Sunday, October 6, 2013



Death undoing what life creates as quickly
to transcend its own dismantling, the windfall flesh
perishing into the seeds time will disclose
like eyes on one last roll of the dice
it had up its sleeve to play for all or nothing.
The same bell that celebrates the wedding
mourns the funeral. Like the human heart,
don’t you think, systole, diastole, the pace
of our walking on tear-soaked leaves alone
through the early October woods, this house of life
the tenants haven’t finished moving out of yet
like a homeless zodiac that’s decided it’s cheaper
to live in snake skin tents the moon sheds
like a calendar of doom with the date circled
in red, faceless among ghosts of unravelling mists
that move to a mysterious music of their own
than be overwhelmed by events heaped up
by ants digging a grave for somebody they’ve
built a tel for that reeks of formic acid,
the breath of an undertaker on a blind date
with death. Is this a killing zone, or
an emergency room at the hospital on a full moon
at harvest time when things come undone, ritually?

Cold mystery. Physics is psychology. Writing poems
is a kind of eloquent pathology that parses
the dream grammar of the art it took to see such things
in the fall of a leaf your blood shuddered
at the ease of the razorblade of the breeze
that slashed your heart with the myriad nuances
of that terrible word, once. Eyeless insights
into the draconian cruelty of empathizing
with our own mortal remains in the dissolution
of the mirages we pleaded with to drink
the waters of life from the begging bowls
of our own cupped hands held out like a lifeboat
when please didn’t mean a thing and thank-you
was unheard of. Shipwrecked in our insular solitude
like the echo of an unanswered prayer
by the things we were most in search of,
be it love, or power over life and death
as if you could turn the wheel and irrigate
the fields at will. Market your excess
like a gift you sold for next to nothing
that left you with nothing to give when
the spirit moved you to the next chakra
like a bead on an abacus that found you wanting.

Processional danse macabre of the Byzantine
silver Russian olives bidding their mechanical birds
good-bye in a turmoil of failed diplomacy
shredding its leaves like the papers
of a persecuted embassy on a tinker’s moon
heading south with the hearses and urns of Canada geese.
A reckless green mood of moss covers the rocks
and the north side of second growth senescence
like a thick carpet in a plush funeral parlour
where everybody talks as if the dead were listening
to what they chose to ignore or couldn’t
bring themselves to say about their own fates.
Sometimes, it’s rare but it happens, you want
the dead to shout right out loud in your face
it’s ok, it’s ok, don’t disgrace the darkness with your fear
of what’s foreshadowed with the sun behind you all the way.

But they never do. They just maintain the grim silence
of prophetic skulls in a cemetery of hearthstones
ghost dancing around the firepits and middens
the mysterious mundanities of the days and nights
we made a racket of our soft-spoken clay, a riot
of insight into the constellations that flashed over head
like exquisitely jewelled insects frenzied
by the madness of the lives we carried to extremes
like a sunset in a lantern to the cremation of our starmud.
Prodigies of the unanswerable interrogations
we confess to, nevertheless, for form’s sake,
to back up the alibis that rolled over on us
like the stone of a planet over the tomb
of the dark mother the moment we were born.

All the exuberant flowers I loved basking among
like swimmers on the shore of the lake
when my heart needed to be vastly distracted
from the abyss my emptiness was adapting to
like a trap door spider without any safety nets.
Something simple and profound as
the extraordinary ordinariness of life going on
all around me in the bliss of the moment
as evanescently evident as a reason to despair,
mindlessly exhilarated watching the moon shooting
the rapids of the willows going over the edge
of their own waterfalls like maidens of the mist
in a nebular love affair with the early death of the rain.

Life’s the first draft of a shabby loveletter
that goes on revising itself forever autumn
after autumn like the long riverine sentences
of our periodic tears washing the dust of our starmud
out of our eyes and ears, the mouths that shape space
like emptiness into a cup that runs out and runs over
like a skull with a crack in it mended by gold
from the deepest motherlodes of dark abundance
as if to say even in the fall when the lakes
are left to themselves, and no one reads
the journals of the leaves on the theme
of a mindstream wandering in the woods at night alone
even now, there’s a broken beauty to the way
the heart aches to made more than whole again,
less without fault than the innocence of death
healing its own imperfections by falling away
from itself like the veils of the willows from
the waters of life concealed by the flowing
arcana of change as this old, strange rendition of death
casts no shadow on the unmarred face of its own refection.


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