MY LITTLE BOOK’S OUT THERE BEING READ
My little book’s out there being read by someone
I hope somewhere like the plank of a shipwreck
with my name on it, the flyleaf of an artificial coral reef,
you gotta go deep, you gotta drown your book
on the moon, an underwater, island, barrow tomb
so you can bury your death in the life it gave shelter to.
Hey, little fish, welcome to my wake. I won’t say
I sank for your sake, but, here, where my oracular bones
are being pearled at the bottom of the Sea of Tranquillity,
it’s good to see you thriving as if evolution
were a high end colourist with a mad palette of hotspots
and at night, schools of argent insights emerging
in moonlight like the leaves of the wind in
the silver, Russian olives that lyrically mentored me on earth.
And, you, squirmy worm, literrateur, you can tunnel
through me like a blind, star-nosed mole boring
black holes for what was most illuminating about me
to leak out of like the shadows of the shadows you see
as you follow the crumbs of the feast deeper into
the labyrinth you’ll never come to the end of
like a wandering scholar following its tail back to its mouth,
the spitting image of a vicious, disappointed sentimentalist.
Have a happy. The party’s on me. Knock yourself out.
Can’t you hear the moon bawling like a large mammal
from the ice age in a tarpit on the dark side of life?
My little book’s out there being read
like the poetic genome of some potentially
extinct species of some hominid who knew
it wouldn’t be long before he was the last of his kind,
and spit-painted his handprint like the negative
of a silhouette he never coloured in with lifelines
like a starmap that might have led the gypsy palmists
astray like a ghost with a candelabra in an open doorway.
My little book’s out there, indelible as hardback and ink,
sporting the vision of life I once wore like constellations
tattooed on my eyes so my tears couldn’t wash them out
like the flood myth of a watercolour I never meant.
My little book’s out there shining like a fossil
in the eyes of the graverobbers on the black market
of the Burgess Shale of my sedimentary starmud,
indexed in the Dewey Decimal System in the library
of Ashurbanipal. Cosmetic scalpels like the birdsfeet
of sandpipers scarring the lyrics of their song
in wounded clay left out to bake in the kiln of the sun.
It’s healthy to mock yourself like the fool
at the foot of a throne the peasant’s revolt in you
was always inclined to abdicate like a gravestone
after Richard the Second lied to Wat Tyler in l381.
Even if you’ve made a sacred clown of yourself
doesn’t mean you can’t have a little fun
in a dans macabre with death when it takes you
way too seriously like a terminal literalist who expects
you to mean everything you express as if
you weren’t just skywriting among the stars
like a ghost declaring how much it loved so and so,
no boundary stones like the prophetic skulls
of the turf wars we make of our global evanescence.
My little book’s out there somewhere, a petal of flame
that blooms in fire once every seven thousand years
like the pine-cone pagoda of a Zen monastery
with its one good eye on enlightenment, and the other
on the shadows of God it casts like gravegoods into the abyss.
Nothing more rapturous than an heretical arsonist
being burnt at the stake of his own auto de fe
like a scapegoat on the pyre of a left-handed sacrifice
as the anti-venom to the toxic innocence of the orthodox
who purify themselves like smallpox among the natives,
guilt by infection. Better to eat your own ashes in hell
than contaminate your neighbour’s spiritual housewell
with the decaprified horns of the goatsheads
that poison the waters of life with lies about the clarity
of waterlilies festering like nuns in virgin swamps.
I’ve never had an agenda for what I wanted to achieve
when I fell in love like a hole in the road on my way
to someone else, as if I had an errand to run that
my life and death depended on arriving in time
with news of the misdiagnosis of everything
I thought was wrong with me in a gnostic moment
that turned me into a happy docetist in the urn
of old papyri buried in a cave until a goatherd came along
and woke me up like a genie in a lamp
burning like serpent fire in the snakeoil
milked from the paps of Medusan amphorae
as if there’d been a mass mastectomy of breasts
that could kill as easily as they healed the visionary fevers
of the poetically snakebit. My little book is out there
somewhere like a binary star system doing
a ghost dance around a firepit that blossoms
like the eternal flame at the sacred forks
where the sacred rivers join like the tines
of a snake’s-tongue searching the air like lightning
for someone to strike like a root-fire of revelation.
Until the autumn oak breaks into a conflagration of leaves
how else can you shake a windfall of acorns down to earth
for the wild boars to keep growing the tusks of the moon
you’ll have to pay death one night for your passageway
to the other side of your unsalvageable Orphic descents?
My little book’s out there somewhere like a liferaft
in an hourglass with nobody on it, riding the thought waves
of strange seas of awareness where the stars
go pearl diving and come up with the moon.
The same mindstream I was carried along on
like an autumn leaf, cutting through a stranger’s woods.
Flightfeather of a book in a gust of stars like Cygnus
that can open its wings and fly like a cross
or land a high dive like a wild swan on a river,
threading the eye of the needle between an eagle
and a flying horse. My little book’s nocturnal
but it’s not morose. Aesthetically infernal, but not an urn.