Wednesday, December 19, 2012



Shall we dance, shall we spin and wheel, hesitate, advance,
stall and recover, whirl like maple keys, and blow
the ashes of the starmaps we burned like passports
out of the palms of our hands to shine like dandelions
on an eye to eye level with the light they bloom in?
Sister Lunacy, I watch you uprooting your garden usefully
and shaking the stars out of the clumps of grass
as if you caught Medusa smuggling diamonds in her hair,
and I say such is woman when she forgets to be aware of herself,
and the goddess comes down to earth with dirty fingernails,
a gazelle in rubber boots. And no flower of the field,
no planet in the sunset, no eyelash of the moon over a barn
quite adorns the twilight the way her lucidity does.

And I want to take her by the hand like a binary star system
and circle one another like two hawks in the sky
until the night cools and the loons pack up their keyboards
and the stars work the graveshift on into the early hours
of the forthcoming dawn as if the end of all their labour
were extinction in a deluge of light
that doesn’t recognize any of them by name. Shall we dance,
shall we let the picture-music carry us away
like a word that hasn’t hurt us in a long time,
shall we gather wild rice in the holds of our birch bark canoes
as if we were threshing jewels on the shallow end of the lake,
or do you just want to walk the Road of Ghosts with me awhile
and see what blooms along the way, sunflowers and waterlilies
opening up like observatories and prophetic skulls
with a penchant for looking at things the same way?

Sister Lunacy, be kind to the mandalas and paradigms
I bring you like dreamcatchers woven of spinal cords
like tree rings of heartwood, ripples of rain, the net of Indra
where you mark one jewel and they’re all marked.
Or as Jesus said, insomuch as you do it unto one of these,
you do it unto me, and everyone thought he was special.
As if he owned gravity and everyone had shares.
It’s a radical act to come like a sweetness to ripen
the heart of a human that’s stayed green too long.
Just as you and I know madness is the quickest way
of never getting it wrong and if you’re going to argue
do it in song, don’t exorcise the answer
out of the person who possesses it and bid it be gone.
You can’t post a bond against a ghost.
Myriad guests of the mind, but seldom a host to speak of.
And Sister Lunacy you speak as if you were letting
a thousand voices all at the same time use you
as if they had no other mother tongue of their own,
and somehow it comes across as what you had to say.

So I’m asking you now. Do you want to dance,
do you want to bend space the way a body moves,
reshape the universe in its own image, abberate
a few wavelengths into falling out of synch like damp hair licks?
And I’d remember to remember that only horses sweat
and read your aura by the glow of the hot dew on your face.
After the last lifemask comes off, nothing but space.
Nothing but imaginative room to move as if there were nowhere
we needed to go and we didn’t feel bad about it.
We just went off into the ongoing like everything else
that’s looping and coiling its way through time,
a fragility of the air, caterpillars swaying in the wind
at the end of a fishing line tied to the allure of a butterfly.
Don’t be fooled by the vertebrae, everyone’s flying kites
at the end of a long spine when the air revs up.
You can see them tangled in the powerlines of their ancestors.

Sky burials without altars. Road kill. Cheap cremations.
The whole panoply of the tragically absurd.
But here, sister, here volcanoes still strew
islands in their wake and the birds keep arriving with seeds
and coconuts still wash ashore like prophetic skulls
you’re free to believe or not, and the air tastes like emeralds.
Here you could mentor the stars in their myths of origin
as you made them up to honour some quirk in your character
and they began to speak of you as their dark mother.
And nobody need know what you mean when you spoke to me
about those things that encroached on your silence inside.
I know how to listen for dissonant sounds in the night.
I can hear the falling of a single eyelash of light
when the moon goes out, the footfall of a spider on the stairs.
Sister Lunacy, should I take your hand, shall we dance
to the picture-music that overtakes us unawares,
you with your dark tears, and mine so far in arrears?




