Thursday, January 31, 2013



Blackberries and salmon. Sea-logged books of sitka spruce
drying like an expurgated library in the sun.
I’ll never forgive what went on out of the corner of my eye
like a wolf spider weaving a space-time continuum
over the black hole of a guitar carved out of my heartwood
to play desperately sad songs under my breath,
or the pods of blackfish that came in on the tide
to upend my flotilla of lifeboats. Matriculated Eden,
I owe half my childhood to pears yellowing in the moonrise
of abandoned orchards. Dusty blue patina on the plums,
nothing worse than misery in paradise, waking up
in the land of the lotus-eaters, imperial teachers
mean with under reaching their unappreciated selves
two masts down like rungs on the rope ladders
of the British navy moored to its trophy lines,
saline and sour about having to make it big provincially
in the London of the Pacific, born dead on arrival.

For many years I was a by stander in my own country,
happy if some beknighted nitwit patronized me
for disappointing his colonial expectations
of never being surpassed by an excellence he couldn’t disown.
Supercilious waterclocks on Greenwich Mean Time,
I was closer to the dateline than the prime meridian,
but everybody entertained an imported point of view
like Japanese fishing buoys that washed ashore
among the kelp and the cormorants after they
almost drowned, when the tug-boats died of exhaustion
hauling the British Empire up on beach
like the corpse of a whale with no message
from a celestial fortune-cookie stowed away inside.

Fish straight from the docks, potatoes
from the processing plant on Market Street
that scraped, bruised, keel-hauled and gouged them
like asteroids in the Oort belt rinsing off their starmud
for bagging, and the little old ladies of the Uplands
among their broom and lilac, their sunburnt arbutus
peeling off gnostic gospels of skin, as my mother
bleached her knuckles and knees like a lobster
thrown into the boiling point live as she screamed
like the San Andreas fault for revolutionary earthquakes
to put an end to washing her misery off their kitchen floors
and throwing out good food, far too rich for the poor.

I begged for her disarmingly, flaunting the expertise
of my innocence. Peanut butter by the bucketful,
I looked for castaway beer bottles in the Sikh woodlots
like holy grails you had to disgorge the condoms out of
like the moon shedding the phases of a snake.
I learned more about comparative religion
in the valleys of degradation than a garden on a hill of skulls.
A thief of flowers, I brought the vermillion
to the palette of her green thumb and no one asked
too many questions when the grandsons
of my mother’s employer were dragged
from the golden chariots they rode through our slums
as a reminder of their mean-hearted casuistic mortality.
Deviated septums and blood-caked craniums,
but not a prophetic skull among them to read the signs.
Nothing worth wasting a good death mask on.

There are child labourers born into life whose job it is
to have no hope so the indifferent can actualize
their dreams as effortlessly as they took them for granted.
Atrocities looking for reality shows forty years later.
Hydrocephalic perverts asking for a change of waiters.
Reading Mesopotamian history as escapist literature,
I learned to take the absurd in stride with unassuming nonchalance
as my mother burnt the last piece of furniture
to keep the furnace alive like a domestic crematorium.
Evening in Paris perfumes in mystically blue bottles,
new paints for the calling she gave up
like a futuristic fossil of the life she would never
return to, stored in portly steamer trunks
that never made the crossing back to paradise
like a salmon run trying to swim back up Mt. Kosciusko.

Not a horror story you couldn’t resist, but I wouldn’t want you
to meet my father after he’d drank away every advantage in life,
unlike his kids, to end up topping trees in a logging camp
outside Jordan River, where the cougars were known
to jump through the windows, and he tore the door down
to teach my mother to bleed appropriately
like an emergency ambulance for kicking him out.
Hell of a man. Though he never suffered as much
with a chain saw in his hands as we did
wondering which of a hundred compound eyes
with multiple lenses for hospital windows
our mother was in when we looked up to see
if we were orphans at the mercy of uniformed social workers
with no idea how to live, and less how to love
like the bitch mother of a litter of timber wolves
howling outside her room, down below, live, please, live.
Not that it made much of a difference to the arachnids.

