Tuesday, July 16, 2013



Spots on a paint rag trying to figure out
if they’re part of a larger picture.
Daubs and smudges and smears of black and red.
Topographies of dry thick ridges of blue acrylic,
peach-coloured mesas bruised
by the encroaching violets of dusk in a painted desert.
Are these the wanna-be windows of life
who failed to achieve a whole and harmonious view
of what they’re doing here swiping off knives
thick with the gore of cadmium red,
cleaning off brushes that get to go out
on the field to caress and poke
stars and trees into being? Waterboys, not players.
I say the word, life, and I feel tonight like
the heaviness of a bell that’s supplanted my heart.
The right root, but the wrong blossom.
Even though I’d melt that bell
back down into raucous cannon
to defend the concept to my very last breath.
But tonight I’m tunnelling under the foundations
of the cornerstones of life to bring
the walls down on top of my head,
like an avalanche of prophetic skulls
to just get a peek inside the grand paradigm,
the white light of the gessoed underpainting.
The secret garden with low-hanging fruit
on easy street with the sacred whores of Babylon.

An existential sadness, deep as a death-wound,
as if I’d just been stabbed in the heart
by the hands of a clock that mistook me for an intruder,
undermines me from below, a pyramid built on quicksand.
As if all those who had drowned in life
like fish up over their gills in water
were swimming in the watershed of every tear
that almost makes it up over the top of the dam
I try to throw up like a manly front to what
I know I won’t be able to hold back for long.

And there go the villages in the flooded valley
I tried to live among like a neighbourly mountain
come to Muhammad on the way up and down.
It’s cold and lonely and the air is thin
at the peaks of experience, with only
a star and a cloud for company.
The hard diamond in the rough I used to be
has grown mushy over the years. Tears.
Imagine that. Warm, salt seas with undulant tides
of emotion coursing in and out,
the way we breathe, the way we live and die,
unite and separate, pour our shining
down an inexhaustible black hole
like Parthian gold into Crassus’ mouth
in the hope of efflorescing like the bird fountain
of a better world on the other side of hyperspace.

Armed with some decent human attitudes,
and a few that are wholly out of bounds,
no reason my mind can catalyse out of chaos
that I should feel the sorrows of the discarded colours
on a paint rag like the afterbirth of the universe
that’s gone on to greater things than road kill.
I feel the deep grief of widowed eclipses
and the creeping shame of sunspots
that were born into a maculate caste
of estranged birthmarks on the forehead of a lighthouse.
Space is warped like water by some unknown
disturbance in the pond. And I can’t discern from here
whether it’s a crack in the dam
or a birth sac ripe enough for its waters to break
and wash me out to sea like
the flotsam and jetsam of a shipwrecked lifeboat.

I hear the lilac whispering into blossom.
I see the starlings building their nests
in the corners of my third eye and the spiders
weaving mandalas between the witching wands
of the aspen saplings trying to transcend their roots.
Still, time seems studiously impersonal
and more matter-of-fact about suffering
than perhaps it really is. The mind is an artist.
Able to paint the worlds. As they say in Zen.
And I can see so clearly even through this cloud of unknowing
the kind of world I’d love to live in,
giving it my full assent in peace and contentment,
as long as I never lost the hunger that desires these things
and no one else had to live like a ratty old towel
abused as a paint rag by the shroud of Tourin.

Yet I can’t help feeling I’ve spent
my whole life trying to piece a lost constellation
back together again from leftover stars
that don’t have a clue what they’re shining amounts to.
In the stained, marked for life, castaway things of the world,
in the eyeless dreams of aborted inspirations,
in the twenty million dollars an hour we waste on war,
in the eyes of the twenty-five million children a year
who are starving to death globally in civilizations
based upon agriculture, I’m looking
for the trashed masterpiece of a paint rag
soaked in the blood of hemorrhaging roses
that might have parted our eyelids like the Red Sea
or a gallery on opening night to a vision
of what they might have done had they lived
to do things differently and their genius and beauty
not been squandered like blood for oil
or the waters of life learned to mingle more olaceously
with oil slicks in the womb of the dark mother
like an alternate medium of creative expression
that wasn’t shunned like the evil skin of a shedding rat snake.

