Wednesday, July 3, 2013



Tenderly the evening descends into a dark bliss
and lays its poultice like a cool leaf against my forehead
and draws the fever of the day out of the night.
I ease back on my elbows like an easel down by the river.
When I’m burnt, I make a blister
and cushion myself with water,
a more useful approach to tears.
The mosquitoes swarm like insistent circumstances
that thin my blood, but a soft wind
is blowing them away from Pearl Harbour.
The long blue grass yields as easily to a man as a deer.
I want the stars near enough to overhear what they’re whispering.
Still amazing to me I can embrace all of them with a thought
as if they were my idea in the first place
and feel humbled and exalted at the same time
by the sublimity of their radiance and the strangeness of my own.
The river sustains its clarity by wandering.

Single male in the autumn of life, I’ve let go of so much
the only thing left to let go of is the letting go itself.
I’ve forgone the commotion of inducing myself into creation.
Things will fall out by themselves. Playfulness
return to surrealistic perversity
to explain the shape of the universe
and fools like me counter-intuit the crazy wisdom
of squandering their lives on voices in the distance
leading them on deeper into the subtleties of a poetic narcosis
that haunts them like the face
of a beautiful woman they once knew.

Don’t we all belong to a nobility of longing, even though
we don’t live up to it, and start to grasp and scratch
like dead branches screeching across
an intransigent windowpane on a stormy night
that let’s us look at the fire, but doesn’t let us in?
Where do you go with your serious spirit
when you’ve been rejected by your solitude?
Do you know the secret art of being enhanced
by the qualities of anything you’re not attached to,
without killing off the desire for what you’re missing?
Live with gratitude for the abyss in your heart
it’s impossible to fill like a grave
that took more out of you than it put back in.

You can be adorned by your failures.
You can be humiliated by your victories.
Coming and going, your path can be strewn
with roses or thorns. You could be walking on stars.
You could be lying down beside a river at night like I am
savouring a sorrow you like the poetic taste of,
because it includes everything within it
like the skin of the dew and the moon as the source of life.
Even sweeter than a rainbow body of light
or an atmosphere with ocean to match,
this last touch of clinging before you evaporate
into the mystery of everything you’re leaving behind.

No more than you can pour water out of the universe
through a black hole, can your mindstream be poured by time
into the uncomprehending darkness of the black mirror
you’re looking for an image in tonight
in the eyes of all these stars shining down upon us,
knowing our starmud is just as old as their light
and we’re not wandering orphans lost in their shadows.

We’re firewalking on water like stars in the shapes
of self-immolating swans, two parts flammable
from the start, and one of oxygen like a toxin
we depend upon for life like an alien export we adapted to.
Same with death. Until you include it in the nucleus,
inviting your enemy in to feast behind the gates
that laboured like water to keep life in the seas,
you’re vulnerable to the delusion of your own exclusion
like the face of an exile in your mirroring awareness.
Don’t underestimate the creative potential
of the dark genius of death to come up
with new paradigms of seeing and being
that make us feel we lived our whole lives
confined and blind in the coffin of a seed
that stored a harvest of what we’ve reaped in a silo.

Out of the dead ore of the moon
pours the white gold of wheat
like metal from a stone in a starfield
that yields more life than can be lost
in the living of it. Without a sword. Without a ploughshare.
Isn’t it in the nature of our evanescence to move
like light and water and wind from urn to urn
of one sky burial to the next at sea and then the earth
like a water clock that runs so urgently
from full to an emptiness that has to keep expanding
like the human heart just to contain it
so when the cup’s broken like a skull
you can drink the whole of the sea and the sky
in every single drop of your mindstream
and the stars will still be climbing your roots
up to the flowers within that bloom every year
like a deepening insight at zenith into
the dark generosity of becoming something
even beyond the scope of death to imagine extinct?




