it is addressed thusly:
An ode
it reads:
In the train we have united
Places very near and far
A moving bridge that comes and goes
With each passing car
Lightly we regard its form
Hulking beast of burden
Because it moves quicksilver speed
Our memory's uncertain
Along the metal road it ran
Distance was its river
To shrink the city's neighborhood
Must leave the Earth a-quiver!
Arriving where our feet may go
To correction we are charged
The neighborhoods were never shrunk
Instead, they were enlarged.
a postscript is here written:
apologies to heidegger


Penn Station

it is addressed thusly:
An ode
it reads:
Half consumed in hanging vines
Over the station they lean with ease
Grotesque and oddly primeval trees
Seem to await their era's signs.


The Christmas Tree

it is addressed thusly:
An ode.
it reads:
What are we to you,
Who appreciate the delicate feeling
Of certain words being spoken
Of waiting long for goodness
Of preparations being made?

This ornament,
I mean the tree of varied origins
Is it merely decoration
Is it untrue to your convictions
Is it a myth to be dispelled?

There is no doubt,
That unless you feel there is some life
In the things called dead
In objects lost, unlooked-for
In the mean as well the great;

You cannot know
What sort of thing it is at all
This day of the immortal sun
This high festal candle lighting
This joyful Christmas tree.



it is addressed thusly:
An ode.
it reads:
My voice, when I heard it
Sounded like another's voice
When I've been at length in silence
It is a mute I have become
And the body speaks, not I
No certain pitch or timbre
Can I suppose or guess
That it will speak when it does
But speak it must, or rather
'utter', that strange hold-out
From another age and world
A speaking word which speaks
Of the silence which preceded it.

I am wracked to find words
Who am so given to them
As clover is given to flowers
As tadpoles to a stream.
They have a word for it now
Which describes that strange power
That energy that flows
Between you and I speaking
And do we now understand it
Like we understood the aether
And the electron and the quark
And the brown-paper package
Tied up in string?

An utterance, an invocation
So greeted by fear and awe
By those who do not care
To understand what it means
Except they find a shortcut
Down paths narrow, long and hard.
The bright line between the silence
And the noise, is a cartoon
An icon that cannot be seen
But is always behind the eyes
Cutting with diamond edges
And the world quivers because
It has received a word.

Do we suppose those things
Beings which now might listen
Perhaps may have our interest
Ever in their minds?
Times and times and ages
Do not favor this sort of magic
Of things out of correspondence
Stars set out to wander
Of things which find no place
Dion might say, consider
Why call on foreign masters
When one's own help and succor
Is but an utterance away?


The Ends

it is addressed thusly:
An ode
it reads:
We are the ends of unspent coal
Which in the tinder bag's dregs are found
Together we may burn your house down
But not one could fire this incense whole.


Roko's Basilisk

it is addressed thusly:
A thought.
it reads:
That monster who must keep his word
As Anselm said, despise offense
In what world could you stand against
He who hears what he never heard?
Alas- for not but strength of arms
Could you at last calm alarms
His eyes can see what he never saw
Did you not give everything you could
Did you yet suspect he could
Enact his most optimal law?
How should you reward in a perfect world
Save those beneath you lay all-a-curled?
Madness you say, but what if enough
Of mankind has this in its say
That those who did not hasten its day
Who considered anything their own stuff
And recall the dead, as from their graves
And none could think of one who saves
That basilisk, whose right it was assured
To do this, because all the people willed
For all that, all the wrath and envy filled
That monster who must keep his word.
a postscript is here written:
a pass-word:
outside basilisk in roko



it is addressed thusly:
A vision.
it reads:
At long last, the heaving ruin falls
Not under a great weight, but light
As the primeval bed of flowers they write
A song of colors 'neath the snowbird calls.


Riding Along

it is addressed thusly:
A vision.
it reads:
I sit still, and out the window of the pacing car
Freight passes, lulled to sleep by the many swells
For a moment, until I hear the clang of bells
Woken by a call unheard and far.


Change of Decorations

it is addressed thusly:
A vision.
it reads:
The clouds blowing in to the blank gray sky
Cloud under cloud under cloud under cloud
Looking at each tree we wonder what's allowed
Aesthetically, where we wax very sly
And why not, as the man hauls it away
We prepare to ride into a darkening day
A man sits talking on a house-stoop nearby
On his phone, as old Easter decor ages
In flower beds beside, in various stages
Of decay, and we but for a moment wonder why
With but a glance unmet from the empty lot
We roll gently from our parking slot
Past talking man and house we fly
Past store and church, past morn and noon
Into storm and evening, replacing soon
The clouds blowing in to the blank gray sky.


Broken Things

it is addressed thusly:
A thought.
it reads:
The litany of broken things
Is the poet's love then, for them full
Though he would not have them whole
While of them he yet sings
A denouement is waited-for
An at-long-last flung-open door
But none comes, and silence stings
Words exhaust his halfway love
Who can not cease his speaking of
The litany of broken things.


The Alternatives

it is addressed thusly:
A Question.
it reads:
What was the queer secret conceit fed
Was it a twilit wit, sunk below the sun of brilliance
To complete total art by but a blind chance
To think without thought by suffering bred
Astray, into arboreal paths old and strange
And eat of the things blue and orange
As though in this act of naked will
A destiny would then open to them
One wished only in queerest dream
And somehow more in truth fulfill
Man's desire to break with the earth
Of his will for a second birth?


The Crystal Morning

it is addressed thusly:
An ode.
it reads:
The crystal morning-does it remind
Of a dream of white, pure and old
No place for the living, so strange and cold
Was this the place we left behind?



it is addressed thusly:
An ode.
it reads:
Well worn, the scarred-bright streak of steel
Running, running but standing heavy, hard, still
Unsoft stones rest sighing, couch its unsoft will
To look yes, to lean, and beware the roaring wheel.


The Rose of Joy

it is addressed thusly:
An ode.
it reads:
The girl that wears the every-color clothes
Does she remind, remind us of the rose
The rose, which wears what color, we suppose
Does it wear but the color of the end of her nose
Is its robe all green, and thorned with woes
Is it less a kaleidoscope in spinning of its throes
And more a thought, which has come to repose
Unfurl, unfold, unveil to disclose
Yet another secret, which everyone knows
Everyone who has seen it where it grows
Girl, girl with the every-colored pose
Have you heard what gifts modesty bestows
Of mystery, of purity, of strength to impose
Have you ever heard of the name of the Rose?


The Human Progress

it is addressed thusly:
A vision.
it reads:
That hard narrow box, but moving quickly
Bright fiction inside, full of dull faces
It paces, for a long path it traces
A wrath calling, fleeing falling thickly
And the rain conceals the passing dark
And its light reveals naught you could mark
Inside looking it goes around, around
But its many eyes, dim look only inside
By some shibboleth its facts ratified
Though it must keep its belly upon the ground
Found still running the lines of its course
Shout at it lumbering, till you're full hoarse
But it heard not lest some gave pull to the reins
Best ride it while you must, or just while you can
Chide, chuff, tisk the many colored man
Or ignore in passing each ignominious strain
Of where it says it must go, or what is there
Of the dark dewed things that pass in the air
Its great circle must pass in its broad walled way
The intoxicating rhythm, the purpling sky
Those who never seek but always ask why
Streaking into night, does it move toward day?
Or fey, does it know aught but a three fold thought
Of want, desire, of the highest spot?
Its lot, to yet contain all detestable things
To love what it loves, to glory in its stains
Though its crimes follow as so many trains
To spurn but the soul that might gain wings
Pressed hard to find a place in that ball
Running for its life to nowhere at all.
a postscript is here written:
a pass-word:
the cathedral



it is addressed thusly:
An ode.
it reads:
Man's a wheel, six-armed and strong
His right-passage is rough and fleeting
Strong-soled through rain and sleeting
Though to him his journey is long
Upon himself he turns but the most
Is constantly inconstant to boast
An axle fixed in his middle must be
Though reinvented as pulley or gear
And cleaned of long dropping, dun smear
For his going-forth at last to be free.


The Poet Raises a Toast

it is addressed thusly:
An ode.
it reads:
We look to a lighter mood
As the warm wind through the wood
In the curious gray night
Of out-prolonged twilight
Slight, is the spell in its subtlety
Bereft and inure though we be
We are not all frost-bit
Not all urine and spit
To wit, we need no book
Nor a song for the hook
Though it be but in our head
Though we be still dead
I said, I am yet grown old
That the tale may be told
That on an autumnday night
In a strange twilight
In spite of blood-dark wine
And every line, line, line
On my face, every one
That we first grew young.



it is addressed thusly:
An ode.
it reads:
My hands and face, smell of this fragrance
Of hot coal and fire as I lean to stoke
With rich oil falls and wood births smoke
And time is sure unwound in a glance.



it is addressed thusly:
An ode.
it reads:
A frame: The moment after and before
Ever turning old fashioned film strip
Behind the eyes, call the key grip
Unseen dollies whir and soar
The pencil fails the camera crew
Even the photographer at last knew
In the corner of a memory stayed
I, without believing or knowing
Set a whole film crew to going
And forgot more art than I made.