Light years away dusk must surely have fallen by now
like California poppies and the wild sea roses.
The shaggy garments of the western red cedars
stripped bare to the limbs as someone plays a xylophone
like a log boom knocking bones on the headstones
in a drowned sailor’s cemetery. A roll of the dice
and the breakers are all froth and spume against the rocks
in the back alleys of the Times Colonist loading docks
gambling at lunch for another chance to lose big time.

Five dead men by the age of seven my eyes
were undertakers calloused by the diffident glare of death
trying to mean too much to a child who couldn’t care less.
Less soggy stars out east than there, but they
were the first magnitude mermaids on the rocks
to sing to me about an ocean of light I could plausibly
drown in off the coasts of my island galaxy
without ever remorsefully turning the tide against me.

There are those who go along with the stream
even when it’s an undertow and those who hug the shore
like arthopods and sand fleas clicking like stone castanets
who never learned to dance with wings on their heels.
Those who swim and those who burrow like toledo worms
in the hulls of landlocked ships that have never sailed the moon
and rust like blood leaking from the eye holes of their anchors.
Even in a Pacific storm it’s not wise to seek shelter
from your homelessness for fear of dying in a lighthouse.

Chaos is always a habitat bigger than any mere domicile
could ever understand without going under like a dolphin
in a fishing net translated by happenstance into a constellation
on a blue star globe between Vulpecula, the fox, and Pegasus,
the flying horse, with Job’s Coffin, like the asterism
of a lifeboat buried in its heart like a Viking funeral ship
to run silent, run deep, without striking a warning
the fiddleheads of the dragons and the blackfish are back.

So many years listening to the nightwinds rave
until the squall was spent and and the turbulent dawn
returned the wheel like a zodiac to its antiquated star charts
trying to cross the bar like the last remaining threshold
of the Knights Templar burned alive at the stakes
they lashed themselves to recant their confessions
to the waterclocks in the choirs of anachronistic mermaids
not knowing what else to do with a drunken sailor
that early in the morning but pink slip his childhood
like a wild rainbow salmon putting out to sea with a warning
not to raise the colours of its skull and crossbones
among the angel fleets of its breezy Sunday regattas?




There’s a woman in the doorway
flaking like a rose of red paint
with eyes that have been weeping
the shadows of dead saints, a full eclipse
of mascara, sloppy sorrows, and a mickey
she quotes like a Bible, chapter and verse,
though the Bible’s mickey-mouse
compared to how bad it can get
as I notice there’s a pink Glock in her purse,
the arthropod of an uncalibrated shrimp
that isn’t going to let her lover off the hook.

I’m engraving poems on the frosty windows
with a crow’s claw as they whisper to me
like the moon among the corals when I dream,
strange omens of incipience I always mistake
for a sign I’m about to cry though it’s seldom
revealed why. The earth is a sad, sad place
sometimes as you’re ushered to your seat
by a starmap of waterlilies that can see in the dark,
a bouquet of wildflowers in a funereal movie-house
at the first screening of a cosmic prequel
featuring your life as you’ve never seen it before.

Reruns in the multiverse, I’m standing
on a million streetcorners all at once
trying to hawk my theory of fiscal surrealism
to a bloodbank trying to hang on to the Iron Age.
I turn the page like an eyelid to exorcise
the ghost of the jinn in the lamp, and the cupboards
are as bare as the vow of a celibate wishing well
the watercolour lovers have lost interest in
now that the stars have evaporated from it
like the spirit of yesterday’s perfume in a purse.

Where is the lost atmosphere of the moon going
like the shrinking ferns and bonsai trees of my breath
as if it were revising nirvanic haiku until all that was left
were parings of nothing, lunar phases
and fingernails of glass that could scratch
your eyes out like nature red in tooth and claw
as you rake wavelengths in the sand
like a Zen garden in Kyoto waiting
for enlightenment to germinate the rocks,
hard-scrabble farmers with almanacs of crystal skulls.

