Thursday, November 7, 2013



A deeper intimacy, a darker shedding. The night,
the light, the moon, though it’s raining out, the solitude,
the hum of being in a human oasis for the night,
the bestial safety of it, fifty years of trying to keep
the lights on, and now this. What could anybody make of it?
The night is getting naked more like a snake than a mermaid?

I like that. Let people participate in the creative process
so they can see I make the same mistakes they do,
though I doubt for as long as it takes to walk
to the end of the widow walk and back,
nobody ever seriously doubted that. Or they shouldn’t
have. Not for a nanosecond. We’re all lost
if we’re not all wrong together thinking we know
where we are when we say that. Where are we now
if not beside each other huddling in the dark sometimes
like monkeys in the trees of a hundred million years ago
safe for the night somehow. Despite skills.

And the moon large and ancient over the plains
and the burning hills beyond cooling their eyes
in the weirdness of the hallucinogenic air
somehow seeming more clear than it usually does.
As if it just had to break through one more window
and the moon was outside running off somewhere
with Ryokan’s thief. This time he left the window open
for keeps. Things are never going to be the same.
Nothing is. Ever. Never. Forever. At least the warrant for all this is
not by my hand. I didn’t thresh myself. But I can’t
even be too sure about that. I wouldn’t put it past me.
I don’t trust my own deviousness. I’m a clever boy.

A Taj Mahal moment of quiet when the eclipses
go to sleep among the waterlilies on black starmaps
that smell and stain as if they contain the great mysteries
of life in their veins, but they’re quiet about it.
I see the moon on dark sapphire water, and the colour
of time in the mysterious peacock blue that’s letting
just a single one or two stars shine through,
and you don’t know what it is, and it’s the kind
of thing you wouldn’t say anyway to judge
by the way it puts the fingertips of the silence
and solitude to your lips and says, hush, can
you keep a secret? And I say, yes, I believe I can.
And another veil fails away like we’re getting somewhere.

I can see the eternity in the mystery since this space
has been here, and though seldom this clear, it does
happen out of nothing and nowhere, here
and lightyears away. Sharp. Radiant. Breaking. Emergent.
A spear to the heart. You fear this angel. It burns hot.
Sears your soul irreparably with blessing and fear.
I think of it as holy at times. At least as close as it seems
I’m ever going to get. But when I’m real clear,
as it seems I am now, I don’t think of it as anything.

I watch and I watch and I watch and I watch
until the bloom is off the light and then I make
my way through the night as best I can
like a very solitary creature at heart who doesn’t mind
knowing there’s something there so essential
and imperiously beautiful with no intention to be
but you can’t say what it is that haunts you
for a life time looking at this. It escapes you
like the golden fish in the pond at night. Quietly
firewalking their lives out in the waters of life they are
like a candle in a shrine that doesn’t know who it belongs to
but shines anyway, adds its firefly to the stars, and burns on
as if it were born with a million mirrors for eyes
and one, only one, the dark one, where everything abides.




Slow down, slow down, look into
the golden eyes and crystal skulls of your soul.
No frenetic redshift, or the blue end of the spectrum
will think you’re stealing its thunder, stepping on its Texas toes.
Blue is an asp. Red is a king cobra that passes like a river
into the grass, but you know it’s there,
and you walk tentatively and you walk slow.

As if you’d just made a truce with
cause and effect, one and zero, or the hydro lines
up at Fernleigh buzzing in the rain where
they crossed the lake with no other music than this
hiss, on a musical stave on which no birds sang
like one of the signs of the last days in ibn Attar’s
twelfth century way of looking at things.

That’s a topic worthy of longer wavelengths
of thought, but we won’t go there until we hear
what the doctor says Friday after high noon
like a Gary Cooper movie walking out
into the bleak, bleached street of the sunshine. Draw.
Pow. Pow. Two tumours with one shot. I think I counted wrong.
Gave them names the other night. Scream and Silence.
Kids of my own. I’ll do my best to treat them right.
Gives a kind of classy ring to their names don’t you think?
Demonic personic psychodynamics of the mind
embodied like Romulus and Remus at the founding of Rome.
How many eagles is it going to take this time?

Two gods on earth, confusion in heaven, and a house
or a skull divided against itself like the cotyledon
of a scarlet runner cannot stand. But nobody
told the seeds that as they climb toward heaven
on their own flames up the axis mundi of the world.
Three poles of triune identity, more like a small fire
that’s catching on its own way, than an auto de fe
that’s going to bring my urn of ashes to heel,
o yes, o yes, but I’m going to keep my spurs on
like Aldebaran and Antares and Betelgeuse.
I’m a three spurred cowboy because I don’t want
to leave my third eye out of this, and every star in the sky
deserves its own eye, like children growing up
deserve a bedroom of their own. A place to run and hide.