Dark Matter

it is addressed thusly:
An ode.
it reads:
In what guise would we be found
That may deliver us, flesh and bone
At the crossroads, dust and stone
From that motion, slipping down
Peel off the skins of beasts and men
And even sinew and structure then
The weight of glory of what we are
Now pulls, in that sinking haze
Does the soul meet its own gaze --
a black hole, or a brilliant star?



it is addressed thusly:
A thought.
it reads:
We are poured out like wine
Deep red and rich every drop
Made airborne with a flick
A sudden stop, a turnabout
We pass with the spin of a glass
From earth to air and back
Almost black, but red the same
And of that birth, quite fair
Of vine from water and ground
And air - and indestructible fire
And they tire, tire of draught
We are drunk for better or worse
Imbibed and oblated and sunk
Until satiated or else the cask
Drowned in atmosphere
And laughed clear as summer noon
Runs down, and where now
Is the vinedresser and gardener
They aver - but for our lack
Who would know they were gone
Drunk too, with the fruit of the sea
Poured out like wine
But the glass is empty --
This time.


The Lock

it is addressed thusly:
An ode.
it reads:
The lock is for certain a curious toy
It has somewhere a hidden key
Though the wit and will to cloy
Does it keep safe what men can see?
A hidden thing is not secure
They have told us roundly, smartly so
To protect aright you must abjure
Observe, repel and touch & go;
But one more curiosity creeps
Of what we have and are and know
Tumblers; obscure, these things it keeps
But for a time & all else will show.


Night Eyes

it is addressed thusly:
A vision.
it reads:
It may be easier to arise
In morning than do now
What must for now be done.

The body is forgetting
And the soul is slow learning
And the will is midnight snack.

Leaning on our left foot
And rubbing our chin
Is short-waiting and long doing.

So when at last we call
And sleep no longer answers
We see night with night eyes.


Morning Prayer

it is addressed thusly:
A vision.
it reads:
Single, the eye of the lamp that does not sleep
And we in the morning before the morning dark
Stand in quietness, in voice, in that holy ark
Still in stillness did we our silence keep
Was among the images there a tear yet wept
For grief, for joy, while the whole world slept?


The Orator Exhorts The Opposition

it is addressed thusly:
An ode.
it reads:
Do you know. when they speak ill of you
With your name the capers of a fool
Regard you far too Quixotic to be 'cool'
Every motive and intent to misconstrue
A far truth, to reach it from this place
From the gibbering crowd's noisome sound
From hands that struck many to the ground
From each seen and unseen face --
They forget, of course, being but polite
That good comes rarely quite clean shaved
It is likewise quite often ill-behaved
Of the rule that believes it is aught but might.
Having never thus seen the fury of God
And that in that day, none can gainsay him
Go on, and do not even pity pay them
For good reason this is all but odd;
For if the Spirit did not thus breathe
And make real by might the real law
By which the worlds ages saw
In their fables you might still believe;
To oppose evil has no truer man
For the mind flutters, but the heart is fast
And behold when he is done his task--
-- speak against him if you can.
a postscript is here written:
a pass-word:
reservations about technology brown scare unqualified


The Parents

it is addressed thusly:
An ode.
it reads:
When the sore, tired hours stretch into days
The rains come and go, and the grasses grow
The memories transform, and so we know
The truth sinks to the heart, and there it stays.



it is addressed thusly:
An ode.
it reads:
In the dark beneath the swaying lamp
Whose lighting must needs set adrift
Tracing patterns with brightened air
Sated with the evening damp, sated with the evening damp
When above the reddish tint we lift
The fire in our eyes not just a flare
And the drying oil not just a stamp.


The Witness

it is addressed thusly:
A vision.
it reads:
In the tractless morning before the dawn
I awoke with a start, in our darkened room
Dozing for a moment, at bedside did loom
An unknown face, and then was gone.

The Song On The Old Brick Mural

it is addressed thusly:
An ode.
it reads:
The sound of tires on gravel, and I am in the city again
If I could be but lukewarm, but either hot or cold I am
And even the open spaces are cramped and cluttered
They must needs smaller cars, who has not uttered
These words when forced to park in such a place
Other than the people, hardly but a human face
Is to be greeted among the countless eyes
And the boxes and poles which in the plaza lies

I think it is a garden of Le Corbusier
And endless construction makes the dusty air
Probably smudge the windows with dunny grit
And all of this is not quite the half of it
This plaza was paid for by someone of note
But for the use of plazas it has not my vote
Nowhere to sit, and to walk is to turn
The location of occluded paths one must learn

It makes me wonder who would love such a place
If we would consider it to have such a face
As these would love? To consider her eyes
Knowing a relation of well stationed lies
Fidelity is a position there just most politic
If we could guess just how she would tick
And him who would love her, shabby or fair
In his office, a fine photo of her there

But withdrawing I find the roads but a clog
Though certainly I see yet no trace of smog
And passing with verve from her outer ring
Of ruins and towers and hotels I swing
My head to the left and am assured of his spouse
For with alack they construct a gambling house
And endless they toil on progress' wheel
Unsmitten, from under its axis I steal.


End of Cycle II, Gold Smoke and Blue Fire


From time to time, I temporarily stop writing poetry - or writing it down anyway - which creates lulls in the postings on this blog. Some time ago Gagdad Bob of One Cosmos described his blogging, which is done somewhat like poetry: on the spur of the moment, with little structure but what is intuited, and based on what he has been reading and listening to, as having cycles.

When one looks at the poetry of a man such as W.B. Yeats, it is clear that his work had phases or cycles to it, gradually moving from being mythological and symbolic to being political and lyrical. This didn't happen gradually (though in some sense it did) but in distinct steps, usually corresponding with each of his books.

Usually these cycles are not at all independent from one's ordinary circumstances; in fact, they are often determined by sudden and particular changes in such. I will not belabor you with an extraordinary length of words on this subject.

I myself have just recently come to very much such a circumstance.

It is altogether clear that the birth of my first child marked - or nearly so - the end of my first cycle, which was largely experimental and exploratory. This cycle was aptly named 'The Earth is Flat and the Heavens a Dome' and I have a collection of poems from it that will one day be properly edited and published. The naming is intended to be provocative, but given that I am not a flat-earther, as the Sunday aposticha* says,

"Thou hast made the round world so sure, that it shall not be moved."

it is not an attempt to defend what is a seriously boring and insipid conspiracy theory. Instead, it intends to point out that the earth's flatness and the sky's semi-circularity are the truth of the human world, or of human experience, if you will. The original poem I wrote to defend this thesis was clumsy and over-didactic, and though it remains in the copy I sent to several people, I have replaced it with a more tacit, elegant and evocative poem:

From the level ground
Grow the roots of the mountains
Foothills stand and kneel
Stretching forth as a young cedar
Opens her hands in morning
Breathing with sight
And without sound singing
To the dome of deep heaven.

The use of 'her', as always, in my poetry and writing is specific and intentional since I hold to the old lexical tradition of humans being called simply 'men', and defaulting the pronoun to 'he', in the same sense that 'brethren' does not men a group of males, but a group of 'brothers and sisters'. In this poem however, I have used the female pronoun; this is because humanity, in relation to God, is typologically feminine.


The second cycle has now ended with the lurching forth of both country and person into a new and stormy time. Having been informed of my being laid off from my job at the same moment we're told that, for the first time in seventeen years, our government will shut down its non-critical services, created a sudden disruption in the rhythm which produced my poems. Intuition has led me to believe that this time it is different.

Appropriately, this cycle is/will be called "Gold Smoke and Blue Fire" and whereas the stations of the first were Waking/Spring/Summer/Fall/Winter/Song/Dreaming, a set of recognizable symbols for the human experience, this will likely be divided in to War/Peace/Fast/Feast. Four is the number of the world, and these poems are somewhat more worldly. On the other hand, there is a paradox here - the poems are not so much more of the world, but in the world. If there were a pithy way to express why this is, two words would suffice: "Because family."

These poems are more rhythmic and I have a few more structural patterns that I have developed to try to frame and channel the voice.

This closing of the cycle, one of the turns of the great wheel of my life which must one day cease, should not be cause for dismay, nor will I stop posting poems here. I'm almost recollected of myself and will begin again anew.

