Monday, February 18, 2013



Solitude and silence. The emptiness of the living moment
subsumed in the mundane middens of the soul, clam shells
and sheep bones, the shucked content of the heart
cherished again as the afterlife of the evidence
I once lived here along with everyone else.

Before I write, this archaeological seance I hold with myself,
this ingathering of everyone I’ve ever been
flowing back into me where the mindstream meets the sea.
The continuous stillness of this contiguous awareness
where everything is a symbolic event in a dream
trying to wake up from itself to set the dream people free.
Emotional effusions of the moon bleeding among the coral.
Solar flares of conceptual insight returning like ingrown hairs
to the source of their deception like unwanted children
though I’ve franchised orphanages all over my mindscape
to shelter my rational thought from the persecutions of my intuition.
Serpent’s tongues that have been struck by black lightning
humming like a choir of tuning forks half a note off
like a lie they told God, they’ve been living ever since.

No piety. But a natural kind of reverence for the life of the mind
breathing me in and out of my body like a bellows
trying to boil spiritual gold out of my default metal of lead
as things begin to heat up like the tongue of a sword
on the anvil of my voice. And by that I know
prophetic heads are going to roll on the growing edge
of an imaginative insurgency nothing flammable with life
can resist for long. I know anything I say about this,
if experience hasn’t cooked you in the same cauldron
I was born in, will seem unpatently absurd, but then
so are thermals in the open fields just before sunset
and the hawks that ride them for the sheer joy of airing their wings
unperturbed by what’s moving in the grass down below.

Infinite grammars. Myriad alphabets. Space talks in tongues.
Everything that is lives and isn’t intelligent, but intelligence itself.
Chaos the mercurial cornerstone of an order that’s lost
the rhythm of life trying to syncopate its heartbeat
to the unmusical paradigms of stone-eared preconceptions.
I see crows with rubies in their beaks as if
they’d just isolated the gene for symmetry.
In this miasmic swirl of images and wavelengths,
third eyes coalescing like starclusters
out of clouds of unknowing breaking into light,
and the shadows they cast no less prepossessing,
how uninhabitable I feel as a planet hoping the night
will prove me wrong and make all things
communicable and clear as a mother tongue
I’ve been speaking for years without knowing it
even when I exile myself like the sacred syllable
of a native son wandering the earth like a rootless tree.

And there, do you see that constellation rising
like a distillation of the starmud I’ve walked in all my life?
Doesn’t it make you want to dance under it with the wind
like a chandelier you’ve thrown rocks because it’s beautiful,
as if someone were standing in it like a window
with the elevated perspective of the Pleiades
shining down in equanimity upon its desecrants
as if by their fruits you shall know the luminous generosity
of a windfall of light that falls at your feet
as if someone were germinating star sapphires in your bloodstream
to give you something higher to aspire to
than just teaching fire how to swim through the blues?

Inside the allegory. The logic of metaphor.
Hidden harmonies in synchronous pictographic fields
that resonate like cave paintings with otherworlds
that are not occluded by the imposition of space and time.
The younger ore of the outer world smelted down
like imagistic strokes of luck into the visionary elders
that transform them in the fires of their imaginations
into the igneous bloodlines that pour out of them
like the mystic metals of swords descended from ancient stars
that can give and take life at the same time
in these homeless realms of sacred ambivalence
before the dark mother tempered the forms she engendered
in tears that broke like the waters of a docetist womb.

Things here don’t relate like thought-trains on parallel lines
that never meet, whatever the destination, they associate
like chords and keys you can hear with your eyes
and see with your ears in a synteresis of the senses
that wash up on the shores of cosmic, island consciousness,
all wavelengths of the same inexhaustible oceanic mind
that doesn’t make things appear so much as emerge
like species efflorescing into the medium they’re working in.
Alloys of light and earth. Hybrids of water and fire.
The sky calling its birds. The river its fish.
And the longing of time in the mouth of the earth
to call us out of the starmud and bathe us in the rain
gentled out of her atmospheric acids so as not to burn
the tenderness she lavished on us like eyes and skin,
a new kind of shining to enhance the radiance of the stars,
light upon light in the skulls of the unbegotten ancestors.

This is the morphological matrix of knowledge forms
shaped to the organs of perception like neuronic synapses,
enjoining efferent axons to the walls of nervous villages
waiting for the news of what they’re experiencing
from the abstract receptors of oracular impulses,
construing the world as a dendritic grapevine
tendrilled like Celtic silverwork throughout the mind
rooted in space as the closest similitude
to the emptiness that is the ground of its being
and the great commingled watershed of its subconscious commons.

