The Cosmic Hmm

it is addressed thusly:
An ode.
it reads:
Of the unseen worlds I've thought to speak
To speak of what man has not seen
To speak of what yet has not been
Disclosed, If we supposed in a pique
Of fugue that even this or that planetary
And I do not mean here imaginary
World, hurled forth from the forge
Could ever be seen by earthly eyes?
Dion spoke of that which lies
Beyond that mind and matter gorge
And bridged by faith, but I speak
Of nothing so near as to keep
It as a shadow, no, but of that
Which though counted quite concrete
Is nonetheless, to be discrete
The Unknow, below, and so what
Can be known of it for tales
To tell and well the tongue fails
Or fails not! Ought I then consider
Long, long ago and far, far away
With the glibness of the teller say
A silken yarn as tight as a spider
Weaves? He believes we shall not know
Whether we few left in the herebelow
Before the books are all disclosed
Are but one of many so disposed
To thought? Or to ought, are composed
Of all unlike things at once, at once
What we are and are not, but cosmic runts
Left by our Lucy to feckless punts?
But so much of the worlds, for our race
Are beyond our reach in time and space
Having already plead their case
And gone, leaving not rock nor bone
And the stars hum a questioning tone
Are we or aren't we alone?


The Orator Responds To His Own Words

it is addressed thusly:
A thought.
it reads:
"The heart is deceitful above all things"
He said, but everyone knows it does not lie
It lies only from the viewpoint of the eye
Which cannot glance its hidden springs
Which cannot search its ways at all
For whom inner life is but a thrall
Every man! Who peers inside will see
Deceptions and chimeras and false lights
Though what be there is by all rights
The only source for our truth to be
Discerned, earned hard by sweat
And tears and blood - but still yet
Man like mud in flesh and heart
Brittle clay, must know that which
His heart decrees is, stitch for stitch
The tapestries of his own inner art
In deceit the heart his truth it brings
For the heart is deceitful above all things.



it is addressed thusly:
A thought.
it reads:
The solid fact of your person remains
It is not, like graffiti or dirt on a wall
That must be wiped and cleared to call
It clean? Even after all of the stains
Are gone, it is not entirely smooth
Not a record without a groove
Some have thought that just because
All men are men, they be all reduced
To one face? Need it be traduced?
A part is not a whole, and other flaws
Make pause, and nor is there not
A face behind each muddy blot
A heinous facade it is and perhaps
We know the mask is of our make
But we cannot remember how to take
It off - and so soundless, lapse
Into thinking the painting be the stains
But the solid fact of the person remains.


The Sage's Wife

it is addressed thusly:
An ode.
it reads:
O Beauty sleeps, her watch she keeps
In that valley of unbroken dreams
Behind the eye, more than it seems
A flutter, a wave upon the deeps
Or does only the heart there see
The crests on that restless sea
As the mind there, in its silent prayer
Writes in an unknown tongue an ode
Or walks only without a sight a road
Between each sleepless eye to stare
And so unknown even to her own
I wonder, does there she travel alone
When she sightless, sails the deeps
Where what is, is not what it seems
Amid those streams, betwixt those dreams
That hidden she keeps, O Beauty who sleeps?



it is addressed thusly:
A song.
it reads:
Forming a form isn't formal, fash'ning a fashion's an art
A plan's a part of the process, but not the significant part;
Knowing unknowns isn't normal, nor abnormal for that sort of thing
You have to know where you're going, but don't have a map you could bring;
But to know where you're going, you've got to know where you've been
Will you recognize it when you see it, if be it without or within?
Imagination can help you create it, but may just make something else
Golden calves for the breaking, or things for your old trophy shelf;
Knowledge just holds chimeras, ghosts of impossible shape
Symmetries ripe for unmaking, umbrages over them drape
Discipline gives no directions, but gives you the power to go
Intuition responds in enigmas, answers that can only grow;
The heart itself may hold answers, but you must batten its storms
Get past Desire's mad passions, get past Anger's two horns;
And memory! There be the dragons, and ideas of every kind
Too easy to let them control you, when you should be lord of the mind;
But the heart instructs without answer, and speaks just as quiet as air
And then to tell who is speaking? There may be other things there;
But by the end of the process, which we may have outlined
While we weren't looking, like bread that's a'cooking, we've found a form quite refined!


