Friday, May 17, 2013



Alcohol, sex, and this cold spring night in their blood,
the rowdies outside the Crown and Thistle have taken
their chilly elations home. Past midnight, the town quiescent,
the moon, Venus and Jupiter set, the silence of the stars
through the window, mercifully voluble, and an underworld
of new insects are being pawed by cats, crawling across
living room floors like robotic space explorers as
foggy threads of miasmic lyrics are beginning to unfold
like leaves that have never given a poetry reading before.

Who knows? The blossoms on the municipal trees
could be the beginning of fame. You write enough words
you get paid back with a name you don’t quite know
what to do with as if someone had just discovered your skull
like an unknown element on an alien planet. Trick is
to let people hear themselves in your persona the way
a cave returns everybody’s voices to their own silence,
or water returns the moon to its own penumbral seas.

My old familiar, the train whistle howls
at this witching hour of the night like an honorary bush wolf
and I can feel the roots of strange flowers probing my starmud
as if the bulb of my lilaceous heart were about
to break into light again like a poem that’s lain
prophetically dormant through a long winter knowing
timing is as important as content, like the rent,
but spring comes and the frogs and the trout lilies,
the blue hyacinth and the apple trees bloom
like supernovas in distant galaxies, or drunks outside a bar.

So you can’t miss them like a sign of who you might be
when your eyes are open to the mystery of being here at all.
I save the history of the tree rings in my heartwood for the fall,
old orbitals I’ve jumped like an electron with a negative spin
to release a photonic discharge of light frozen like ripples
in a dark time as if I lit a match to see why the stars had gone blind
or the lantern of a nightwatchman looking for the light
with the light, his mind with his mind, his heart
in the ashes of the rootfires of his blood. Right now
I focus on the green growing edge of what I’m becoming
as if all the cells of my cambium were stars accelerating
like a universe driven by dark energy into the realms
of an unilluminated space that’s ready to receive them
like a new myth of origins that isn’t defamed by where I came from
and even less by this road that doesn’t know where I’m going.




for Caitlin Fisher

Sitting on a park bench in Stewart Park
directly behind the jumping statue of Big Ben
frozen in bronze and time beside the black marble slab
that looks like a mini Vietnam wall of corporate sponsors,

staring into the sun at the white water rushing
over the rocks under Little Rainbow Bridge,
under the greening willows, galaxies of stars
winking in and out of existence like fireflies,
whirlpools of radiance spreading out across
the reflection of dark leafless tree trunks
shredded by the blue of the sky then pieced
back together again in the wavelength of a snake
charmed by the muscular undulance of the surface
of the pond rippled like a membranous universe

in some earthbound mode of hyperspace, as if
someone took the Pleiades on a clear winter night
and sowed them like first magnitude wildflowers, chicory
and asters, perhaps, in the troughs and furrows
of the sinusoidal waters moving like supple mountain ranges
toward shore where a clash of wild irises
raised their tender green swords up to the sun,
created and annihilated millions of times an instant
in the blink of an eye, white hot and young again,

and for a moment, as fast as an insight
into the nature of a vast intelligence inspired
by the scintillation of its own light playing
upon the waters of life as if nothing, not the skulls
of the underwater stones striated and webbed
by the waves of the golden webs and nets
dreamcatchers and runes inscribed on the rocks
like a language that never speaks in the same tongue twice
in a world of white shadows in unfathomed depths,

things took off the patina of their deathmasks,
and what was solid and inanimate, even Big Ben
anchored to the earth in the afterlife
of his arcing transit through the air forever,
couldn’t help but be alive and real
in every visionary act of seeing that animated
the whole of my being through the eyes
I saw shining out of everything like aeons of stars
opening loveletters like wildflowers and metaphors
addressed to what’s nameless and illuminating
about the substance of sentience that beguiles everyone
in a world of forms shapeshifting transmorphically
as the mindstream turns and the light burns
for the dazzling face of the stranger behind the veils
of the willows rooted in the spring run off of the Tay River

like a flashflood of life threading the eye of paradise
like the creative rush of the fledgling awareness
of the cosmic unfolding of chaos under the wingspan
of Little Rainbow Bridge reconciling the disparities
of light, love, life, in these recombinant unions
of starmud and mind and the heart that smiles within
to feel what’s liberated thereby like the light upon light
of a million epiphanous suns from one side the mind
reflected like the memory of a face you saw in a mirror
in the depths of a dream where you’re bright and whole
and creatively free to wake up on the other
shoreless river of life to realize there’s only
this small, red bridge of blood you’re standing on
watching the flow of things, without waiting
for anyone to show up who isn’t already arrayed before you.