I’ve ploughed the moon monkishly long enough
with a silver tongue to know when
to sow, tend, reap, the skeletal crops
of the dragon’s teeth that police the secret
of a green thumb trying to hitch-hike out of here
on a long, dark, estranged, radiant byway
lacquered in black ice like the gleaming mirrors
of a snake uncoiling like the full eclipse of an oilslick
waiting for me to slip up like an apostate
of my mystical ineptness long after
the last sacred clown sat down on the ground
and had a good laugh on the house
at the expense of the unamused abyss,
remarking how absurdly child-like all this is.

Medusa, armed to the teeth, tries to tell me
she’s tired of crossing swords with her own fangs
over a point of honour someone has to die for
like a crescent of the moon she’s going to pull
out of the mouth of her lyrical liar with pliers,
every one of her vocal cords tarred and feathered
like the black swan of a stone guitar
reverberating in the Martian canyons of her heart.

Ars longa. Vita brevis. Hatred and angry grief
so much easier to master than the impossible art
of keeping your evanescent fireflies of insight
undisciplined enough to ride the lightning
like a pale horse with the wingspan of the universe
without tampering with someone else’s specious curse
or plotting a course by the stars on your Spanish spurs.

Not on the dance-card of her spite and ego,
I listen compassionately to what
the white noise outside is trying to teach me
like the universal hiss of the afterbirth of road kill
about the ontological misfortunes of being born
to long for nightbirds and hear the rattling of crabs
lugging their armaments to the front lines of love
like lunar castanets, or the horns of a bull
narrowing the gap between parentheses
like the clashing dooms of Scylla and Charybdis,
a whirlpool and a rock, gravity and mass,
the crone phase of the moon having it out
with the vernal equinox at a calendrical toredo.

I see the first crescent and I want to put it up
to my head and pull the trigger to put an end
to the incommensurable agonies of fractious decimals
repeating themselves like mantric alibis
until nothing’s left of the original cartel
except the amputated torso of the fire hydrant
that tried to put the blaze out like a voice coach
who didn’t know all the words to the hysterics
of an anonymously amorous narco ballad
mythically inflating the legend of a famous love affair
out of the redoubtable details of a few bad superstitions.

Pity the fool who begrudges even the grubbiest delusions
of the quixotic heart tilting at the stars
like the precessional axis of the wobbling earth
come round again to the eternal recurrence
of the stratagems of spring in a Great Platonic Year.
Love is as much of a companion to death
as murder is to sacrifice or genetics to loaded dice.
House wine or love potion number nine,
pink guns with clips of rose-petaled lipstick,
everyone’s upholding the incriminating honour
of their uncontested heart defended by their folly
to the death as if the mystery were about to be
lost upon them for good as they rend each other asunder
shooting out the stars like a fashionable crime of passion.

As for me and my tent, the dancing girls
with coral lips and wishbone hips have come and gone
like serpentine wavelengths red shifting into
the shadows they left behind like signs of intelligence
alloyed with carnal desire like a nocturnal mirage
of the moon laying its broken sword down on the water
like a vow we didn’t let come between us
as if we didn’t belong to ourselves
which made the theft of fire we stole from each other
a greater blessing than the hurtful consolations
of obedience to the thorns at the expense of the rose.

What can you say about the nature of crazy wisdom
when the heart is bemused enough to cherish someone
barefoot beyond the bounds of common sensical shoes that pinch?
Some people would rather be loved than right.
Others more righteous than touched. Majnun
had his Laila. Love limps beside others like a crutch.
And though he sipped from many goblets
encrusted with star sapphires from the Pleiades,
none of them tasted like the night until he drank
from the reflection of the beloved from his own hands
and knew a darkness brighter than enlightenment
and the music of rain in the eyes of a desert
more beautiful than water imagery on the moon.
The mad man knows a secret even the deepest stars
can’t understand without losing their way to the well.


Wednesday, January 30, 2013



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.




