Friday, January 25, 2013



By the time you say it, you’re a bridge beyond the last river of your lament.
Is there meaning in this, content? Emerging
from this cold oceanic reflection, how good
to wrap the sky around you like a blue woolen robe warmed by a fire,
your lungs two bag-ladies sorting through the trash
of your denuded coffin for any rumour of green.

A back-alley dog sniffs at your limp smile beside a broken wineglass.
Your passions turn into mouths and eat you; your heart
mistakes itself for the apple on the tree of knowledge
and dreads the approach of Eve. Today, for example, over coffee on Gore St.
(just so the peasants don’t storm the moat again,
thinking we don’t know where we’re at)
I heard you wondering why the moon always ends in et cetera.

Just to distract you from gnashing your teeth in the void
and sticking your flavourless gum messiah
to the underside of the flat earth, I showed you a picture of the wind’s face
I painted under an overpass on primeval concrete.
A fascist restauranteur enraged by the ulcers on his greed
preached his disease to an unwilling congregation of tables
and jackaled our money away to the squat god of his digital scripture.
Fascinated and hurt, you surveyed the distant puppet-masters
of your own hormonal attachments assemble and reassemble
like constellations at a crossroads and then
got up to give your sad friend an embrace on her birthday,
fingerprinting your own sorrow with someone else’s hand. The albino sun
high above, opening doors and burning thresholds, was proud of you
as I liberated another orphanage in your honour.

People on wheels went by, more nonsensical than this watershed of pain
that pushes up a mad flower of poetry
through the startled soil of an intimate, unknown planet
hanging from the first crescent of the moon like a drop of water
on a blade of radiant star-grass. You. Above the turmoil
of your blood-weather. And now the vast night
crowds into the asylum of my ancient, weeping windows
and the lamps go on like recovering suicides, their light
experimenting with brown-out dosages of prozac
like something electrical trying to live. Alone again on the deck
of an ark of phantoms beached by the flood
on this brutal world-mountain, my field of vision
is heaped with the skulls and skeletons of warrior dragons
who died true to a door that never opened. And if you listen hard enough
you can hear a secret priesthood of serpents
singing the melancholic lyrics of their eerie toxins in lethal shrines
under the foundation-stones of untenable temples
abandoned to a slum of birds, fractured stairs and pillars
a crusade of minerals on their way home, liberated by an infidel.

Is it continuous or do we make it so; the last forty years of my life
devoted like a lover to the strange face in the moonlight
that beckons me deeper and deeper into her shining as if I were no more
than a ray of her manifestation, each feeling moment
whole to the furthest star, every thought
sufficient as fire, quiescent, an event of fabulous proportions.

It’s true things change and change is a clock without hands.
Here now in the jewelled fish nets of satiated gods
that trawl the mind-sea for luminous, translucent fish
that have schooled into vagrant poems
for a gesture of provisional expression
timeless as now, I stop and bend like light to show you
how the black water-lilies are night mirrors
returning your eyes like water to the river. And yet,
most astounding of all, there is neither you nor I to witness it,
nor anything that swims like the language of a lost people
through these imagined depths, not even the gust of a god
over the stillness of the waves. Consciousness is the shadow of a living intelligence
whose awareness and being are purposeless flower and star,
all the worlds in every directionless direction
resplendent in the heart of a single atom, dust kicked up
by a child dancing alone in a dusky summer lane
with the scintillant gnats and fairies
whose lives are neither brief nor long, born or perishing.

Here, by this road of ghosts, touched by a wing,
I offer you this expansive bouquet of galaxies, endless dancers
wheeling joy into joy like love into bread. Do you see?
Nothing approaches nothing and zero gets up to dance.

There is nowhere that isn’t a tree, no moment
that isn’t the whole of space embracing it, everything in this event
already achieved. Why grieve then as if there were holes in the world
when everything you fall into, someone’s else’s face,
the violet oceans of an orchid heart, this trance of enlightened play
is nothing more than your own footprint on an Arab moon
full of intoxicated rain. Gently, I lay your heavy head
upon the doorsill of your lover and for the moment, an elder of the wind,
whisper nightbirds of ecstatic seeing
into your abundant emptiness. The point is
there is no point that isn’t already the whole of the radiant point
drawing long caravans, burdened with gifts for a bride,
out of the dream deserts of her lostness and longing
like a star dictating love poems to a viper-scribe in the sand. Just look
at the labour of these fools who contrive a hovel out of a palace
and consult their blood like mud at the mirage of an oasis
for fishtracks. Here, I’ll sing it again on a page of water

because you are more beautiful and intelligent than the ones
who stand at the gate and swear by dawn
the light shall not pass, because your suffering is transcendence,
the original home of the many who make one face without flaw,
because I am drunk on the whiskey-fire of autumn leaves
even as the spring tunes its green harps to the high-pitched valley hearts
of ascending birds, every one a nugget of sun panned
from the empty pockets of a generous dawn,
because great sleepwalking moons of faith
are shedding your eyelids like skies and rose petals
releasing mysterious fragrances of time
in the narrow alleys of medieval Bombay where blue-white stars
feed their growing families by cobbling their tongues
like new leather fixed with nails of light
to the worn-out sandals of pilgrim gods on the Perfume Trail,
because even though there is suffering, ignorance, folly and greed,
and death enough to glut any neon highway vacancy,
and hitch-hiking saviours galore to lie down with in darkness
and rise in the light on magic-finger mattresses,
because there is no less of your whole celestial orchard
in the butterfly that lands on a dead branch
like one of your smiles
than there is in all the thundering worlds
that fall like windfall apples or wild horses cantering through the night,
because most people’s seeing is a kind of love blind to music
and you are rarer than a radioactive strawberry in that regard,
the divergent snake-roads of your witching-wands, violins of water,
and because your great insight grows a secret heart within the heart
of an embryo word and nudges it into flight,
the ripening celebration in the heart of a dazzled bird
hurled from a thousand nests like rice from a begging bowl
to express the joy she is
at the fathomless wedding of bride and water, drunkard and unknowing wine,
I’ll lift my voice again to you and sing.

