Saturday, April 20, 2013



When grief grows savage and there’s nothing to hunt
and all your mandalas are turning back into cave paintings
running down a limestone wall like spears
in the tears of weeping shamans, and you want
to tear your heart out and eat it to nourish your emptiness
but you’re not sure if it’s still the noble enemy it used to be,
or if the power of its sympathetic magic has past
the expiry date, and you think you might be
the last of the big mammals to go extinct in the ice-age,
time to sit down on the ground and have a good laugh
at how the things we take most seriously in life
make sacred clowns of us all in the last analysis
just before enlightenment. Put your lifemask on again,
coax a star or a firefly out of the tinder of that nebula
you’re blowing on until you’ve got a good blaze going
then throw all your grave goods on it as if
you were sending them on ahead of you
while you danced the pain away like the sky burial
of the ghost of another age that’s been haunting you
like a glacier that’s slowly beginning to wash itself clean of itself
as the numbness in your heart thaws like a baby mammoth
that fell into a crevasse of ice, and your fingertips
are melting like elk horn candelabra at a native exorcism.

And, yes, it stings for a while just as things are starting
to warm up, but that too will pass like a wet snowfall in April,
when your blood will begin to flow again
as if it were teaching the wild columbine and gypsy poppies
to waltz to the picture-music of the wind without banshees
howling and scratching at your eyes like dead branches
as if they were raking their fingernails against the glass
of a cold, crystal skull disappearing like an ice-cube in a night cap.
Sit down on the ground and have a good laugh
on the tab of everything that’s ever wounded you
and you just watch how easy it is to wipe
that gruesome grin off the face of the moon
like the sabre-toothed Smilodon that mauled you
and replace it with the smile of a Chesire cat
that just ate the canary in a coal mine of fossilized constellations
because grief can intensify the darkness into diamonds
that can see through the translucency of the tears in your eyes
new stars breaking out all over like waterlilies in the night skies
waiting for you to name them and give them myths of origin
derived like starmaps from the legends of your own shining.

Eventually the jesters of crazy wisdom will come to us all
and wipe the tears from our eyes and paint stars in their stead
we can point out to the cloaked ones
under the covers of their death beds
as if the deeper and darker the night the better to see
trillions of fireflies flung off the wheeling
of the celestial spheres like compassionate insights
into what we suffer for, what we lose whenever
we try to possess forever by trying to pour
the universe out of the universe like a waterclock in Aquarius
when we’re already swimming through eternity
like Pisces and there’s never a moment that passes in life
that isn’t a vernal equinox in a locket we hold close to our hearts
that doesn’t bloom in the fires of enlightenment
like star seeds hidden under the eyelids
of last year’s dolorous windfall of pine cones
because however the wind screams
through the broken wishbones and harps
of our shattered limbs, our torn dreams,
the eighth time we get up from our seventh time down
we get up and stand our ground like evergreens in the starfields.


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