There’s an expanding emptiness in my heart,
a vacuum nature abhors like a miscarriage
of what I hoped to wake up to the day after tomorrow
like the smile of an enigmatic Mona Lisa
that didn’t die in childbirth married to a banker.
What faces reside in a paint rag
I might have fallen in love with at first sight,
what mind, moon, sea, sky and landscapes
might have sat on my easel like windows in space
that might have shown me a way out of here
like the eye of a hurricane at the end of a telescope
that made things at a great distance appear
larger and more astronomically intimate than they seem
when no one’s trying to paint the other end of the lens
by wiping their glass slippers off on the grass
as if the princess just stepped into a mess of Hooker’s green.

Disoriented hues of colour blind rainbows, who knows
how many faces have been wiped off on a towel
with the big, sad, musing eyes of luminous gazelles?
How many cardinals nesting in red cedar trees
were wiped off the canvas like lipstick on the moon
when the sun went Puritan, midnight at noon,
and scourged the scarlet letter of the kissing stone
until nothing was left of humanity
but the purged shadows of an abstract divinity
that burned a hundred thousand women
foxed out like witch hunts in the seventeenth century
at the stake of a principle that stood up to the flames
like the backbone of a heretic
with a streak of Payne’s Grey in her nature
slashing at the orange sunset
with a painting knife in her hands
at those who resented the concupiscence
and dark innocence of her sacred body and soul
and saw her go up in flames
like a bouquet of sable paintbrushes
stacked at her feet like the pyre of the phoenix to come.

Sooner transform the emptiness into something
as absurd as it is meaningful, than ponder the waste
of a good mirage trying to look
for real water down a wishing well.
Sooner try to patch the tear in the sky
that rips me open under full sail running before the wind
and lets all the stars come pouring out
I was saving for a rainy day, with a paint rag,
a discarded face towel sadder
than viridian pine trees in the distance
with an aerial perspective of pthalo blue
gentled and blanched by the intervening atmosphere.
That said and done until the sky drys
I’d rather wear the patches of a compassionate clown
like paint rags on the Sufi blue of my cerulean robes.
I’d rather walk in a pauper’s clothes to show
my solidarity with the cast offs of creation,
not just finished canvases with artsy attitudes
in stiff upper collars and colours
that match the wallpaper like seasonal mood swings.

Sometimes it breaks my heart from the inside out,
it guts me like a tube of alizarin crimson
to see all these fledglings strewn at the foot of my easel,
my tree, my loom, my lean to, like the paint rags
of crumpled, ruined, leftover lives
that couldn’t quite make it as flying carpets.
But I’m not going to forget the ashen sorrows
and habitable earth-tones of starmud
under the winged heels of inspiration.
As for me and my zodiacal house of ill-repute,
my renegade observatory on the wrong side of the tracks,
I’m going to ride this wavelength of light out to the very end
where the wildflowers open
like the complementary loveletters
of a colour wheel, a rainbow come full circle,
unbroken just for them.
The donkey looks into the well.
The well looks back at the donkey.
Art. Life. Zen.
When the line turns round
the donkey at the end is in the lead.
Yesterday’s bleeding paint rag.
Tomorrow’s aesthetic creed.




My heart scalded by the acids of the world,
thorns in my eyes like atrocities of light,
my tears the Rorschach blood spatter
of kids colouring in the chalk outlines
of their corpses on the sidewalks of Chicago.

Outrage grown so high-pitched it’s shrieking in silence
but there isn’t a mirror you can hold up
to human nature that isn’t cracked
like the sound barrier of a voice-box
that can’t believe the shit it’s hearing
out of the mouths of monostomes. Monostomes
eliminate through the same mouths they eat with
like the austerity budgets of the unseemly rich
ingratiated like tapeworms in the body politic.

