Thursday, February 28, 2013



Sweeter than the beginning of a delusion
it wouldn’t be wisdom to resist, I see
waterlilies burning votive candles on the Fall River.
Even in winter, chandeliers of blood red chokecherries
feting the pheasant, the quail, the hermit thrush.
Mutable mind, mutable heart, out of this bleak night
of frozen waterclocks, I summon irrevocable time
to break the ice on my eyes and let me drink the stars again
from the unattainable grails of a prophetic skull
tormented by impossible longings the way I once was
when I walked with you beside the whisper of this river
after a summer rain, knowing it wasn’t me
you were crying for. You befriended the cure,
but you were in love with a wound, and I,
unwise in the way a lover’s blood
could taste of thorns forever as if each
were the gravestone of a rose you tried
to bury deep inside yourself like a moonrise
that came up every night to shed its petals on you
like the phases of the dead opening the fresh scars
of their eyelids over and over again to shock you
with the hydra-headed budding of your pain---I
who was an exorcism, could never hurt you like that,
even as you were a seance summoned by a ghost
I never tried to dispossess you of. Love, but not with me
as my voice disappeared into the silence
like a waterbird through a curtain of broken prayer beads
falling away like tears from my wings, like a carillon
of tiny bells that knew they’d never have anything
sweeter to sing about than that moment
they held their tongues and listened to the way
you talked about the moonlight gracing the waterlilies
as if you were addressing a loveletter to someone
so deeply embedded in your heart it made
the distance to the stars almost seem intimate
though it was your eyes I listened to in silence
as the river passed for the next thirty years not certain
if I bloomed like a man or died beside it like a child that night.




I would miss you if you weren’t so deep inside.
I would send the fireflies out like a search party
to beat the bushes and the stumps to see where you hide
were you not the stars within that lead me home.
I would cry out in anger and tears, World, you are not fair,
were you not the mystic intimate of my indignation.
I would look upon the illuminated world
thriving in its garden, and accuse the sun of being blind
did I not see more in your eclipse, the abundance
of your darkness, than I do by the vacant light of day.

Let others bathe like birds in the fountainmouths
of happier lyrics, I drown in your watershed,
a starfish on the moon, and the darkness shines
like a nightsea the colour of your eyes. And there’s a sky
full of shipwrecked constellations without lifeboats
that went down into fathomless time with all hands on board
like a cargo of bones that reached its destination
by giving them all up to you, like yarrow sticks
to the Book of Changes, whether you read them as such or not.
Nine in the fifth place. Enlightenment in hell.
I am the nightwatchman with the moon for a lantern
that strikes the bell of his heart three times and says
all is well, all is well on the bottom of the sea.

I would be planting supernovas like a terrorist with i.e.d.s
in the Milky Way by now to add to the chaos
were you not the black hole of a galactic inspiration
that’s mastered me like a magic latent in the heart
to burn the sum of all my destructions in a blaze of insight
by which the light is known to the light, the way
a tree is by a breeze, or ashes know the fire’s out.
How could I reach out to you except with your own hands?
How could I speak to you in any way you’d understand
did not your voice coax the words from my mouth
like a dream grammar of sacred syllables betokening
the things of the earth like the echo of a prayer we forgot?

Too intimate to be the principle of anything
and yet your impersonality can only be approached
with tenderness, like a feather floating through space,
or the cloud that grounds the mountain like the cornerstone
of a temple to the emptiness it floats upon.
Were you not the valley my grieving shadow wanders through
like the lachrymose theme of another lonely psalm
trying to palm itself off as poem, how could the eagles
shriek eureka in the heights at the very next insight
into the nature of your vulnerability moving down below?

