Friday, June 14, 2013



The lilacs are not blighted by rust,
the sky isn’t soiled by a storm.
The stars don’t despair in the darkness
they’re alone, and the swallows
are not deterred by death. Ever hear
the wind complain of the load it bears
or the earth weary of being the footstool
of mountains? Water serves unreservedly
the efforts of the irises along its banks.
Hard and indifferent as it is sometimes
to be here, living is a blessing and a boon
that never asks for thanks, like oxygen,
the table’s been set in the absence of a host
but that doesn’t keep everyone from feeling
like a guest. Praise to the capability
of all those things I can take for granted
like a heart beating without intervening
instructions from the supervisory mind.

Eras of Cambrian seabeds within me
shale loveletters inked in the flesh and blood
of my starmud like fossilized cuneiform
teaching me the abc’s of this elaborate alphabet
I’ve evolved into trying to read my chromosomes
like the plot of a lost epic with a future
that holds us all in suspense as if the outcome
were anything but assured. Though
the hunter in me yearns homelessly
for the migratory nights I spent around a fire
following the herds of the stars
to the lower slopes of the echoless valleys
their shadows lingered in a while to drink
from their own reflections like sacred paintings
drawing blood from stone, praise be
to the stationary freedom that allows things
to grow on their own like wheat and poems
in the starfields of Virgo when I grasp the horns
of the plough of the moon to till the Fertile Crescent.

The sea is too immaculate for seeds,
but the wind is a libertine and the earth is a slut
that doesn’t discriminate between the waterlilies
in their nunneries or the brothels
of the wild orchids rooted in muck.
Praise be to the dark abundance
of her open-minded desire to receive
whatever windfalls might come of her generosity.
The sea lets all things run down into it,
but the earth builds them up again after
their will to live has been torn down.

Not a man alive hasn’t known a woman like that,
the sage and the clown, the braggart and the penitent,
whether he’s overcome his desires or not
doesn’t owe big time for the planet that laid
the foundation stone of the lordly towers in the clouds
that bend like the sky toward earth
in an awkward bow to the scarlet letter
of everything that followed in its wake
like paid mourners and plumed horses on parade
behind a dead lifeboat in a hearse with
windowless waves that couldn’t find anybody to save
who wasn’t any less worse than they were.
Isn’t it weird how men as tough as peacocks
do all the flowering like mirrors with built-in eyes,
but woman burns in the oracular coils
of her own serpent fire like the power
that dreams sidereally in the roots of the larkspur
climbing up its burning ladder of stars like heroes
to a mysterious window in their vision of life
they’re not deep enough to reach even if
they’ve got the balls of bathyspheres or spy satellites.

A downpour of applause, please, for
the unconditional freedom to delight in the earth
more like a Zen courtesan arranging flowers
than a midwife in a documentary about birth.
All that moonlight squandered on star-nosed moles
in the tunnels of love, blind to the source
of the shining like profligate insects having sex.

Even the heaviest of bells are roped to the wind
like the copulating wavelengths of a double helix
that seperates from what it hungers for the most
to bind the dove to the mercurial axis of a caduceus
seducing Medusa into releasing her healing powers.

From Kingu and Tiamat to quantum theory
celebrate the mythic dimensions of the delusions
you follow into deserts like a legendary mirage
of yourself that humbles the rain to bring into bloom.
Celebrate the errors of perception that bent space
down pathways the flowers along the roadside
have never had to make way like intimidated refugees
for passing vehicles in a hurry to get somewhere.
You’re not the worst astronaut who ever
walked on the moon without a starmap of spurs on
his barefeet, when his heels sprouted wings
though so many myopically use them
like feather dusters of cedar to cover their tracks
than fly like waterbirds that leave no trace
of themselves whatever medium they’re swimming in.

Minnows in the mindstreams of early spring,
or albatrosses crucified in the yardarms
of the nautical trees of Vancouver Island,
it’s never too early not to worry though I wish
I’d taken my own advice long before this.
Give your hallucinations a break. It’s not easy
keeping you amused when your mind eats
everything in sight like a wild boar at a feast of eyes.
There will be many to come that will be
just as wrong after you as there were
before we born to illuminate our ignorance
by holding our shadows up against the light
in order to see the invisible made manifest.

