Saturday, December 22, 2012



White night. Unholy solitude. Big flakes
pillow on the windowsill. A pincer of dream anger
with its claw on my jugular like a clothes peg
I want to throw down at somebody’s feet
like an iron gauntlet just to watch the parasites squirm,
the hypocrites, the frauds, the uncrucial demeanors
of the literary slugs leaving slimey contrails
like snotty scars on the mirrors that hold us up to nature
and think we’re all soiled in the midst
of so much magnificence, by the trivia
that sticks to them like the garbage they’ve
picked up along the way rummaging through the refuse
of other people’s attempts to garden.

Too cold out for the gypsy moths to swarm the trees
in the mystical clouds of unknowing they make
careers out of, teaching what they’ve never tasted.
The Luna moth and her fire, the butterfly and her flower,
that I can abide up to a point, but self-appointed experts
on the malignancy of their own ignorance, it’s
everything I can do from burning down their house radioactively.
Time mellow me. Wisdom teach me to level off
at the speed of light so all these bugs can be frozen
in amber paperweights, toads snakestruck on their lily-pads,
when time stops and I can put the future behind me.

The snow ploughs snarl over the pavement.
I’ve got to get my mind on other things.
The majesty of angry lions is squandered on flies.
I’m not agrarian enough to want to be planting skulls
like crocuses in the killing fields. These demons
don’t know how to act my age. Don’t think
of Jesus when he lost it on the moneylenders.
Don’t think of the Zen masters who said
poor hole-dwelling devils. I know what
you’re making your living at. Then beat them
out of the zendo with their horse hair hossus.

I’m trying to live up to the best of my delusions
concerning spiritual imagination as a way of life being poetry
the way water is fish and the air a flurry of birds.
Whenever you see scales turning into feathers
you know there’s a snake nearby getting ready to fly.
Evolution has as active an imagination as I have.
And nobody, as Dogen Zenji said, likes a real dragon
but what’s that to the dragon compared to the effect
it’s going to have like two days of intense heat
at the end of May, on the tiny jawed blackflies
back-biting a flamethrower that just got woken up
from enlightenment in a bad mood on Okinawa?

God give me the patience to bear myself
like a tuning fork in a snakepit trying to establish
a little harmony among a lot of dissonant wavelengths
hissing in the background of the choir
like snowflakes on a furnace burning holy books
on the pyre of Savonarola at the Bonfire of the Vanities.
If Luther got to throw an inkwell at the Devil,
isn’t it only fair the Devil gets to throw one back
like a black hole at a lot of bad writing once and awhile
or even as a reasonable compromise between
taste and compassion or the truth and pollution,
a partial eclipse? The scariest thing in my existence,
a blank white page, the obstructionist angel in the way
that says, No pasaran, thou shalt not pass.

You just know you’re going to walk away like Jacob
with an iambic limp, and you’re never going to win
or pin that kind of intensity down, but this is the point,
you’re never going to walk away from the encounter weaker.
You can only lose to your own advantage.
And the bruises, the scars, the wounds that never heal
where your heart was pierced by a spear of bliss
you’re never going to get over, your bloodstream
efoliating like a rose in heat for the rest of your life,
that’s the kind of language you can be proud of,
those are the sacred syllables you can address the gods in
as if they spoke the same mother-tongue as you.

If you turn the light around, get yours eyes off
of whatever they’re glued to in front of you
like flypaper buzzing with bad genes helically twisting
on a snakeoil chromosome rising to the music of their flute,
uncharmed, to get their wings off the page.
I’ve got a message. The medium is the messenger.
Not the message. That’s just one petal of the whole flower.
A drop out, if you will, of everything that’s being said.
Seven waves of water don’t make a housewell or a Pierian spring.
Bright vacancy. Dark abundance. Listen to yourself
when the wind is cooling the white gold of the wheat down
like a loaf of bread cradled in a tea towel, when
you’re a widespread famine in a seven year long abyss.
Listen to yourself like an empty silo when the wind
is trying to play a tune like a drunk who remembers
something from his childhood, by tooting it out on the rim
of a hollow bottleneck. That’s a real mantra.
A true shibboleth. That will get Ali Baba and his forty thieves
into the cave quicker than you trying to pick the lock.