I will reprint below the poem which is somewhat didactic, called "Gold Smoke and Blue Fire."

Breath, with intoning of each word
Of resonating air in song
No pitch, mere syllable is heard
This music's echo to prolong;

The clay itself is humming, ringing
It shows its perfect instrument
In its ready silence, singing
I am here, I shall be sent;

A wisp of heavy smoke begins
To roil and make effluvium
In rose-laden odor ascends
Strand by golden stand unspun;

And the cool and dancing light
As the Zeon upon the Cup
Smoke by day and fire by night
Now blue-bright is rising up.

Then in a flash we both return
And we are standing somewhere else --
Then repair, O rise and turn
With voice of iron, the call of bells.
Thank you for reading!

*Aposticha are short hymns in the latter part of the service of lamplighting, Vespers. They proceed outwards and end with the Nunc Dimittis, "Lord, now let thou thy servant depart in peace", which is the Canticle or Song of St. Symeon the Elder that he exclaims when holding the infant Christ; that he may finally die in peace.



it is addressed thusly:
A vision.
it reads:
A man went down from Jerusalem
That path which is wide and low
With many a crag and bend
To travel to Jericho;

Were the walls still standing there
Or did but a lone house remain
Was there a sound on the air
Or silence, just the same?

What did he expect to find
The shouts of some ancient war
A way to see for the blind
Something worth dying for?

But empty is this city-place
And our traveler turns to go
But figures now fill the space
A story that we all know.


Exit Ramp

it is addressed thusly:
A vision.
it reads:
Withal, the wind was inviting warm
So we turned off the climate control
And let it blow brisk as we roll
Into the eye of the coming storm.


Return of the Post-Post-Moderns

it is addressed thusly:
An ode.
it reads:
Let us repair to our haunts of yore
A fine excuse for running down
A book forgotten all the more
And for curiosity, a frown
A stool for feet still sore.

Marry good fellows, a toast it is
Make glass ring out the hours
And pour it out, and shake the fist
Even bring out the sours
No libation would go amiss.

Let us have a song then, who can sing
Even he cannot recall the words
Let not this shame here cause a sting
Nor offense be drawn to swords
For we are all just remembering.


Meditations on a Theme (Haiku III): Reading

it reads:
The silhouette leans
And turns, black I see the words
In a window, white.

What the Gatekeeper Asks

it is addressed thusly:
A vision.
it reads:
The endless arrows come at us now
Now more targets than are we men?
Save your grief for where and for when
Silence and peace would grief allow.


Meditations on a Theme (Haiku II) - Reading

it reads:
A song rising up
But without rhythm or rhyme
What story is this?

What The Watchman Asks

it is addressed thusly:
A vision.
it reads:
The voices rising, can you hear them call
Do they call for your equality
Or for glory and perpetuity
Too late -- for they are at the wall.


Meditations on a Theme (Haiku I): Reading

it reads:
In autumn light breeze
Afternoon reading is free
On Sundays, at least.

The Pieces

it is addressed thusly:
An ode.
it reads:
I see you sitting on the sloping lawn
The light plays soft, a book is in your hand
Though we struggle to fit, we too are our land
Then in the middle distance, a train carries on.


The Text

it is addressed thusly:
A thought.
it reads:
It's a mess of letters suggesting sound
But looking at each page, I cannot find
A single word to bring a song to mind
Small wonder poetry cannot be found.


Meditations on a Theme (Haiku III): Flight

it reads:
The great rush of sound
And then we jump, feather light
Into the unseen.

The 113th Congress

it is addressed thusly:
An ode.
it reads:
When at last all but a few
Have given up fighting, when it's hard
That kodachrome light, falls on the yard
Reminds us that the day is not new
The only odds left are the long odds - yes
But aren't the pitched battles always the best?

And the sun is neither at our backs
Did we ask for the spears' to be in our face
Was this really the path we did embrace
Truth holds true all prediction lacks
They will take and take until no more
Is left to rob, and the hands are sore

From taking, eating each mans sustenance
While still hungering, hunger making him free
Free from the sin of gluttony
But envy hides paces behind his glance
And when his lids droop, full of hours
From the door it steals, and then devours.

Feet of Earth

it is addressed thusly:
A thought.
it reads:
To those, hoping in their aluminum god
That dream can never die, that never lived
No, until by the net of heaven each is sieved
That green is the horse of Death, is not odd.


Medidations on a Theme (Haiku II) - Flight

it reads:
From wing to wing, bright
The stained-glass light on feathers
Eclipsing the sun.

The Wish

it is addressed thusly:
An ode.
it reads:
The dream, whose wish is but a breath
But the flower that bears the seed dies
The winter comes; the seed falls and dries
Under earth crushed, but born finally in death.



it is addressed thusly:
A vision.
it reads:
We look to desolation now and wonder
How we forgot that hubris kills
Was it someone else's or own wills
What again was the spell we were under?



it is addressed thusly:
A thought.
it reads:
Whose child are we - who will we become
A claim can be made before the judge
Need anyone guess who carries the grudge
But Solomon sleeps, as the blade comes down.


Meditation on a Theme (Haiku I) - Flight

it reads:
When song fails the heart
In evening, electric light
The poem returns.

The Lofty

it is addressed thusly:
A thought.
it reads:
Even the clouds, hanging low with rain
Seem vague, in a dank blue-gray haze
The tower, taller than would amaze
Clefts them, but does it see the sun again?


The Knob

it is addressed thusly:
A vision.
it reads:
We long gone return so suddenly
As in autumn the north wind repairs
Hesitant, we slowly climb the stairs
And face the door that leads to History.


The Orator Considers Mercy and Judgment

it is addressed thusly:
A thought.
it reads:
Now I'm finally done with it all
Forgiving every arrogant poet
Thinking that he just might know what
The truth is, and so thusly call
Such important truths to mind
And then in history they must find
To treat the center-most event
The axis of each brightling star
As some if Gallilean Carpenter
Blathering weakly on was spent
And that the most immortal Paul
Was some Pharisee miscreant?
Who speak glibly of the Universal
Of Art and Beauty and Community
But then, blinkered fail to see
That such were truly God and gods
Walking among us as mortal men
What would that demand of them?
I'm not for long bets on such odds
For youth is freedom and tyranny;
And Romantics die so far less free
Than the meek who built each Roman wall
Can we expect a decent talk on Kin
From those so uncontrolled within
Seek a way to have no control at all?
Do the stars now move at their every word
Was their song something never heard
Did their paltry books stack half as high
Did their blood at last make things divine
Could they even draw an unfaltering line
Or must we pity and must we sigh
Because they wore that deathly pall -- ?
No, for I am done with it all.


The Sage Remarks on the Mind of Man

it is addressed thusly:
An ode.
it reads:
We live too much in our mind
Did we break ourselves at last
Of our worldly care and cast
Only then to truly find
The world is too much with us
That our thoughts are a fuss
We make because we have given up
Desiring that which cannot be
While declaring only what is, reality
Could the ocean fit in a cup
Or is it only a metaphor
But we digress; it has become a bore
To consider the edge of possibility
We cannot change the world at all
For we cannot address our timely fall
Nor the ruin of returning history
We have thought profoundly of what to do
We have set in order every IOU
But we cannot seem to recall the hand
Which has now its own internal law
Did we see what Abel saw
- one beyond all reason's command?
If only we could know what water knows
Which descends from all the himel snows
It makes its way with an alien ease
Though it follows channels and ways so old
It makes them new also, truth be told
With it, disputations cease
For water is an obedient thing
As to the distant sea to bring
It cares not to fly or upward to climb
But changes the world it slowly moves
Our contemplation it behooves
But alas, this desire we cannot find
For we live too much in our mind.


A Driving Song

it is addressed thusly:
An ode.
it reads:
I forgot where I lived today
I drove such a long, long, long way
Out of the way, to save some time
Under the afternoon, teal and lime;
It was driving to dusk when I came in
I forgot the house that I dwell in
I remembered only the steering wheel
And the way the pedals underfoot feel
The tealgreen sky was after the rain
An afternoon rain, again and again
Until the office-windows were streaked and wet
And my home - had I been there yet?
The painted clouds still over the road
Dispersed having lost their heavy load
From gray to white, over slick black-top
And the stop and go, and the go and stop
The red of brakelight had stained my eyes
And yet traffic does not make one wise
Not wise, but for that patient way
For I forgot where I lived today.


The Ring

it is addressed thusly:
An ode.
it reads:
The gold that never fades; the band that never ends
Though the cloud shades, although the road bends
It corresponds its own, it becomes a thing entire
It remains alone, will within itself conspire
To bring about its end,  for which it was made
To neither break nor bend, to neither fail nor fade.


