Monday, April 1, 2013



When the unsayable supplants yesterday’s wisdom
it makes it look obvious and trivial in retrospect
and you marvel at the spiritual gestures of goodwill
that swept you off your feet for light-years
as the arcana of a discipline you gave up trying to master,
because you could only see into the matter
as far as the light you were given to go by.
And you didn’t know then that when
you blew the candle out you held
pathetically up to the abyss that you did more,
by blowing it out, to illuminate the universe,
than you did when you fed it your heart
to keep it burning like a night light among the stars,
or a lighthouse paling in the full glare of the sun.

Off the path is the way of the path.
How can anyone be lost? Or found, for that matter?
Midways of gurus with their touring freak shows.
Sacred matchbooks of budding sulphur
throwing humans into the Bonfire of the Vanities,
chasing the bank-rolled Renaissance out of Florence.
Terminal literalism, infectious symbolitis
sweeping down the coast like hemorrhagic fever
from the merchant fleets of Genoa. The wild grape vines
of intuitive insight converted into the razor wire
of paranoid orthodoxies. The heretics bear witness
to the madness in the judgement of their abusers,
and scald the clouds with their blood for it.

The spiritual highways cluttered with exiles,
refugee saints, and scapegoats, where is there
a wilderness left where the tourists don’t go
to gawk at the hermits like wildlife? Back
to the birch groves and the cawing of the crows
like auctioneers that don’t have a thing to sell.
No one’s footprints to follow in. The way things
turn out, at best, a wolf path through the snow
gone by spring, or where you bent the waist high grass
by walking through it like the path of least resistance,
unmapped as the wind. What is it all, when
even the seven-tiered tower of the Scotch thistle
is a mental event, if not open, unknown and empty
in the sense of being indefinable, not missing,
as if anything were there in the first place
it was crucial not to lose? Spare your tears.
Life hasn’t got anything to repent or reform.

The mystery manifest as it is and that’s the whole of it.
What more of it is there to reveal, than the rocks
have already said? Real, not real, the flowers bloom nonetheless
and you’re free to make or feel or think or not
about them as you wish. Mourn the ruination
of the flowers in a passion play as old as the stars
or trust your own mind to mentor you in the ways
of not reifying it into a thing among things,
the source and matrix of your most cherished illusions,
the mirage of the dark mother who eats her own like time.
There is no pattern, path, paradigm, psychodynamic
or unified field theory that the mind won’t
accommodate itself to like a child’s drawing of the universe.

You can elaborate the roots of a tree like a fractal into
a morphology of knowledge forms
that sing in its boughs like sparrows
in the black walnuts of the morning
and then consult it like the grammar of a dream
for the blue print or starmap of the house you’re building
like a screening myth with a built-in library.
The magician gulled in the doorway of his own magic,
having lost the key to the spell he cast
when this desert of stars was merely
the vagrant threshold of a tent in the moon’s back yard.

The folly of sages, the wisdom of fools,
what’s the point of enlightening your own freedom
if you’re too afraid to accept it as the mystical mundanity
that’s under your nose this very moment?
You can hunt your own shadows down like heretics
fleeing the hounds of heaven, you can denounce
an eclipse for being a sunspot on your illumination
and polish the mirror for the rest of your life
and still not wash your face off with a paint rag
like a clown in a green room waxing tragic
to counteract the laughter at the expense of his own wounds.

Look into the eyes of the roadkill for yourself
as if no one else in the world can do your seeing for you
and you won’t see anything very shocking to be afraid of.
No spiritual snake-eyes. No hidden meaning
you have to get at the guts of like a turkey-vulture.
And if you feel compassion, and it’s natural you should,
it’s because there’s something communal about the random
you sense has been going on a lot longer
than the last few thought moments when you showed up
to be misunderstood by your own imagination.
You want some good spiritual advice to get you in the habit
of taking it yourself, whether things are sublimely rough
and death is dying into you, or life is trivializing
the palatial playhouse it was born into? When occasion arises,
and when does it not, learn to call your own bluff
and sit down on the ground, and have a good laugh.




And in that moment the stars come down to earth
and light up the lanterns of your cells
you’ll finally see that constellation of your self
so many of us have been born under
shining like eyes in your blood, your bones,
your tongue, your skin glowing with starmaps
like the holy books of the fireflies. You’ll
light up this whole night sea of sentience
with a vernal firestorm of essential insights
like the full moon conducting a seance
among the corals, a fertility rite of enlightenment
in which you repeatedly give birth to the universe
moment by moment, cosmic eggs in a halo of comets.

