MUNDANE WORLD STUCK LIKE TAR ON MY FLIGHTFEATHERS
Mundane world stuck like tar on my flightfeathers.
Denser gravity. Depressive atmospheres. Sunlight,
but more like sulphur than saffron. Moonset
in the La Brea Tar Pit. The clearer things get
the more they hurt. Looking for penumbral exits.
Why did I clean the windows? Now they’re
gleaming like silk and my eyes feel like burlap.
I hate the contrast. Things I must do to survive.
Always a minute from midnight, last chance,
only shot, photo finish between hope and despair.
I want to get a job weaving baskets to catch the heads
of the windfall guillotines in late September.
What I must do to survive at odds with the things
I sacrifice my life to do to stay alive. Fully,
even as the dupe of my own absurd ideals, second guesses,
groping intuitions, inconceivable conceptions
of what I’m doing on earth spending so much time
alone with the stars as my heart withers in empathy
with the last of the wildflowers, thinking life
doesn’t cherish anything it creates for long,
much like a poet emptying the cup of the full moon
to have it filled again by nature abhorring a vacuum.
Life’s more the circuitous blossoming of a back-country
dirt road that gusts up into a patina of dust on your shoes
with nowhere in particular to go you’re ever
going to get to on time, except for the profusion
of white sweet clover under your nose and the sound
of bees attending to agendas of their own that console
the troubled soul with the earnest white noise of their droning
and things going on as you imagine they should be,
than it is a highway strewn with collateral roadkill.
Acculturated mob mind systematically tries to crowd
the poetry out of my solitude like a cinder from a glass eye,
a fly on a computer screen, the splinter of a star,
a thorn in the heart of a nightbird it’s too late in the year
for anyone to answer but the hills and the stealth
of the snow owls. I lament the declining standard
of predators who were meant for nobler deaths.
Now I feel hunted by corporate maggots and tapeworms,
plagues of bureaucratic blackflies, collection agencies
of encephalitic mosquitoes swarming the bloodbanks
of my overdrawn, cash-strapped transfusions
like the first link in a foodchain of paint thinners
as I change the cellphone numbers of my genomes.
I miss the old pretence of knowing what I was all about.
I can wax nostalgic about my arrogance sometimes
though I’m aware I’m being more permissive
than disciplined about my collusive behaviour in the past
with glass-blown dragons who couldn’t take the heat
for all they bragged like mirages in a mirror
about all the time they’d spent like heretical monks
in the desert. Gnostic prophets trying to make
a name for themselves in black fleamarkets
returning atavistically to their reflexive upbringings
whenever the ghosts of the revolution began
to oxygenate them for real and said, burn, baby, burn
but they fizzled out like wet firecrackers and matchbooks
beside their 80 USA proof rum flambes blooming
like a bouquet of candles skunked on the outhouses
of the coffins they were buried in standing up for nothing.
The literary history of misery. Who believes a poet
who’s nothing like his poems, or a singer
who forgets the words to his own song as if
he were wiping his breath off a mirror with a long sleeve
or writing runes in watercolours that washed off in the rain
like fake hard rock tattoos, and a forty of booze?
I don’t long to be a famous firepit of the bridges
I burned behind me. My urns aspire higher
than the second magnitude ashes of circumpolar dragons
that want to elevate their mediocrity into the limelight.
For the hell of it. Pure and simple. As if
nobody were listening to the wind in the sumac
rising in the full plumage of its flames
like the voice of a phoenix in a self-immolating choir
of root fires spreading underground from one starfield
to the next. It’s more convincing to overhear
the severe beauty of the heartless truth in human terms
than it is to be told to your face by fireflies and galaxies alike
you had a chance to shine, but you burned
like a ghost of dry ice as if creation had banned you
in fire season. Green punk on the pyre. No flare. No flame.
I want to be ineffably famous for forgetting I had a name once.