Wednesday, January 9, 2013



This or that delusional choice, great exercises of the will,
chromatic aberration of the optics of consciousness,
must there be a you, must there be an I
for us to understand each other, paint rags of a dream,
fleeting lines of a poem uncoiling like smoke from a candle
a gust of jealous stars blew out to make a bigger impression
upon the dark. Radiant fossils of the constellations,
every star in their eyes down to Albireo in the tail of the Swan,
a brilliant mutation, a masterpiece of evolution
tweaking its own creation with hotspots of genius,
must there be a you, must there be an I,
must our thought waves divide the sea of awareness
that isn’t troubled by its own weather on the turbulent surface,
or the low pianissimos of its kingfishers at peace with the fish
in a halcyon mood with each other like a truce of music
in which we drown like the moon every night,
a sword of light returned in tribute to the waters
wounded by the beauty of an act of grace
like a tiny stone in an oyster shell that lacquered it
into a lunar pearl hanging from the neck of the earth.

Must there be a you, must there be an I,
when our theta-waves are weaving a flying carpet
under both our feet pacing back and forth
like the shuttle-cock heartbeats of clacking looms
in front the windows, worried like needles in haystacks
if someone were going to pop our balloons of laughing gas
like joy’s grape against the palettes of our mouths,
extemporizing Keats at a Grateful Dead concert,
must there be a you, must there be an I,
when the iron in our blood is still
the youngest bell of the sun at the marriage of light
where atomic numbers join together
that which none can put asunder,
must there be a you, must there be an I,
when we’re both children of the same fire-womb,
same dragon mother, same midwife, same wet nurse of the earth?

Separation is not real in an interdependently originated world.
There are quantum entanglements like little knots
in our hair, wild comets that just got out of bed,
hearts being what the other needs as they change
their spin like partners in a dance of stars at the crossroads
of the wind when it gleefully loses its sense of direction
like starmaps and leaves in the euphoria
of an autumn that put its burdens down
on the soft shoulders of the road and walks on
lighter than freedom, more naked than water,
must there be a you, must there be an I,
where two rivers join in an alloy insight and intuition,
is that not the secret meeting place of the imagination
where you know what the rocks are thinking
by the columbine growing out of their prophetic skulls
in the spring, and the vulvas of the visionary crocuses
get a leg up on the nuns of the snow, as if they hadn’t heard of sin,
but merely suggested they must be a good place for spring to begin,
must there be a you, must there be an I,
when the alluvial silt of our starmad settles on the fields
and gathers in the same delta renewed every year
at the annual flooding of the headwaters of the Milky Way?

If we both lied and said we were the victims of war,
there wouldn’t be anything left to fight over any more,
no tilting at the shadows and mirages of words
that don’t realize they all were born of the same mother-tongue
when every syllable was as sacred as a hermit thrush
in an aspen grove, and the wildflowers bloomed
from the bottom of their roots up, without saying a word,
like loveletters to the bees with irresistible R.S.V.P.s,
must there be a you, must there be an I,
and the God particle that doesn’t want to be identified
as the archon of gravity that lavishes on everything alike,
a gift of mass that gives us somewhere to stand in space,
face to face beside each other in the bilateral symmetry of the light
that doesn’t divide us a convenience of consciousness
whenever the mindstream needs a bridge and turns
the blueprint of one reflection toward another in order to build it?

Can you see how the star is the mother of the eye,
and the eye gives birth to Al Tair in Aquila,
as if the indissoluble bond between us and everything were
one long umbilical cord of seeing and being,
thrown out to us like the strong rope
of an unravelling string theory making waves
among the drumheads of the membranes resonating
with the parallel lifelines in a guitar shaped universe
to a lifeboat in the abyss that hauls us into it
so we could all meet each other like music
on this spherical dancefloor of a planet like earth?