Quietly and like a thousand other times,
I want to go. I don’t know where. It doesn’t matter.
This moment now is as homeless as it gets.
You can have all the entrances, I’ll take the exits.
Been so long I don’t trust what happiness
would turn me into now, though I think
it’s just as stupid to despair. I’ve let go
of the crows and doves of my emotions,
the quantum insanity of my thought experiments,
and if I ever had dreams, they’re lost atmospheres by now
like a childhood among the asteroids
that happened astronomically to someone else.

I started out on a qrailquest, a maculate clown,
a partial fool, and though I stayed in the shadows
of my right-brained peripheral vision, more
a magic circle than a halo, I kept my third eye
out for it in passing. Strange how time mutates
the journey without losing the narrative theme
of the original psychodynamic. Now
I’m drilling for oil on the moon like the watershed
of a full eclipse and I’m no more averse
to the darkness as I was to the light. Either way
there’s more sincerity in being lost than in being
insufferably found. However rough the storm
who ever comes to the aid of a lighthouse
with a heart as empty as a lifeboat and says
hey, get in, we’ll be swept out to sea together
where the earth can’t threaten either of us anymore?

Doesn’t happen. Much. There’s something fatuous
about security that takes your edge off like a keel
and leaves you bobbing on an inner tube way out
of your depths and your legs dangling
like participial jellyfish out of the mouth of Satan
like Brutus in the coldest ditch of Dante’s Inferno.
For lightyears I’ve practiced the furious discipline
of a purposeless art, and betrayed myself
in the name of compassion for the beautiful absurdity
of celebrating the immensity of my own impoverishment.
I passed the test I set for myself like a stranger
at a dangerous gate to prove I was still sincere
in my own eyes. And even when I suspected a trap,
still, I was a wild shepherd of wolves in the wilderness,
and I hopped the fence. Intense as a wounded exile.

As soon as anyone starts explaining themselves to me,
I immediately hear the bells of faithful alibis.
Unfamiliar demons arise like infidels of the truth
and I’d rather follow last night’s wolf moon down
below the treeline, than cry over another fool’s lies.
Not bitter, not overjoyed, my curiosity amused,
given how little hope there is for any of us,
I’d still rather err with the largesse of dragons
who know more about shining and burning
than the fire blossoms of a thousand Chinese box-kites
looking for the ley lines on tinfoil starmaps
that never lead anyone astray creatively, least of all,
stop longing for the more subliminal phases and shadows
of Venus on a moonless winter night at perihelion.

Sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference
between artifice and a genuine sacrifice
but it’s a matter of taste whether you want
bubbles in your poetry breaking the surface
like effervescent sacred syllables at a seal hunt
coming up for air, or add your breath
to the nucleation of new worlds in hyperspace
by going along with the drift, the gist, the flow,
the probable concourse, the aniconic fractal,
the supersymmetrical elaboration of the rococo,
loading every rift with ore like John Keats,
or the wound of a rikku teacup at a Chanoyu
ceremony for the taste of Zen with mended gaps of gold.

If you’re still too distinct to tolerate life with a smile,
at least try not to wince, and pray for a day
when your facial expressions are not in the name
of trying to better anything that isn’t spontaneous.
You can call it mind, form, matter, and then,
you can reverse the spin into the opposite
thought, the annihilant emotion, and achieve
spiritual immolation in a rapture of nirvanic self-destruction.
Nihilism when it isn’t in vogue as fashionable sentiment
looks at the world and says it’s empty as if
something were there that isn’t anymore, an absence
that let the meaning leak out through their pores.
The little green apples of disappointment are sour
but if you hang around long enough, the return journey
is sweeter than the first, and disappointment
gets drunk with the wasps in the decaying taverns
plying the windfalls of dusk with nectar and ambrosia.