The Song of the Visitor

it is addressed thusly:
A vision.
it reads:
In the place of the paving stones,
Where there were a hundred homes
Lined up against each other in rows
I knew not one from the other, but saw
A man greeting me, waved from afar
And I came afoot as one who knows
To describe the colors I must attempt
It was varigate, of gray and dun unkempt
And the gentle old cars, of teal and white
And red and black and the chrome glinted
The stone homes and their austerity hinted
Through windows dim, of coming night
And I breathed the air, under the bluegray
With slate cloud in gossamer overlay
Sky, and I knew this man, though why
Here I cannot say, and he stood and waved
At the doorway, which here behaved
As windbreaker with its vinyl hood nigh
About its neck, and he said, "Dear friend,
Come off of the paving stones 'round the bend
For I know you have come far on foot
Was there no bus to carry, no cycle or car?"
"No," Said I, "Bullet train, but it is quite far."
"Then you should shake off the soot,
I wish that you had aforetime made call
And I would have driven to the wall
Myself and carried you here, but now,"
He said and opened the heavy latch
Just before the wind did catch
And carry dust quickly over the brow
Of the hill behind, which was lined
By houses hundred, old, refined
Who watched over the paving stones.

Within was appointed, as with such homes
A room twelve high and heavy tones
Of red and dark and damask pattern
As if a field of flowers there was strewn
Or was from their inward places hewn
But none of this had really mattered
He continued, "come in and I will show
This thing that you have come to know."
And the hum of electric lighting
Was soon to greet, my coat to stow
And with a glance as one does know
We were to our new task alighting.
"Did you know," He spoke anew
"Of that fellow, the late Agnew?"
I replied that I had not heard
And under lintels heavy passed
Here and there the curios amassed
Some old some new, but no word
And I checked my pocket clock
Whose lucence did the shadow mock
It was not more than half past three
And I pressed the item's flank
And therewhich its face went blank
And pocketed it, again to see
My friend walking now with haste
"There yet is no time to waste,
I must know your thoughts on this."
And through the kitchen we did turn
Whose humming was a silent spurn
To the door which opened with a hiss
A bulkhead here? What had he in
The place below, the dark within
Stretched below the twelve-foot height
With a hue of blue unearthly night
Beneath the heavy, austere homes?

Of blue, silver and green the tones
This deepling chamber under the stones
The pipes and wires, as though alive
Like some thing great and olden
Was to this underplace beholden
And did by slow breath live and thrive
"What is this?" I did to him say
But my odd fear he did not allay
And simply descended further yet
And the stairs that creaked and groaned
Played concert with the pipes which moaned
And sighed until we at bottom met
And the damp from here was driven out
Wheeled I then in curiosity about
To see what must have been a great machine
Or was, with its lights and dials
And small lit faces and tubes like vials
Of elfin wine, and thought I'd seen
A monstrosity, but he stopped and said,
"I ought to have been three times dead
But I have fortunes yet to be told
Here and see what hands have made
And be glad you had not kept, and stayed
But stepped forth, like me, quite bold
Against the dark and lit a lamp.."
He did trail off here, for the damp
Did bring him cough and wheeze below
This strange tomb of bluegreen glow
Whose white music breathed its tones?

Then unbeknownst to the heavy stones
Watched above by austere homes
He brought me to the central thing
Around which gathered many a screen
Which blinked to life as one who'd been
By the waking alarm's loud sting
Awakened, and I saw within
A host of tables, the numbers a din
Of movement and black and white
He said after a glance or two
And the pointer to quickly move
"Come, and see the thing aright
And see that mighty fragility
Which is though sterile, virility
And gives some life, where all was dead."
And down a metallic hallway we went
Which to neither way it bent
And now blinking and turning head,
I saw within the vacuum hold
Something brilliant and old
Whose tiny window showed a light
Which was full of stars and darkness
Whose silent spiral, markless
Held in it both day and night
He then said (perhaps to me,)
"This is the power of dark energy,
And if it should but shift a foot
Crushed to darkened powder, us
And those who pass now in the bus
Will all become but airless soot."
And the power of life and death
Were always man's, by his breath
Not by this or any device
But in him always, I know for sure
Without the singularity's lure
And my blood ran cold as ice;
So by churning the dying worlds
Man and beast make life and pearls
And we stood in the bluegreen glow
And we stood in the chamber below
Below the heavy, paving stones
Watched by the hundred austere homes.


