Friday, July 5, 2013



I should lie in the sun and melt into the grass.
I listen to the bikers throttling up like chain-saws.
I sit here urgently trying not to pollute time.
A poem’s got one foot on shore and one in the boat.
Let Atlantis rise or sink as it will. I can wait.
Even when it’s calm, my heart is an idling storm
and every third thought is a voodoo doll
as it sees itself on the inside
behind the eyelid of a visionary eclipse.
Nothing to worry about. I’m not going to put
the eyes of the telescope out for looking at Lady Godiva.

Look at me tracking myself all over this paper,
mouse and bird letters in the snow at the base of a juniper.
How human it is to forgo yourself for a future that doesn’t exist.
God, I wish there were more fireflies in my life than street signs.
Do you see the lack of meaning in how things are understood?
Thought will get you as far as a frog on a lily pad
but once you get there it’s easy to see it’s the lily that shines
in a whole other realm of language
that everyone understands but no one can speak.
I watch the honeysuckle burn the gate I came through.
I note the blue eye shadow of the damselfly
applying herself like a cosmetic pencil to the heavy petals
of the wild roses tangled in the fallen birch.

What a shock it would be if I were to take off my lifemask
and you were to discover me infinitely closer to you
like a dimension you hadn’t detected in your awareness
than the light is to what you see when
you’re sitting up in bed alone in the dark at three in the morning.
What a world, hey? What do you make of it?
The marvel and the horror and the mystery
and the way destiny manifestly unrolls like a lottery
for every living thing on a planet that occasionally plays
Russian roulette with the asteroids, and our tiny part in it all,
this mere speck of nothingness that can embody
in its formless spaces within, the superclustering of galaxies?
And the pain and the anger and the sorrow and the fear
and the way things change and disappear
as you look for the forms of your expectations everywhere
and everything’s either an approximation or consolation
of what you can see so clearly, it burns the air?

I should lie down in the sun and melt into the grass,
but forgotten among buildings here, I am unbound
and not even the dead are as free as I am right now.
The whole universe is one big solid insight
where inanimate things are just another mode of motion
sitting in the room like Latin, dogpaddling in space and time,
and I’m tucked under your eyelids like a loveletter
you weren’t expecting in a language that could read you
like any one of the seventy-two scholars of the Septuagint.
I’ve been listening to you for lightyears like leaves
listen for the wind and the rain and the moonlight
and what you have felt about being alive
to say hello and sing farewell, has been my feeling,
and when you have wept at the intransigence of angels
and the generosity of their expansive interventions,
I have been humbled by the eyes of my own exaltations.
And my feet swept out from under me
like an undertow of shadows on the moon.

Sister Lunacy, who can stand in the light
of these intensities and immensities for long
this vertigo of stars and skulls, bells and scars
without reeling in the delirium of simply being here
to witness them as if they somehow depended on us
to embody them in our hearts and minds and voids
as if they were no different from us than we were,
all waves of awareness the wind blows up on the ocean.
The imagination transforms everything in to us.
The stars reek of the eyes that have gazed up at them
like pyres and telescopes and censers, it’s
in the hair of a comet like the smell of a lover,
it’s what makes the meteorites as kissable
as the head of a snake to the lips of a gentle enemy.

Sister Lunacy, my heartfelt muse, my dark-side dakini,
what have you been dancing for all these years?
Have you been pearldiving among the castanets
for a moonrise in the mouth of a seashell
that could sing to you like the ocean you’re lost upon?
You’re the station every seeker gets to
on a pilgrimage he doesn’t know he’s taking
where he damns the consequences and blessings alike
and enters into the spiritual life as a rebel of compassion
as he addresses himself to what’s arrayed before him
as if there were only one voice between himself and another
like a bridge that flows, like a star
that doesn’t drown in your eye like a firefly.
And if there were anything I could ever say I was
it would have to be this just as it is, this
endlessness I keep being poured out into
as if my heart were the only waterclock I could live by
and disembodied space the only medium
that could accommodate my shapeshifting adaptations
like goldfish coming to the surface to feed on the stars.

Sister Lunacy, the moon reaches down to the roots of the river reeds
and the catfish thrive among the wild rice in the shallows,
and eyes in the darkness high overhead, as if
someone shattered a mirror into a billion bits of awareness
see you standing on your barren precipice
and long to know what it is you’re thinking.
In order to understand you must become the thing itself.
You must abdicate your own presence to be
remotely at peace with the world, it’s a strawdog anyway,
and it burns too fast to be much of a lighthouse.
And o my darkness, there are so many skins you have yet to shed
like the moon trying on a wardrobe of water
laying her gown across the lake like an early frost of sequins.
I shall come to you at first as a premonition
as lightly as a cloud touches the mountain, an aberrant insight,
a synchronistic intuition of our simultaneity,
and in your breath my breath shall be an atmosphere
and in your eye my eye shall lavish the most intimate of stars,
and in your blood my blood shall be the poppy and the rose.

