Saturday, July 27, 2013



Begin now. The light will change. Get the rain started.
Let a few tears fall. Open the aviary of your heart
and let the doves and the nightbirds out, and if
liberation isn’t enough to sing about, celebrate
the next best thing, escape. Get out of here.
Isn’t there enough open space within
to include worlds within worlds begetting worlds?
Or has your mind become the slumlord
of a run-down tenement you converted
from that ark you built like a lifeboat for everyone
in the flood myth of a lava flow on the moon
before you bled out like a wounded fish
in the Sea of Tranquillity and decided
like a feeding frenzy it was a shark eat shark world,
everyone for themselves? Nature red in tooth and claw.

Every star in the sky aspires to shine like a starfish
washed up on the sentient shores of a pre-dawn awareness
like pilot lights of life navigating by the starmaps
of the fireflies. The sea has its constellations, too.
Drown if you must in the unanswerable sorrows
of the accidentally innocent fate of love in the world,
or go up in flames in Vietnam or an Arab souk
as if someone had just confiscated your cash register
like an officious autumn in the Adirondaks. Or a tax
on your eyes, how much you can see in the course of a life
from the bottom of the mountain up like a haiku,
or the dangerous lyric of a northern river with muscle and mind,
making its way to the sea like a savage waterclock
that knows it’s never going to turn out of time.

Paralysed by atrocity, our sensibilities trashed
like polluted loveletters of junkmail advertising
toxic food as the soul of joy and satisfaction,
indulgence, the suicidal compassion of despair,
desecration, the alternative aesthetic to no one
ever being there to show you how to empassion
your wonder into an insight humbled by awe
at the mystery and magnificence being here at all.

Madmen punching holes in the ozone
like the only lifeboat heading for an ice floe
calved by global warming like a glacier in the North Atlantic.
Paradigms the abstract ghosts of fossilized metaphors.
Logos instead of symbols that resonate like a seance
among the living and through perception
change the spin of atoms and rearrange galactic seastars
like the seeds of sunflowers opening like the eyelids
of a total eclipse. No one needs a prophetic skull
to see how horrifically surrealistic it all is. Even
the sacred clowns aren’t laughing like Zen masters anymore.
Ryokan gets home to his hut in the shedding woods
and this time the thief did steal the moon from his window.

What now? You fold your poems into paper airplanes
and let them blunt their noses like sparrows
on the false dawns in the windows of your stem cells?
You live in a crack in the wall, you excavate
a grave in the caldera of an inactive volcano
and hope the poppies and wheat that are left
of the crumbs of your dreaming grow better
where you’re buried like the Burgess Shale that’s come
of your starmud avalanching down like the asteroids
of a rockslide of headstones in a vandalized cemetery?




I could never remember you in garish Pacific sunsets
or the luster of opalescent Ontario dawns.
These would be ill-fitting gowns, wrong
wardrobe of metaphors to clothe you in, you
who loved to wear the moonlight like water on your skin
and your heart like the blood of a black cherry on your sleeve,
that the rain, and I saw how hard it tried like a watercolourist,
could never wash out. When I looked
as deeply into the nightsky of your eyes as I could,
six thousand stars lavished on the dark to the naked eye,
I always saw a white tailed doe looking back at me
from the brindled woods where they opened into the starfields
and I let the silence surmise old dangers had made you shy.

I could never remember you as you were and fix
the image in amber like a butterfly in a paper weight
as time wept glacially by like an ice-age in an hourglass.
Shapely as the cedar candelabra of a passionate forest fire,
you were the elegant daughter of dragons, the willow witch
of your own desires, and you spoke to my body
in the occult languages you kept alive for the sake of the dead
who were always with you like voices in your sleep.

I put this albino abyss of a snowblind canvas on my easel
like the negative starmap of the nightsky I imagine
death to be, so the wind can colour outside the lines
of the constellations as you were fond of doing
with an elfin kind of glee like a happy bell
you’d hung around the neck of something bleaker
as you often did with your life as if you were
bending space to your will like a black hole
at the nave of your galactic prayer wheel
turning in the wind like the golden ratio of a sea star.

I paint you in the picture music of a wounded heart
punctured like a matador on the thorn of the moon
as I looked upon you haunting your solitude
and knew like the last crescent in the book
of waning scars, there were some roses
just too beautiful in what they’d made of their pain
to heal. The eyelids of black roses shadowed
by penumbral eclipses of carboniferous mascara.

The deepest starwells of our sorrows flower
into the most expansive fountains of compassion,
and what a tender champion the small things of the world
found in you. The starling under the windowpane,
the Monarch butterfly that just stopped like
a slim volume of poems, intact, at the moment of perfection
denying death its deconstruction, and those
dozens of shepherd moons that showed up
like the skulls of racoons and groundhogs in the grass,
relics of a tragic past you arranged like asteroids
on the windowsills of your studio like the eastern door
of an Ojibway burial hut you adorned with the feathers
of red-tailed hawks until the autumn moon
could free their spirits from their bones.

I could never remember you as a blue-jay
among the sunflowers, you were never as abrupt
and decisive as that. You beaded all parts
of the disassembled world into the flowing
of one long continuous wavelength of a rosary
like different skulls with a variety of names
for the same spinal cord of a narrative theme
that whispered, like your life, louder
than the savage sparrowhawks of your emotions
shrieking out in predatory pain and as I remember well
how your eyes would grow wider than owls
or the new moons of Spanish guitars
when you were astonished by the symbolic depths
of some black pearl of transformative wisdom
you’d discovered dreaming on the seabed of your heart
like a lunar eclipse among the feathered corals.

The red violet that lingers over a city on a cloudy night
and saturates the air with tinctures of iodine and diluted blood,
I will add that hue to the palette of your likeness,
and glaze the bricks in the sphinx gate of your moonrise
with ultramarine blue and fleck the lapis lazuli
of your nightsky with gold paint on the bristles
of a toothbrush to simulate stars pouring out of
the watersheds of Aquarius to cool the scorched roots of things
in sacred pools and fountains inextinguishable pain
found its way to as if you were some kind of Gothic cathedral
cratered out of the moon like a river of stone
that taught the outcasts and the damaged fruits of life
how to flow up the stairwells of their renewal
with the courage of wild salmon called home from the sea.

I knew it was crucial not to make a mess of my dying
the night you left, to honour the spirit of the life
we had lived together, to make the end
as charismatically intriguing as the beginning had been.
So something inspired by our separation
could keep growing beyond us like a bridge
where incomplete solitudes could meet as strangers
and say farewell to one another like full siloes
in the plenum-void, whole as the sun and the moon
who go on shining in the darkness of ten thousand lonely nightfalls
not as the undoing of the dawn in the broken mirrors of the stars
but as a way of housing the buckets and bells of their tears
under the strong rafter of the well by the locust trees
blossoming among its thorns in the spring to summon the bees
that once sang to us, as if honey had a voice so poignantly sweet,
however deeply gored the heart by the horns of the moon,
waxing or waning, full or eclipsed, it never left scars on the music.