NOT LONGING FOR, NOT MISSING ANYONE, NOT WISHING FOR MUCH
Not longing for, not missing anyone, not wishing for much,
maybe the last half of the rent, my muse stepping
out of a thicket of hawthorn, a white-tailed doe,
into a clearing in my mind that doesn’t care
if she licks the salt block or not. The town gearing up
for Friday night, the roaring flatulence of bad mufflers
throttles up like distant echoes of the bad boy dragons
in the urns of ageing bikers, each of their women
astraddle a horse of her own like a black leather saddle bag
studded like a starmap of the pyramids on the plain of Giza
as they gauge the number of points on the handlebars
of each other’s chrome plated antlers underneath my window.
Buck with you, anytime, bud, but loud isn’t going
to outshout the whisper of the past that lives
like a ghost in your ear. Man up to the fact
your heart’s done a lot of hard time in solitude
and if you haven’t gone mad, you’re a little more
thoughtful and kinder than you ever expected to be
discretely intrigued by the second innocence of the novelty.
O, the racket of the screening myths of decultified fish
still removing the baffles from their gills, so
their four-strokes can sound like it’s their engines
not them, having the heart attack. Idle, down, brother,
idle down. There’s only so much time and then
there’s eternity. Let the moment seize itself
for a change. What do you think? The dark energy
accelerating galaxies over the event horizons of your precipitous eyes
into an abyss that’s been stripped of its patches like stars
among rival houses of the zodiac, are trying to take
advantage of the opportunity? If so, toward what end?
Better to have never been born isn’t bad or best.
No need to be wounded spiritually in a holy war
between the Pollyanna and the pessimist in you.
Be a good Roman and make room for both
in that pantheon of tribal superstitions you brought
home with you like skeletons in your closet,
and remember to take Sophocles, cum grano salis,
in jest more often like the black farce of himself
that made him one of the tragic clowns of comic Athens.
Sniper or snowball, this is your life alone
and you get one shot at it with unlimited ricochets
but you’ve got to get a lead on it like the light of a star
if you want to hit a moving target on the fly
you’ve spooked out of the bush like the moon
as if there were no comprehensive alibis for anything.
Time, death, the devil, and suffering aren’t
the mercenary allies of a local apocalypse,
anymore than the moon is a golden chariot
on a milk wagon run on the spiral arm of a galaxy
delivering bittersweets with a free razorblade
and Vas Hermeticum to the alchemists
in the bloodbank of a Pleistocene slum
going through glacial withdrawals at the end
of an ice age. Haven’t you noticed yet how all
your threats have turned into sententious adages
on the backs of frictionless matchboxes
as if you finally put some clean oil
in that short shag flying carpet of yours.
Instead of kicking in doors, try valves for awhile.
Why labour to bite a snake back in the throat
like a wavelength you weren’t wary enough
not to step on in the first place? And however
you caress them love won’t make snakes purr
like a highway you can train to bite other people.
Hate’s a limp arrow. As if somebody fletched
a spaghetti noodle and then boiled it
like an old guitar string on a compound bow
glued like a splint of bone to your broken heartwood
trying to let it all hang out and what don’t hang
pull like the ripcord on a candling emergency chute.
But if I say it’s all the same to me this morning,
please don’t mistake that for the hidden grail
of a dead metaphor buried like the skull of a cure
to the black plague that ratted out the Middle Ages.
No ship to jump from. No port to quarantine
with silence. No one setting themselves afire
in a danse macabre of self-flagellating scarecrows
crucified like martyrs by their own slave revolt.
I’m listening to the rush of the wind in the crowns
of silver Russian olives like the wings of a white horse
grazing in the starfields of a slow, easy moonrise
in this labyrinth of roads that have made a calling of my life
disappearing like the keening of a waterbird
into the evanescent distances of getting lost
in my own eyes as if the ride, stars in the nightsky,
never comes to a dead end where your tattoos wash out.