Tuesday, February 5, 2013



Fifty years of wrestling with the dark angel in the way.
You’d think we’d be friends by now. Blue flower
rooted in all that dark energy standing like an eclipse
in the burning corona of the doorway, the flammable sugar maple
fallen across the road, the sun that shines at mystic midnight,
the aniconic black wisdom of a one person cult
marking its own door with an X for extinction.
Even a spear of light that drinks from your heart like a heron
can sometimes feel like a blackfly up against
the cold windowpanes of obstructive immensities
shaping the course of your mindstream in the shadows
of the valleys of death, and darker yet, the flightpaths of love
buffeted back like arrowheads against the vortices
of hurricanes and black holes unworthy of the names of women.

If you haven’t been crippled and mended by God,
you’ve never met her. You’ve never known what it’s like
to be so deeply loved by a wound you’d happily bleed out
like a waterclock for the rest of your life as you hung
on the hook of the moon prophecying in euphoric agony.

If you haven’t looked upon human suffering, your own
and others. If you’ve bleached your soul with industrial disinfectants
because you’re too weak to get down and dirty
in your own starmud, and more than your heart
it’s imperative to keep your hands clean. If you
haven’t taken off the deathmasks of the slayer and the slain
to look deeply into the eyes behind the disguise
like peas in a shell game, you’re only holding a candle up
to a blind mirror that will never see anything at all
until you blow it out. Until you learn to love humans enough
you hate God in your heart of hearts, she’ll excruciate you
with her absence until your passion is perfect
and your heresy breaks into the flames of a great blessing
that knows the night is not a reward,
and even if you’re fully enlightened
you’re still ploughing the moon with a sword.

Until your blood burns like a black rose
in the killing frosts of the abyss etching
the inside of your eyes like tears of crystal glassware
when the windows turn their eyelids inside out,
you’re still not intense enough to thaw the next ice age.
There are no visionaries in the eyes of your dice.
You might be buried alive in an avalanche of prophetic skulls
or roaring in the mane of a Leonid across the atmosphere,
but you’re still heaping the corpses of your constellations up
on the pyre of a starmap administering last rites at a sky burial.

The words might be yours. But the voice that animates them isn’t.
You can say to the starclusters of the New England asters
when you’re startled by their wild beauty like a new tenant
in the organic apple orchard you inherited with the house
one early autumn morning these are my eyes, but the seeing
knows different. And the being you are is still a stranger at the gate.

I’ve always tried to live in such a way that my ghosts
were proud of me, though I know how nostalgically absurd that is,
an immaculate misconception of my own ignorance,
an affectionate preference, if nothing else, it gives me an excuse
to celebrate the qualities the dead have incorporated into my life
as effortlessly as the air I breathe for all of us awhile.
And not just the angels, but the demons as well,
the lucidly dark gifts it takes more courage than wisdom to accept.
Compassion continually enlightened by its own delusions.
Inimitable starlight hidden in the glitter of tinfoil.
The inconceivable revealed by the unattainable
like the memory of an event that had already occurred
and been forgotten in the rush to understand it.

How we throw ourselves like keys into the grass at night
and down on all fours begin a systematic search
even when there are no locks on the doors
and everywhere is passage, no exit, no entrance,
out in the open as obvious as space with nowhere to hide.

We fashion compasses and destinations out of
our labyrinths and cul de sacs. We lose ourselves
so deeply in what we’re looking for we’re dying of thirst
immersed in it like fish crying out for lifeboats.

One mile west. One mile east. One step back as
the other moves ahead. Progressing backwards,
in a looping universe is as good as regressing forwards
whether you’re walking with galaxies along the Road of Ghosts,
or standing in your own way without giving your assent
to the creative potential of coming to the end of yourself
like an unassailable impediment, an undeniable fact
that returns you like a key to the open gate
that’s always been yours to enter by as vagrantly
as the map of a lost leaf on the mindstream
that’s been following you blind for lightyears.




The catastrophic insight. The black hour
on the widow’s back, spirit of ice-picks,
and my blood, my nerves, split ends
of red lightning freaking my flesh
with burning rivers of fire that clings
like tar and creosote to the shrieking skin
as if sound could be cold, silence so mad
peace is a high pitched truce between wars
coiled like the mainspring of a chromosome
in a wind-up alarm clock mistaken for the heart.

Moments of aggressive impersonality,
angry houseflies electrocuting the window
with black power surges in their downed powerlines
as they die on the windowsill, the exhausted words
of some black dwarf of a world that imploded
on itself, baffled and betrayed by the sky
that one day out of the blue, just said no to the light,
no to the houseflies, no to the broken neck of the wren
against a brittle mirage of motiveless clouds
that wrote their names on a black list
that denied them their alienable rites of passage.

Vicious carbon of martyred scarecrows
who insisted they were the favourites of God,
after walking in the brilliant starfields
among the resurgent lyrics of the wildflowers,
I can sense the emergence of mini blackholes
sinking my solar system like eight balls
in a pocket too deep to be retrieved from.
I gnash at nothing as if there were an immaculate intent
behind the brutal venality of random circumstance.
I’m restrained by a straitjacket of killer bees
like a gamma ray burst of toxic thought-waves
that don’t mean anything more than the usual extinction
but reek like the post mortem effects of a curse.

Even an abandoned house that’s burnt to the ground
can give shelter to the sacred syllables
of the song birds that used to sing
from its green rafters like the boughs of my bones
before my mouth was stuffed with ashes like the urn
of the asmatographer I was last week before
I was scalded in this acid bath of a dream fever
that revels without joy in the perverse glee
of disillusioning my will to fight for life
by whispering to me like the chorus line of a snakepit,
you may be strong, you may be immunological fit,
but there’s a limit to how many times you can be bit
and not succumb to the delirious radiation of the melt down.

When your dream of amelioration turns on you
like a pet python in your sleep and presses itself
like a pillow full of fledgling flightfeathers into your face
and says the more you try to believe you can fly
the more I’ll swallow you whole in a single gulp
like that vast sky and all those stars you keep lit
like a nightwatchman of lighthouses and fireflies
along the shipwrecked coasts of your consciousness
deluded by the radiance of their rescue and warning,
the beauty of life and light stepping out of the dark
as if mind were the happy exception to the undeniable
and not the rule as perilous hope wilts like a flower
of crazy wisdom in the eyes of an ailing fool.

And I shall reply, as I do now in this poem
from the deepest watersheds of my volcanic solitude
because I’ve been alienated from the surface
all my life, let despair do what it must. I’m sick
of cringing like a bubble in the shadow of its thorns.
I’ll fly like a cinder of a dragon in the eye of a hurricane.
I shall enlist an army of heretics and lead them
in a holy war against recalcitrant hypocrites
who haven’t got the imagination to stand up
for their wardrobes and personas when depression
pulls the plug on the applause of their pollsters.

Being true has got nothing to do with being right.
Though the road I’m on be trampled
into a bog of starmud and snapping turtles
pull my wild constellations down like swans and eagles
I’ll remain shining as sidereally
as a blade of mystically surrealistic stargrass.
I’ll make a faith of my spite, a religion
of all the most cherished mistakes I’ve made
believing in life as the most inspired child of the light.

Though spurs of razorwire cut the tendons of my winged heels
I’ll morph into a clubfoot dancing with fireflies
in the condemned ball room of a homeless starmap
and I won’t think twice about the worth of the sacrifice.
Even when death holds its dress sabre
up to my jugular like the last crescent of the moon,
I’ll remain the unkempt buffoon of my upbeat futility
and smile like an eclipse in face paint as if
I knew something absurdly wise about being alive it didn’t.