A GOOD DAY TO ENJOY BEING LOST, ADRIFT
A good day to enjoy being lost, adrift.
A monarch butterfly skirts the heritage stone
of the bank across the street for good luck.
Hectic palette, it’s good to see the badge
of your shadow smudging the gridwork
of predictable brick. You made it through
the pesticides, the milkweed’s been good to you.
Small relief, tender loveletter may no one
ever scrawl return to sender across your envelope.
May no one ever tamper with your pollen.
Sweet rapture of not giving a damn for a day
and meaning it. I’m an offroad aster, a wayward
English ox-eyed daisy that’s thrown off the yoke
of all the burning bridges I’ve crossed, trying
to grind the chaff in the hand of the sign
I was born under into broken loaves of starwheat
cooling on the windowsills of my ersatz ideals.
It didn’t take me long to learn by living me
to be afraid of everyone else. That every moment of life
was death-defying in extremis, a high wire act
on a spinal cord stretched like a single filament of a spider-web
between one abyss and the next. I’ve been a poetic wino
dizzy with mystic vertigo, slumped up against the door
of a stranger’s threshold that kept sweeping me off the stairs
like a mirage of junkmail, leaves and stars
that could foretell by the agony in my eyes
I was born to live a life in freefall as I have,
no hell below me, no heaven above, and earth,
the shakey footstool of an unstable mountain
on the back of a turtle that seldom sticks
its neck out for anyone who can play
self-fulfilling Orphic threnodies on a tortoise shell harp.
Choreographers who know how to teach totem poles
to dance to the picture-music of the sacred fires
that still burn, branded by spring, in the tree rings
of the heartwood they refuse to pile like pyres
around the feet of native martyrs singing death songs
at their own sky burials. Life’s a bird bone flute,
a syrinx, a lute, a harp, a cithara, a guitar, Lyra
in the summer sky, not the trumpet of a dying swan.
Good day to let go of my mind like a kite
or a weather balloon, give up beating on
this old drumhead of a trampoline like an erratic pulse
and jump six times higher on the moon
like the photon of a third eye of a spy satellite
in a chromatically aberrated orbit that sheds
more light on the secrets of life than it keeps to itself
like private data deep in an unsightly black hole.
I don’t want to candle out like the parachute
of a daylily the higher I rise into a spiritualized atmosphere
wigged out by its haloes and comets. I don’t intend
to wait like a dragon in a wax museum for someone
to show up with a wick to give a little spine
to the votive candles in a shrine of gummy prayers.
I’m going to take charge of events like a fisherman
caught in a Pacific storm, and take my hands
off the wheel of birth and death in this great nightsea
of awareness and roll with the dice on the swells of chaos.
Seven times down, eight times up. Such is life.
Even if I’ve got to chart my course through life
like a starmap of snake-eyes, I’ll make a constellation
of matchbooks that will set the zodiac afire
like an arsonist inspired by the cult of his own
heretical martyrdom. I’d rather burn sincerely
for something I don’t believe in than give my assent
to the false confession of a poem I didn’t write
from the inkwell of a heart I threw at the devils in white
like blood on the snow of a savage sacrifice
of a life that arises from life, not the death wish
of a cold, cold rose with thorns of ice on its frozen eyelids.
A good day to cherish the innate heresy
of creative freedom I was born into like the natural medium
of imaginative extremes I keep violating
like a snake with wings on a burning ladder
of hierarchical taboos laid out like crosswalks
with traffic lights to supervise the way we came back
like shepherds down from the mountain at night
with a flock of judas-goats in painted tiger-stripes
and sheep we fleece for their carnivorous clothing
along the same path we’ll labour back up in the morning,
like pale stars that bleach their torches in the eyes
of albino crows with silver irises for moondogs
and a skull’s way of looking at things that makes you shiver
when there’s no one else in the room but you
and what you’re becoming as the older you grow
the more you realize, how little you have to do with it.
A good day to sit enthroned in my own brain coral
like a gleeman in the absence of a dynastic bloodline,
free to laugh at myself as the urge overcomes me,
or cry like a ghost of rain on a spreading root fire.
Good day to take my deathmask off another man’s face
and throw it away as if neither of us ever
looked good in it, and the mirrors lied behind our backs
as if our hearts were blind to what our minds were up to.
Intellect blossoms. Compassion is a moonboat
with a cargo of windfall apples riding like a low-hanging branch
on the waters of life, as the stars pilot it into port.
No born again cuckolds pushing the eggs out of my cosmic nest.
A dragon with the wingspan of space, time can’t keep up
with the pace of the stars I keep panning out of my ashes
like nanodiamond insights into meteoric splashdowns on the moon.
Good day to stay crazy and let wisdom follow suit.
Good day to go down to the river and watch the beaks
of the white-throated waterlilies open like the mouths
of baby birds that burn with hunger to be consumed
in the fires of their own appetites, young candles
preening their flames like the feathers of falling stars
that forego their fixed place in the great scheme of things
every time a child makes a wish upon them,
and the serpents at their heels puts the plumage
of the highest on the lowest and in a union of opposites, flies.