YOU, IN TEARS AGAIN
You, in tears again, broken chandeliers of pain
that came crashing down upon you just as you thought
he was asking you to dance. Save the moment for me
but you got caught in an ice storm of crystal candelabra,
your heart slashed on flint knapped glass
and the moment, brittle and clear, shattered
the mirage of the window you mistook for a mirror
in this desert of stars that keeps passing through your life
like a squall of serpent fire in an hourglass.
You, in tears again. Your eyelashes coming unglued,
and your Medusan mascara running down your cheeks
like the wavelengths of watersnakes in eclipse.
I know your suffering isn’t face-paint, but, little sister,
you look like a sacred clown in a circus of grief.
No. I don’t mind you showing up at my door
this late at night. You’re not a thief, you’re not
junkmail, you’re not a bill, or just as bad, the landlord.
You’re a friend of mine. My heart’s your heart.
Let’s give it shelter and lots of sacrificial space
because I sense it’s just been ripped out of your chest
like a strawberry and stepped on. You take
the black futon and let’s forget about the altar for awhile
and the strange gods you light candles to
as you grow increasingly blind to your own beauty
like a bruised orchid trying to bloom in the shadows
of the outhouses you keep falling in love with.
Nothing to say to you that I haven’t said before.
But there’s no told-you-so in the tone of my voice.
I’m not a self-righteous boor. And you’re not a penitent.
There’s silence. The crazy wisdom of my interior
dream mondos remembering the love affairs
of the ghosts that got caught in my highbeams
one foggy night on a lonely dirt road going nowhere,
or you could let the scorpion out of your medicine bag
and we could talk about your life as it is now
until the eyelids of the rose started to droop like bells
and the watershed of sleep began to heal your wounded housewells.
Up to you. Which would you prefer with your coffee
and cigarette? Here’s a towel. Your lipstick’s messed.
You look like you’ve been French kissing a poppy.
When you’re down like this, it helps to look your best.
Vatic in your sorrows. A little more oracular erotica
than abstract expressionist. A priestess with a python
wrapped around her shoulders like a rafter in the snakepit
of a volcanic caldera. We’ll take shelter under
the same lifeboat on the moon together and pretend
we’re a hydra-headed turtles willing to stick our necks out
for one another for awhile. Don’t want anything from you
as usual. I think that’s why you always turn to me
like the last recourse you have to fall back on by default.
Flattered. Glad my emptiness can be of use to someone
and I’m not wasting all this compassion on myself.
You know I sit here some nights, my hands idle
at this wheelhouse of a desk I’ve turned over
to the night sea of my awareness of being alive,
knowing it has more buoyancy than me, and I stare
out into the darkness above the rooftops of the town
as far as my eyes can shine, and all I look for
is a star I don’t have to follow if I don’t want to.
Sometimes it’s Venus going down in the west,
sometimes it’s Arcturus tangled like a kite in the powerlines.
And I rue the light pollution of Mac’s Milk,
and the shapes of the buildings occluding
my field of view, so sometimes it’s hard
to know the name of the star that’s caught my attention
like a splinter of light in my third eye without
seeing the rest of the constellation. But I guesstimate
it’s not a mystic revelation, more a match
of spiritual elation I’m playing with to see
what might catch fire in my imagination.
I don’t expect anything. Don’t feel I have a right
because I think I’m an expert about things in the night.
I just sit here like a lotus on a helicopter pad
waiting for a dragonfly to return like the air ambulance
over at the Vet’s Hospital, dreaming the world
on the nightward among the morphine drips
falling like the tears of Etruscan gods in a dead sleep,
and more rarely now that my prophetic skull has aged,
a waterlily on a platter served up to a dancing girl.
If you’re alone long enough, you come to feel
your solitude is an affable companion that knows
more about the world than it’s got the good grace
to let on. My silence comes on like an anonymous muse
and I’m inspired to ask, like a fly with a starmap at the window
what space-time continuum does the human divinity
of my starmud inhabit like a planet, or even a shepherd moon
in the inconceivable vastness of what I’ve become
just by wondering my way in and out of it
like a labyrinth of blackholes digging their own graves.
Undertakers in winter with back hoes. It stings sometimes.
Sometimes it’s nettles and wild parsnip to know the roses
with their thorns, the sunflowers with their bluejays,
and the lovers like you, in tears again, who come in
off the street like dream figures that have woken up too late
to realize the new moon’s waning like a deathmask deeper into life,
and the night’s bleeding out through a crack in the door
that’s been left ajar. The candlepower of supernovas
melting down like the hemorrhage of a star, and all,
without exception, however viciously they cherish
being possessed by a seance of the hungry ghosts of love
feasting on their bodyminds like wafers and wine,
all perish alike when the honey stops flowering
in the beeswax of their flesh, and their spirits
are the paint rags of an art theft that got thrown on the fire.
An encaustic masterpiece of ashes in a macabre museum.
But don’t abandon hope, even if you enter here.
Look directly into the eyes of your horrors
like a sparrow staring down a rat snake and see
for yourself what everyone fears blink
without eyelids as if it were carved in stone
by a waterclock with a wavelength as long as your tears
as if it were raining on the Sphinx again
as it has been, little sister, for more lightyears
than a mirage has eyes and irises the colour
of the waters of life greening the Sahara
with the flood myths of the grasslands I can see
are beginning to take root in your vision of love
like climate change among those estranged
like watercolourists by the loss of their own lunar atmospheres.
Here, a pillow, you can lay your head on for the night
softer than the stone of the world, the down
of a thundercloud passing like a storm over the treeline
of the echoless valley of death in your heart
the low hazard fireflies will reoccupy soon
like a chaos of lighthouses on the moon arguing
when the next tide comes in, and you can wrap
yourself up in the metamorphic cocoon of this old tattered
comforter of a dreamscape you can terraform for yourself
like the barrow tomb of the vernal equinox,
or the winter solstice in the Hanging Gardens of Babylon,
or the garden of Eden if you prefer crying
yourself to sleep on the shores of the four rivers
pouring out of you into the forbidden zones
of human awareness where sulphur butterflies
immolate themselves in the flames of the wild irises,
and milkweed is the wet nurse of migrating Monarchs
and the bull gates horned by the crescents of the moon
that sometimes gore the rose on its own thorns
are glazed in lapis lazuli like star sapphires of cool bliss
and bricks of starmud baked in the kilns of the Pleiades
I’ll show you one night just over the top of the bowling alley
like a mobile of glass-blown tears recycled
from broken mirrors turning pendulously in the wind.