Friday, October 31, 2014

HEART THREAD Parts Twenty-Five and Twenty-Six


Open the carpenter take out the door
electric circuits switch in cut-open thorax
the whole world an autopsy of God you say
but mind is the only kind
girls are prettiest when they stand on bridges
men so empty on the way to work
soon forget how I began
her green Celt eyes do work for everything that lives
motherhood is made of gift
no man has a father a father passes
I was getting ready to revise the planet
carried some old books up the stairs to bed.


Now to come at last to answer me
a bookcase on the moon he found
deer browsing in the surf
what is there for a Christian in all these trees
civilized by language the Irish slept
is there no question ever for all my answers
I have tried so hard to say them clear
clouds white as nuns pass without remark
every percept demands memorial
an alternate universe made of simple sentences
suppose there were a gender to each thing
rufous towhee in the bayberries loud.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

HEART THREAD Parts Twenty-Three and Twenty-Four

                                                                         in mem. M.R.K.
Who did you want to be mother
I saw the queenly countenance old photo
those eyes knew me from another place before I was
I knew I never understood and do not know
how a star person consents to earth beast life
all the doors of fairyland open outward
to open my life a mouth among stars
to give a voice to what is never silent
to answer the tower when it falls
to kiss the acrobat in mid-flight
touch each tessera in the dome of light
this machine will be my faithful son. 


For we are various and beautiful and dumb
as an outfielder the clouds abaft the east
a language of dwarves a language of giants
I want to know what this very light is called
this Sunday light island light land light
broken china on the kitchen floor a song
at savage theaters bareback tragedians
give them words and leave the deeds to them
there is no action like a heartbeat
wet tea leaves in a sieve the resinous mind
be wishful what you care for the sea
endures what we say of it all talk no listening.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

HEART THREAD Parts Twenty-One and Twenty-Two


Don’t live forever they don’t count the stars
it’s a kind of broken pavement
music gushes out of crevices each gap a sore
earth is the ventriloquist who tunes our lips
the cries of children turn out to be
grownups turn into conversation
Whitman wrote nothing but the cries of children
our only real poet avoided writing poems
I call it semaphore because he  bears a sign
I can’t read it can you? A sign of itself
a revelation of revelation a storm in the mirror
no air left to write the answer down. 


A raft is remembrance
should you wake beside direction
and where we went an apple gate
dark with understanding and a touch
so later off  the esplanade one Danish ship
seen in a sluice of fog a word misused
loved for the juice of it the slip of mouth
the president waved from his open car
I stood on the corner with John Kennedy
one rainy afternoon when Carthage fell
forgive the immigrants the land cried out for
the white man failed the lesson of the earth. 

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

HEART THREAD Parts Nineteen and Twenty


Of course it went the other way, Chartres,
a carriage down Warren Street, rich people everywhere
and in a chophouse decent grub — he said
but that was Thames where Andrewes walked along
thinking out loud, how beautiful the churches are
despite what they say, the genetic imperfections of belief,
rosemary flowers for the Queen of Hungary
sad liquid gold pours from the carnal machinery
they never understand the ecstasy of rain
the purest gift is from the unimagined
Montaigne explained his dislike of the continuous
walk down the street with me holding the mean-eyed cat. 

Leave that rainbow gouged into the sky
let the clouds come down and talk like Christian men
have your nephelometer ready your cheesecloth your checkbook
earwax to polish close-grained briar
blond pilasters at the gate of ivory
between armoire and fish tank why the long hall
but  other mother came out of the hill again
reaching towards the moon she turned the trains off
businessmen wandered through the prairie
we passed a wolf on our sidewalk
creature of gold-eyed dignity
but she was sleeping with the mirror’s mother. 

Monday, October 27, 2014

HEART THREAD Parts Seventeen and Eighteen


Amaze me then you paladins
toaster oven of the alchemists
a microwave is just a little moon
rising and falling in the Brookline kitchens
where anxious matrons test their kids’ IQ
just write down what they tell you and all will be well
Mercutio falls the stage fills up with eels
close the book and answer the phone
false no friend would ever call so early
I have no phone I have just my voice
aged animal growling at the moon
start howling or the door will close.


Because a stone on the road is a fish that stopped swimming
pick it up and pocket it you’ll bring the ocean home
children are waiting for Christmas every day
double-boiler full of eggs the Virgin’s Bath
have you ever heard the cry of milk
the sob of bread baking in the oven
machinery is your friend machines are gods
because the world is little you are big
there are no strangers on this kind of island
the wind reads the papers for you
the hawk dries his feathers in your special tree
for lo the storm is ended the boy-girl wind went north.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

HEART THREAD Parts Fifteen and Sixteen


Catastrophe a downturn
in the affairs of men a broken staircase
they hop after women bearing seed
what men call catastrophe nature calls change
transformation of every species start with me
rocks are living too I am the first Posthuman
water has even more life than I
unstanched by identity
fierce well-unintenioned sea
we go to war with subtle instruments
Scots mixing buttermilk and beer
lamps they have they pass to others
others wander in the ill-lit street.


