SHALL WE DANCE
Shall we dance, shall we spin and wheel, hesitate, advance,
stall and recover, whirl like maple keys, and blow
the ashes of the starmaps we burned like passports
out of the palms of our hands to shine like dandelions
on an eye to eye level with the light they bloom in?
Sister Lunacy, I watch you uprooting your garden usefully
and shaking the stars out of the clumps of grass
as if you caught Medusa smuggling diamonds in her hair,
and I say such is woman when she forgets to be aware of herself,
and the goddess comes down to earth with dirty fingernails,
a gazelle in rubber boots. And no flower of the field,
no planet in the sunset, no eyelash of the moon over a barn
quite adorns the twilight the way her numinosity does.
And I want to take her by the hand like a binary star system
and circle one another like two hawks in the sky
until the night cools and the loons pack up their keyboards
and the stars work the graveshift on into the early hours
of the forthcoming dawn as if the end of all their labour
were extinction in a deluge of light
that doesn’t recognize any of them by name. Shall we dance,
shall we let the picture-music carry us away
like a word that hasn’t hurt us in a long time,
shall we gather wild rice in the holds of our birch bark canoes
as if we were threshing jewels on the shallow end of the lake,
or do you just want to walk the Road of Ghosts with me awhile
and see what blooms along the way, sunflowers and waterlilies
opening up like observatories and prophetic skulls
with a penchant for looking at things the same way?
Sister Lunacy, be kind to the mandalas and paradigms
I bring you like dreamcatchers woven of spinal cords
like tree rings of heartwood, ripples of rain, the net of Indra
where you mark one jewel and they’re all marked.
Or as Jesus said, insomuch as you do it unto one of these,
you do it unto me, and everyone thought he was special.
As if he owned gravity and everyone had shares.
It’s a radical act to come like a sweetness to ripen
the heart of a human that’s stayed green too long.
Just as you and I know madness is the quickest way
of never getting it wrong and if you’re going to argue
do it in song, don’t exorcise the answer
out of the person who possesses it and bid it be gone.
You can’t post a bond against a ghost.
Myriad guests of the mind, but seldom a host to speak of.
And Sister Lunacy you speak as if you were letting
a thousand voices all at the same time use you
as if they had no other mother tongue of their own,
and somehow it comes across as what you had to say.
So I’m asking you now. Do you want to dance,
do you want to bend space the way a body moves,
reshape the universe in its own image, abberate
a few wavelengths into falling out of synch like damp hair licks?
And I’d remember to remember that only horses sweat
and read your aura by the glow of the hot dew on your face.
After the last lifemask comes off, nothing but space.
Nothing but imaginative room to move as if there were nowhere
we needed to go and we didn’t feel bad about it.
We just went off into the ongoing like everything else
that’s looping and coiling its way through time,
a fragility of the air, caterpillars swaying in the wind
at the end of a fishing line tied to the allure of a butterfly.
Don’t be fooled by the vertebrae, everyone’s flying kites
at the end of a long spine when the air revs up.
You can see them tangled in the powerlines of their ancestors.
Sky burials without altars. Road kill. Cheap cremations.
The whole panoply of the tragically absurd.
But here, sister, here volcanoes still strew
islands in their wake and the birds keep arriving with seeds
and coconuts still wash ashore like prophetic skulls
you’re free to believe or not, and the air tastes like emeralds.
Here you could mentor the stars in their myths of origin
as you made them up to honour some quirk in your character
and they began to speak of you as their dark mother.
And nobody need know what you mean when you spoke to me
about those things that encroached on your silence inside.
I know how to listen for dissonant sounds in the night.
I can hear the falling of a single eyelash of light
when the moon goes out, the footfall of a spider on the stairs.
Sister Lunacy, should I take your hand, shall we dance
to the picture-music that overtakes us unawares,
you with your dark tears, and mine so far in arrears?