Saturday, February 16, 2013



And these lines like the opening wake of a boat I’m not in.
Or is it the opening of an old wound unsealing itself like a loveletter?
Or the world held up to the lips of this fever like a spoon?
There are shadows in the valley of a scar
that sometimes mistake themselves for leaves
and turn their sewers into wine
and reel in the unmoving delirium of a black noon
when the hands of the clock disappear
into the cool centre of their turning
and time is sheathed like mercy in the darkness.

Suffering shadows my blood like a map
and so I look for joy in everything
as if my death were already achieved and behind me
and I could linger over the morning and end of everything
like a wet winter fog that doesn’t try to cling.

The tree outside the window in my writing room
is the axle of existence
and every ring of its heartwood
is the expanding wheel of the world,
as it is with every breath. But this is precisely where
I keep losing myself in the ineffable urns and ashes
of the unsayable beyond, not just of death,
but of all that life hasn’t been
to one who loved it like his only chance.

A firefly agitates the darkness more
than all the lightning of my awareness
when I consider the spectral vagrancy of my thought
calling to me like a hill to an unmoored lifeboat
to see if anyone survived the last sinking of the moon.

And my sorrows are bells of water that toll like the sea
for all the incredible dead who are buried in me
like marrow in the bone.
Which is to say no more than another
labouring under the weight of being human.

And I know of a lyrical clarity that’s free to sing what it wants,
that lifts the snake up with wings
and enfolds it in the infinite solitude of the sky
and lets it shine eyes beyond the reach of the light.

Here words jump like fish on the moon
and the dead branch is an orchard in bloom
and yesterday picks up its shoes and roads behind it
and there isn’t a shadow born of the light that can follow me
and tomorrow isn’t the ambassador of my next breath
arriving with urgent news
to wake up the dead
like a poppy or an ambulance in a nightmare.

Here the lucidities ripen like eyes with every eclipse
and the bright vacancy of the glaring moonskull
is broken like the bread of a dark abundance
that feasts in the seed of everything.

I watch the snowflakes fall randomly outside
and try to assess the chances
of finding the moon in an oyster,
remembering the unattainable has no threshold
to blunder my way across like spiritual junkmail.

The world is a drop of water flowing out of its own eye.
A squirrel natters and gnashes its annoyance
at my propinquity and for a moment
affirms that I exist by the intensity of its denial.
And it wasn’t just seas that the moon lost, not just seas,
but the sky that softened her stars as well.

The thought falls like a key on rock,
a fly at a winter windowpane,
forgetting what it once could open,
and I let it take its place at the table
like a ghost of salt that looks a lot like me
because we both mourn for the same lost sea,
born of the same bell. But let the starmud settle,
the dust compose what it will, thoughts fall
like the flightfeathers of passing birds
that do not stop to sing because my voices
echo in the cocoons of ten thousand transformations,
and who I was in the prelude that just walked past,
is now the likeness of my dissimilarity,
hobbling like a bridge on crutches downstream
or a disoriented pilgrim on the smokeroad to fire
as all the Gothic glaciers evaporate like churches.

Do you see how space conforms me like the wind
to the shapes of my own faceless emptiness
as I stand over the silence like a heron or a pen
waiting for fish that slip away like waves on the moon?
Madness or enlightenment? Asylum or shrine?
I have deepened my ignorance enough not to care.

My flesh, a wardrobe of ghosts.
My mind, the gesture of a star in the dirt.
My heart, blood on the thorn of the moon.
And still, my spirit cries out like an abyss
for the dead wasp on its back on the windowsill,
as if there were a will to my foolishness
tangled like wild morning glory
in the trellises of the constellations
where the great roses of the night
are enthroned in their bloodlines,
and do not acknowledge the passage of the small urgencies
that are dotted like periods at the end of their own sentences.

I accord the wasp, the squirrel, the tree,
full rights to my identity
in this agony of being,
this fellowship of suffering,
and with no more authority than the spontaneous value
a jest of compassion attributes to my clownish humanity
and the solitudes of anguish it must endure
to keep on approximating its life
like the long draw of the straw in a hurricane.

I have lived and wept long enough
not to trust any insight
that doesn’t feel the pain
growing eyes like a gate in the rain.
How have any of us not suffered
and cried out in our alienation
I am human, I am human,
as if our despair could voice
the violence of our relentless insignificance?

