Saturday, August 17, 2013



Deep enhancement. Dark wound. Ancient pain.
Estranged childhood. I hurt. I hurt. To no good purpose
at the end of things. No timing. No content.
And the body mourns the broken wings of the words
that once rose to the occasion like startled waterbirds,
the wind in a prayerwheel that didn’t know what to ask for.

And the heart, stubborn enthusiast, homely shrine
the gods don’t enter into anymore, used razor blades
scattered like the pages of an unbound holy book
that cut all five jugulars of the fatted calf
that bawled like a guitar at the use its innocence
was put to like a musical sacrifice to the tone-deaf silence.

And the mind, that Mephistophelean shadow
that lives in the wake of the dead angel that said
she died for my sake until I saw who showed up
at the funeral. All those black umbrellas, bats in the rain.

Achievement without consolation. Fulfilment
the scam of a false idol. My clothes are soaked
with the tears of ghosts that blew in my eyes
like smoke from a burning sundial. Bad house guests
in the ghost town of the zodiac I once lived in
like a gold rush in the mindstream of the mountain
singing to itself as if the stars were listening
to heal the ache of an old fault line in its heart
that sends a shudder through its foundation stones
like an avalanche across a narrow road winding
its way between a high place and the certain death
among the ice-floes of a jade-green northern river
coiled like a green mamba below. Sad to see
the roadkill of a wolf that had no other place to walk
below the timberline of the life it was hunting for.

Dangerous to stop. The bus hurries on toward Prince Rupert.
Another poetry reading. How long ago was that? Where
I’ll howl at the top of my lungs like the death lament
of my lupine melancholy in a lunar solitude where
my voice carries through the deranged emptiness
of a vacuum that’s come to abhor its own nature
and the most highly disciplined severities of insight
aren’t communal enough to cope with it like a happy face
on a moonrise instead of the usual prophetic skull.
Blue Flower. Black Dog. Sunbeam and nightfall.

Hydra-headed snake fire. Death to release it.
Death to try and hang on to it all. The agon of life.
The struggle to live. The struggle to die.
As raw at the entrance as the exit is refined.

I struggle with the angel in the way like a mind
that lost an eye to the ferocity of the encounter
trying to see past the halo into the black hole of the vision
it was grappling with like a choke hold
on the throat an experienced shapeshifter
that keeps eluding my grasp of the light
like fireflies without starmaps in a hoax of dark matter.
Between the mountain and the river, where
to be held up is to be cast down like an ostrakon
into the abyss where the victors live in exile
throwing their bodies like gauntlets of roadkill
along the side of whatever road they’re on as they
raise their voices in a deathsong like a challenge
to the quixotic echoes that stand in their way
threatening to bring this house of life down
like a handful of starmud on the impromptu graves
of the losers brilliantly infamous for fire walking
their spinal cords like acrobatic spiders unravelling
their silken safety nets like unnamed constellations,
across the moats of the mountains, scapegoats on a drawbridge
that lets its guard down a thousand times a life too often.




Just go. Just go. I don’t want to do an autopsy
on your voodoo doll. Leave me to the asters and stars
on my long walks into the fields and woods around here.
It was your fault, your fault, as you keep pleading.
I’m glad you see me now the way you couldn’t before
but the roses keep bleeding and candidly, lady, I’m bored
with the abysmal misery of trying to understand
why you look like the Taj Mahal but act
like a hamburger stand where they pat the meat down
with dirty hands. You did what you did,
now be done for good and bad with it. Let’s not
look upon it as a mistake you made, but
as a creative opportunity for us to separate
the salt from the fresh waters of life in our tears.

I don’t think I was cut out to be an organ donor for love.
Full measure and a bit beside. Enough, or too much,
as the poet once said. I gave you all I had to give
with a full heart and an open hand. You were great
in bed, a demonic mystic with a hunger for sex,
but the blood-caked altars remind me of guillotines these days,
blocks to swan on at Tyburn and Smithfield,
and if I thought putting mine on the black market
might bring about a change of heart in you,
the river might flood, the wheat grow taller,
the scapegoats stop boiling their kids in mother’s milk,
I might be more inclined to take a message to the gods,
stimulate my stem cells into reconstituting my body parts
like a Promethean liver eaten like roadkill on the rocks
by turkey vultures circling like undertakers on the fly.

I suppose you expect me to cry or something
and I will, after my own fashion, when this glacier
retreats like an ice-age my species has been adapted to
for way too long. I’ve been flint knapping new moons
like shards of obsidian into spearheads with a razor-edge,
and I may have mastered the art of hunting bigger prey
than I am, but the dreams of the Neanderthal
that has been living on inside of me against the odds
has left me a little flakier than a shaman in a cave bear’s hide
and I’m weary of singing in the false dawns
of the genetically engineered beginnings you keep
offering me as an alternative to my imminent extinction.

The death songs don’t sound the same
when they’re accompanied by a backup band
and a drum machine that never misses a beat
to be real enough to roll with the pulse of the moment
when the heart begins to jam with the rhythm of life
too close to last call to take another request. So please
just go, just go. Shut the lid on the coffin
of my guitar case and save your change for someone else.

I’ve stretched the membrane of my heart out
far enough for you to jump on like an animal skin
that thought of itself as more of a drum at a ghost dance
than a trampoline on the rebound when you
finally came back down to earth like a shooting star
I’d wish on like a lucky scar that might not disappoint me
like the last time you shattered my glass house like a Perseid
throwing the first stone at what you were capable of,
the dregs of a comet that didn’t burn hot enough
to burnish your golden chariot in the emotional crematorium
where the slag of a slum’s been mined out like love.
I buried the yellow canary that used to warn me
you were coming like the Wailing Wall
beside the Dome of the Rock in a bed of Jerusalem artichokes.

Take your body with you when you go. Take
your lips and your hair, your hips and your breasts
and the mammal magnetism of those dresses you wear
as if they were being modelled on a catwalk by the floor
beside someone else’s bed, and I’ll walk skinless
through the world awhile and feel everything again
like a wild aster in the acid rain of a significant climate change
it’s a lot easier to adjust to without you, than it is
to explain to my solitude looking for signs among the stars,
fireflies burning in all these ice-age Mason jars
I’m releasing like the Pleiades from the urns of my eyes,
chimney sparks in a gust of wind, lights out over
the sea at night, and when you’re gone, lightyears up the road,
these first magnitude starmaps I’ll use to start a fire
I’ll sit around, and listen to the wind rustling
through old creation myths like leaves well into autumn,
and try to identify the sound of a tree falling
in an old growth forest when there’s no one there to hear it
and the Canada geese are heading south like hearses of the spirit,
hello and farewell, included in the same calling out
to the silence and the distance between one absence and the next.