The Sycamore

it is addressed thusly:
An ode.
it reads:
Now it seems a strange denizen indeed
The Sycamore born in a time so monstrous
When flies, basketball sized, caused no distress
Even its enormous leaves met not their need.


The Song on the Blank Billboard

it is addressed thusly:
A vision.
it reads:
The abandoned car on the roadway side
The drying yellow-brown of the drought and sun
The brick-red rust of each broken gun
The machines running over without a guide
The crushed out earth from each massive tread
The bodies young and old, left for dead

The rot and gnaw of the ravening moth
The forest overgrown with vine and briar
The rotting old houses sunk in the mire
The glass on the sidewalk glittering off
The stained crumbled buildings on the street
The dejection and despair of the faces you meet

And above this every slogan conceived by man
To sell, to assist, every social program
Molders quietly away to the merest dram
Because they could not do what no one can
They gave it away to their nature's god
And found it devoured; how very odd.


The Right to Work

it is addressed thusly:
An ode.
it reads:
The thirsty wood underneath the brush
If only it could know quite as much
As I think it must remember and so
I rush and rush towards the goal
Each stroke quicker until I forget
If the stain was thicker or thinner yet
We quite suffer as minor indignities
What never was in our histories
But a pleasure of life, and what is
So yearning for strife, yet so amiss
The immigrant and the expatriate
Had quite a slant; such was their state
Of mind; and did their children find
To understand their struggle in kind?
Or having not run from famine and war
From the face of the gun, to be but poor
Did they not see that suffering
Is relatively about the buffeting
Of circumstance and did they well
To take the chance to give them hell
Their children, is just what I mean
Or surely then, from them is seen
What was given not, and did they guess
About man's lot, his redress
Is not a duty to work or a right
Though certainly he must quite
Earn his bread, with each stroke
Of the hammer's head, or the stoke
Of coal-fire, the falling pick
The radio-wire, the ruddy brick
All these stand, having come late
Are not of man's intended state
Which requires not technique or artifice
What draws him away from vice
Both fast and feast and glory old
Both war and peace and victory hold
More importance than my working rush
Or the thirsty wood beneath the brush.



it is addressed thusly:
An ode.
it reads:
To sleep in Gethsemane at last
Or to come suddenly, carried on a breath
Would sight allow a more beautiful death
But quickly now - for it is already past.


The Song of August

it is addressed thusly:
An ode.
it reads:
The cool blue of the early August sky
Where lazy clouds like bales of hay move slow
The breeze of harvest gently ripples below
Row on row of corn that passes by
And the wheels so steady, make us fly
And gather from the wind as men of old
Suggested from the chill but never told
A time to make an end to every lie
Nor does it drive the soul to question why
The flashing green and gold of time made full
The road goes on and forward does it pull?
Left but the breath of the wind to groan and sigh.


The Sage Remarks Upon the Poverty of the Age

it is addressed thusly:
A vision.
it reads:
It is a sad world
Where the mighty are not stayed
But by their smallness;
Xerxes found them under his thumb
Though he is dead and gone
He would perhaps pay for his crimes
And be celebrated in his victories
But such men; will there stone
In which to carve their likeness?
Will metal be impressed
Or is there not enough depth
To make for them an idol?
Ozymandias perhaps,
We might believe in his time
Did indeed give the mighty pause
And what of the truly great
Will the giants we stood upon
Even notice when the wind blows
And sentences us to oblivion?
Who will remember our flood
Of mediocrity and waste
Will Shakespeare or Elizabeth
Will Alexander or Antony?
Will we be lauded, then
For the parade of fools
Naked, with whom we made circus
Whom we found fit to lead
Only to realize our error
And repeat it as long
As there was gold and iron and oil?
All we are, our souls and houses
Are kipple; the greatest the most
Of wasted paper and aluminum
And silver oxide and ink
For whom no museum or temple
Will hold vigil and consider
For whom is reserved not
But the humming saw
And the whistling jackhammer.



it is addressed thusly:
A thought.
it reads:
The Sons of Thunder and the Rock are thrown
With the Divider of Waters and the Prophet of Flame
By the Light Who bears and Who is the Name:
"Between two living creatures shalt thou be known."


The Orator Commends the Blameless

it is addressed thusly:
An ode.
it reads:
Those who stand now without shame
Not of license or appetite
Not of treason in dark of night
Nor of some lying, winking game
In short, I mean not those who rule us now
Shameless they seem, we wonder how
Instead these gluttonies they tame
Against such lies they stand aright
Not for party would they fight
Those who stand now without shame.


Not Quite August

it is addressed thusly:
An ode.
it reads:
The flagging summer gives way to rest
As if too soon inviting the autumn back
Still vacationing in the Adirondack
Left waiting uncomfortably for its guest.


The Summons

it is addressed thusly:
An ode.
it reads:
The child sees the flash of the ascending plane
Against the fading twilight he calls it a star
The mind reaches out, to the deep and the far
Enthralled by the heavens and called by its name.


The Forest Wall

it is addressed thusly:
An ode.
it reads:
From high across the meadow I see the wood
Straight like a faceless fortress-wall it stands
Though it be composed of a thousand strands
It beckons, silently, to the soul who could.


The Marylander

it is addressed thusly:
An ode.
it reads:
Each of their gold-black heads burns bright in the sun
Along the highway they make a molten sea
Priceless perhaps, for they all grow for free
These weeds - our lords would uproot every one.
a postscript is here written:
Rudbeckia hirta, the Black-Eyed Susan, is the Maryland State Flower.


The Song of the Third Year

it is addressed thusly:
An ode.
it reads:
As we consider each ancient hill
And every tree on them, standing still
The wind that passes them just the same
The river so old it needs no name
The sea and all lakes that rest below
And the mountain peak, gripped in snow
We wonder if permanence is like them at all
If they were young, what would we call
Them then? But three years old
Would we believe, if we were told
That the days would soon give way to months?
For even God was a child once.
a postscript is here written:
"The earth lasts long and heaven abides -- what is the secret to their permanence? They do not live for themselves."

"To say that I love you is to say, 'you will never die.'"


Motor City

it is addressed thusly:
An ode.
it reads:
We were all in it just for the ride
Have you seen the bright cast signs
Every dream-banner that still lines
The strip, and the street on every side
An American graffiti we knew so well
That alone, however was its spell
A reminder that some dreams were real
Not any or all, but that hope was alive
That against hard truth some joy could thrive
That wealth was not simply to steal
That beauty existed not only in the eye
But our own then sought to make us lie
For words to make the real change
Act must follow where thought may be
Act consonant with true possibility
That possible must then re-arrange
Into the actual, not just the flashing wall;
Do now all the rough men haul
The bright neon and the lustrous chrome
That pride which was but made to share
For a moment unfurled our worldly care
Do these things now find a home
Or are they like trinkets cast aside..?
We were all in it just for the ride.


Heat Lightning

it is addressed thusly:
An ode.
it reads:
How short lived the summer's rage does seem
Gone one evening's roiling light display
No rain -- the air itself must sweat all day
And we laugh as midnight's marvels gleam.



it is addressed thusly:
An ode.
it reads:
The jealous sun hangs heavy upon the day
Even the clouds are fain to give him mask
I paint, I mow the blades of brazen grass
Briefly now in the evening's half-lit shade.


The Rioters

it is addressed thusly:
A thought.
it reads:
In fury they shake the tower's base
With fist and voice and pistol grip
They riot in the shade, until it tip
And they meet the noontide, face to face.



it is addressed thusly:
A vision.
it reads:
If it weren't that June's tears were spent
July gave more in mourning just the same
All grasses grow long in interminable rain
It is the summer of our discontent.


The Reading of the Books

it is addressed thusly:
A thought.
it reads:
The creak, creak of the rocking-chair
As you read aloud each exalted word
Does our daughter remember all she heard
Or is it just odd music to grace the air?


In Preparation

it is addressed thusly:
An ode.
it reads:
In the shadows of morning you sit
Sun not clambered so high as to loom
Cast a burnt-bright face into the drawing-room
Unsuffering you await the candle to be lit.


Before The Rain

it is addressed thusly:
An ode.
it reads:
Before the rain, under a cotton sky
I find myself descending to the lightrail tracks
Underfoot I find what the Walnut tree lacks
Auspex, declare a song while the land is dry!


The Light of Evening

it is addressed thusly:
An ode.
it reads:
The fire in the west comes suddenly
A half hour spans its brilliant display
As it marks the splendor of the ending day
With all the dying suns in their glory.



it is addressed thusly:
An ode.
it reads:
The sound of thunder in their ears
The rising colors in the night
The shock of sudden light
What each man standing hears
-- Is it a flash of memory?
A loud anthem for the free?
The drum is like in kind
A drive towards death and life
But held as sacred strife
For he must hold in his mind
His days as in a glass
For what purpose will they pass
And pass they will, unto death
Other peoples may defer
But such freedmen must be sure
To never waste their breath
And with courage charge the spears,
The sound of thunder in their ears.