Ignorant, avariciously vicious bankers, lobbyists,
Taliban North hating in the name of Jesus
anyone who wasn’t baptized white and leprous
in the same creation myth of the gene pool
they’re immersed in like the charred fossils of doves
in the La Brea tarpits of an approaching eclipse,
politicians hard-wired like wooden dummies
to the ventriloquist puppet-masters pulling their strings
like umbilical cords that give women just enough rope
to go moor themselves to their bodies
like aborted lifeboats in an ice storm
of mysogynist legislation that says like Leviathan
to the sea you must bring forth like a public fountain
or hang from your own lifeline like a coathanger
in a meat locker. While the church diddles
little boys in the choir, go tell, Theotokos,
the mother of God, the sea, when the spirit of light
whispers into her ear you shall bear a child,
she must give immaculate birth to the offspring
of rape and incest, open Pandora’s box
or suffer like an honour killing in the name
of a vaginal probe with the spiritual life
of the used condom that miscarried you
like a outhouse into this legislative grotesquerie of life.

What’s it like to be born so obnoxiously powerful you can
desecrate an entire atmosphere with
the very first breath you take on earth?
To spy on worlds within worlds like a Peeping Tom
to compensate for the stunted sex life
of the keyhole you were in highschool
and still get caught violating your own
perverted taboos like an ingenue with a hooker
you copulate with like a medicine bag of snake oil
with an empty wallet that will later flush you out
in a douche of sexually righteous disgust.

Bullets for hummingbirds on the streets of democracy
window dressing the hearse of your lilac principals
with paid mourners of the dead corrupting the laws
you bequeath as a legacy to the living
like the quotas of private prisons you’re in bed with.

Everybody knows you’re giving a bad name to the sluts
that indulge your morbid appetite for body counts.
You really think we’re going to erect a phallic obelisk
to Amun in the temple of Karnak like a black farce
in your honour? I saw you in the senate of Rome
like an oil executive in the food supply. Ever wonder
why Caligula, mad as he was, made the good horse sense
of Incitatus a full consul over you? Leading plague rats
led by the noserings of party politics by elephants and jackasses.

The people know the difference between eagles and turkey-vultures.
The people can tell the difference between a knot
and a tree ring in the depths of their heartwood,
who’s a moonrise and who’s the goatshead
polluting their housewells like a fracking ceo
who wants to privatize the waters of life in their housewells.

The retributive karma of swarming killer bees
will taint the weedless sunshine of your decrescent,
unfertile smile like a Sahara of the same pesticides
that mutated the honey in the hives of the golden rule.
You will walk naked through the flames of hell
like hogsweed throwing acid in your eyes,
like fanatical spitting cobras on the same
radioactive wavelength of illiterate soul you are.
Your cartouche will be effaced like the writing
on the wall you never learned to read like an Afghan schoolgirl
for fear the word of God might liberate her
from the likes of you. The hadith of Muslim and Bukhari
say Muhammad liked prayer, perfume and women the best.
What do you think he’d think of you whether
you were a Christian or a Jew, Shia or Sunni,
reeking like a corpse flower of religion
over the cadavers of everything he cherished?

When the shepherds of the black camel
raise tall buildings in the desert, when no bird
sings in the eucalyptus candelabras of the promised land,
and a Chinese man, the last on earth, grovels
in the dust at his sister’s feet, aren’t those the signs
the Sufi said ushers in the end of the world?
Meet you at Megiddo on the plains of Jezreel.
Array your banners like the political bunting
of the shills for a military-industrial complex
that size our children up for personal landmines
or the god’s-eye of a drone collating potential roadkill
like a sewer of blood along a highway of tears.
Here’s my prophecy. When the food on my plate
is a lie. When the air I breathe is toxic filth.
When the water I drink explodes in my face.
When the earth groans under the deadweight
of paradise in the charnel houses of the killing fields
and the nuclear waste of the afterbirth
of the first fusion bomb is leaking into the watersheds
of Washington State like history being made
retroactively like the half life of plutonium.
When the sea is vulgarized like a garbage dump
as the moon is soon to be and childhood already is.
When the police approach their own species
more and more dressed up like insects
in the toolkits and garb of war and nine civilians
die for every soldier in the field since World War II
and there are no medals handed out for the casualties
killed in the doorways of third world powers
by those who have come to save their hearts and homes
like well-armed cowards who mythically inflate
the courage it takes to initiate a scorched earth policy
in an air-conditioned computer room of apocalyptic vidiots.
All militaries are climax-controlled millenarians
with their finger on the trigger of the Big Bang
like the G-spot on a starmap of sidereal explosions.

