Patrick White

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

Trying To Shine To Blind The Voodoo Dolls - Poem by Patrick White

Trying to shine to blind the voodoo dolls
sticking sharp pins of insight dipped in stinging nettles
into my eyes like burning thorns that won't wash out
even when the blue rose of the sky
puts her face in her hands and cries her heart out.
Made my Icarian ascent to the sun
like a kamikaze pilot in reverse trying to be positive
about the self-destructive aspirations
under my thawing wings, now
I'm trying to keep my balance on my spinal cord
stretched like a highwire suspension bridge
across an abyss that keeps expanding my insignificance
as I juggle planets with my feet I keep dropping
like my head in a guillotine made for mercy.

I want to say this is the dung-heap, this is the dogshit,
these are the maggots that thrive in the corruption of it
like toxicara worms that get in your eyes
and under your fingernails, and burrow
like small black holes through your heart
and let all the light out of your life like a slow leak
somewhere in the pipeline of the universe
that's fracking me inflammably like a watershed
and I'm trying so hard to snow all over it
with the highest ideals of understanding and compassion,
every mystically specific flake sidereally designed
to ameliorate the repulsive and obscene
by cloaking it in white like an albino hypocrite.

For light years I used to believe if you
threw flower seeds in it, you could work it
like starmud blooded by a battlefield of torn corpses
into a bumper crop of zinnias and sublimely poignant stargrass.
Marvellous transformations of an outhouse
into the lunar beauty of the nocturnal Taj Mahal
making the black mirror, like the lost sheep, more beautiful
in a universe where love and light and life so often seem
mere mutations of the darkness.

Didn't really want to make an ideology of a wild guess,
that would only add to the mess of cultish concepts,
and not really born to sow stardust
into the ploughed wound of a worm,
nevertheless, I drew a gold sword
out of a philosopher's stone
and plunged it through the base metal of my heart
to suffer all those little deaths in life
and those liberating space twisting
indelible excruciations of cosmic transformation
that wrought this discipline of disobedience
I practise like an art into the absurd freedom
of the crazy wisdom that's needed to make
a start somewhere, somehow, however small
by adding my crystal skull to the shining
like the sacred syllable of a dropp of water
off the tongue of a silver leaf in the moonlight
that listens to it fall like a cross
between a good word and a tear on deaf ears below.

So I throw flower seeds on it in passing, the way
I throw all my loose change into a guitar case
trying to sing for a living against the impossible odds
of a dungheap laid like the corrupt cornerstone of things,
the ship of state expurgating in public like a sick whale
spinning the Parisian potential for the screening myths
of expensive, narcotic fragrances of rot on the Perfume Trail.
Say it isn't so, Joe, but there you go, it is.
The terrorist oilwells are planting i.e.d.s
of inflammable water in the faucets of everyone's kitchen,
so we can all burn to death
drowning in our showers in the morning
trying to chill things out
with corporate hellfire and brimstone
and legions of demon lawyers that give lying a bad name.

Been trying not to get so down I get
knocked off my axis like Neptune
ducking down below the celestial equator
and be dragged down into my own depths
by the snapping turtle of the world
that's founded upon it like a totem on a gantry.
Barring the occasional eclipse to keep
the calendars tuned to the prophecies of doom
ranged against the small beginnings of the new moon
that might squeak through the third eye of the needle
just like mammals did at the end of the late Triassic
as the insignificant consequence of a cosmic event
that upgraded scales to feathers and fur to skin
as wolves turned into whales. Creative destruction
evident in extinction and evolution the same.

I try to keep my spirits up like a lead kite
by approaching it all as if it were
delightfully and horrifically absurd spontaneously
but an unmeaningly free and creative medium nevertheless,
and even if it isn't etc., the most intriguing of delusions
it's taken me light years to adapt to
without sitting in perpetual judgement
on the immensity of the darkness
that intensifies the nebularity of my enlightenment
with starclusters of insights that flower
like a mirage of fireworks in my dazzled mind.

Even if it's no more than a flash of light out of the void
richocheting off the facet of a grain of sand,
or a firefly trying to stand up to the lightning,
or slim volume of igneous poems
wedged like a matchbook between tomes
like anthers of fire with phosphorus pollen
that will spread like wildflowers when it finally blooms
like foxfire in the ashes of an old growth forest.
Even to stand like a lighthouse on the moon,
having lost its sense of purpose, and yet,
still keep the fire in the tower burning as if
there might be a storm the way things change
and there could be a shipwreck, some nights
are so strange they're like waves or cats
that leave things like dead moles and snakes
on the threshold of the far shore of your door out of here,
I've tried to keep on shining like a candle
trying to stay awake at a black starless mass
trying to make things dark enough to make an appearance,
and even when I haven't managed it,
and all my shepherd moons are scattered like black sheep
by the snarling wolf of my mystically liberating nature,
suddenly showing up like the skull and crossbones
among the angel fleets grazing on the waves,
I've elevated waterlilies of constellations
that sat below the salt in the lowest place of all
to the zenith of my dreams like starmaps in transit
I've kept alight in a nightwatchman's eyes for years
as he makes the rounds of the zodiac
like a candle still burning in the lanterns of his tears.

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Poem Submitted: Thursday, August 9, 2012

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