O WHAT A DELIGHT IN LIFE IT IS
O what a delight in life it is just to sit here
following my mind down to the river
on the deerpaths of wherever it takes me
as I flow along like a shadow in the wake of myself.
The sky is urgent with sparrows above
the fretting woodshed of another year
without dry wood. My kind of devotion
to a life that’s been living me like the hagiography
of an exhumed poet from the sixteenth century who died
in blissful penury not ever knowing
if he were discovered or not. No matter
he wrestled with his own shadow like the angel
in the way, creative contention is the usual mode
of life going offroad to get around things
like rocks in the waterclock of the mindstream
listening to dangerous explanations suggested by Shakespeare.
I keep wondering what kind of a mirror of magistrates
do I compare my mind to to suspect behind my back
I’m sophisticatedly crazy? Things only
seem to make a surrealistic kind of sense
that leaves me feeling existentially estranged
on a less habitable planet than the one
I thought I landed on in a homier atmosphere
than this abyss I’m multiversally immersed in now
shedding yellow leaves from other worldly elm trees
that exhilarate me as if I were falling with them
like gusts of Canada geese descending on a cornfield
the tractors have trampled like hogs and cattle
after the moon’s been husked like a pearl. A civilization
based on agriculture with nothing to eat.
I’ve always pursued an earthly excellence
in the name of remaining true to my folly
as an exercise in how to live wholly as a human
while I’ve still got enough instincts about me
to know it standing on an immodest escarpment
getting lonelier and lonelier the longer
I look at the stars as I have since I was a boy
with such longing to go there I cried myself
to sleep every night for three years realizing
I was born too early to be actualized by my dreams.
I’m dancing through beartraps in a marijuana patch
the spectrographs, the bikers and the ultra lights
missed by a hair on an emission spectrum
that coloured the whole affair like science fiction
but please don’t take my metaphors too literally
or attribute them to a lack of ardent conviction.
I’ve never got any i.d. on me when a traffic light
stops to ask me who I am and it cuffs me
like a crosswalk when I tell it I don’t
have a credible answer it would be inclined
to believe anymore than I can bring myself to anyway.
Must be the autumnal freedom of creative decay
that makes me think I can get away with things like that.
I’m sleepwalking in the dream of a junkyard bear
in deep hibernation in a niche of the earth
wasting my fat on votive candles I’m trying
to keep lit in the greenhouse I enshrined
like a water palace with as few impurities in it
as I could manage with a manual pump and a housewell
for a heart. Northern pike eyeing you under the ice
in winter like submarines under what’s left of the Arctic ice cap.
Minnows running the rapids of the spring run-off
before all the snow’s melted down to the knees
of a scarecrow’s blue jeans, I don’t have to be happy
to take a delight in the solitude of my own nature.
Like the shrew or the deermouse or the bedraggled
white tail buck unnerved by the wolves
that have drifted like hungry snow across its tracks
as if their noses were the spearheads of a ouiji board,
or any other creature befuddled by the urgency
of being excruciatingly here to wonder as if
wonder were a solitary form of worshipping
what comes as naturally as flowers to a beloved’s grave
as if they could say things about life only
the most perishable could whisper to the dead
in the full light of day and have them believe it,
I live elementally on the edge of extremes
and rebuke my abstractions with compassion
for everything that lives as I do, and everything does.
Don’t be fooled by the false idols again.
The priests eat their food for them and swallow
and the angels at the door were born without appetites.
What I despair of is always so much more intriguing
than what I hope for I’m always a shadow shy
of shining. I enter through the exit door
as if dawn were the beginning of a prolonged farewell.
And I’m best met at twilight with Venus in the west.
Life should turn away from me more often than it does.
I can think like a bell when I need to, but not until
the demonic clarification of my sensual inebriation
as a man coming to terms with looping back on himself
as if the future were already behind him
and the past had yet to come like the ghost
of the present that haunts this derelict house of life
like a train whistle way off in the distance,
does the incredible sadness of being alive
in a universe that doesn’t cherish what it labours
so effortlessly to perfect move you just as equinoctially
to love life with an autumnal tenderness
for what’s savaged like a sacrifice at a bad harvest
as well as the foolishness of the negligently enlightened
taking possession of their own emptiness hand to mouth
scooped out of the begging bowls of their cranial detachments.
Burn to love like an affirmative protest of the way we are.
Don’t feign a tear under the third eye of a warrior clown
but be in no doubt about what flowers and dies
on the waters of life like an unanticipated surprise.