Patrick White

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

The Mind Reflected In The Silence Of Its Own Light


The mind reflected in the silence of its own light.
Chaos is not pacified, but your memory remains
like a work in progress, fireflies with no fear of heights
arc-welding the wounds of the suspension bridges
that use to sway in the wind over the fathomless abyss I risked
to love you more obsessively than solitude. Black candle
of the heart, you burned in me like a votive flame
in the visionary shrines of my prophetic skull, a tender madness
veiled in the shadows of a thousand extinct stars.

Your body an amphora of wine on the sea floor of Atlantis,
an hourglass full of goldfish and nocturnal mirages
of oracular starclusters, I’ve never fully shaken the hangover
of consuming entire watersheds from the sorrows in your eyes
whenever I went witching for the rootfires of your flesh
with lightning rods as urgent as the tusks of the moon.

The memories circle back on me like a solar storm
of firebirds over the tree line and though it’s getting dark now,
I can still smell the fragrance of your light lingering
like auroral apparitions of deadly nightshade, wild orchids
and black roses that smeared their eyelids in the lampblack
and mascara of total eclipses that weren’t manic enough to go punk
when your rage smashed your insights like frosted lightbulbs
in a morgue where you burned the dead in effigy
on a pyre of ice, a cremation of fireflies, dragons
in the hulls of those Viking funeral ships you liked to launch
like matchbooks with crazy stamens and anthers
even the bees couldn’t churn into honey when you
weren’t in the mood to water down your blood
by tempering the Celtic weaponry of your metalwork
in the elixirs of acid rain that scalded your eyes like wildflowers.

I loved the refreshing arrogance of your blue tattoo
and the unassuming vulnerability of the way
you never expected the steel in your heart to fail
when we used to meet secretly every night
on a burning bridge like thieves of the fire
we stole like graverobbers from our own urns.

Somehow our afterlives got mixed up with this one
and eternity crept into our love affair like autumn ivy
or sumac burning in its igneous flightfeathers
for the long, strange, heartless journey ahead
as we looked at each other like orphanages
waving good-bye to someone we’d have to get over
by closing the windows we opened up in each other
like a starmap of dark matter in mourning
for the black doves that died like sacred syllables
in the throats of the fires that roared like a larynx of stars,
o, can you hear me now, wherever you are
like the other wavelength of this lap-winged caduceus
where the grave of the wound is the cradle of the cure,
still trying to say things after all these circuitous lightyears

to you, to me, to each other in the evanescent vastness
of the darkness that came like a coroner
to our unsustainable dreams with surrealistic autopsies
that were meant to be whispered like rain
into the ears of the dead listening to it weep
like tears that either came too early or too late,
sema soma, to open their coffin lids amid
this garland of fruitless plumage and rootless flowers
like seeds of fire wired to the wayward fuses of the wind
as if love were still glowing like a night light we left on
in the ashes of those starfields we were immolated in.
Foxfire, I suspect, and fiddleheads on the first violins of the bracken.

Submitted: Tuesday, June 11, 2013
Edited: Wednesday, July 31, 2013

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