Sunday, July 21, 2013



You may. You may not come. Maybe tonight. Or not.
When it’s not cooking cosmic eggs, boiling heretics
in the hot oil of bubbling cauldrons, the hourglass
is sandpainting sidereal mandalas with stars
to empower the wind to blow them away,
bones of grey chalk watergilding my flesh in ash.

What did I say? What did I say that was so unorthodox
all the bells of your body were left speechless
at the sight of so many grails trashed like empties
from a car window like a litter of roadkill
along the side of the highway? Did I transit
the zenith of the burning bridge of your last loveletter,
or should I have jumped, or fell, or cannonballed in
to make a bigger splash in the blood vats of your heart?
Maybe a meteor to render your old lovers extinct?

I watch the cold windows until they begin to percolate
in an unexpected thaw of disciplined sorrows.
It’s getting late. Your absence, a glacial waterclock
followed by a lot of patronymic colons about who
begat what upon whom. I don’t want to meet your father.
I’d kill him on the spot. I don’t want to prove
to your mother I’m going to be good to you
in ways that she was not as she soaks
the blood from the carpet like gouts
of insincere candlewax. The price you pay
for three meals a day and a creative finishing school
where you can afford the kind of problems
the poor don’t make enough to imitate.

They worry about where the next meal
is coming from. You were born knowing
how far out the soup spoon was supposed
to be aligned from the begging bowl
like a shepherd moon in orbit around Neptune.
And me? I eat out of my skull on the run
whenever I’m writing poetry to the moon
in one long howl of anguished wanting.

Were the diamonds too hard? Wasn’t I
bituminous enough when I entered the dark
to show you how I could shine out of
my own inner resources like two hundred million
urns of light gathered from the firepits of the stars
by the crows that keep pecking out my eyes
like jackhammers looking for the motherlode?
And when I watched you slicing the throats
of your long-necked swans like ballet dancers
and black daffodils on an angle to preserve them longer
as cut flowers on the coffee table, didn’t I
make a Zen comment on the way you’d arranged them?

I’ve been scarred by love like a clay tablet in cuneiform
in the library of Ashurbanipal. The crow
has scratched at my flesh to show me where to bury
my dismembered body parts to guarantee
a higher yield over the ensuing light years.
The cat claw of the moon has caught my eye
more than once. Fireflies in a bird net,
I’ve cauterized my optic nerves on the constellations
of my own signage to keep my brain from seeing
what my heart was afraid to reveal to itself.
I was a blind prophet being led away by a child.

I could witness on the dark side of my seeing
the bird eating arachnids with two red stars for eyes
weaving their wavelengths into low frequency webs
like the bass strings of a slack guitar
to catch the fire of the morning dew in a false dawn
like Cherokee water spiders with hairy down
and scarlet stripes casting magical spells
like the geoglyph on the Nazca pampas
with Alnitak, Alnilam, and Mintaka
in the hourglass waist of Orion trying to squeeze
its abdomen into a whalebone corset
before the Arabs changed its sex
into the belt of a less subtle Hunter
with a trophy line of scalps for wampum.

One of them mine. My eyes transfixed
by the paradigm of an eclipse being peeled back
like a black eyelid of time, or raven tresses
from the skull of the moon. I’ve known
the innocence of the crow when its feathers
were albino white before its failure turned sinister
as a starless night. A penury of insight
pearl diving for diamonds in a tarpit of love
that swore the new moon would last forever
like apple bloom and silver on the inside of the ore.

But sometimes the Artesian springs we plant
in the starmud of our hearts come up like black holes
and flowers of oil and what’s left of the shining
is the tinfoil of a trickster shaman substituting
his hunting magic to gratify the eyes of fools
that revel in their amorous delusions and spurn
the astringencies of enlightenment that burn
like circumpolar suns at midnight illuminating
nothing but the skins we shed to let the snake
out the box like Draco, without getting bit
by the picture-music of our own motives
trying to charm the serpent fire with backbone flutes
jamming with the downed powerlines
of our badly tuned spinal cords riffing
with the cosmic spiders writing the lyrics
of our myth of origins like electrical dreamcatchers
with toxic pincers like the tuning forks of splintered stars.




Deep in the night that shells its husk of blue
to pan the nuggets of its stars from a darker stream,
the heart an executioner with a fistful of pardons,
and the soft, moist, lulling of the evening air,
the threshing of slow fish,
I’m enthroned alone in a crucial palace of light
that realigns its domains to the borders of the wind,
and I don’t want to feel lonely but I do,
and I don’t want to miss so many, so many faces
stripped from the bough like a savaged telephone-book,
so many feathers of light drifting through the shadows of their names,
and the black granite of the uncarved bell
that turtles the blood under the eyelid of the knowing,
that makes my eyes want to scream
until the pillars of the dead sea fall like rotten salt:
how long can one road endure the passage of everything
walking life off into the stars that measure the miles in skulls?

Was I young? Were you there in the brindled moonlight?
Did I remember how to love you well; did I see with long eyes
how you rose out of the chest of the hills like a spirit leaving,
the blue effulgence of your nebulous departure
almost a cocoon of morning mist, the last breath of a lake
as if an indigo thistle released its silk to the wind
or a dandelion relinquished its ivory mane?
Were you the soul of me that lingered by gates and wharves?
Have you come back now with your bells of blood and lamps of flesh?
Can I feel again the leaves of the silver herbs
in the gardens of your fingertips?

Touch me like the breaking of a fast,
find me like a river in the night,
the dazzled theme of a wandering valley,
and pour your journey into mine like stars into a vine,
shadows running down the worn convictions of the stairs,
the midnight wines of old eclipses in the goblets of your eyes.

Once for the flame that dances on the wick of the tongue,
Once for the orchards that plead with the heart for birds,
Once for the envelope that read the letter it married,
and you, by the river, a sapphire among rocks,
tender blue grass in the translucent water-skin of the night,
loving me once as if your hands were autumns full of departure
and your eyes, the gulf of the world in your eyes, your eyes
were the soft flowing of the dark honeys
that leak from the wounded hives
we carry like knives to the grave.

Distinguished among broken clocks,
sultry and bitter, a quarantined bay of refugee stars,
caught in the threshing blades of a circular waterfall,
a mess of tents I’ve furloughed across the milky distances
like a chain-letter from a secret constellation to you,
I blue the intimate spaces between us with time
and patch the maps with the confluence of our lifelines
and try to restore the eyes in the sockets of our bridges
under a brow of swallows in the dusk. And I remember
all the names of the flowers, all the names of the stars,
all the badges of love that heaven and earth once offered
in lieu of the reasons why
love bares the skin of a poppy
to the teeth of the hunting sun
and then flares like a firefly
over the water-lamps of the moon,
but when it dies of its own self-inflicted wounds,
slashed by shadows among the ripe fruit of its vowels,
and the seed wasn’t asked and the harvest had no choice
there are always two skies,
one bound by roots, the other, eyes,
at the back of every voice.