Friday, September 6, 2013



The journey itself changes the nature of the destination
until it is so unrecognizable that the notion
of ever arriving is as absurd as waiting for a star
to catch up to its own light. Poetry’s like that,
and love no less than life: Transmute the wayfarer!
Transmute the wayfarer! If you want to preserve
the remains. I’m led astray by where I’m going.
I don’t linger at the gates of my own unknowing.
I don’t read starmaps backwards in the mirror.
The orphanage isn’t homeless. The lost and found
isn’t waiting to be discovered. My madness
never greets me like a visiting hour at the asylum.
I send my prophetic skull on ahead of me
like a time capsule into the history of tomorrow
and the future remembers me oracularly as a sign
anything can happen retroactively you didn’t see coming.

Lost in a labyrinth of eyeless windows, the town
sleeps on the nightwatch. The silence purrs
with the white noise of somnambulant machinery.
I never listen to here as if it were the echo
of other places I’ve been. The train whistle mourns
like a ship at sea. Nothing quite so abjectly homeless
as a threshold with a return address. Better
to sleep on the wrong side of the tracks than
lie down with the suicides like a ladder that had given up
not realizing life’s a two way street, one rung east,
a crosswalk west of here, a burning crutch closer to heaven
than shakey Jacob on a three-legged footstool.

There’s no snakey paradise up the sleeves of my pyres,
no burning doves in the urns of my ashes in hell.
I don’t worship in the shrines of their reciprocal fires.
I don’t sing springtime carillons of wild columbine
to a dying funeral bell in winter whether it’s sempiternal
or not. I might light a few candles now and again
but I never extinguish their wicks in my tears
like the pilot lights of burnt out dragons in pain.
Whatever mirrors I might break like plagiarists
of the way I see myself when I reflect on the lack of one
I can trust, I don’t put brand name constellations
on fake creation myths that compromise my starmud
When I go down in flames, I never expect
the sunflowers to bloom at midnight, or noon
to throw a bouquet of shadows it cut from its own garden
into my grave as I’m lowered into my coffin
like the lifeboat of a meteor impact on the moon
into a sea as tranquil and surreal as it is inarticulately alone.




Lie to me, if you must, I’ll be your cult of one.
If there’s a darkness you want to lead me into,
a coven of night, a blackhole where you hide your light,
I’ll be Arcturus in the crowns of the black walnut trees.
I’ll follow you down into the underworld, a gibbering shade,
And I won’t look back, I won’t loop retrograde
when you overtake me like a planet on the inside track.
Draw me a starmap. I’ll be whatever configurations of shining
you want me to be, the bestiary of a different kind of zodiac,
and you be the black I’m embedded in and let death
assess the value of the jewels of insight I bring you
like the bituminous eyes of all the snowmen I’ve ever been
intensified into diamonds that will thaw whenever you weep
for reasons you can tell me or not as you please.

Talk to me in your sleep, or write a note for me when you wake
and I’ll hang on every word like a waterdrop
on a blade of blossoming stargrass, or a poet
with his head in a noose hanging like a pendant from your neck
and I promise never to reproach your silence
like a misdiagnosed disease suffering the symptoms of a cure.

I’ll be your dirty old man and you can pretend
you’re the pure embodiment of lust in a nun’s habit,
and I’ll keep my word to the blood oaths and vows,
taboos and alibis we make for the both of us
like the sword that lies between us like the hour hand
of an alarm clock with a snooze button
like a dozy nightwatchman that looks the other way
whenever you want to avail yourself of a pagan afterlife
in a goose-down duvet. Tell me who you dream of being
and I’ll get behind you like a mirror of your shadow
and I swear I’ll never blind you with my blazing
like the legends of the false dawns I once aspired to,
a mirage that wept real tears witching for water,
the ghost of a dolphin in an ocean of maritime stars.

I won’t ask you to enter my solitude without
a wet suit on, or immediate access to a space-station,
or explain my crazy-wisdom to us both as if
you had an anti-venom you milked from the fangs
of the moon that could heal the blessings
of my snake-bit prophetic skull like the eyes
of the dice I roll like the unlucky bones of the skeletal key
that keeps a lock on my heart like the pit of an apricot
until some muse of the autumn lifts my spirit
like a curfew in a half-way house for recovering poets
and there are more unrehabilitated exits in the freedom of my art
than farewells in the tone of the doorbells at the entrance.