Saturday, November 2, 2013



Day three: this poem took me off me off my leash
and let this junkyard dog go for a long unlinked run.
Medicine for the heart like the howling of a wolf pack
of shepherd moons driving some breathless elk into deeper snow.

If you like driving a long periodic highway
without a lot of pitstops along the way alone at night,
with your highbeams off driving by the light of the moon
reflected off the fields of the snow then read this.

If you like laying rubber on the scaly backs of asphalt rat snakes,
like a vehicular delinquent you have been warned. Proceed at your own risk.
I’ve seen the fangs and been wrapped in the coils of the moon
like the old in the arms of the new like the deathmask a total eclipse.
Forgive me if this tumor on my brain is trying to develop a voice of its own.
I think it really is. This must be the crone phase of the moon
muttering sacred syllables to herself on her ancient widow walk
I’m trying to understand like the new sibylline grammar of oxymorons
she keeps repeating over and over like mad mantras under her breath. lol

How do you say good-bye to flowers, how
do you bid farewell to the wind? Hearts that
have lain dormant in the loam of my own
for so long, beginning to put out roots again.
Death germinates as artfully as the rain.
Nothing more touching than some blue cornflower
an unnamed Neanderthal threw into the grave of a child.
And the stars that are going to overlook you
for millions of years to come, will they remember
how you once shone for them like a nightwatchman
in imitation of a starmap making its rounds?

Last night at four in the morning shaved my head
like a Zen monk to make it easier for the scalpel
just graduated from film school to make a biopic
of the tumor in my skull, to see if it’s the malignant
villain of the play or the benign hero of the day.

Learning to love more intimately things I never
really took for granted as the blue of the background
shifts into the longer wavelengths and shades of the infrared
of the dead. X-rays can’t tell the full story
in a still, one frame short documentary of what
I’m seeing. Don’t care who gets the credit at the end.
Death is a nameless place that has no reason
for being but that the living give it in their mind’s eye.
It’s got its muses, too, who would have thought?
They can inspire you like a creative memory and then
make you cry just like the Thracian daughters
gathered around the magic circle of the housewell
on Mt. Helicon do like the witchey phases of the moon
that binds them to the earth like a single boundary stone
removed from a cemetery trying to make more space
to move around in like a ghost in a coffin
that’s lived too long in the underground cramped quarters
of the catacombs of the spiritual slumlords.

Three phases of the moon. Maid, wife, and crone.
Easy to love the first two, and I have, but the last
when you’re alone together with her makes you feel
twice as alone. Something about the way she wears
too much perfume. Not ambergris, but the sickly sweet
stink of death she derives from flesh and bones.
Man pushing an old woman in a wheelchair backwards
as she holds on to his arms. Who says people aren’t kind?
As I myself have said from time to time. They have
their moments, so beautiful, simple and sublime.
Death scraping the patinas of lightyears off my eyes,
detoxifying the tainted pollen of the stamens
of the flowers so they can bloom in the creation and cremation
in the sky burial funeral homes of their favourite constellations
of their original beauty again, and the honey isn’t
laced with the genocide of bees. I can feel
a fresh breath of air making the bellows
of my lungs pumping the ashes of old starfires
to a white heat again of an urn being baked in a dragon kiln
of a heart of starmud cooking in the sun
and the unheralded goodness of a gust
of oxygen making a startling impression
on the tumor that thinks it’s the star of the show
when it’s just a lamp-post compared to the starmap
that’s presently rearranging all my myths of origin
into something to pilot this life boat with
as if you were trying to navigate the shoals
and the rocks in the narrow channels of experience
expressive of this beginning of my end as if
I’d been cut adrift to drift for ever like the cinder
of a nightbird with a spark in its beak it stole
like fire from the gods like a burning twig of peace.

Nevertheless I’m going to try to befriend it
like a child that’s been engendered out of my own
flesh and bone. Give it a name as soon as one
occurs to me that seems as true to me as my blood,
blue or red. I’ve always been true blue
to my own death since I first encountered it
at nineteen when my daughter was first born
and I was introduced to the accepted far and no further limits
of a moment of my own mortality when she fell ill
with a cold I couldn’t suffer for her. And

God knows how I tried in a flash flood of tears
to take the pain from her and make it my own.
Maybe that’s a specious mode of spiritual insanity
to keep trying over and over again like
the same old defeat, but I know enough about science,
and the rules that it goes by, that if I throw it up
a hundred times and it makes a rule of coming down
there’s no empirical implacable reason
the hundred and first it wouldn’t just keep going
like a habitable planet looping around the sun,
the impossible long shot that made the grade
against the odds, this heap of dung and flowers
that has so long taken hold of my heart, and now,
maybe these tumors, like the great blessing
and curse with its hands around the throat
of the bird nesting like a poet in the chimney of
a demonically inspired poet, a beatifically
burning madman hoping heaven still prefers
an insane man to a saint who says he knows
fanatically what it’s all about. And throws his tears,
when he cries like acid in the eyes of a young girl
who’s trying to learn to read for herself
the difference between a compassionate asylum
and a cherry-picking hotel that keeps everyone else out.

