Monday, July 29, 2013



It took me light years to trust my voice
to say things my thoughts had to catch up to
like the unrehearsed understudies of hidden harmonies
making their presence manifest in the way
their dark matter bent space and made the words move
into place like water finding its own equilibrium.
The discipline, then, was not to interfere,
but listen when the wind turns the Byzantine green
of the Russian olives silver in the turmoil of its passage.
To pour yourself out of the mirror like the tear
of a weeping telescope when the Milky Way
gets in your eyes like the smoke of a hundred billion stars.
Or the ghost of a summer radiance
summoned to a seance of mediumistic fireflies
trying to fill in the gaps on their spiritual starmaps.

Last night’s full moon has sliced off
part of its waning earlobe shrinking
as it ascends from cantaloupe orange
to a pitted plum of cadmium yellow value eight.
I’m standing in a gravel driveway outside a storage shed
in the industrial part of town, my back turned
to a floodlight in a riot of insights that act like
frenzied insects, and I’m looking for stars
through the feathered ribs and scales of clouds,
toned by a copper moon rise in a cool acetylene sky.

The moon is rising over the roofs of a parking lot
full of transport trucks, and the contrast
makes the view even more surrealistically poignant.
Intensely so when I spot Arcturus burning
solely on its own in an immensity of peacock blue sky
turning Prussian blue and indigo
over a garishly lit garage that specializes in transmissions
and smells like an abattoir of oily orchids
sacrificed like sacred bulls in garlands
on the altar of a pneumatic car lift
where eternity intersects time as history.

Twenty feet from the driveway
to the perfectly latticed wire fence
sequestered on a reservation of useless land,
a pharmacopeia of every weed that grows wild
in southern Ontario, huddled on the crest
of a bull-dozed hill fort in self-defence.
And in one quick swathe of the bush-hog,
stunted runt versions of the same plants
blooming like symbols of underground resistance,
common mullein, tansy, Queen Ann’s Lace, vetch,
viper’s bugloss gone out like pilot lights on a gas stove,
and the sabre cuts and slashes of the tall grasses
waving green banners from their slender masts
and unbroken aerials as fragile as a heron’s legs.

Beauty and utility in a coincidence of contradictories
where abstractions haven’t been multiplied
beyond necessity. The earth turns as it always has
and the moon and Arcturus move accordingly
as the Summer Triangle emerges from the cloud-cover
like the brain child of a birdwatcher
with a taste for myth and mathematics.

Perennializing events in a trivial frame of reference.
And just as the bugs have their communal rapture
in the light, I stand here alone gazing at the stars
trying to see my way into other worlds
by closing the distance with the intensity
of my overwhelming wonder and longing to know
if there might be some poet out there tonight like me
watching the moon rise over bucolic machines
and the space needed to sustain them
at the expense of the trees and weeds and wildflowers
as he’s mystically weirded out by the relative parity
of disparate elements in an impersonally unified field.

And he like me, Arcturus, the trucks, the weeds
and the moon among them, living the ambivalent beauty
of an eternity that breaks its truce with time
once and awhile, to adorn what’s been defiled,
and let unity come forth by itself to forsake the difference
in a voice of its own the storage units trust
like the sacred syllable of a lock on mundane things
alloyed like haloes and horseshoes of stardust and rust.




My third eye opening oceanically of its own accord.
The wingspans of the flowers bloom omnidirectionally.
The blue sky lays a balmy smile upon my flightfeathers.
Blood hums to the blissful resonance of being alive.
Even the glowing concrete seems benign. The gates
with their rusting guns triggered like locks, the fences
holding the occupying gardens with their placard poppies
back like riot cops. Time without haste. Consumed
by a moment as perennial as summer on earth.
Nothing urgent in the fulfilment of small destinies
in the grass, no antecedents necessary to know
how to live this, no event trivial or especially significant,
I’m as open-minded as the wind on a shoreless afternoon
that tastes of the stars gusting in the dust at my feet.

Wild parsnip, Queen Ann’s Lace, mullein, goldenrod,
purple loosetrife and cattails in the ditches along the roads,
Lichens of the moon on the staves of the cedar rails
where the red-winged blackbirds sit
to paint their picture-music on the unprimed air
like the musical notes of a cadmium red and yellow song
with overriding tones of nocturnes to come.

Sweetness of life when it takes its mind off of everything
and requires nothing of the living but attendance.
Just to be here like a vagrant wavelength of awareness
among things as they are without trying
to gouge your eyes out like bluejays at the sunflowers
to get at the roots of the flowering mind deep in the heart
of the hidden harmonies basking on the surface
they’re joy riding like the elegant riffs
of the dolphins and flying fish that leap out of the shadows
into the enraptured atmosphere of their own auras
like blue damselflies and green tree frogs and old guitars
working their necks like weavers, or fleet-footed spiders
walking on water like heavy metal on a Ouija board,
like thorns in the eye of a bubble, hoping it doesn’t
wash them out like tears in the eyes of a voodoo doll
looking through the keyhole of a needle it couldn’t find
like paradise on the other side of its blind blessing.

Not for long or far, I’m still walking a habitable planet
full of wonders. Though the road keeps getting shorter
like a fuse behind me the further I travel down it,
and the asteroids keep making newsbreaking fly-bys,
and there are rosaries of bubbling methane rising
from under the shrinking skull caps of the poles,
and people are still trying to keep each other’s attention
by stabbing one another in the eye, but for a moment
that isn’t concerned about whether anything lasts or not,
there are no omens stuck in the throats of the rocks,
or blood of children splashed on the hollyhocks. A re-run
of provisional innocence in a few hundred acres of woodland
swept under the rugs of abandoned farms as not worth the trouble.
Lapwing gates hanging by a hinge to distract
the wild grapevines away from her empty nest
as if it still cherished its emptiness out of a force of habit.

I look upon the Tay River at sunset, the reflection
of the darkening hill quivering in the cooling breeze
like the more mercurial downside of itself,
and the sky opening the blue-green eyes of the peacocks
like stars with too much make-up on, and a handful
of charred crows flying through the roots of the trees,
trying to make sense of themselves like a burnt manuscript.
And what can you say to the stars that are beginning
to look for themselves in the approaching night
except this too is the world where even the lost,
in attempting to return to themselves through
the unattainability of the past, shed light all along the way?

Nightfall and the silence intensifies the conversation
with bioluminous insights of the radiance
blazing out of the darkness of a white coma
as if it depended upon the contrast oxymoronically
just to be noticed like waterlilies in the shallows
of the conscious mind anchored by a spinal cord
to the reptilian epodes of its own illustrious starmud
as every thought moment is, like kelp and kites
and river reeds swaying like synchronized swimmers
to the currents and wavelengths, the turns
and counterturns of thematic waters with a musical motif
that plays to its own depths from the bridge
of a burning violin dancing like fire on the water
with no fear of ever being drowned out by the moon.