Thursday, May 30, 2013



Another lightning strike diverted from the oak
a moment so I can uproot my nerves,
steel them to the sensitivities of the light
on a rampage, electrical snakestongues of fire,
welding sparks jumping the gap between
one neuronic synapse stripped of vitamin B
and the next, the entrance and exit of a collapsed bridge.

I want to go out the way I came in, a poet.
All my prophetic skulls laid out like stones in a river,
an inundated cemetery of moons hoping
to catch the next providential tide of spring run-off,
I’m still trying to get to the other side of why
I’m alive, by jumping like the moonrise of a pinball
from one extinction event to another, keeping in mind
the meteor that gave its amino acids
to the elaboration of life on the planet in the first place
will also be the one that takes it eventually.

A blow to the solar plexus of the earth
that knocks the atmosphere out of it.
But my mistletoe isn’t fried quite yet
though I’ve had to pawn my golden sickle
just to survive the deforestation of my sacred places,
I’ve got the eyes of the Gulf of Mexico
though given the oilslicks and astronomical catastrophes
that always come as a suprise, I’m undergoing
a sea change of self somewhere in the Cambrian era.

I’ve integrated a sense of compassion into my cells
like the mitochondria of my mother. I empathise
to the point there’s nothing human under the stars,
from cartels to Cepheid variables that I don’t take personally.
Some people collect souvenir spoons. With me,
it’s scalpels. Especially the ones still buried in my wounds
like crescent moons waxing and waning
like the phases of my eyelids, the bright vacancy
of a full glass of emptiness, the skull cup of the dark abundance
of the ghosts in the shadows that refuse to be conditioned
by the medium of anyone’s seeing but my own
as if they were all familiars of mine from a long time ago
I met at a seance they summoned me to as if
I were the one who had died in this dream of life
and the living and the dead stood eye to eye
like binocular vision in the observatory of the same head.

Water, time, suffering, and the wind blunts the sharp edges
I flintknapped like obsidian from the eclipse of a new moon
that slowly pressed into my flesh like a black rose
in the pages of a book I seldom open anymore
like a bone-box with my fossils in it that an avalanche
on the sea bed wears like tattoos on the inside
to remember me by. There are wines and inks
as indelible and dark as the night, pumping
through the heart forever, long after
the last tear in the rain has flowed away
like a watercolour of a fallen leaf under the bridge
of the mindstream you’re walking on like a great blue heron.

Don’t let the brutal sorrows make you defect
like a plague rat the many joys of the moonboat
that used to unload its cargo of roses in Genoa.
As soon as you fall like a cynic on the bitter thorns of life
it’s oxymoronically inevitable you’re going to become
quantumly entangled with someone who strews
rose petals in your path with such disarming tenderness
you’re seated like a fool on the impoverished throne
of your own defeated predictability. Bad, prophet, bad.

Tomorrow mutates to adapt to the available dimensions
of a future that has no conception of you even
existing yet here in the past where the real business
of living is done and now, though you cut it infinitely fine
like God particles that turn out to be your own mind,
never comes because time is what you are and what
you shall be, embodied in the throb of your own humanity.

Live up to it like the cause and effect of the only
regressive alibi that has stood up for you so long
it’s becoming a paradigm of stars and fireflies,
a new myth of origin among the constellations
that count on your imagination to sustain them.

Fire in the eyes of a snowman. Shine, shine, shine
like diamonds in the coal, wine in the bitter grapevine
that doesn’t know where all this ends like a road
gravelled with the skulls of hospitable planets
across the firmament so some drunk can stumble his way
home alone, all his darkness and light singing
in harmony with the stars and daylilies
of the flames in his heart he’s standing in for
like an unrecalcitrant martyr to the heresy of the art
of staying drunk on the moonlight, the orthodox
who decree they know what’s right burn in effigy
like a scarecrow because there’s no body to dig up
when you drink life down to the lees of the crows
looking for hidden jewels in the ashes at the bottom of the cup

as if the urns of dragons are the seed beds of the stars.




