Tuesday, September 3, 2013



I live in obscurity with the nightbirds and no one signs the air.
I listen to the click languages of pebbles on the riptarian shore
as one thought washes over another, hand over hand,
as if they were making a pact with one another they meant to keep
this time, one corpse washing the back of the other,
a flowering of hands on the heft of a sword-dancing vow.

It’s difficult to take your silence seriously in a crowd
and not be estranged by it. So many voices looking for a home,
so many gleeman to the king of the oildrum booming
like a bullfrog under the overpass of a careless city
where the poets are more venal than the middle class they castigate
like the sins of their parents visited upon them. Scare someone
meaningfully enough and they’ll atavistically return
to what they know best. Boo! But take it in jest.

Maybe never to have been born is best after all
has been said and said and said and said as Sophocles did
and so little done to make a difference to the tragi-comical
starfish drowning in the tidal pools of their own eyes
depending on the prescription they’re wearing at the time,
oceans in the rose, puddles of turbulent starmud,
or the Hubble wowing us like the rainbow body
of a one-eyed guru born without lachrymal glands,
visions of life lining the highway like roadkill
or moon-toothed muskie dying of thirst in a freshwater lake.

May the anguished eyes of starving children eat your poems
like the junkfood you went bobbing for in the dumpsters
of literary tradition. Gag them on the mouthy paint rags
of your genetically modified masterpieces. Too outlaw
by nature, not inclination, to feel at home in the 4-H Club
poetry’s become, where the cutest piglet wins a blue ribbon,
and a quarter hind of bullshit has its horns manicured
like the fingernails of the moon, so the roses
aren’t gored on their thorns, and everyone clarifies
the creosote clinging like polyps to the strings
of their cardboard voice-box guitars to sing like starlings
caught in the throat of a cold chimney in spring,
I live out here like a hermit thrush untroubled
by the peripheral visions of co-habitable women
who make no bones, like muses, of what they do
and do not want. It’s good to give as good as you get
and a bit beside if you’re trying to make a spiritual point
to somebody’s lies, but, in private, in savage solitude,

I howl at the moonrise on my own terms like a bush wolf
and the hills reiterate the forms my longing takes
when something deeply wounded inside, opens my mouth
like a waterlily in a nunnery of muses when the pain of what
it’s gangrenously rooted in breaks its vow of silence
like the oracular fortune-cookie of a madwoman
losing her virginity to the godhead of a koan
that possesses her faculties like the oxymoron of a unitive life
reconciling opposites in a coincidence of trivial profundities
and the Longinean lacunae in the anonymous lives of the sublimely absurd
as if she were trying to put the pagan back in the cult and coven of the word.

I look up at the night, sometimes, in a wanderlust of wonder
among the willows down by the river, and I name
the constellations I remember like bubble-gum space cards
from my childhood, and I swear I can read the occult tattoos
on the flesh of a blue Pictish witch jumping naked
through fire of the Pleiades as if there were no urns to be afraid of
but the ones that choke on the ashes and smoke
of the expiry date of their smouldering desires
trying to smudge their ghosts with sweetgrass
like astroturf above the flower arrangements
of their matchbook pyres, like undertakers
at a careerist impasse for words synonymous with love
as they have, like the Inuit vocabulary for snow,
read backward in the breathless mirrors
that pronounce them enigmatically dead
as the paradigmatic da Vinci code deciphered
like a loveletter they were afraid to throw into the flames
for fear of depriving literary culture of twenty six ways
of avoiding a word for their fear of death, as fluently
as the sacred seed syllables that can be derived
from the alpha and omega at the beginning and end
of a work of love, not self enhancement, deep in the woods,
in the vernal shadows of the moon, under the catkins of the aspens
because long before the leaves started publishing
their spring and autumnal memoirs, poetry, like the love of life
depended upon nothing, not even the occasional hermit thrush
in a black walnut tree, pouring its solitary heart out to the Pleiades.


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