The simpler the window, the cleaner the view
so I attend to my seeing like a nightwatchmen
attends to his own eyes like the glow of a lantern
warns and reveals the shadows of his presence in the darkness.
Eye to eye with the sky at either end of the telescope
things of the world are things of the mind,
cosmology the bubble-brained psychology of the multiverse.
And there are some nights, waiting for a poem
to bloom like a flower in the flames of my intensities,
I swear I can overhear from stars away
the exhilarated echoes of alien voices ruminating
on how we might have changed the gestural expressionism
of our shapeshifting, river-turning, morphotic souls in their absence.

Probable concourses of multiplicitous insights
into the jewel I’m turning in the light of my mind
like the sun and the moon at midnight and noon
when the measure of words is the wingspan
of whatever sky I happen to be flying in
like comets and birds and maple-keys
that have unlocked my heartwood and set me free
to blossom like an alphabet on a pilgrimage of trees,
to express myself like an inconceivable wind
with wings on my heels in the hermetic shrines
of this unearthly solitude, this estranged silence.




Listening to the nightsong of the silence
in a clearing in the woods that used to be
a field someone rocked and ploughed for cattle corn,
and left the crooked timbers and fieldstone foundations
of a log cabin to be swarmed by the rat snakes, their blood
as the cold comes on, slowing down into
long red wavelengths of hibernation that drives
the raccoons, the bears, and most of the locals
who can’t afford migration, to dream half the winter away,
soporifically numb by the woodstove, or numb outside
from the air gnawing at their fingertips and noses
as if they were being whittled out of ice
or numbed by food, sex, alcohol, gossip and drugs
into the Land of the Lotus Eaters in the middle of an ice storm.

Chronic boredom of a white screen they’d
rather smear with something than look at nothing at all,
whether cadmium red on a blank canvas,
blood on the snow next to the hollyberries
the foxes and blue jays have been feasting on,
or the mythic inflation of their own personal offal
gone viral on an internet of a sky full of stars
spreading the rumour around. Wonder what
the drunk loggers of Burridge back in the day
when the cops were afraid to go there,
would have to say about their whiskey barrels
being sawn in half for flowerpots of flagging petunias
and forlorn coleus on the streets of Perth today.

Or me out here on my own looking
for the Orionid meteor showers where the dark
hasn’t been distempered by the bottled light of the town.
After thirty-five years of living among these woods and lakes
I still come here as an unrooted stranger to the place
who finds it easier to relate to the wilderness
taking its own back, than the ghosts that abound
like Huron women in the moonlight
beating the wild rice at the edge of the ponds
into the bows of their spectral canoes
silent as waterbirds parting the veils of the waves
before smallpox, Jesuits, and the Iroquois wiped them out.

And yet how beautiful the stars are above the birch groves
just before moonrise, when you see them in isolation,
and you feel your heart gripped by a sense of wonder
so transfixing and sublime, you embody it immediately
as the deepest intimacy of time you’ll ever experience
in your passage through it. And it doesn’t matter
what the message is, whether you can interpret
the signs or not, or come away any wiser for the sight,
or mistake a knowledge of starmaps and constellations
for real light, you’re assured, without ambivalence
of the mortality of the witness, as a deep humility
startles your flesh into realizing its tenuous brevity
is only a temporary deferment of death, long enough
to be stunned by the profundity of these fireflies of insight
as if you’d just dug up your own prophetic skull on the moon.

Death soon. No need to make a fact morbid
by denying it. Right now I’m still a seance
of living fire in the woods the shadows of those
who dreamed and fought, wept, longed, loved,
lived, laughed and died here competently long before me
gather around as if a whole beehive of ghosts
turned out to bid the last flower of the fall farewell
or I were the axial blackhole at the nave
of a prayer wheel galaxy flowing into me
as if the black queen of the sweetness of life
were founding a new colony of natives, exiles,
and immigrants deep inside my soul like the portal
to another world than this one that exhumes and exorcises
all that lives like starmud in a repatriated body.

Or as the Ojibway figured out, ten years
of leaving me food and cigarettes at the sunny side
of my burial hut before my bones turn to dust
and my ghost is free of my fire, before the Canada geese
embody my migratory soul on a long journey south,
there are rituals and protocols of life and death
that must be upheld with a patience and grace
born of understanding how vital it is to adorn
what can’t be understood with osprey feathers,
cedar boughs, sage and sweetgrass, growing wild
in the starfields of our dream mothers
leafing the alders in the spring with new metaphors
for the wind blowing through the catkins.

In the beginning was the imagination.
Imagination is the mindscape we’re all aboriginals in.
Reality is still a theory fasting on a mountaintop
looking for a totem of itself while it remains awake.
Imagination is a three-feathered chief at peace
with whatever it dreams, even if it dreams it’s awake
when the elders gather to name the newborn
after the dancing waters and fire talkers
consult the wisdom of their silence and solitude
in the presence of the inexpressible events
that create the things of the world
like the sensory simulacra of a story
that always dying to be told around the fires of life
in a voice full of distance and time and sorrow
like the wind blowing the blossom of the moon
out of the leafless crowns of the trees
so death might wax fruitful when life is all ears.