Saturday, November 9, 2013



A mystic dimple in the middle of my chin.
Courage, the Arabs tell me. Hope I’ve got some.
This is a long, dark, strange, radiant journey
I’m never coming home from again. Pain. Pain. Pain.
And the night so quiet, and me in it like river fish
listening to the town breathe, cars out on the highway,
hush. You can just barely hear them now.
The rush of surf on asphalt. The interrupted silence.
The sweetness of life on earth as it sleeps,
and the trees I keep thinking about in Stewart Park.
The trees, lovely, the trees, even after
the ice-storm spoke. The trees. The trees. The trees.

And water and light and air as the chimneys
hold their seance, and the ghosts bite their tongue
whenever anybody’s talking about smoke. And fire.
Now that’s a mouthful. Almost as powerful
as a woman who’s attracted your attention like a star
you can’t name. And you’ve never, ever seen
her anywhere before. And you won’t again,
but she was there once, she was there, I swear
like wild rice in the moon as the mist lifts off the lake
and you think it’s a wild swan heading south
and you want to go with it, but you live here, and you can’t
until your bones are dust in their medicine hut
and then you go west, in the urn of a Canada goose.

They bring you tobacco and berries, choke cherries,
and they adjust the feathers on your war bonnet,
three if you live out east. One for the dream of a totem.
One because you fed somebody somewhere once
and you’re thought of as a mighty hunter. And the last
because you were ready to stand up and fight
for something real you didn’t know if you really believed in
at the time, but it was hopeful. It was just. It was free.
It was sublime. And I liked the way people adjust.

Look at me, Maw, no hands. I’m supercharging
reality with significance. Or is it all just a bad dream
I’m gaining elevation in but it’s all going to come down
on me any minute now like a mountain of gravestones
in an avalanche? I’m a weather balloon. But I was trying
to be beautiful, useful, dance. I was going with the wind
there a while ago. See. I’m gone. A winged samara
on the back lawn. Float plane. That’s me. Or maybe a maple tree.

Feels like a three ring freak show black clown circus
on tour sometimes, but this is my Zen death song
and I’ll sing it with you like a birch bark canoe
gathering wild rice in its prow if it were my mother
in her apron, and you can be the cowboy this time
and I’ll be the flower. Black dog. Blue flower. He’s back.
That means I’ll have the power of a black dwarf at my side.
I think that’s good. But it’s not as beautiful as I want it to be.

Let’s get back to the trees. I painted them once, broken,
fractured, shattered, plinths of chandeliers and stars
all over the place, misspoken candelabras of the twigs
trying to remind themselves of their unhierarchical place
in the scheme of things to come, thump, thump, thump,
like a flat drum roll. Spare me the timpani and drums.
I’m trying to be beautiful here. There’s a moon
out on a lake above the pagodas and totems of
the pine trees and the water’s slowly willowing
with the fish, an elegant black undulance on the water
that reminds you of a woman’s flesh you caressed once,
and you still want to touch it with your fingertips
full of farewell, but you can’t, and you know that,
and it still hurts. My muse was as lovely as any
running doe. And you hope it fits the scenario somehow
of me being beautiful, for her sake, at my own expense.

And I’m not looking for anyone to thank me for that.
Not even her. The wonder was bountiful and holds me
in good stead now. Bright vacancy. Dark abundance.
It was her. And I’m sure of it now. The wind is rising
out on the lake, and the mist is a veil that’s lifting
off her face. She wants to show me something
I haven’t seen before. You can’t see. It’s an art to love.
And you can’t ignore. But trust me, she’s beautiful and pure
and dangerous as a watersnake swimming beside you
in the feathers of the moonlight I mentioned before
to be beautiful as the cars are out on the highway tonight,
and my occult philosophy of trees as they were seen once
writing poetry about how badly wounded they were
and yet so beautiful, aren’t they, in the way they bleed stars?


No comments: