Saturday, June 15, 2013



Even when the road is missing
like the absence of God, or a woman I love,
I praise that emptiness for the freedom it accords me
to create a way of my own like a river of stars
and for the universe it’s left me
like a travelling companion I couldn’t improve upon.

The gate shut, the door closed, the window locked,
I slip a key to a poem under the welcome mat
and say my house is your house anytime you call
and then go get drunk with the moon down by the lake.

And after awhile we’re laughing at ourselves,
rolling in the leaves like the groundswell
of two happy vagrants with homeless hearts
making off with our lives for free as if
we’d just pulled off some cosmic B and E.
without leaving any sign of culpability behind,
except for the joy of our felicitous crime.

And when my moonboat’s in port for repairs
like bedsheets in a backyard fleet of laundry on the line,
I don’t mind being land locked for awhile.
I just take a walk along the shore of the lake
and gather moonlit feathers
from the scales of the waves
that have evolved from raptors into swans,
and binding them together
like Daedalus did for Icarus,
take a joy ride into the sun at midnight
not really caring too much about whether
I’m at zenith or nadir as long
as I’m transiting something akin to a threshold.
The sun can hold Venus on a short leash,
and me on the chain of my spine
like a barnyard dog barking at wolves
trying to tempt it deeper into the night
but the last crescent of the moon
will cut right through them both
like the umbilical cords of a new life
where we can both roam free
like rogue planets from star to star.

Empty-handed and full-hearted I come by day
to a low place looking for fire
from the daylilies with a bucket and an urn,
because I’m so tired of what I’ve had to do
to stay alive for the past fifty years as a serf of poetry
to keep it a calling, instead of a career,
and suffer the consequences of not attending to it
as a business that makes a profit off the stars,
but by night I’m a starling of creosote in a chimney
singing my heart out as if I wanted to eat it
because it has all the virtues of a noble enemy
and there’s no poetry or protein in the junkfood of fame,
though I think that might be a trifle ingenuous.

Impoverished Druid, you lean on a crutch for a tree,
as a flying buttress to your sacred folly,
and running out of time to avoid
a head-on collision with eternity
all your devotions the ghosts of yesterday,
you kick the stool from out under your feet
and garotte yourself from the bough of an oak,
like the berry of a single moon of mistletoe
and the last crescent of a golden sickle just out of reach
of the harvest season of the King of the Waxing Year.

Poor heart, what a battered shoe
of a vital organ you’ve become, a bone box
for the sacred skeletons of hummingbirds and elephants,
a Burgess Shale for the creative fossils and footprints
we both had to evolve through to come to this
inconceivable moment without a time scale
to measure how far it is from then to now
like the last leap of faith of the waterclock of life
into the abyss without a bucket for a safety net
or any deep assurance of even having a bottom anymore
to fall out of the ongoing over the edge of a precipice
as if even the rivers of Eden sometimes
had to seek release from it all and fall
even without a parachute to candle
like an exclamation mark all the way down,
a descent into hell creatively much to be preferred
than stagnating in paradise with nothing but apples to eat.

But still you know you won’t do it, given
the number of times now I’ve come running
with a chair and a rope to let you down
out of the window of a burning building
not knowing whether we were committing suicide
or I was running to your rescue as I always have.

Your daring has always said feathers and falling
has always taken wing like Pegasus before,
and what a wild strange radiant white water ride it’s been
across the high unbounded starfields of the shining
with Vega and Deneb goading us on
ever further like spurs of Spanish silver
just you and me, my blood brother, together
in the vastness of a mutual solitude.

My God, when I think of the flights we’ve taken.
When I think of the things we’ve seen,
and the orchards of sorrow that found more bliss
in the fruit than they did in the blossom.
And what did we ever write about all those stars
that didn’t declare how impossibly illiterate we are
compared to the lyrics of light and time and wonder
they’ve been singing all these lightyears
since I first opened my eyes to why I’m conceivably here,
though here can be anywhere by now like a bird
that loses its bearing under the stars everytime
it tries to get a fix on where it’s going like a photon
jumping orbitals like tree rings in a flash of insight.
When you’re light, when you’re foolhardily alive
you don’t need to pay heed to where you’re going
because there isn’t a single stage, place, or phase
that isn’t the destination of what you’re shining up at.

And I never thought the day would ever come
when sadness would sweeten into wisdom enough
to take pity on the mirrors like the eyes under our lifemasks
when we went down to the river to drink
our own reflections like faces from the lifeboat of our hands,
like a rain of mercy far out at sea far from the sight of land,
when we first began to understand how clarity like unity
can be broken down into little pieces of sand
that reflect the whole universe as readily
in their mystic particularity
as the stars and the sun and the moon do
when they lay their swords and feathers
and flying carpets like wavelengths of light
down in tribute to our third eye weeping its way to the sea.

