Monday, May 20, 2013



Mad people trying to impress me with the quality of their souls.
Ego-slurry alienated radioactively from the rest of the world
trying to compensate for the meltdown of their lives
by glowing bioluminescently in the dark like the tiny zodiacs
of their watches allotting one star each to all of their signs,
or colourless fish in the depths of the seas of their own awareness
that have no need of the sun to shine by their own lights.

No river’s flowing the wrong way to the sea whether
it goes underground, evaporates, flexes its flowing
in the froth and fury of whitewater turned rabid, plunges
over a precipice into a misty ghost of itself or
trickles down through the faults of old earthquakes
to lie dormant for two billion years in its own watershed
like a dream waiting to wake up in a different hourglass
than the one it drained to the lees of life. And here comes

a cloud in a bong that’s troubled she’s not more of a river
and keeps looking for a lover that will fulfil her like an ocean
she’s dying to drown in. Modes of water all, glaciers
calving into the sea like nervous breakdowns,
or a drop of water trying to leap from the fiery tongue
of a burning leaf in the fall she can’t put out
with how beautifully she reflects the moon in every tear
that hangs on the moment like a glassblower stretching a point.

Fifty years, a poet, it’s not hard to relate to their shapeshifting
or see the fear in the eyes of the paradigms that transmutate
like a seance without a medium into a chaos of evocative stars
that blur and illuminate the nebulae of their vision of life
by the way they associate metaphorically with a darkness
indelibly schooled by the shadows of night into one
apocalyptic revelation after another going off like fireflies
as if they were blasting caps in a beaver dam
they wanted to blow up like terrorists to liberate their mindstreams
like a rush of dopamines in the fractured creekbeds
of their starmud exhilarated into life again like frogs
singing in the climacteric of a seven year flashflood.

Extremeties of heart and mind quantumly entangled
in the disorder of conditioned consciousness, and I’m
no less susceptible to hearing voices in the genius of the rain
suggesting wild irises and extemporaneous lilacs
to the insanity within me that makes a petty life great.
In the company of rootless trees, what’s to get right,
what’s to get wrong? The lightning doesn’t lead
a moving target and birds aren’t the first draft
of the dawn I’m carrying like a sheaf of poems
under my arm to see if they’re in tune with the croup
of shore-hugging swans and astigmatic peacocks
changing their prescriptions like world views every two years or so.

Like powerlines every octave’s a stave of wayward words,
crows, wrens, swallows, bolos of old running shoes,
even when they’re a snakepit hissing on the ground
or just humming to themselves in a summer rain,
as long as you’re singing you’re not sane or insane,
timid as a whisper or so sure of yourself you leave
the whole universe in doubt. Weird as it sounds,

it’s going to work out, I swear, like a jam session
between you and the stars, Vega on the electric harp,
Orion burning its axe like Jimmy Hendrix and o
go quietly, my soul, into the mosh pit
of the Day Glo Abortions singing galactic lullabies
to the cacophony of black holes eating the light
out of the eyes of the picture-music that echoes
in the nightclubs of anarchic Neanderthals
teaching the nightingales to sing like blood-stained buckles.

Chaos isn’t a miscarriage of the dancing star in my soul,
the diffraction patterns of a spider on acid
messing up its webs like mandalic ripples
to empower neo-expressionist bass runs
that like to colour outside the orthodoxies
of its dreamcatcher casting the nets
of starstruck constellations far and wide
as if it were dragging the great sea of awareness
for the corpses of the dead it can haul up
into the empty coffins of the lifeboats on a shipwreck.

Estranged friends, I cherish the negative intimacies
you’ve shared with me over the intervening lightyears
like a blizzard of fireflies trying to make the darkness visible
deep inside the occult priestcraft of your temple telescopes
scrying the stars like eyes in the back of your head
where the shadows enlighten your paranoia
of being left out in the dark alone with no one
to see how bright you are when you shine
like a starmap of lighthouses in the gravitational eyes
of your intensities, bending the light like Beckham and Einstein.