We might both dance to the same music as if it were true,
but you’re the silent witness when I listen to the wind,
you’re the charmed locket of darkness the light conceals,
you’re the secret jewel that’s wholly transparent
to all the eyes in the universe that have spent their lives
looking for you like a sky that’s been hidden from sight
right over their heads and under their feet
like an atmosphere and ocean that never left the moon.
Even here on earth, the silver fish are frenzied in your tide.
Lunar horses graze like waves on your seagrass
and run wild when you spook them like an ocean
with a bit in your hands, and the look of an angry teacher.

If your absence were not deeper than my solitude
how could I resist the consolations of oblivion
and carry on as if I’d never missed you? Who
would I long for to affirm my presence in this emptiness
that engulfs me like an eye with something in it
like a star that can’t be washed out? I was not
born a warrior to surrender to anyone less than you.
I do not open my heart and my mouth to sing
lullabies to houseflies growing dozy on the windowsills
as the cold comes on like the sheet music of ice.
Who would I dedicate the works of my nightshift to
like the journal of a dark demon writing to himself
about the spiritual intricacies of jumping from paradise
just to meet you naked in the garden again
as if we were born to be exiled together by the pain
that is visited like swarms of killer bees upon those
who break taboos like white canes over our knees
and throw their cornerstones around like dice
to entice blind luck into taking a chance on their disobedience?
Who would inherit the crazy wisdom of my human divinity
if I did not know how many lives you’ll outlive me
like the randomness of an alibi based upon a truth
that reprieves everyone from death on desolation row
by undermining the limits of our culpability with compassion.

You, the sorceress of meaning, you, the beast mistress
of my savage emotions, you, the fire sylph at the hearth
of my homeless wandering into these evictions of self
that bury the days with no names on their graves.
You shake the lightning like a spear of fury in a lion’s skull.
You wake the dragon from its dream of lotus fire
You touch me on a night when nothing else will
as if I were real, and the solidity of my atoms sublimates
like a ghost of dry ice into a mirage in space
so I could see in the grand paradigm of things
even the most enduring pyramids in a desert
are the work of the wind when the mind is inspired
to move things around like the grave goods of the heart
in the hands of a tomb robber that frees us of them
to travel light without baggage through the gates of Orion.
The past has no need of any other afterlife than the present
nor the future the prelude of a promise of better things to come.
Born into a life with a ferocious childhood for an introduction,
I have grown young again in the ashes of those fires,
like a skin transplant of flowers over a burnt face
to hide the scars, and give the stars some space.


Tuesday, February 26, 2013



Always it seems a solitude away
from what I think I’m looking for.
Every step along the path, a precipice.
Another black hole in the middle of a third eye.
Call me Icarus. Even at sixty four
breaking out of one cosmic egg after another,
only to fall like a fledgling from the nest
at my own rootless standing in the world
or be swallowed whole by some reptile
like the moon and be regurgitated,
a used condom, a candling parachute,
a lunar phase of a snake shedding its skin.

At one point in his life he was so intense
he was the mainspring of a wind-up waterclock
or a pulse, now he’s hanging on
like a single wavelength to a mindstream
that’s flattened out into a perma-press abyss,
no crests, no troughs. The gas furnace
shudders when it dry coughs, a cold engine
trying to make a new start like a nightbird
in a dead tree in a frozen swamp. Shhhh
don’t wake the mosquitoes up. I’m still
trying to get over the welts of my last exposure
to the literary scene. I don’t want my blood thinned
at either end of the food chain. Doomed to drown,
let it be in something deep, not shallow.
Let my shipwreck lie in peace on seafloors of starmud
not tidal pools or puddles. I want to give God
a good scare for once because love doesn’t have
an accumulative effect. Too much beginning
not enough death. You can’t learn to breathe
by holding your breath. Here comes the dawn
like a janitor to a school for remedial living.

But what more does an ageing red-tailed hawk
have to say to the seagulls and pigeons,
aeronautical opportunists who can’t help
flapping and hovering the way they do
over the rooftops and fire hydrants
of a garbage dump that takes pride in its waste,
than a switchblade’s got to relate to a drawer full of cutlery?

What do the butter knives know about clawing
their way through life with the talons of eagles?

