NO MYSTERY IN THE STIGMA OF THE MISERY
No mystery in the stigma of the misery, regret rebounds
as cynicism and disgust, the way it is with us,
every emotion a life study in a death mask,
every thought the pose of a moment that eludes us,
and the stars hair-braided into the tresses of the willows,
and the bridges we burned like the Milky Way so
no one could cross after us into the abyss,
the prodigal homelessness of our return address,
as our tracks are swept away on the Road of Ghosts,
actions of strategic gestures of peace with ourselves,
a truce, at best, with the dangerous stranger within
that plays host to the dead as if he were one of the guests,
as the ideals we die for demonically bless the means.
The labyrinth lost in us, looking for an exit sign,
the planets spinning their wheels in our starmud,
intractable kings of the hill waiting for the equinox
to light up our bones like kindling in our barrow tombs.
She’s not at peace with herself because she remembers
nothing she hasn’t repeated to her friends like an ally
that doesn’t know who or what she’s fighting against,
seldom for, anymore, that nothing makes any sense
and her life’s spread out like a Tarot pack on the floor,
pondering the destiny of sex with the ex of an old lover.
Nobility among the humble trivialized into the whim
of an action hero trying to live up to the movie
made of him like a two minute trailer
in a Bronze Age scarred by copper and tin.
He’s a voice coach in a choir of echoes
half a note off the ghosts of the nightbirds
that used to send a cold chill through the woods
before the agony of their unadulterated longing,
the infallible sorrow in the depths of the hunger for love
went extinct as yesterday’s moonrise.
His eyes are always busy as a security camera
but see nothing that’s unusual about him
except for the way his ego is always mistaking
his reflection for someone who might be sexting him.
Window-dressing and mannequins of expendable democracy
looted by the firelight of rioting thieves
demanding the same private rights as the key
to the executive washroom the slumlords
and feudal bankers hold over the heads of the peasants
like a watercloset over a common moat.
There in the red emergency exit light,
crumpled like a potato sack up against the door
that only opens one way, would you believe
that junkie used to sing as if she were having
a heart attack on stage like a sparrow hawk
shrieking into a microphone at the top of her lungs
as she went after every note like unsuspecting prey?
What do you say? It’s plagued me most of my life
as if my heart were insufficient, and compassion paled
in comparison with the damage done, irrevocably real,
as the mind takes account of successive images
and mouths some idiotic abstract mantra
about the collateral damage of the tragic element
in a comedy of errors in the eye of the beholder
looking upon the aesthetic desecration of idols
in the modern era like fourth century Christians
gone heresy hunting in the name of the Lord.
Maybe it’s time to upgrade my pagan superstitions
into benign cosmic theories about quantum foam
as if the universe were frothing at the mouth in a fit
of hydrophobia adrift on the waters of life.
Eye-witness to the suffering of others there’s
so little I can do anything, nor have the right, about
love beyond desire has its will bent
by its own redoubtable impotence as its first line
of self-accusatory defence. How many times
have I simply wanted to reach out and touch
the despairing silence in someone’s eyes
with a image of beauty, indelibly undisguised
without its deathmask on and no sign of perishing
from one breath to the next that might reveal
the hidden jewels in the slag of the ore they’re
buried in like exiles in a darkness far from home?
Cults of shadows dance around the lanterns
of the nightwatchman slowly being ground down
like a lens that gives him something to focus on
that’s more starlike than mere reflections
in a window no one looks out of anymore.
Every intention has its effect, but the effect
seems drastically out of touch with the ailment
it was meant to cure and the good deed elaborates
into superficial paradigms of the sacrificially complex.
You end up speaking like a hex of God
upon the freeborn waters of life at an altar with a knife
you don’t know whether to gut yourself with
or drive through someone’s heart like a righteous kill
as you ask out of a lingering sense of feasible compassion
that anyone’s will, other than your own, be done
as it isn’t right now with heaven’s hand
over the mouth of hell like an enculturated cellphone
meming the iconic oracles of the last prophetic skull
we listened to as if our lives together depended on it
like a happier estrangement than anything
our imaginations could have fervently wished for.