SOMETHING CONTINENTAL WITHIN ME RISING
Something continental within me rising.
Atlantis, surfacing. Pangaea coming back together,
synarthritically, after diversifying its sentient life forms,
from the preludes of the Burgess Shale
to the double-beamed diplodeci of Patagonia.
I can feel the shoulders of an ancient ocean
heaving up beneath me like a Leviathan of life
with the power to smash headlong through
the hull of the lifeboat of my psyche, or tip me
like a seal off this last ice floe I’m clinging to in the Arctic
with four polar bears, Henry Hudson, and a terrified tern.
Sublimely underwhelmed, everything I once transcended
crossing a burning bridge of stars in a long firewalk
now subtended like the underside of a leaf or a starmap
as if my vision of life, and this thread of blood,
this small mindstream at night I am in it, is being
woven and unravelled by the moon I’m giving birth to
in a fire womb of an underwater fumarole
umbilically connected to the magmatic core of the earth,
hydrogen sulphide mythically inflating the scale of life.
I’m heading into a bloodstorm with a ragged poem
like a flag of surrender for a sail on a life raft I lashed together
from the available driftwood that washed up on my shores
like the contorted corpses of those who had drowned in agony,
trying, as I have, for light years, to get to the other side before I die
in this tidal pool of shore-hugging ego that esteems itself
the third eye of the great nightsea beyond it
and when it’s full of stars, the parabolic mirror
of a reflecting telescope in orbit around itself like a deer fly.
The earth is turning into quicksand under my feet.
O, earth, gape! A touch Marlovian, perhaps,
and a sound magician might make a demi-god,
but demi-gods don’t always make the most sound magicians.
My skyscrapers are loosing their footing
like needles skipping grooves across an old fashioned record
of the celestial spheres, striated by retreating glaciers
trying to revive the last word of their literary careers,
like fireflies with enfibulators come to jump start their art
too late, too late, to go south with the other birds.
The mourning dove flees, but the crow winters with its heart
like a continent of coal deep freezing into diamonds
when a dark muse seizes it by the throat like an eclipse
and it cries out in the starless night of the uncomprehending abyss
across the ice-glazed eyelids of the blood-stained snows,
I am the ocean in the eye of a black rose.
I am the prophetic passion of fire in the skull of a dragon.
I am the dark lantern the arks of the stars
send out before themselves as if their myths of origin
were all ahead of them like a time capsule of eyes
to be opened sometime in the future when the light
makes land fall like the Norse at L’anse aux Meadows
before the fishermen anglicized Medusa from the French
in Jelly Fish Cove at the northern tip of Newfoundland.
I am the spectral blazing of the silver heart of the moon.
I am the compassionate ice palace of an Inuit embassy,
an igloo in tears, giving sanctuary to the snow blind ghosts
that can wander the tundra for years like exiled dolmens
following the spectral fires of the auroral borealis
without any sign of a seance rising like smoke
from more accommodating fires on the shamanic horizon
of a mystic trickster that ate the eyes of the snow fox
so it could see in the dark the traps that had been laid for it.
Long before I became the funereal usher
greeting the new comers at the one-way exits of the dead,
I was the gateless gate at the entrance of the living
to the longest white nights of their lives in a northern paradise
where nothing was forbidden and the great oracular snake
that Blake said in his prophetic books would arise in Canada
found it too cold to survive and perished
like a wavelength of dark energy red shifted toward the light
in a six month long nightmare no fire could revive it from
like the hallucinogenic smelling salts of the volcano
it coiled around for visionary warmth at Delphi.
But I can tell by the tattoos on the skin it shed
what it would have said if it had been more adaptable
and let more serpent fire go to its head in this cold climate
like chimney sparks among the stars
shining above its last chakra circumpolarly like Draco
growing wings like a wivern of wild grape vines
wrapped around the axis mundi of the wounded earth.
I can heal. I can soothe. I can seduce you to my love.
I can move like a scar over the surface of the earth.
I can run like a wild northern river roiling in the moonlight
I can linger like a ripple in the oilslick of the Alberta tar sands,
or a perma frost speed bump on an asphalt highway in the spring.
I can be the dark angel in your way who drives
a spear of light through your heart so you can
never really tell if you’re just another Barbie
toying with nirvana, or a real voodoo doll in the night
with a deeper insight into the dark arts of cursing and blessing
than either of the shallower mirrors and scenic vistas
of your blood and tears could have managed
on the same event horizon where they stand on the threshold
of a black hole they dare not enter on their own.
I am the alpha. I am the omega of shapeshifters
I am a dynamic equilibrium of fire and water
at peace with themselves without compromising
the other’s nature for rising up or flowing down.
When my feet are in the stars, my head is on the ground.
I am the balancing act of a sacred clown
chequered like a chessboard calendar
of the days and nights of my life
I’ve danced with the full,
I’ve danced with the new moons
as if my ends always came before my beginnings.
Extinction the prelude of inception,
not the false dawn of its epilogue.
Clarity doesn’t engender an opposite.
It isn’t reality. It isn’t a lack of deception.
It just means enlightenment and delusion
have both ceased to exist
as you make your exit, laughing,
with a real tear painted on your cheek that hasn’t dried yet.