the way of it

so funny
i got used to you
so quickly
and now i don’t even
think of you twenty
times
a day
i just float on you
knowing you are there
accepting
too readily
perhaps.
i can move past
you now
did you know?
on to others calling
to me from
impossible heights
across distance and time
ignoring their
own deaths
to touch me
with glorious madness
and love
not like yours
but not different
still i float
on you
wrap myself in you
on this cold, cold night
of howling wind
i know you won’t mind
the others love
but not like you
you are fire
they are air
you are water
giver of life
they are the muse
the passion
of mind.
ancient cards told
me to combine
my separate selves
for you
but you’ll think
me crazy when
you see how it is
with me
i must answer when
called
i must move past
even you
into the in-between place
of shadows
and dark reality
i’m afraid to make you solid
scared of your scorn
my line to this
earth is
so tenuous, at best.

Let someone else say it

Often others say it better than I ever could, so today, here is the Lizard King himself giving voice to things going on in my brain/life/world/whatever …

People Are Strange 
 
People are strange when you’re a stranger,
Faces look ugly when you’re alone
Women seem wicked when you’re unwanted,
Streets are uneven when you’re down,
When you’re strange
Faces come out of the rain
When you’re strange
No one remembers your name
When you’re strange
When you’re strange
When you’re strange 


The Crystal Ship 
 
Before you slip into unconsciousness
I’d like to have another kiss,
Another flashing chance at bliss,
Another kiss, another kiss

The days are bright and filled with pain
Enclose me in your gentle rain,
The time you ran was too insane,
We’ll meet again, we’ll meet again

Oh’ tell me where your freedom lies,
The streets are fields that never die,
Deliver me from reasons why
You’d rather cry, I’d rather fly

The crystal ship is being filled,
A thousand girls, a thousand thrills,
A million ways to spend your time;
When we get back, I’ll drop a line 
 


The Celebration Of The Lizard

 
Lions in the street and roaming
Dogs in heat, rabid, foaming
A beast caged in the heart of a city
The body of his mother
Rotting in the summer ground
He fled the town

He went down South and crossed the border
Left the chaos and disorder
Back there over his shoulder

One morning he awoke in a green hotel
With a strange creature groaning beside him
Sweat oozed from its shiny skin

Is everybody in?
The ceremony is about to begin

Wake up!
You can’t remember where it was
Had this dream stopped?

The snake was pale gold
Glazed and shrunken
We were afraid to touch it
The sheets were hot dead prisons

Now, run to the mirror in the bathroom
Look!
I can’t live thru each slow century of her moving
I let my cheek slide down
The cool smooth tile
Feel the good cold stinging blood
The smooth hissing snakes of rain . . .

Once I had, a little game
I liked to crawl back into my brain
I think you know the game I mean
I mean the game called ‘go insane’

Now you should try this little game
Just close your eyes forget your name
Forget the world forget the people
And we’ll erect a different steeple

This little game is fun to do
Just close your eyes no way to lose
And I’m right there I’m going too
Release control we’re breaking thru

Way back deep into the brain
Back where there’s never any pain
And the rain falls gently on the town
And in the labyrinth of streams
Beneath, the quiet unearthly presence of
Nervous hill dwellers in the gentle hills around
Reptiles abounding
Fossils, caves, cool air heights

Each house repeats a mold
Windows rolled
Beast car locked in against morning
All now sleeping
Rugs silent, mirrors vacant
Dust blind under the beds of lawful couples
Wound in sheets
And daughters, smug
With semen eyes in their nipples

Wait
There’s been a slaughter here

(Don’t stop to speak or look around
Your gloves and fan are on the ground
We’re getting out of town
We’re going on the run
And you’re the one I want to come)

Not to touch the earth
Not to see the sun
Nothing left to do, but
Run, run, run
Let’s run

House upon the hill
Moon is lying still
Shadows of the trees
Witnessing the wild breeze
C’mon baby run with me
Let’s run

Run with me
Run with me
Run with me
Let’s run

The mansion is warm, at the top of the hill
Rich are the rooms and the comforts there
Red are the arms of luxuriant chairs
And you won’t know a thing till you get inside

Dead president’s corpse in the driver’s car
The engine runs on glue and tar
C’mon along, we’re not going very far
To the East to meet the Czar

Some outlaws lived by the side of the lake
The minister’s daughter’s in love with the snake
Who lives in a well by the side of the road
Wake up, girl! We’re almost home

Sun, sun, sun
Burn, burn, burn
Soon, soon, soon
Moon, moon, moon
I will get you
Soon!
Soon!
Soon!

