THE MILKY WAY LEAVES A TRAIL OF MIRRORS LIKE A GARDEN SNAIL
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.