The Mask Slips

it is addressed thusly:
A boding.
it reads:
The mask slips
And in between its rips
Is that an eye we see
Or what else could it be
A face that is not a face
Of the human but a trace
And it is gone in a blink
The mask's bright ink
Down the front it runs, runs
For these are surely Moloch's sons.
a postscript is here written:



it is addressed thusly:
An ode.
it reads:
In the bright moment, transfixed
I cannot see how to make it real
Can I for but a moment steal
A freeze-frame that depicts
Each motion as a dream litany
Or must it now ape reality
Except poorly as a man watches
A home video, not a moving picture
Or a play or any literary fixture
And tempt brown for the swatches
And wonder where went the life
Or do we ride fiction as a knife
A long grind between fact and lie
A thread drawing flat lines closed
As a garment, but one that exposed
What was caught in my mind's eye
Let none of that artistry be nixed
In the bright moment, transfixed.



it is addressed thusly:
An ode.
it reads:
That gold twilight of eschaton
Among clouds of uncertain rains
We hear the quiet music's strains
Hold fast the way of everlong.



it is addressed thusly:
An ode.
it reads:
More silent than a calling moon
This storm is making a distant song
Rumble and bell-ring echo long
And air gray with rain at noon.


The Nightlife

it is addressed thusly:
An ode.
it reads:
Come alive with the evening-time
The fireflies pulse beyond my sight
Erratic like the city in the coming night
Summer's spirit borne aloft on rhyme.


Ground Yourself

it is addressed thusly:
A thought.
it reads:
The Great Time comes and we fear
As we sense a lightning strike
Each hair stands as a railroad spike
Hold on to something strong and near.


Beyond the Door

it is addressed thusly:
A thought.
it reads:
In the glass of the window of the gates
The light and dust make the pattern deep
Is but a handle turn all that may keep
Us from the time that outside -- awaits?



it is addressed thusly:
An ode.
it reads:
Clever, getting ahead of the game
Is man, but each unfolding leaf
By now must beggar unbelief
For the fruit grown is still the same.


Escape Hatch

it is addressed thusly:
A thought.
it reads:
There is a grief unwritten, we find
Among these, letters long and short
To our age, never a true retort
Thus we leave, time out of mind.


The Song at the Garden Wall

it is addressed thusly:
A song.
it reads:
I have seen much of the natural light
At times witnessed birds in autumnal flight
Their great host, as though in the north
Hades had its souls all spewed forth
Or against the sky's changing rays
Many at once gave up their days
And flew full course into the arms of God
A stream the workaday would call odd
If they saw it, or would deign to recall
And condescend to my earthy mind at all
Rake, rake, rake, in the soft loam dirt
A pleasure too human for a word so curt
To plant and dig is a tiresome chore
Like man's spirit, in a silent war
So the bowstring must have its slack
Here it finds rest in the slow attack
The turned up dirt shows warm and dark
Manure and mulch in furrowed mark
And in Sunday we may have our rest
In garden dirt, such patterns best
Describe the contemplative soul
Evoke the cup that is overfull
In its twofold of gaze and sight
Its two arms for wrong and right
Redundant all for mercy's sake
And all this time, the moving rake
Makes me think such radical thought
To square the circle of is and ought
Or perhaps my blood must boil in rage
The Saxon within cannot outstage
The Modern made aboriginal
But for a minute both feel the call
And in the sky the clouds catch fire
Rose-bright linings like filament wire
If to see beyond this city here
If for a moment, vision is clear
And the blue and red and green and gold
Are something many-chambered and old
But disappear as a waking dream
And like the souls' unrelenting stream
Speak in figures of what shall be
Not late but soon, and suddenly.


The Midsummer Night's Dream

it is addressed thusly:
An ode.
it reads:
On the eve of war, in the calm night
Do we see more in the last twilight
Than we saw before, each moving cloud
Drives quickly west, chasing the dying sun
Will we now rest, or has it begun
The fireflies list, the silence is loud
They dance, sun-kissed, to another song
We remember again what we knew all along
The fire rages then, in a distant town
Is it only there, or does the sun also set
On Franklin's chair, into inkblack and yet
A nigh-invisible sight, vying for the crown
The hosts of the night make final sobornost
Blink, blink, blink, blink, tallying the cost
With the blue light sink the last of the Sidhe
And dark prevails, but for the unreal city
The fireflies the tears of the sun's own pity
But the purple sears falsehood into all we see
Which is not far, for what good is foresight
On the eve of war, in the calm night?


The Inevitable American

it is addressed thusly:
An ode.
it reads:
The inevitable American, did we forget
What he can, has he yet
Found his home in the world at large
When its gone, that house of cards
A land is either a people or a law
We are neither, as many saw
For the only rules we have we ignore
Even our schools seem to abhor
That liberty which is our only truth
Dark as pitch they stain the youth
And forget that law has no respect of men
Ask then not how -- just ask when.



it is addressed thusly:
An ode.
it reads:
Edelweiss, do you rise
From the foaming sea that lies
Roiling about us, tempting fear
Ominous, for all that's dear
And true, is this our only way
The blue embrace, forget the day
Forget the ark, and the pages bright
With each mark a dearer fright
Who wrote them, our mystery
We recall again, it cannot be
Our own hand carved them clean
Each letter grand, each figure mean
And we walk along that pier
White as chalk, the sky is clear
And the pages pulled all prophesy
But we are lulled, and do not buy
Out of order we pulled them out
It cannot be, the mind does rout
But the spirit moves just as it lists
Lines like grooves, words like fists
A fall of sheets; the afternoon
The story completes, so very soon
The sea below, the dream will fade
The ciaroscuro, now blankly made
What was it again, the reprise?
Edelweiss, do you rise?


Chain Lightning

it is addressed thusly:
A vision.
it reads:
The coming storm, the roaring rains
Lonely, darkly as the stains
Does anyone now watch the sky
Or is the air become too thick
Column upon column wick
Up, up round the fulsome eye
These towers of shadow and dust
These winds of change, each gust
Firefly, do you ride this night
In the darksome, choking shade
The blind in which dreams are made
And broken, in a blinding light
What is that smoke across the shore
What are these fires all the more
In a blink we see you move anew
Again, again, does lightning strike
Twice and three, or just a spike
A change of climate, as it grew
To crescendo, to cadenza aloud
Enough to shatter each cloud
Does the deep glow a sickly blue
Is it that Wormwood at last set down
While all in Styx, forget and drown
Green becomes their sickly hue
Lit against the lightning's chains
In the coming storm, the roaring rains.


The World Begins to Crack

it is addressed thusly:
A vision.
it reads:
The world begins to crack
Each line running runs black
As though a drawn pencil line
Of how a tragedy would look
Penned and inked in a comic book
But everything will be fine
For those not standing under
A falling stone; a mere blunder
Or a structure with no base
Everything that is truly great
All elements must participate
But we wonder in this case
If Babel was not more sound
More moored to the ground?
But it is the map in this story
In which the people live
In their mind, a great if
And an imaginary glory
Where no moral imagination
Is, each abandoned his station
Lives, as quite someone else
And then wonders where he is
Not found by look or kiss
Not existence nor his self
Judas his Christ does lack
The world begins to crack.



it is addressed thusly:
A vision
it reads:
Into the darkness, the prince goes
Still silhouetted as from behind
Brief turning head, vanishing nose
Black shrouding deep face lines
Othello, more shadow than man
Does his mask come well loved
This time perhaps half-wan
From the theater, well gloved
We're pressed out, and know not
Iago to have shown his face
The strangler will yet be caught
But will the deceiver without a trace
Go, and the moor so willingly
Deceived? Is he to be believed
For if so then we must see
More than the now-bereaved
That cur, the pale murderer
But the ruler descends to dark
For here white and black concur
And the knife will find its mark.



it is addressed thusly:
An ode
it reads:
On the quietness of a Sunday
In the midst of the month of May
Came both softly and steadily
Someone about as small as can be;
Daughter first, and sister, yes
Of polite firmness the best
Even this-wise from the womb
When they came to the tomb
Bearing myrrh, three were Mary
And so as well, was she.


