IF YOU EVER GET BORED LIKE A DRUNK HILLBILLY IN PASSING
If you ever get bored like a drunk hillbilly in passing
trying to shoot out the stars until you finally realize it can’t be done,
you can always do what I did when I was young
and load a mailbox with a love poem that slid
like another cartridge into the breach of a gun playing
Russian roulette with its heart and firing it off somewhere
in a gravel pit as if it were an art and nobody could get hurt.
Or you can join me here trying to arrange my bones
in such a way they mend like a cedar rail fence that’s guaranteed
not to turn into a bird cage that’s going to keep anybody
from flying in or out as they see I’ve left the gate open
hanging by a hinge like a lapwing entangled in vetch
with a touchy nervous system with a finger on the trigger
of a flightfeather that would rather be loved than right
as I take the pressure off the last crescent of the moon
I’m ever likely to pull and decide to go hunting with
a fifty pound test bow that hits its mark just like a camera
that goes click as if you’ve just run out of arrows and bullets
and have nothing left for ammunition but the visions in your mind.
That’s always been the sign of a true marksmen to me.
Click. And you hit the target without trying too hard everytime.
Though that sounds like a Zen essay in a hunting and fishing magazine.
Try it when you’ve got nothing else to rely on. It worked for me.
Now it’s just a matter of deciding whether I should dress up for death
or tell the truth, and just let things go as mad as they wish
like fingernails and hair reverting into Mandarin revolutionaries,
organically, atavistically, into the polymorphous perverse
of the seed bed of the sixties I was mangered by
when I rode a high hobby-horse all the way to Andromeda
and back, trying to stay in sych with all the looping
that’s going on like rain in a windfall of habitable planets
in a starmud puddle everywhere else in the universe.
Splash. Either Basho’s frog just jumped into the world pond
like a haiku, or another loveletter just got drenched in dirt
as you drove by so fast on my way to mail it
I didn’t get out of the way in time not to take a bath
in your version of a blasting cap of a fountain
I accidentally stepped on like a beaver dam
the road superintendent has been trying to keep
from flooding this road we’re on like a highway of tears
from B.C. all the way to Colorado, or Eldorado
in case we miss the exit lane where we were supposed
to turn off, according to the starmap folded up
like an origami constellation of Aquila in the glove box.
Apres moi le deluge is a megamoniacal mythic inflation
of a rejected ego delusion I don’t subscribe to
like an imperious young lover anymore, but when I pass,
it might rain a little to make the grass a little plumper and greener
where I choose to lay down for the long night ahead
like a white-tailed buck without a doe in a deer bed
to have a wet dream of how good it would have been
if there were any unobscene way I could’ve asked
to have her lying down here beside me under the covers
of this death sentence, to reassure her when push comes to shove,
I might not ever be able to get it up again, but I rejoice
in knowing that she can when the wildflowers come up after it rains
like Proserpine returning to the earth in the spring
where even here in Lanark the most white fragile things
like snowdrops and crocuses bloom through the ice first,
baby seals coming up for air after a long breathless tour
of the underworld depths without an Orphic seal hunt
waiting for her on the surface to club her to death
as if Orion going down in the west who used to hunt
ferocious lionesses couldn’t find any other way of making a living
than making a charnel house out of a beautiful woman’s flesh.
If I’ve learned nothing else from almost being as tough as you once
it’s so much better to spend a life opening your hand up
like the caress of a waterlily looking back at the stars
out of this swamp of a world as they pass overhead like an inspiration
than it is trying to act like a two-fisted narcissus still in bud
or a bitter green apple found hanging alone on a autumn bough
because it’s timing was off like its aim and it’s too late now
to let go of what kept you so small to be a windfall
of sweet habitable planets for the bears and the bees and the birds
or maybe a woman who just wanted to wander awhile alone
in an orchard somewhere and think of you and what you meant to her
after you’re gone, though she keeps her thoughts and feelings to herself.