Friday, September 13, 2013



More purpose in the absurdity of shadowing your dreams
like a star you vowed to be true to, a small candle of love
buffeted like a starling in a hurricane off path as is
the way of the heart, without going out---off course, lost,
but burning nonetheless like a daylily in a drainage ditch
beside the road that’s taking you on a firewalk among the stars
the long way home, less reason to despair of ever
finding a meaning in life that transcends the banality
of common sense with the longing of a nightbird
for immeasurable joy in the hunger of the fire that consumes it
without destroying the mystery in the irrationality of its song.
You want to burn. Not burn out like the infirm heart
of a waterclock that goes on forever with or without you
as if you were always drumming for rain to hide your tears.

Water-sylph, mistress of mirrors, muse, you who whisper
ecstatic clouds of silver insects into the dusk not
in the likeness of life, but life itself, as the starmaps
of the nocturnal waterlilies put their blooming to good use
like a lost expedition of cartographers trying to find themselves,

it’s too late in the day to betray what I’ve loved most
about my life, not so much to add my say
to the white noise of literature, but to listen deeply
to the voices that emanate out of the heart of the things of the earth
as if there were always something beguiling to celebrate,
an intelligence fascinated by its own awareness of being alive
like a river, a rock, a star, a tree, to wonder like a watershed why.

Even in the midst of my most private sorrows,
the light’s been a shapeshifting glassblower that made
crystal skulls of my tears I could look into like the eyes of an oracle
and see the sun and the moon still shining
after the flower wrecking thunderstorm passed over the hills
and the sun drenched the dishevelled willows in gold
and the fireflies came out from under their leaves
as the stars from under their eyelids no longer dulled
like a patina of time on the newly washed air
but clear-eyed and shining like a chandelier at a waltz
not a sword hanging over my head should I speak false.

Ask anything from a god to a grosbeak for instruction
and they’ll relate to you didactically as a matter of course
as if you were listening like a sympathetic jury at your own trial
to the immorality of the facts that have been brought forth
but pay less attention to what you’ve got to say in your own defence
and nature will respond to your petition for disclosure of the evidence
lyrically. Ask God who you are. Who she is. And she’ll
start singing to herself as if you reminded her of a song
she used to know when she was a girl growing up like Helen
beside the banks of the Eurotas, like Isis who hides her face
out in the open like a veil of space no one’s ever going to lift
like a hundred billion stars shining eye to eye with you
as if you were the last place you’d expect anyone to look for her.

And, yes, it’s all been lived and felt and said before, but not by you,
not by the mystic specificity of the supranoumenal persona
that lives like a singularity in the black hole
of your insatiable, light-eating, star-swallowing soul
that occasionally loses its appetite for insight
like a blue whale for krill, or the moon for marine life.
Estranged as an undertaker at your own wedding,
or Joan of Arc in the blissed out ashes of a martyr’s urn,
dragon or firefly, prince of the pent house or Jedi in a hovel,
ploughed under like the archival middens of the popular demotic
or stutter like an accent through purple passages of linear B
there’s a mermaid sitting on the skull of Devil’s Rock in everyone
and she’s been singing like Love Potion Number Nine among the muses
for you, in particular, to shipwreck yourself on the eerie sadness
that haunts her song like the foghorn of your own voice
lost like a ghost at sea, passionately annihilated
by an attachment to the picture-music of your own imagination
that is no less of a Buddha activity than letting go
of enlightenment as the beginning of something delusional.

Factor the errors back into your perception the way
the earth receives the dead without disappointment or remorse,
knowing they will sweeten the roots of tomorrow’s flowering.
Follow your own river like a siren to the source
as if for once you were listening to good advice
and wary as you are of the repetitious side-effects
of going mad without fulfilling a fictitious purpose in life
rejoice in the clairvoyance of going with the flow
of your own mindstream, knowing that none
of the death masks in that collection of mistakes
you keep inter-reflectively projecting on the waters of life
ever gets to wear the same bare-faced lie twice.




Decay into madness like the Kaisers and Rasputins
just before World War 1 when life hemorrhaged
like heavy red velvet curtains and we all bled to death
in a sterling defence of the roses, putting thorns on our helmets
and death in our beds as if war were a mistress
you could make uninhibited love to when beauty bored you.

