Sunday, September 29, 2013



By the light I have been given to go by,
I can see how homeless the journey truly is.
How provisional the shrines along the way like milestones
we stop to paint like the inside of our skulls
or the caves we first dwelled in with our dead
buried under fire and the numinosity of our picture music
impregnating the womb walls of a space made sacred by fear.
The darkness bears my secrets, and in the torchlight,
in carbon and red ochre, a diary of shamans
gored by defecating rhinos speared to death.

I have imagined my way into an understanding
that is a rite of passage into a space that is
a vast abyss of intelligence, a nothingness
that speaks through an intuitive grammar of things
as if a galaxy, a star, stone, tree, raindrop were each a thought,
a sign, a word, the syntax of a growing paradigm
of creative awareness that we’re completely alone
and lost at sea like fish on the moon crawling out of its tides
as if nothing bound us, not even detachment,
nor a god that exists as a confession of the way we do,
nor any medium we work in as reflection of our presence
labouring away at an unattainable world that won’t exist
until we do, and it’s 7 to 5 against anyone making it that far.

But what a joy to emerge out of our own nothingness
like a secret we’re letting ourselves in on,
making it up as we go along like a deportable myth of origin
we can adapt to our infinite beginnings
because for starters, it has none of its own.
We were born to express ourselves like apple trees.
We were born to see and be happy marvelling at the event.
To enjoy longing for things we were never missing
and be guided by wise men we never listen to
back to a silence that has nothing to say for itself
that we didn’t already know in the first place.
Everywhere is the threshold of the return journey.
Life is either an exile, or it stays at home like a follower.
Bless the enlightened apostates of the dangerous religion
that desecrates the mind by worshipping it.
Why make a chain out of your umbilical cord
and get your head wrapped around it like a noose
because you forgot meaning was an art
and not a way to take yourself way too seriously to heart?
Why go to war with your own mind
just to administer to the needs of the suffering
when you can paint a god in blood and ashes
and decultify yourself with the creative freedom
of your imagination deconstructing the fable of your belief
that it’s the being, not the becoming, that endures.
And you can do this without even knowing how to draw.
A starmap doesn’t shine. A blue print doesn’t open a door.
If you ask a crutch to do your walking for you,
it’s going to throw you away like a miracle
at the top of the stairs of Notre Dame de Coeur.
Better to be the sacred whore of a thousand profligate gods
than the unrepentant nun of one who shuts the world out,
like art for art’s sake, to revel in her own extinction
in a mystical connubium with an unregenerate imagination.

You can burn your gates and cages in a wild field if you like
for not being able to keep the flowers in, or keep the wind
from rioting with the leaves way past curfew,
but there was never any risk of being granted what you ask
because life is the unpredictable moon rise
that deepens the calendars with a renewed humility
towards the extraordinary mutability of time.
What have you ever been that baffled your imagination?
It isn’t reason that inspires us to become a stranger tomorrow
to the self we knew today. Genuine faith isn’t
an artificial life support system to keep something alive
that should have been allowed to die quietly away yesterday.
Millions upon millions of facts like a graveyard of skeleton keys
to a door we can’t find open within ourselves
as if we’d just stepped through it to be here where we live
deciphering the shapes of the clouds as if we lived in code.

Hide your secret deep enough if you want it to be known.
Walk alone as far as you can until you can’t
if you want the world to walk the rest of the way with you.
The white demon that knows heaven and hell experientially
mentors the senses in the spiritual subtleties of the black angel
that comes like the new moon of a third eye
to help the exegetes of light see further into the dark
by blowing their candles out like flowers.
All seekers are roads looking for a map to follow.
Preludes after the fact, that set out to look for their own endings.
Be a star. And keep your afterlife behind you
like the shadow of the last form you cast upon the earth.
Be an eye that doesn’t leave any room between the moon
and it’s reflection so that the substance of life is seeing
not that you’re a distinct and separate entity
that cosmically identifies with your exclusion
but that you’re wholly within easy reach of everything
that depends upon you for its existence. Just as every leaf
you let fall in the autumn like an adage of wisdom
about how you can know the world by its fruits
first came to the tree like a smile to your face
when you realized your imagination was
the inconceivable dynamic of a creative state of grace.