Train whistle then the rush of surf from its wheels on the track
as if it were hauling an ocean somewhere.
Grafitti from North Carolina on tour, one long art gallery
spray bombed by underground American artists
on its boxcars and tankers. When I stopped at the crossbars,
driving cab, I always wished I could publish
a poem like that, one line coupled to another
as if our metaphors were holding hands at a barn dance.
Then on to pick up the next fare as if you were cruising
the red light district for a working girl who called
without a return address, mind-reading doorways in distress
as if you were ambiguously oracular about where you were going.

More sedentary now, the crackheads trust me less
about where I dropped them off and picked them up
than they used to when they knew I had taken
an unspoken street vow of silence like a vehicular priest
who confessed everybody for their indefensible humanity,
on his way to somewhere else that was seldom paradise
with its feet on the ground like a corporate pharmaceutical
wallowing in its own starmud as if someone
had just thrown the shepherd moons of its pearls
before real swine, sometimes, who blackened the reputation
of the death mask they wore as if Zorro were a dealer
fencing with the delusions of Don Quixote tilting at windmills
he mistook for prayer wheels. You don’t know whether
to be mad or sad, or just as bad as the fools that milk
the wrong fang of the snake they’re buying the antidote from.

There’s more loneliness in moving than there is in sitting still.
This road of ghosts is dotted with tasteless pit stops
like a starmap with nuclear, attention-getting
big city magnitudes of light on all night outblazing the stars
like a ferryman on a graveyard shift who’s trying
to stay awake in the wheelhouse by the pilot light he’s been given to go by.
Coffee and cigarettes please, in the snowblind glare
of a lap top that’s got a long, hard drive ahead of it
I play like a keyboard on its knees that’s got
no idea of how to get there from here before it invariably does
through a labyrinth of cul de sacs and train crossings
that don’t attract as many Sufis as they used to
when I was dancing my way deeper into my homelessness
for shelter against the white noise life was humming to me
as I watched the deaf grooving like water snakes to flute-music.

Now I take long, dark walks along the Tay River
where I’m least likely to meet anyone coming my way
as I watch the stars flicker in the river like lures
on the fishing hook of the moon trying to catch the big one
like the legend on a starmap it never fails to throw back
into the sea of tranquillity its awareness jumped from

like a northern pike that arises from the bottom up
like a covert insight into the nature of life eyeing
what’s inspired it to strike like the imagination of a madman
caught a moment in his own highbeams like the ghost
of a white-tailed buck leaping out of the headlights
like enlightenment with no intention of adding itself
to the pageant of roadkill along the back roads
of the shadows of lost sheep in the shepherdless valleys of death.

See how I wrote that like a train passing through town
in the dead of the night like a found poem
I’ve spliced together like the neurons of railroad lines
from all over North America like delinquents with winged heels
rising like waterbirds from a million weak threads
of a river system bound into the strong rope of a spinal cord
you can climb up to heaven on like a fuse or the lifelines
rooted in the palm of your hand like a crosswalk beginning to flower
with zodiacal traffic signs because the mindstream flows
horizontally onward like an egalitarian that will come to harmony progressively
like water seeking its own equilibrium from the same sea of awareness,
each at the level of the thresholds they’ve crossed
like a sword dance with a waterclock that’s always on time
as if it were running on sundials with alarmist hour hands.

Bad dream grammar, perhaps. But I bet there’s
a poet-cabdriver in North Carolina with the same
mad picture music in his heart who understands perfectly
the denaturing of creative humanity from his art
isn’t a short cut to that right side of the tracks no one’s ever
been reincarnated on like the side of a bone box
that didn’t express itself demonically like an exorcism
blessing the empty hearses of dead air in the freight cars
with nothing written on them as if some nihilistic orthodoxy
had freshly painted over the hunting magic
of artistic Neanderthals scarred indelibly
by shamanistic spit paintings of genius with blood
like red ochre and night like soot in the mouths
of their lanterns waiting for the lights to change
from the false dawns of fake songbirds in the sun
to the mystic moonrise in the occult guild halls
of howling bush wolves contemporaneously
packing in the dark like the solos of nightbirds
echoing across the lake like the longing
of an unanswerable response to the sublimity of why
we must live, love, desire and die as we do, written on the fly
like the linear A of inchoate thought trains of subversive water and fire,
hissing like spray bombs of scalded metal whenever we come to a full stop.