The Orator makes his Case

it is addressed thusly:
A thought.
it reads:
I want to speak of the elemental things;
I have heard man tires of them,
I've heard what he places above them
Unworthy, words that may describe
A view of things from an odd-shaped glass
A purview whose qualities may pass
The test of novelty, but bribe
The senses into shock and awe
With only their subjects avoided
All of their Rorshachs Freuded
We have but a lexical hem and haw
And countless uncertain boundaries
Unstructured, attempted spontaneities,
But none to which a lighter music brings
To himself a man is speaking
We his voyeurs, notes are keeping
But silence as an old chair creaking
Marks its listless, erratic pace
Marks the tired lines on its face
And the doctors concerned with the case
And somewhere, outside academie
In an air more disciplined, more free
Free of political perspicacity
Somewhere a soul sings.


The Verse

it reads:
Charred wood, black as ash first
From the roiling fire and cast aside
Once grown high from field to riverside
Now burn bright and dream old
Now double burnt to break the cold
Ash and breath and earth: verse.



it is addressed thusly:
A vision.
it reads:
Sighing and roaring
Breath to breath pacing, steel heart
of oil burning, car.

Brown or green fading
White wall writing, what herald?
Road sign fast passing.

Colored centipede
Whose feet are wheels that sloughs on
Lengthening his rear.

Even breaking sigh
What signal's work so dispersed
Left turn and waiting?

Blue sky forgotten
In ocean of steel and gray
Lead-weight horizon.

No radio plays
I listen instead for breath
For mine and my charge.

Vying for places
Give and take half un-watching
Motives guessed wrongly.

Gripping discs tightly
Returning rubber to earth
All in a brake's work.

Sound of shouting, songs
Made unheard, hummed melody
Thousand steel voices.

Sun high and sun low
Lamps burning a cool, bright fire
Exiles find pasture.


What Goes Around

it is addressed thusly:
A thought.
it reads:
That poetry -
When I thought this through
It came to me like a brick
Through a window;

Listen to me -
Or just read, whichever suits
Your fancy. A conundrum
May follow.

Purity -
Or its lack, more precisely
Was the theme herein
Of these verses from back
When I read others' poetry
Now I dread though

To consider

But I do freely
You see, but I'm getting nowhere
From here to there, so soon
You will know.

The thought I see
Clearly, is this. Can a man become
The sort of man who suffers company
And yet, drives from his path
By fear of or by wrath
All those who could help him
All those who might make him
Be that which he needs to be?

Purity -
Before the face of God, before the gate
Of heaven, before Peter's grim pate
You: below?

But how could you not know
How would you not see what you were
Long ago?


In unbelief, why paint a picture of God?
(or Peter;) Ignore him and walk broad
And slow.

Things three;
Lies we tell ourselves and others,
Trying to have our druthers
And maybe if there is Karma
That it acts not on us - this Dharma
But oh,
Never directly -
But on others first.



it reads:
Ephemera, a word
Descriptive in its own power --
Great in its own hour
To describe what we think
Of a word.

Ironically, or not
Perception transforms reality --
To describe helps make things be
With no more than the blink
We've got.

Microscopic fidelity
Thinks it owns this awesome crux
Of observation's work which bucks
What might have been, we ink



it is addressed thusly:
A thought.
it reads:
My eye does keep expecting to see
In half sleep, a felicity
Around a door, an unknown light
Across the moor, a faerie wight
Down the hall, a shadowed man
Through the wall, a grasping hand
Though angels unseen vigils keep,
My imagination! When does it sleep?



it is addressed thusly:
A thought.
it reads:
That winsome ideal, the topic of Love
Is a suggestion we feel talkative of
Of its virtues! And of those who lack
We must demand they take it back!
Take back their evils, and all the wrongs
And weep a tear for the clamoring throngs
Who want only your understanding
And of course, every last other thing
For when we speak of love we can't
Help but give it our colorful slant
And forget its history, for it does seem
The very now of it does teem
With the feelings we seek as medicine
And gladly extol that it covers all sin
But its image is blurred as if by rain
Its clarion obscured by resentment's skein
And forgetting it has four at least
Faces as were each living beast
Of man, ox and eagle and lion
And belongs not to Nubia or Albion
And of its demands, can we call it free
It is only as cheap as your poverty
The widow's mite! She knew to buy low
And those who talk how can they know?
Love and death, the inseparable things
Caught like must in a linnet's wings
That you sneeze out and blink and tear
O you who drink! Harken now here
When you sing love you spit out death
It tarries along with the spit in your breath
And sweats out thick from every pore
And does into each listener bore:
If only men loved! You spit with a sigh;
But what have you said but, Why don't you die!?