Sitting on the outdoor patio at O’Reilly’s
in a shady corner with the umbrella down
where they abide the smokers like lepers in an ashtray.
O, bad, bad. Say the purists whose way of life
is a diet. Pot of black coffee squatting like a guru
in the middle of the table, two beer for my buddy, Simon,
I’m anchored to my chair foursquare at the corner
of Gore and the Universe, watching the leaves
on the crab apple trees in the parking lot below
the heritage fire tower shed easily in the sunshine
like passing afterthoughts. Yellow eyelids.
Knowing there are not too many years left
I’ll be able to do this. Sit and watch. In the flesh.

The numbness and strain on the novellas
of the faces of a married couple shell-shocked
by the barrage of frontline circumstances
they’ve been under most of their adult lives
as if they had to bury their hearts just to survive
like something they’d come back to later,
Roadkill. A doe and buck. Ten points, no less.

The woman with a steel factory of thick, red hair
listening sexually to a career-oriented man
in a patchy beard he trims every Thursday
chat her up as she tries to recall the last burning bush
that left a rash on the inside of her thighs.
It’s good to see love still has its enthusiasts.

Almost nautical. The canal near. The heritage lamp.
I pull a pen out of the inside pocket of my leather jacket
that makes me look rougher than I actually am,
beautiful pen, peacock blue, with heft, like a sword,
or an oar I took for free when I last went
to pay part of my rent at the real estate office
across the street with the bricked-in windows
that look like the eyes of the blind. Impervious.

And I scribble on the brown envelope that scared me
at first, but only wanted to tell me how much
I would be getting on my old age pension
and guaranteed income supplement cheque
as if somehow I’d rounded all the bases
back to homeplate and now it was time to clean
my locker out and retire my number like a lottery ticket,
Normal’s even more surrealistic than spaced out is
because it’s not expected to be, my thought for the day.

Maybe that will become part of a poem later
as I wonder, looking out my apartment window,
how I ever ended up here, or why I’ve stayed
for the last thirty-three years other than cheap rent,
the company of trees, and long, long eras in which
to perfect my solitude like one of ten thousand lakes
around here that hasn’t been named yet
for some peculiarity of easy reference. Poet Lake.
Why not? I’ll be the first to drown my book in it.
Love lyrics to the fingerling water sylphs I’ll stock it with.

How many open doors of liberation have I had
to step through in the course of my life so far
to avoid being incarcerated by what I stepped into
like the new moon on the surface of the La Brea Tarpit
in the depths, or a soul into a body that was
confused by it like starmud and spiritual window putty?
How many tears have I beaded like a rosary of water
on oil, trying to make some sense of human sorrow,
compiling a zodiac of extinct species for a coffee-table
nobody ever opened? All my life I’ve stolen
poems from my poverty like a thief that gives back
tenfold. It’s a kind of poor boy pride I expect
but at least it’s mine and I’ll stand and I’ll fall by it,
moonrise and moonset, with no bitterness or regret,
few heralds at the entrance and no paid mourners at the exit.

Patinas of lustreless brass, old gold in the Bronze Age,
and scarlet letters like a sacred vowel of life
triple x-rated by the mythically-inflated hypocrites
at the auto de fe of the maples who’d rather
burn with desire in the house of life than
eat their own ashes out of the ethical gutter
of the hand of God washed in the blood of the lamb,
I watch the shadows of the leaves falling
against a wall of warm fieldstones giving
their heat up to the approaching night
like loaves of home-made bread cooling
on a windowsill it’s easy enough to mistake
for the threshold of a vagrant homelessness
I’ve laboured at like a road with no way back
to the security of the delusion I was going somewhere
when here, just as much as there, was where
it was at all along and will be, hallelujah, after I’m gone.