BARED OF ITS LEAVES LIKE NATIVE PEACE TREATIES
Bared of its leaves like native peace treaties
with the westerlies who never kept them,
the last red planet of the chokecherry falls
into the claws of a black squirrel eyeing it
like a space rover looking for life on Mars.
O the myriad worlds you can see in a single mystic detail.
Bring me a hair of God and I’ll pass through it
like a wormhole into the dark matter of the mind
going on behind the light like vital events
that are deeper than skin and blood on stage.
Just count the number of pathways through the woods
compared to the roads to know whether
you’re in a good space or not. If people
wander to work in their own good time
or rush from one abyss to another
trying to get ahead of an ion waterclock.
Take the solitude out of society
and there’s not much left worth talking about.
So I enjoin the silence to keep the acuity of my wonder
sharp as the thorns of a heart with nothing left to guard
after the wild rose ran off in one of her phases with the moon.
I have long conversations with the stars
without a word or a gesture of grammar being said
in either of our mother-tongues that can’t be understood
immediately, without the intermediary of a metaphor
or a dictionary that gets to the roots of things
like a star-nosed mole with no flowers in its soul.
No end of the distance between us when you measure it in miles
but insight travels faster than the speed of light
and both of us are shining in the same dark space
like an eye looking back at itself from a long way off.
The night is lonely, cold, and ageing but there’s a fire
blazing in my heartwood the trees huddle around
as the shadows of the flames dart from trunk to trunk
with the alacrity and cunning of a wolf
that knows it’s the last of its kind in these darkening hills
to embody the magic of its elders in its way of life.
Fear is the mind-killer. So I stay enthroned
by the stone navel of my firepit flowering
all around me like the corona of the sun at midnight
just to say I know the protocols of being as well as the rocks
when I rise to embrace strangers in my solitude
as the new spiritual familiars that will accompany me
on my long firewalk to the stars that are never
any further away than my future is from my past
or now is from here to there every step of the path
The stars spin their webs in the crowns of the trees
into dreamcatchers with mythically inflated origins
that answer the paradigms of the constellations
by connecting the dots like wild grape vines
to the shapeshifting starmaps of the mind
I keep shedding like leaves and feathers and scales
to understand the underlying scaffoldings and skeletons
I climb up on like monkey bars
to repaint creation in everybody’s image
but my own. My fire. My heart. I’m the host
of an expansive space that’s generous enough
to embody it all without standing in jubilation
like an angel in the doorway as if there were
somebody home no one could account for.
A stranger in the thirteenth house of a misbegotten zodiac
of birthmarks driven out into the wilderness
like maniacs, prophets, poets and astronomical wise men
as scapegoats for the fate of upper class tattoos
that don’t wash off any easier than the wind
teaching the stars that have just learned how to print
this cursive script I’m writing in like a mindstream
punctuating its passage with toadstools and pine-cones,
chokecherries, black walnuts, wild crab apples
and shepherd moons in decaying orbits around
the black hole at the center of the universe
we’re all attached to like hinges to a gate
that only has to swing open once to everything
and it’s good for as many lifetimes as you want to go through
like a labyrinth of exits leading into a clearing
deep within your heart where nothing exists
and yet inconceivably everything insists upon shining.