Staring into the future without my hand
on the rudder of the moon. No sail, no wind
but the air in my lungs, no star to set a course by
but the Milky Way in the wake of this
leaking lifeboat I keep bailing like a waterclock
to stay afloat, drifting as if time had lost its way somehow
or Hart Crane had just jumped off the stern of the Orizaba
at high noon, waving good-bye like a conductor
in an adagio of islands in a logical archipelago
of metaphors, or the footprints of Atlantis
on the waters of life before it sank incontinently.

Grey day. Blue funk. My body washed up
like a broken log boom on a pyre of bones
on a beach somebody will set fire to sooner or later
like a drunk undertaker singing folksongs
to commemorate the ashes of cremated guitars,
but my mind’s awake, contemplating the future
like the biggest mistake I could possibly make.
Two choices in the divergent lives of poets.
You either go down with the ship at moonset,
or you jump it like a plague rat in Genoa.

I smash a bottle of Dom Perignon like a French
Benedictine monk over the prow of a shipwreck,
more seaworthy for all the things I didn’t do in life
than those I did. I can swim but I’m better
at sinking like a dolphin in a fishing net. O Carib isle,
where’s the caress of the Gulf Stream in an ice age
when you need it? I don’t have a daddy to throw me
a lifesaver once in awhile when I break through
the iced-over tears of my former translucencies
into the thriving depths of an oceanic shepherd moon
I didn’t evolve from. I will humanize the darkness
and the terror of not being able to relate to anyone
by metaphorizing it with my presence in residence
like dream figures in a total eclipse that doesn’t
make the flowers wince and close up like inverted umbrellas.

I will seed the available dimensions of the future
with the teeth of lions, les dents de leon, a galaxy
of G-7, post midlife, unmarried suns scattered
like the paratroopers of dandelions on the wind
at Market Garden, though I land on rock or good soil.
I’ll write open-eyed starmaps that can see in the dark
what everybody’s been looking at all these years
like chandeliers in the house of life after the last candle
in the lantern I’ve been given to go by has gone out.

Thumbs up, thumbs down, I’ll burn like white phosphorus,
or the torches of the dadaphors at the Roman New Year,
quantumly entangled in the umbilical cords
of my creative annihilations like an albatross in the rigging
of a ghost ship that’s been known to haunt these waters.
I’ll release my blood like the banner of a rose
and wait for the sharks to circle me like sundials
and break my body up like loaves and fishes when they come.
I’ll return my tears like water to the river of sorrows
I took them from like the crown jewels of my heartfelt abdication.

I will not unseat myself from the unforgiving stations of life
I’ve ruled over nothing from. Here in this domain of the future
I’ll endeavour to be as good a pauper-king as I was back in the world.
A prophetic skull that could look into the eyes of the abyss
and prophesy, but seldom interfered with what I saw.
Not a sin of omission, but obedience to an unacknowledged law.
And all shall be well, all manner of thing shall be well.
No moon like a goat’s head polluting its own watershed.
I’ll make amends to the dark matter that took me for granted.
I’ll sit meditating in front of this wall of the future
nobody’s written on like a turf war of grafitti call signs
like A Bodhidharma doll. Seven times down. Eight times up.
Such is life. And I’ll introduce my illimitable understanding
of Pacific cowboy, lunatic fringe, seahorse Zen
for those who want to seek wisdom as far as it can be lost in.

I’ll clothe the imageless acts of what’s to come
like a retinal circus of defrocked sacred clowns
that have given up trying to make anybody laugh at themselves
as if they were an in-joke that God just got
like a numbing shock to the ulna nerve of her funny-bone.
I’ll be a trickster, a crow, a fox, a neo-gestural
expressionist gleeman or jester, I’ll be a salmon,
mare, seal or fly that bothers an elderly woman
like Loki, the shapeshifter, saying, bless me sister,
because I’m the annoyance that keeps you from dying
in this oceanic multiverse of bubbles and blisters.

I’ll paint streetsigns named after surrealistic wildflowers
I came across anonymously like a vagrant in the star fields
where every step I take is the threshold of a long, lost road
back to my homelessness that waits for me like the conjunction
of Venus and Jupiter through a western window
as if power and love weren’t the waste of a good heart
dumpster diving for the black pearls of an occluded art
that refused to be blinded by the opalescent blazing
of a false dawn like a silver lining on a locket of slag.
I’ll apprentice myself all over again like a metal worker
in moonlight to the flightfeather of a black swan
in the company of Orphic lyres and the eyes of Arabic eagles
everyone can identify with like the iris of a starmap
shining like a new myth of origins over the tarpaper rooftops
of irremediable slumlords clinging like barnacles
to the skulls of the drowned with eyes that stare
like the lachrymal glands of hourglasses and glaciers
on the move on the moon into a future with the tear ducts
of a snowman inundated on a floodplain of oceanic compassion
for the longing in the hearts of the dolmens of coal
trying to keep warm in the Arctic night like stalwart guides
to the river deltas where this mindstream of flowing diamonds ends
in a penumbral vision of life of an imperfectly flawless life.