When things go supernova creatively, it’s not the end
of anything. It’s just one prelude over the line
like the Big Bang before it was wired for sound
like one hand clapping and all the lights going on
when you enter the house of life late at night
like a stray thought in your mother’s head
that nudges one stray photon into a collaborative avalanche
of interdependently originated genetic chain reactions.
You can be an inert gas and light up like a flavour
of neon or argon, with a fixed address
at the candy store of a highway motel, or more
significantly radioactive like a heavy metal
you can shine like an enfant terrible orphaned
by your own catastrophe in the name of art
as the potted plants wither on your lethal windowsills
for the lack of deuterium, and the waterclock
glows in the dark like a small zodiac on a stopwatch.

There’s no lack of fraudulent embassies ready
to forge a false passport with a name and a face
into countries that don’t exist without a border and a map,
but in all the years of my transits and zeniths, nadirs
and pain thresholds, gates, doorways, taboos,
dares, taunts, threats, holy wars and peaceful defeats
without any regrets, I’ve secured my passage
by exploring spiritually poetic realms without
a lack of identity in a universal mindscape
that doesn’t have one separate from everything else
for fear I’d give myself away as an imposter.
Why sip from the waters of life when
you can gulp the ocean whole in every drop?
Quick, quick, said reality to the passenger pigeon.
Humankind cannot stand too many birds.


Tuesday, January 29, 2013



Could I breathe the stars, I would expire in light.
Were I the harvest moon, I would retract my claws.
Were my heart anything other than what it is,
I would be a windfall of silver apples burnished by crows
and not this rag of a man with a mouthy wound.
I would not be this perversion of radiance mutating
in these acephalic mirrors warped by shape-shifting space.
I would see clearly the angry red berries of the hawthorn
and adopt them as a solar system. And think I was blessed.

And, o yes, spiky woman, when love was in eclipse
if I were not so afraid of falling upon you like a sword,
I would notch the moon like a gunsight
with its own valleys and mountains,
and let the light shine through like Bailey’s Beads,
and place it on your head like a laurel of fire,
the enlightened corona of a door I’ve left ajar.
You agitate the spiders in their morning webs
into vibrating like the needles of sewing machines
or the clappers of fire alarms, as the sun
takes the pulse of its dreamcatchers,
looking for signs of life from the night before.

I am a creature of darkness. I know the abyss.
It fills you like a universe you just can’t seem
to get your heart and arms around.
It’s bigger than the wingspan of your spirit,
the one vacuum nature doesn’t abhor.
No end of it. No beginning you can hope for.
You embody the impersonality of it intimately.
The dark mother of the abounding stars
whose beauty adds an edge to the emptiness
that keeps you from pleading for oblivion
in an isolation deeper than the dead.

The irises were surgically removed from your eyes
and you’re out looking for rainbows at night with a match.
But there’s no one to keep your promises to,
and just at the bend in the river, where you laid
a poppy on the grave of the white crow
to pay your respects to the end of the road,
you plunge over the edge of a finger-pointing precipice
like a willow of water into an ocean of awareness
and there’s no one there to catch you. And the dreamcatchers
aren’t the safety nets they said they were.

Were I a witchdoctor that knew the antidote to love
I would come with strange concoctions
of the Pleiades and deadly nightshade
ground with a sexual pestle in the mortar of my skull
and spiced with a measure of the inconceivable
and have you rise from your death bed
like a miracle among roses that escaped the frost.
I’d stroke the back of your hand like the head of a swan.
And you’d feel it melting like ice. The moon would bloom
like a love letter delivered to a dead branch.
The nightmare of the dispassionate fever
would transmutate into an elixir of life
that would thrill every flower into believing they had
lightning for roots. Wondrous blossoms of insight.

Into the Open. Into the Absence, the nihilistic emptiness
of the cup poured out in a hemorrhage of the heart
when the wine went bad. Someone there in the doorway
gone like a shadow from the sundial of the farewell
they left you with like the wing of a bird
that doesn’t sing anymore in the morning.
And even the birch groves don’t feel very strong
when they’ve been cast down by an ice storm
into white canes and crutches of suffering
you once could lean on for emotional support.

