Tuesday, January 8, 2013



I can hear crying all over the earth tonight,
sad children in the windows of their eyes longing for things
they dream of growing up to make come true,
fireflies in wishing wells the shadows drink from
on the moon where the spirit’s lost and found dwells
like a small glove shed like a skin of moonlight years ago
as we grew out of ourselves like shells of the dawn in the morning,
waiting for some flesh and blood human hand
to loop back like a habitable planet in its second innocence
and come and claim us like life on Mars again.

The return journey of the morning glory to unmapped islands
we set out to explore, each to our own star,
like the lifeboats of newly-hatched turtles running
from the cosmic eggshells of our abdicated crowns of creation,
toward the abysmal shore of our oceanic aspirations,
each of us enduring the transformative initiations
of our shapeshifting hearts on the thresholds
of the endless event horizons of the black holes and rainbows
that beguiled us with their joy and despair deeper
into the mirage of the music believing in this desert of stars
even here we could hear the mermaids singing,
and pluck pearls of enlightenment from the third eyes
of oysters open on the beach. Or the mouths of books
that had lost their place in the universe, left open
gaping in the sand at the incontrovertible signposts of the stars.

So many echoes from home you can’t help but lose track
of your soul sometimes along the way trying like the rain
to better the world like a green tree ring pinging
the heart wood of a petrified forest like a tuning fork
or a witching wand that might break into blossom yet
if only we don’t give up like grails and constellations
looking for the watersheds of the shining whether
they’re dragons that swallow the moon to bring the rain
or the bell weathers of irreversible delusions
that fill the abyss with the elixirs and love potions
of our intoxicating affair with our own laughter and tears.

Over the course of the intervening lightyears
the lost flightfeathers of many strange skies
under our wings, lonely prayers in the moonlit tents of the doves
growing like morning glory all over the childhoods
we abandoned like buckets beside the wells we fell into
like hourglasses of quicksand leaking out of ourselves,
like stars from the perfect bodies of contiguous time and space.

We’re exalted in the midst of our humiliations. We’re humbled
by the excess of our celebrations. We ghost dance against
the gathering thunderclouds of preeminent war
like a guild of sacred clowns and shepherd moons
on tour in protest against the bulwarks of gravitas
enslaving third world planets, and for a time, our hearts
feel like angry strawberries glowing in the starfields
as if Aldebaran had just blue-shifted toward the spiritual life
of the Pleiades, and were young again, the red flame
of the poppy in its blood that dreams of sustaining
and renewing life, even if it be just the tender green placard
of a leaf unfolding in the ashes of our urns, one
shy tendril of morning glory seeking the light
in the terrible stillness of an implacable abyss,
we are made young again, clear again, by the gusts
of a moody, blue muse of emotional hydrogen
flaring up in us like the inspiration for goblets and fountains
of cool white flowers hanging our bells and trumpets
like music growing all over the cedar hedges in the early morning.

Can you listen with your eyes? Can you see with your ears
how the ghosts of the stars walk the earth at night
in the flesh of flowers blooming like chicory along the roadside
in the blue irises of the eyes of September, or in gardens on the moon
left untended by the gentle rains of our imaginations
for more childhoods than there are watermarks in the heartwood
of the tears it took to get here like rootless trees
spreading across the earth like an unplanned pilgrimage
of exiled immigrants returning to the ancestral shrines
of their prophetic skulls burning like prodigal stars
in the spacious windows of our visionary homes?

Realizing at last, if nothing else from our insights into life,
the starmaps of the fireflies at the headwaters of our source
aren’t bounded by the hearthstones of our wandering hearts
where the vagrants lay their heads down at last
on the hard pillows of the moonrocks they brought back with them
to dream of breathing new life into the lost atmospheres
of their childhoods returning like the lyrics of the nightbirds
to a wheeling mobile hanging like a windfall of planets
and dancing apples from the rafters and boughs of the ceilings
that couldn’t keep the lid on the toy boxes of their bedrooms
or the hoods on the marvelous third eyes of the falcons
perched on the tree limbs of their telescopes in the corner
trying to see into the dark as far as the wingspan of their light will let them.




Three years out of four, I’m a piano tuner
for the Julian calendar, gone like the extra day
of a leap year with nothing but time on my hands.
I’ve been seeking sanctuary among the stars
since I bought my first telescope as a boy,
and started working at leaving the earth,
but I haven’t found an embassy that will take me in.
So I languish in this self-imposed exile
holding long conversations with windows and lenses.
One day I’m Spinoza. And the next day, I’m Ovid.
When I’m not lying down like the threshold
of a humiliating synagogue, or grinding glass in a garret
in between bouts of philosophy, I’m polishing
the Tristes of my tears with bitter carborundum.