And you were surprised, admit it, weren’t you,
to find so many white horses like you running ashore,
mustangs from the waves, to check out the new guy’s wings.
And me standing there like an avalanche of winged heels
wondering why I didn’t make as big a splash
and if all we walked away with was a detailed starmap
who could say the journey really wasn’t worth it?
Let the shore-huggers do what they want with it
to find their way around in the dark like fireflies.
Leave it to them. We were ever explorers
from the beginningless beginning to the endless end,
and we’ll rise up again on a gust of stars
caught up like a dust-devil at the crossroads of earth
and ascend on a thermal of the sun, the stairwell
of a star-studded chromosome that could
take a coil of flypaper and turn it into a poem.




The earth hides nothing from you
when its time comes to be revealed.
Not the bones of the dead, not the green wind
blowing on the young leaves of the maple
to see if it still remembers how to break into flame
or the loaded horse-hair brushes of the flowers
trying to decide what colours to apply first
to the blue-toned underpainting of the sky on their easel.

And this is the essential freedom of information act.
Walking with a thoughtful, cooly blissful, festive spirit
on a windy night by a spring lake trying on stars
like earrings to go with the season like crocuses
realizing, as if you weren’t there alone, though you are,
how inestimably unique and precious it seems
just to be aware of this lake in the moonlight
trying to grow waterlilies in her Mars black hair
and one wild iris, because she’s obviously French.

And I can tell by the way the eddies and ripples
circle and tendril the sensuous undulance
of her dark depths, and the way she’s eyeing me
as I toe my way along the path I’m making up on the go,
she’s intrigued and modestly threatened
or she’s got other things on her mind
if I’m meant to know, I’ll know, in her good time, not mine
because there is no birth or death in the present moment,
it doesn’t have a future, it doesn’t have a past,
and it flashes by so fast, it hasn’t even happened yet
so everything is still and silent and timeless
and yet nothing is hidden, nothing held back.
Everything’s shining out like a star
that can’t keep what it knows to itself.
And any lingering question
of who you might have been is everywhere
reflected in the universe like a face in a mirror
with no one standing in front of it.

Something deep within and without me seems
to humanize the lake in my mother-tongue
and how astoundingly wonderful just to listen
to the lake’s accent when she answers back
in a language I can fully understand is universal,
rich with metaphors and similitudes that are the bloodlines
of everything in existence rooted in a grammar of dark matter
that can be as eloquent as the stars
when it waxes lyrical in spring, its uncontainable heart
overbrimming with joy at the return of the nightbirds.
The great, blue, lunar heron and the solar ray of the osprey
returning after long absence to their nests,
like lost jewels to a ring, eyes to the skull of a blind seer,
high in the Ys of the dead trees that look like harpoons
and dangerous tuning forks and witching wands
out whaling for water, stuck in the flukes of the lake.

Evanescent shape-shifters in the vagrant emptiness
learning to read each other like a star group,
say, the Pleiades, the daughters of Atlas,
the cornerstone of the world it upholds like a starmap
adjusting our eyes, our seeing, our unreasonable being here at all,
to the light and gravity of everything around us
in harmony with a life that’s never
at peace with itself creatively
to keep the wild grapevines growing like grails
that everyone seeks like sweetness and light
at the root of the truth of themselves, as soon
they’ll be sipping bliss from the towering stars
like ruby-throated hummingbirds from the larkspur.

Be empty as a cracked cup or an eyeless skull
and know what it is to be filled
by a lake that takes the low place so you
can flow into it like a bloodbank into the lifestream
of the spring run off of winter stars thawing in the dark hills
like patchy galaxies of snow that have found a way
to get off their islands by realizing
one wavelength of light
one wavelength of water
one wavelength of thought or insight
one wavelength of love and compassion
one wavelength of a seeker with a mindful heart
is all the flowing of the same night creek
growing into consciousness like a stranger
we come face to face with as it dawns upon us
emerging out of this dream of a self
like a dragonfly from its chrysalis,
like the wet sapphire of an eye
from the dark abundance of the seed
that prophesied that it would be so,
the best way to navigate your way
on this ocean of awareness even if you’re shipwrecked
like these dead trees at the bottom of the lake
with herons in your crow’s nest
is to take your hand off the wheel and let go.

Let go the way an archer releases a bird from a power line
or the first purple marten of the year
from the blossoming bow of an alder branch
hung with catkins in keeping with the fourth month
of Bran in the Celtic calendar and the letter, Fearn,
in the Druidic way of speaking to trees
to ask for directions through life and death and beyond
as if they’d made a library out of the whole forest
by listening to the wind in an alder copse
in a language the alders understood
they spoke in common with the water stars
of the blind and enlightened alike.

And if there’s no one to fall in love with,
or out of, this time of the night starwalk
the circuitous blossoming of your way
deep into a nearby grove sometime,
along the shoreline of the improbable concourse
of the way of things like a wild grapevine
gave up being on the go, for growing,
once it got a taste of its own wine,
and watching the Pleiades like crown jewels
in the burgundy upper branchs of a birch
closer to heaven than you could ever
have imagined you could be,
fall in love with a lake with a French accent
and the soul of a Celtic sybil, and doing
what the moon does with her lunar sword unsheathed
lay your silver tribute down upon her waters.