If the hucksters want to be tricksters or sacred clowns,
the ultimate angle, if you need one, is to be real,
be the thing itself as if it never existed before you.
That’s a kind of respect for yourself when you realize
nothing is confined by an identity that isn’t a good guess
or a pineal projection mythically inflated on space and time.
There’s more poetic potential in being absolutely nothing
but what you see before you as your own mind arrayed
than there is a muse in the actuality of what you’ve achieved.
All the haikus are pointing at their homelessness like autumn leaves.

The messenger is formless. With big ears.
He sings like three hands clapping in the dawn,
the wings of waterbirds getting off on their own applause
as if they didn’t need the approbation of anyone else
to do what comes most naturally to them, a native joy
like breathing and seeing and flying in a sky
their minds bent over them at birth
like the sky goddess, Nut, bridging heaven and earth.
Poetry isn’t made like an aqueduct. It’s exprerienced
like water being poured into its own absence
like a mindstream, not a waterclock, as a means
of giving time something to listen to at night
to remind it like a love song that its temporality is eternal.
Mystically specific. Blind, brilliant, divine
and infernal. Lightning signing the rain when all eyes
are upon it like a flash in the pan for a very few moments.




The snow a silence whiter than last night
and the sky, a red violet. A mysterious rose.
As if the night were blushing at something said
that wasn’t meant to be disclosed.
I feel cramped without the stars, embedded
like a hibernating frog in my own starmud,
my bloodstream reconfigured as the thin thread
of a red alcoholic thermometer, though I don’t drink.

Nocturnal solitaries huddle their way through the night
like dark comets past the unwary mirrors
of the nightwatchmen working on their novels
as if nobody were watching. I people the abyss
with my life and let my mindstream decide
where it wants to wander through its own timelessness
as if the past, as well as any future I could imagine
could take the lead at anytime from compliance
with the present, and it wouldn’t make
the least bit of difference. Three waves
of the same oceanic awareness. Three talons
open like the triune esoteric crescents of the moon
and one hawk blooms like a poppy in the snow.

My imagination isn’t a cry I follow
deeper into the woods of a hidden mindscape
as if it were mapping my eyes like stars
it had never seen before and was wracking its brains
to come up with names that made it feel less homesick.
It is me. Like a nightbird is the child of the wind.
Like a song whose dark secret is a longing to live.
Like the heart of a stranger is the hearth of his homelessness.
I am the evanescent foundation stone of my own fire.
Like the moon, a lantern in the arms of my own journey.
I gather the fruit of a rootless tree and it tastes
like the voice of the sun and the moon waxing lyrical
as the water and light of the alpha and omega
of sacred syllables, with the third extreme
of the earth in between shining in the middle intensity
of the three wise men in Orion’s belt
just before the dawn pales the seeing-eye dog
of blind Osiris blazing like an underground root fire
set below the treeline of cedars ageing on the hills to the west.

I remember the lovers I carried both ways
across the thresholds of a burning house,
and what I’ve made of my sorrows are wildflowers
that bloom for a night in a garden that tends to itself.
If my children are lost to me as they are,
I don’t ask my imagination to explain why anymore.
I let it drink its fill of compassion from my heart
like a bottomless well deeper than the stars are high
and I leave my door ajar for the dead who still call me friend
to come in, whatever the hour, as often as I open it
to the apparitions of the living I greet like dream figures
who have just stepped into my intuitive vision
of not needing to wake them up until I do because
as I keep repeating like the riff of a mantra on a blue guitar,
mark one jewel like the third eye of Venus in the dawn
and they’re all marked with the same morning star.

I invite the darkness to enfold me within the pages
of its imageless book like the godhead of the great void
revealing a story that keeps growing in the telling of it
as the mindstream changes the tempo of its narrative theme
from a pulse, to the merest fragrance of a melody
expiring like the last breath on the deathbed of bird-bone flute.
I am all skulls. I am all shepherd moons. I am space
that exculpates gravity to bend and relent at a black mass.
I refuse to imprison my enlightenment in a church
and get by with finding my way by a candle
that casts as many shadows as it illuminates.
I put my hands up over my eyes like the wingspan
of an eclipse over a full moon, instead of folding them
like birds roosting in a dark wood, praying for light,
and the stars that fire the eyes of the Queen of Heaven
grow brighter than I’ve ever seen them before.