LONG-LEGGED REFLECTIONS OF FORESHORTENED STREETLIGHTS
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.