Sunday, December 30, 2012



Long-legged reflections of foreshortened streetlights
plunging their daggers like great blue herons
waiting with the craft shop Inuit, harpoons in hand,
above the man cover blow holes
for the occasional asphalt fish to swim by
or a crosswalk orca coming up for air
unmindful of the bleeding revelations
hemorrhaging like the tail lights and chokecherries
of baby seals being clubbed to death
all over the ice floe like a work by Jackson Pollock.

The day’s divinity. First thing you see.
But what if you wake up at night fall
as I just have, and open your eyes
like bi-valved, goose-necked barnacles
to the incoming tide of consciousness
and you’re not especially looking for miracles
but peering down through a grimy apartment window
you see this small conservative Ontario town,
with its clocktower too slow to keep up with time
and the spindly green insect of its spare watershed
elevated like the space program of a tall sputnik on stilts,
has been slumming in the Garden of Eden on mushrooms?

What kind of a sign should I mistake that for?
Is it me? Or a random paradigm of intelligent design?
Or maybe Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and the moon
are not aligned with the traffic lights
and old fashioned lampposts like nightwatchmen
glowing in the snow like the candled lanterns
they hold up on nineteen fifties Christmas cards
to show you everything’s just fine among
the beautifully snow blind and intellectually dutiful
trying to teach amputee fire hydrants
how to climb siege ladders up to my room
as if there were anyone awake enough yet to put out
like an unseasonal moonrise that went out on a limb for me.

First thing I see when I open my eyes at night
and I’m the unexpurgated prophet in the belly
of a beached futon, is the atavistic polymorphous perverse
trying to manipulate caesuras like green stick fractures
along the fault line of a zodiac that breaks
like an earthquake shaking its fieldstones of bad verse
into the emotional quicksand of stars in the eyeless dark.
If I ask for slim lifeboats, don’t send me
to the book launch of an ark after a first few
drops have fallen like dew on thin-skinned crocodiles.
Apres moi, le deluge. And the moon rising
to the surface like a white beluga through the clouds
after four hours of swimming in the brain corals
of a deep sleep dreaming of three stage harpoons
on a take off gantry for weather balloons
huffing laughing gas like dragons in dentist’s chairs
trying to put a brave face on all the mirrors in the house
that show me breaking down into tears at the sight
of the spoon running away with the moon
being cooked like moonrocks in a meteor shower
by a lab rat in a white coat that makes it look
like the plain white envelope of a loveletter
that lifts the moon’s spirits like the bubble
rising to the top of the Seattle Space Needle.

Or as Rumi said somewhere in an hallucinogenic trance
of self-annihilation, the bird of my blood
is rising into the sky of my brain. In my case,
the ecstasy of a hawk whose eyes have never
been trained to wear even so much as the night for a hood.




Sometimes I listen to the wind
as if it were trying to call me home again
though I don’t really know where that is anymore.
Sometimes I hear the chatter of water
exhilarated by moonlight dabbling its feet
in the birch groves and I’m possessed
by the uncanny notion I’m listening
to my own mindstream as if
I were privy to some ancient secret
about myself I were the last to be let in on.

More than likely I don’t exist except
as this protean emptiness that insists
I look upon my own formlessness
as that which was naked now clothed by the world.

Good to go skinny-dipping in your awareness
once and awhile, resilver the mirrors of your skin
in water and moonlight, swing from your spinal cord
like an old rope over a childhood swimming hole
when rapturous simians were still as innocent
as their laughter at getting away with risking it all.

I recall the night I stopped thinking in the past tense
about memory, and she proved how creative she was
by introducing me to her daughters as if
I were a member of the band on stage at the moment.
I love wandering in a labyrinth of insights
the only way out of is to devote yourself
to being as lost as a gust of back alley stars
in the space-time discontinuum of your imagination.

I trust the dream grammar of my mother tongue
to find its own equilibrium like water
left to its own resources. There’s a logic
of associative metaphor that doesn’t dispel reason
from the genetic code of the irrationally inspired.
I look out on a cold night at the stars
and I’m wholly intrigued by the messages
I’ve been asked to deliver like future memories
to the ghost of what I’m becoming. There’s
a second innocence about the world that makes
the return journey even more beautiful than the first.

So when you show up out of the void
like the fragrance of a burning rose
shedding its petals like inflammable deathmasks
on a pyre of bird bones at a sky burial
I never conceive of you as separated,
gone, dead, unfeathered, or alone, anymore
than my heart says farewell to the passage of my bloodstream.

You’re not unravelling in my mind
like a stray thread of smoke from a wick
that put out the fires of life to follow a more spiritual path.
You’re as intangibly here in every breath I take
as a poem without line breaks is to me
when I’m listening to a visionary wind
like the sound of my eyes jamming with the stars.

And there’s nothing about your true features
that are any less real than I am even after
all these lightyears of trying to repatriate
this avalanche of asteroidal Orphic skulls
to a home planet that wouldn’t tear us apart again.

O what a joy it is to still love you as if
I’d never stopped sword dancing
with the thorns of the heart life strews on the paths
we do and don’t take sowing the past
with the first and last crescent moons
of the long nights we spent together
like lovers opening and closing their eyelids
at dawn and dusk to reassure themselves
the mystery of the other was still there,
Venus lingering in the darkness long after sunset
or getting up in the early morning
to turn the curtains back like the pages
on a calendar of last year’s constellations
as you are now, your eyes rising to the astonishment
of an old nightwatchman of the zodiac
spotting you looking out of a window to the east.