NEVER MAKE A GOAL OF YOUR DESTINY
Never make a goal of your destiny, a chore
of your happiness, a precedent of your originality.
The night air is querulous. The full moon
harvests its perishing. Time wanders in a fog
of flagellant willows trying to blood the abstractions
of a teenage philosopher fallen out of love
with the river she questions like a way of life.
Hick town drunks holler ubiquitous obscenities
out of the open windows of their vehicular
boom boom boxes cruising the streets for meat
with a pulse trying to relate the wavelengths
of a watersnake like a delayed lightning strike
in tight jeans dancing to the music of thunderous toads.
Come the false dawn like the dead pallor of grey skin
shed the morning after as if the anti-climactic apocalypse of lust
had fizzled out like a wet firecracker grown ashamed
of its own nakedness in the more vulnerable light of day,
and every virgin it saw after that, pimples on the ass
of a goddess, it called a slut, as if it had carnal knowledge
of what it was talking about, like blood on the sheets,
dogs in heat on the sexually frustrated streets
of a small town that changes partners like a square dance
every spring and autumn, as a distraction from the boredom
of laying heritage brick at the glazed gates of Babylon.
Little Red Riding Hood follows the bush wolves
into the woods like a scarlet letter at a witch burning
and everybody’s saddened by her lack of experience.
The waterwheels don’t turn anymore now the gears
of its teeth are seized like lockjaw, and the stairwells
to paradise in the flesh are helical as Sisyphus
listening to the recoil of his dna in the distance
start another avalanche of starmud to keep him
from being buried alive in a crossfire
of ricocheting gravestones milling more chaff
than grain like asteroids trying to make a big impact
on the eternal recurrence of evolution returning
to its hometown from a curative year in Toronto
like the first to abandon the farm to the barn owls.
Everybody’s trying to heal the nostalgic panaceas
that afflict them by applying leeches to their heart
like wet leaves to the forest floor of an old growth book,
or the stick-on stigmata of scar tissue that bleeds them
like the warning on the wall spelled out in the pedestrian kells
of wounded fridge magnets talking among themselves
like the logos of post-modernist oracles growing corpulent.
Despair is the fuel and fire of love in the house of life
when the whole planet’s burning at the stake we prepared for it
like a pyre of crutches and flying buttresses we needed
like a ribcage to stand up on our own two feet again
after being knocked down like a nosebleed that wouldn’t
turn the other cheek like the face of the moon
that would rather stare out into the abyss than
turn around and take a good look at us and what we’ve done,
and unrepentantly, how we look for the algorithms
of the grail that will green the ailing kingdom
without intending to fix it. So the exits are blocked
and no one has the strength, even on the inside,
to roll the shepherd moons and asteroids away from the entrance.
Every beginning has an oceanic notion of where it ends.
And in the interim, nothing but the desperate gestures
of drowning men and women watching reruns
of their lives flash before them like sunspots on a firefly.
Despair of the radioactive ashes in the hearth
of the nuclear family with solar systems in its ancestry
like a broken circle of prophetic skulls trying to set bounds
to the petty Armageddons in the domestic fires of love
melting cosmically down, down, down, like candles
and ice-cream cones embedded in the ashen wicks
and gravel on the roads that divide in life like the Milky Way
and the Road of Ghosts, as we’re firewalking on hot diamonds
of translucent insights into the nature love and life and art
in our dreams, only to wake up, after splashing
cold mirages on the faces of our disbelieving mirrors
to find ourselves crying real tears like chandeliers in a coalbin.
We lie like labyrinths of bullshit to ourselves
like bad highway engineers starmapping a spiritual path
through the roadkill that died without anyone meaning ill,
but there it is, the fox, the porcupine, the skunk, the beaver,
the cat, the dog, the frog, the snake, the drunk, Iraq,
torn, mangled, no jewels of light in their eyepits,
hung, gutted, drawn and quartered like racks of meat
by the serial undertakings of the funereal turkey vultures
at the sky burials of Gobekli Tepe, or a rock concert in Ardoch
where the woods, after the sun goes down, are
the black ops of darkling predators with nightvision
as everyone’s preoccupied with painting pretty pictures
on the walls of their caves by the numbers in blood, soot, and spit.
But here’s the thing itself. There’s no point trying
to colour in the negative space with the bluebirds
and weeping rainbows of a positive attitude
trying to outline the identity of the shape of emptiness
like a candelabra, a tree in winter, five ways
to go in life that stop dead in their tracks
like cul de sacs in an abyss that runs like a watercolour
down limestone stalactites. Or the fingers of a hand raised
in greeting or farewell as if the difference were negligible
as the direction of the wind to the doorway
of our return journey to the rustic innocence
of the dream grammars that reveal our most sacred nightmares
like red creator spiders empowering a mandalic web of dimensions
as everybody feels a desecration nobody else cares about
lost in the dark woods of their philosophical apprehensions.