THE WAY I FEEL ABOUT MYSELF OVERALL WHEN I’M SUMMONED
The way I feel about myself overall when I’m summoned
out of my blue evanescence to be embodied again and again
as an individual with egocentric limits as if
some cooper of flowers had bound up my petals
into whiskey-barrels for the long night ahead.
Not wise to let apprentice mirages pilot the mindstream
but everybody’s got to take their hand off the wheel sometime
and let the facts learn to trust the true nature of illusion
isn’t a mask the truth wears to conceal its face in public
as if it had a bad reputation that smelled like the moon.
Realism is the death of theatre on an imaginary stage.
A spontaneous image out of the void doesn’t
make you a mage, but I thought I’d be wiser
than I am now, when I was twenty-two and sure of myself.
A lot of trial and error in learning how to love
your own and others’ humanity like the shadows cast
by the flames of desire like a bestiary of extinct simulacra
painted on the wall in carbon and red ochre behind you.
We gather and we hunt as before. We acquire and dispense.
And the pain of letting go is insufferable. Trees
in post natal depression after a windfall. It helps
when humanity appalls you to remember the children
these monsters once were, and how dangerous innocence is.
Love feels like the labour of a lifetime
but if you get up close and intimate there’s
no progression in the work. Intimidating spontaneity,
it’s chaos reversing the spin on the order of the cosmos
so you can see the long and the short of it
through both lenses of your hourglass telescope
and you owe as much to your mistakes as you do
when you embraced as if the gift, the giver
and the given to were three waves on the same river of bliss.
Like greys in a painting, all those beautiful hues
of inchoate confusion, complementary colours
of lament and celebration, harvesting the dark abundance
of the full moon, sowing eclipses in the bright vacancy
of the new, wallflowers of the quotidian suddenly
going supernova in the eyes of unlikely mystics.
Love doesn’t sponsor a school, a cult, a coven, a lab rat.
If you’ve ever truly experienced it, then you know
you’re only experimenting with your own homely absence
when it’s gone. It foreshadows a kind of negativity creativity
that makes you feel as if you were backing out
the front door on your own house of life
and all that used to shine like the glazed bricks of starmud
you built it of to shelter your solitude, had
rejected you like a changeling on the threshold
of your birth sign like an illegitimate passport going into exile.
Just as loneliness is merely the table of contents, the shell
of what it means until you put it in the context
of being with someone and the self-contained monad
of cosmic sentience you are is horrifically amplified
into a bubble in the multiverse that’s about to burst
into a new sense of the vastness the light has to traverse
to enter your eye as if time were too slow
to keep up with the moment, so the present
is never any younger than the past, and the future
is always older than you conceived it to be.
Put your finger on the pulse of love. It’s an ageless waterclock
one wavelength long, one bloodstream wide
with no far shore on the other side. High
as your eyes are deep, a dream that keeps you awake.
Born into poverty, leave home, fourteen, then
fifty years a poet scrounging for life
in the flesh and dirt under the black crescents
of my lunar fingernails, doing without
to keep on doing within whatever I’m inclined to
like the axis of Neptune in orbit, turned on its head,
or the dark matter of turning the starmaps over
like a pilot light in an underworld full of untapped potential.
The severe clarities of the blood oath I took
to remain faithfully disobedient to whatever
I might come to believe too sternly about the world.
The curse enlightens. The blessing corrupts.
Whatever my imagination has done to me
in the name of love you’re either scarred by service
or suicide. And heresy looked like the only green bough
among the dead branches on the tree of knowledge
I could sing from like a serpent with wings
in a choir of fanatical bluebirds on my shoulder
shrill in the false dawn of another morning of mirth.
Despair might have gouged my eyes out at times,
but I never struck gold until I learned
to see like the blind what’s reflected in the black mirrors
of the mind that turns the light around on itself.
And as much as joy might have to say, sorrow’s
always said more than the genius of my silence
could articulate. Not a sententious adage of mine,
but I’ve learned never to trust wisdom if it’s
got a bad voice, too much creosote, too few
blackbirds in the chimney building nests
to make sure the song never dies and the lyrics
are as sweet as music to your eyes when you open them
for the very first time and the endless sky
smiles down upon you, day and night, like a birthright.