
in this wilderness to the luxuries
of time and space you dawdle away
in your walled garden with prophylactic editors
at the lapis lazuli bull gates of Babylon
you dream of riding in triumph through
like Alexander winning some strategic
literary award, or Nero on a reading tour of Greece,
and it’s less of a plausible improbability
than it is a probable impossibility
I’ll ever become so avuncular in my attitude
some Faberge Easter bunny somewhere
isn’t going to look upon me as dangerous.

That said, which of your neighbours
dumped the carcass of the moon
with that gibbous skull of a goatshead
in the tainted wellsprings of the muses
you drink from like spit out of the mouths
of hydra-headed acephalic friends of the Medusa?
And when it gets right down to ghost writing
the memoirs of famously underestimated
trap door spiders in hard bound books
I’d still rather sting like a rattlesnake
that bite like a swarm of blackflies
singing like a starcluster of black dwarfs
down by the lake in May when the light of the mind
is still too intense to risk the mirrors
you hold up to your narcissistic nature, getting a suntan.

The thirteenth house of the dispossessed
might not have many friends in the zodiac
it can rely on, but then there are more
first magnitude stars burning like heretics at the stake
on the wrong side of the ecliptic
gone slumming in my neck of the woods
than there is phosphorus in the entirety
of your collected matchbooks in a library
of sodden fireworks that fizzled out
before they were lit like a sad substitute
for the Leonids at the peak of their radiant downfalls.

Baa, baa, black sheep. If you’ve lived
long enough in darkness as I have
it’s easy to tell a real eclipse from a lullaby
trying to pull the wool over our eyes
to mystify the starmaps with blizzards of tinfoil
attempting to evade the draconian radar
of anti ballistic missile systems like a low flying kite.
Or a snow globe of the moon with no ice caps.

The truly inspired live in a world
where they never take cigarette butts for granted.
Under the gravestones of the lowliest of the low
you can sometimes find dark jewels
more lustrous than diamonds in the black haloes
of comets skinny dipping in a sun that shines at midnight.
Have you ever had sex with a muse
when she was hungry and they were about
to turn the hydro off like a lightbulb in her housewell
or have you always lain down with a sump-pump
in the basement of your Pierian spring?

Vox populi with just a trace
of an aristocratic accent you picked up at prep school.
Preparation for what? Does it matter
or would it really be too, too, uncool to care?
Laissez fare. So turn the weathervanes
once they realize they haven’t got the wings
for lift off, they’re never going to get off
the barn roof, cock of the walk or not,
however they strut like astronauts,
the haven’t got the right stuff for ignition.
It’s not the alarm clock that wakes the dawn up.
Or do you still think the fool you send off
to jester school, sooner or later, will return to his own,
a sacred clown? Do you still plead with the muse
like a lost and found for things you never
had to go very far to seek? Speak quickly
before you make mellifluous liars out of the bees
coming and going in and out of the mouth
of that wax deathmask you wear
like a helmet of insincere honey over your head
as if you were a dead ringer for a real scar
Zen jousting in a cold war with your own stinger?




Trying to make peace with my demons
without having them see me as weak.
I’m like the moon. I’ve always
turned one cheek toward the earth,
but only one. I keep the dark one in reserve.
I’m sowing seed stars like dragon’s teeth
in eclipse. This is the black mirror.
This is the light upon light that burns
without making itself visible.
This is the cruel starmap
I had tattooed on my eyes in Braille
so I’d never forget I never had anywhere to go
but into exile. All the most beautiful death masks
have no faces behind them. There are
no nightwatchmen here smiling down
on the bright side of things. And sometimes
it feels my emotions are black creosote
on the inside of a cold, tin cookie-cutter
waiting for the next chimney fire.

Have you noticed the stars? They
don’t twinkle as much as they do on earth.
They’re not ruffled by turbulent atmospheres.
They pierce you like hot needles
through your eyes and your earlobes.
They look straight through you like a voodoo doll.
This is what happens when you take clarity
to such an extreme you burn off all the dross
in blue acetylene. You burnish gold
in a clear-eyed fire. And all the windowpanes
that ever came between you and Arcturus
melt away like glaciers body surfing
their own tears, and you’re left standing there
so naked you’re a watersnake that’s just
shed its skin like its last cigarette paper
twenty miles from anything that’s still open.

One way of getting back at the landlord
is to paint all the rooms in the house black
at your own expense. But that’s not
what this is, and the full moon at harvest time
is not necessarily riding a golden chariot
through a slum. The nightbirds aren’t intimidated
by scarecrows. The fires dance for war
as well as peace. The cauldron boils like dry ice.
The god’s released. The ghosts rejoice.
The priests show up too late. Someone’s left
the gate open. The homeless sit in state.

You get the picture. If this isn’t Damascus
you’re still bound to go blind on the coal road
to diamond. You’re going to get knocked off
that beautiful white horse with swan’s wings
and spurs trying to outshine Castor and Pollux
in Gemini. You’re going to land face down
in the starmud however you want to look at it.
You’re going to make a grand exit
to coincide with your entrance like a God particle
that can’t make up its mind whether
its an existential shadow of its former self
or just another wavelength following its own path
like a hidden secret that wanted to be known.

In this place only the great heretics
are isolated enough to go it alone.
Their solitude is perfected by harsh dragon sages.
The martyrs cry like arrows in a crowd.
The crows know more about black magic
than the doves do about sacrifice.
The dragons pledged to healing and protecting
wear their scales like scalpels of plate armour
that takes the tumour out of the wound
like a new moon out of a bad moonrise.
The eagles don’t sport their war bonnets
like feather dusters. And neither species
opens its talons like a wildflower in the starfields
emblematic of the triune crescents of the moon
without remembering two together make a third.
And that’s the one that kills you back into life.
That’s the poison thorn that teaches you
how to live without a thermometer
and taste the water for yourself
to know whether it’s hot or cold.
That’s the one that comes to you
like a lunar grail to drink the black elixir
in the heart of the fever, and holds it up to you
like the high priestess of dead muses
and you can’t see any stars in her eyes
to prophecy whether it’s life or death she offers
but you intuit it’s going to be excruciatingly transformative
and you swallow it all down in a single draft
so as not to soil your calling with hesitation.

Let the moment come. Armageddon or Eden alike.
Some sip from the fountains like garter snakes
hoping to be mistaken for one of the birds.
Others swim in the watersheds of inspiration
and there’s more crazy wisdom on the dark side
of their words, than there are third eyes unafraid
of staring out of the shadows of their own insight
as if their visions were only meant to be seen in the light.
But not all the flowers close up at night
as if their revelations depended on the sun.
Look down. You can see waterlilies blooming in the muck.
Look up. You can see eyes like stars shining out of the dark.