Let the carnival bells ring
Let the serpent sing
Let everything

We came down
The rivers and highways
We came down from
Forests and falls

We came down from
Carson and Springfield
We came down from
Phoenix enthralled
And I can tell you
The names of the Kingdom
I can tell you
The things that you know
Listening for a fistful of silence
Climbing valleys into the shade

‘I am the Lizard King
I can do anything
I can make the earth stop in its tracks
I made the blue cars go away
For seven years I dwelt
In the loose palace of exile
Playing strange games
With the girls of the island

Now I have come again
To the land of the fair, and the strong, and the wise
Brothers and sisters of the pale forest
O Children of Night
Who among you will run with the hunt?

Now Night arrives with her purple legion
Retire now to your tents and to your dreams
Tomorrow we enter the town of my birth
I want to be ready’ 

Lyrics by Jim Morrison of the Doors (courtesy of Rock Lyrics.)

Are you sad?

A few days ago, a friend said to me, “Are you ok? You look sad. Are you sad?”

I hadn’t been thinking about sadness or happiness. I assumed that, given the general emotional place of my life at the moment, I was very, very happy, in a deep-inside way. But I guess I’m just one of those people who still feel overwhelming sadness in the midst of great joy. There’s never one or the other, both are always present. My life is in a general state of gratitude and joy. Not happiness, which, to me, is transient.

There’s still a pervading sadness. I can feel it, touch it. It’s always there, will always be there. It’s not really mine as in of me, made of my thoughts, harboured in my heart. It’s just a quality of the Darkness That Is. Maybe this is why addicts are addicts. Even the middle of their joy, they still feel the pain and they want to run away to euphoria, even artificial euphoria. I don’t know. I think many artists, poets in particular, are given over to dark as much as light. They become conduits for darker things that others put away, hide in religion or mysticism, compartmentalize, refuse to talk about, pretend aren’t there. A poet, a true poet, can’t put those things away. Can’t hide. Won’t hide. Pain and sorrow and sadness becomes the texture of their life just as much as the heights of love, joy and pleasure.

I know people who think that because they’ve felt pain or sadness, they know what I’m talking about. That the dark is woven into their lives in the same way. Not so. Everyone has felt pain or sadness, but only a few dare the madness that comes with constantly looking into the dark. Are you willing to feel the sadness for the rest of your life, even in your happiest moment? Are you sure? Do you want to leave your wedding to walk into the forest and cry? Do you want to hold your first child and weep for the heartbreak inside the joy? Do you want to walk the edge where oxymorons pave the road and paradox falls from the sky? Is that the landscape of your life?

Do you want the constant need to get away from all people, while needing them immensely? Do you want the agony of never being able to reconcile the two?

Am I sad? Yes. Why do I cry? I have no idea. It doesn’t matter. The question “Why?” is so irrelevant to me in this afternoon of my life. I don’t care why. I just do. And within the tears lies the pain of the world, the salvation of my soul. But salvation from what and for what eludes me. There’s nothing rational about it. I abandoned rational life a long time ago. All that is left is the vast landscape of the mind when you refuse to put things into categories. Into compartments. The Wild Things spill over into your work day, gnashing their terrible teeth and rolling their terrible eyes. And you leave your day behind to join the Wild Rumpus.

Or maybe I’m a liar. Maybe all people who feel that “something” in their soul are all liars. All of us. Maybe we just need to give voice to our delusions. Our wild imaginings that darkness has shape and beauty too. Maybe we’ll never get it right, never understand, and are doomed to keep trying, like this “Glimpse into the Beyond.” (jca, I love this.)

Get used to it

i guess i just have to get used to not sleeping, but it would certainly be nice to get a full night of sleep. who knew good things could make you this crazy?

at least i’m writing everyday. lol.

on monsoon nights
the air is full of redolent
desire
breezes sigh
curling around your ears
like the tendrils
of your lover’s hair
rain falls
pregnant with life
with love
you see where he leans
against the damp
walls
the trees blow
swaying like seductive
dancers in the downpour
his voice rolls
across you
thunder over
a parched plain
like a bird
suddenly seeing freedom
your heart leaves
you behind
to stand wondering
as rain kisses
you

I can almost hear the horns winding

Yesterday I went to see Pan’s Labyrinth. I expected it to be some fantastical type of movie with the usual epic or not-quite-epic (read “lame”)  storyline. I thought the whole marvel of the movie was in the set or the scenery or the Spanish. I most definitely did not expect to find myself in the midst of a true story of Faerie.