Ignorance isn’t ignorant when it doesn’t discriminate
between itself and wisdom, and wisdom isn’t wise
if it does. Both revel in the same bliss
as the stars and the lightning and the fireflies
illuminating the aniconic darkness with mandalic kells
and constellations that never wear the same fire twice
like Isis, the Queen of Heaven, however young her future grows,
remembering all the cosmologies she abandoned in her youth
like lovers that couldn’t keep their eyes off her
as she hinted at dark secrets in her past that kept them glued
to the evanescence of her starmaps like a fragrance of light
reminiscent of many nights in the astral gardens of earth
among the lemons and the pomegranates, the grapevines
and the moon a gesture of water on the limbs
of the naked arbutus trees cooling off their sunburns.

Our eyes, twin navels of a world of wavelengths
that can never be tied off and cut by the knife
of consciousness if the Conservation of Data Principle
is true even in the deepest black holes, the singularity
of an original insight like the thought in your mother’s mind
at conception that contains each of us within the other,
worlds within worlds within worlds, shepherd moons
in the pearl beds of the elegant dreamers who can take
a bit of starmud and teach it to shine like a black sun at midnight
or an albino one at opalescent noon, a positive and a negative,
both sides of the same moon as the embryo emerges
in the womb of a dark room like a picture of the same music in all of us,
must there be a you, must there be an I, must
we grow heads upon our severed heads like grapevines,
hollyhocks, cemeteries, asteroids and hydras
because we don’t realize we’re all metaphors
seeking our likeness in the eyes of each other
to express the hidden secret in the lifelines of the poem
that wished to be known as the water, blood, light, love, night
of the one mind in all of us so elemental that what it writes,
what it expresses, what it unceasingly sings when it creates,
isn’t an image or sound that acquaints it with its own unlikeness,
but an ear, an eye, a tongue, a fingertip, a nose,
five open petals, five chemoreceptors, five original words
of the one flower that blooms in us like the mind
in all directions at once, like a star that turns its light around
to see itself like the past looking back on the future,
realizes, even after its light is spent and it’s deepening its insight
on the path of the black dwarf that doesn’t mean
there be a you, there be an I, that sprouts a rosary
of heads like prayer beads on a spinal cord
that snaps and scatters the mindstream over a precipice
like a waterfall of separate grains of wheat
ingathered by the wind in the siloes of the abyss
into a single harvest of broken loaves and a string of fish
like baby shoes. That doesn’t mean when the music’s over
turn your eyes out. That doesn’t mean standing here together
in the dark feeling the same astonishment, fear, and love,
three waves of the same mind, that we can’t see, that we’re blind,
that the poem we’re writing to Arcturus in the crowns
of the black walnut trees, or the crows in the sumac, ever
comes down to any one line like a hummingbird in the larkspur,
that isn’t the undiscriminating end and beginning
of everything all at the same time.




There are masks I will not wear,
backstage wardrobes I won’t dress up in,
lives someone else can star in,
fires that will never feather my voice,
or sweep the shadows
from my palace of ice and eyes,
faces that will never hang like fruit
from any bough of my being,
daggers I won’t bury in the wounds
they inflicted like mouths
the tongue has been cut out of,
dignities of desire
that will not circle the roadkill,
my wings linked to the foodchain.

My heart will never labour
like the ox of a bell under a yoke,
though I plough the starfields;
nor will I fill its rivers
with leeches and eclipses
and let it sip the blood of others
to nourish my own lust.
I will not smudge the clarity of my heat
with greenwood, not sacrifice
the hawk’s eye for the ant’s,
cloud the integrity of love with acrid reason.

I will not eat the days
like spoonfuls of my own ashes,
a martyr to my own orthodoxies,
trying to be true to a creed of fire
that moves underground like a root-fire
in a choir of cedars, the forbidden flame
smouldering, trying to bite its own tail,
trying to put itself out with its own tears
for the best of reasons,
for lost earrings in a coffin.

Anyone can see
you’re a raven worthy of silver
who’s roofing her wings with tin,
an urgent orchid with flare
trying to bloom in the shadow
of a nightshift toy factory.