When hopelessness is more accurate than faith in life.
When four hundred billion dollars is spent
on an F-35 to feed the political career banks
of insatiable contractors and a bevy of senators
on taxpayer dollars who just excised 80 billion
worth of foodstamps from the cupboards of the poor,
one fifth of the proto-type of an underdeveloped
fighter in the womb with a cleft cockpit for a palette
from an agricultural bill of privileged cronies
civilization is supposed to be based upon
like the latifundia of the homeless masses of Rome,
and twenty five million children a year
starve to death in the retractible wheel wells
of birth and death, misery, ignorance, greed
in a conservative circus of black-hearted clowns
that don’t even hand out bread anymore
to the masses distracted by the puerile views
of celebrity juveniles and senile rockstars
that pimp for the news in the refugee camps of Darfur
like the children of the Visigoths Roman slavers
bought for dogmeat until Alaric sacked the capital
and the Whore of Babylon put on the vestments of the Vatican
to put a holy spin on their self-indulgent sins of omission.

Mum to the subterfuges of virtual reality,
Wall Street screams at Main Street let them eat
genetically modified birthday cake to commemorate
inequality, fratricide, and the slow death of liberty
like a foodchain used to garotte the poor
in a reactionary response to the storming of the Bastille.
History repeats itself like communism and Karl Marx,
the first time as a tragic will to power, the second
as the black farce of free enterprise no one can afford.

The mystery of humankind. The bloodline of war.
One red thread running like a theme through it all,
A beading of skulls, rosaries, prayer-beads,
Kaiser, Caesar, Czar, if history repeats itself
it’s because it’s become a cliche of hell,
that the oppressed die first like shock troops,
cannon fodder, human folderol, in return
for killing their own off in exchange for citizenship
in a cannibal nation founded on a principle
of I eat you, now you eat me by proxy
so I can wash my hands clean of the affair
like a racist snowbank in a heat wave
trickling down the last leg of your esophogeal gutter
like an economic theory on a fire-hydrant,
as I said earlier, monostomatically, trying
to keep it together as it melts away
like an ice-cream cone toppled in the dirt
doesn’t it, as the ants, o do you see the ants coming,
millions of little jaws like colonies of tribal migrants,
the Cimri, the Goths, the Quadi, the Marcomanni,
the huddled masses, the oppressed, the poor,
as it was in Rome when their wealth began to rot
in the nostrils of the have-nots, coming
to sop you up like a dessert that will fall off its sceptre
when the inevitable garbage can lid comes off
and the rich turn holy, rendering unto Caesar
that which is Caesar’s as the state reverts
to a mercenary church for Byzantine corporations.

When the measure of a nation is the size of its cemeteries.
When human nature pulls itself up
like the lungs of its bloodroots in the Amazon
as if the fruits by which it was once known by
were no longer necessary as the nuts and berries
of why we’re here, and the healing powers
of the stars and the flowers no longer thrill us
with the loveliness of the way they cure our ills
and there’s an appetite for desecration in our wonder,
a restless ingratitude in our attitude toward life,
less mystery in the things we dream of,
more self-destructiveness than risk in the chances
we take to avoid ourselves like the words
that leave us speechless as the mouth harp
of a hyoid bone that’s run out of things to raise
the genomes of our mitochondrial mother tongues
up the stars in praise, in horror, in love,
in abysmal devotion to the future of becoming,
less the undertaker in the garden disinterring
our remains to ascertain if it were suicide or murder,
and more about the gardener in the undertaker
germinating unmodified seed metaphors
on the windowsills of our magnificent solitude
that will root like white and dark matter
in all available dimensions of the mindspace before us
as if we were all quantumly entangled like wild grapevines
in drinking the waters of life from our own prophetic skulls
and tasting the wine of our own starmud
like the mystic vintners of the light and the rain
in the eyes of the unfathomable nights
the sun shines at midnight, unaccountable as the stars,
to ripen the darkness in everyone’s flesh and blood.