This is what Pan’s Labyrinth is, it’s a proper faerie story. It’s not sugar-coated and dipped in fluffy marshmallow. There are no glittering tutus and pixie dust. It’s a real exploration of the twilight refuge of Faerie from the often darker world of human brutality and violence. And like a proper faerie story, it won’t leave me alone. It’s still there, hanging off the edge of my consciousness, calling to me to come and explore realms I think I’d rather leave alone and yet …

And yet, I’m not sure I’m the kind of person who can. Faerie knows where kindred spirits hide. I’m pretty sure they don’t want to capture me since I’m long past my youth and innoncence but there are stories they want to wind about me, stories I’ll have no choice but to tell. Is it all in my addled brain? Was it all in Ofelia’s poor, overwrought mind? I love the way the story ends, leaving you to wonder at it. It could be that it was all in her own mind however, there are faerie stories that tell of the mortal side needing to die so that the faerie side can live on – if you have both sides.

Well, all I can say is that the realm of Faerie usually crosses my path in threes. I swear to you I’m not making this up. It started with a dream I had about wandering in that world. I forgot about the dream by the next afternoon when, at the discount bookshop I picked up a copy of Fairies by Alan Lee and Brian Froud. Something just said “pick it up, pick it up,” so I went with it. And then I decided to go up to the cinema and see what the crowd was like for Bridge to Terebithia, which the boy wanted to see. There were too many kids, so I nixed it but since I was already there and I was alone, I looked around for a “grown-ups” movie I could go to; I picked Pan’s Labyrinth.

Interesting …

Lest we forget

My head aches. Each September 11th since 2001 starts the same way. I can’t sleep the night before. Not out of any particular dread but just because I can’t sleep.

I can feel the gates unlocking. It happens in the dark. I can’t hide from the dark, can I? I lie awake feeling my control slip away and the hurt squeezes me. I can’t get away from it today. Other days, when it slips out, I can put it back in the room marked “Do not enter.” The days that lead up to September 11th are mostly normal until about the 8th. That’s when I start to remember. Snippets of conversations. Last laughs. Email jokes. Things that are so mundane, so everyday that I know I’ll always remember them. Friends I hadn’t actually seen in months or years, carrying on knowing we’ll see each other eventually. Knowing …

In the early morning hours of September 11th, each memory unlocks the gate a little more until there is nothing between me and the flood. I haven’t really begun to deal with what happened 5 years ago. Who has? How can you? If you lost someone that day, there is so much to wade through. Last emails. Last phone calls. Little things you never knew. Wondering what they went through. Hoping they were killed quickly. Knowing that’s probably not true. Trying not to be so macabre with it.

But the reality is that it is macabre. And that’s why we shouldn’t forget it. Innocent lives were lost in the screeching of metal into metal, in the titanic roar of collapsing concrete, steel and glass. The reality is that people … my god, the people … trapped above the flames knew they were going to die. They knew in the moments before the buildings fell that it was falling. And that’s the reality you have to fight if you loved someone who died that day. In New York, in Washington, in the sky above Shanksville.

This is humanity at its worst. The rain of death since 2001 doesn’t help me either. I guess there are some who feel vindicated but I only feel more death. And it hurts. It hurts to the point where I can’t function today. Five years on and my heart is breaking. Five years on and I still can’t sift through everything. As a human race, we began a new century with death, writing our history in smoke and tears and blood.

But truly, those thoughts are too big for me right now. Right now, at this moment I can only re-live every moment of that horriffic morning. It wasn’t until the first tower fell that I realized what I was watching. I was watching the deaths of people I knew, the destruction of a city I love. This is a day of loss. Not just for America. For the world. I remembered that line in Star Wars when Obi-Wan Kenobi says “I felt as if millions of voices cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced.” That’s how it was – thousands of voices crying out, suddenly silenced. A hole ripped open in our world by our own capacity for atrocity.

A headache only starts a day full of tears and endless memories. I was hoping I’d be able to go to New York this year but I just can’t do it. Yet. Maybe next year.

Anyway, blessings to you all. I hope one day we transform this day into an international day of peace. And I pray that we all, everyone on this planet, find peace. In our hearts and minds. In our actions.

Shine like it does

It’s times like this in the quiet of the night that I get to thinking about why it is that I’m compelled to write. What animal stalks the jungles of my insides? What hollow place am I endlessly trying to fill or express? And to that, I never find the answer.