And when I say this, understand,
there isn’t anything it could possibly mean
if it doesn’t heal, if it doesn’t say
to the widow alone for the first night
or the scar of the moon in the window,
or the child savaged by atrocity
who was left torn and alone in the dark,
there is no one to whom we can plead,
no one who could hear
the scream of the hell
poured from your blood
like the iron voice of a misshapen bell,
no one who can unseed the life you’re rooted in,
no one, not even you, to know your need
for intimate fires in the ashpits of your stars
that suddenly flare up like flowers
to consume that which surpasses itself in wonder,
but when you’re wounded by the horsemen in the night
who trample you like a pulse, know this, I bleed
like the same resonance of ruptured atoms
and my harp is split like a wishbone
and my heart is the wilted lily, the failed parachute
of a sidereal hemorrhage, and I
am darker than the eyelids of the gods
with anger that you should suffer so
and not know, not know
the delirium of the seed
that is buried in your wound
like the herb of the eclipse that lived you like enlightenment.




Counting Orphic skulls on the abacus of a spider web.
Listening to them click like pool balls, crabs and castanets.
I’m beading new solar systems out of the nebular air. I’m seeding
clouds of unknowing with genetically unmodified meteors.
I’m lawn bowling with black holes. I’m collecting
echoes of zeroes from the rain on shepherd moons
and trying to link them like empty buckets
into a waterclock of life that flows inflammably
like thicker tears of methane on the surface of Titan.

I’m Saint Darkness in a sensory deprivation tank.
My aspirations are houseflies belly up on a window sill.
My longings have all been exorcised like the baby ghosts
I keep in incubators like the mangers of messiahs
on the night ward, knowing no one will ever come
to claim them. I give them names and raise them on my own
like poems that take me for granted as I teach them
to walk all over me like a starmap you could drown
your sorrows in. How not to be crucified
for the metaphoric content of the message you deliver.
And if you’re going to rise from the dead, rise
like the unknown headwaters of an alluvial river
that can grind civilizations of wild starwheat into bread.

So the angels can hover over the town
at four in the morning, knowing no one
went to bed hungry and listen to the prayers
of the people they can’t do anything to help
except hang there like the curtains of the northern lights
as if they were thinking out loud in the dream grammar
of a mystic trying to paint the mystery of life
in a palette of picture-music that hurts as deeply
as it illuminates the beauty and the agon
of staying alive long enough to know what for.

I celebrate the dangerous awareness of my crazy wisdom
on the merest of hunches that play on the bird bone flutes
of my deepest hopes lingering like lyrical spirits
around the asteroid belts of my archaic graves
rolled like thousands of stones away from the tomb of Sisyphus
trying to beatify his absurdity like an orbiting avalanche.

Good luck, my brother. Watch out for low-flying telescopes
trying to shoot out any stars it catches in its cross hairs
like a spiritual trespasser trying to transit two thresholds at once.
And don’t be discouraged if you hear them calling Einstein a dunce.
Sooner a persistent fool ageing wisely than a sporadic sage
acting out like a bitter green apple in late winter.

Put it down to the age I live in. The fountain of youth
is syrup in a Coke can everyone is sipping from
like hummingbirds on crack, fish in medicated water
outside their dilated kitchen windows next
to the hemorrhaging thermometers of their patriotic syringes
at a needle exchange for global warming.
No mercy asked. None received. Take all the space you want.
The gravitational eyes of the universe are upon you, sunbeam.
Shine on, shine on, shine on. You’ll be a wildflower yet.

I’m trying to be rationally surrealistic about the perversity
of the ambitions of perfect vacuums sucking the life
out of their fellow insects like parasitic guests
of the corporations they’re elected by like mud slides.
The free press has become a screening myth, a smoke screen,
a trivially, distractive one-eyed liar. Politicians
lead with their anus like mouthy monostomes
for whom it doesn’t make a difference what end
they speak out of, to, or for. How deranged
does it have to get before the electorate stops consulting
expert proctologists who speak like rubber gloves
for spiritual advice about their innovatively tragic lives
in the most pleonastically, lucrative of times
before everyone starts talking in tongues
to the local nightbirds like I do whenever
I want to get something off my chest
like an avalanche of gravestones and asteroids
trying to jumpstart my life all over again
by upgrading the quality of the starmud
they spread all over my alluvial plain
like lunar corn silk and a few more scarecrows
that get along, whatever the song, with the nightbirds
in the hallowed valleys of my brain
where I sow thorns and question chaos about my solitude.