WRITERS STRIVING SO HARD TO BE UNLIKE ONE ANOTHER
Writers striving so hard to be unlike one another
as they’re looking for new similitudes between themselves
and the many in the one, the one in the many,
everyman writing the autobiography of his loss of identity.
Everywoman etching hers with her fingernails
like grafitti on a glass ceiling breaking
like chandeliers of rain along the fault lines
of a shift in continental plates. Captain of a dreamliner
I set myself adrift like a lifeboat a long time ago.
I sing to my own silence whenever I want to be heard.
Savagely vatic, a wry surrealist with mystic outcomes
I rely on too much, I can see the horror and the humour
in the sublimity of the black, morality farce
that gets laid over your face like a death mask
people can recognize you by like a patina of soot
on the thin chapbooks of the butterflies sipping
from a Venus fly trap like the wellspring of the muse.
Young, in a room that doubled for a shrine,
I had a dark genius for making people mad.
Later, as islands emerged out of my magmatic rage,
my fist relaxed and I acquired a grace for making them cry
but that was still the lunar achievement of a journeyman
watergilding children walking skinless through the world,
wrapping their tears in the iridescent sheen of the nightsky
like a lullaby that had compassion for their dreams.
Master of nothing now, working in the creative freedom
of an abyss that entices me out of myself
like nature into the vacuum of an unknown medium
when I’m not a genie on call, I can hear the laughter
of the sacred clowns in the iconic guildhalls
of a little skill, more yielding than a thousand acres,
you can carry around with you for life like the voice
of a nightbird that knows how to penetrate the dark
like the embodiment of a longing that asks for nothing back.
Ripples on the waters of life. Echoes in solitude.
If I shine, I shine without deliberation. If I love
I rise like foxfire from the ashes of the inspiration.
Ragged in the cloak of a noble calling, sometimes
I’m wrapped in darkness like the skeletal kite
of a troubled bat that can hear more than it can say.
The night is not a reward, but there’s never
a credible alibi for not laughing at yourself
for the crazy wisdom of an allegorical starmap
trying to get you to sit still like a fixed star
for your astral portrait in eighteenth dynasty starmud
glazed in Babylonic lapis lazuli and copper from the moon.
The gesture of a Mosaic snake among the pharoah’s magicians,
I wear the jester’s cap of a daylily when the stars
look into my eyes too seriously to see what keeps me burning
after so many light years away from the island universe
on which I was born. Life, the mystery of perishing perennially,
there’s a hidden secret to being clear that supersedes the obvious.
And when death calls for it, I gouge my eyes out
like symbolic jewels embedded in the underworld
so I can envision the eschatology of meanings
trying to justify their ends as if death had embarrassed them
by not making any sense they could cling to for solace in life.
I celebrate the absurdity of the insight death brings forth
like a firefly with the candlepower of billions of stars.
How the mighty must fall to appreciate the magnificence
of their own insignificance raised up like a grain of sand
to keep the pyramids in perspective like studs on Orion’s belt.
I enjoy a hermetic social life among a variety
of prophetic skulls, but even the moon isn’t a palliative
for my solitude when I hallucinate the fate that awaits me
like a lover at every corner of my coffin. Pay the mourners
before the tears on their cheeks are dry. Didn’t I write
the most amazing odes to catch their beauty on the fly?
Didn’t I publish the names of the flowers and the stars
that moved my spirit to give them something
to remember me by like the lyrical elation
of an unpredictable moonrise? Didn’t I emblazon
the heraldry of new constellations with argent starmaps
on the shield walls of exoskeletons in the Burgess Shale?
Wasn’t my madness enough to convince the shore-huggers
of the imminent dangers of an oceanic awareness
beyond the eyes of their circumspect tidal pools?
Came a time when I realized it crucially necessary
to be given up for lost like a heretic with nothing to confess
but forgiveness for the spiritual search parties
in the labyrinths of everybody’s fingertips in order
to decipher a way out of here like Braille hieroglyphs
breaking trail like a cul de sac in a desert of stars.
Don’t the homeless still seek shelter within
the boundary stones of the firepits I left in my wake
like lost and founds along the way I had to take?
Don’t gauge the size of the city by the measure of its gates.
Exits don’t always live up to the expectations of the entrance.
Sometimes the sunset disappoints the dawn.
And then here and gone all things turn around in a heartbeat
like the wind and the sea, and the toxicity of tomatoes,
and all those weathervanes we used to flip through
like telephone books with tenure, set in their ways
like wet cement, appear cumbersomely contrived and shallow
beside the depths of the nightbirds singing
in the shadows of the moonrise they’re drowning
their voices in like stars in the throats of autumn trees
with their hearts in their mouths like the taste of wild blackberries.