A black snake swims across the leprous face of the moon
unwrapping her bandages on the water like music
to reveal her concealed beauty to no one.
Isis and the Sphinx cry out like loons.
A singing water-lily offers its severed head on a prophetic platter
to the breeze of a dancing girl, mistress of veils,
who toys with the weakness of kings.
On the slightest tongue of the rain, a feast of maggots and stars.




If you’re not walking the waters of your own mind,
seeing through the eyes in your own blood, you’re
in danger of falling through somebody else’s mirror
and like one less star in the sky, we’re all a little more blind
and there are a lot of eyes out there depending upon your light.
Shine, my friend, shine. Intensify the grey shadows,
the nipping eclipses and blackflies of pestering doubt
until two days of hot sun at the end of May
puts them all out like pitted match heads and asteroids
swarming your atmosphere and orbits like acid rain
trying to make a sea-change. Go pearl-diving deep enough
into the darkness for the singularity at the bottom
of the black hole. And you’ll break into
a whole new way of looking at the nightsky
with billions of stars you’ve never seen before
waiting to greet you at the end of a tunnel of light.

Just as poverty makes me more generous and wealth
diminishes the value of the gift, doubt is merely
a left-handed way of affirming what I deny
as my denial bears witness to the fact that I am
this suspension bridge that sways between one precipice
and another, one breath, one step, one pulse, one leap
from one shore, one peak, one valley, one wavelength,
one extreme to the next. One moment
I’m Hermes Trismegistus firewalking on stars
with a heartfelt message from the gods, and the next
my winged heels catch fire and I’m Icarus falling
like a cinder into the third eye of the sea that’s going
to wash me out in the flashflood of the very first tear it sheds.

When you fear the abyss. Turn into space.
If the serpent fire of the dragon begins to feel
like a prophetic furnace of cold ashes you’re buried in,
show it how long your eyes have been dancing
like fireflies on a flammable starmap around
the axial Maypole of the vernal earth
and how many times you’ve immolated yourself
in the starfields like a wild flower that blooms
in its own flames, consumed by desire without being burnt.

Let your song conform to your voice
like the skin of music, like the moon’s reflection
to the laryngeal wavelengths of the lake
thriving with subliminal fish that will
jump into your lifeboat of their own accord
as if you were the high note they were trying to hit.

Sing as if you were the first submarine on the moon
to sound the depths of a sea of shadows.
Long before the Impressionists, the sunset
was painting the effect of its own light like burnt sienna
glowing on the cedars and pines at dusk. Write
like midnight and dawn in your own eyes,
not the scenic calendars and schools
of retinal responses to a dying love affair with the light.

Admire the fountains, but seek out the watersheds
of your own efflorescence in the depths of yourself
if you want to shine by your own light
in a darkness that’s never been touched
by the sun and the moon and the stars,
and you’re the only candle, lighthouse
and constellation it’s every known. Shine
like the lantern of a sea star in these depths
long enough and it isn’t the lustre of what you see,
though that’s not a negligible gift, but the eyes
that evolve out of your lucidity that’s the real blessing,
the light upon light of the dark revelation
beyond the obvious mirrors of the moondogs and irises
chromatically abberating the lens at the other end
of the telescope like the eye of a crab
under the carapace of its cretaceous observatory
as if it were enlightened by the flashback of an old acid trip.

The stars don’t abjure the black holes
for not shining, and the black holes
don’t despise the stars for not going deep enough.
Everything’s perennially new under the sun
at every moment of creation, if you open
your eyes wide enough, despite what those see
squinting through seashells in their deathmasks
as if they were hiding something from themselves.

Surrealistically crazy and wisely unrestrained,
the picture-music never uses the same voice twice,
like an oracle never repeats a prophecy
if you weren’t listening to it in the first place.
Every morning’s a new dance-card. Every night
a standing ovation for the lyrical improvisations
of the wind in the leaves of the willows
and Byzantine silver Russian olives with metal feathers
that never rust, until they want to, down by the river.
Sing your heart out, your eyes, your mind, your blood,
your doubt, your confusion, the evanescent absolutes
of your jubilation, the fireflies of cosmic eurekas in the dark,
the heavy bells of the sorrows you had to abandon
by the side of the road like one room schools and churches
and walk on lonelier and lighter down the road
like the wanderlust of a wayward spirit that blindly trusts
in its own imagination to reveal the hidden harmonies
of chaos as well as the cacophonous dissonance
of conditioned orders of consciousness going to extremes.

The logic of metaphor doesn’t move in a straight line
like an interconnected freight train whistling through town
as bars at the railroad crossing come down and go up
like the thresholds of duelling swords on the clock
while jaywalking immigrants cut through a hole in the fence
and have no idea what hour it is, except
none of the dream grammars of their mother tongues
have a past tense, or a table of contents for their solitude.