Patrick White (September l5, l948 / Campbell River, British Columbia, Canada)
Even In The Dirt, The Frangible Shining
Even in the dirt, the frangible shining,
the radiant silt, the lumens and the pollen
of starmud mirrors, whole galaxies in the dust
of an enlightened road going nowhere
with me on it, past the beaverpond
the road superintendent’s daughter
used to grow dope by she and the deer
and the rabbits ate, and the moon, you
couldn’t evade believing it, bloomed
like a waterlily on a lake with a no trespassing sign
as if you weren’t allowed to see Diana bathing
or how she renewed her mismanaged virginity.
No alibi in the mouth of anyone’s innocence,
out here in the woods people talk
along parallel partylines that never meet
even in the aerial distance of long distance calls
like hermit thrushes in the hills at night
but they don’t insult each other by asking
for each other’s forgiveness as if they couldn’t
manage that for themselves. Blood of the lamb
on the glacial rocks of the coydogs and doyotes.
Shepherds don’t last too long without wolf’s clothing.
Three bush cords of crosses in the swamp
make a cubic Kaaba of heartwood with
cracked tree rings like the haloes of wet springs
and now they’re ready for the fire and after that
once the mosquitoes have thawed out of their comas
beside the stove where the cats are laid out,
I’ve seen it for myself, Orion in the ashes and sackcloth
of late February when the ice age begins to melt
that gouged the eyes of the lakes out
so however deeply you looked into them,
there was nothing but tears in a mirror
that would put most telescopes to shame.
I’m alone on this road, and that’s ok too,
with the seven ghosts of the motorists it’s killed
for taking it for granted like wild curves
that ended in granite wailing walls where the swallows
tuck sacred notes of overly sincere grafitti spraybombs
into the caesuras of life that gape in amazement
at how easily death can overwhelm the feelings
of local highschools with a labyrinth
of cosmic sorrows they’ll wander in forever
like the waves on Wolf Lake where their friends died.
And don’t mistake me. I don’t mean to make light of this.
I was there. The darkness befell us all.
Like an abandoned snake house on a hill
in a clearing of the abyss nobody’s been near for years.
No end of the world out here, where nature’s
got its own sense of timing, and there’s more love
in the autumn than there is in the spring
when even the most vital pathways through life
are impassably disenchanting to the locals
who gravel and grade them like glaciers
the visionary potholes in the prophetic skulls of the lakes.
I’ll stay out here for the night and adjust to the darkness
like a berry of blood the mosquitoes can help themselves to
like a bloodbank while I sketch the starmaps
in the eyes of the lake for my solitude to follow
when it’s got a mind to look for itself
like the spaced out spiritual life of someone
who’s indelibly lost in the world like a poet
in a lighthouse of words he never heeds the warning of
to enter the dangerous silence of never listening to himself
to hear what the fireflies are whispering to the stars
about all the secrets I’ve been keeping from myself for lightyears.
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