Old pond. Frog jumps in. Splash. Basho
jumping to conclusions like the sacred syllable of a haiku
that’s gone, gone, gone, altogether gone beyond
the boundary stones of the prophetic skulls
that set an acephalic limit to the taboos
of the wandering scholars among the mad and homeless
born to bloom like wildflowers and mushrooms
beyond the fence of cultivated gardens
that don’t make any more sense than the untampered seeds
the wind scatters like weeds driven into exile
for tasting the wheat, pomegranates, fly agaric and apples
of the forbidden windfalls under the fruitless tree of knowledge
even the bees couldn’t churn into honey
in the asylum of their hives without a black queen
to colonize the stars like the crazy wisdom of a dark mother.

Freedom isn’t bound like a motive to itself
and the abysses of love we fall into like diminished I.Q.s
remedially reading the writing on the wall
by plunging deeper into the darkness beyond
the blindness in the blazing of a one-eyed midway
might be the portals to another universe
more lucidly irrational than this turmoil
of common sensical chaos labouring to order itself
like an elephant graveyard of gateway precedents
poached like tomb robbers for the tusks of the moon.

Who isn’t a lunatic, each after their mystically specific fashion?
Enlightenment isn’t bound by the heretical vows
it makes to its own disobedience, just as the mad
aren’t the repeating decimals of cosmic incommensurables
running on forever like rapids in the waterclocks
of their mindstreams as Heracleitus reminded us,
if you were paying attention, you can’t step into twice
anymore than pi can build a bridge to the other side
of this shoreless river of life or your third eye can visualize
through its tears what it’s like to have the stars
kicked in your face by the bullies of random chance
because some are born to walk upright on their knees
and others, more wisely, have taught their crutches to dance.




I still believe the pursuit of an earthly excellence,
not in name alone, but in the act of elucidating
even so much as a firefly’s insight into the darkness
to add your experience and confusion to the abyss
like a myth of origins in progress, is a noble calling,
a privilege accorded by the moon to wear the hide
and head of a wolf when the spirit howls in longing
to lift the agony of humans up to the stars as if
there were no greater sacrifice we had to give than this
that makes us peers of those fires, eye to eye, mirror to mirror
as above so below, the jewel of compassion in the slag
of our suffering, the beauty of the rose in the midst of its thorns
weeping holy blood on the skulls of her prophetic children.

A poet among people, a voice, a hermit thrush or an owl,
a red-winged blackbird on a dead branch or a crow
on the cabled bridge of the green blackberry,
or an indigo grackle, the eclipse of the mourning dove,
regardless of who or who isn’t listening to the wind
rasp over this desert of stars in an hourglass
like the wavelength of a serpent of fire as a sign of intelligence:

Say what is uniquely human about you so that
others might recognize themselves in the music.
Mourn as you must as if it were your funeral
you were going to as one day it will be,
your ashes in the locket around a loved one’s neck,
and break trail along the way as you explore
the wilderness of your loss so that others might follow,
assured by the dolmen of your presence in their solitude
the dangers of the journey are humanly surmountable.

A poet among people, that’s what you can say to yourself
on your deathbed and mean it in gratitude with a smile
at whatever shape of chaos you’re worshipping at the time,
you had a summons to suffer, praise, rejoice, mean and go mad
on behalf of other people, you, a self portrait of them.

Your love of them voluntarily going into exile,
or driven into it by the very ignorance you’re dying to overcome,
to know their homelessness as if it were a threshold your own,
to sow the available dimensions of the future
with metaphoric weeds and wildflowers in the starfields
so we don’t forget what all the fuss about enlightenment
means to a species rooted like a waterlily in its starmud
as if that were the dark genius behind all that shining,
the apex, the acumen, the anthos, not the denouement
of our flowering, and no future habitable that isn’t freely human
to express its awe and wonder at being imaginatively alive
like a purpureal crocus under an eyelid of opalescent snow.

Poetry is the discipline of a crazy person
who walks wisely among people half-fearful
of how fiercely vulnerable you must become to love them
as if there’d never be anything in it for you,
the most indefensibly human of them all
o so much more substantial than your dream figures
once you wake up, stubbing your heart on the rock of the world,
a razor blade to the artery of the rose that bleeds
just a profusely as you do when death cuts obliquely
into the stem and presents it like the ear of a bull
to the moon in a sacred brothel around the corner
opposite the Iseum where they make the partial whole again.

