Tuesday, January 29, 2013



Could I breathe the stars, I would expire in light.
Were I the harvest moon, I would retract my claws.
Were my heart anything other than what it is,
I would be a windfall of silver apples burnished by crows
and not this rag of a man with a mouthy wound.
I would not be this perversion of radiance mutating
in these acephalic mirrors warped by shape-shifting space.
I would see clearly the angry red berries of the hawthorn
and adopt them as a solar system. And think I was blessed.

And, o yes, spiky woman, when love was in eclipse
if I were not so afraid of falling upon you like a sword,
I would notch the moon like a gunsight
with its own valleys and mountains,
and let the light shine through like Bailey’s Beads,
and place it on your head like a laurel of fire,
the enlightened corona of a door I’ve left ajar.
You agitate the spiders in their morning webs
into vibrating like the needles of sewing machines
or the clappers of fire alarms, as the sun
takes the pulse of its dreamcatchers,
looking for signs of life from the night before.

I am a creature of darkness. I know the abyss.
It fills you like a universe you just can’t seem
to get your heart and arms around.
It’s bigger than the wingspan of your spirit,
the one vacuum nature doesn’t abhor.
No end of it. No beginning you can hope for.
You embody the impersonality of it intimately.
The dark mother of the abounding stars
whose beauty adds an edge to the emptiness
that keeps you from pleading for oblivion
in an isolation deeper than the dead.

The irises were surgically removed from your eyes
and you’re out looking for rainbows at night with a match.
But there’s no one to keep your promises to,
and just at the bend in the river, where you laid
a poppy on the grave of the white crow
to pay your respects to the end of the road,
you plunge over the edge of a finger-pointing precipice
like a willow of water into an ocean of awareness
and there’s no one there to catch you. And the dreamcatchers
aren’t the safety nets they said they were.

Were I a witchdoctor that knew the antidote to love
I would come with strange concoctions
of the Pleiades and deadly nightshade
ground with a sexual pestle in the mortar of my skull
and spiced with a measure of the inconceivable
and have you rise from your death bed
like a miracle among roses that escaped the frost.
I’d stroke the back of your hand like the head of a swan.
And you’d feel it melting like ice. The moon would bloom
like a love letter delivered to a dead branch.
The nightmare of the dispassionate fever
would transmutate into an elixir of life
that would thrill every flower into believing they had
lightning for roots. Wondrous blossoms of insight.

Into the Open. Into the Absence, the nihilistic emptiness
of the cup poured out in a hemorrhage of the heart
when the wine went bad. Someone there in the doorway
gone like a shadow from the sundial of the farewell
they left you with like the wing of a bird
that doesn’t sing anymore in the morning.
And even the birch groves don’t feel very strong
when they’ve been cast down by an ice storm
into white canes and crutches of suffering
you once could lean on for emotional support.

I would be a lightbulb in a house well for you
to keep you from freezing and more grandiosely
if I were a pagan architect, I would erect a temple
with pillars of fire for you that even time
when its hair grows out like solar flares
couldn’t pull down in a fury of indignant ions.
There would be no lack of heretics, martyrs,
or Norse gods to sing in your flames
because they would have finally found something
greater than their solipsistic selves to sacrifice to
that consumes them with devotion
axially aligned with you. And wherever you walked
true north would be under your feet.

As it is I follow you like an oriflamme
in a pageant of longing I will not be ransomed from.
And even if the court jester to the queen
isn’t the grand marshal that gets to carry it,
the one who rides first in the wake of your love,
his armour burning like a mirror of your reflected fire,
I have raised a small banner of blood
on the lance of a thorn the white knights
would think was laughably burlesque
were it not for the fact that it pours out of a dragon’s eyes
like the eclipse of a black rose in tears
igneously bleeding in the darkness
to temper its fangs like swords it remits in tribute,
from a burning bridge of fireflies,
to the solitary river of the unhonoured waters of the moon.




Wolf moon following in the tracks of Jupiter.
A dirty window. A cold night. A lonely astronomer
gazing through the flat glass without enlargement
or diminishment, he doesn’t grind his third eye
into a lens to grow more intimate or keep things at a distance
though he’s infinitely grateful for any firefly of light
like a chimney spark above a labyrinth of rooftops
and a fully enlightened prophetic skull only a few
devoted lunatics are howling at for reasons that elude them
at this hour of the early morning in a Prussian blue abyss.

Bleak January. No harvest. The soil too hard
to bury the dead. Hungry ghosts gnawing the air.
His heart a mason jar of black dwarfs that don’t
glow in the dark anymore. No jewels, or precious metals
in the ore of a solar flare of spent match heads,
he remembers the cool sapphires of the eyes
that used to look deeply into his like the Pleiades
without pretence or embarrassment, but more said
in a single glance about light, clarity and beauty
than any starmap could ever have imagined.

Dust on the windowsill, stars strewn across the sky,
he feels like an exile but knows deeper within
he isn’t any more misplaced than they are as
he bypasses his tears like mind and form
eviscerate matter, and like a lunar ocean
without an atmosphere to back it up, evaporates
into space like the last winding road of smoke
he’ll ever take like a geni unravelling the wick
from the flame, the wish from the mirage of a dry well.

He reminds himself he isn’t getting any older
than time is, and to say time is old, doesn’t make
any sense at any moment of the day or night.
Like the light of a star, the past often makes it
to the future long before the present ever does.
Waxing isn’t any younger than waning is.
The tide going out is just the opening eyelid
of the one coming in. Blue shift, red shift.
One mile east, one mile west, valleys and mountains
of the same wavelength, a snake in the flute
of the snakecharmer, dancing like fire on water
as if it refused to turn out the lights after the music was over.

If not peace, then at least an amicable truce
with the supersymmetry of his opposites,
he spins like a galactic dervish of stars
at the crossroads of where all ways of life
meet like jinxed prayer wheels at the nave
of a black hole with an iris of spokes
like the hands of an all encompassing clock
without a sense of direction, hour after
pointless hour as far as the world’s concerned.

Why spend a life bemoaning the absurd,
when it liberates his spirit from the tyranny
of common sense, like a detached retina
clinging to its visuals when the lack
of sequential event horizons opens the gate
to a flashflood of visionary metaphors
more acquainted with his imagination
than his third eye is with errors of perception.

Less and less he asks himself if he’s lived it wrong.
If anybody has, knitting socks for centipedes
to benignly pass the time doing something useful.
He doesn’t judge the efficacy of anyone’s delusions
to get the job done as if the beauty of the scaffolding
were the real masterpiece, and the painting itself
were merely another celebrity excuse
for the flesh to adumbrate the design of the skeleton.
Ladders of bone six feet closer to heaven
than the grave for awhile longer yet,
root fires of lightning rising through the rafters
of a leafless tree burning down like the lungs
of a star-breathing house suffocating in its own nebularity,
though he’s heard it said, the eternal sky
does not inhibit the flight of the white clouds.