Friday, January 22, 2010

when i came back from saturn

when i came back from saturn i went to the nearest bar and traded several emeralds for a decent beer, sick as a leper. i could barely falump into a barstool before i remember looking at a photograph on the wall of a life i didn't have, and drank my drank to forget what i love to remember.
and came in, dressed all in black, three cigarettes between his fingers as usual, he sat beside me, dear old grandad, younger than me,
remarkable, he said.
do i know you?
i looked at him long, he gave me a friendly smile,
we meet often you and me. once in a bathroom you almost did yourself in on some kind of (he wrinkled his nose) whatever that was, or then there was the traintracks, and of course, the bottom of a canyon when you were just a boy and i almost caught you in my bag with a scorpion.
all kinds of little silver streams of cold sweat crawled on me,
oh don't worry, i'm just visiting. sometimes you look lonely,
and he produced a penny which he spun on the table. it turned into the moon, then into a little sun, then he slapped his hand down upon it and smiled again.
i like you, henry. you're getting ready to meet me. i hate it when people run, i really do. it makes everything seem... sordid.
and he opened his palm to reveal several human teeth with blood on the ends, he dropped them into his glass and drank it, become a good scotch.
i have a lot of love for humans, believe it or not, he said and lit two more cigarettes, looked philosophically at a pirate flag, and resumed,
animals die with dignity, but humans are so... nervous. they take it so personally. they have no... sense of humor about this business. it breaks my heart, it really does, because i love grace, and more than that, cruelty is sweet, for i shatter one thing to give birth to another.
and you, dear henry, you want to understand me! you're a goddam poet, henry, you're a lunatic! i love it!
i took a big drink.
so ask me anything, said he, pulled his left eye out of his head, rolled it on the ground like a marble until it turned into a great black dog and roared out of the bar and into the night. when i looked back he was sticking an olive in his eye and smiling at me like an idiot.
what happens afterward? i asked sadly. i smiled a little and traced a sparrow in the beer dregs on the table, and the little guy hopped up and flew away.
he grinned but looked serious.
here. he said, and produced a small ladies' hand mirror from his breast pocket. look into it and tell me what you see.
he rolled his eyes. i frowned.
are YOU looking at YOU? he asked, leaned across the bar, lit a match and tossed it into a bottle of gasoline on the bar, which exploded and set the chandeliers on fire.
i'm looking at a reflection.
yes! he shouted, oh i could kiss you! the mirror is made of a particular substance that reflects all light. so am i.
and what about everyone? what about all these fools and sweethearts i wanted to love and just watched disappear?
how big is your brain?
not big enough.
yep. remember when we used to meet when you were a kid? you were so cute, staring right at me. i stepped out of the sunset for you, i could have wrapped you up in my arms right then, but then i wouldn't get to see your scarred face, which is so delightful i could lick it. god, you mortals have no idea how rich is age, how boring it is to take little kids. all the same really,
and he put a gun to his head and pulled the trigger, let the brains hit the wall,
where was i? want to try? just kidding. i've got big plans for you, kiddo. children. GOD. All so sweet and wonderful, my sympathies really, but the old, the scarred, those with hearts so muscled with cruelty that the depths of how they can love, is well beyond understanding. they know betrayal, and failure, and futility, and they can still get up and love and fight again. to eat that death, to have that taste, you have no idea how i cry to take a soldier, or a hooker, or a prisoner. oh my, i need more eyes just to cry!
and he opened his third eye, and revealed fourth and fifth eyes upon his palms, which all ran with a couple of tears, just for effect.
big plans, huh.
he looked disoriented. he lowered his hands and nodded the waittress over.
honey, two bottles of haitian blood, s'il vous plait.
she was the color of moonlight, he put a fistful of syringes in her hand,
don't worry, he whispered, its really not as bad as all that.
yes, big plans, my dear. you, you are going to be my masterpiece. no human is going to know, its really for an audience of angels, orphans and devils i invite over on saturdays for wine and fireworks. you'll be death's sculpture.
what if i blow my brains out tonight?
how do you know thats not the sculpture?
no way.
he looked slyly at me, smiled again, offered me two cigarettes. i accepted and he lit them with his tongue. we toasted the universe, and duels and strange small towns in nowhere, and rain, and lonely travels, and knives.
he gave me his phone number before he left. i call it, when i'm lonely, now and then. he makes me feel better.

Monday, January 18, 2010

let us waste today

let us waste today, so that we can be awake for the night, and meet again all our little guys up there in the sky. and we shall walk around in the darkness, and and grow tall enough to stand in space, for the stars to crown us or kiss our noses.

let's give them new names, or forget their names, or learn the names old men gave them a thousand years ago. let's send them the compliments of a hundred dead loves. for they are always there, our little stars, preaching a soundless nuclear gospel, shining close and far away, a sea of stars.

let's play in their black oceans, let all ideas die before they hit the air, let the little dots of light talk to us, for they are sending little words all the time, and in places where no one is there they sing, wandering in the trees, the spirits of living gods, the flaw in all answers.

let's get drunk and make them our fathers and mothers, dancing unknown dances that entertain their dread immortality. let's cross the graves of all known suicides and sing their names so that the stars may shine for them.