I want to say that I’m one of those people who have a story to tell and feel compelled to tell it. But that’s a lie. I have no story. Oh, bits of story, certainly. But no living, brewing, bubbling plot full characters. I’m one of those bizarre creatures that can only fully express itself in half-expressions. In poetry. But … why?

What is it about poetry that shapes the soul? What is it about poetry that lends itself to music, to art, to lovers’ sighs as the moon slips behind the clouds? We cannot give voice to the transparent, ethereal stuff of thought. Not truly. Every time I have tried to do so, every time I have been given a poem most beautiful, seen the vision of it, when I try to write it, it’s hollow and empty. Each time that happens I know I’m a failure. I know I’ll never capture that essence. But still the Muse, the clever wench, steals in and fills me with compulsion.

In these hours I get to thinking about the writers that have touched me and influenced me. Tonight I’m thinking of the late Michael Hutchence, that most charismatic and wondrous lead singer for INXS before his death in 1997. Why am I thinking of Michael? I don’t know. He’s just there – a force in my soul. A voice forever echoing with words that have touched me and even saved me from myself. That’s the kind of shaping of the soul I’m talking about. Poetry does it – elegantly, softly, starkly.

In November of 1997, I had no TV or radio in my little apartment. I was living with my newborn son on $32 disposable income and eating crackers, tea and Mr. Noodle soup-in-a-cup. No one’s fault but my own. I made the decisions. But I didn’t reckon in post partum psychosis – a deadly and sickly phantom that steals your reason and your joy. Anyway, I was in a bad way. These words … these words saved my mind, my heart and my life:

The nature of your tragedy
Is chained around your neck
Do you lead or are you lead
Are you sure that you don’t care

There are reasons here to give your life
And follow in your way
The passion lives to keep your faith
Though all are different, all are great

Climbing as we fall
We dare to hold on to our fate
And steal away our destiny
To catch ourselves
With quiet grace

INXS fans will recognize those words from the song, The Stairs. They were my lifeline – who can explain why. And that last verse … Look you, how softly it holds its head up. How gently it takes you by the hand and wipes away your tears. Well, Michael gave us those words – gave them to me. His talent and his voice delivered them to my heart, although maybe his own heart had forgotten them by November of 1997.

I love many songs and many poems but only few actually belong in my core, down past the marrow of my bones where matter turns to light. Few touch me from the writer’s soul to my own. But when that happens, it never lets go. And maybe that’s why I write. Because if my silly, little words actually reach that place in another human soul, we will touch in ways the body cannot imagine.

Or maybe I just have excessive verbiage. Which is to say, excessive excess of words. LOL.

Anyway here are two INXS songs that I love. Even if you don’t know the melody, I hope you enjoy the beautiful phrasing – from my heart of light to yours.

“The Stairs”

In a room above a busy street
The echoes of a life
The fragments and the accidents
Separated by incidents

Listen to by the walls
We share the same spaces
Repeated in the corridors
Performing the same movements

Storey to storey
Building to building
Street to street
We pass each other on the stairs

Storey to storey
Building to building
Street to street
We pass each other on the stairs

Listen to by the walls
We share the same spaces
Repeated in the corridors
Performing the same movements

The nature of your tragedy
Is chained around your neck
Do you lead or are you lead
Are you sure that you don’t care

There are reasons here to give your life
And follow in your way
The passion lives to keep your faith
Though all are different, all are great

Climbing as we fall
We dare to hold on to our fate
And steal away our destiny
To catch ourselves
With quiet grace

Storey to storey
Building to building
Street to street
We pass each other on the stairs

Listen to by the walls
We share the same spaces
Repeated in the corridors
Performing the same movements

Storey to storey
Building to building
Street to street
We pass each other on the stairs

“Mystify”

All veils and misty
Streets of blue
Almond looks
That chill divine
Some silken moment
Goes on forever
And we’re leaving broken hearts behind

Mystify
Mystify me
Mystify
Mystify me

I need perfection
Some twisted selection
That tangles me
To keep me alive

In all that exists
None have your beauty
I see your face
I will survive

Eternally wild with the power
To make every moment come alive
All those stars that shine upon you
Will kiss you every night

All veils and misty
Streets of blue
Almond looks
That chill divine
Some silken moment
Goes on forever
And we’re leaving
Yeah we’re leaving broken hearts behind

You’re eternally wild with the power
To make every moment come alive
All those stars that shine upon you
And they’ll kiss you every night

“I need perfection / Some twisted selection / That tangles me / To keep me alive
In all that exists / None have your beauty / I see your face / I will survive”

… wow, I doubt I’ll be able to tell you where this takes me, but it’s certainly down deep …