Or being so clear-eyed since you first broke
into this house of life, you leave so little evidence behind,
investigators arrest a mirror in a case of mistaken identity?

Or asked to give witness from your upstairs apartment window,
about what you saw on the night of the wolf moon,
you speak like the cloud cover of a screening myth
because the stars weren’t out and you spent the night
by yourself looking eyelessly down on the street
where nothing ever, ever, ever happens
and the streetlamps only quarrel among themselves
in the summer when the fireflies get away with everything
like freelance constellations on a starmap, and they get the blame
though they’ve gone straight all their lives?

Nights like this, things get so weird
I can hear the future calling to me like a seance.
And Cassiopoeia had she appeared would have
looked like an electric chair in a brown out of shining
that must have come like Jupiter
as a big disappointment to the sun.




If you had any compassion for yourself,
others wouldn’t have to suffer for you
and the world wouldn’t show you
such a sad, woeful, wounded face.
You wouldn’t see the withering leaves
and petals of the rose in autumn
as merely the scar tissue of its thorns.
In winter, mend your severance.
In spring, attend to your joys.
Like fishing nets and snow fences.
Like delphiniums in a garden bed
that’s beginning to bloom like a starmap.

And you know that stranger inside
that’s always witnessing everything we do
like a perfectly clear mirror, even in dreams?
Take another look, you might be surprised
at whose face you see at a meeting of eyes.
It’s important not to pass judgement on yourself
for fear of condemning the world.
Show me a mirage that isn’t a friend to water
or a wishing-well that resents a rainbow
for the pot of gold at the end, though
no one ever knows which end at the time.

Be kind to your delusive paradigms of life,
as you would an old skin you shed like the moon
when your serpent-fire could no longer contain itself
and broke out of its sacred chrysalis like a dragonfly
that had made itself a house of life out of matchsticks
and went up in flames like a snake with wings.

If you could see your life for what it is,
a teaching device for mentoring your own enlightenment
you might read the books of all the sages
rooted and flowering in you like the wisdom of a seed,
or the star in the ore of a panspermic universe
that was planted in you like the garden you’ve been from birth.

You might think that the wildflowers
are looking up at the stars to understand themselves
but, in truth, they’re looking up at their roots
like rain reveres the lightning that engenders it.

You don’t need to convince the wind of your freedom,
you’ve just got to ride it out to the end,
a friend to yourself, a worthy companion,
the intimate familiar of a cloud with a clear blue sky
or a subliminal lover of the darkness
love mushrooms up in like a moonrise.

If you knew how to nurture yourself
by breaking bread with the spirit of life within you
there wouldn’t be millions of children
all over the world who will go hungry tonight.
They’d be licking the spoon with stealthy laughter
like cookie-batter out of the begging bowl of your heart.

Enlightenment isn’t going to add one ray of light
or a single star to the night you’re already shining in,
and whatever wavelength you’re on, regardless
of the mystic polarities your potential flows between,
like dark matter and light, whether the journey you’re on
is orange or infrared or the blue white violet of the Pleiades,
absorption or emission spectrum alike, no wave
of thought or mind, light, heart or water
is discontinuous with the oceanic consciousness
they rise upon, so why turn back to the source
like a solar flare to ask for directions from a starmap
that sent you out like a bubble in the multiverse to look for land.
You know, if you were more of an explorer
without a preconceived destination, more
of a space probe leaving the solar system periodically,
the rest of us wouldn’t feel so lost or out of place at your table.

And even if you’ve made a vehicle
of the wheel of birth and death
and think you have a firm grasp on things
with your arm out the window in the driver’s seat,
enjoying the passing view with the wind in your hair
without clinging to anything along the way
it still might be a good idea to learn how
to come down off your throne like a pauper
and change a flat tire now and again.