Jewelled perfection of cold Botticellian blue outside.
Ice placked snow drooping on the windowsills.
The greasy sidewalks lying in wait for hip transplants.
I don’t belong here as much as it seems anywhere else.
I’m holed up like the last of the Neanderthals in Gibraltar
with a bigger brain than I know what to do with,
looking for Venus above the decorative buttresses and rosettes
of the fieldstone rooftops in the sunset of my extinction.
Poor me, I mock myself, as a retort to self-pity.
Poor bears. Poor squirrels. Poor homeless cats.
Poor people on the street with happy faces for lifemasks
they wear like man hole covers over gutters of disappointment.

Busy chores I should be attending to like a good gene
labouring to insure and advance my survival,
but I’m close to despair and my heart lies heavy and idle
as a lunar hand-axe I flint knapped out of an eclipse
like a new moon chipped from obsidian. Shaky. Irritable. Unstable.
The winged quarter horses of my emotions
yoked to a death cart like breakers to a constellation
of dead sea stars. I’m trying to sow wildflower seeds
in the fissures of glacial earthquakes cracking like mirrors
but it’s the wrong time of year for anything to come up.

No faith. No dreams. No expectations. More of the same.
Dusty mobiles dripping with crystals against
a grimy windowpane with milky cataracts
letting less and less light in, diurnally, and the stars
smeared and smudged like the spider-mites of time
on the stalactite unicorns and sloppy, one-horned chandeliers
on the underside of my tears dying like unwatered plants.

But I’m trying. I’m attempting to shoulder
this heavy lift of a world like a rafter up over my head,
and if not a rafter in a sound house of the zodiac
with honourable foundation-stones quarried from cemeteries
that go back deep into the heritage past, then, at least
the keel of the moon passing over the Great Barrier Reef
I seem to have become like a fossilized spine of coral polyps
as brittle as the vertebrae of a lunar archipelago
of surviving dinosaurs huddled around their dying serpent fires
like the homeless around the mattresses and burning oildrums
under a highway exit ramp. Down, down, down, they
all go into the down like London bridge. And then
I remember the voice of an old Bodhidharma doll I met once
who was quadriplegic having lost his limbs meditating,
who said seven times down eight times up, such is life.

Such is life. But I’m punchy as a boxer who didn’t throw the fight.
Off road emotionally, I’m jacking up my drive wheel
to swing it out of this ditch and back on to the thoroughfare
I’ve salted like Carthage with kitty litter, ashes, and sand,
to keep on spinning my wheels, true to an illuminated way of life
on the greasy mirrors of an enlightened ice age. Hot damn.
Something to look forward to at last. Penquins in the Galapagos.
The smell of diesel narwhales and nuclear submarines in Frobisher Bay.

I’ve got to find higher ground than that to drain my grave
on this spiritual flood plain. I’ve got to screw a brighter lightbulb
into my housewell to keep it from freezing. I’ve got to grow
another layer of skin on the pearls of my nacreous mystics
beseeching shamanistic dolmens in the Arctic not to keep
their mouths shut about Silla, the indwelling spirit of life,
who says that you can trust the universe completely
in a voice so soft children aren’t afraid of it
though they’re often led astray out into the tundra.

Come dark. Bring me your stars like constellations
in the Burgess Shale of the night. Lift my seas up
into precipitous mountains riddled with subliminal secrets of starmud
that could pack these scars and cracks in my prophetic skull
with motherlodes of gold the way they do in Japan
to show respect for their broken tea cups as if somehow
to drink from the lips of the mended and restored made the tea
taste sweeter than Zen. I’m hanging this white flag of snow
out of my window, asking for a cease-fire and a truce,
and maybe if it isn’t over-reaching, a peace treaty
between who I am and who I am thinks I should have been.

I asked my cat to be my guru when I got to the point
I wanted to fling things around in a road rage of asteroids.
I wanted to go out in blaze of light like a comet from the Kuiper belt,
or a tantric boy with a matchbook in a fireworks factory
but my cat just looked at me with the first and last crescents
like parentheses around the black moon in her eyes
and said it’s up to you to fill in the blanks
of your own waxing and waning. And, of course, she’s right.
Who knows more about the ebb and neap of the tidal flows
and undertows of life, love, and light than a fully illuminated cat does?