let's pretend we last forever, and will be with them, because we do, and are, and will be, moving for the love of the black ocean. the ocean that goes on forever. yes, forever, if you remember. forever is forever and forever and forever and no more no less. as it is said, the number 1 is as close to infinity as the number


Friday, January 15, 2010

atheism on a highway

i, driving the car back to ontario around midnight, my mother talking about how religious she was as a girl. something mythical about dashboard lights and the undulating black worlds of clouds in the sky, like here we are, living in a supernatural country. she said that believed in the catholic god with all her heart, she said that she got to crown mary, a privilege of some frenzied catholic ritual on a day in may. she said, you got to crown mary if you went to mass every day at 6am, and i went to mass every day at 6am for months and it was such a big deal when i got to crown mary.

but when i grew up, i began to realize that everything i was being taught was crap. they said that everything you felt was a sin, that anger, lust, fear, you had to be ashamed of them all. and god didn't make any sense, and women weren't allowed to be priests, and just a lot of it didn't add up if you thought about it.

and now i understand you don't believe in any god, i asked.

well, i think jesus was a good man who tried to change things, but i don't think he was god,

yes well imagine what it would have been like for jesus' followers, i said. he went around saying he was god, and all these really brave and scary things, like put all your faith in god, and don't hurt anyone even if it means being harmed yourself, and believe in peace and equality and all these good things in a pretty brutal part of the world. And they all probably believed he was god, since he was so convinced. imagine how traumatic it must have been for them when one day they just grab him off the street and torture him to death in front of them. how the guy they thought was god they put a crown of thorns on him and laughed at him and no one could stop them. and then he's just gone, just like that.

you can see how they would try to make sense of it, because it would have been too terrible to imagine that he was just a sweet, half-crazy guy and they tortured and killed him. maybe that's why the story is so compelling, its about a simple a parable for life as there is, without all that magic crap in it.

yeah, my mom said and stared at the road.

i kind of believe in some kind of supreme being though, i said. do you?

well, i don't see any reason to. there's no reason to believe there's anything after death. that's something people need to believe, i think. its comforting. but why would there be a supreme being when there's all this terrible stuff in the world, all these innocent people who get harmed?

really, so you think this is it, there's nothing more than this?

well, i think life is quite amazing without making anything up about it. so... i don't know, but i just don't see any reason to believe in a god.

i think i believe in something more than this. i think i have proof. if we think of god, we think of something incredible and wonderful, something that is awake about the universe, not mechanical, even something that can love us. now, we experience what it is to love...

but thats because love evolved out of the need to raise our children, my mom said,

yes, yes, yes, but that's no matter. the fact is you have experienced love, you know what it is to love, to care for and be close to another living being. more than that, we have the experience of being aware, of being awake in the universe, no? we know what it is to be conscious of being alive, conscious of ourselves, conscious even of the dizzy grandeur of the universe, of stars and all that. now, everything you are made of is part of the universe, its part of nature, it is natural, it is inherent in the universe, nothing you have can exist outside of nature, nature prodcued your experiences of love and consciousness. so they belong to nature, therefore the universe is conscious, does love, at least as much as you do, and knowing how small you are, very very likely about a million times more than that.

my mom was thoughtful, and kind of sleepy. she said, i guess some people need comfort.

what's that?

well, i suppose people need to believe things that make them feel comforted.

you don't believe me?

well, i don't know what it means.

i don't either.


i snuck a glance at my mom, falling asleep. i felt an overwhelming admiration for her bravery, to look into the cruel face of life and stare back at its coldness and still believe in goodness and justice and innocence. when the people in her life die, she weeps in the certitude that they are gone forever. i liked to look at the skeletons of jetblack trees against the midnight sky and they roared by along the sides of the lone highway.

Monday, January 11, 2010


i might disappear tomorrow. i probably won't. and that's it.

but let's pretend like i was here, and you knew me and i knew you and pretend this big old world was making beauty while we were hurting each other. and there's only most people dancing on a fragile thread of being and doing it so beautifully you fail to notice how much time and practice it took to look natural while hanging above the biggest open mouth.

and then remember everyone dreams lots of dreams they'll never understand or remember or remember to remember. and see all of those people go under the waves of a great flood. And the water somehow laughs. And somehow there you are, dancing on a string, smiling for now,

how i wished the world was a paradise, how sad i was to know it was a nightmare. did you ever think we are the ugly monsters of the world? maybe one day there will be another species with stars in their foreheads, but they will be much kinder than we were. Maybe birds will grow legs and hands and start building beautiful places and not say necessary or unfortunate. Maybe the birds will know better how not to leave little ones by the side of the road to die alone, like i do every day. like you do, looking for your own star.

and then we'll be ashamed to know what we could have been, but thought it was better to be successful rather than good. And we built palaces on tops of foxes' houses, and shrugged. And we built cities on tops of joyous mountains, and thought ourselves geniuses, and built mines where caribou once danced and ate up coal, and i saw the snow fall by the blinking lights of the smokestacks and thought how we were left, and where is the purity in that? but they said, youre just mad. and so i said, then im mad, and they wouldn't make me king. and i said i am king of bright sunsets, come take it from me. but they couldn't, and i stand there still, with outstretched arms before the sunset, somewhere on the west coast, alive and free, the earth eating my bones on hornby island, alone but part of some strange wild animal you can't imagine,