Incited by life to be demonically playful in the darkness,
angelically withdrawn like the stars and shadows at noon,
cherish the inconceivable nights that are not rewards
for anything you could have done or earned, as love
and inspiration aren’t, and marvel the more
at the strangeness of the miracle that things are this way.

Exhausted mid stride between the noon and dusk of your life,
don’t underestimate the mysticism of action
in the mundane labours of the day responding like bees
to the floral opportunities of tending the larkspur
like a voice coach pinging a tuning fork on their stamens.
Work at nothing that isn’t a form of worship
that demands your passion. Not to be fascinated by your life
is a child labour sweat factory of human enslavement.

The petty won’t brave their own happiness
nor that of anyone else, but the generous will
who understand that happiness is a grace of the heart
that happens to you from the inside out like a fortune cookie
not a law of causality misery is endlessly trying to repeal
beyond a reasonable doubt of ever coming true.

But seldom a joy without a bruise for a poet
whose bell of sorrows depends like most humans
as much upon the rain as the light to ripen
into the warm sugars of life like wild apples at sunset.
The eyes that look the deepest are usually the saddest
like housewells anyone’s free to draw from
but god, what poignancy of light smiles favourably
upon the faces of the tragically fulfilled
who lived out their singular prophecies
to purge everyone’s terror with empathy for their fate.

Arete, excellence. Aristos of merit. Beauty of soul, mind, body, heart,
the quality of your awareness, the largesse of your experience,
the natural humility of the bow you return to the mystery
of a tree in bloom, and the wisdom of an old stump,
not in the way of perfection, but the brilliance and courage
of your failure to attain the unattainable, enlightenment
the ultimate defeat for the benefit of all because it’s never complete
even when the Buddha goes straight to hell like an arrow.

Not void bound, bless the intuitive disobedience of the poet
who burns in the flames of her most sacred heresy,
savagely curse with compassion the erosive injustice
of the greedy legislating impoverished standards of living,
raise your voice when you see murder being done
so your silence isn’t complicit and the power of your rage
mollified by the slag of association that blunts
the edge of your sword when the only mercy is a quick kill
with a sharp blade and you go to it like your own execution.

I don’t care if you’re a junkie sleeping on a car seat
on the back porch of a crack house in the summer,
wondering in a moment to yourself if the stars ever weep for us,
or an associate professor of English at the University of Victoria,
cherishing a pair of thin leather gloves some raving beauty
left in your office and though she never returned
to reclaim them and you as for years you hoped and hoped
still rot like black banana skins on your windowsill,
a divorced housewife doing investigative forensics
on what happened to her life at the kitchen table,
share whatever starfields you’ve sown with tares or wheat
as if there were always enough bread to break with everyone.

Take the gold coin you call a career from under your tongue
like a false moonrise and washing your corpse
in your own grave, take the edges off your sphericity,
average the crucials out like a pebble or a planet
in the great tides of life you’re immersed in
like a human panning their own starmud for a little more light
to be shed in the depths of their oceanic awareness
than there was before you showed up like one bright fish
and lit your cells up like votive candles dedicated to the dark
and started seeing things by the light of your own life,
not the Rosetta stone of three dead languages
that never spoke from the heart about the ruses
of being human that get us through the darkest nights of ourselves,

so when someone takes a greasy volume of poems
down from the shelf, the cover worn off, the glue
of the perfect binding crumbling like dreams
in the corners of their eyes as they wake up,
and they’re shuffling loose pages as if they were
paginating a deck of cards, or trying to keep
the leaves of an autumn tree together, though you’re dead,

though your tongue is a leaf on the wind
and your eyes are clouds, your breath gone proto-nebular,
and it’s three in the morning, and the solitude is withering,
and insanity is grinning in their face as if to say
you always knew this is what it would come to,
and they reach for you like a home-brew of magic syllables,
yarrow sticks and tea leaves, liver spots and fossils
in a bonebox at the bottom of your skull cup,
write in such a way they don’t just read what you’ve said
but sit down on the ground with a friend they can share things with
and break your book open like a loaf of bread
spiritually cooling on an open windowsill as fragrant
as white sweet clover growing along the roadsides of paradise,
but as substantially nurturing to life as compassion for the flesh.