NOTHING MYSTICALLY INTRIGUING ABOUT MISERY
Nothing mystically intriguing about misery
but I do the best I can with what there is to work with
when I’m down, when I’m blue, it’s not azure,
it’s a stormy Prussian waiting for the sky to clear
and array a starmap of lapis lazuli freaked
with flecks and fuses of gold. Add a touch of cobalt
for aerial perspective to give myself a little space
to wander in while I remember not to short-circuit
the tarpits in the shadows of my depression
or under estimate what’s so extraordinarily ordinary
about the lifemasks I’ve shucked in the mundanity
of my middens, the museums of arcane waste
I’ve squandered over the years like garbage on nothing.
Just because someone drove a nail through your eye
you keep insisting is a sliver of the true star
might wallpaper your imagination like Matisse
but doesn’t mean you’re a one-eyed messiah
crucified like a Cyclops by a red hot stake
from your own fire, or that your tears are somehow,
because of the quality of your crying, better aged
than New York City tapwater, or the ensuing darkness
is necessarily prophetic. Could be a black hole
or the heavy lift of the cast iron lid of the total eclipse
I used to remove like a shark’s pupil to look into
what I imagined the sun must be like on the other side
without my eyes evaporating in the blaze with the hiss
of water droplets falling on my mother’s wood stove
when I was a blistering kid. Uncannily shaped
like this archaic desk I sit at now trying to write
my way like a counterintuitive backroad out of hell.
The train through town is trying to howl with the wolves
but it hasn’t got the agony for it and I’d rather
not know where I’m going despite the exuberance
of the gnostics who indict the same appearances
they’re enlightened by like apparitions in shallow mirrors
though I don’t mean anymore than they do by it.
It’s like art, love, life, the less you know about it
the more you’ve taken it to heart. If the whole
is in every part of what’s been broken, then mastery
must be as well. The human brain a ballet of cotyledons
performing swan lake on tour rising from the stage,
flowering out of death with the unfurling of a leaf
with a twist to it like the turning of a page by the wind
trying to read what it wrote behind its own back
when no one else is looking to see what it sowed
in arable rows of boustrophic print on the moon.
Like thornapples and rabies, I’ve cured my own disease
at times, with home remedies that very seldom,
if you live through them, leave you feeling
like the happy lunatic of a creative psychosis
inspired by a compendium of excruciating transformations
learning to swim hydrophobically in the Burgess Shale
as you say to evolution, physician heal thyself,
and somehow like a snakey faith healer miraculously
it does by killing entire species of itself off at a time.
Where are the fireflies in this ice fog of nuclear winter?
Why is the moon sleepwalking with the dead?
Who’s pulling my wishbones apart like crutches
that nothing depends upon not even my struggle
to wrestle with the dark angel in the way,
the prophylactic shaitan keeping me from
harming myself in the apprentice years of Lucifer
fulfilling the prohibitions that were expected of him
as my railroaded emotions walk away with a limp?
I’m screaming for red. I’m going through
ultra-violet withdrawals from life at dangerous frequencies.
I’m boiling like a kid in its mother’s milk.
Who cut the tongues out of my deaf mute cowboy mutes
and left me nothing to say in a sign language
not even the abysmal silence up ahead where the road
leads me into a wilderness with keener eyes than mine
nods, empathically, and bows its head like a sunflower
mimicing a streetlamp and says, yes, I think I understand.
My heart’s been torn out of my chest
like a canal root of starmud at the hands
of a Mayan dentist pulling my back room wisdom teeth out
like the molars of astronomical temples he had to abandon
like the calderas of extinct volcanoes impacted
like chimney fires of lava and creosote on a shepherd moon
marking the cards that bluff genetic codes into signs
of thermophilic life to prove we’re not freakishly alone
with the dark energies of quantumly entangled light
upstaging the dawn by clinging to the gunwale
of a lifeboat waiting to be salvaged by a coffin.