Thursday, January 24, 2013



Harsh metal in the well, small black bells, plum blossoms wearing iron masks, and the ghosts of violet salt that haunt her tearsas if blood wanted to become water, as if
all her lakes, the hazelnut trees in her eyes, and the bruised dawns of the salmon beneath themwho wait for the rocks of poetic wisdom to fall,
were wounded in their watersheds.

And I’m trying to patch the sun
with old eye-patches, unused eclipses, sunpots

and the moon with blue-green lichens,
and the blooddrop saline drip of crimson columbines
mingled with the visionary mist
of soft, grey morning voices, ashen butterflies,
to keep the light from leaking out.

There’s a hawk tearing at the cherry of her dove-heart
and long red wavelengths soaking into the blue-black of starless skies,
quicksilver rain on the hovering windows
and looping spider veils of slashed paint in a race of rivers
letting go to weep themselves
to the bottom of their lilies,
the burning tentacles of jellyfish wine
sweeping its tresses across the distant hills
like the bridal smudge of a lost storm,
ashes on its gown. Her lanterns are covered
in the scarves of her sorrows like the hair of reformed widows,
and even from here, I can hear her trying to tune
the ashes of a burnt guitar
to the songs of a happier day
and the goblets of softer voices
that touched her like snow at night among the pines.

In the irretrievable lostness of now
she lingers in a dream of savaged shrines
with the crow priests of the sacred echoes,
grieving for the frost on the mirrors
of her farewell oceans,
rosaries of autumn migrations
hanging like a string of skull-faced planets,
her lifelines beaded with tars and tears,
and the slow coagulants of time
that rose the pain with scabs and badges
and later, the distorted pearls of our scars.

And my heart’s going off like a fire-alarm
because I love her, because
love panics at a wound,
immolates itself in the green flames of its own tenderness
to kiss the sting of the world away
to remove the thorns
in the eyelids of the beloved
one by one between its teeth,
between the silver tweezers of the moon,
and lay a salve of cool kisses on the ruptured berries.

And it’s cruelty to feel the divinity of love,
this godfire that exceeds our furthest horizons,
like eagles in the stairwells of the stars, wingspans of light,
and remain a human, remain
a boundary stone with a sword in it,
a liferaft of punctured powers and straining oars
when everything within me
calls for the dragon arcana of sleeping wizards
and the invincible excaliburs of pauper kings,
when all I have in my hands are these words,
these withered embryo eyes,
these dead beans of a fallen giant
to remove the arrow from the heart of the blue gazelle,
to keep the sky from bleeding,
to answer the baffled eternity of mortal sorrow in her eyes,
the apricot of her skin raked by the crystal claws
of sidereal lions that rage like minerals
against the fairy fountains and solar-paced sunflowers
robed in the elephant ears
that spill like hearts from the supples vases of our blood.

I’m a hand without fingers, an amputated starfish,
the monk of a blind wick, the wet fuse
of a star too weak for ignition
who’s been praying to all the wrong gods
for the loan of an ambulance and a white cocoon
to bandage a vineless severance with wings,
to pour my blood into hers like a tide
that will lift her dolphin of light,
the waterwings of her lungs, lead pears,
weighed down like bags of stone on a desolate shore,
into a liberty of leaping bells, her body
a crazy tongue of joy saying the sea,
and her spirit the limber spire of breathing free.

Who throws the sparrows against the glare
of a brittle window pane; who
devises these labyrinths of thwarted emotion, who
teaches us to blaze among the wincing galaxies
only to stifle the mouth of our exaltations
with rags of grief, with the crusty towels,
the soiled sheets of ravished rainbows,
that daub the tears of the shining
that always weeps away like light from our paintings?

And love answers that it’s suffering
that hurls our voices into the morning, suffering
that taught us to sing to Venus in the dawn, suffering
that pours the stars into the chalice of the heart
and bids us lift and cradle the heavy head of a planet
too weak to rise from its injuries
and offer our thread of mending light
to the parted lips of an ancient wound.

Love answers that it’s love that scalds, love
that breaks the thorny arms of the aloes like starfish,
like bread and the pincers of boiling crabs
to free the cool honeys of love that heal the burns,
to teach the mouths of our wounds how to kiss.

But even so, even so,
I can feel the spear in the flesh of the moon,
and the fireflies faltering in the urn of her heart,
and the empty hand of the wind that misses its leaf,
and the sloughed skies in a solitude of lost gloves,
and the fallen irises of limp swans
puzzled by the failure of their green swords,
the splayed feathers of their rearing wings
to lift them out of the breach of encroaching winter
and appoint them like a trumpet heading south.

I can feel the weeping braille under the eyelids of my lover,
the dark queen of my radiant bees,
and my heart is a crucial hive of urgent ashes
hanging like a paper lantern
on the night bough
of a burning apple-tree.




The sun puts my eyes out like a star in too much light.
I wait for the night to return my seeing to a vision
of things unseen, the unnarrated themes of life and love
that move like migrant birds and sounding whales
behind the symbolic lifemasks of the moon, none of them mine.

Mystery within a mystery, my voice is not a camera
at a seance. I listen to what hasn’t been revealed.
I turn even the homeliest asteroid over like a jeweller
with a pygmy telescope for a third eye
holding a diamond in the rough up to the light
to see what’s been concealed like a secret of life
hidden within the ore of its savage shining.

