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Patrick White

Rookie (September l5, l948 / Campbell River, British Columbia, Canada)

Paranoia Kills Like A Fanatic What It Suspects Without Conviction


Paranoia kills like a fanatic what it suspects without conviction
isn’t true about what it believes about thinking. It’s getting
mad out here, the moon’s gone rabid and the tides are awry.
Given my age and the quality of my rage tempered
like the sword I fell upon in the waters of life
more evolutionary than the revolution that dropped out
to go back to Daddy’s law school like one of the fashionistas
of idealism who’d rather be wealthy and wonderful than real,
I scry the future behind me in Dr. John Dee’s black mirror,
menace in the air, darkness growing like black mold
in the walls of the house of life, the garotte tightening
around the necks of those who stick out like deathbed confessions
that there are still things worth dying for that make you feel
you’ve wasted your life, given how little has changed.

The bees are estranged from the flowers by neonicotinoids
that go out of their way like pesticides to kill anything
anyone loves anymore, if that’s still credibly possible.
I stare personally into the blank, oblivion of the door
that’s opening up ahead like the threshold of a return address
and I think to myself, every groundhog’s got two holes
to escape by and I can see an eyeless night at the end
of the tunnel of death littered with the corpses of star-nosed moles
that died like molecules for nothing when the light
went looking for their eyes like a convenient disguise
for seeing nothing, hearing nothing, knowing nothing,

the old stars in front of the aimless firing squads of the fireflies,
terrorists in sleeper cells of waterboarded nightmares
with mini-black holes in their hearts you can enter
like a bullet through the brain and leave by an exit-wound
through the mouth of God as the spin doctors infringe
on her copyright, factualizing the fictions, and fictionalizing
the facts like a twenty-four hour news cycle
that teaches you there’s nothing personal in the way
you can’t help but hate your fellow man as if
the only thing that bonded us to one another anymore
on this chromosomatic coil of flypaper were the buzzing
of our anger and disgust at getting stuck without an alibi
for who we are as we plea deal for brain resistant headstones
we can hide under for the duration like cut worms in our roots.

I want to trust. I want to love. I want to seek. I want
to listen to what others speak as if we shared the same silence.
I don’t want to read any more statistics about
the collateral damage of our pandemic neglect.
Twenty-five million children, give a few of them
faces and fingertips in your mind, blood your abstractions
and see your own kids in your mind with the same
quizzical look of disappointed surprise in their
blue, black, green, brown, trusting eyes when they realize
they’ve lived just long enough to be killed by the lies
the elect of the world tell like bedtime stories to landmines
and political screening myths proclaiming they were victimized
by the lack of happy endings for bad seeds who don’t believe
in the same genetically modified creeds of wheat
it’s become a violation of an industrial patent on our cells
to break with each other meiotically once and awhile
as if we really meant bread and medicine when we said
hunger and disease, tired of our guilt spoiling the health
of our featherless chickens born ready for processing
as if the hogs had found a way of shortening the food chain
like a rosary of pearls thrown like loaves and fishes into the trough.

I want to look out over the valley of life as I’m leaving it
like dusk over the shoulder of a mountain I climbed
to get closer to the stars without going blind like people
who look into the face of God and think they recognize themselves.
It may be retrograde on my part to want to celebrate
in an age of desecration, but there’s a beatific demon
of crazy wisdom within me that says do, dance, sing,
whether you have a reason to or not, embrace the absurdity
of dancing with the cloud shadows on the darkening hilltops
against the gathering storm of a clockwork apocalypse
on the nightshift of a graveyard where the stars go to die
because they can’t live on the mean skies that make them feel
like mere satellites of the visionary fingerpaintings
we smear on our narrowing eyes like the aperture of a Cyclops.

Even if you have to sing like a soft metal alloy in a language
twisted by the mutated sensibilities of the times as
the cherry bloom cankers its perfection at Chernobyl and Fukushima
as the first sign of the fallout of a drastic spring.
Sing about anything as if there were a muse of chaos
lodged in your heart like a cardinal in an evergreen
that took over your house like a riot of homeless guests.
Dirge, dorn, whimper like a deermouse that believes
it’s got Lime disease, put your hands over your ears
like a hood over the head of a red-tailed hawk
and shriek at the sky like fingernails clawing a blackboard
if you must, but find a way to go insane
that lets you sing in the asylum to yourself
sitting by the window in the artificial light of a false dawn
with an irrefutable smile on your face you don’t need to wipe off
like a mirror that’s getting ready to take your place in the universe.

Right here and even now where it’s imminently conceivable
things will get worse and worse and worse and worse
and the dead will legislate for the living myths of origin
only the stillborn of the imagination will subscribe to,
and the dispossessed alienated by a deathmask
that slowly effaces them like a farcical masquerade
of the lives they pretend to be living for the sake of appearances
will cultivate exotic norms of madness that will conform
to the unconscionable scions of chaos living like
the mountainous echo of a moral code that couldn’t restrain them
deep within where apocalypse originates not as fire or ice
but the afterbirth of a forbidden silence that never shows its face.

Even in the midst of this, Loki, a sacred clown,
a downcast harlequin with long fingers sitting disconsolately
on a beach ball as the circus packs up to move on,
a trickster crow, a dark farce of your dynastic selves
in a long hall of mirrors warped by the gravitational lies
you have to vow to the dark every night to ground the shapeshifter
you’ve become in your absence in the starmud
of your next astronomical catastrophe to keep
from taking your extinction personally, whatever,
whomever, whyever you have to do, make it the labour
of a capricious preference, if nothing else, to sing like a universe
to the genius of your solitude as if you were setting
a loveletter to your muse on fire to show her how
serious you are about passionately annihilating your inspiration
in the thousands of eyes she has shed like tears over the lightyears
to silver the mirrors that flow like the radiant rivers of the waters of life
from your improbable heart over the precipitous thresholds
of a homeless art that’s been on this mysterious road long enough
not to close the gate after it like an exit with nothing to look forward to.

Submitted: Thursday, April 25, 2013
Edited: Wednesday, September 25, 2013

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