Saturday, September 7, 2013



My numb, unappointed night stare into oblivion.
The bar band across the street has stopped
for the night. The silence digs a deeper black hole
in the white noise of the iron lung sustaining
the town shutting down to sleep than the undertakers
of the music buried in the closed coffins
of their guitar cases wishing they were machine-guns.

An end of the hammered laughter, the hormonal squeal,
the amatory barb of weathervanes in whaling boats
going for the heart through the eye of a needle
in drunken tears too well-versed to be believable.
I almost envy people who always have
something to insist upon, incontrovertibly.
I’d throw a punch just for the sake
of the absurdity of it, but I know when
feathers come to scales deep in my R-complex,
the left front parietal lobe of my neo-cortex
wouldn’t mean it except as a Zen cowboy
kind of glee in the energies expressed thereby.

More wings than spurs on my heels these days
when I’m not waxing and waning like Icarus
in a dead fall. And sometimes I’m just another fly
at the window trying to buzz myself in
to an upstairs apartment with an unnerved
security alarm and a cat-clawed bugscreen,
moth holes gnawed in it that look
as if someone bent the bars back
like the wire eyelashes of a jailbreak.

The great escape. To what? Eight beers
and a shot of tequila to top them off, trying to loosen
the sexual mores of a workaday straitjacket
up, thread by thread, as if you were brushing
stray hairs off the bare shoulders of a legal assistant
toying with taboos as she drunkenly decries
the life she’s chained to like a connubial visit
by conviction, irrepressibly proclaiming
to the sheepish citizenry of the permissive street,
no one’s ever getting out. We’re all guilty by dissociation.




Life isn’t a topic, it’s an urgency with pitstops
and beatific interludes of relief along the way
that pass for peace. Is there necessity in what you say?
Is it agitated like a spider in the morning
vibrating in its web, a pulsar in a mandala
of guitar strings, a safety net of spinal cords
resonating with true north, a magnetic pole
changing its spin, butterflies witching for wavelengths
well beyond the range of their rabbit ears
as they make slight adjustments to their antennae?

I knew a painter once who was 37% mad,
who chained his spontaneity like a guest to a bed
and planned to be inspired by the blueprint
of the starmap of fireflies he carried in his head
whenever he was off his daily agenda of meds.
Sensitive stuff, but I told him anyway,
if it bears repeating, your silence isn’t original enough.
Who needs to be immortal while they’re alive?
It’s like a ghost trying to haunt a house of life
before the tenet in residence has moved out of it
into a tenured coffin of his own. And I don’t care

how much polish gets rubbed like starlight
into the spurs and badges of the drugstore outlaws
riding shotgun on the golden hearse of the sun,
it’s still just a strongbox of money spiders
when you shoot the lock off of it like the nose ring
of a white winged horse saddled by a green horn
that gets bucked off his own thermals like a burr
trying to break into a circle of milkwagons
to protect the butter urns from savages in blue war bonnets
in an ambush of peacocks with empty magazines.
Not everyone likes the taste of fraudulent margarine,
furniture wax, shoe polish, bear grease or axle oil.
Having their eyelashes cleaned off with turpentine
to keep the flies out of the ointment, the colours pure.
As if light had joined the Taliban and held a grudge
against your eyes. Aniconic palettes. Black. Black. Black.
No foreseeable rainbows on the wings of aspiring maggots.

Nothing but these false dawns and sunsets that taste
like the must of old men smudging their pearls of wisdom
like opalescent cataracts nacreously waning
like the love lyrics of a decresent moon
to the younger undertakers bedding their bones,
pearl divers closing the mouths of the oysters
they’ve shucked like books and lavish satin coffins
as if every cloud had a silver lining that mistook
its perfect binding for a vision of life without salt or sand.
Everyone gratified if their point of view, for their eyes only,
like the colour blue without irises, or a flowerless green,
were reflected by windows into the souls of the fanatically bland.




Frog spittle and green pond froth organic enough
to rebuke the crystallographer of ice that’s coming
when life goes underground to hibernate in its own starmud
numb with the inoculation it’s been given
to protect it against its own pain thresholds.
As earth approaches the sun, it gets colder
above the waist, and hotter below,
the occasional bubble of life locked in the eyes
of a bright vacancy as it rises to the surface of the mirror.

And at night, the dark abundance of stars so clear
they’re cruel. So abysmally remote and unconcerned
they burn your eyes like dry ice, sublimate
like the tears of ghosts on a hot stove, hiss
and dissipate like the wavelengths of vaporous snakes
impatient with dancing to a syrinx of icicles
on a pentatonic scale in common with panpipes
that prefer to feather the phoenix in flames
than risk the fire of a dragon in full plumage.

Things go round circumpolarly like Draco
and the planet has a change of heart. She loves me,
she loves me not. The third eye of the uncertain mystic
freezes in the wine glass like a dirty winter window,
and summer’s ambivalence is frosted over
with brittle absolutes that leave no room for doubt.
Cataracts in the eye. Flowers in the sky and vice versa
when the earth is at apogee in the southern hemisphere
and the grass is green below the waist that the sun
fried brown, and above, crucified crosses upside down.

But for now, frog spittle and green pond froth,
exhausted waterlilies letting it all hang out
like the Buddha’s dirty laundry on a tinfoil starmap,
wasps like angry drunks in the windfalls of the orchards,
the crickets and frogs hoarse with the exhortatory
white noise of procreation run amok in the swamps,
the bears in the dumps among the berries,
larding their lairs for seven lean kinds of coma
as the campers and the geese go south
of the porous borders between the sundials
of the American dream, and the frozen waterclocks
of the snowblind mindstreams further north
where time stops and space is the measure
of the speed of thought outpacing the light into the dark.

As the days grow colder and dwindle into matchstick runts
I’ll squander fire the way, when things were warmer,
I squandered the waters of life on fountains and waterbirds
spuming in courtship, making a big splash of moonlight
on beautiful loons that swam away unperturbed.
I’ll sit up late in the night, listening to the pilot light
on a gas furnace as if the eternal flame were about to go out
and leave me catatonically morose and mentally disturbed
as the desk I write at, making lyrical overtures
to the smoke in the room, demonic loveletters that set
the scarecrows on fire like the strawdogs of harvests past
and make the ice queens weep with warnings of global warming.

Creature of extremes, I’ll live one moment like a dolmen
in the tundra of my dreams, trying to decipher the runes
of the glacial striations on my crystal skull
like Nazca lines on on my prefrontal plateau
for any sign the aliens are about to leave me alone.

And the next I’ll be kissing the Tyrian purple passage
at the end of my frozen fingertips like Phoenician snails
as if I’d been drinking wine with the sea around my mouth,
and the poems were just pouring out of me
like a hemophiliac in a blue blood bank in front
of a firing squad of eleven revolutionary stars and one
that’s a capitalist trying to recoup its investment in life
by drawing a blank that strikes like Rasputin
on the margins of a ricocheting heart, bruised
by the blood flow of a rose in the snow it couldn’t stop.