Passacaglias don’t come every day
true or false, false, the street
always beckons, the ricercare though is
especially of six voices rare
abandon all pretense before the Wood of Nakedness
where the owls turn into savvy virgins
rather fierce around the hipbones nanofiber
your dream is wind from Above
false a dream is a dream and so is this
a good argument for turning on the light
elsewhere a gander gabbles on a gable
and poetry somehow will never quite give up.  
RK reads for Bard Alumni Day, 25 October 2014

Saturday, October 25, 2014

HEART THREAD Parts Thirteen and Fourteen


Need a machine knows how to point
three women swimming in the pool
white one-piece mind
Easter parade to honor Wittgenstein
to turn away from what is most one’s own
the story breaks once the hero’s horn is heard
goats digging in their hooves uphill
sometimes long after she vanished
you hear her voice come out of the slope
soft throat but another language
each part of the body a trump in a lost game
do you remember what to call me?


Fields of Russia white with images
Ilya Repin canvas of a peasant shack
but o the shutters and the cries of birds
girls in the meadow pretending to be boys
so much is lost before you learn to feel
cast a number in bronze
nail it to that rock and call it measure
one day at lunch with A.J. Ayer
there is nothing left to say about the mind
that’s where poetry comes in
the art of making everything happen again
and be new the art of meaning something else.

Friday, October 24, 2014

HEART THREAD Parts Eleven and Twelve


Narrative happens to a reader’s mind
nothing else is going on
anemometer twirls round and round
measuring the neighbor’s wind
numbers down below
this cave mouth to our city come
sink into the bliss of ordinary streets
thighing around ordinary houses
you live here so I do too
mute connectedness of ball and bat
web of Indra plight with jewels
simple in his long complexity.


Remarkable for dawn
Latin promise all fulfilled
heartbreak and doctorate
call the birds to witness
this man sits still
imagine the sea moves
imagines women and their men come from the sea
imagine the invaders are just like me
when even you aren’t
a shoelace lying on the beach a flipflop lost
follow the grain of wood and enter in
blazing tachometer dashboard of tropic wood.

Thursday, October 23, 2014



Because you have to believe something
without punctuation
hard to get the hang of a day
of time the unrememberer the lost brother
the girl who stepped back below the hill
chilly now and ardent then
a heart is the lung of the sea
suddenly the horizon rushes in
a multiple blue person enters my body
you bring me to shore
the mist is not moving
the land we love does not stay still.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014



Catch what we can to clutch
cheesemaker up to her elbows in whey
the curds form by themselves
we gather we gather
we are so poor in Pyrenees
uphill but no sheep
psychiatrist but no peace
it would be easier if we had souls
but nothing measures nothing means
parse the situation with wet lips
reach out from your name
out from the clock.  

Tuesday, October 21, 2014



O it’s obvious enough
the way things are
oil burner grumbles on
chilly premises of northern philosophy
what is the matter with the English?
Why can’t they decide
the mind knows nothing about the mind
every table cut flowers in a terra cotta pot
remember every day and night
the promises you made to the sky
our everlasting witness
the house around our house.  

Monday, October 20, 2014



Liturgy enough for aftermath
aftermath enough for anybody
am radio on Sinai
she stood before us
made of color horns of her hips
broken plaster would you wall
even everything after all
I learned to listen to her bones
foreign woman but not so far
so pale the ruler of this house
frantic elsewhere sand in the shoe
we move swimming through the breath.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

HEART THREAD: A Fugue, Part Six


Empty wineglass in the other’s hand
haven’t felt this free in weeks
yellow fruit smatter of purple finches
legitimate inferences from the sciences
how little we kiss
could you build a car from scratch
a jet engine even a radio?
we have so much and know so little
it’s all just put in our hands
no wonder a devil
hide in the attic
archaic paperweight family Testament. 

Saturday, October 18, 2014


Dear Self,
               I have adored you
all our lives
and you come first
all the time

Did I spoil you?
Did you spoil me?

Even now we’re sharing this cup of coffee
brewed in our hotel room
just like the real thing
in this city where we were born.

But I wonder how real we are.
If you’re real, then what am I?

And if you’re not,  who

have I been taking care of all these years?

Friday, October 17, 2014

HEART THREAD: A Fugue, Part Five


Headlines from harmony — are you awake?
bulletin for a coward
chisel made of alphabets
blissman Africa Blueland blooming
a conga-line of white-collar mercenaries
old movies tell new truths
fold yourself back into fable
the feasts of Magdalen
on your white napkin I wipe my bloody lips
downstairs curtains in the rain
the sound of wet wood
hypothetical distances.  

