Sunday, May 5, 2013



Life’s a sloppy business, daughter. You
average out the crucials, adjust your motives to the stars
that have been tinkering with you since childbirth,
flutter your eyelashes like butterflies over the ruins
of last year’s flowers as if you were dropping pamphlets
over a subjugate nation, exhorting the weeds to ideals
promoting horrid compromises with common sense
and the general viciousness of the world embodied
in the dispassionate vengeance of corporate profit margins

to deny a foreign national four year old girl
whose amateurism still trusts people’s eyes
food, medicine, school, water, rights to the rain
freedom from from life as a silk worm
in a garment factory run by the most loathesome of men
in the finest clothes economic slavery’s got to offer
as if you could wash the sewer of a soul off
in a shower of gold that gilds you like a maggot
in an Armani suit, or a political tapeworm elected to public office
to feed off the poor as if it were for their own good,
to promote prosperity in a graveyard with mineral rights
to your bones. A Via Cloacum of dry-eyed evil in the world
emptying into a dead sea of consciousness like the swill
of trivialized krill, the bread and circuses
of engineered distractions with sunshades unfolded
like the parasols of the Roman navy as the gutted mob
gluts on the entrails of victims unluckier than they were
when the wasp came to lay its egg on their forehead
and eat them less engagingly from the inside out like worms
in their eyes and their hearts. O savage evolution
I won’t smear sparkles on the eyelids of the dead
you desecrate like the flesh of your own flesh
to get on with life like an imperial starmap of client constellations.

I suppose I should be offering you more rounded wisdom
than this thornapple of insight into inhuman nature,
more of a sweet-natured sunset than this nasty false dawn
where every new beginning by acclamation means
the death of sentience in someone else, by the millions
throughout history, where the truth is always deeply indebted
to the ingratiating co-sponsors of the capitulant facts.

But I abhor sloughing the suffering of the world off
like a soft, old man whose eyelids have wrinkled
like the withered skin of daylilies, who’d rather
blur and blunt his vision of life like broken glass
sand-blasted in the gentrifying tides of sea stars
he doesn’t want to cut his feet on firewalking the Road of Ghosts.

I’m repulsed by the geriatric deathmasks of strategic kindness
defrauding their own wisdom like a gnostic gospel of cataracts
in their eyes, mystic flowers in the sky, buffing the toxicity
of the crescents of the moon, because the bad fang fell out
and the only one they’ve got left they’re trying to pass off,
sensing they’re too weak to hurt anyone anymore,
as anti-venom to the same kind of people they’ve been
biting all their life for their place at the table above the salt
in a snakepit cannibalizing their wavelengths like black holes
harmonizing with the music of their uninhabitable celestial spheres
attuned to their own background universal hiss. Frog-swallowers
and nest-robbers trying to bury their thorns like
the hands of a clock in the foliage of roses that smell
like the embroidered pillowcases they no longer dream on.

Dozy, rosey, barnboard frames, picturing the punk and pulp
of rotten heartwood trying to rinse the bathtub rings
the rain left like the sediment of a dry creekbed
running through their veins like cracked starmud
waiting for a flashflood of the shining waters of life
to lower their blood pressure like the first
heart attack of the spring to wake the toads up from hibernation.

What travesties of human excellence I’ve witnessed
in the hearts of men and women who settled for less
than the lives they’ve been given to live randomly
out of the blue, blue sky like an accidental gift
of inestimable value they kept appraising like fool’s gold
by the light of a full moon that never came to harvest.

The mind is an artist and it is able to paint the worlds
with great skill and subtle hues of technical cunning
that can transform the opacity of the solid
into the myriad translucencies of the unimaginably real.

But, remember, you’re whole life’s nothing
but a portrait you’re working on from the inside.
A solitary figure in a mindscape listening
to the picture-music of a dream grammar
that keeps shape-shifting like the palette of a voice
trying to catch the atmospherics of whatever mirage
you’re rendering in the watercolours of your tears at the time
before the light in your heart changes and your bones
are laid in a grave like the field easel you’ve
been packing around with you all your life
like the stick people you drew in childhood.

Make an art of them. A masterpiece of heart,
eye, hand, and mind. Flesh the world out
in your own humanity and cherish it like a life study
you modelled for yourself in the mirror you peered into
without turning to stone at what you saw
or asking who’s the most beautiful of all,
but remaining true to your own eyes
like the creative bounty of a nightsky
whatever uplifts, whatever befalls your starmud
like the nocturnal waterlilies of the Pleiades in a low place,
or that whisper of heretical silence in the heart
that resonates throughout the whole of space
like the curse and the blessing of a habitable planet
bound to the stake of a star for remembering what it is
to be indefensibly radical about remaining compassionately human.


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