Sister Lunacy, even after the house has burnt to the ground
my passion stands like a blackened doorway in the rain
and though I look at you through a broken window,
the moon is whole, and the sky is not torn or bruised.




Night. A whisper of rain. Peace in my heart.
A penny on the third eye of the hurricane
I’ve been trying to ride out all day without
having it throw me off like a big cat on its back.
Farewell, turmoil. I retract my claws
like quotation marks and crescent moons
around the silence of your name.
The fallen pine boughs of your broken wings.
Inspiration doesn’t trample on things
like flowers and stars. No more. No more
of those feelings that were meant to be as famous
as a Trojan horse to a poet grazing on the plains of war.

Eyes running down the windowpane in tears
as if they were teaching it to cry. Listen to the rain
deepen the silence like the roots of silly flowers
when you fire the voice coach
and teach them to paint watercolours.
It’s sad. But I add that poignancy to the light
like a fragrance of the moon to an apple orchard
and let it dream like wine in the dark
until I taste it again in the windfalls of late September
and in the retreating rosaries of grace leaving like birds.

For the moment I am the inclusive intimacy
of a passion that doesn’t scorn the fruit of its outcome.
I kiss my skull the same way I kiss the blossom.
Come life, come death. Two feet on the same path.
I don’t split hairs like the wishbone of the road I’m on
and not expect to lose my way back home
wherever that is now the astrolabe is blind and starless
and I drift like a paper lifeboat in a truce with the sea.
I should raise naval flags like spring flowers
to signal the relative victory of a few short hours
but the candles have already sent the message in flames
and the shadows have answered: message received.

No need of tomorrow and much less of yesterday
let the moment tend to the affairs of its own will
I’m an apostate event unbound from the stake
of the irreligious history of the world trying
to burnish lead into gold in the wrath of a volcano god
someone met on the way to the promised land
and asked to join the caravan at the wells in Median
to compound the absurdity of visionary matchbooks
that rained manna and vipers from the opposite eyes
of the mirage of an hourglass skinny-dipping in the desert
to renew the virginity of time like a sundial on the moon.
Rare revelation to the changelings of lust
released on the river like prophetic decoys in a false dawn
to lure the waterbirds into friendly fields of fire
as if to say you can come this far, no higher.

There’s never been a star named after a human
except for Cor Caroli, the heart of Charles the Second,
dimly under Alcor and Mizar, the horse and the rider,
under the handle of the Big Dipper I raise to the lips
of a mermaid in the desert like real water
to a true believer in the midst of delusion
just to hear her sing again on the rocks of longing
like a waterclock on a windowpane in the rain.
And I don’t want to tie her to the bowsprit of a shipwreck
that went down at the end of her song,
the whole town on board this leaking ark
and she’s the only one that’s crying into a lifeboat
like a woman with her face in her hands at the news.

Forty nights and forty days of rain in the spring,
the earth’s a hydrocephalic with water on the brain.
And the roads are cobbled with sloppy frogs,
and the darkness is dense with a wardrobe of sorrows
that hangs in the air like an era of hesitation
above the crystal slipper dancing shoes and rubber boots
in the pungent closets of the watershed
that waltzes them like rain on the Tay River
under chandeliers of light-footed starmud
in the abandoned ballrooms of the willows dancing
like gusts of air to the heritage harps
that shine like constellations in their high-strung hair.

A train howls like a wounded animal in the distance,
an iron horse. The nightwatchmen have gone out
like fireflies, but not the streetlamps that have stayed on
like starmaps in the rain to walk the drunks home
arm in arm, crying in their cups like watered down wine.
Nothing divine, earthly or infernal, the eye of time
no more vernal in the east where the moon rises
than eternal in the west where the sun sets,
I’m not playing solitaire in the rain with old regrets,
I’m at peace with the stars that are caught like civilians
between storm fronts, as their seeds get washed away
like flower bombs in a flashflood of shell-shocked rivulets
someone stepped on by mistake. And I’d rather keep
the worst of my war-stories to myself, than swap them
with the vets being strafed by the rain of ricochets
in the Legion’s parking lot where things are fought all over again
as their wives usher them to the passenger side of their cars.

Just the rain and me. As if we were born a moment ago.
And neither of us had anything to fight about.
And I was the bud of a wound that hadn’t started bleeding yet,
like a shrieking poppy or a stoic rose, and it
wasn’t the cure that washed all the blood off
like a paint rag of a sail in a Pacific sunset hemorrhaging at sea.
Just the rain and me. Doing what we both do best.
And all our labour effortless as tears in the eyes of the night.