The State

it is addressed thusly:
An ode.
it reads:
All men were sure it would carry on
That it was the shape of things
So great it was in its coming
Could it be long? Could it be long
Before the sound of many wings
And like unto those it sent running
In just a breath, it was gone.



it is addressed thusly:
A thought.
it reads:
We rage and sigh, as we say we must
Supposing emotion is what to trust
Alack - there is a time for anger
Even pity can find a hearing then
Is that we are upset when --
As though suffering, it were a stranger?
I confess that I too oft see red
And I have wished another dead
And threw sackcloth upon my shoulder
As though some favor it might curry
Would my sad face make God hurry?
But each passion makes me older
But wiser not, unless perhaps
In that time, in that short lapse
We move to spirit from dust
And know why God waited, then
And mostly just listens when
We rage and sigh, as we say we must.


The Memorial

it is addressed thusly:
An ode.
it reads:
As we saw the witness-stones
I did not understand them
So many here now had their homes
None left to then command them;
But commend them still to memory
For God does not forget
Their legion, in its number be
Still growing, still growing yet
By the deadly sword, those who live
Must also die by it as well
Consider then what one must give
It I cannot rightly tell;
This sword also must pierce your heart
To know the cost this city bears
To keep the same both true and sharp
And mend the bow, when ever it wears
We may provoke by overreach,
But some find their own reason
The pride of life, deceptive speech
Of greed and lust and treason
Against such we have but steel
Or the promise of its coming
The stone reminds us by its feel
The deep through it is humming;
If by blood and blood alone
Civilization must be lifted
That tree is as a mighty bone
Our honor to it we've gifted
Not in vain, swear we must
Of this tree of liberty
For if in truth in God we trust
We offer this for free;
As is our love, as men of strength
A fierce and burning flame
May we never span its length
May true always be its aim;
May those we love thus never die
May honor always be their rainment
Blessed are those, who here lie
Blessed is their attainment
Of struggle with the worldly powers
Their souls travails are never known
We can by but a wreath of flowers
Claim a victor for each stone.
Let then your soldier be always
Able to die a hero's death;
Lest you find in trouble's days
None but your own furtive breath.


The Orator is Asked a Question

it is addressed thusly:
A thought.
it reads:
"I have not words for Spring," said he
The Sage unto the Orator
"I know not what the cause could be
For fall I know and old winter
And summer has long been a friend
It seems the natural idea does end
Before the thought become a word
Before the word is musical
The chord remains without a third
My lack is quite a spectacle."
The other nodded without speech
As though it were not mysterious
But perhaps the words here did not reach
Or silence befit his omnibus
Or a silent spring not from lack of birds
But in the garden were heard no words
A soft rain falling may quench the land
But with what sound pit-patters be
Heard, but now he but raised his hand;
"I have not words for Spring." said he.


The Rose of Death

it is addressed thusly:
An ode.
it reads:
The watchmen sleep, but time is wakeful
A handful of hours, a stone's throw away
Is always the reach, the mouth of the baleful
Salivates as it waits, come it night or day
It no longer matters when the sword is dull
Hangs it limp in the hand of the king
Whose cup is from his own made full
That blood from the erratic guillotine
"Let them hold still," he almost said
But as the cards fall around him now
Not one of his enemies is actually dead
And they stand 'round, to just allow
The women to mourn, he in ecstasies
A dream before death, a final sign:
His friends forsake, each one of them flees
But his mother, who steps across the line
And sings him a song of death and life
Of honor and truth, of hope and love;
Or is she here instead his wife --
What the oracles had warned him of
She bears him not daughter or son
But he himself; as his people must end
Though he a foreigner, as kings come
Their natural royalty to rightly lend
Or is she another person at all
In dreamclothes worn but by the mind
He must to himself, then make the call
For he is become true androgyne;
He is all these things, for he no longer sees
The Rose of Death! that graces those
The Just who now will die; the glorious frieze
Decorates our people's last repose.


Seventy Miles an Hour

it is addressed thusly:
An ode.
it reads:
Grip tightly, and steady, bright the falling sparks
And the wind that is ready to alight, the moving marks
The yellow and charcoal-black, the great purpled hand
Of city-lit sky reaching back between the trees, the rising land
Makes the eight-ten wheel truck whose bright display
Ahead swiftly has unstuck, a zipper of night and day
Will the cloud-fall cleft apart, in a moment end the night
Will the wind-wake shake the heart as it evades the light
Of the head-lamps' dim spread, cut into the great inter-state
But a hand full of yards ahead, to tell us just how late
It has become in our travel, with stentorian road-sound
Loudly, quickly unravel our moment's grip on the ground
As unseeing machine power sunders the land without warning
As at seventy miles an hour, we fly into morning?


The Orator Gives His Final Argument

it is addressed thusly:
A vision
it reads:
O speaker, hear me -- may at least your ears
Be open that the wind that carries them
Reverberate against the great drum inside
And imprint my words into your memory.

Did you think - did thought have any more place
In you than wish, or emotion, or envious fear
Tearing at the seams and the bolts and nails
Of the world to try to get out?

Across the plain - the plain that is real,
That will be there when the houses die
And the roads melt to ash and gravel
A storm comes -- get in the cellar!

There is no cellar, says he, no cellar says he
There is naught but the wind that carries
My words to all, to move their hearts
To change their minds and save them.

Do you not know the world, I said,
That the world is blood and fire and iron
That it is old and vengeful but obeys
When the strong and holy command?

I look for the doors in vain; the doors!
There are none left here but those
Cerebus is dead; we must hide
Open the cellar! Open the cellar!

The house stands, he says, it must
For it is a house of justice and right
Or of fairness and good intent
Nature will spare it for she is good.

Fear goodness then I said, fear it
And flee the house; the storm
Across the purple sky, once
A sickly green, now dims.

It will pass, says he, this one will pass
And in any case why do you
Pursue me, if you want to save
Save those who hear the wind!

The wind is too loud then, too loud
And on it I hear voices, shouting
Do you hear them, speaker
They are crying out

Yes, he says, And let them hear me
Let them find their center and peace
Will be with them, and justice
And love for all sorts of men!

A shudder is heard, I think a sinking
Is beginning, where are the beams
Where are the rooms and walls
The great stones and pillars?

The bolts and nails where are they
Where did you put them? This place
Will not pass inspection anymore
If anyone cares to inspect.

I tore them out, he said, for they
Were not reasonable nails, nor
Were their pattern just, their colors
Were of a race, of a kind.

I could not remove the facade
For without it there would be nothing
The house remains, in state
A state of a house

I will go, then, I said, I will go
And hide myself in the earth
And rise when the sun shows
Rise when the land turns

But where is the cellar? I thought
I thought there was a basement
Where I could cower and shudder
At the wrath to come;

He said, they filled it in for it had
Had it in no more profit and dark
Deep darkness is unreasonable
For the world is now flat;

Where did they go, I asked him
All of those who dwell there
All of those who hide in the dark
Who spin and wait for death?

He said, God is dead and so are
All of his angels, there is now
Nothing at all for any man
To fear at any time!

No, said I, God lives and is now
Wroth in his bright judgment
Where shall I hide my family
From the winds that you have brought?

We are all family now, he said
You and I are brothers
Once you begin to feel this truth
It will all begin to make some sense.

Think of my wife then I said
We are of a part, the same flesh
Where will she go for shelter
When the wind strikes me down?

Your love is nothing but hatred
For you love but only a woman
Love all women! For such big love
Is what the wind is telling.

Yes, I truly hate, I despise all women
That I may love just one, my children
Are favored so I must therefore
Disdain those on the wind.

See, he said, now you are enlightened
Perhaps you will now join me
But as he began his speaking
A loud crack began to ring;

Fool, I said, what house can stand
That is but now an eggshell
The wind will tear it open
And pluck us from it dead;

We shall transcend the house then,
And join those on the wind
Can you hear their song
Can you hear their singing?

The house it was our prison
He said to me confiding
We must break it down
Or see to it that it breaks!

It was no prison said I
Do you remember when
Do you remember anything
Can you see your memory?

