Wednesday, June 12, 2013



A woman’s voice seeping out of the windows like a fragrance
of melodic fire in the rain, her song wavering in and out
of earshot over the hissing of cars, the percussive water.
But one heart resonates with another like echoes
in a big room trying not to make a grand entrance
on a stage designed for petty exits. The sorrow true,
the joy in life unanticipated, and the mystery
of being human to suffer and rejoice in the awareness
of both, an alloy of the worst and the best made stronger
by the oxymoron than either alone, or a bridge
between opposites like a nose in the middle of your eyes.

The lyrics might be blurred like watercolours
smudged by weeping, but the hues of the sound are clear,
and dusk is sitting in the front row of the dawn
with a backstage pass to the apartment across the street,
practising for a Thursday night gig at O’Reilly’s
among the clinking of beer bottles and the clatter of spoons
where the orchids dress up to cheat on the dandelions.

Still, it’s the solitude of the music that will touch
their wounds tenderly as if she were putting a finger
softly to their lips and saying hush now for a moment
and listen to the beauty of your own silence
taking compassion on what hurts you the most,
as if the ghost that was summoned by her music
had come to you privately with a cure for an absentee heart
in harmony with the perfect timing of the rain.

The medium is not the message and the word for it
isn’t experience, though you can’t separate the moon
from its lacustrian reflection on the broad waters of life.
The distinction is as valid as a keyhole in an open door.
A gate that doesn’t even shut out those who won’t walk
through it to see that even their fear of shadows
is rooted in their own starmud like the eyes of strange jewels
that shine in the dark like shy nightbirds in the audience.

The stars whisper offstage to your eyes not to be afraid
of your own radiance, or the chromatic range
of your rainbow refractions unlocking your voice
like an aviary that just let all the bats and butterflies
peacocks, crows, hermit thrushes, nightingales and doves out,
o and the great blue herons, the Canada geese, the killdeer
and quail, and the threnodies of the waterbirds I don’t know
the names of but only have to listen to know they mourn
like fire on the water to judge from the wild asters
of the autumn in her voice that burns like fireflies
in the eyes of the rain, then smoulders like wet cedar
before breaking into stars like sparks in the hay
of the scarecrow dancing with a phoenix in the flames
of a torch singer bound like a heretic of joy to the stake
of a microphone in the high fields she’s setting afire
with her voice, then putting them out in the tears
of the music in her heart like soft chandeliers of rain.

The words we put to our sorrows are as wayward as joy
or the hidden nightcreeks following their own melody lines
like the distant whispers of ghosts through the woods
that will return them to their graves like the mists of the morning
when the sun comes out, soon enough, soon enough
like the glare of the lights after last call as the singers
pack their black coffins like scratched guitars
with scars on their voices even the stars can’t lip synch
without their reflections burning like bridges
in the lyrics of life waterclocking like windows in the rain
you can hear singing all the way down the block
as the music blooms like waterlilies in the gutters of the moon.




Pretty Bones fell from the scaffolding of her own ribs
like the rungs of burning ladders she’s spiritualized into serpent fire
that climbs up her spinal cord like the pilot lights
of the scarlet runners to paint paradise in earth colours
with invisible highlights of the hotspots in a candle flame
anybody would hold their right hand of power over
just to talk to her for an era or two as if she were
Van Gogh’s unmarried cousin. The kind of beauty
that makes everyone in whatever room of the palace
of recycled chandliers she steps into like an ice storm
feel cold and lonely and longing as they’re drawn to her
like Celtic bards burning their poems in the fires
she jumps through naked as a witch that inspires them
like an heretical muse to take greater and greater subjective risks.

Pretty Bones hands you a begging bowl full of thorns
and tells you not to mistake the decrescent crown
of the moon even when it’s neaping on the wane
for a nest of inspiration it would be folly to hope
the same blue herons are going to return to
as they did last year and the year before that
like a recurring dream that nothing’s gone, it will all
come back like symbols of dusk to the limbs
of the dead trees washing their corpses in the waters of life
by the glow and the gloaming of the apple-green irises
in the eyes of a peacock spreading its feathers out
across the sky like a starmap to enlightenment
tinged by the sad colours of cool bliss in the background
as if she had an aerial perspective on time
and could turn the hour hands around like the petals
of the wildflowers leaping back into spring
without advancing forward into the auras of autumn.

Pretty Bones maintains she’s still vernal even here
in the tarpits of hell where the white swans
drown in their own darkness like vows they made
to the occult promise of a new moon to open their eyelids
as if they were giving birth to the light out of
the dark abundance of their own innate potential for radiance
like waterlilies shining as if their eyes were shy peers of the stars
saddened by some deep secret of life they enigmatically
keet to themselves like the silence of the nightbirds
that falls like a veil of longing and wonder over the distant hills
buried like sacred gravegoods in the same afterlife
they stole from like the vernal equinox from the bone-box
she carved out of her own heartwood like a place
she could rest her prophetic skull with no fear of being snake bit.

Pretty Bones is never any less fictitious than you want her to be.
She accommodates the freaks and the ghouls,
and the demonic zombies that are trying too hard
to have their mummified leathers patched by
the ghosts of dead outlaws with the rockers of their own gravestones
as a testament of their unthinking loyalty unto death.
Her compassion is alluvial as the flesh of the Nile
and even the crocodiles who eat carrion are too beguiled
to open their jaws like satin coffins to unwary gazelles.

Pretty Bones can see windows within windows like the light
in everyone as if she were passing by on the street at night
on her way to some hectic rendezvous with her anti-self
to paint the town red in scarlet letters as if
she were just learning how to spell the alpha
of a new beginning in elaborate labyrinths of magic kells
that say it all iconically in elaborate fractals of random spontaneity
singing like crows and angels in the sacred groves
of trees abandoned to their own fate like spray bombs and chainsaws.