Monday, August 19, 2013



Yes, to give all, to ennoble the calling,
suffer the anguish of the rising and falling
of the unemblazoned stars, nameless heralds
of the blood, mute hermits of our lost
ancestral lines, the pain thresholds
of our exits, less brash than the entrances
we made as if we’d been expected
all along. To realize the absurdity
of our assent as merely the flowering
of the smallest mirage in the vastness
of the expanding starfields we disappear into
like parachutes of milkweed back to their roots.

How sweet the whisper of life in our ear,
how insanely beautiful when the light
unmasks the hidden night like a secret
it keeps to itself, shy in the shadows
with big eyes that take us in at a glance,
strangers to the silence that astounds us
like the sacred syllable of a mother tongue
that passes through us like the song of a bird
we haven’t heard in years. Is home near?
Is the river threading the eye of the sea?

Too much of the past in our greetings,
no future in our farewells, the moment
before the first kiss stalls and the chance
is lost in the widening wake of our regret.
The snake doesn’t ride the spiralling thermals
of the hawk, a wavelength shy of transformation,
and the plumed serpent comes crashing
like the aspiration of a kite to the ground.

Was it an act of God, or a fear of heights
that so much of the dead was left undone?
Brown stars of the spirit pressed like flowers
between the preludes and epilogues
of the delights that were fossilized
by the sedimentary layers of starmud
transfixed like badges to the covers
of our books in an unread cemetery
where the wine bleeds a watercolour of rust
and the restless wind mourns our lack of ardour
in risking it all as if it were nothing
but a gust of stars kicked up by the wings
that bring us to heel in the shadow
of the Beloved, intangibly, irrevocably,
like a message from the gods we failed to deliver.




I don’t squander my time seeking out design flaws in chaos.
I celebrate the intelligent randomness of a creative universe
predicated on the spontaneity of the copulative verb
that never interfered in my being here in the first place.
I don’t make a precedent out of the missing links
in my ancestral antecedents. Nothing remotely dynastic
about a periphrastic genome talking like evolution
in its sleep, tinkering with the alphabet blocks
of the dream grammars of Ugarit in the penumbrally
dark ages of forgetting I ever knew how to write.

I don’t make totem-poles, obelisks or imperial columns
with wrap around plaster and bandages of flypaper
commemorating the victors of mummified wars
to impress wax and clay, flesh and blood,
with the cuneiform scars of spray-bombed graffiti
on the empty cattle cars sent to relocate
subjugate mother tongues in the full stop
at the end of the tracks that run on time
like Mussolini hanging by his heels from a lamp post,
pendulous as his place in history, or a periodic sentence
that gets around like a mindstream, not a highway,
through the shadows and the moonlight in the woods at night
circling back on itself to throw its pursuers off its trail
like the sixth patriarch of Zen, pointing out,
there’s no need to enlighten your mindlessness
because when you take nothing from nothing,
robe or begging bowl from nothing, the sum remains
nothing missing from zero, no gap between the arrow
and the target, broken or in free flight, lame
in the Bolshoi Ballet, or faster than the speed of gravity.
You have to go a long way to discover your childhood
never left home, you’re looping backwards
into the indolent youth, alone on the rock of his thought
trying to imagine how he ever got to be you.

I’m making retrograde progress through all the stations of life
I passed through on my way back here like a prodigal stranger
on a homeless road to nowhere I’ve ever been before
like a snake that takes the omega of its tail
in the alpha of its mouth, so the first sacred syllable
it utters is the last it will mutter on its deathbed,
unborn, unperishing, so no one can tell where things
begin and where they end, as you climb up
this ladder of thresholds out of the blackhole
it’s scary for the light to be buried in implausibly alive.

Everybody’s trying to survive the gift of life
they’ve been given to make their way in the world
like an object lesson to those who refuse to listen.
I practise an offroad discipline of disobedience
in the wake of this compass leg of my journey
trying to walk like crutches on a runway of water
I’m trying to take off from like a ring-necked loon
that doesn’t care if you understand why you’re arrested
by the fading echoes of its lonely ululations or not.
The picture-music is empowered by the suffering in a voice
that estranges thought like a misfit at its own funeral.

If you’re not reading the chapbooks of the butterflies
as sensitive as the pistils and stamens of the wild poppies
with scarlet letters on their foreheads, like a mad man
that doesn’t give a damn about poetic reputations
getting in the way of a more intimate love affair
with the elusive truth that’s never signed a loveletter
that couldn’t be denied in public, you’re still illiterate.
You’re etching runes on your eyes like the striations
of glacial glassware you were as afraid in the ice-ages
to smash up against the cave wall like a prophetic skull
you were drinking from to celebrate the grand opening
of your spiritual fingerpaintings trying to identify
the vague nature of the in you’ve got with God
like the candelabra of a handprint anyone
can see right through like an artificial third eye at first glance
as you are now looking for a meaning that doesn’t
dance on your grave like a troupe of wildflowers
you never asked to sweep you off your feet.

You never learned to sit down on the ground
under the shedding leaves of your perfectly bound books
and have a good laugh at the idiocy of your insights
into the nature of a life that doesn’t exist except
as a surrealistic circus tour of sacred clowns
practising their priestcraft like mendicant monks on the road.
Back to the robe. Back to the begging bowl.
And even if you’ve got it all together, I defy you to lift it
like your head off the pillow of the deathbed
you’re dreaming on like a frog on a stone lotus
trying to make a big splash in this belly-flopping pond
of a world that exalts itself like a pearl diver
in high places it takes a lifetime to climb up to
before you plunge into an oyster bed on the moon
that’s always been tight-lipped about the secrets
you can pry out of her like birthmarks slashed
across her delicate, thin-skinned wrists by
the shuck and jive of the knife you’re using on her smile
like the optical illusion of your bifurcated consciousness.

Try another lens. A gravitational eye at the far end
of your telescope that bends the light in aberrant conformity
with the radical departure of your own seeing
off the beaten path of less wayfaring moonbeams
so you don’t ending up telling me the way it seems
is only the proxy appearance of an understudy standing in
like a deathmask for the way it is when everywhere you look
is opening night for the imagination playing tricks on the mind
on the streetcorner of Gore and the Universe
when every step of the journey that doesn’t leave home
like starlight, is another yellow stripe down the spine
of a crosswalk of freshly painted thresholds like dance steps
waiting for the lights to change from red to green
as if autumn got a leg up on the turn, counterturn
of the strophic epodes of the spring waltzing with the wind
like willows in the gowns of a Viennese ballroom
under the imperial chandeliers of falling stars
you can put in your pocket like chump change
and save for a rainy day as if life didn’t depend
upon its own extravagance to survive
the famine of metaphors in the lean lightyears
of your face-painted eyes with their glass blown tears.

Shakespeare: would he had cut a thousand lines
playing midwife with his own umbilical cords.
Mozart: too many notes, too many birds in the tree
celebrating the dawn spontaneously all at once.
Butterflies: no end of the books and canvases
displayed in the rogue galleries of the oyamel forests
of the Yucatan, sustained by the manna of milkweed
in the long exodus across the chemical deserts
of North America like a promise made and broken
then swept under the quota of prayer rugs like a price tag.