Your life is not an untimely interruption of eternity.
The eternal sky does not inhibit the flight of the white clouds,
and it even bends down sometimes toward the earth
to pick up Venus like a lost earring in the sunset.
It’s your point of view that turns your back on yourself
like the retrograde motion of Mars, not
the planet itself playing rope tricks with your spinal cord.

Why go looking for your mind
like a lighthouse with a flashlight,
a flame for the source of the fire
or a star for the constellation it belongs to,
or the homeless for a home when everyone’s
the foundation stone of their own habitation
wherever they are at the moment.
If you chase the wind, it will be you
that loses its breath like the atmosphere of the moon.
And when you run out of air, breathe light, breathe space,
and don’t try to fix an expanding universe
to your nostrils like a bicycle pump
to get you back on the road again.
Or you’ll find you’re swimming out of your depths
to run to the rescue of an empty lifeboat
that’s already unloaded its contents ashore.

If you don’t want to go blind as a starless night
it’s prescient to eclipse your blazing from time to time,
turn the lights down low, snuff the candle,
and learn to see in the dark there’s just as much reflected
in the depths of the dark abundance
of a black mirror, though it takes time to focus,
than there is in the expansiveness
of the bright vacancy of the white
that takes things in at a glance.
The seed of a every glimpse of insight contains
the whole of the vision in advance,
and at the core of the apple of the issue
is a green star with dark auburn eyes
on the nightshift of the maternity wards of spring.
And o come on now, how long can you hang on
to being this box kite on a string
watching another phoenix ride your thermals
like inspiration on the wing, without feeling
like the premature ghost of yourself at the onset of spring,
all smoke, and no fire, your flightfeathers smouldering
like a pyre of wet maple leaves who haven’t got the courage
to break into flames and flap their wings and rise above it all.
Better to be a weather balloon losing altitude like Icarus
or even a candling parachute taking the fall for all of us,
as daring said feathers and falling took flight,
than not risk falling through the black holes of life to paradise?

And what if I were to tell you’re they’re just the pupils
the light enters through like your eyes into your imagination
to be transformed from a visual into a vision,
the visible form into the invisible shining of the spirit
that raises everything in the known and unknown multiverse,
and the trees and the stars, the rocks and the clouds
are all counting on you to do this for them,
because this is what you’re here for,
if you’ve ever wondered,
to raise them up to eye-level
with a human who knows the names of things
like parents know the names of their own children
running toward them down the street. It’s how
we were meant to meet and greet the universe.

So if once, just once, for my sake, your sake, the sake
of the forsaken with their elbows on the windows of the world tonight
watching it all go by like stars on the firewalks beneath their noses,
that are not embedded in cement like a mausoleum
of movie-stars that refused to become fossils
before their shining was spent,
you took a chance, and that’s all it would take,
one step forward with no return address,
to risk falling down at the dance,
and seven times down, eight times up,
such is life, get up on your own two good feet again
and discover you’ve got wings and spurs on your heels
the rest of us wouldn’t feel so lame
when we came over to your place
like a riot of erratic fireflies to celebrate
the lightning moves of the rain that’s dancing on our graves
where the dead lie down like the corpses of candles
knowing they’ll be reincarnated
as wildflowers and Luna moths
because nothing that’s ever given its life up
to this business of shining on everything alike
from a first magnitude star, to the night light in the hall
that shoos the ghosts away from their portraits on the wall
so the whole world can bloom in the tears of your eyes,
the fire in your heart, and in the human divinity
of the spirit of your imagination, can ever be put out
because every shadow of doubt
leads back the light that cast it
in love and sorrow, time and space
to the life and death mask of your own face.


Monday, February 25, 2013



The day with no ambitions. Grey. Grey.
Stained-glass stars chained at the window,
Medusan mobiles hang like jellyfish,
motionless solar systems frozen in time,
mystic blue of burned out candle holders,
their flicker of light, a Monarch butterfly
in winter, perfectly intact, a wick in a pool of wax.