And she’s the young girl leading the blind prophet
around by the hand, until he learns to see in the dark
whichever way he turns, shines, shines, shines
like a lost star you find at your feet like a dime as your heart
shouts out eureka like a supernova that can be heard
galaxies away, tree rings from the heartwood
of a rootless guitar, resonating out like a prayer bowl
or the fossilized choirs of ancient celestial spheres
singing quietly to themselves like poets putting out
the laundry so the neighbours don’t see
how much dangerous happiness stained the sheets
last night like lovers leaking out themselves like waterclocks
the angels and the demons both tell the time by like the Big Dipper,
echoless valleys in the picture-music of the rain,
orbitting in the unbroken circles of its longing
like a nightbird singing the beauty of life
in spontaneous, effortless synch with its pain,
prisoners lead out in the yard of their isolation cells,
malignant or benign, to get some long overdue exercise
like the enlightened shriek of a blind insight into life
there’s an infinite number of eyes looking back at you
like wild flowers in the starfields of the living and the dead
blooming like dragons and fireflies, lightning, clouds, and rain
rooting in the dark matter of a tumor in the starloam,
foam, mud, surf, froth (that’s for you, Elijah)
of the brain, choose which bough of solitude
you can sing best on, with good acoustics,
whether it be the stave of a green branch, or a dead.

Who knows? Que sais je, sorry Montaigne, because I don’t want
to appear more rustic than I actually am, when I tell you I love you
and I mean it as much as any woman I ever said it to,
I don’t know, I really don’t know, and should probably be
the last one you’re talking to like a death bed confession
or three bells and all’s well in the mind of an eyeless
nightwatchman who fell in love with the stars when he was
the boy he still is who’s trying to look after the man
he always wanted to be like a seeing eye dog
with more than a passing acquaintance with
the fire hydrant observatories on this beauty mark
of a world like the same dot Hafiz once saw
on the cheek of a young slave girl with a bouquet
of black holes in her hands that were worth more
than all the oceans in the roses of the Ruknabad
and all the gold of India or the Mongol capitol at Samarkand,
including their thorns, and crescent moons, fangs,
claws, blood red in nature all the way through
not just in its teeth and claws, you can’t leave
the heart out of that equation and expect to outdo
the speed of light with thought and emotion,
the pulse of light in the night nosing around
like some unknown predatory mammal rustling
the autumn leaves like a black squirrel with
the scorched planet of a black walnut mythically inflating
its cheeks like two bubbles that that think they’re drowning
coming up for air in the medical nostrils
of this anaesthetic ice age riding its own ice floes
like the circus polar bear of this planetary ball balancing act
on the edge of private and public extinction,
this coma of a candle that blew itself out in the night
like that famous Zen master, who gave his house of life
guest a lantern he could see by, and then, just as he was leaving
snuffed it out as if to say I’m going to give you
a gift as a token of my love for you by tearing the eyes
out of your head empowered by fireflies of seeing,
beautiful as they are, and put you on a power grid
of galaxies that can see like a hundred million
solar panels that see far, expansively, omidirectionally
deeper into the dark until it begins to efflorescently shine
in the spooky, beautiful eyes of the ghosts
that arise like smokey sirens from ashes of the firepits
the phoenix in its plumage of flames and the witches
and the dragons jump through like a bridge that’s burning
behind behind them like a rite of passage for a sword
that went through the forge on the moon like the tongue
of a plough turning the farrows of a forgiveable and forgiving
planet over in the orchards of the pygmy apple trees
the mermaids are trying to save from drowning
in the low valleys of the spring thaw by calling
out to them in this nebular fog from a small hill
no bigger than a tumor or the pulse of golden door lock
of skulls, hardknocks and rocks that were thrown
first like the moon through the windows of the people
who live in glass houses without sin at those
that live according to their holy book of starmaps
like sinful chandeliers in the Pleiades of the water palaces
in their own mindstreams weeping for the beauty
they can see through their tears like a clear seeing night
in a long hall of surrealistic circus mirrors coming at you
like the headlight of a c.p.r passenger train
loaded with the abandoned baggage of the last
pilgrim to pass through on his way to some unknown shrine
he’s never heard of, but especially these days
makes him get out of the way of any night that doesn’t
shine from the inside like the first magnitude heart
that’s been following him all the way to guide him
past the snarling guard dogs that have chained themselves
like Blake’s mind-forged handcuffs to a mythically inflated
ego delusion of a birdcage of the voice coach
of a canary in the mine that sings like a snakepit
of wavelengths in perfect harmony with
with the woodwinds that have learned to cut
their own reeds to play in the band or symphony
if you wish of this cacophonous choir of chaos
of the cosmic background hiss hitting all the notes
just right like the back up singers of the distant stars
playing bird bone flutes all the serpents are dancing to
like the picture-music in a jukebox larynx
or crying at all the sadder parts like the unbroken
circles and ripples of tree rings of the liberated chandeliers
of their tears breaking over their heads like the sword of Damocles
or the Pleiades rising again on the dawn of a new event horizon
like a hareem or a coven of Spartan girls, Helen among them,
or a cult of willows down by the river at Samhain,
hanging by a hair, a prayer, a one-winged killdeer of hope
like the cross quarter day between the autumn
and the winter equinox looking into the bone box
of the fossils in the Burgess Shales or the La Brea Tarpits
of the light they’ve preserved like prophetic skulls
rising to their feet like one more dance with a moonrise
to breathe life again like innocence into the birth
of the renewed virginity of the sun without throwing
the baby of a beautiful, inhabitable planet out
like the bathwater of a grave into the lost and found
in the forlorn orphanage of unnamed, unknown space
staring at me from the windows like the unclaimed grace
of a food bank filling the heart like a feast of unanticipated love.


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