So many things I’ve exposed myself to
I had to integrate in order to overcome and survive.
And things I didn’t choose to see and wish
I hadn’t. It’s a flurry of a day and the sky
is almost industrial for a small, country town.
Slush and slurry of above ground emotions
that haven’t mastered their medium enough
to stop wallowing in the slop bucket of the heart
and throw everything out that isn’t a vital organ.
Diesel two track snow ploughs rattle the windows
out of their winter torpor, fogged in by the patinas
of grimy memories and the sidewalks are salted
like Carthage. Traffic lights blink and sharp corners
rear up into equestrian eyelids of brown water.

And then I fall through the earth as if I’d said
no worse, there is none, and the elevator plunges
another dozen floors to the thirteenth precipice
I’ve teetered on today in a kind of existential ballet
that feels like two swans mud wrestling
for the same dumpster. The air oppressively damp
with athletic ashes. All the women packed like astronauts.
Lean, homeless dogs shivering for affection
with their heads bowed down and their eyes turned up
pathetically pleading for hand-outs from the heart
as if they’d been beaten into a false humility
by their tormentors. If life were a blues band,
they’d play harp. They’d wail at the meanness of the world.

The day passes like a loveletter from an anti-muse.
I’m fumbling for the G-spot on enlightenment.
Something beautiful and sincere to slash me open
like an envelope full of nothing if echoes don’t count.
I don’t want to be stuck here forever
like a shepherd of wolves in a sheep pen,
every second thought shedding me like a snakeskin
in a civil war between solitude and commotion.
I don’t want to huddle under a red canoe
I wear like Napoleon’s hat or a courier de bois
with a scarlet sense of life trying to keep a poppy alight,
the smoke of a small, smouldering fire
making love to the ghosts of old paramours.

Except for you who stayed that winter
like a summer constellation camping out
in the Arctic, bushing it out in the rough
like a sex kitten with tigress claws blooded on the moon.
That was sweeter than pears and sacred strawberries
in a still life with the shadow of a knife
balanced like a partial eclipse on the edge of the table
that always held my attention like a compass needle
looking for true north like a hermit thrush in an ice-storm.
God what I wouldn’t give to see you again,
not as a consolation for all the pain we avoided,
but a flame that cherried the chimney pipes with lust
and burned all the embedded bubbles of lunar creosote
out of our oceanic emotional lives for a while.

Recess in the cemetery without a school bell.
Shipwrecks at the bottom of a wishing well
with only the fireflies and reflections of the stars
trying to warn us to stay away from the lighthouses
swinging their semaphoric lanterns on shore for salvage.
I remember as vividly as tomorrow shape-shifting
in the soporific drift of two galaxies passing through
each other in the commingling of a calling
summoned to a seance even the living couldn’t ignore
when we made love on the floor in the heat
of a Napoleon airtight and you were Poland.

Did you ever get free? Did you ever establish
your independence? And that feline body of yours,
does its passive resistance still know how
to turn a fist into the caress of a wildflower
with an open palm and impossible longings?
I’ve been a root fire in an incense burner
of apostate cedars ever since my worst desire for you
and every once and awhile I still smudge
the bats from the attic at the very thought of you.
I can’t look at a salmon rose without seeing you
like Venus in the sunset above a highway parking lot.

It was winter and on a moonless night
when the lightbulb had burned out in the housewell
you still cast shadows on the snow hot enough
to keep things from absolute zero freezing
like glacially slow tears weeping in the mirrors
of my third eye, knowing it would have been an insult
to love you spiritually when I could embrace
death in the flesh as if you were the succubus of my dreams,
Lilith who made it back to the garden, childless,
or Meridiana who got Pope Sylvester into the Vatican.
I’ve never repented, recanted, or reinvented you.
I’ve always been grateful you wanted more than a muse
from me, and what I had to give I’d give trebly
as any trinity just to stand here in these flames
a fully enlightened heretic with incendiary names
for the wind that swept like a hand in blessing
over the flammable firepits of my human divinity
as I catch you out of the corner of my eye sometimes
like the waxing moon in a waning window, undressing.