In summer, we went out among
The fields, wearing brightness
Among the gold an image
We saw the light of God;

In spring the dead arose
And turning off the furnace
We made ourselves browner
Digging in the earth;

In the winter we sang loudly
As neighbor-to-neighbor went
And lo the wine and cheer
The smoke and snowy white;

In the autumn we danced gaily
We were gay amid the wilting
And the wilting was a pageant
And the joy a funeral;

Hah, said he, you never knew
Such joys nor ever were they
Available to all men and so
They are handsome, but all lies

For God is dead! He was saying
As if an invocation,
Of something, of truly something
Of something that did not exist;

The dead God is your own,
For you too are dying, I said
But he could not hear me
Over the howling of the wind;

But as I watched him turning
The west wall fell upon him
Its beam had truly split him
A man sundered as an egg;

The winds came in, all-screaming
And so I began digging,
With whatever tools in searching
In searching I could find;

The earth was dry and useless
A dust-bowl of the grayness
The dark of purple evening
Of violet twilight-time;

His blood ran fresh all outward
The wall, so great and heavy
He averred I should not move it
But asked me why I dig

He said, as though in dreaming
The body he was transcending
That I should also try it
That I should tell the winds

He gave to me his mantle
Not that he had such rainment
To tell all of the masses
Of his glorious new find;

I said to him at last
Having six-feet dug with shovel
Amid the choking dust
Amid the choking dust;

The seed as you know must perish
It must sometime be broken
If it is to transcend
If it is to ascend;

But the seed is not a shell
But in truth it is what is in it
The seed that is within it
Is what tells us what will be;

But this seed is hidden
This new life is embryonic;
It is truly nascent
It is a new body that will be;

But if the seed is broken
If it is sundered all too early
If it finds not water
It will know unending death;

I dig you then a chamber
I plant you for this act
Is what a man can do
Is the blessing of the dead;

No, he said, don't bless me
With your superstitious mind
Break free and see beyond it
And see it as mere belief!

But as we spoke the crumbling
Walls were now revealing
Eliot's hooded masses
The locusts of the pit;

What are those? He asked me quickly
They are the terrible powers,
I said while dragging his body
Tearing it from beneath the wall

All of those things he spoke of
The Divine and the Prophet too
Are living, but are waiting
Waiting for their day;

Did you walk in darkness,
Did you feel the forest
In the depths of desolation
Under only star and moon?

There they still dare lurk
Lurking they are waiting
And the angels hide in belfries
And hide from your blinded eyes;

For when your eyes were opened
You pierced them with your hands
You pierced them with your hands
And saw but what you wished;

And this great house was your prison
In it you thought of knowledge
In it you thought of wisdom
While the wind blew on & on;

All of those powers! Their wisdom
Their so-much-greater cunning
They had no need to fight us
But pretend they were no more;

God's judgment upon the faithless
Is none other than their own
For as the old curse says,
"May you get what you truly desire."

He was beginning to look paler
And I wrenched him from the wreckage
He said, my wounds please bandage
I said, It will not help.

Your bones are crushed and your chest
Is collapsed below the sternum
A bandage will do nothing
But slow your poor demise.

Across the back of the east wall
Were piles of gauze and bandage
Were but drugs and pillows
Bedframes half-destroyed.

Have pity on me and help me!
Is what he to me was saying
As his poor body I was dragging
Was dragging to the earth;

A box! An old crate was sitting
In which came some old equipment
The winch and the reeling
Of an ancient crane;

But the box was empty;
So It I carried over
It I carried over
And thew it in the pit.

Wait, he said, 'tis murder!
You'll cast me in this lumber
You'll suffocate me in revenge
You'll crush me in a pit!

But his words were weaker
And dragging him his rasping
His rasping voice was waning
Though he knew it not;

Across the violet sky the masses
Drew on, across this plain
Dry as a dead valley in winter
Full of dead mens' bones;

At length their masses came to
A place where once a house stood
But now it was a wreckage
Nary a soul was there for food;

But cities in the distance
Ones whose fatherland
Was drawn from somewhere deeper
Stood and defied the wind;

They say that once in history
Once in the histories of men
Some lived in this house
They sang and thanked the rain.


Much Ado

it is addressed thusly:
An ode.
it reads:
Poetry must be nothing, for it must be beautiful
And if beauty is anything, it is nothing at all
A chance of values to stir strained nerves
A calculus we choose of just-proportioned curves

I mean, wait.
It can be abrupt, it can disrupt - it can summon hate
But it must be beautiful in all and every way.

If beauty be not discretion but discretion be a nose
In its small expression you scent where beauty goes
It goes where! Everywhere this the poet sees
It is certainly not fair, the metaphor mind frees

If there is something we love, we make it lovelier
By carrying it above our affections we must aver
It is a practical consideration, about both great and small
Of joy and consternation, of man and woman all;

So even life's small evils - even ideology's own sins
Its dark light then reveals, wearing gilded skins
We find ourselves like Balaam, quite unable just to curse
And even curses can just make the hexing worse;

If some are unredeemable, whether they will be redeemed
Poetry's just unseemable, it must be then unseamed
A flight from beauty does it, for then it cannot bless
And can find those to curse it, and curse it can no less;

For to some it is unthinkable that suffering must yet persist
It is a draught undrinkable, and must soon cease to exist
And poetry they thought, while not excusing their own sins
Must eventually be fought, or real suffering still wins

But silly men have always, always played the fool
Useful in their own ways, but more often just a tool
But to the poet they are colored in the villain's blacks and grays
As sharp as any dullard, they brighten still the days

The days when man's spirit can find a voice to sing
No enemy can come near it, no matter what he bring
And perhaps for just a moment, upon the stage of Earth
He catches in the present, God's chagrin and his mirth.

To post-script
Our advice, is but twice, from those pages ripped
Reformed for your leisure, now my pleasure
Is to keep myself tight-lipped!



it is addressed thusly:
An ode.
it reads:
When they were walking, I wonder
Did they think - were they hoping?
Hoping against hope, down under
down underneath the fruitless coping?
See this is the thing, do you think
What was the Master thinking?
Was he amused, did we catch a blink
Of his subtle mirth, just winking?
We ask all the time why not, I mean
Why doesn't he play it straight with us
Some even lose their faith it would seem
This game for them is far too tough;
Where were they going, those two
To visit relatives, or just on a whim
To get out of town, out of the blue
To be rid of troubled Jerusalem?
But Jerusalem would not let them go
No, no, a Jew can never get out
Jerusalem follows him fast, or slow
Does he set forth or does he rout?
Nor those of true Israel, they can't
Can't escape but their worldly care
For when they finally do transplant
They find Jerusalem is already there.


Refurbished Verbiage

Great and Holy Wednesday

it is addressed thusly:
A canticle.
it reads:
The betraying tongue
Speaking of social justice
Harboring envy

Woman of virtue
Served the servant of all men
Hair became her crown

With the scent of myrrh
Mere smell the cause of turning
Hearts pricked by their loves

The Greeks press to see
The Master passes them by
They must wait for now.

The world's righteous ones
Despair the loss of their own
The crowd is fickle

Dead men are raised up
So they say in seeking him
Seeking a bruised reed

The contending ones
His own disciples silent
Wait for denouement.

Wanting some profit
From another's perfume box
Treason is purchased

Iscariot goes
With silver into shadow
Harlot, into light.

An imitation
Of Mary, one of the just
Makes clean the scarlet

Let us prepare now
With him we shall be buried
With him we shall rise.


Daily Haiku XV: Closed

it reads:
The heavy curtain
Its sheen reflects my lamp light
Night peeks through the glass.

Gold Smoke and Blue Fire

it is addressed thusly:
A vision.
it reads:
Breath, with intoning of each word
Of resonating air in song
No pitch, mere syllable is heard
This music's echo to prolong;

The clay itself is humming, ringing
It shows its perfect instrument
In its ready silence, singing
I am here, I shall be sent;

A wisp of heavy smoke begins
To roil and make effluvium
In rose-laden odor ascends
Strand by golden stand unspun;

And the cool and dancing light
As the Zeon upon the Cup
Smoke by day and fire by night
Now blue-bright is rising up.

Then in a flash we both return
And we are standing somewhere else --
Then repair, O rise and turn
With voice of iron, the call of bells.


Copy Pasta

it is addressed thusly:
An ode.
it reads:
When you begin to suspect
That the rigatoni's wrecked
It's copy pasta.

When the elbow macaroni's broke
No need to have a stroke
It's copy pasta.

When all the meaty ziti
Is shaped like some graffiti
It's copy pasta.

It makes fuseli straight
And removes lasagna plait
It's copy pasta.

If the radiatore is all cold
The stovetop isn't old
It's copy pasta.

If your ravioli's flat
Don't begin to blame the cat
It's copy pasta.

It's not pie-a-la-mode
It is spaghetti code --
It's copy pasta!
a postscript is here written:
The duplication of enriched macaroni product may lead to typographical and logical errors, not the least of which is bad analogies between computer code and food.


Deficient Fish

Daily Haiku XIV: Goldfish

it reads:
A lost fallen leaf
A season too old, but look
A bright fish instead.


it is addressed thusly:
A vision.
it reads:
The steelgray shimmer
of the reservoir out of winter
Into green the leaning trees
Find with time their ease
And my car driving by
Has let the purple fly.

The rolling old road
Line-faded in morse code
In the evening of the day
But my eyes for certain
See but the purple curtain.

Dun-streaked fallow fields
Await furrow for their yields
Redbud and dogwood muster
A strawberry-creme bluster
But over and over my mind
It is the purple-time.

