Wednesday, November 6, 2013



I can hear the silence screaming. Space shriek
like a red-tailed hawk that’s just caught something
in midflight in a dark, starless, eyeless terrible night.
Talons. And a strawberry heart. How the stars
and the water eat themselves alive to stay alive
as long as they can, an urgent life boat with a plan
to make a sail out of a starmap and make port somehow
or even the coast of an island galaxy of consciousness
somewhere you can watch the smoke rise
from a fire too far away to answer like the snake road
of a melody line you’re teaching to dance
for your solitary amusement to counter act
your loneliness by imagining it doesn’t exist
by making everything take hands and dance, dance, dance
for rain in a dragon ghost dance in a pageant
of poetic calendars with scenic views of the moon
that scare you half to death they’re so eternally brief
and beautiful. Breathless, if the timing’s right.
And though I’ve argued with the clock my whole life long,
it’s never been wrong. Things happen when they should.
Don’t doubt it, the timing is immaculate. The planet
makes its transit, the stars break through the clouds
like seed germinating in the farrows of newly
ploughed starfields and the water birds come and go
like poets without reason on a waterclock of lakes.

I got to see that, and once like everything else
in existence is good for a lifetime of encores should
you ever want one like a postcard from the edge of nowhere
featuring the local flora and fauna. Beaver teeth and maple leaves
and wolves, wolves, wolves, forever to reassure the moon
somebody’s listening, and the valley has a voice coach
that’s going to help keep this all night one night one man
bandstand on the road to scare the ghosts away
with frying pans and kettle drums and prayer bowls
dialling a phone for an ambulance when the vigil ends.
If it ever really does. But that’s unconfirmable
at this subjunctive cross roads of what if what if what if
and the Sufis and the sundials have got their fingers
crossed behind their backs. Allah hu, Allah hu, Allah hu.
Love is nothing. Love is everything. Love is a beautiful
illusion that isn’t trying to get a point across as if
it ever had one to make in the first place. A scalpel of the heart,
with the heart of a jew’s harp cheese grater keyed out of old
unboiled, uncoiled guitar strings trying very hard
to be in tune with God, and the stars, and the music
of the celestial spheres weeping in the kilns of time
for the beauty in the tears of the tree rings of the rippling willows.

Eternal happenings. I remember the first time I saw
a pair of cardinals show up at my bird feeders in the snow
like two tubes of cadmium red outside my studio window
that could fly. And they did. Eventually fly away as
all things must. But they left me feeling I’d just had a visit
from the Vatican and it didn’t rust for once. And hasn’t since
or I wouldn’t have found a place for it like this in a deathsong
or more precisely, in a silo of a measure beside
in this medicine bag that hangs around my neck
all the way from Silver Lake to Smokin’ Eagles
in a labyrinth of backroads beyond the train tracks
on the high trestle bridge that looks like a hybrid
of a ladder and an aqueduct and a good place
to smash beer bottles on the rocks below as if
you were throwing fledglings and unwanted embryoes
off a peripetein ledge for genetic edification
and because you’re drunk and blundering and bored
and there are no more genies with train lanterns
swaying like bells at the side of the tracks
to wish upon anymore like falling stars and burning guitars
singing everybody’s national anthem in words
that were writ in lighter fluid by a phoenix with a broken heart.

Live up to any one of your poems just for once for one day
and a night in a patch of birches you like because
the way they let go of their leaves as if they were losing
their minds, but in a gentle shedding way
so every little waterguilding paddle of modest gold leaf
were enough for the moment, way more than enough
to squander yourself lavishly on the same budget
as life itself and live cooly and blissfully
like a blue moon in October among the locals
who know exactly when it’s time for the windfalls
to drop their heavy loads and take some time off
the graveyard midnight shift. What diff? As long
as the stars come out, and there’s always something
flying across the moon, whether it’s the urnbirds
of the Canada geese, or a passenger plane heading west
or an owl, or a bat, something you can’t identify, or a witch
as if you’ve ever come to understand what that word properly means
that makes you wonder if people up there
ever wonder if the people down here look up
as I have so often out in the woods, and wondered
who they are and where they’re going and where
we all come from and who gets left behind
to return back to the solitude of being
a human creature in the woods alone at night
wondering what it’s doing alive under the stars
and who moves on and on and on to the other side
of their eyelids to find it was nothing more nor less
than a return journey to their original perpetually
irretrievable innocence only with awareness this time
as if you’d finally found a way of watching the watchers
build their spider webs in space between two blades of stargrass
without anybody minding too much. As I haven’t minded

letting all the animals in the woods watch me paint
whatever they make of the way I work to celebrate them
over my shoulder as I’m walking away after a good day
of doing what I’m not still clear about, but do anyway
because it’s good to hand a flower to a star once in a while
in your mind. Make it a waterlily, deadly nightshade, or the black rose
of a burnt out galaxy that’s about to go supernova in symphony
with everyone with tintinnabulistic triangular enquiries
and say do you know what this is. Good heart health.
Even when you can hear the silence sceaming and space shriek.

Two birds and a lyre we’re all heading towards.
An arsenal of dreams toward a terminal cancer clinic ward.
A sword forged of silver Russian olives and moonlight,
an hour hand, not in surrender, but in tribute to the waters
that blooded it in the pulse of your heart for life and forever.


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