Monday, October 28, 2013



I love the world the way a mother loves a dead child
and sees its ghost everywhere.
I look at the stars and more and more
I see the disappointment in their eyes.
We waste each other like clear cut forests.
In the sacred groves where the priests
are the birds of death, you’re either
a chainsaw or a nail protesting a passion play.
Ever since the last lyric died an agonizing death
poems have become gadgets
in the hands of inventors without fingerprints.
No growth rings in the heartwood of a dead tree.
Tone-deaf door-knockers who write poetry
as a kind of white noise to drown out
the shrieking of the innocent in their crawl spaces.

Chronic renewal of one-eyed overviews.
Most people’s lives are just big enough lies
they’ve told themselves often enough
to believe there may be something to it.
Wounded earth, I weep for you like a slayer
weeps for the slain. You were not my mother.
You were my child. Nemetic humanity
raises its own assassin in paranoid despair.

Measure of the mighty in the power of a dam,
how easy it is to forget the omnipotence
of a drop of rain. It’s still possible to open
cosmic gates of the aviaries and let
all the winged horses fly free and riderless
like the silk paratroopers of the milk weed pods
or the albino umbrellas of smouldering dandelions.
For the most part beauty and truth lost heart long ago
and were turned out like fashionistas
on the celebrity catwalks of surrealistic irreverence
and now the peony is wearing the thorns of the rose.

I still go out at night far from town by myself
to amuse the stars with my humanity,
the dents in my shining, the legends of light
I turned into black farces of self-righteous fallibility
as if I had acquired the power to reverse
a diamond back into coal. The mourning dove
studies the occult magic of the crow
and the sacred clowns look for enlightenment
in their shame, in the irrelevant antics
of the painted tears that fall from their eyes
whenever they address themselves
like mirrors in a green room putting their make-up on.

Been in the tide of this night sea of awareness
so long now, I’ve developed a tendency
to round the sharp corners of the crucials
out into more spherically embrasive wavelengths,
kinder pieces of sand-blasted glass
to insulate myself exponentially from the details
as if a full moon were some kind of antidote
to its own fangs and the harvest wasn’t toxic.
But I know I’m only trying to divine my way
by white lightning on the moon illuminating a road
as wide as everywhere. And my childhood rage
is stilling tearing down gates and fences
around open fields where the wildflowers bloom
without starmaps, and the bounty of the earth
isn’t a menu that determines your place in the foodchain.

Poetry’s been the longest good night I’ve ever experienced
and life the deepest, most gracious bow
to all the people, events, and things I’ve ever cherished.
Not too hard to see the lowest common denominator
of all values has become a quantum mechanical lottery
and physics is just a screening myth
for what gets murdered along the way to the promised land.
Enculturated to our own pollution like fish,
though we swim out as far as the spring equinox in Pisces
to pour the universe out of the universe,
worlds waterclocking into worlds, still
after washing ourselves off in stars like water and sand
seeping into our graves like the mirage of an oil spill,
we’re still recognized immediately among the worlds
by the indelibility of our filth, having yet to learn
not to track our identity in after us into the house of life.

The ululation of the loons wailing like Arab widows
reverberating across the lake sounds more
like an angry plea, than a call to prayer,
but who could lament the immensity
of that kind of tragic absence in a single lifetime
without emptying their spirits out like dry wells in a desert
that navigates like a madman by the full moon?
When I was young, I opened up a night school
to explain what a human was to the stars,
but now my soul’s a lot more illiterate than it was
and it’s me that’s asking them to teach me to read.

Even if you look at it like a leather boot
that’s walked down one too many roads
not to feel the pebble of the world bruise its heel,
even though we’ve made a great mess of it,
it’s still a great mystery, yes? Give your assent
without hesitation, or the moon will know you’re lying.
The mysterium tremendum et fascinans of the Romans.
The bright vacancy in the dark abundance
of the ore of our unknowing. Even the hardest heart
bleeds like iron out of the sacred rock
transformed in the forges of the fireflies of mystic insight
into a sword of moonlight worthy of being
laid down upon the waters of life in tribute.
Even if you had to fall upon it more than once
to get the point before you returned it in gratitude.




Relatively painless day. Half sunlight
smothered by grey. Don’t expect mercy
from the way life kills without regard
for the nervous system of its prey.
Sunday in a small town with thirty churches.
Secular kindness releasing oxytocin.
Civilization, not wheat, or temple,
but the fire that gathered people
with nothing but stories on their hands
while their meat cooked for easier digestion.

Bachelor buttons in the Neanderthal grave
of a child. Prophetic skulls buried under
the hearthstones like a calendar of the dead.
When did we last consult them? Now
is the hunting ground they set out alone
to discover. Envoys to the afterlife we
enacted on their advice as if it were real.
We had embassies there with paper-shredders
that called themselves priests. A new way
to eat the body of the god buried in the corner
of the field we fertilized like a ouiji board
to yield all the answers to the randomness
of the weather. Agriculture began to reform
the consumers. From now on the vines
were on trellises. The brown, gas giants
among the planets, who couldn’t shine
by a light of their own had shepherd moons.

The executioners offered anaesthetic
to the condemned man they were about to kill
and the church handed over unconfessed heretics
to the expedient firemasters of the law
at an auto-de-fe to burn. They couldn’t
have blood on their hands and live
up to the ten commandments. Or down
if you understand how arrogant hypocrites are.
They still stone women in Pakistan
for seeking knowledge as far as a cellphone,
like glass houses that have never sinned
bruising the flesh of a miscreant with
a meteor shower, space-junk in orbit,
determined to fall from their dark haloes
and wipe out a species according to the law
that lived like they had a god under their thumb.

How long does it take a thought to travel
from one neuron to the next? Or water
need a map to find its way around
an irrigation ditch, or woman be sacrificed
at the altar of her own dark mystery,
a divinely sanctioned death, paternalistic as hell,
or murder if you think it’s got nothing to do with God.

Regard the chaos of extreme conditioning.
We take the stories more seriously than
the unsayable they were meant to point out
like a negative space with an affirmative voice
that wasn’t listening to what we told ourselves
before the meat was cooked. You’re going
to sup with the devil you better eat
with a long spoon below the salt. Or there’s
no purgatory for you as if you were on
probation in death. I can’t believe as a child
I was originally sinful or that I was equally
innocent in an isolation cell. I learned
to carve loaded dice out of my bones in order
to survive to pay the slumlord who listened
to all that jive, and wondered if I did too.

I sing lullabies to lovelorn razor-blades
that took a vow on the sword they’d
placed between them to conjugate the verb
I love in Latin. In public. On the radio.
So Hux Huxley, editor of Florilegium,
cousin to Aldous and Julian, wasn’t disappointed
with the dying classics I studied with him
beside the aquarium of Australian stick insects
who didn’t know that all Corinthians
were liars at heart and I am a Corinthian
can you believe that, dedicated to getting
at the truth through a spurious art
of Moebius metaphors, like snakes
that eat themselves up to the head
and then what do they do if not go beyond that
even broken, the circle remains intact
as if the rain made it, or the tree rings
make solar systems that jump orbitals
in the heartwood of a willow that looks
better by night than at the beach by day.
I take things so seriously, boy, do I ever, I play
when things get me down in a small town on a Sunday.