Sunday, May 5, 2013



Life’s a sloppy business, daughter. You
average out the crucials, adjust your motives to the stars
that have been tinkering with you since childbirth,
flutter your eyelashes like butterflies over the ruins
of last year’s flowers as if you were dropping pamphlets
over a subjugate nation, exhorting the weeds to ideals
promoting horrid compromises with common sense
and the general viciousness of the world embodied
in the dispassionate vengeance of corporate profit margins

to deny a foreign national four year old girl
whose amateurism still trusts people’s eyes
food, medicine, school, water, rights to the rain
freedom from from life as a silk worm
in a garment factory run by the most loathesome of men
in the finest clothes economic slavery’s got to offer
as if you could wash the sewer of a soul off
in a shower of gold that gilds you like a maggot
in an Armani suit, or a political tapeworm elected to public office
to feed off the poor as if it were for their own good,
to promote prosperity in a graveyard with mineral rights
to your bones. A Via Cloacum of dry-eyed evil in the world
emptying into a dead sea of consciousness like the swill
of trivialized krill, the bread and circuses
of engineered distractions with sunshades unfolded
like the parasols of the Roman navy as the gutted mob
gluts on the entrails of victims unluckier than they were
when the wasp came to lay its egg on their forehead
and eat them less engagingly from the inside out like worms
in their eyes and their hearts. O savage evolution
I won’t smear sparkles on the eyelids of the dead
you desecrate like the flesh of your own flesh
to get on with life like an imperial starmap of client constellations.

I suppose I should be offering you more rounded wisdom
than this thornapple of insight into inhuman nature,
more of a sweet-natured sunset than this nasty false dawn
where every new beginning by acclamation means
the death of sentience in someone else, by the millions
throughout history, where the truth is always deeply indebted
to the ingratiating co-sponsors of the capitulant facts.

But I abhor sloughing the suffering of the world off
like a soft, old man whose eyelids have wrinkled
like the withered skin of daylilies, who’d rather
blur and blunt his vision of life like broken glass
sand-blasted in the gentrifying tides of sea stars
he doesn’t want to cut his feet on firewalking the Road of Ghosts.

I’m repulsed by the geriatric deathmasks of strategic kindness
defrauding their own wisdom like a gnostic gospel of cataracts
in their eyes, mystic flowers in the sky, buffing the toxicity
of the crescents of the moon, because the bad fang fell out
and the only one they’ve got left they’re trying to pass off,
sensing they’re too weak to hurt anyone anymore,
as anti-venom to the same kind of people they’ve been
biting all their life for their place at the table above the salt
in a snakepit cannibalizing their wavelengths like black holes
harmonizing with the music of their uninhabitable celestial spheres
attuned to their own background universal hiss. Frog-swallowers
and nest-robbers trying to bury their thorns like
the hands of a clock in the foliage of roses that smell
like the embroidered pillowcases they no longer dream on.

Dozy, rosey, barnboard frames, picturing the punk and pulp
of rotten heartwood trying to rinse the bathtub rings
the rain left like the sediment of a dry creekbed
running through their veins like cracked starmud
waiting for a flashflood of the shining waters of life
to lower their blood pressure like the first
heart attack of the spring to wake the toads up from hibernation.

What travesties of human excellence I’ve witnessed
in the hearts of men and women who settled for less
than the lives they’ve been given to live randomly
out of the blue, blue sky like an accidental gift
of inestimable value they kept appraising like fool’s gold
by the light of a full moon that never came to harvest.

The mind is an artist and it is able to paint the worlds
with great skill and subtle hues of technical cunning
that can transform the opacity of the solid
into the myriad translucencies of the unimaginably real.

But, remember, you’re whole life’s nothing
but a portrait you’re working on from the inside.
A solitary figure in a mindscape listening
to the picture-music of a dream grammar
that keeps shape-shifting like the palette of a voice
trying to catch the atmospherics of whatever mirage
you’re rendering in the watercolours of your tears at the time
before the light in your heart changes and your bones
are laid in a grave like the field easel you’ve
been packing around with you all your life
like the stick people you drew in childhood.