You abuse your spiritual experience of life
when you use it to empower your impotence
to make right at the expense of everything
that’s been creatively wrong about you
from the very beginnings of your infallible innocence.
Plead indefensibly human before the jury
or the choir, call asylums to testify out of the box
as character witnesses to your upstanding madness,
then count your blessings like prophetic skulls
on an abacus of calendrical rosary beads
darker than the promises new shepherd moons
that vow to guide like snakeoil through the valleys of death,
though, at the time, it’s not unusual to feel
as if you were in total eclipse, keep your eyes open,
for any sign of a chance in this house of life
to praise the earth for the fireflies you set
your bearings by like a tall ship with a crow’s nest
and a sacred grove of Douglas firs to roost in
like the moon’s bird through the long lunar voyage ahead.




Yes, there are pale gardens, wings ribbed
like the eyelashes of butterflies, and roses
of flaking blood rooted like something
that was said between the lines of lovers
in a book of fossils in the Burgess Shale.

Even the silence that binds the sacred
to the mundane when the margins of beauty
are feathered by the eyes of peacocks
in the apple green dusk bleeding into mystic blue,
as if one weren’t enough to anticipate
the stars emerging like a gentle rain,
the breath of your lover on the hairs of your arm,
as if the dark were crying through tears of light
from the clouds of unknowing, from
the fathomless watersheds of life and death,

even these tender precipitates of the light
that come on like porches and fireflies
and lamp-posts in this breathless interim
where we neither let things go nor take them in,
nothing born yet of its native waters
and no corpse to wash for burial, neither
prelude to the night, nor epilogue of the day,

even the silence, unliving, undead, unborn, unperishing,
can sometimes seem as dessicated and stale
as the bread and the salt we laid out
on the kitchen table as a feast
to welcome our ghosts back as if they
were the guests for a change, and we
their absent hosts only a threshold away
from revealing the mirage of our own origins
to those who have dismissed us like the wisdom
of old wives’ tales vaguely remembering
the distant legends of our own mythic past
that animated us once like dragons in the dawn
that vowed never to be false to its own beginnings.

So I have not forgotten you like the tattoo
of a starmap inked indelibly on this
paper-thin skin of water like a gravemarker
of the oceans of the moon that have dried up
since the heart has stopped flowing into them
like a waterclock of shadows trying to top off
the overturned hourglasses of better times.

No other place the past has ever lived
but in the specious present, in the same
house of life it was born into and you
have gone on morphing where sacred rivers join
at the meeting place of tribal fires
that have grown brighter over the lightyears
than ghost dancers inspired by the shadows
of things to come out of these penumbral sketches
as I have always done and do like quick studies
of your face since I met you like someone
I would keep on encountering for the rest of my life
in the charcoal and ashes of first magnitude dragons
that still burn like candles beside the beds
we lay down in where we couldn’t tell
if we drowned in the oceans of the rose
like the waves of the vast night sea
that overwhelmed the bodies of our lifeboats
in rogue sunamis, or the flames of desire we were
cremated in prophetically like butterflies
that burned like furnaces in the infernoes
of our mouths as we drifted off like satisfied fire hydrants
into the mindstreams that flowed like rose petals
strewn in the happy gutters of dreams that didn’t
long for anything more than what our arms could hold
of blood and hair and eyelids, lips and breasts,
and the mystic defaults we fell back upon
like the feather pillows of our dishevelled humanity.

No urns, but the kilns have remained hot
as the Pleiades, and the vases we turned
like our bodies back then are still arranging
the constellations like wildflowers that haven’t
shape-shifted into kitchen pots and garden plots
where lovers scatter their ashes on the roots of roses
mummified in bark and burlap, hoping
they’ll make it through another long winter
that drags on like the extinction of spring
in a homely afterlife awaiting the return of everything.