Time to myself.
The first half hour feels
as if I’m sitting at a bus-stop
waiting for something that’s never going to come.
Thoughts like stray threads of hair on my shoulder.
Old love affairs that have gone grey in my absence.
After the last flashflood I scuttled the ark of my heart
on the moon, like a dog far enough into the country
it couldn’t find its way home again.
Love’s always a mystically unique reality
but the cosmic urgencies of the pain
I endured demonically in the name
of things that were too feeble to believe in,
eventually came to hum like white noise
in the background of a boring curse
where all you could do was dogpaddle
in the flotsam and jetsam of incredible trivia
that floats up to the surface of a shipwreck on the bottom
waiting for the next lifeboat.

No one locks their doors in the country
unless they’re living a field away
from a hobby-farm, hillbilly crackhouse
that’s been handed down like the story
of a body in a lost housewell somewhere on the property,
so if someone were to step in out of the night,
I wouldn’t stand my ground like a ten point, white-tailed buck
on a hill that’s been posted against hunting
with grenades, and feel too sure of myself,
but just the same, I’d watch from a distance for awhile.
Like a wolf made shy by intelligence,
I wouldn’t come down from the timberline
until I was convinced by the probable concourse of events
there was no bounty on my head
and no judas-goat was pleading in a leg-hold trap.

Sounds brutal when I say it, but not to those
who’ve been shot at by shepherd moons
trying to cull the pack like asteroids into extinction
whenever it tried to snatch the golden calf by the throat
and bleed it like a rose of transubstantiation in the snow.
The most insane things I’ve ever done
in a world that specializes in absurdity
I’ve done for the beauty of the madness
that overtook me like the acids of a Venus fly-trap.

Sometimes love can be a lighthouse on the moon
with no one to give a warning to, it may be a mermaid
but it’s been singing the same old song on the rocks too long
and I’m poet enough to go down with the ship
but not as a creature of habit. The scratched guitar
with a warped neck in the corner
that made a benign hobby out of a way of life
that was once the death call of the music
that only endangered species could hear and dance to.

Love needs a wide screen to feature
the wingspans of its emotions so any sky
you might find yourself flying in fits you like skin.
But me? I can see a masterpiece in the paint rag of a parrot.
And there are worlds within worlds within worlds
so unanimously unconcerned with us
they have to read ancient history just to prove
that we exist as an unexplained anomaly
of the cosmic background hiss of radiant annihilation
deconstructing into the echoes of its original inspiration
like birds crying in the throat of a valley
that holds its notes too long
to keep time with the pace and passage of life.

Love’s a melodic state of mind with a percussive heartbeat
and no one’s ever really missing from the band
on the road like religious icons of democracy,
even when they get homesick for their girlfriends
and the drummer is moved in his heart of hearts
more by paranoia and lust than he is love and music
to end his calling in a bus station with a broken phone,
trying to make sure his girlfriend’s there
when he gets home at two in the morning.

Not especially bitter, and only occasionally longing,
but I remember the happy day my Greek chef friend announced
he no longer worshipped at the feet of the great goddess sex,
and died of cancer five months later, and how
even Mahatma Gandhi couldn’t pacify the hydra
of his sexual desires by lighting little fires
all around him when he slept on a pyre of women.
Worse than celibacy is abstracting the flesh into a hungry ghost.
To damn the body with the faint praise
of a sin of omission that denigrates its earthly excellence
as an instrument of God in the hands of rank amateurs
trying to weave flying carpets on the loom of a guitar
to add their wavelength of lament to the disappointed stars.

Where the bullet comes to rest
in a cosmic game of Russian roulette
is forensically irrelevant. Who
got it through the heart and who
got it through their head can go on arguing forever
who suffered the deepest death
when the daffodils began behaving like periscopes
intent on torpedoing the love boat
zigzaging through the sealanes of a wolfpack.

Open-armed as the bay of a seaworthy sailor,
I embrace love these days lightly with a kiss
like a ticket in a lottery I’m not expecting to win
but revel in like a Zen poet dancing with the moon
as if he were water, and it was taking its sail down
over the treetops, to stay awhile on his enchanted island
where delusion is not an obstruction to bliss,
and enlightenment isn’t anymore of a seer
than the scars of the star that strip mined your eyes are.