Friday, January 18, 2013



A nick of the moon. Thin smile of circumstance
and the paint rags of the few, modest dreams
I had left, are bleeding out again. Alizarin crimson
leaking like lipstick out of a slashed mirror as my blood
congeals glacially and gives my heart freezer-burn.
Crazy alert. Three alarm anxieties. Loser brigade.
Should I drown like a new moon in the calendar
of my waterclock mindstream going through
all these phases or rush to my rescue again and again
and again, the lifeboat of a waterbird with oars for wings?

I’ve been exhausted by mundane terrors.
The man gets scared. And he sings in the face of despair.
He waits for the night to heal. An injured wolf
in the bone-box of his lair. And the stars like Arcturus
for months above the dark roofs of the glaring town
always the charm of a long, hard-won childhood
lightyears away from this creosote of a life
that gets left like the slag of a dragon that’s gone
up in smoke like a short-cut through a chimney
all over the inside of the dead furnace of my heart
where I’m still trying to keep a few fireflies alive.

Poetry, my sanctuary, my asylum, my chrysalis,
my fortune-cookie of oceanic consciousness in a seashell,
my Braille koan laid out like a starmap for my eyes only,
my spinal connection to the blue guitar of my imagination
in an ensuing phylum of Chordates, black box of my soul,
anti-grail of my worldly aspirations, look
how I’ve worn your lip down sipping from your elixirs
like a devotee walking up the sacred stairs on his knees
he’s blunted like a pestle and a mortar to throw
his crutches onto a pyre of fossilized wing bones.

My curse. My blessing. Inkwell, thorn, heart, pen.
Could be a bad choice of metaphors or a pillowcase
full of flightfeathers I wear like a war bonnet in my dreams
when I’m ghost dancing off the reservation.
Cowboy Zen art martyr from the lunatic fringe,
I’ll make it cosmically through the Leonids somehow,
if not by will, by a spiritual reflex of my imagination.
I’ll walk barefoot over the ashes of my root fires
like a rusty cedar down to the bedside manner of the lake.
I’ll watch Jupiter bobbing like a lure in the narrow field of view
of an atmospherically unstable telescope waiting for a bite
and when the swim bladders of the northern pike
mythically inflate like nuclear submarines surfacing
off the Lomonosov Ridge. I’ll carve a barbed spear point
out of the tusk of the moon and reign sovereign
over the ice like a dispossessed Inuit hovering over a bubble.

In an oblivion of heroic numbness, I’ll wear my laurels
like razorwire proudly to the stake of my heretical desire
to let the nightbirds return to the gentler nests of last year
in the heartwood of a rootless tree, undisturbed
by the unconfessed holy books of the leaves
that burned in their absence like the sky burial
of a snake in autumn that won its wings, at last, from the flames.
I’ll climb the burning ladders of my own lunar vertebrae
like a dolmen of moonrocks that stood its ground
in a firestorm of solar flares in the Sea of Tranquillity.
Even if my tears blister into glass, I’ll water
this desert of stars like a dragon tending a garden
until it blooms like an ocean of broken chandeliers.




The river an old waltz on the dance-card of the stars,
at the navel of time, at the crossroads of the unborn world,
I take the hand of the waterclock that pumps like my heart
and escort it to the centre of the floor and in a strophic wind
of wheeling turns and counterturns, lyrically reverse my spin
like the weathervane of a Sufi trying to annihilate
my sense of direction in the vertiginous bliss
of not knowing where I’m going on the journey ahead
and as ever, still as clueless, whether it really matters
if I arrive or not, on time or late, mad or enlightened,
weeping like an atmosphere that’s soaked up
too much from the occult arcana of the air
or laughing like a trickster crow shaman as innocent
as a black sense of humour blowing the candles out
like shallow insights into enlightenment to see better in the dark
what truly shines in my third eye, and what does not.

Should I mend the cracks around my eyes with gold
like a broken Japanese teacup, or are those the roots of the lotus
that anchor me like axons of black matter to the lower depths
of my starmud like a radiant alloy of Orion and dirt,
all my neurons wired in series like galactic sea stars?

I don’t take notes on the fires of life in short-hand
and I’m alert to the false dawns of inspiration
that urge me to draft my first impressions of night
in flourishing scripts of cursive smoke uncoiling
like the vapour trails of dragons in the quantum sunsets
of a mystic singularity behind the veils of a black hole.

If it isn’t written in the scarlet vowels of my blood,
koans of unbreakable consonants, seventeen sacred syllables
of the total eclipse of a haiku in nirvana, it’s
only an experiment in the loss of identity of an old science,
not an experience of the crazy wisdom of the new
realizing the shape of the universe is the shape of the mind
that observes it, and knows like an intimate of emptiness
it’s inconceivably alive and intelligent as space.
And I celebrate it now like an ageing man
looks at his hands and immediately understands
why the last flowers of autumn are always the most beautiful.

I have sown like a star what others will harvest
of my light after me like the eyes of a man who spent
a long time dreaming in the watersheds and wine cellars
of the art of learning how to break into song
like a graverobber into the heartwood of his youth,
how to carve guitars out of coffins without cutting
your own throat like tightly bound vocal cords
badly attuned to your jugular vein like the low E string
of a Tibetan mantra with nothing but an empty begging bowl
for a microphone. And the forked tongue of a lightning bolt
witching for serpent fire in the mouth of a dragon sage
that triggers the moon into releasing the mercy of rain
on the scorched earth path of a volcanic grailquest
that might give the lost something to look forward to
when they’re drowning like fish in the sea
that gave birth to them like the sun in Pisces
at the vernal equinox where the celestial equator
and the ecliptic intersect like rippling bracelets of rain
elaborating into mandalic interference patterns
where the protocols of chaos wear the appropriate life masks
like dark poems and light on both sides of the moon
to commemorate the occasion of a rising constellation
in a metaphoric rapture of collaborative illumination.

Homage to the dark mothers of the words for water and light
it took a lifetime of silence for the daughters of the muse
to learn to say as if a poet’s life depended upon it.
Homage to the thieves of fire that set the windows ablaze
from the inside out in ways they’ve never been lit up before
when they least expected it from the least expected quarter.
The sun at midnight. The moon at midday. And the shadows
remarkably supple given the age of the dance they’re performing
like a swan song of black feathers with the wingspan of a ghost.

Homage to the mystery that led me like an exile
out of my own doorway to disappear like a bird in the night,
brief, brief, brief, and gone into the abysmal dark
of an afterlife I followed like a starmap of lightyears
into the open until my eyes adapted to the black mirrors
of my deepening awareness of how the heart
shone brighter than the mind and the entrance not the exit
was the harder way home for a human who was willing to risk it
for a valley full of fireflies and savagely clear insights
that echo a mountain that shrieks in its sleep
like a nighthawk to the sharp-eyed stars. Asleep
or awake, alive or dead, the differences pale
like wandering scholars in the moonrise on the river.

Prophetic skulls lose track of the time like amino acids
in the alphabet blocks of ancient asteroids
trying to keep it together in the Oort belt
after they were messed up like ricochets by Neptune
on tour in the leper colonies of shepherd moons.
The seven inaccessible dimensions of the future
fray like a spinal cord into an infinite number of lifelines
at the deltas and sacred meeting places where
the mindstream returns to itself, water to water,
not ashes and dust. And the silver sword
the moon lays down in tribute to the lake
is bent like the back of an old man so no one after him
could ever wield it like the hands of a clock in battle again.

Homage to the stranger that stands at the gate
to another world without disavowing his homelessness.