I invariably rebuff the heavy bombardment eras
of the brutalities of love, though I had to suffer them
like noxious atmospheres in the wake of a cosmic pummelling
to arise so wisely here, the broken pine of my arboreal insight
into the nature of rootless trees. What doesn’t kill you
can wound you so badly that even death
looks like a redundancy in the maimed mirror
of your reflection. Be clear about this. After
every extinction passes like the cloned silhouette
of the full moon, it’s the labour of a lifetime
to publish your poems like apple bloom on the branch
of the lightning bolt that cleaved you to the root
like a French executioner with an imported sword.
It’s not strength to retool the innocence of an open heart
into a lethal weapon, even if it’s a righteous kill.

It’s one thing to heal. It’s another not to be destroyed
by your scars like a shy painting in an arrogant frame.
Green bough. Dead branch. Same song. As I’ve said
before. The nightbird sings on the tongue of a serpent
as readily as water and wavelengths on witching wands
and tuning forks, the sound of sorrow in a human voice
where the rivers divide inseparably for life
like the strong rope of a spinal cord into the weaker threads
of a string theory of profoundly significant departures.

So be it. I trembled. I cried like an abandoned housewell
whose lightbulb just went out like the filament
of a genome that tried to keep its afterlife from freezing
when the world was destroyed by ice
in the terrible clarity of the eyes that blew it out
like a mutant candle that tried to add its odd gene
to the constellations of razor wire that imprisoned it
like the dangerous exile of its own dna. In this game
of musical chairs, I always try to take the low place
like a sea on the moon so all my lost atmospheres
and high tides returned to me, kinder, deeper,
more experientially seasoned loveletters than those that left.

Hatred isn’t creative. Judgement accuses itself.
History is written by the victors in dust on a shelf.
When we all lie down on the pyres of our deathbeds
may each of my lovers have enjoyed a better
dream of life than I did, more stars, more flowers,
fewer chains, less red shift in reality than in
their memories of the way things could have been
with the strangers we became over the long lightyears
looking back in arcane wonder at how love changes
to keeps its balance against a backdrop of creative chaos.

I observe the protocols of a poet approaching
the allure of an unknown bird at the gates of my voice
like a lyric I’ve only ever heard before at a lonely distance
from its source within me. The wind blown seeds
are more prodigal with insights into the mystery of life
than the genetically modified, and every exile
tends a secret garden that travels with them
like a vagrant motherland planting a starmap
of hyperbolic comets in the open fields beyond
the prize-winning asters of lesser zodiacs.

Petty monuments to transcend our mortality
won’t arouse the quiescent jealousy of time.
Truth doesn’t renew its virginity in an acid-bath.
Beauty isn’t marked by the singularity
of a star-nosed mole piercing a black hole.
The clock shows up with a second at a duelling sword dance.
Evolution advances surrealistically like a fast lane
for atavistic snails and the celebrity messengers
try to steal the spotlight from the message
they were created like flying fish with fins
on their heels to convey as a warning of pre-eminent change.

Circus animals in an abattoir of balancing acts.
Emotional jugglers and fire-eaters, sword-swallowers
easing the silver scimitar of the moon down the throats
of shallow lakes drowning in their own spit.
Freaky sages and anointed snake-oil salesmen
gulling the vanity of those seeking to be enlightened
like exceptions to a species going extinct
since some disappointed scribe divined
by the sunspots on his shining, every bloodline,
but the holy book of his own phylum, was a bad idea.

Not to be mean, vicious, feeble, ungenerous
to even those who tried but failed to love you in life
like crutches that didn’t break into blossom under your armpits
or the right idea with the wrong blueprints
for ladders and wings to get you out of the snakepit
that keeps swallowing your cosmic eggs
like albino whole notes, the stone cartouches of eyes
that never got to see how big the sky is because
you didn’t break out of your shell in time to see the stars
or even hear a whisper of the oceanic awareness
within you like the white noise of your afterbirth
still traumatized by your universal intrusion into this life.

One night laid out on your deathbed in a tidal pool
of febrile sheets, staring into a homeless abyss
like the return address of an anonymous enquiry
reviewing what you said and felt, or didn’t say,
because you calculated the effect in numbers,
not the words in your heart, like a silent movie
with more of a gift for pictures than conversation,
you’re going to see yourself unadorned as porn
in a snuff flick of all your myriad love affairs with life,
and the bloom off the rose, whether you were
a petal or a thorn, it’s going to be too late
to rewrite the black farce of the leading protagonist
as the rising star of the person you should have been
instead of the one you are in the sewer of fame.

The intensity of the clarity won’t leave you
a patina of mind to hide behind or insulate the view.
Naked, alone, out in the relentless open, for
your eyes only with eternity your sole witness
and you about to notarize it with your flesh,
even if it be the noblest folly of a leftover child,
a dragon-slaying firefly, an iota subscript of self-respect,
the taste of crazy wisdom you can’t rinse out of your heart
like the bloodstain of a rose, honour those
you have loved painfully like a morning frost
or in joy, though lost now, when you shared the dusk
with a moonrise as lovely as any muse
you’ve ever known, come down to the river
to drink from her reflection in your eyes, or just
for the hell of it because you prefer it that way,
let your heart remain as large and lavish
as any gesture of stars the universe ever squandered
on your impetuous love of life that embraced it all,
blessing and curse alike as the old moon opens its arms
both crescents wide to the dark abundance of the new.