Sunday morning. Five churches open.
No carillon of bells. Four liars and one
that’s trying to face the facts. Bank, cafe,
Mac’s, gas station, a hospital with a landing pad
helicoptering the week-end’s heart attacks to Ottawa.

Soiled snow slobbering in the gutters
of a bleak street. Heritage fieldstone
refitted with aluminium windows, grandpa
in sunglasses where the old meets the new.
Among the local tribes, Scottish settlers,
Irish immigrants, British half pay officers,
even if you’ve lived here a hundred and fifty years
you’re still passing through. Good-bye. Good-bye.
Not enough dead in my past to be one of you.

A chubby adolescent primes his black baseball cap,
hitches up his pants, swings the door open
to the crowded cafe where there might be girls
as lonely as he is, and makes a hopeful grand entrance.
A grey haired woman darts from the bank
like a sparrow who knows her business.
Retirement capital of Canada, things advance
from accident to accident like the old woman
last summer who stopped her car without warning
in the middle of the road and got out to ask
the passers-by if anyone knew how to park it.
The lamp posts straight as florist’s daffodils
but one uprooted by a drunk, leaning like a mast
to starboard, counterpointing the upright by contrast.
An orange cone, thumb-tacking the spot
something happened out of the usual to make
Sunday worth talking about after the plates
are pushed away and the waitress comes to the table
knowing what everyone takes in their coffee
without having to ask if they’re from here or not.

Everyone lives as if they’d just read The Love Song
of J. Alfred Prufrock, though I doubt they’ve heard of Eliot.
You can tell by the way they walk how long
they’ve been landlocked beside the Rideau Canal
without mermaids, though they stock the lakes
with fingerlings of small mouth bass for American fishermen.

All well and good, I say, all well and good
though the suicide rate among the teen-agers
is the highest in the valley, I’m not passing judgement
from the God’s eye view of my upstairs apartment window.
I’m not logging the cadavers of dead trees
in the cemetery of a frozen swamp in winter.
I’m not trying to thaw the dreams of the mosquitoes out
beside the stove. Life here is a home remedy
for everything, mystic bumbleberry pies cooling
on the farmyard windowsills of rustic sibyls
who usually know more about what you need
than you do in the afterlife of some psychic catastrophe
and more often than not are uncannily right.
When it’s not being shown how to do things the smart way,
talent is quietly scorned by the schadenfreude
of incontestable skills that know how to fix it on their own.
Confess your helplessness with inquisitive humility
and everyone turns into Aristotle in a teaching cave
and shows you how to patch a leak in your radiator
on the cheap with eggs and pepper, or keep
the window in your woodstove clean by making
a paste of its ashes and rubbing it into your third eye
to get the soot and creosote off the way a poet
looks at things sometimes like an ambassador in chains
through a glass darkly, burning like a cubic cord
of green wood hissing at what the nightbirds used to sing
before the chainsaws showed up like a chorus
of morose delectation in the perils of insufficiency.

Better not to wear your surrealism on your sleeve
and keep your longings to yourself. If you get caught
crying out loud over some real or imagined agony
and you’re not a girl, things can get dismissively rougher.
Real men don’t waste their time feeling things
that can’t be fixed with tools. Fortunately for me
I’ve got a paint brush and a canvas I stretch
like a tarp on a pickup, though the poetry’s
harder to explain than the logic of metaphors
in a hardware store with emergency generators on sale.

Isolation’s just a red shift in solitude and my loneliness
is a small price to pay to get a lot of work done
like Roger Bacon in a woodshed without being accused
that often, of witchcraft. More hermetic by acclamation
than intent, an occupational hazard of what I do,
I’ve always got the river at night if I need someone to talk to,
and the companionable eyes of the stars to overcome
the cruelty of my cosmic cabin fever when space
turns to glass, and it gets so cold and impersonal in the abyss
even death shudders like a calving glacier when it realizes
how much holier things seem in my absence
than it could ever hope to be while I remained alive
to put the lie to it, like people in a small town, who survive.




