Sunday, July 28, 2013

[28 July 2013]

Build a bridge under water
the beauty of its structure
— stone, wood, I. K. Brunel’s red iron —
improves the sea.

For we were brought here to define
give name and shapes to natural things
and teach them manners.

Or we were born for this
from seafoam and crucifixion
to work out of pain
a frail beauty
that teaches somewhere else
a beauty lasts. 

[26 July 2013]

Try to tell the weather
what to do. 
Use ancient difficult words
it might remember
from when it was young
and played with Zoroaster
on Europe’s highest mountain
or do I need
a darker
animal than that?

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

[24 July 2013]

Hide me from myself
where No One finds me
your drunken daughter
your god-crazed son
then I will learn
how to answer the rain
in its own language
give lessons to the rose.  
Till then I’m just in the way
of everything I really mean.

[23 July 2013]

If you open a word
who knows what you might see
Cagliostro’s fatidic circle
a language made of bees
green shelf ice off Labrador once
every word a dream
open the door it is and dream it.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Section 312 of a work in progress


A poem is guided meditation
mild propulsion of the written world
when it stops the process it launched sails on
knowing the mind
clear light between the names of things
between the things the bright between
the new the fresh the uncontrived
your mind finds by itself
sacred absence in the core of you
all the holiness and shadows pass
maidens and heroes and sunlight on the sea.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

(A recent section from a work in progress)


He will be safer as a ferly-man if men they have or are
he will be a leper-man in ordinary land
his voice the bell to warn away the fearful
because language is a holy terror believe me
hide yourself in the silence of story
there’s always something left to believe
dust for sparrows said the old aesthete
be bathed clean in what defiles us
Arbeit, heilende Welle in what defines us
how far inland we’ve been carried by the wave
left where no other wave can come
lost among friends in a house of one’s own. 

Friday, July 5, 2013


                                                            for Betty

On a scale of 1 to 10
the rain falls wet
Lenin's mummy outlasts glasnost.
The kingdom of cicadas rises and falls,

on a scale of 1 to 10
our caves are brighter now and less dank
diner coffee keeps getting better
waitresses get older and blonder
and I don't know for sure where all this goes
Nero Wolfe would call it amphigory, 
nonsense verse, nonsense with numbers,

on a scale of 1 to 10
I've hardly begun
the muddy Orinoco impregnates the sea,
the Homestead Act is far away
but the prairies are still there
people I knew got acres in Alaska
even in the 1950s -- ah, 
there's a number at last, or four of them,
all of them but one on a scale of 1 to 10
and that one was none
so on a scale of 1 to 10
the world has not even yet begun
and all the pizza parlors and battleships
are just illusions and I'm beginning
(speaking of beginnings)
to wonder about me, 

on a scale of 1 to 10 am I here yet, 
is there anyone behind this noise you hear,
people buzzing about the cicadas, poor things,
they don't even exist on a scale of 1 to 10,
only AndrĂ© Breton has got their number, 
Arcane 17 from long ago GaspĂ©, and Canada,
what is Canada on a scale of 1 to 10,
and shall I count the ways,
let alone Massachusetts?

On a scale of 1 to 10
pain for instance is usually at zero or eleven
but pleasure measures 
itself meekly, how rarely joys
or even blisses
get past 8 or 9, 
and from what we read in the Bible
heaven doesn't even get to 7,
all those feathers, all that 
stone-age music on tin harps.

But where was I on a scale of 1 to 10,
was I a pirate was I a priest,
all nouns are 10 all verbs are maybe
depending on who's looking, 
on who's talking, 
and who is listening?

On a scale of 1 to 10
is it you or is it him,
the man in the moon, the woman in the wind
or is it window, on a scale
of 1 to 10 is it even now yet, 
this bright day I'm trying to believe
all the numbers scattered round my feet,
birds chasing beetles, shadows chasing sun,
on a scale of 1 to 10
am I even me?