Your wingspan
should be measured in horizons
from dawn to dusk; and you
free to ride your own thermals,
to slide yourself like a theshold or a love-letter
under the door of the wind,
to take the hood off your sky
and explore your own vastness,
all the bridges you built
to lie in the shadows
of the burning cherry trees,
true to your own emergency,
true to your own fingertips and eyes,
the impulse of the serpent at the gate
who whispers to you like skin
when the candles go out,
who comes to you like water to a witching wand
a root-god to the poppy
that shudders with black lightning
to be consumed like a torch in her own flames,
to drown in the black rose
of an exquisite oblivion,
naked in a moist parachute that blooms
like a smile you’d thought you’d lost.

The butterfly can’t be
stuffed back into the cocoon,
the bird back into the egg,
the pearl back into the grain of sand
that grew a palace
out of the tiniest foundation stone.

Fire is not a flower of ashes
that sheds its petals twice.
There are roads that disappear
like stray threads of hair
over our shoulders
even as we walk them,
every step farewell and arrival,
as time yeasts the envelope
with crucial stars that make things happen,
the wheatfield of an autumn letter
in the loaf of the hollow mailbox
rising like dawn out of a dark mouth
over its own harvest.

You can’t live forever like a sentence
balked at the fang marks of the colon
you can’t remember biting you.
Because life is not punctuated
any more than space,
things will follow
the promise of the serpent’s tattoo
to die back into life,
the black lioness
of your passionate constellation,
not a nun at the stake
of a forbidden lust to live,
but a new moon at the opening gates
of the parenthetical secret
between two crescents.

Are you afraid
to let your life graze like wild horses
on the grasslands
of your own transformations,
do you desecrate a greater law
to obey a smaller;
would you tie your last lifeboat,
your last island full of moonlight
to the sunken pillars of a wharf
that aged like a palace,
an endless prelude
to a book of farewell
that collapsed under the weight
of its own hesitation
to read itself to the end?

Even now your foundation-stones
are turning into quicksand
and the abyss
of what you must jump into
to follow your wings
out of the barnyard
opens like a mouth
trying to clear a wishbone
or a song from its throat.

Are you afraid
to give up your collection of hats,
those skies and overturned nests you walk under,
a hawk behind chicken-wire
for a bough in the wild
without a return address?

I want to hear the nightbird sing
that dazzles the serpent
with the joy of her own being,
slowly ascending the tree like a stairwell
to seize her in the dark rapture
of his amorous coils
and drown her in tide after tide of transfiguring wine,
the secret oceans of bliss
that lie hidden
in every drop of blood, every tear
that falls from the thorns
of the black star that burns like a rose
in the mouth of the dragon
that is waiting like wings
at her bruised heel
for her to wash off the old mythologies,
naked in the eye of the rain,
and mount the taboo and eclipse
of her own repealed desire
and fly from the graveyard firepits
of the grounded comets
praying for a match in hell
to light the pyres of their own cremations.

Ill omen or good,
the brush is loaded with red,
with roses, blood, fire,
and the sky is primed
like the virgin seabed of the canvas before you.
Staring will not paint the apple
you want to bite into,
install the serpent like a voice
in the tree that tempts you,
run the fingers of the nightwind
through your raven hair like a mad pianist
trying to tune your keyboard
to the crazed scales of the full moon.

If you want to dance naked
under chandeliers of black cherries,
alive enough to get away with yourself
don’t turn your eyes to glass
and scan the heavens
like the small end of a telescope
to see if you can spot your own approach
like an astronomical catastrophe
that will burn the house down,
the matchbook flaring of a coffin
that docks like a death-boat
to take on a cargo of ashes;
but lay down one stroke of paint,
risk your own interstellar spaces once,
leap like a wounded dolphin
from the wave of the mirror once,
and life will strew stars in your path
that will awake the dreamer
like gardens in the furrows
of your salted fields.

You will stop living
like an arsonist in a volunteer fire-brigade
before the blaze of your own hunger
for heat and light
and run like a sudden thaw of honey
from the frozen hive
that wants to ride its own melting
like a forge pouring out the hot metals
of the enchanted swords
the dark magicians plunge into the stone
to sort the jesters from the crowns.