The Milky Way leaves a trail of mirrors like a garden snail
across the night sky. After the wounded joy. The scar
of enlightenment on the waters of life. A flash of insight
many years ago when a firefly emerged from the shadows
like a mandarin of Zen after a lightning storm and there’s been
no starmap for the creative turbulence in the valley of my heart
ever since I graduated with thorny laurels
from an abandoned schoolhouse of doors
that taught me to open them for myself. Now I’m the master
of a shipwreck under full sail on the moon.

But don’t be dazzled by all the hype. If you die into living
more immensely, even the apricot blossoms
when they come to the green bough with the incredible voice
after the marrow in your bones has been frozen
like the plasmatic slush of a winter dusk on the road,
are mythically incomparable to the cool bliss of the stars
that illuminated the afterlife you lived before this that made
every spring thereafter seem a post-mortem effect by contrast.

Meditatively I sit on a tatami mat of rusty finishing nails
practising the suppler Yoga of pine needles
under a broken evergreen with casts of snow on its branches
on an outcrop of rock over a lake I keep returning to
as if I lived here once like a waterbird and left something behind
like a reflection of mine with eyes that drowned in me
when I was walking on thin ice in the dark that growled
like an unchained dog, to get to the other side
of swimming like a hourglass with waterwings for lungs
on the estranged side of the moon, without hope,
when the silence forgot how to sing and every lightyear
I sank deeper into exile with an uncanny smile on my face.

The bush wolves howl. And everything that is
sad, mad, wild and lonely about me answers back
as if time were trying to express what it’s like to be mortal
and have a past it’s sometimes hard not to miss.

Wolf moon, snow moon, hunger moon, waxing,
Spica in the hand of Virgo, Capella and the kids,
Regulus, Aldebaran, Sirius, Orion and the Lion
the Pleiades garlanding the horns of the Bull for sacrifice
to the chthonic goddess of the island in the bay
that’s more witch than warlock by the way
the cedars thicken like mascara on the treeline.

I look at stars with the same anticipation I felt
when I used to check my flowers first thing in the morning
to see if any had opened like supernovas in the night
while I was dreaming about the light being a gardener that transplanted
hydromorphic constellations into a starmap that never uprooted its weeds.

Detached and free enough to be emotional about the dead
I scatter the ashes of my heart like things I’ve felt and said
swept like a gust of stars and snow off the thresholds
of my seeing by the silver green brooms of the moonlit junipers
that try to keep the flying carpets of the hillsides clean
of the Arctic mirages the mind tracks in like a zodiac
with bestial house manners, wherever I think it might do
the undernourished roots of the waterlilies of dark matter
the most good. I mulch my solitude with autumnal memories
of equal nights and days at the crossroads of my ecliptics
and celestial equators like the tree rings of spring in my heartwood.
Though my tears keeping jumping orbitals like ripples of rain
there always a discharge of light out of all proportion
after a quantum release of every mystic singularity
of a firefly at the heart of the galaxy from a black hole of pain.

I don’t cling to my leaves in winter, nor grieve when
the blossoms of spring let go of me like thousands of poems
free as geishas in the gutters of my starmud to shine where they please.
Like one old mushroom once said like the bald head of a man,
the birds are flying in my roots, the fish are swimming
in the crowns of my trees. And I know as well as he
what hour it is. The midnight sun breathes in its sleep
through the gills of Pisces. A virgin sows
the unploughed moon with beards of starwheat.


Sunday, February 24, 2013



Acutely aware of the onceness of life, one
of the many shadows that followed me for lightyears
was the terror of wasting it on myself and not
the mystery of what it is to be here knee deep in starmud,
up over my head in a fathomless atmosphere of awareness,
knowing I was going to leave my body behind
one day like gumboots. Any moment now.
The green light of the firefly about to change to red.
In the last flash of insight to cross my mind,
which could well be, as it has been here,
the foundation stone of a whole new universe,
I didn’t want to get caught, one foot in and one foot out,
trying to weather the storm like a lifeboat
still moored to the dock like an apple in winter
on the tree of life, not risking what I had to let go of
like seeds that abandon the rafters of the tree to be true to it.

