Tuesday, September 3, 2013



Earth created lavishly here, spread out,
a canvas gessoed with ice-ages of snow,
glacial cataracts covering the third eye
that dreams in the seed underneath the eyelid
of a pine-cone, tacky with fire, of a mindscape
slashed and hacked out of thick paint
with trowels and knives and the double-bladed
lumberjack axe that deforested the moon. Quick,
violent gestures of life clinging in the interlude
of great ages clashing like continental ice-floes
grinding their teeth in their sleep off the coasts
of an unsalvageable consciousness crushed
like the masts of a matchstick flotilla of lifeboats.

Dark ores of a dream brought to the surface
for refinement from the underworld
of a jewellery box in the form of a coffin,
everybody survives by not looking back
like a fox in retrograde hunting a pheasant
that doesn’t cover its tracks in the snow
in the wake of its feather dusting tail
under the ochre smudge of the winter sun,

the yoke of a smashed egg at the foot of a tree
where the birds return like bush pilots
every year to the shattered mirrors of the lakes
like the sacred syllables of unpronounceable native tongues,

the silence still vast enough to be intruded upon
by engines and chainsaws snarling in the wilderness
in an unholy ghost of blue fumes infernally reeking
like motherless demons shadow dancing
around an angry campfire that scatters the stars
like evangelists of greater conflagrations yet to come.

We gouge and we wound. We die with the sun
and revive like the wraiths of thin atmospheres
that wail like the banshees of the northern lights
outside the frozen windows feathered in ice ferns
we look through darkly like albinos at the moon.
Our cultural life has pink eye. Morning here
is a bad fisherman that doesn’t take its own advice
and heed the warning of how nice the weather always is
whenever there’s a false dawn on the horizon
sailing under the colours of another country
that doesn’t take the black sail of the night down
or shroud the dead they bury at sea in the aniconic flags
that navigate by the starmaps of a neighbouring galaxy.

In this arcane darkness you learn to shine
by your own lights or you die in the cold
like an asteroid belt of boundary stones around
the firepit of the hearths and hardware stores
you’re buried under like an avalanche of prophetic skulls
that went out like a chimney fire of daylilies
rooted in creosote, smothered in a seance of smoke.

Human immensities dwarfed like the afterthoughts
of inhospitable harmonies reconciling the savage discord
of impersonal energies still shaping the world
like turtle blood and starmud in the abyss
of a cosmic medicine bag where the waters of life
break like a northern river out of a birth sac
that chews through its own umbilical cord
like a leg hold trap beside of a rose of blood on the snow.

Creation is always the first draft of an inspiration
that’s never finished revising the tree rings
in its heartwood as if the rain were never sure
of the genre of things it was working in
on a loose scaffolding of dead trees uprooted
on a mountainslope better thatched by snow
than water trying to walk across its own land bridge.

Coming home from an alien space
like a prodigal exile from a foreign land
is always like entering a new continent
where the large mammals of the Pleistocene
haven’t disappeared yet, and you can
instinctually feel the lethal glee of the moon
sword dancing with the sabres of a crouching Smilodon
when you relinquish the comfortable airport
of your arrivals and departures, and cross
the dangerous threshold of your homelessness
like a spiritual materialist with a knack for survival,
tricks on how to live like a snow hare in winter
that smokes the unprepared magician out of the hat
like the cherry red stovepipe of a Napoleon airtight
roaring like the ringmaster of a mammoth hunt
in a surrealistic circus of extinct species
that can trace their lifelines all the way back
to the mountainous watersheds of the Burgess Shale,
the Book of Life written in the fossilized hieroglyphs
of starfish patched like the angelic death’s-heads
emblazoned like coats of arms on the Canadian Shield.

Tradition just a path someone broke in the snow
like an offroad short cut through the woods
that wasn’t expecting to be followed by a cult
of snowshoes woven from the sinews of wild deer
like dreamcatchers in a web of empowering mandalas
that hang on every word you say like the suspension bridges
of community support groups across the Capilano River
of their vertiginous disbelief. We sway like silk
in the heights of our ionized ideals, aurorally,
and even when we don’t shed a lot of light on
what’s real at the end of a long winter, and what is not,
most people think we’re beautiful for the way
we treat our apparitions like the fair-minded history
written by the referees of the victors too polite
to crow in the dawn like Chanticleer in the windows
of another culture being exorcised by the teaching nuns
of another genocidal day at native school. The dominion
of Pandemonium where the fallen angels settle
like big, wet kisses of early April snowflakes
on the lips of the crocuses opening like the mouths
of baby birds in the abandoned nests of the great blue herons.

Goose-down and fur. We’re insulated by the covers
of books that were bred for the purpose
on a fox farm of eternal flames to wrap around our necks
and get us through the winter at the expense
of someone else’s nakedness trembling like a death sentence
in a purple passage of frozen poetic prose.

The cold cuts like a Medusa head of whips
biting you in the third eye of your peripheral vision
like the thorns of something toxic that wants,
not out of spite, but reflex, to lay you out
like a comatose junkie shooting burnt out comets
in a morgue full of falling stars and flash in the pan meteors
you can wish upon with one hand on the shoulder
of St. Peter, martyred upside down like a foundation stone
upon which you can build a church or cube the Kaaba
with a little dirt from outer space washed out
of the god’s-eye of a hurricane of razorblades
railing starclusters of cocaine up their nose
like the C.P.R. in the nasal passages of the Rocky Mountains.

There she blows like a narwhale in the Arctic.
Burial huts of gangrenous crustaceans in lobster pots
enflamed by the seaworthy dawn that hauls them up
like stars caught in the net of Indra, mark one jewel
and you mark them all, over the gunwales
of a waning moonboat that will disappear
like a bar of greasy soap left too long in the water
before it reaches the zenith of its swan dive
and goes the way of all snow like a Martian ice-cap
on a globally warming bald spot in the ozone.

Ancestral elephants carved in ivory like the tusks
of a moon that never forgets, iced like collateral damage
in the turf wars of multicultural gangland glaciers
marking the limitless borders of where everyone
came from in the first place like post cards and passports
from the edge of dispossessed nowhere stamped
by the monarchial wavelengths of a bureaucratic blood oath
that approves of your living and dying here
on the dark side of the moon, six months of the year.

Fewer Canadians commit suicide than Scandinavians
because of light deprivation. The raccoons wear
outlaw masks to keep from going snow blind
in semi-hibernation hiding out in the time locked
cryonic vaults in the suspended animation of a dream
where the only safe place is in a house that’s burnt to the ground
when the birds are falling out of the frigid air
in mid January like a Hitchcock movie made
in Hollywood North that couldn’t keep
the medicine wheels of its own spiritual flightfeathers up
let alone the lapwings of the alarmist divas
in the immaculate choirs of shadowless noon.


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