Thursday, October 16, 2014

HEART THREAD: A Fugue, Part Four


Trying to avoid thinking he counted instead
ample precedence for this mistake
soft answers
theologians distinguish the qualities of the unknowable
divided nation
richest supported fiercely by the poorest
ugliest oligarch masks as democrat
tribal values clan corn stalks ratty barns
all the way to the horizon
this is the day of wheat the day of chaff
in the shrine one candle burning
salt shaker shattered on glass top table.
is now available on Metambesen:

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

HEART THREAD: A Fugue, Part Three


All professions are full of grief
the west wind’s ghost stories all night long
sometimes is cold enough
to be at peace
nail half an orange to the rail
finches love to plunge in
and walk downhill on someone else’s feet
sarabande of rainy morning
old Scottish battlecry measure the sky with your hands
rain on the windowpane
tiny boxing gloves from rearview mirror slung
still at sea  but married young.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

HEART THREAD: A Fugue, Part Two


There was an analyst who worked free
nobody believed him
so he had nothing on his conscience
it might be a father a lover one’s own lost self —
be kind to anyone you meet in mind’s eye
say:  this is a conversation in my head with someone who isn’t there
stop this, say what you like but only out loud
things can only happen once
in the mind or out there, out here.
Don’t use up the event imagining--
things like this are what he must have said. 

Monday, October 13, 2014

HEART THREAD: A Fugue, Part One


Liturgical responses of all
wind and rain are answers
let an island be a proposition
in Euclid.  Parse the rapture.
Words that need to be said over and over
no measure 
if you can’t count them are they really there?
Who is the enemy in the epic?
Is it the king or the thought of the king?
Cold knees of chivalry
brooms for breakfast and a horse
hawk aloft small birds will flee.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

12 October 2014

Was that a yellow bird that flew across the yard
into the wind it went so not a leaf
now when leaves are yellow?  Some bird
unknown, a newfound cave in Celebes
where a woman with a long slim hand
(an Air hand we palmists say) pressed
her hand against the wall forty
thousand years ago and calcite covered it
so we can feel her touch still, long
pinky slender thumb, so prone to love
and art, that other wonder thing.
Was she our mother?  Too many
questions I ask, keep asking.  Where
are the answers I used to tell?

Saturday, October 11, 2014

SEA BREEZE final section

But am I sure?
                               Why do I see a crown
idling over her head,
                                                is she a queen of it
or even more?
                               Did I hear her first
in the wilderness,
                                      Old Mill,  Murray Hill, Joshua Tree?
The crown persists,
                                           her forehead fits
so this must be the one,
                                                    I pull
with all my night
                                      the stone from the stone
and veer hard
into her royalty.
                                      Because these stories
live us still.
                        And not just me.

Friday, October 10, 2014


It meant an island where the rabbits ran.
No island anymore, no bunnies.  No wolves
to eat them.
                             I listened with my eyes
to the words of your journey
on the silent glossophone,

it rang around me, dark as I was,
                                                          the spurs
of words caught in my trouser cuffs.
I am far
                   away in place but in spirit a pine tree
nearby lets a single clench of needles on my table,
here, I’m writing around it,
                                                            four needle fingers
on one hand,
                             I spread out and count them to make sure.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

SEA BREEZE Parts Four and Five

But um,
the light changed,
                                        her thigh beside you
safe beyond the crevasse of machinery,
her thigh you imagine beside you,
imagine.  Desire
is like a windshield wiper,
                                                          comes and goes,
                             all that it has seen,
swipes clean.  You have seen
                   No image left.

So the sea was natural enough
to come to
                       in its way—
                      a yacht or little sailboat,
by Catullus, young poet frequently marvelous.
Sail away with me she said you thought.

The grammar of analytic languages
perplexes with contingency.
                                                              Who said?
Who thought?
                                We were speaking
we were young,
                                      speaking something
like Chinese in Coney Island.
Or was it Brighton Beach.
                                                          Or was it raining.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014


Everlasting maze.
                                        For you, my friend,
you went through it
and out her other side
                                                 but you were there
abaft the barnacled bottoms of old books,
sleek traffic, sand in your Nikes

everything was yours.  She drove.
No need for caution, kept your thoughts
to yourself,
                         you always do,

                                                          the night
was like a crucifix
                                      on the wall over somebody’s bed.
What does that mean?
                                                  You know,
you always know,
                                      just stop thinking
and start talking.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014


that’s why we chose
to be in body in the first place
or be in her
                             in grace of union,
and no word said,
                                      I am the hum of whom
she has chosen,
                                 small trout
busy in her stream,
broken kayaks litter her backyard,
I didn’t, I thought he wrote capsize
and laughed,
                             he slugged me
the way they do, men,
                                                and I was only ten
or something, who knows
how old anybody really is.

Monday, October 6, 2014


                                                          for Tamas in Brooklyn

Luxurious antidotes,
                                                phasellus ille,
the sea
                   you mean to float on is
with her affections
                                          (Coney Island, minuit)
midnight, I see it already, the car
she’s driving
                             down Ocean,
the stately Jewish houses,

                                                          then shining
boardwalk full of maybes
and far away the curl of moonlight
on the tenth-night wave
                                                   cresting way out there
the way they do,
                                      where sharks calve and play,
happy hunting, lover,
                                                the stick-shift
never felt so good, staggered green lights,
a car knows how to go,

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

GRAVITY FEED Part Seventeen (final section)


But Hammerklavier is what he wrote
music defined by its instrument,

the womb that bore it
brass and wood and steel

as if I were to call these words
men or women walking in a peculiar land

because you are my music too
I heard you with my hands.