Tuesday, August 20, 2013



Tears spin off your midnight oilslicks
like sad, romantic novels with sexually suggestive faucets
you can turn on and off, and that’s okay
if you’re out watering your lawn in a drought,
bring the sprinklers out, but you’ve got to live it
and live through it to know it, your eyes
opening in your blood like island galaxies
of insight, like Queen Ann’s Lace thriving
in the ditch at the side of whatever road you’re on.
Old hat to add to your wisdom polyp by polyp,
I come in the back door of this burning house of life
by deepening my ignorance into a black hole
with a singularity in it like the prize in Cracker Jack box
of caramel coated popcorn, with the key
to everything I’ve ever been locked out of in life
at the navel of a new constellation
laying its birthmark on my flesh so I can be
readily identified as the shape shifting changeling I am.

My mind is a medium like space that everywhere
concedes its time and place to the wayfaring light
passing through it like a stranger accorded
warm-hearted hospitality, that immediately
implores the potential of any shudder of a suggestion
to step out of the shadows and come forth
into the light where the darkness is realized
and I can catch it on the fly like a bird in moonlight
that disappears into the perennial vastness of the night,
merely a fragrance of a vision of life in mourning
as if there were nothing else in her nature but to grieve
like the tone of a bell that once believed in something else.

Every breath, a wind on the waters of life, the mind
skinless and without form, responds as if
a million wavelengths of eyelids were rippling out
across the quiescent nightseas of awareness
like something serpentine and impersonally sacred
in and of itself, embodied like a journey it was
taking through itself, devoted to the pilgrimage
and not the shrine of anywhere all the time it was headed to.

Cosmic membranes, flying carpets and snakes with wings.
I can hear the water slapping the effrontery of the rocks
to be fixed things, less real than solid, black ice
on a road sublimating like a ghost of smoke
without fire, with all the time in the world,
to pass the peace pipe around with three flightfeathers
it took from its own osprey war bonnet as if to say
I was a man in an abyss dreaming the totems
that would possess me for the rest of my life.
I was a hunter who honoured the prey I lived by
as a gift and not something I took by right
and shared it as the largesse of the void I was grateful for.
I was a warrior with the flightpath of a broken arrow
who never celebrated a victory without feeling
I was standing at my own graveside listening
to the lies of drugstore heroes mismanage the truth.

If there’s not enough silence in your heart
you’ll suffer the blood guilt of a brute
trying to punish the world for things it did to itself.
You’ll leech the colours out of your eye if you don’t realize
the real mastery of the art of life is in how well
you underpaint the void before you jump
to adding the highlights and hotspots of
the chameleonic pigments of the mystic specifics
of your oceanic, emotional life drowning
continentally like granite in the South Atlantic
or a captain who went down with the ship
at his post in the wheelhouse of the moon.

Inundated. Saturated. You have to live it, and
through it, to know the depths you’ve sunk into
are way over your head, like the waters of a womb
that’s always giving birth to you, the dark mother
of all you are and do, moment by moment,
the whole flashing out of the void that lavishes
its emptiness like sparrows and wrens in the fountains
of collaborative creation like a starmap plotting
the magnitude and colour of the iris in the eyes
of new myths of origin no one’s dreamed of yet
and one sip from the prophetic skulls of the muses
will never let you forget, the winged arrow
sings best like Sagitta beside Aquila in the dark,
a nightbird with no particular target in mind
but the liberation of the longing that enslaves its heart
like wild horses yoked to the hearses of a dying art.

In Pegasus, southwest of August, deep sky burials
winnowed like feathers, ashes, chaff
by the wind whistling in the empty urns
of the starmud chimney pots.
Fledgling harvests sparked like pilot lights
in the eyeless darkness of unminded starcharts.




Reminding myself to keep it clear, keep it bright as starmud,
keep it dangerous and liveable, creatively unimaginable,
not to fall asleep at the wheel of birth and death,
drift off the soft shoulders of a sleepwalking road in this
starless fog of unknowing tallowing my highbeams
like candles dipped in beeswax. Keep leaves on the tree
as long as I can, though yesterday’s younger than I am,
bring this sunset to fruition for the sake of the seeds
I sow in my wake on the moon as if all those dead seas
might bring forth yet. If I fill up every moment of my life
with the whole of me, no phase left out, am I not
a waterclock as young as I am old, as wise in childhood,
as I am foolish as an old man dancing in a graveyard
as if he had no more care in the world than to fall down
and get up again, laughing in elation at getting away
with the hilarious outrage of being himself. Death
shows me its birthmark and I show it mine. We
read each other like signs of things to come. It
keeps me serious about the joys that ripen my life
and I lighten it up like a skeleton with a funny bone.

Alone, I hold myself in common along with everybody else.
Together, I’m severing umbilical cords with my teeth
to show people burning on the pyres of their kites,
how easy it is to fly on your own by just letting go.
Daring said feathers and falling took flight.
I’ll meet you again on the wind. I’ll ride your bannisters
as I once did your arms, like spiral stairwells
all the way to the bottom and loop back up
like a flourish in the cursive script of my skywriting
when I sign my next love poem like a ghost of smoke
in a Joseph’s coat in a dusk scarred by the contrails
of my fly-bys as I flaunt my freedom like a swallow in the sun.

Sorrows galore, to be sure, abounding tribulations
taking their toll on my prophetic skulls like a carillon
of funeral bells, despair sticking like creosote
on all my constellations like stars to flypaper,
patinas of soot settling like the shadow of an eclipse
on all the Gothic eyelids of my rose petals
as if the paling picture-music hadn’t been exposed enough
to sunflowers to keep a smile on things like a blue jay.

So what? The blossoms are not antithetical to their roots.
I’m a Dutch elm. I’m growing up as much
as I’m growing down. I’m most out of touch
with the things I’ve always had a good grasp on
like Ophichus and Serpens, its oracular python.
I can’t name as many flowers anymore as I used to
when I wandered through the starfields
like a rogue planet with nothing on my mind
but the sound the Milky Way makes in the distance
like a white water rapid I’m approaching
on a prayer and a wing upstream of the mind
to shoot on my own, an arrow from a compound bow that can sing.
I still have an eagle’s eye and a classical supernova
for a heart Sagitta’s pointing at like a diamond cursor
frozen to a blacked out starmap in the blitz of London
and I can fly as well as I ever could aerobatically
like a phoenix through the mystic firestorms
that sweep over me when a tail wind feathers my flames,
but there are sky burials I lay wild asters on
anonymously that seem to grow deeper
than these valleys I’m passing through like a stranger
in the shadows of mountains cast like the sundials
of the dead I keep looking over my shoulder for
the longer I mourn, like a moonrise in the east
as if there would always be the midnight call of Canada geese
in the autumn farewells I make to the windfalls
of wheat and apples in the smiles of departed friends.

Yet even among all these asteroids that threaten
to strike me down like ostrakons and the first thrown stones
of the hypocrites who never learned to shine
by a light of their own, I’m still more of a rosary
than I am an abacus of the debts I owe to society
for tolerating me like a scapegoat at home in the wilderness
I was driven into like a photon for giving off light
even as I jumped from one heresy in paradise
to the next blessing of an angelic parachute in Pandemonium.

Orbitals of rain like an encyclopedia of tree rings
that resonate like the tuning forks and witching wands
of springs past and yet to come budding in my heartwood
like the fledgling flightpaths of new poems in residence
in the abandoned cockpit of the heron’s nest they wear
like laurels in the eye of the storm waxing lyrical
about the crowns in the homegrown coffins of the dead trees
as the moon blossoms like a white owl on a green bough.