Life ripped under its own weight, too many refugees
caught up in the spiderwebs that couldn’t sustain the pretence
they were dreamcatchers and safety nets, trampolines
and suspension bridges for the rolling barrage
of rhetorical clowns that fired their mouths off like cannon
into an abyss without a prophylactic suicide net on the Peace Tower
you could haul into the lifeboat like a fisher of men.

Violations too deep for scar tissue in the trenches.
I reread T.S. Eliot’s The Waste Land recently
and it smelled of chlorine and mustard gas, the sickly pallor
of waterlilies rotting in a methane swamp of starmud.
Five petals opened like the plinths of Rigel in Orion
and one flower bloomed like a jester’s cap.
Now everybody feels like the butt of the joke
at the expense of their own enlightenment.
Bilious as a dying fall without a gas mask on,
death goes to a ghoulish ball in unmasked Venice.

Enfeebled, dissolute, nauseous, the soul,
and the flesh made out of silly putty
as Michelangelo studies plastic surgery
and everybody knows what an extortion racket it is
to live like a debt to society elected loansharks
are coming to collect or repeal your place at the trough,
repossess your face, say repeat after me
enough is never enough. Gluttony fattens on need.
Ask any corporate cannibal hunger isn’t just the desire
to eat. It’s the power to eat the eyes right out
of the spirit of a human in front of the mirror
it answers to like the prey of maggots and tapeworms.

The truth gets simpler as the lies grow more complex.
People so numb they’re living by reflex and when
the lobbyists and pimps of advertising say jump
the politicians twitch like Giovanni’s frog. Not Basho’s.
And the parrot pundit quasi profiteering
celebrity intellectuals who extemporize
like Hamlet in the paralytic shadows of tragic issues
and blame-game atrocities that once were
unaccounted for like yesterday’s children
until newsworthy expedience found a new way
of burying their embarrassing corpses in greater contexts
that could no longer be of concern to their dolls
and teddy bears now they’re all dead. What are
you going to do now, smart guy, sew the buttons
back on their eyes? See if you can open their eyelids
by tilting the world on its axis like a lance
about to take another stab at slaying a windmill?

Surrealistic black farce of evil clowns in a morality play
where no one who deserves it ever gets their own.
The mindstream runs down like a waterclock
into gutters and sewers, the Via Cloacum of the overfed
who will be slaughtered like pigs on their own altars
tomorrow, given the way things are always taking
a turn toward their reverse like the polymorphous perverse
with an ingenuous genius for acute irony when your head’s
piked like the spearhead of a project on the suburban gateway
of your artificial paradise and your astro-turf golfclub
and you look for all the world like an olive on a toothpick
stuffed with scarlet pimento someone set aside
like a mere formality of history defacing the image
you had of yourself as if you’d been patched
by an outlaw biker club who had your back, but not
the unprophetic skull of your spectacularly shrunken head.

That said, if you don’t use it as an excuse to wait with the dead,
things are going to get better as long as the river runs
like a mindstream clarifying itself like a window in tears
when it rains as if your eyes were being whipped
but you’re inside, safe somewhere like an act
that just came off the road, and it feels as if
you were being scourged by a single blade
of first magnitude stargrass punking the fireworks
of the blank look in the fathomless eyes of a merciful starmap
that condemns the house of life like a zodiac for demolition
and then says, ok space cadets, show me the blueprints
of the constellations where you’d like to live now.

And don’t be dismayed into suicide by the blackest night
of your imagination. That’s your own aniconic
creative freedom staring you back in the face
searching the watershed in your eyes out like an abyss
for any sign of a new creation myth to let it know
as dark out as it is now, yes, your tear ducts are blocked
by tiger mussels in the Great Lakes, but I can see
your light from here. O, definitely, it’s you,
and you’re still shining like a new universe
out of the void into the dark abundance, bright vacancy
of the available dimensions of an incommensurable
future memory of every breath you take to creatively exhilarate
the flames of your starmud flowering in a mindscape
you have yet to name like an Ojibway elder the spirit of a child.