I SHED SKINS LIKE ECLIPSES
I shed skins like eclipses and black latex gloves
peeled back from the new moons of unravelling snakes
that have outgrown their starmaps. Fire-sage
of a surgical dragon wound around circumpolar north,
there’s freezing in my fangs, little arrows of toxin,
and the milk of human kindness in my anti-venom.
I’m a wavelength unto myself, not a path
for anyone to follow. There are aimless rivers for that.
Poets skilled at setting paper funeral boats afire
as if they were burying their dead like real Vikings.
When you’ve left everything behind, you get used
to not leading anywhere. A cul de sac is as useless
as a labyrinth when you’re lost like the wind. Yarrow sticks
in all directions. Dishevelled stalks of dry summer grass
broken like the sarissas of a phalanx on a hillside.
You take the lowest of the low and join it
to the highest of the high and you have the makings
of a dragon that never overinflates or underestimates
the mythic potential of the quantum entanglements of life.
Scales and feathers. Winged horns ascending
over the birch groves of the lake like a dangerous moonrise
as I try not to cut my eyes on the talons and the sabres,
the Damascene crescents of clarity I’ve been running
across my tongue like the folded edges of ancient blood vows
to risk nothing less than everything all the time
making peace in a holy war of dead metaphors
buried too deep in the collective unconscious
to ever rise again with the same perceptive innocence
of their first alchemical revolution. The bloom
is off the rose. Beauty bares its thorns. Monks of gold
mine their own base metals for lesser transformations.
They unhinge their jaws to swallow their cosmic glains.
To them its all eggshells in a manger at Easter,
the two crows of Egypt, the triune identity
of three faces in one of St. Hillary, the Catholic Druid.
I sleep in my coils like a pagan hill fort
at the center of a mandalic crop circle
with occult starmaps tattooed under my eyelids.
I’m writing a grammar of symmetrical unlikenesses
to give my dissimilarities a chance to express themselves
without peristaltically swallowing thousands of contradictions
like the moon in a single gulp to bring the rain down
on the serpent fire of the lightning that engendered it.
Once you’ve passed through the monoliths
of dualistic reasoning like stone labia
at the Medusan entrance to the cave, you don’t suffer
the metamorphic uncertainties of what you were born to be,
quite as much. You’re free as a forest fire
to immolate yourself like a heretic at your own sky burial
on a pyre of crutches you threw away like the Tunguska meteor
radiating out in all directions like compass needles
from the unmarked grave of an auto de fe that made an impact
without gouging the eyes out of the truth like an unbearable fact.