Some people trip, some fall, some plunge,
some swan-dive into the abyss. I made
a big black hole in my heart and let all the stars
leak into it like the creative side of the light when it
turns around to look at itself without being rebuffed
by its own reflectivity. I’ve danced under the chandeliers
in the blue-white palaces of the Pleiades
when the air was full of mirrors, and that was
as elegant as a graceful woman on the verge of tears,
and often, I’ve worn my eyelids like hoods and eclipses
over the falcons of my eyes to keep the lunettes of my talons
from seizing the heart of the dove like a bouquet of blood.

Like the gutter receives the spent flames of the leaves
and the Japanese plum blossoms, like the baleen
of a blue whale harvests the krill and knows
by the taste in its mouth whether it’s autumn or spring,
when they were tired of shining, I let the stars
go slumming in my humanity as if I were a spiritual nightclub
where they could let their hair down like black dwarfs
sick of photo-ops and burn out alone at the bar
like bruised black and blue flash bulbs any way they wanted to.

I brought the stars back down to earth as often
as they raised my skull up like a grail
they poured themselves into until my eyes
were brimming over with their radiance and never once
did I ever hear them say when. Or enough is enough.
My capacity for emptiness was and still is limitless.
How else could you hold all that shining within yourself
and not go blind? How could you ever hope to know
what hour it was like the zeitgeist of the times at home
in a material eternity if you didn’t live space
like an intimate experience there were only the stars
and a few nightbirds you could tell it to who could understand?

Though the signs were everywhere like a secret
that wanted to be known. All you had to do
was open your heart and take a look through the third eye
of a black hole dilating in the middle of your iris like a new moon
climbing the rungs on a ladder of event horizons
as if it were crossing the thresholds of each house of the zodiac
back into the burning arms of the black sun no one could see
that wasn’t intrigued by the mystery of the dark eyes
behind the veils and lifemasks of the light
that paled them like nightwatchmen making
their final rounds on the grave yard shift
turn their lanterns down like stars in the dawn.

Acutely aware of the onceness of life,
I cherished my fingertips, not what they touched.
I exalted my seeing, not what it saw. I honoured my voice
for the nobility of its calling, not what was said in my sleep.
I gathered up all the myriad thoughts and facets of mind
like wavelengths of the omnipresence of the universe
like fireflies and lightning, and delighted and horrified
as I was by what they revealed, looked deeply into the eye
of the one jewel of the world concealed behind all the shining.

I’ve firewalked the Milky Way on a pilgrimage
of ghosts and smoke and taken the hands of many lovers
as if they were my own like an Orphic leper
come back from the dead like a moonrise silhouetting
the green boughs of a tree that had suffered many dismemberments,
to revel in the return of life to my limbs like an orchard in spring,
not the windfall of the fruits of the earth that fell out of their sleeves
like cornucopias, wishing-wells, and the caressable magic of lamps.

Though I praised the fountains and goblets, the flowering
of the starfields after the ice-storms of Orion thawed
like a chandelier over the candelabra of the trees
I drowned in the godhead of the dark watershed like the source
of the great rivers of my life returning to the sea
like the stray threads and frayed deltas of my blood
reworked into new flying carpets on the loom
of the lunar ebb and neap of my tidal heart
seminal with life along the island coasts of consciousness
when the moon is in the corals like a sower in the fields.

But more than desire itself, I celebrated my heart,
not for what it longed for, but the art of love that mastered me
like a down and out stranger I once met in West Van
when he saw I was out of cigarettes, and opening his hand
like an ashtray of butts he’d been picking up off the streets,
and saving for himself, picked the longest one out
and gave it to me as freely without forethought
as any highroller ever shot the stars as if he had no limits.