Tuesday, February 12, 2013



Double full moons in the thermal panes across the street,
elaborate fractals of disproportionate replicates
in a seasick multiverse warped by the aging ripples of the glass.
I see Li Po drowning in all of them trying to embrace
the euphemistic screening myth of his suicide. I don’t think
a lotus bloomed where he died, but Jesus has a star
where he was born, so let’s put one there anyway
for a man who sang and drank and chanced his path
through life because no one offered him a job as a bureaucrat.
I love the double entendres of the unadorned.
How the waterlilies land like migrating swans
in the wetlands of the windows, and don’t expect to drown
like Narcissus in the mirrors of their own reflections.
But then I’m not in the habit of looking at things
like the emergency mentor of telescopes that suffer
nervous breakdowns looking for their third eye among the stars
as if it were interred in neuronic masses of black matter
and you could uproot it like a grail quest for ginseng
in the deep woods of Lanark County if you know where to look.

The night hot and humid and totally unmotivated,
all the windows open, and a big fan sword dancing above my head
waiting for the thorax of the rest of the helicopter to show up,
all revved up like a propeller without a flight path to anywhere,
I’m Zen-duelling in the acephalic shadows
of my hydra-headed anti-selves
for the lack of better company
until the muse of my solitude shows up
like a knock on the door of my coffin without
expecting a cogently analogous answer.
I write her long loveletters of cedar-scented smoke
I conjure from the ancestral inkwells
of my penumbral black holes to express
the excruciating loneliness of my singularity in eclipse.
In the intense heat of frog-rutting desire
black orchids bloom in the all-consuming fire
of an heretical apostate trying to burn
his God-particles into the wavelengths
of the photonic discharge of the rainbow bodies
of the highest Himalayan rinpoches as if
the sherpas of the Book of the Dead
were way over their heads like clouds
in the mountains of the moon without an atmosphere.

Easy in public to master the mot juste of a scalpel
you can use to nip and tuck the flabby psyches
of the less beautiful among your friends, but alone,
it’s different to divest a ventriloquist of your life-mask
and express yourself in a secret grammar as twisted
as the sensibilities of the evil jesters of the times are
in the fun-filled halls of the judicious mirrors
that can only recognize you by the accent of your tears.
To bring a gravitational eye to your unworthy affairs
and bend space into conformity with the magic rituals
of a black mass in an asylum of acquiescent pharmaceuticals.
Not to talk to yourself as if you were enamelling buttercups
with imaginative projections, or immolating blue hydrogen
like wild irises breaking out like insurgent firestorms
along the mindstream of your vagrant waywardness
as if off the path were the way of the path as far as you can go
without turning into the template of a preconceivable destination.
But to see how the full moon shines in a thousand lakes,
a thousand thermal-paned windows, a thousand and one eyes
and a mystical number of poets drowning like a multiverse
in every one of them, or conversely, the moon,
as must happen in the infinite waterclocks of time,
sinking like a pearl of nacreous wisdom
through myriad incarnations of Li Po letting go
like blossoms and poems scattering before the fruit
of their inexhaustible enterprise ripening into a windfall of eyes.




When my heart isn’t a hummingbird on a keyboard,
it’s a spider on a guitar. The long fingers of a surgeon
my mother used to say, the air bright with potential
and the creature with a purpose, a future it meant,
a destiny it was born to fulfil like a chain reaction.
Now it’s an error of evolution just to make it through another day.

And nights, sidereal ballerinas leaping like Cygnus at zenith
over the toxic wavelengths in this snakepit of street life.
Blessings on everyone’s head, I’ve shed a few lives of my own,
but I mean the nights, sometimes the nights,
scatter my own ashes over my head in mourning
like a nuclear winter that won’t let me forget.

Now there’s nothing perennial about my paradigms
and the flowers don’t grow as imperial as they used to.
Ferocious weeds spring up among the downtrodden
and swarm the gardens of the sun-king, the cattails
impaled, and the heads of the poppies on pikes by the gate.
I’m looking for new moons in the calendars of chaos
to sow the teeth of a dragon under. Soil made vintage
by the dissolution of the dead who are buried in me
as I keep on living their deaths like an impossible ending
to a recurring dream I haven’t woken up from in years.

Red alert. Don’t climb higher than the mountain is tall
unless you’ve got a star in your eye you’re going to follow
for the rest of your denatured life. But no one’s listening.
They’re all taking polls of bad examples on talent shows.
Can’t stand the artificial lights or the trained hilarity
of the audience defrocking sacred clowns at a cult ritual.
But I found a flap at the back of the circus tent
I like to slip out through and let the darkness
wash the patina of blazing out of my eyes
and encounter six thousand stars whose shining
ease the mind by enlightening its unique insignificance.

I like to blunder my way into places alone
where who I am is nobody’s business but the willows
and they’re not saying anything to the wind
that’s heard it all before. One moment you’re the canvas
and the next you’re a paint rag up to your alligators
in muddy oils trying to save an orchid from its own hysteria.
If there’s any rafter of my life left standing
it’s as fragile as a compass needle wobbling on a thorn.
One moment you’re teaching spiders to play the guitar
without barring their chords, and get rid of
those old harps of theirs that have been collecting in the corner
like dreamcatchers they couldn’t hold a note
if it were a velcro butterfly, and the next
you’re boiling strings like spinal cords in a bird bath.

But alone, where there’s no assent or denial,
and the false redeemers are orphaned
in their baskets and mangers among the hay and bull rushes,
I can juggle the crazy wisdom of myriad worlds
bubbling up in my blood like a playful multiverse
without dropping one of them, and swallow the swords
the moon lays down on the lake in tribute.
No blackboards in my freedom. No chalk fossils
among my crayons, I have been schooled
in the ghettos and still life studios of my solitude.

Here where the river emerges from a larynx of dead trees
I can think my way into the most open-minded modes of death
without having to turn around and go home again
or forget I’m just an organ of light that makes things visible
for anyone with an eye to spare, or the time
to listen to the picture-music where their senses meet
like parallel lives that have suddenly come into focus.