GIVEN WE HAVE MORE FAULTS IN COMMON THAN VIRTUES
Given we have more faults in common than virtues,
and these our lives, crude approximations
of our calamitous purposes, the dire aspirations
of deceiving our indifference toward one another
as a sublime mode of spiritual innocence, isn’t it time,
grey Sunday in a small Ontario town, to admit
we’re a fellowship of buffoons and dunces, sacred clowns
with prophetic second-guesses that muddle our starmud
in oceanic puddles of awareness that dirty the mirages
in the mirrors that lie to us to make things perfectly clear
everything we reflect upon is an expedient fiction
of a narrative theme like a wavelength of snake
in the stargrass of a space-time continuum with our name on it?
And it’s not the mirrors that are distorted, but the orbits
we place them in like pathways through life
that keeping going around and around like the eternal recurrence
of a snake with its tail in its mouth, bearing in mind
infinity’s just a zero with a twist. Like a bow tie or hand cuffs,
a twin noose for murder suicides in a heart-breaking,
neck-snapping, wretched act of love for people who’ve had enough.
We’re all looking at each other with stones in our hands
like broken windows. I think we keep trying to prove we’re bright
as a consolation or screening myth for not really
liking ourselves all that much. Ever ask what the earth
feels about you? Ever find an abacus that can count
the skulls of full moons that never came to harvest
because we swung our scythes and scimitars at them
while the grain was still green enough to thresh
like the Fertile Crescent with a blood lust for vengeance?
Ever take a long, hard, seriously experienced look
at what you’ve done to your innocence like a book
you tore the pages out of in disgust, and ate like a herbivore
with blood on its fur? If we keep setting traplines
where we have to walk, we’ll end up chewing our own legs off.
It’s the best of persistent, Blakean, follies to realize
with a full heart, you’ll never know the ineffable
unnamed seeker that comes looking for you
like an empty lifeboat out of the maritime fog
of your nebularity like the world out of every moment
of the void there’s a shepherd moon born to keep an eye
on a flock of tigers in sheep’s clothing. But here we are
lost in all the right directions, despairing
of ever making a course change in our lives
as if we’d forgotten we encompass the stars
in our flesh and blood, and it’s those who wander
in the wilderness that make the maps with the cherub-cheeked
wind blowing from all quarters at once as if
they were trying to start a fire of lichens and sorghum
under the pyre of a sky burial on a blustery day.
Did someone pull our spinal cord like a wick
or a rip cord out of the nape of our necks
so we all ended up candling like parachutes
falling like dandelions and daylilies to our deaths?
Isn’t it time we started falling toward paradise again
as if it didn’t matter what direction we were firewalking in,
windfalls of us, an army of gardeners springing up
from the dragon’s teeth we sowed in the farrows
of the starfields we ploughed with the moon
like the immaculate conception of oceans in the rose
without seeds? And if you think you understand that
like the preconception of a sleepwalking dawn
talking in a dream you woke up from a few nights ago,
you’re a bigger fool than I am who wrote it.
But let’s sit down, for once, on the ground,
while the church bells are banging their foreheads
against their doorsills, and have a good laugh
at the sublime fun meaning can have with your life
like a child appealing to the playfulness of a serious-minded clown.
Let’s all confess we’re losers all at the same time
so nobody gets left out of the victory parade
we can have in our honour, throwing free candy
to the kids, honk, honk, as if the absurdity of our celebrations
were enough of a meteoric foundation stone
to build a palace of the waters of life upon.
You feel like a misplaced crustacean in a swamp,
let’s look for the barges of the waterlilies
as if we were lighthouses on nightwatches way out at sea
sworn to silence and secrecy like space hiding out in the open.
Let’s pretend its Christmas at the Battle of the Bulge
and everyone, enemy and friend alike is singing Christmas carols drunk
in the eye of a storm that can’t stop crying
for the whole lot of us, as we gather our dead like cordwood.
Let’s grow sick of our viciousness and expurgate
like a cat on a couch as if we were forthright and honest
about what we’ve had to swallow to survive ourselves.
Look up. We’re moving into a big space now,
at twenty kilometres a second toward Vega in Lyra,
that will overwhelm us with how unprepared we are
to accommodate ourselves like guests in our own house of life.
Will somebody please sweep the zodiacs of the tracks
we left on the path to nowhere that ever pleased us
off with a cedar bough so no one’s in danger
of following anyone’s path but their own into that vastness
arrayed before us like a happy, healthy, habitable planet
willing to take the long shot with a little English on the cue-ball
as I’m trying to do here by blundering through the dark
like a moth into a lamp on the porch of enlightenment
along with the flies, the mosquitoes, bats, gnats and spiders
whose nets are tearing under the weight of their overfishing.
Let’s delegate a hive of our best astronauts
like artistic fireflies to overpaint the writing on the wall
as if we got the message a long time ago
and now’s the moment the foghorns, bells,
security alarms, the worn signage of the turf war liens
we hold against our own dispossession, the lizard eyes
of the cameras that follow us around like sunflowers
that suspect we’re not rising from our own deathbeds
every morning to face the gloom of the shadows
that are cast upon us like first stones at glass houses
full of night like the siloes of starwheat that resemble
observatories clinging like solitary barnacles
to the world mountains on the backs of sea-going turtles,
take a moment of silence in like a deep breath of light
and realize how effortlessly impossible life might seem
in the way things always work out for the underdogs,
you’ve got to stand like a maple in the unbroken winner’s circles
of the rain in the tree rings in your heartwood
on the threshold of a photo finish line you nosed over
as if everyone you’ll ever meet had a hearse and a horse in the race
that would come in on time, and Pegasus wasn’t a lapwing
taking a swan dive in the first round of an uncontested beginning.