Wednesday, May 8, 2013



Voices in the labyrinth at the end of this heartless space
I seem to have wandered into, weary of sorrow, numbed
like a sand-blasted hourglass to the passage of time
not going anywhere it hasn’t been before, each day
greeted like the potato of an old lover with the charms
of a rose, though I can say no less of me, as we stop
to dogpaddle in each other’s mundane mysteries
without being drowned like dolphins caught in fishing nets.

No more wise sententiae please that slam my fingers
in the door, no more trying to squeeze mystic wine
from the blisters on my winged heels trying to shake
the pebble of the world like an avalanche off the road
between the mountains and the Skeena River from Terrace
to Prince Rupert, knowing it’s not safe to stop for long
without being buried in an asteroid belt. The harder
people try to be happy, the more miserable everything gets.
Happiness is more like luck than a premonition of things to come
if you’re flawless and patient enough to labour at it
like a nightshift in a coal mine praying for diamonds
that taste like the waters of life on the blackened lips
of a thirsty man in a desert of stars swimming toward
a lifeboat on the horizon of a delirium of mirages
like an aviary of dead canaries at the end of a long, dark tunnel.

Every insight into the nature of what I’m doing here,
my awareness arrayed before me like a well-soiled world
or a tree full of crows that know their way around
like undertakers of the occult in broad daylight
being chased off by smaller birds like pickpockets
seems like a seed of light embedded in the starmud
of a whole new world I won’t have time to explore on my own
like wildflowers in the starfields of what will bloom after me
and come to fruit on its own, by which, it’s been rightly said
a man is known, though he lie like a windfall of habitable planets
under his own bough, ripe, sweet, fulfilled, dead.

Thousands upon thousands of poems I’ve shed
like oracular eclipses written on the skin of snakes
like the fingerprints of emission spectra on the wavelengths
of first magnitude stars redshifting into old age
like apples on the low-hanging branches of the tree of life
more tempting than the bitter innocence of knowledge
that devastates itself like junkie hooked on his own amazement.

Not how I’m here, though that’s surrealistically
intriguing enough, but that I’m here at all in this dream
with these disembodied dream figures passing in and out
of awareness like swallows flashing by the windows,
gone by the time you turn the light around to look them in the eyes.
Constellations of fireflies exacerbating your astrolabe
like a shapeshifting model that won’t sit still long enough
to have her portrait done like the myth of someone’s origin
somewhere in the universe the stars aren’t fixed like a corrupt casino.




Asked what I wanted to be I’ll say
this is my achievement just as it is,
what I am, counterintuitively second-guessing
whatever this is. What else can a river say
winding its way across the moon
seeking fulfilment in an abyss it’s trying
to fill like a heart-stopping waterclock
that knows it will never catch up
to its own emptiness, but what the hell,
at least you can die knowing you tried
the impossible, you failed at something crucial?

The lovely green-blonde willows are leaning
like a rain storm out over Stewart Lake
and there’s a galactic rush of creation
in the small rapids of the Tay River
coming at me on this hard park bench
as if God were revelling in squandering her talents
just to empower the glee of knowing she can
transcend herself like the one returning to the many
through a million suns dancing on the wavelengths of her eyes.

God’s her own worst heretic and the last
I’d entrust a secret to given how she hides things
out in the open where everybody could see them
if they only stopped searching long enough to look.
Feel free to fill in your own pseudomorphic image
or colour outside of the lines as you wish, tattoo
a starmap on your eyes or howl like a moondog
or a tree ring there’s no green bough in your heart
for a red-winged black bird to perch on anymore
and startle you with the beauty of how
long you’ve forgotten how well it can sing.

When you’re sitting in the sunshine and you don’t want
to be an ignorant eclipse and punch a black hole
like a pupil in the evanescent radiance of the scene,
as the wild irises yearn for the colour of your eyes,
open your fist and try to live like a flower does
not knowing what brought you to bloom
but shining back at the stars nevertheless.

People, dogs, and lovers on the Little Rainbow Bridge,
and I don’t know if I’m dreaming this or not
or if some occult imagination anticipated me
before I happened like a sign of the continuous forthcoming
of the waters of life that have metaphorized me like a mindstream
as my vaporous sensibilities wander off into oblivion
beyond the boundary stones of my prophetic skulls
popping up overnight like mushrooms and moonrises
from the death valley of stars I buried them in
to temper the white lightning of my self-annihilating insights
into the heartwood of a rootless tree like a firefly
in a miasmic cloud of incorrigible unknowing
waiting to see what incomprehensively appears all by itself.

That’s a rush, I know, but if you don’t say it fast
you begin to lie. My space-time continuum’s
deranged at the speed of thought but that doesn’t mean
the shore-huggers see more than those
who flow along with the stream do whether
they’re overturned in the whitewater of their tears
or liferafting down the spring run off of the Milky Way,
what did Dogen Zenji write about how much
we can know about human life---no more
than the reflection in a water droplet on a heron’s beak?

It’s doubtful we’ll ever be able to speak to each other
in the same voice we’re listening to in the solitude
of the silence within, but ask yourself in the slang
of your own indecipherable mother-tongue, because
everyone’s caught in the same crossfire of life
ricocheting off the waters like a quantumly entangled multiverse
of noetic dark matter looking for the light,
in your own inner voice so the furthest galaxy
can hear you like a gamma ray burst of fierce insight,
in this spiritual lost and found, do you still seek solace
from the dumb-founded echoes of your own voice
or have you given up, assented to the silence, and begun to rejoice?