Wednesday, April 17, 2013



I come to a wall, the morning intellectually numb,
soft grey rain on rough-cut fieldstones that have stayed in place
two hundred years like the masonic cemetery of buildings
around town, lodged in time like books on a shelf for show.
I imagine honest, capable men, for the most part, with broken hands
that mended like starfish learning to throw a knuckle-ball.
There it stands, their work, in space and time, functionally sublime
long after life has run out of use for its makers.
Sturdy work, skilled and dirty, did they eventually
ache their lives away, old men with back problems,
sitting on a porch overlooking their wives’ flowerbeds?

Were they fastidious as Michelangelo in the quarries of Carrara
about the marble they chose for their headstones and who,
if their fingers couldn’t grip a chisel anymore, determined
not to lie under shoddy work, would carve them and set them
like jewels back in the earth they took them from? Here
and there the sway-backed stone bends under its own weight
as if it carried the world on its shoulders like an avalanche
it hasn’t let down. Someone solid you could stub your heart on.

How insubstantial this art of the evanescent that practises me
as if silence were making its own reeds for a woodwind
and I was the shriek of a blade of grass between its thumbs.

Discarded stereotypes of the man I would have been
if I hadn’t been born by nature and nurture to seed the sere
with the colour green, and listen to the mute stones sing
of the intangible mysteries of spring that seize them by the throat
like swallows building their nests like begging bowls
in between the cracks of the stone-walling earth. By other means

I build castles for the pageant of the wind on tour
to eat out of house and home, I lay the foundations of zodiacs
to come that will shelter everyone under the eaves
of their shapeshifting signs, symbolic as a guild hall
in a country parade where everyone is represented as an individual
apprenticed to the masterless trade of being themselves
just as they are, each a candidate for their own constellation
like a shire reeve that wins by acclamation. No one else
to run against with the experience of a trained eye
to keep the black and whites of their eighty-eights straight
and on the level like the skeletal keyboard of a celestial piano
playing to a full house of musically inclined ghosts.

I work in quicksand. I work in starmud. I work
on a nightshift of stars like a watchman holding up
the light he’s been given to go by like a lantern in the shadows.
Once I feared madness, but now I know,
as the waxing crescent of the moon sets above
the all night grocery store, it’s an unparalleled labour of love.

It doesn’t matter who or why. Is the rain out of focus
because it has a million eyes and there’s no end of the seeing?
Even in the way it weeps whole firmaments in every drop
along the seam of a blade of stargrass, you can’t halt
the flourishing of life along the unplotted course of the mindstream
making its way to the sea and source of its awareness.

Water remembers everything like the taste of wild irises
because it’s inspired and alive, the legendary beauty
of the fires it fed like daylilies and the ashes in the urns
of the single-petalled roses that flared for a day and a night
before the wind blew them out like loveletters it held over a candle
to read between its tears in the dark the horrendous farewells
of passion and blood that liberate the light from our starmud
and elevate our private sorrows like root-fires into the realms
of the rain that falls like compassion on everything alike

in a world where every experience is a simile of who we are,
imagination individual as a fingerprint in a mirroring consciousness
with no identity of its own, together alone with everyone
bonded like the weather to the sea of awareness we seek shelter in
like a posthumous work of spiritual hospitality that’s been
opening its door to strangers for the last 13.7 billion light years
after the first foundation stone of the universe was laid reciprocally
without pomp and ceremony on the creative side of a singularity
that popped like a mad rabbit out of the white hole of the hat
of a wise magician still gaping like an open window
at her vision of a crazy life before birth and how on earth she did that.




These words are not meant to burn your smile.
I lay them gently like cool herbs on your cracked lips.
This light takes its shoes off before it enters your eyes
like shrines to the apostate darkness that lives within you
and waits for the moonrise to gentle your Vesuvian wounds.
Pompous to call myself a healer when all I am
is a confabulation of lyrical cures for what ails you
but I call the wind to the winter willows
and the taste of rain in the air washes the blood
out of your hair like a painter caressing a watercolour
with sable brushes that bleed like dusk on the river.

Let that man pray discretely no evil comes of his words
when he speaks of love as if his heart knew
what he was talking about so I will not tell you
to exit by the fire-escape the next time he fire-bombs
your palace of water gardens with emotional phosphorus.
You take that up with the silence of the abyss
you’re already pleading for consolation answers from.
It’s your light and the way you bend it like a gravitational eye
is how love can wander like a straight line for lightyears
without realizing it’s always been a special form of a curve.

Even with a chubby lip and that orchid of a black eye
that will descend like a moonset into a bruised eclipse,
wounded so, whipped like a rose by a comet
disappointed by the lack of spectators who anticipated
being more amazed by the light show, your beauty
is still an unspoken assumption that pervades the air
like the vulnerable fragrance of a woman mourning
the death of a dream that made the lesser nightmares tolerable.

I can hear the understudies of the mermaids backstage
trying to overcome their stagefright, and, sweetness,
it would be so easy at this station of my life
to include you in my aniconic pantheon of mystic influences
that have been shapeshifting my heart like renegade muses
as wild as they were dangerous in their heretical solitude
for more inspired memories behind me of what was
with no rancour denouncing what could have been
than there are creative eternities ahead that will be validated
by the annihilations I’ve suffered through to aspire to them.

You’d be the right door but I’d be the wrong threshold
you need to cross right now into an abysmal absence
that makes even death wince like something paltry
by comparison, and immolate yourself in the intensity
of the clarity to sort through your ashes to see
what hissed and evaporated like an exorcised ghost
from the green wood that smothered your fire
with the need to possess a life to make up
for the neglect of its own squalid smouldering.

Spontaneously distinguish the star sapphires and emerald lakes
the white gold of your burnished bodymind could swim in
like the plumage of the moon unfeathered like a peony
on the supple waters of life whispering a secret
that has slept like an ocean in a seashell waiting
for you to remember it when you first picked it up on the beach
like a little girl wondering why something so beautiful and strange
came such a long way for you to find it like a kiss
you could hold in your hands like an eyelid
or the petal of a nacreous rose in your palm.

When your prince proves something less than mortal,
appeal directly to the fire of the dragon
to refresh your innocence in the rain
that will fall shortly after as if it just discovered
the sacred syllables of lunar flower seeds
in a desolate garden trying to bloom like the palings
of a closed gate and you will be received like a messenger
from another state of seeing with crucial news
about how love can root in the shadows of desert seabeds
like a mirage of waterlilies that actually float
like stars on the wavelengths of unmapped rivers.

Risk the fear of being who you are even
when the voices of the dead have your best interests
at heart, and gibber about not making the same mistakes
their authority rests upon like resolute quicksand,
and don’t scorn the pettiness of what people
are willing to die in the name of, but turn your face
like a sunflower toward the sublime perils
of what you’re truly inspired to live as
with no gap between your imagination
and the shadows of reality it casts on the clouds
like the penumbral wisdom of compassionate dragons
passing over your intertidal moonscapes
like the eclipse of a dark blessing that buries
its shining like a loveletter in a black envelope,
serpentine jewels in the ore of the night
that will flood your eyes indelibly with the mystery
of being illuminated by the light of your own heart,
galaxies of fireflies reflected in the sea stars at your feet.