Monday, November 4, 2013



Just the star in the tree rings of my heartwood,
centred like the nave of the spokes of this wheeling
mind and bloodstream the Buddhists call the wheel of life and death
going supernova in a distant galaxy, let’s say, Andromeda
because it’s close enough to be intimately beautiful,
and besides, who needs anymore than a hundred billion stars
shining radiantly like an island of light in the night
two hundred million lightyears away to get their point across?

Look at me, Maw. No hands on the optical Zen handlebars
if this unicycle of a planet I’ve been riding around the sun on
like a circus tour of gleemen, jesters, tricksters, poets
and hucksters, ring masters cracking their cat o nine tails
like a nervous system bundled into a spine
to teach tigers who’ve been jumping through hoops of fire
all of their lives, or what do think all those stripes are about,
or a strong rope made out of braided umbilical cords
for anchor chains, moral bling, and the fishing nets of Indra
with all those hooks and jewels in it like flies,
lies, lures, and spinners, bait and spiritual snakeoil salesmen
trying to get you to buy into a bottle of magic elixir
as if you were some kind of genie in a lamp
incapable of granting your own three wishes to yourself,

that’s going to sneak you in the enlightenment concert
through a black hole in the fence just before you gain entrance
through the gateless gate that punches your ticket
like lights out forever so your eyes can adjust to the dark
as you fall upon your own sword like a seppuku suicide
that kills you deeper into life not death by exhuming the universe
from a seed. Soma sema. So there’s nothing left to discriminate
a manger from a tomb, a cradle from the grave, one womb
from another, fire from water, a saint from a sinner,
the Virgin Mary from Mary Magdalene, all dream figures
in a dream that wakes up with you when you do.

That’s my good guess. Or have you even got one?
Though it’s not necessary to switch from analogue to digital,
or even smoke signals, log drumming cave bears
Jews’ harps, or barndance country spoons trying
to jump over the moon like the Mounties musical ride,
if you’re happy the way you are. If not, it’s easy
to translate that synchronized keyboard of dragon teeth
you’ve been playing on all your life into a guitar you set on fire
so after you’ve brought down the house, can you hear
the roar of the crowd as they stand up on their feet
crazed by amazement, ovation, encore, and groupie ecstasy,
you exit stage left in your Draculan Elvis collar
studdeded with stars like the cloak of the night
you wrap your starmaps up in like gnostic gospels
nearly two thousand years after you wrote them
some goatherd’s going to find like parchment
in a cave that’s more a spiritual wine cellar
for aging dreams until their bouquets are wildflowers
that please you like in the starfields
as you spit whiskey and lighter fluid on a voodoo Chanticleer
like some cantor in a dendritic candelabra of dark matter
and ask for blessings like an arsonist in a volunteer fire brigade
for burning down another house of life when you leave.

Depends upon what you believe, I suppose, whether
you think compassion is a fire hydrant, a squad car,
a fire truck, or an ambulance on its way like a screaming poppy
that scratches at your windows like the tree of life
in a sudden squall as if they were your eyes and death
was trying to say how much she loved you like a banshee.

To crib from the bible and a depressing Canadian novel
that never scattered its ashes out of the urn, as for me
and my house, I’ve never left a place in my life
like a fire ax or extinguisher or ungrateful guest
for a billion acts of hospitality I return as I should,
it’s only spirtual manners, adhab, as the Arabs say,
and the poets back them up, without leaving
a matchbook, a blasting cap, a wrecking ball
for creative demolition, a dragon, or a can of gasoline
I was getting tired of lugging around with me anyway
in tribute on their temple stairs where they’ll find it
in the morning swaddled like a changeling among the reeds
in a basket that looks more like a windfall at the feet
of guillotine apple tree more than a strawdog of manger
on their mindstreams that was going to be thrown
on the fire any way like a deathmask that’s served
its pagan purpose, and said thank you to its host
in a spiritual kind of way for letting things go down
like shipwrecks on the moon and catastrophic decisions
that had to be made, or didn’t, whatever the occasion seemed
to call for at the time as an act of liberation were no more

than not forgetting in the most enlightened way you can to say thanks
that feels like an embrace, a kiss on the cheek, a caress,
a koan, a bullet through the third eye of a rainbow
or a cosmic egg you’re just breaking out of like an earthquake
to see how big, and beautiful, uncramped, the nightsky
really is, or a net you just escaped like a dolphin
caught in the interstices by a skeleton key that broke off
in the lock it was drowning in until you came along and cut through the lines
that were entangling it to death like a nightingale trying
to read sheet music in the dark, a musical starmap
long before it began to sing from its heart instead of the dead
to the heretical choir of wild phoenixes passing like stars
high overhead at midnight as if the axis mundi of the word
were nothing more than an auto de fe, just another stake
with a medicine bag of gunpowder hung around its neck
as an act of mercy, love, not hate though I realize how
surrealistically crazy this must make Zhuangzi, or Loki,
or any other sacred clown, sound when you first encounter them
like a truth so childlike, simple, beautiful, and playfully profound
the butterflies rubbed the firesticks if their antennae together and got
a bonfire going that everybody is dancing like ghosts around.


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