Tuesday, October 1, 2013



I see you in the eyes of the rain
and in the broken aspirations of the swallow
that hit the windowpane dead on.
Fire that no longer burns.
Water that no longer drowns.
Earth that no longer receives.
A gust of air that no one breathes.

I see you in the tender, green tendrils
of the wild grapevines clinging to life
like the last plank of a shipwrecked lifeboat
washed up on the shore of the moon.
The most bitter farewells are those
compelled by understanding
to cry a little in the open doorway
and leave as if there were nothing more to say.

Words lightyears beyond communication.
Metaphors like burning bridges
that never quite make it to the other side.
And o how gentle an eclipse comes
to a lover’s coltish eyes
when it’s time to say good-bye
and if you’re a bad man, it’s revenge,
and if you’re good, it’s a sacrifice.

Good-bye, get out, be gone,
I’ll live on in my palace of lonely windows
like a man with class in an hourglass
and I’ll write faceless songs
to the passage of time as autumn approaches.

Leave me now to the pain
I must wrestle with alone
like an angel in my way
that knows I don’t have what it takes
to pull up stakes like a heretic
before I burn for the mistakes I made
on your invigilated test of love.

Once I feel like a loser again
I know I’m at home with myself
and I can feel the clouds laughing in tears
as I get around like rain.
I loved your body like a wishing well.
You loved my brain like an occult spell.

Three afterlives of a star, once you left me
holding the medicine bag of your absence,
I named a desolate street after you
like some kind of municipal gift
to the run down ghetto of a sub-prime heart.

My pain is consoled by my art
like a weather vane is comforted by the weather.
I ghost write the lyrics of the storm.
I incite riots against the norm.
I blood my poems like spearheads
in a wound that never scars the moon.

I shall be the nightwatchman
who makes the rounds of the zodiac
inspecting doors and windows
that are steadfastly closed to him
like lilies in the festering gene pools
of the idle rich in their bridal tents
spawning into money like goldfish.

I shall be an eagle at the extremity
of my wingspan and soar over the smoke
of burning cities like a cinder of freedom
in the eye of a failed revolution
and I will not lament my own extinction
when my starmud settles like a constellation
into the hearsay of bloodshot mirrors.

I will linger in precipitous heights
then shriek like the paper airplane of a poem
down on some bumptious homing pigeon
that was promised a comfortable flight
from here to there, until it was
snatched from the air like a pillow fight.

I will do this because I can feel the glee
of my talons sinking into hypocrisy
like the three crescents of the moon
with an eyrie full of skeletal snakes
that look like a pit full of twisted combs
without any meat on their bones.

Liars convince. Communicators convey.
It isn’t what I say. It’s the way I say it
that makes all the difference to the meaning
that tones me like a moody chameleon
resonating with a tuning fork of colour
that flickers like a photo-op of lightning
trying to get a glimpse of itself in the mirror.

And then I’m an illiterate divinity student
with a heart as big as an orphanage
full of baffled pilgrims that have lost their way
crutching through the labyrinths of the divine
on a cross that walks them to the end of the line
like the rapture of an apocalyptic anti-climax.

I talk to God about you and she talks back
like a comprehensive alibi for the way things are.
She’s got a scar as big as the smile
on the dark side of her face she keeps
turned away from me like an embarassed moon
she doesn’t want to reveal to anyone.
But I can see it in the rear view mirror
of my infernal lucidity leading me away from her
like an atomic Sufi reversing my spin
in the charged particle field of my happy sin.

I walk on the wild side in cowboy boots
in a truce with the shadows of Zen
that says a great general may establish peace
but that doesn’t mean he gets to enjoy it.
And I’m resigned to the sternness of my discipline
like salt to the earth, like a sail to the wind,
like a ferocious heart to a gentle mind.




Dreaming strange on a mattress of snakes
slowing down in the early autumn
like the hour hands of cold-blooded clocks.
They’re winching yachts out of the water
like sharks at Rideau Ferry Dock.
“Winter is icummen in, icummen in”
as life braces to take a bath in its own grave,
but nothing, I mean nothing matters
very much right now to the crickets and frogs
mesmerized by Indian summer into
an encore of white noise in the unleafing woods
and the whole town doped out on opioids
like a clean needle exchange for sunbeams.

No one’s wearing their flying carpet out
under the window quite yet, though it’s hard
not to be reminded of what’s icummen in
when the blueberries have the same look
in their eyes as roadkill and just because
time stops to admire its own reflection
doesn’t mean it’s forgiven us for wasting it
on the trivial pursuits of our own survival.
The moment shapeshifts and I change with it
not knowing whether it’s dusk or dawn,
if it’s time to go to ground or pull up stakes
like the heretical scarlet runners and sunflowers
that flamed out like pilot lights with big dreams
of setting the world on fire with seeds and beans.

How odd that passions I was ready
to commit suicide or die for yesterday
have faded like the watercolours of the falling leaves
or old, grey barnboards, warped by the sun
and the rain, pulling the nails out
of their stigmatized crossbeams with their teeth
and spitting them on the ground like pine-needles
or Androcles and the lion. A cedar rail fence
on the south side of an unrocked field
with nothing to keep in or out anymore
since the last cow was trucked off to auction.

The Indian paintbrushes are matchbooks in ashes.
The rosaries of the Canada geese leaving
at midnight like tenants sneaking out on the rent
are birds on the jinx of a prayerwheel
heading home like white-collared Jesuits to France
leaving the pagans to their own resources,
dancing around the firepits of the spirits
they return to like default salvations
that will get them through the winter
like ten cubic cords of hardwood and a moose
in the freezer like a baby mammoth in an ice-age.

I’m trying to grow old elegantly like a sunset
the fighter pilots at Trenton would want to spray bomb
with contrails, or a troubled soul might want
to disappear into like the denouement
of a long road around the knots in its heartwood
obstructing the flow of the grain from finding
the dynamic equilibrium of its own level at rest,
be it among the dark roots of things, or leaves
burning on the water of the lake as the stars emerge.

Not for fame or to embroider the descending drapery
of the dream to fool the last act of the play
into thinking it’s forever spring. Not for the laurels
I’m just as happy to have fall from the brick walls
they cling to like ivy after the burning of the books.
Not believing the night is a reward I’m entitled to
for anything I deserve or have earned,
or might haven fallen to earth like a windfall
of wild apple trees with no effort on my part,
but simply to honour the anonymous starmud
that rooted Venus in my eyes like the fire of love
on the green bough of the morning, and in the evening,
approaching me now, like a doorway that’s
opening before me, just as incomprehensively beautiful
through the dead branches still blossoming and bearing
behind the abandoned farmhouse the ghosts
of the previous tenants beside the Jerusalem artichokes left
like the sign of an afterlife that would go on thriving without them.