Sunday, September 8, 2013



Confabulations in the protean light of the imagination
where all things live and die. Life is perishing creatively
with no good reasons why. Except we trust---
what choice?---it’s wise and reclusively forbearing
of the mistakes we had to make to survive. That
the light adjusts to the eye that receives it like a star
with a cold-hearted message from the thieves of fire
with wings on their heels like plumed serpents
sporting the horns of burning doves on the hermetic skulls
of their helmets. You paint the world you live in
as if you were painting for yourself with your eyes closed
like flowers in eclipse through an hourglass darkly.

You have to feel the colours through your fingertips
like throbbing shades of red, and venal hues of blue,
and sunflower yellow you can eat straight from the tube,
before you go mad as creosote in a stove-pipe asylum
that squats like a black hole in the middle of the room.
So many have died for the flimsiest of excuses,
you’re compelled sometimes to wonder about
life’s attitude toward itself, if it knows something we don’t
that allows it to hide behind the mystique of its deathmask
like a cult with the conviction dying is the gateway
to the apple orchards of paradise seeded by the fruits
of this one we took a big bite out of like a motherhood issue
with an aversion to apple piety. If sin is original
then the virtuous are plagiarists by contrasting anti-selves.
If life is such a heinous act, then death is a sin of omission.

No one’s ever asked to deal with their own absence.
Or maybe we’ll appeal to our more empathic exits
to conjure us back to the entrance of the labyrinth
where this seance began like the opening act
that starts like a little dance it does on our graves.

I’ve been waterclocking my way through thousands of lives
as long as I can remember the flatlining mindstreams
of the thousands of deaths that followed the day
into darkness like the lifelines on the palm of my hand
waving farewell like a nightbird disappearing
into the portentous silence that foreshadows the end of its song.

Maybe I’m just peeking through the ankh of my little keyhole
of eternity into the face of a stranger on my threshold
I once fathered like the prodigal changeling of myself
come back retroactively to claim me as one of its own.
Maybe death has a secret streak of hard compassion.
A diamond in the ore, because the first thing it does
is take away your eyes so you can’t see what’s happening to you,
like a medicine bag of gunpowder put around the necks
of fatty heretics about to light up like a votive candle to God
in the fiery eyes of the snakepit inquisition flushed
with the power of darkness to make a snuff film out of a virgin.

Maybe. Maybe. Maybe. There’s nothing but oblivion,
dust on the windowsill, urns of the stars
scattering their ashes on the roots of the roses
their own blossoming in fire once brought to bloom in the blood
like the saddest flower they’ve ever looked through the eyes of.
If that’s the case, just like any other night on earth
in the cosmic abyss, listening to the solitude long
for its nightbirds in this restless dream of life,
death doesn’t exist. No hiatus in the continuum
of awareness that persists in keeping us guessing.
Could be a curse. Could be a blessing.




Bleak, grey day. Dolorous green of the disheartened trees.
Amiable enough, but troubled. More empty awake
than I am asleep. My imagination barely habitable,
as the houseflies cluster between the walls
of an abandoned house of life somewhere to winter
like little nuggets of coal in a coma of black dwarfs,
the negative of a starmap in a galactic dark room.

Big sigh. As if I were weary of understanding why
I keep being exhumed from my garden of earthly delights
like the collective unconscious of flower bulbs
to bloom in this cemetery of archetypes as if
I just came out of sedation in a morgue without a night light.
This is the nadir of my insight into the other side of the mirror.
A heavy bell to bear instead of the feather of light
I hoped to keep aloft on my breath like some semblance
of a songbird that hadn’t had its spirit crushed yet
by airing its innocence out in traffic to the beat
of the speedbumps of roadkill that thump like the pulse
of something momentous it can add a melody to.

Slow motion evanescence of things in the room
and me among them, viscous as the windows
on the verge of glacial tears, glass blown chandeliers,
beaded veils on a widowed lamp’s bronze umbrage.
True Briton’s Lodge, Prince of Wales Chapter across the street,
in a third floor forest of cheap wood panelling,
makes me feel colonially false to my imperial origins
and then I remember how much I prefer
the perishing of wildflowers at this time of year
to that of flags that mythically inflate their lifespan
in inverse proportion to the diminishing echo
of their booming voices fading into the Lanark Hills
like the kind-hearted consent of an eccentric to the pace of doom.

Shabby mystic of a day, a mendicant fakir slumped
in the doorway of a bank holiday that’s done away
with the benches of the moneylenders in the temple
where you could buy sacrificial doves for next to nothing
that meant about as much in the great scheme of deception
as the cries of your children mean in the maws
of Mammon and Moloch. Why go looking
for the key to anything before you’ve discovered the lock?
One moment you’re spurred on by Altair and Deneb
to break a wild, white-winged horse bareback,
and the next you’re a bicycle tethered to a parking meter
with a fire hydrant for a water trough. And you
have to conclude you were bucked off without a parachute.

But, hey, I’m making the best of it. I’m rubbing
my firesticks like the antennae, if they have them,
of fireflies in a firepit of the draconian ashes of Chernobyl.
Things are beginning to glow in the dark like comets and stars
flypapered on a boy’s ceiling sixty years later as the light
catches up to his ageing eyes that left home a long time ago
as if there were something more to know about suffering
than the charnel house that was under my nose at the time.
O Mummy! O Daddy! It’s dark in here and I can’t
see my way out by the ashes of the starmaps you left me
in this cold furnace of a heart kindled by the coffins
of old books on the occult you told me not to read by myself
I haven’t opened yet like nocturnal flowers whose time
hasn’t come to bloom in fire, whether I force the issue or not.

If April is the cruellest month, September’s got to be
the most foolish as the maples set fire to their leaves
like poems they never want to read again to the wind
blowing on the dead branches of their sky burials
as if there were red-winged blackbirds still singing somewhere
on a green bough apprenticed to a honey locust tree
that whispers like a wounded voice coach it’s time
to forget your thorns like the hands of a clock and blossom
among the bees that will marrow your bones
like the motherlode in the pods of edible pulp fiction
with flat twisted smiles in the hives starclustering
into bee balls for warmth against the weather
when the new moon of the black queen stops laying her eggs
and the sweet things in life are as inconceivable
as the plagues of tainted pollen in the candle soot
of a black mass sacrificing virgins at the autumnal equinox.