Wednesday, October 2, 2013



Too much to say good-bye to though I had,
I sat down by a fork in the road and wept
into both my hands like a flashflood
in the dry creekbeds of my lifelines,
lightning over the nerve endings of the shedding trees
my heart shrieking like a red-tailed falcon
with an arrow in its wing, my life
uprooted like mandrake and ginseng
as I remember every woman after that
I ever said yes to was a truce with the pain.

X-rated, vampiric muse with the style
of a chandelier at the death of a candle,
witch of the retrograde sixties, you never age.
The night retains its mystery, though the day
grows old like too many stiff springs
in the matresses of the faith healers in a turf war.
Hellebore, bella donna and deadly nightshade
I’ve kissed Medusa on her eyelids in her sleep
and tasted what she dreamed of before
she became the queen mamba of black prophecy.

Spider on a widow walk, you took the Tarot
too seriously and stopped weaving mandalas
of undulant silk like the aurora borealis
drifting like the fins of Oriental goldfish on the wind.
O it was beautiful to watch you work your magic once.
A transformative experience I still like
to look back upon like a waterlily in a cauldron
of frog soup fit for a prince of darkness
carnal as the starmud of a tenant farmer
on a summer night in the sweat lodge of his pores.

If you empower the dark roots of the mystery
the stars will come as naturally as wildflowers
to the nightsky, or the potpourri of black roses
preparing a deathbed for a lover to lie down upon
with you in their arms like a new moon
things get done under like a spooky affair
with silence it’s a taboo with its tongue cut out
to talk about like shoes gossiping about a firewalk
on the other side of the door where you took them off.

You wouldn’t recognize me now among
the vagrant souls exorcised from this furnace
of life on the first cold night at the end of October
waving farewell on the road of ghosts where
it turns down into the birchgroves and out of sight
having cleared the creosote and starlings
out of the chimney pipes with a voice as thick as fire.

Will I live again? Is it necessary? Did I do it wrong
or was there never a right way to proceed?
Or should I ask for reparations for the tears I shed
like a sundial that foreshadowed its own extinction
like a nightbird on the same wavelength
as a snakey dragon saint in a black boa
of gathering storm clouds summoning
the lightning and then the rain to cool
the burnt heartwood of the pine that once stood
like a man on a hill that looks back over its shoulder
into a valley it just passed through guided
by a surrealistic starmap of dragons with the charms
of fireflies, as he turns and goes down into the one
you apprenticed him to walk, whistling
inconceivably in the dark without you
as he casts the deathmask of his shadow up ahead
as the only path where love was meant
to surpass itself like a moment from the past
that overtakes tomorrow like a light
it can’t run from followed by a night it can’t run to.




The green berry red and rotten,
the fledgling flown, windfall solar systems
of sun-spotted apples in the stargrass,
the white flower corrosively spoiled
by exposure to the eyes, the stars, the bees
that once doted on it but now abuse
the masterpiece of its unassuming beauty
by using it for a dish rag soaked in vinegar
to clean the windows with. It’s time

to lay your burdens down, give them up
to the earth that shall know you by them,
rose-hip, chokecherry, blackberry or blue,
black walnut, hawthorn or sunflower seed,
whatever the taste of life in your heart,
let the bell fall from the steeple, lower
the boughs of the yoke you’re bearing
like two buckets balanced by an ox
plodding back from the well and let go, let go,
as if you’d come as far as the road goes
and from hereon would have to start
making your own through deep snow
in the moonlight the wolves that follow
will pack down with their cracked
and bleeding pads like a great seal of approval
in hot wax on a night as severe as a scalpel.

Hour of birth and ruination. Fulfilment
and failure. Full moons in the pumpkin patch,
new ones shedding the skin of the most recent
eclipse of their medicine bags like black pearls
ripening in the dark like an active sexual life
that goes on blooming all winter to counteract
the effect of snow and plaster. Hour

of an old man racking black dwarfs
like prophetic skulls on an abacus
he never learned to play like starlings
on the powerlines of musical staves
that keep the snakes dancing circumpolarly
like a hermetic caduceus with the wings
of a dove copulating with the quantumly entangled
wavelengths of dragons that will burn
your eyes out until you stop crying
over spilt diamonds and start to see
your own starmud shining in the dark
like a star that’s been shadowing you for lightyears
through the shedding trees like a spark of life
you could start a galaxy with in the eye sockets
of any one of your visionary firepits.

Hour of letting go in the midst of the abundant silence
of the inarticulate garden that’s said all
it had to say as it waits for the first frost.
Let go of whatever you’re clinging to
like an umbilical cord to the rocket gantry
of the dark mother, and follow your own
circuitous flightpath like a silo on its way to the moon
and when you get there, unpack your suitcase
like a loaf of bread big-hearted enough to feed a famine.

Hour of death in life. Dream seeds under the eyelids
perishing like moonset over the denuded hills,
the maples burning their leaves like the first draft
of a novel they don’t want anybody to read
like a closing chapter in the life of an arsonist
who ends up eating his own ashes out of bird fountain
that holds a merciful spoon up to his lips
like the French kiss of a death wish in an urn
as he dies reconciled to the heresy of his life
in the eyes of the dead who thought he went too far.

Let’s hear it for the stars that made death possible
as the improbability of life that comes of it
that makes much out of the little it has to work with
like poems inspired by the fire in their lover’s eyes.
Marigolds holding out along the widow walks
of lonely souls communing with their solitude
like a family album of sacred tattoos the leaves
left like a last impression on cement gravestones
laid end to end like a road that turns back home again
with a childhood secret it shares with the crossed hearts
of the dead sworn to the perennial silence
of the memories that make life implausibly forgiving
without understanding a word of what’s said
about why it has to be this way, except
it has to be borne like distant hills ageing
under the echoes of lupine requiems mourning
the loss of one of their own as if it were the moon’s fault.

Blame it on the autumn. Blame it on the spring
that turned out to be the false dawn of everything
you’ve ever believed in like a mirage
in the third eye of a hurricane in a desert,
or what your lover said to you in bed one night
when you shared the same pillow like flesh of your flesh,
blood of your blood, bone of your bone,
as you both spoke of a creation myth that was already old
before you were born to mourn for it
like an apostate priest of a profligate abyss
that will swallow you whole like a dragon
the glain of the moon and disgorge it again
like the waterlily of a used condom
or a skin some lake shed like a starmap
to the wistful radiance in the eyes of the dead.

O yes, the eyes of the pervasive dead who fill space
with nuances of the light distilled from past dreams,
who look upon it all in pain and separation
and crack a smile like the scar of a stronger weld
than the original brain stem it mended
like a lighthouse on the moon where you
came to drown the sword you hammered out of fire
like a vow you made to the water sylphs
a long, long time ago before the salmon returned
to the place of their birth to continue dying
deeper and deeper into their awareness
of the mystery of life still throwing cornflowers
poppies and wheatstalks in the hands
of equinoctial virgins like cargo into the lifeboats
of our graves lowered over the side of the sinking earth,
stern up to the sun as it goes down into the underworld
like the Orphic skull of a habitable planet
dismembered by the mad muses of the autumn
for the lenience in his voice the dead
are especially susceptible to this time of year.