Saturday, February 2, 2013



Enrobing my nobility
in the aloofness of a spurned beggar,
or a musician on a street-corner
opening the coffin
of his exhumed guitar for change
to keep his humilation
enraptured and alive,
his song denied its bough
by a warning
from the window of a squad car
enforcing the petty complaint of the loveless
who douse
the flaring of the flowers in law
as if all that unimposing ecstasy
were merely another match
that failed to consume them,
I conceal the generosity of the stars
that urgently lavish their light
on the deepening night that reveals them
in the lordly pockets of my impoverished repose.

I want to want something again
that isn’t an expletive of acquisition
that ages into the accusing silence
of an unattended toy.
I want to knock down all the probabilities,
all the odds and evens
of the gravestones placed like bets
in a cemetery of bookies
that have hedged their deaths
with double or nothing on the long shot.

Love bides its time in me
like fire in a stone
that rings the ashes of its last revelation
and over the clamour of ghosts at war,
I try to live up to myself in the silence
like the impossible conditions of an unsigned truce.

I have plucked the wings of angels
and feathered my heresies
in the tars and flammable shadows of the night.
If I have withdrawn into myself
it is only to advance and transcend and array
like a wave or a breath
when the abyss gathers me into its unassailable immensities
and then sprawls me out like a map
on the shore of an uninhabited island
to discover what I’ve buried.

I am always curled
like the sickle of a harvest eclipse,
a question-mark, an imported executioner
over the pure, black point of my existence
even as I offer myself up
to the hidden face of the moon
as the first, shining stalk of wheat
to venture out of the tomb
under her inscrutable auspices.

But I am not the redivining of an old sacrifice,
I am not a child in the attic
playing in the valley of the kings
with the castaway cargoes of a rudderless moonboat
scuttled in time;
I don’t dress up in the abandoned wardrobes
of the oversized past
to practice the mute afterlife of my future.

Denied the bough of the day,
I am the nightbird perched in your roots
and singing,
not to summon,
not to warn anyone away,
and even less to convey
the bitterness of unrequited beatitudes
or the serpentine intoxicants of unanswerable longing.

Sometimes it feels as if
I were an extremity of fire
frozen in the ice of hell,
or I find myself lingering
over the petals of the pimped-out magnolias
like the pages of a torn book
or old Venetian blinds askew at the window,
to look for eyes between the lines
I might add to the watersheds of my seeing like rain,
but I’m never a pilgrim on a road of smoke for long.

And I don’t know
if I have enhanced the waters of life
with the tears that fell inwardly
from the lightless side of my eyes,
but I am not the urgent miscellany
of the misunderstood
and I have always been suspicious of the bread
that calls itself good
and founds its thunderous, empty silo
on a curse in the cradle of the grain.

I don’t peck like a pigeon
in the holy squares of the doctrinal,
and it’s been an ironic consolation at times
to wryly affirm with a quizzical smile
that only my uncertainty is certain.

My life may have been blown about
like the windswept froth of a pathetic guess,
and everything I know
be phantoms of foam clinging to ruinous rocks,
but I have that in common with the stars,
and there are tides I ride bareback without a bit
like my own bloodstream
that fly like wild horses on the moon,
muscling the dead seas of the heart like waves
that expound no more
with the gavelling of their hoofs
than the astounded pulse of the running.

I am no longer estranged
by the parsecs of solitude
that are the true measure of my age,
once I realized
it was my only way of meeting everyone.
And I have never mistaken a chain
for the rosary of a dead liberator
and linked the name of God
to anything that is bounded by what it binds.

My freedom is slanderous,
lightning and a star,
but my devotion glows like a firefly in a jar
when I consider that I owe more
to the things I got away with
like a fugitive
compelled to cross the unknown badlands
by a posse of judicial compasses,
than I do to the foghorns and lighthouses
that bellowed over my unsalvageable corpse
because it rose on its own
like an unschooled coast,
and there’s still a morning in my smile I can’t regret.




Jupiter gone from the window. Homage
to the ambiguously forgotten moments of light
that shine down upon the earth awhile
whether anyone’s watching this time of night
or not, intimate fireflies of the terrible largesse
of the diminished gods that once dwarfed our childhoods
in the shadows of the shepherd moons they cast
like an abacus of wandering stars. Thaumaturgic
strangers at the gates of our youthful wonder
as we cried ourselves to sleep at night because
we were born too early to walk on another planet
surrealistically pictured in the collectible spacescapes
of the bubble gum cards we swapped like Jupiter for Mars.

Nothing more hurtful than the unrequited love affairs
that ached with longing at the city limits of our starfields.
Postcards from the edge of nowhere left unsigned.
The first betrayal of astonishment on the thresholds of time.
A curse of distances that left us spell bound
by an abyss of inconceivable mysteries illuminating
the ancient texts of our estranged starmud homesick
to return to the original fire wombs of our shining
instead of being marooned here burning our ships
on the beach of a circumnavigable island
as if we could do nothing but under reach ourselves.

Lightyears ago before I discovered thought was faster
in the gaping interstellar spaces of my own mind than light
and sight was a kind of love that touched the heart of things
and brought them infinitely nearer than a mirror or a lens.
That what I really longed for from the intangible brilliance
of their emphatic absence in my life was to
humanize the unknown with the evanescent metaphors
that bridged the gaps between our departures and arrivals
like analeptic waterclocks thawing the tear ducts
of cold eternities eager to learn as much as they could
from the brevity of our unbearable passage through
the recurrent perishing of our lives and unborn deaths.

No lack of midnight specials flashing in the dark,
I grew up looking down the long Buntline barrels
of alta-azimuth refractors with small spotting scopes
aiming at things impossible to hit. No collateral damage
from ricochets, except for the occasional planet or star
through the heart, and the childhood fever
of the wounded wonder of it all lodged there forever.

Despite what the Cyclopean optimists insist
with their big third eyes orbiting like automated proxies
for their spiritual lives in a brutally cold, space
you have to look into the dark if you want to see the stars.

I looked up at them out of the immensity of my solitude
and they looked deeply back out of their abyss into me
and once our eyes met and mingled like wary animals
in the woods at night, out of the corner of a window,
fireflies hair-braided into the willows, in the cuffs of a dream,
in the nebular chandeliers of a lover’s eyes moist
with the Pleiades, none of us have been the same ever since
like mini nirvanic flashbacks from the eternal sixties.
Light upon light, the way of gods and humans in the world,
and well beyond, o so much deeper into the dark
where seeing leaves our eyes behind, and it’s not
the insights that are revealed along the roadsides
of the starmaps we’ve memorized like wildflowers
that our divining aspires to, not the lamps
of the nightwatchmen with master keys to secure
the doors of perception our childhoods walked through,
light through the black holes and pupils of our eyes
and telescopes out into the open of our expanding minds
and their multi-tasking worlds, a seance of friendly faces
at the end of a tunnel of light, but to be enlightened
by the shining of the secrets that leave you in the dark,
burning in the window on the grave yard shift
long after Jupiter has set in the west over the Lanark hills.