LEAVE OFF LIKE THE WIND
Leave off like the wind and it’s the beginning
of someone else you never meant to be
as the stars go round with their firefly lanterns
burning their hearts out on nightwatch
as if there were always something to raise an alarm about,
and the willows come down to the water
to drink from the wild irises and there’s---
can you hear the wind howling from here?---
an unspoken story that glows like eyes
in the shadows of the surgical birch groves
trying on prosthetic limbs, peeling back
the binding of a book like a plaster cast
they’ve worn too long like a ghost amputee.
Let’s say it’s not too late to feel the wind
shimmering the silk of the wild rice in the moonlight
as if it were breathing like summer on someone’s skin
and you feel love might perish but the moment’s indelible
as how humanly foolish it is to long to make things last,
the forbidden beauty of the secret life you’ve hidden
under your eyelids like a love note in a dovecote
you’ve been dying to release into the imageless abyss
of the emptiness you’re counting on to fulfil you in the end
like some kind of counter-intuitive prophecy
that kept the faith of an undertaker in the sub-culture
it was born into like a mirage of the sixties
pulsing like a lightshow to the backbeat of an osmotic amoeba
as if the Burgess Shale were still experimenting
with psychedelic forms of life that might lead
back to us if it were possible, and it isn’t, to step
into the same river twice if you remember your Heracleitus.
Foolish to want to corduroy the road you broke like trail
to get here with the corpses of the dynastic horses
you had to saddle like a universe with a will of its own
that didn’t leave you many alternatives as the earth
died out from under you like the smoke of a deathsong
in a native cemetery you didn’t realize at the time
you were walking through like the moon in its sleep
dreaming it’s following a starmap of fireflies falling toward paradise.
Let’s say you don’t feel like a antiquated license plate
nailed to the door of a castrated gas station
in a desert pit stop, the curtains fishing for flies
at the broken window of a sky with a grimy third eye
reflecting the spirituality of a hermit who abandoned
the solitude of his afterlife too late to do him any good.
The hydra-headed deception of the perennial paradigm.
Listen to the screen door flapping like a lapwing
that doesn’t have anything to protect anymore
like the wounded encore of a showgirl in a ghost town
from the meathooks that used to keep the scorpions out.
Auroral evanescence of oleaginous covenants
on the wings of demonic flies with star cluster eyes
wintering like an eclipse between the epidermal plaster
of the punctured lungs behind the ribs of the unmended walls.
Bleak enough for any existentialist who wandered
off highway looking for the exit sign he missed a ways back.
And when the night approaches like a widow
whose nightmares all died out shortly after her dreams,
and your devotions smell like the incense of candling skin,
let’s forget you were ever afraid of the dark
and go watch the Perseids plunging into the atmosphere
like a gust of hot cinders from a comet that once
firewalked like a dragon across the firmament
sowing meteors on the wind that flare and fall away
like the flowering of goldenrod and loosestrife
in the wild starfields nature takes back into itself
as if yesterday didn’t adumbrate the way you see things
right now, and the nightbirds remembered all the words
to the songs you used to sing yourself asleep to
whenever your voice gave comfort to the longing in the room.
Let’s imagine you’re not mystically snowblind
in a blizzard of fireflies and there’s still a radiance
blazing like the corona of the sun through
the valleys of the moon in a total eclipse
that rests like a tiara of jewels from the underworld
lightly upon your head, and not these endless
heron’s nests you’ve abandoned to the predatory ospreys
like feathers hanging from the medicine wheels they use
to raise their young in like fledglings of the arrow
that once taught you how to fly as if you had the sky to yourself.
Stop eating your own thoughts like junkfood for cannibals
and all will come right, unlock the aviary of your voicebox
and let the stars out like Cygnus and Aquila
when Lyra’s at zenith riffing on the wavelengths
of Vega singing the blues with the Doppler Effect
of a shipwrecked guitar catching fire in the crow’s nest.
And all will come right as three bells on the bridge
of a lifeboat that’s crossed the bar like an albatross
in the blood oaths of the Knights Templar
who retracted their false confessions
like heresies of insight into the true nature of things
that fed the flames of the fires that consumed them
like the dark vow of a deepening passion for life
when the candle goes out like the wick of a new moon
and there are more intriguing taboos in the shadows to burn for
than the afterlife of a scarecrow crucified
on the dead branch of its own half burnt heartwood
in a firepit at Stonehenge like paleolithic music
frozen in time like a trilithonic danse macabre
at a seance of the winter solstice when the sun
stands still at midnight like a black hole
on the event horizon of a sky burial as deep as it is wide.
Let’s say the bride didn’t have to paint her eyes
like the lens of Galileo’s telescopic third eye
to hear the priests of the tunnel rats in the catacombs tell it,
just to look into the eyes of your face in the mirror
to deceive your sunspots into believing their beauty marks.
See transparently like space into the nature of the light
that illuminates this pageant and progress of perceptions
wandering like a mindstream on a habitable planet
like a purple passage of automatic writing on the foreheads
of our fates deepening the solitude of the woods late, late at night.
What choice were the living ever given by this chance at life
but to cherish the ageless elation of insight into the stars
in the eyes of the mysterious inspiration
to create something sacred as a hidden secret
to this wild and unholy perishing of the light?