Sunday, January 6, 2013



No one wicked enough to risk enlightenment
though everyone wants to know what they’re up to
trying to thrive on their wounds like crime,
everyone auditioning for a part in the light
like a candle flame on a wax stage,
aspiring to stardom. If I
were to hold the moon to your jugular
like a straight razor in a back alley,
and demand you turn over everything of worth,
what would you hang on to
even if it cost you everything,
if not your life, that concept
you claim keeps on happening to you
when in fact it’s happening is really
all there is of you. Neither you nor the thief
can grasp it; anymore than you can seize the darkness,
nor the lost spinal cord of the mystic shoelace
that set out like a road to look for its shoe,
will ever bind the eyelets of the stars to its walking
however it thatch itself like a crosswalk to the journey.

No one mad enough to realize clarity,
to feel the intimacy of the ocean in every water drop
or the enormity of the universe
in the slightest whisper of a star.
No one mad enough to risk their madness,
no one suicidal enough to rise from the dead.
No one made cruel enough by compassion
to let the bottom fall out of the bucket
your heart has carried far from the well
like a bell or a seabed to revive the moon.

To be alive is to be constantly baffled by joy,
to be alive is to be terrified in the dark shrines of the mystery,
to be alive is to fall like an eyelash
from the sunset above the far fields beyond your awareness
like a bird that disappears in the distance
in the dwindling of an eye.

When will you ever
teach your clubfooted sorrows to dance;
or unhobble your gazelles of joy to run
if not now while you’re alive enough to be lost
like the wind playing an abandoned labyrinth like a flute?

I am pathetic. I am profound.
I am the grief of the storm
scrying the will of my life with lightning
and all that I have said, and all that I have written,
dust on the tip of my tongue, the taste of stars,
and what I have been, that I am now,
as tomorrow isn’t a future but a feature
no more indelible than a shadow crossing a threshold,
as everywhere I flow like water, I enter by the right door,
and the only direction I’ve ever followed, my next breath.

To be alive is to kick the encyclopedic cornerstone
out from under the building
and let it fall like an old casino;
to be alive is not to know why things happen,
but not convert to a chessboard when they do,
trying to second guess your life as if it were a covert operation.

It isn’t your eloquence, thought, intuition, or emotion
that carves out a voice like a harp
from the heartwood of your walking tree,
and tunes its nerves to the constellated sheet music of the stars,
and plays it like fire into the echoless unknown;
you, the singing, you, the listening,
to be alive is a star in the generative silence,
a song that writes you like a lyric.

If you want to know God, if you want to know
meaning, know life, as conversantly as you know yourself,
listen to yourself as if you were all ears,
and open your eyes until all that’s left is the sky.

The past and the future alike are keyholes
in a door that doesn’t exist; history, a way of forgetting
and what’s to come, hinged to this moment now,
the forwarding address of an ambient threshold
you cross with every step, every breath, every pulse
like a bell unlocking itself to celebrate
the miscreant of limits who lives
to wonder his way beyond why.

I am nothing, but everything I see
is what the beginning of the world looks like
from the inside, everything I hear
is that original rupture of the silence into being
before the first bird sings in the morning
to dispel the windows from their darkness
like water from its wings.




Because I’ve become aware of what my cells knew
three and a half billion years ago does that make me
wise and sonorous? Some days I’m a ripe apple
in a big-hearted sunset basking in my red shifting shadows,
and whatever’s spiritual about me, it seems,
though I’ve never been able to put my finger on it,
lingers like a warm buzz of animal contentment
as if life and time were the synonymous friends
of a tranquil atmosphere where just to be here as it is, right now, this
sense that everything, suffering and the bliss of insight alike
had already been wholly achieved billions of years ago
and we’re just remembering our way into the future again
without going anywhere because nothing’s left out.

How can the magic circles of the dreams we draw in the rain
like the geometry of water, ever be over if they
never had a beginning when not having a beginning
doesn’t mean you don’t exist? Inconceivably
from all appearances. The powder blue damselfly
a mascara pencil on the eyelid of the larkspur
with a white star instead of a moondog for an iris.

And then something you once loved in your own
peculiar way, makes you cry and eternity breaks the circle
like a cosmic egg you’re trying to fly out of
and you look at time and change and passage
as you wash a gust of molecules like gold dust
to rinse the dazzling blindness out of your eyes in tears
at not knowing where they’ve gone. Some died.
Do they live on? Some just drifted away like smoke
from the wick of the candle they used to dance upon
in the upwelling of the flame that melted it down.

Hunger first. Then desire. Then suffering. It’s more
the compassion of the poet in me that says that
than it is the Buddhist heretic. Evolution eats itself
to transcend death as fast as possible creatively.
Nothing else to compare it with you can’t says it’s wrong
though you’re troubled by the rightness of it,
and though we do, it’s still fearful to cherish what
seems so randomly expendable like the strawdog
of a work of genius you throw on the fire as soon
as you’ve finished with it. Who is being worshipped
that so many have to die like feted sacrifices
to a hunger that devours the galaxies like starfish?
Infinite appetite at a bone dance that knows the music stops
when it does. Witness the euphoria of the crazed book of life
in the Burgess Shale, pressed like a flower between
the pages and pages of time without a narrative theme
it’s left to us to make up sitting around like solar systems
the boundary stones of the fires of our hearts, as if we
we’re the ones telling the story, not anxiously listening to it.

The desperate and the damaged, the shell-shocked, maimed
and mutilated, no chivalry in the struggle for survival,
and even beauty, a snare it’s wise to be aware of,
all the mistakes a Hox gene can make, even poetry
the most resplendent delusion of my heart and art,
a way of whistling lullabies in the dark when you really need
your mother, consolation philosophies we’re addicted to
like the endorphins of our own creative imaginations
sweeter than any drug a junkie ever o.d.’d on. There’s
a big gap in the story we’re trying to cross on the bridge
of a burning guitar, a caesura the equal of anything on Mars.
And every cable of the way strung out like nerves and spinal cords
on the suspension of our belief in the totally believable extremes
we’re facing with affectionate daubs of starmud on our nose
trying to shine our way across on the liferafts of our eyebeams.

The Great Divide. Everyone standing on one bank of the abyss
calling out in the night to another not sure if they, or this,
or that bank even exists, of if things just go through the ice
and disappear for good. For worse. Or neither. Ingathered
or scattered, or the mindstream returning to its watershed,
or we just wash the starmud off our noses so thoroughly
the snowman gets thrown out with the bathwater, and there’s
just a carrot, six lumps of coal and two sticks to show for it
as we step off into our empty omnipresence like mirrors
into the tears of their own reflections, air out of the parachutes
that housed us like ants and bees in the daylilies.

Or as I’m doing now, the blindfold off. Looking
down the barrel of a firing squad of stars like a black hole
at the singularity of the one blank among so many bullets,
to see if it’s got our name on it, while the others go off
in a game of Russian roulette with the Leonids.
Vodka double. Straight up. Fire. Courage or suicide?
Definitely brutal in the eerie finality of the endless outcome
if you’ve got the eyes for it, falcons under the hood of your eclipse.
Or maybe nothing can be separated from the intelligence
that divined it in the first place like the surest sign
of evolution riding its inspiration out the way a star rides
its own light like the wavelength of a single thought
blossoming like a tiny blue flower throughout the universe.