To love the earth in all its mutable variations
is to love the music of your own revelation
playing like a genius in a beauty pageant
with the spontaneous brilliance of billions
of miraculously catastrophic forms of life
with an appetite for adding flames to the fire
like leaves and petals and wings to a wildflower
until the elaborated order of things is a loveletter
chaos wrote in its own beautifully cursive hand.

Above everyone’s manger there’s a star
that becomes incarnate in humans
who go looking for themselves like three wise men,
or the trifecta of three wise women in their craft,
Alnitam, Alnilam, and Mintaka in the belt of Orion,
and Sirius updating the calendars of the Dogon
lower down in the southeast such that even those
lost in the deepest black holes a prophetic dreamer’s
ever been cast into, can’t help adding their light
to the darkness by following their own star
back to themselves, to find the light they’ve been given
to go by, was like the mind, like the lantern in their hand,
like the lostness they ever despaired of finding their way out of,
the illumination of their true destination all along.
The mountain was climbing the guide back up
the stairwells of its own elemental genome to the stars
like a child that can’t wait to slide down the bannisters again
or a sparrow hawk riding its own gleeful thermals
like the first star to appear in the sky like the eye
in the moodring of the peacock blue-green of the sunset.

Every time a species is effaced from the smile of the earth,
our own bodies are desecrated by the act
and in every one of our cells, lockets of the galaxies,
where the firmament places its highest hopes
close to our hearts, a star goes extinct, a candle goes out
that’s been burning for millions of years,
and the windows pull down the blinds like eyes in mourning.

The world is more collaboratively communal
than it is solitarily universal. First rule of thumb
in creating life out of its own cauldron, organize,
like starlings rising out of a birch grove.
First law of the heart in cherishing and sustaining it,
is to respect yourself enough to look after it
as if it were the changeling daughter of the new moon
placed in your care by the dark matrix of a passing eclipse
that let’s you in on the family secret the stars
have known all along, that every conception
of your heart and mind is blood of your blood,
flesh of your flesh, bone of your bone. And in your genes
the sacred syllables, relics and runes of your own fossil.

Add your life like lyrics to the cacophonous symphony
of the jungle music you hear going all around you
day and night, the ancient exhilaration of life
sword dancing with the stars to the dangerous riffs
of a predatory lead guitar hunting solo in the shadows
of a game of snakes and ladders that can see like dice in the dark.
Hone your instincts like the blade of the crescent moon
on the stone of your heart in a biochemical state of grace,
and don’t neglect to let your spirit break
like the new dawn of a lobster out of your body armour
or a dragonfly escaping into one sky after another
through the window casement the first night of its moulting.

Compassion is the visionary collagen of life
and imagination is its agent. Its metaphors
graft the trees and the sponges into lungs.
Can you hear the generations of nightbirds
in every single vowel of your voice? Do you know
they don’t sing just for themselves, but in the lament
and longing of their songs, you can hear the faint traces
of the lumbering bells of the dinosaurs bellowing
like the eidolons of carboniferous foghorns in the mist
off the coasts of consciousness? Sometimes
when I hear the bush wolves howling in the hills
I catch a note or two of a pack of killer whales
going deep to recover the black voice box of tetrapods
who preferred dancing in water to walking on land.
Compassion is the recognition of your identity in everything.
You wound the earth, an arrowhead sings in your rib cage.

Can you hear the demure laughter of the willows
walking like geishas along the shores of your mindstream
undoing the ribbons of the stars and waterlilies
to let them fall free from their hair to pale in the moonrise,
the memory of old lovers mingling in the living light
like the ghosts of the waterbirds returning to their shoals and inlets
like the bridge of a song, a waterclock of stars
between one stanza and the next life keeps coming back to
like the refrain of a melody line of the sea
it just couldn’t get out of its head like the reflection
of trillions of stars writing irradiant treble clefs
of the original sheet music in constellations high over head
like a five string quintet for the hymeneal cosmologists
while archaeologists achieve illumination
in the golden ratios of the life and death spirals
of the fossilized bass clefs of the equally alluring
mystery of the vocally earthbound children of the starmud
singing their hearts out like a choir off key as if
they grew by losing their balance against
a background of cosmic harmony so sweetly
that if rain could speak of what it’s like to fall upon
the fruits and flowers of the earth, it would sound very much
like the laughter and weeping of the ungrammatical stars?