IT TOOK ME LIGHT YEARS TO TRUST MY VOICE
It took me light years to trust my voice
to say things my thoughts had to catch up to
like the unrehearsed understudies of hidden harmonies
making their presence manifest in the way
their dark matter bent space and made the words move
into place like water finding its own equilibrium.
The discipline, then, was not to interfere,
but listen when the wind turns the Byzantine green
of the Russian olives silver in the turmoil of its passage.
To pour yourself out of the mirror like the tear
of a weeping telescope when the Milky Way
gets in your eyes like the smoke of a hundred billion stars.
Or the ghost of a summer radiance
summoned to a seance of mediumistic fireflies
trying to fill in the gaps on their spiritual starmaps.
Last night’s full moon has sliced off
part of its waning earlobe shrinking
as it ascends from cantaloupe orange
to a pitted plum of cadmium yellow value eight.
I’m standing in a gravel driveway outside a storage shed
in the industrial part of town, my back turned
to a floodlight in a riot of insights that act like
frenzied insects, and I’m looking for stars
through the feathered ribs and scales of clouds,
toned by a copper moon rise in a cool acetylene sky.
The moon is rising over the roofs of a parking lot
full of transport trucks, and the contrast
makes the view even more surrealistically poignant.
Intensely so when I spot Arcturus burning
solely on its own in an immensity of peacock blue sky
turning Prussian blue and indigo
over a garishly lit garage that specializes in transmissions
and smells like an abattoir of oily orchids
sacrificed like sacred bulls in garlands
on the altar of a pneumatic car lift
where eternity intersects time as history.
Twenty feet from the driveway
to the perfectly latticed wire fence
sequestered on a reservation of useless land,
a pharmacopeia of every weed that grows wild
in southern Ontario, huddled on the crest
of a bull-dozed hill fort in self-defence.
And in one quick swathe of the bush-hog,
stunted runt versions of the same plants
blooming like symbols of underground resistance,
common mullein, tansy, Queen Ann’s Lace, vetch,
viper’s bugloss gone out like pilot lights on a gas stove,
and the sabre cuts and slashes of the tall grasses
waving green banners from their slender masts
and unbroken aerials as fragile as a heron’s legs.
Beauty and utility in a coincidence of contradictories
where abstractions haven’t been multiplied
beyond necessity. The earth turns as it always has
and the moon and Arcturus move accordingly
as the Summer Triangle emerges from the cloud-cover
like the brain child of a birdwatcher
with a taste for myth and mathematics.
Perennializing events in a trivial frame of reference.
And just as the bugs have their communal rapture
in the light, I stand here alone gazing at the stars
trying to see my way into other worlds
by closing the distance with the intensity
of my overwhelming wonder and longing to know
if there might be some poet out there tonight like me
watching the moon rise over bucolic machines
and the space needed to sustain them
at the expense of the trees and weeds and wildflowers
as he’s mystically weirded out by the relative parity
of disparate elements in an impersonally unified field.
And he like me, Arcturus, the trucks, the weeds
and the moon among them, living the ambivalent beauty
of an eternity that breaks its truce with time
once and awhile, to adorn what’s been defiled,
and let unity come forth by itself to forsake the difference
in a voice of its own the storage units trust
like the sacred syllable of a lock on mundane things
alloyed like haloes and horseshoes of stardust and rust.