Patrick White

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

Counting Orphic Skulls On The Abacus Of A Spider Web - Poem by Patrick White

Counting Orphic skulls on the abacus of a spider web.
Listening to them click like pool balls, crabs and castanets.
I'm beading new solar systems out of the nebular air. I'm seeding
clouds of unknowing with genetically unmodified meteors.
I'm lawn bowling with black holes. I'm collecting
echoes of zeroes from the rain on shepherd moons
and trying to link them like empty buckets
into a waterclock of life that flows inflammably
like thicker tears of methane on the surface of Titan.

I'm Saint Darkness in a sensory deprivation tank.
My aspirations are houseflies belly up on a window sill.
My longings have all been exorcised like the baby ghosts
I keep in incubators like the mangers of messiahs
on the night ward, knowing no one will ever come
to claim them. I give them names and raise them on my own
like poems that take me for granted as I teach them
to walk all over me like a starmap you could drown
your sorrows in. How not to be crucified
for the metaphoric content of the message you deliver.
And if you're going to rise from the dead, rise
like the unknown headwaters of an alluvial river
that can grind civilizations of wild starwheat into bread.

So the angels can hover over the town
at four in the morning, knowing no one
went to bed hungry and listen to the prayers
of the people they can't do anything to help
except hang there like the curtains of the northern lights
as if they were thinking out loud in the dream grammar
of a mystic trying to paint the mystery of life
in a palette of picture-music that hurts as deeply
as it illuminates the beauty and the agon
of staying alive long enough to know what for.

I celebrate the dangerous awareness of my crazy wisdom
on the merest of hunches that play on the bird bone flutes
of my deepest hopes lingering like lyrical spirits
around the asteroid belts of my archaic graves
rolled like thousands of stones away from the tomb of Sisyphus
trying to beatify his absurdity like an orbiting avalanche.

Good luck, my brother. Watch out for low-flying telescopes
trying to shoot out any stars it catches in its cross hairs
like a spiritual trespasser trying to transit two thresholds at once.
And don't be discouraged if you hear them calling Einstein a dunce.
Sooner a persistent fool ageing wisely than a sporadic sage
acting out like a bitter green apple in late winter.

Put it down to the age I live in. The fountain of youth
is syrup in a Coke can everyone is sipping from
like hummingbirds on crack, fish in medicated water
outside their dilated kitchen windows next
to the hemorrhaging thermometers of their patriotic syringes
at a needle exchange for global warming.
No mercy asked. None received. Take all the space you want.
The gravitational eyes of the universe are upon you, sunbeam.
Shine on, shine on, shine on. You'll be a wildflower yet.

I'm trying to be rationally surrealistic about the perversity
of the ambitions of perfect vacuums sucking the life
out of their fellow insects like parasitic guests
of the corporations they're elected by like mud slides.
The free press has become a screening myth, a smoke screen,
a trivially, distractive one-eyed liar. Politicians
lead with their anus like mouthy monostomes
for whom it doesn't make a difference what end
they speak out of, to, or for. How deranged
does it have to get before the electorate stops consulting
expert proctologists who speak like rubber gloves
for spiritual advice about their innovatively tragic lives
in the most pleonastically, lucrative of times
before everyone starts talking in tongues
to the local nightbirds like I do whenever
I want to get something off my chest
like an avalanche of gravestones and asteroids
trying to jumpstart my life all over again
by upgrading the quality of the starmud
they spread all over my alluvial plain
like lunar corn silk and a few more scarecrows
that get along, whatever the song, with the nightbirds
in the hallowed valleys of my brain
where I sow thorns and question chaos about my solitude.

Comments about Counting Orphic Skulls On The Abacus Of A Spider Web by Patrick White

  • Brian Jani (6/30/2014 5:17:00 PM)

    indeed your poem is food for thought.well depicted too (Report) Reply

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  • Captain Cur (2/16/2013 3:35:00 PM)

    Interesting monologue, a lot of skulls to count here.
    Unfortunately, my flag boasts only one.
    Great write, a lot to ponder.
    (Report) Reply

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Poem Submitted: Saturday, February 16, 2013

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