Make an art of them. A masterpiece of heart,
eye, hand, and mind. Flesh the world out
in your own humanity and cherish it like a life study
you modelled for yourself in the mirror you peered into
without turning to stone at what you saw
or asking who’s the most beautiful of all,
but remaining true to your own eyes
like the creative bounty of a nightsky
whatever uplifts, whatever befalls your starmud
like the nocturnal waterlilies of the Pleiades in a low place,
or that whisper of heretical silence in the heart
that resonates throughout the whole of space
like the curse and the blessing of a habitable planet
bound to the stake of a star for remembering what it is
to be indefensibly radical about remaining compassionately human.




Calm. Cool. The fan on. The windows open.
The cat on the windowsill and the last yahoo
yeehawing his way out of town on his bad ass bike
as he opens the throttle to startle the people
sitting in doorways like candles in niches
up and down the street he’s the clown of frowns,
a legend of gossip when there’s nothing else to talk about.

Trying to write my way mutatatively out of the shadow
of a bell of sadness being lowered over my heart
like a Mason jar over a spider or a bee, depending
on how you look at it and which you fear the most.
Life a strange elixir of toxins and honey running
through my veins, it’s funny how even
the sweetest things in life always involve stingers.

Consider the secret destinies going on in upstairs apartments,
illicit lovers, dope deals, crushed hearts and dreams
waiting for someone to come and dig them out of the avalanche,
Severe solitudes letting the stars erode in the dust bowls
that lie silent, unmoving, and old on the moon
because nothing grows there but these intense shadows
I’ve been swimming through like a star caught
like a black dwarf on flypaper in the tar
of black matter in the irisless eye of a black hole
that wasn’t on any starmap but my own a few minutes ago.

Think of how much despair has been overcome
by the false dawn of hope in the windows
of all those rooms indicting the light of their lives
when they realize in each other’s eyes love
is a dream grammar of mirages and shadows
and the heart, for the most part, to judge from my own,
is semi-literate when it comes to reading its own signs.

The crazy sly don’t know where their lies begin and end
and call their falsehoods, axiomatic. The crazy wise
don’t know whether to laugh out loud from the hara
of their cosmic center between their loins and belly-button
like a trickster god that mocks their alibis
with the enlightened compassion of an heretical crow
or cry, cry, cry like an old sixties song that slashes
the heart open like a waterclock that fell upon its own sword
like the hour hand of era indifferent to the dignity of time.

Can you guess how much fear and terror, anxiety, paranoia,
grief, resignation, betrayal, and self-effacement
as if somebody threw acid in the eyes of a mirror
that could read them like a book, have been endured
like the coils of the nightmares that must have swallowed them whole
for there to be so little evidence left of them now,
and the parties and the sex-fests, the cloney, intellectual dens
of the confrontationally obnoxious adolescents
looking at the world through the eclipse in the eyes
of black match heads that burnt out well before they bloomed?

The broken promises of youth. The unpredictable disappointments
of old age made trivial by the absence of family,
and a backyard to grow cucumbers and geraniums in.
If I were a Cyclops and not a poet I would definitely
look at everything from a one-eyed positive point of view,
but as it happens I’ve got two eyes in the dark to see with
and I’m not blinded by my own blazing when it comes
to shining a light on the way things are binarily true
like galactic waltzes and the ghost dances of most stars.

Nor am I in the habit of mistaking a new moon
for a total eclipse, so, yes, I can see happy children
going to bed at night in the finger-painted bedrooms
of these converted office spaces, lightyears from here
looking back at them reflectively like a watershed
of the extraordinary ordinary themes of life that found
a place for themselves in the world like threads of fate
on the woof and weft of the waxing and waning loom of the moon.

For all the locked horns that gore the heart
on arguments that would rather be right than loved,
I can see the new moon in the arms of the old
like lovers on the sly getting away with each other.
I can see how beautiful the lilacs must have been
in the spring of so many years ago by counting
the tree rings under the eyes and in the heartwood
of an old woman who revelled in the rain
when joy was till coyly deciduous and the passage
of time and the tears deep down in things
not so solemn and evergreen at the approach of eternity
in the presence of the lilacs foaming over the fence.