Be alone with the Alone. As Plotinus called it.
Crazy mystic. Took himself way too seriously.
But then, again, he had to for the longest time
like a mainspring in an alarm clock until
he hatched it like a koan with a hot red egg
in its mouth. A musket shot. Anachronistic worlds in collision.
Not taking a meteor shower like a combination in the corner
looking for an extinction event among the right crosses.
But Scream and Silence seem to be getting along
with each other these days. Maybe I’ll hire a baby-sitter.

Go play for awhile. Too many farewells in these fingertips
that have been touching the world for the last time
to see how that feels, though I fear these dress rehearsals
like trampled grapes fear rumours of wine laced
with mushrooms like the moons of the Eleusinian Mysteries
on the edge of the wheat flood of Dionysus
dropping tiny spores of ergot in your drinks,
and out of control stampedes that trash your mind,
or the King of the Waxing Year fears body parts,
or Monsanto genetically modifies the crops.
Wonder what the moon thinks of that? And the almonds
and the bees? They must be freaked out by now.



Day eight:


I’m just figure skating in the moonlight reflected off the snow.
I’m not a Kufic cursive script of blades trying to show off
because I’m not allowed to idolize myself in images.
Melodically, because I need to breathe the air
against my face like a woman’s hands taking pity on me
like a picture frame that enhances the scene
like a rung up from a postcard in the hierarchical
structure of things. It helps to move as freely as you can
while you’ve got the chance. I’m trying to.

Besides it’s beautiful to be out here in the cold at night
as if I were a Russian figure skater alone on
the Ottawa Canal, wondering what she’s doing now back home,
alone, alone, alone, you see, Ottawa’s still got a ghost
of a hope of a poet laureate and the rest of that crowd
is way too entrepreneurial for me. I was busy. But
I never carried a stockportfolio of a bibliography
like a bill board around in my arms to scare people
to a restaurant I liked or a board room I didn’t.
I was busy. But I wasn’t busy, busy, busy. Guess.
They’re poisoning them these days. Collapsed Colony Syndrome.
Hey, this might be a tauromachia, if it weren’t for the fact
it’s only the moon listening to the rasp of her blades on the ice write poetry.

Ice age runes. My own demotic. Is my dream
grammatically correct enough? I know it’s got typos.
And sunspots of cancer on its lungs like the spotted
trout lilies in spring, or the ash spotted sacred clowns
in a crouch at a Sioux ghost dance, way, way off
the reservation where all I’m doing, I swear to God,
is trying to keep my eighty-eights straight as figure eights
on the figure skates of a Moebius infinity sign
I learned in calculus a long time ago
when I thought it was curvaceously sublime
and wanted to know more poetically who she was.
I keep wreaking my neck trying to twist and turn
to see how she can manage to do that as if it were
no trick at all to reality like a bowtie firecracker blasting cap
I don’t mind I stepped on so much if it means I get to see her skate.

Muse or moshpit underneath it all. Anyway, she’s gone.
And I hope we get the chance to sit down one day
and talk about everything under the sun and the moon
full, not empty like this firepit of a happy face
someone put on a pentagular tab of bad acid that looks like
one of my pills. As if Dracula were buried under it.
And who knows? Maybe he is. Let him sleep in awhile.
He’s had a long night of syringes and knives
and spoons that jump over the moon because it rhymes.

Push off, on one leg, as if I were a swan in some other
summer triangle far away from here I saw once
at Blue Skies rise above the trees in the shadows away
from the midway of the stage in the great gulf of darkness beyond
that makes me think I’m a little tiny tintinnabulum of a man
going ding, ding, ding, like a heartbeat in a great symphony
that’s swept away by the first violins of the wild irises
rising to the crescendo of a bouquet they had to fight for
as if somebody had just given it to them for free on their grave
in case, you never know, they made need a spare pilot light one day.
Look at those swords. This isn’t Cincinnatus in a rhetorical painting.
They’ve been to war. Those aren’t feathers. Maybe the talons
of a terrible bird. But I wouldn’t fall on one if I were you.
You might hurt yourself without meaning to.

I stroke my cat under the chin as she looks at me
skating back from the kitchen in a ridiculous image of myself
the way I like her to, on the futon, uncoiling herself
like a bucolated curl of an eddy on a river stretching out
from a warm sleep in the amber satisfaction
of being happy and at peace with herself and me
and life for awhile, three bells, all’s well, get back
to your dreaming. I’ll call or fall if anything happens.

How many cats I wonder have walked beside humans
like this as undemanding companions who want
something all the time, but you don’t mind,
because the way they ask it of you makes you rejoice
in being alive to give it them as if it were a great privilege
bestowed upon you to be needed by another living enttity.
And you know what? It is. Not drastic. Not plastic.
Refreshingly simple and ordinary like oxygen and bread
were meant to be originally, poppies and wheat
and figure skaters and cats waking up from a nap.
Like the way I turned that corner? Watch this. How’s that?
Not catastrophic images of the dead, but life going on as it is
to astound you with the moves it can make when your heart jumps
and you risk the double-lutz and don’t care if you fall flat on your face.
Happens to pancakes all the time. Buildings, too, I hear.
That were once able to leap over themselves in a single bound.