NEVER WANTED TO WORK THAT HARD TO BE BEAUTIFUL
Never wanted to work that hard to be beautiful
inside or out, be the rare fossil of a mirror
in the red velvet drawer of a jewellery tower
that slides out like a tiny coffin in a morgue.
Not out to prove that waterlilies have the bones
of astral hummingbirds. Love flowers,
but not in cults. Love the moon enough
not to make a religion of it, life enough
not to resist what it’s trying to put me through
whether I’m howling in pain, set afire,
or mystically exalted by vital bliss
or about to scatter my ashes from any of the bridges
that arc like grey rainbows of partially kept truces
with the lies of the lines in between.
Sometimes I’m mining mini black holes
inside the solar system looking for
new motherlodes of metaphor inside
the eye sockets of a skull crawling with Aztecs
like red army ants attending to their gods,
or go panning for stars well beyond the heliosphere
the way I used to catch fireflies as a boy
just to watch them glow a moment and let them go
like an intimate insight into what I still don’t know
but never failed to be enlightened by upon their release.
People outside my open window, laughing, talking,
setting up giddy long shots like sexual moves
on a hot summer night with a beer in its hand,
and the drunk demotic of a little English on the cue,
and alarmed car horns throbbing like ear aches in park,
and it’s all so intriguingly silly it’s got to be human
and I wonder if a thousand years from now will think
this is what we had to be like. And as soon as I
glimpse that, the whole scene is deepened by time
in the eyes behind a veil of eternity I lifted
while I was alive to see that everything here is indelible.
There’s a perpetuity in our apparent randomness
in the passing of the moment, that spontaneously
preserves us for greater things than we can imagine
like the Conservation of Data Principle
that holds good even in the singular depths
of a black hole listening like a poet through an open window.
A smudge of life on my poem, but I don’t mind
the fingerprints at all. What’s a star without planets?
What’s a shepherd ushering moons toward
the high blue grasslands without a black sheep
that wanders off by itself once and awhile
to check out other things along the way?
My poems pick things up in their flowing
like rivers pick up leaves and tributaries
and small flotillas of blossoms in the spring,
the occult alphabets of calligraphic oil snakes,
and mingles them all into the picture-music
of the mindstream, the motifs of a symphony,
or the themes of a play, that picks things up
and puts them down again like the moonrise
of a rock on a beach. Few of life’s harmonies
are symmetrically balanced crystallographers.
Nights when I look into the eyes of the stars
and even the lenses of my telescope break into tears.
You can take life out of it like a fly in the toilet bowl,
a bumble bee in a jar, a star out of your eye
a spider on a long-handled broom, or the crumb
of a leftover dream from the night before,
or you can leave it in if it wants to come along for the ride.
I’ve heard for so long from people who say they know
that everything is one, I don’t worry about disconnections.
It’s the fallible continuity of life that sings
like a nightbird from the dead branch and green alike
most beautifully to me, the way the light and the rain
and love when it’s real, make unions of disparate things
that depend upon each other for life like metaphors.
I revel in the crazy wisdom of the oxymoronic contradictions
that bond me to the universe like the small volcanoes
of the ground wasps that erupt between the fault lines
along the continental plates of the sidewalks
and apprentice me to landscaping with lava on the moon.
The circle’s wounded deeper into its roundness
once it’s broken by a branch, the stillness more profound
for the stone that’s dropped into it. Love, when it’s new,
trued by separation. The earth itself, an alloy
of the elemental table. To be truly original creatively
is to seek the low place like the sea and let
everything run down into you like myriad streams
that are neither many nor one, pure nor polluted,
and out of that mingling which is the whole of you,
raise them like weather from the bells of the flowers
to the robes of snow on the mountain tops
and know that with every cloud, every raindrop, storm,
every bolt of lightning, and all the life thereby engendered
is you returning like a shape shifter to your own depths
and everything comes along for the ride as if
they were always on your side, like your eyes are.