I would be a lightbulb in a house well for you
to keep you from freezing and more grandiosely
if I were a pagan architect, I would erect a temple
with pillars of fire for you that even time
when its hair grows out like solar flares
couldn’t pull down in a fury of indignant ions.
There would be no lack of heretics, martyrs,
or Norse gods to sing in your flames
because they would have finally found something
greater than their solipsistic selves to sacrifice to
that consumes them with devotion
axially aligned with you. And wherever you walked
true north would be under your feet.

As it is I follow you like an oriflamme
in a pageant of longing I will not be ransomed from.
And even if the court jester to the queen
isn’t the grand marshal that gets to carry it,
the one who rides first in the wake of your love,
his armour burning like a mirror of your reflected fire,
I have raised a small banner of blood
on the lance of a thorn the white knights
would think was laughably burlesque
were it not for the fact that it pours out of a dragon’s eyes
like the eclipse of a black rose in tears
igneously bleeding in the darkness
to temper its fangs like swords it remits in tribute,
from a burning bridge of fireflies,
to the solitary river of the unhonoured waters of the moon.




Wolf moon following in the tracks of Jupiter.
A dirty window. A cold night. A lonely astronomer
gazing through the flat glass without enlargement
or diminishment, he doesn’t grind his third eye
into a lens to grow more intimate or keep things at a distance
though he’s infinitely grateful for any firefly of light
like a chimney spark above a labyrinth of rooftops
and a fully enlightened prophetic skull only a few
devoted lunatics are howling at for reasons that elude them
at this hour of the early morning in a Prussian blue abyss.

Bleak January. No harvest. The soil too hard
to bury the dead. Hungry ghosts gnawing the air.
His heart a mason jar of black dwarfs that don’t
glow in the dark anymore. No jewels, or precious metals
in the ore of a solar flare of spent match heads,
he remembers the cool sapphires of the eyes
that used to look deeply into his like the Pleiades
without pretence or embarrassment, but more said
in a single glance about light, clarity and beauty
than any starmap could ever have imagined.

Dust on the windowsill, stars strewn across the sky,
he feels like an exile but knows deeper within
he isn’t any more misplaced than they are as
he bypasses his tears like mind and form
eviscerate matter, and like a lunar ocean
without an atmosphere to back it up, evaporates
into space like the last winding road of smoke
he’ll ever take like a geni unravelling the wick
from the flame, the wish from the mirage of a dry well.

He reminds himself he isn’t getting any older
than time is, and to say time is old, doesn’t make
any sense at any moment of the day or night.
Like the light of a star, the past often makes it
to the future long before the present ever does.
Waxing isn’t any younger than waning is.
The tide going out is just the opening eyelid
of the one coming in. Blue shift, red shift.
One mile east, one mile west, valleys and mountains
of the same wavelength, a snake in the flute
of the snakecharmer, dancing like fire on water
as if it refused to turn out the lights after the music was over.

If not peace, then at least an amicable truce
with the supersymmetry of his opposites,
he spins like a galactic dervish of stars
at the crossroads of where all ways of life
meet like jinxed prayer wheels at the nave
of a black hole with an iris of spokes
like the hands of an all encompassing clock
without a sense of direction, hour after
pointless hour as far as the world’s concerned.

Why spend a life bemoaning the absurd,
when it liberates his spirit from the tyranny
of common sense, like a detached retina
clinging to its visuals when the lack
of sequential event horizons opens the gate
to a flashflood of visionary metaphors
more acquainted with his imagination
than his third eye is with errors of perception.

Less and less he asks himself if he’s lived it wrong.
If anybody has, knitting socks for centipedes
to benignly pass the time doing something useful.
He doesn’t judge the efficacy of anyone’s delusions
to get the job done as if the beauty of the scaffolding
were the real masterpiece, and the painting itself
were merely another celebrity excuse
for the flesh to adumbrate the design of the skeleton.
Ladders of bone six feet closer to heaven
than the grave for awhile longer yet,
root fires of lightning rising through the rafters
of a leafless tree burning down like the lungs
of a star-breathing house suffocating in its own nebularity,
though he’s heard it said, the eternal sky
does not inhibit the flight of the white clouds.