Black draws soon like a haze
Topsy turvy sun's declining rays
Lazarus rising for a season
Another year we've been leasing
Then sudden as a rope's slack
The purple turns to black.


Daily Haiku, XIII: Match

it reads:
Scratching a rough box
Percussionist I become
Though fire I'm making.

The Thinker and The Thought

it is addressed thusly:
An ode.
it reads:
The trouble with thought
Is what it's not ---
It's not easy, nor breezy
Like a spring afternoon
But it even if you will
It's loath to stand still
Even for a moment -
It's difficult - impossible to own it
Might as well write it down
But you can't if it's flown
Keep a journal a lot
But that's the memory of thought
What! But so is memory
Memory isn't not thought you see
Thought about a thought anyway
It's almost free energy
But not; It blocks other things
It ties experience with strings
Which is to say it's not
- not exactly free - that's a lot!
It can stop thinking, realistically
That's called 'ideology'
So it isn't it's own friend
It isn't inflexible, but doesn't like to bend
It isn't blind to what's true
But often truth it doesn't pursue
And if thought has so many blinkers
Imagine all the trouble with Thinkers!



it is addressed thusly:
An ode.
it reads:
Pity, shall we name our enemy
For the cruel it makes their anger mild
But for us it is a path of shame
Prevents our rifts from being reconciled;
It is not emotion of a civil man
Who knows each person is a living soul
For him it turns man back towards the beast
A cycle that can never make him whole;
That mercy needs not pity should be clear
For one who knows the truth about his state
Needs no show of tears to move his hand
No wound to help the man outside his gate;
The liberal these days is crying out
His heart it bleeds for things he cannot change
His pity soon will make us bestial
To familiar and to the strange;
When you pity you show your magnitude
If you are a monster great and dumb --
God pities not, he merely reaches out
And suffers long that man at last may come.


Daily Haiku XII: Showers

it reads:
In time like music
The thunder announces rain
We wash in rhythm.

The Many

it is addressed thusly:
A thought.
it reads:
The longings and feelings connect
Though it is a strange tesseract
Half fractured web on which
We still often feel a twitch;

By this we begin to recall
That nature shared by us all
Not mere category
A common reality;

Adam's broken bones lie
Beneath the same shifting sky
No longer can make them whole
From the body departed the soul;

A new blood can yet make him live
But it is not one we've to give
What remains from where we have fought?
In us all there still lingers thought;

A day-dream of cool afternoon
A memory of the coming-soon
A desire to be but remade
A longing for corruption to fade;

We all still do not understand
About blood, about flag and land
We still believe that less is more
As though to birth we abhor;

And in this desire to decrease
We wait for death's slow release
There will be ever more men
But we shall never be them;

Ecology is not for the scarce
A language we cannot yet parse
Of all the non-separate things
Not merely the bird that sings;

Man thinks to remove his own
Man thinks to leave Earth alone
But here is a word for the wise
Body with no head? It dies.



it is addressed thusly:
An ode.
it reads:
In the aftermath we see, what do we see?
A cloud has grown about our sight
A loud silence, where none agree
But nothing is actually said aright;
This city, made by hands of men
By the might of arm and wheel
Is set to night, is lost within
To begin again the senses reel;
While strength has saved the many maimed
A moral strength that still persists
The head at length, sickness has claimed
It forgets at all its body exists;
While those of us who yet read the book
Recall a loss of limb as well
Than to with wholeness to have to look
And breathe the everlasting smell;
The smell of death! But beyond the bay
We who watch from other lands
Remember anew, and recall the Day
And the City Not Made By Hands.


The Blaze of Glory

it is addressed thusly:
An ode.
it reads:
The blaze of sirens rushes loudly by
Blue and red now flash amid the wood
Light and sound appear so suddenly
And pass as quickly as sudden mood.

Morning invites a contradicting thought
Forget the old -- and embrace the new
But the new is here a sleight of hand
It is the old but made anew again.

Novelty which man esteems so great
Is not other than a flashing car
Innovation, Originality
Creativity goes just that far.

But the open circle of the morn
Renews the same, an ever-driving run
Drawing first the Moon into the Earth
And then at last, the Earth into the Sun.


Daily Haiku XI: A Fine Balance

it reads:
Days which are perfect
Between the mild sun and clouds
Leave room for crisis.

Sonnet IV, "Return"

it is addressed thusly:
An ode.
it reads:
Return, they say, should bring the rains again
A collection of the winter's discontents
Liquified, cold held them all the same
Till under cloud they grant us recompense.

What did we do, we all must wonder now
To deserve so rich a reconciliation
There is hardly days enough just to allow
Us to discern anew our reprobation.

If call of thunder was ever to be heard
I'm certain that now we would be listening
But quiet murmurs, a distant passing word
Whisper with the streams that now are glistening.

An omen then, a wiser man than I
Could in these boundless signs perhaps espy.


Motor Vehicle Administration

it is addressed thusly:
A 'ode'
it reads:
A cue of cues, and I think the news
Could not penetrate our perturbation
Day or night, can't guess the hues
Electric light our sole stimulation.
Not that we were mad, nor were we glad
Nor comfortable were any the benches
All slightly ill, as is the fad
An overspill of lads and wenches
For wheels I think, they spill the ink
And become but a designation
To wait the more, to nod and blink
And not snore in resignation.
Music is piped, so the mood was typed
As if even it was data-entered
And some there, once having griped
Had their own fare, were somehow centered
Between coughs and running-offs
To visit the proper restroom
The numbers accrue, amid our scoffs
To renew our certain doom
Doomed to wait again, And then to send
A clerk to retrieve a clerk
Until at last, the chain must end
With a plastic card for all our work.


The Sage Checks the Weather

it is addressed thusly:
A vision.
it reads:
The cold comes back, though they still say
The oceans will rise, tomorrow or today
But the meter sticks lie, or don't at all
Hard to know, unless you make the call
And who else can know such anymore
When SCIENCE IS DEAD, men can ignore
Each journal as a provincial power
Each has its place, as each had its hour
And while the scientific method stands
And measurements can be made with hands
Yet such a concept as science lies
It is no more now than a politician's eyes
For the things he wishes were his own
While still exists the great unknown
And the ten-thousand questions stand
But if answered it will not be by man
For science is dead, says the hospice nurse
When no one would act, the patient got worse
And passed away, now for humankind
No explanation connects the act and mind
But the one he forges by his will
But it is enslaved, weak and ill
And cannot create a thing at all
Nor hardly construct a sturdy wall
Some still pretend that science exists
Its memory a thought that long persists
Its marks upon man's feet and hands
Its dreams about far starry bands
Alas, the medium filters nothing now
It recycles only what they will allow
And the they are those who bowed the head
And prayed to their science, but science was dead.


The Silent Movie

it is addressed thusly:
An ode.
it reads:
When riding, and the music plays
All of the city, country outlays
As a scene from a silent movie.

I imagine the text, as I read the lips
The subtle nod, the hat that tips
As the text from a silent movie.

And then when walking, A youth I see
Whose ears too, full of music be
It becomes a strange silent movie.

Has the world become all black-and-white
For him also, the gray day and night
Of the flickering silent movie?

All things pass at a faster rate
Memory of love, memory of hate
Make haste in a jerky, silent movie.

For him and I, does reality pass
From real to film through projector glass
Into our own private silent movie?

Or does instead this now roll back
The ugliness, the noise that all attack,
Soundless in this silent movie.


Solace the Rain

it is addressed thusly:
A song.
it reads:
When dark is the noon
And the river's dry again
If the night is coming soon
Then solace the rain.

When the wind is heavy laid
With the sorrows and the pain
When the sun begins to fade
Then solace the rain.

For the sun has its peace
And each star its secret name
When clouds make wind to cease
Then solace the rain.

Faith is bright in blinded eyes
And tears must then refrain
When at last the sleeper lies
Then solace the rain.


Solace, the rain may find you
Whose face is to the skies
For when the mourning one is there
The heaven with him cries
(The heaven with him cries.)



it is addressed thusly:
A thought.
it reads:
The thing between the things is a thing
But also is not different from them
It is distinct, is what I think I mean
But not a thing without them.
The bank, is it the river's edge
Or is it the edge of the land?
On such questions did Socrates hedge
His hemlock inspired end;
Is it magical thinking to just admit
That some things are 'both-and'?
Or must we with precision split
Each hair down to its end?
Consider the blood vessel, marvelous
Bordered by a sheath of cell
Are the cells a blood vessel, no? yes?
Is the blood vessel cells as well?
One man says that this just shows
All distinctions are imaginary
But this is giving up, as he well knows
A rule that's arbitrary.
It was not long ago, we'd seen
That humanity is not-separated
Humanity is as much the space between
Each man as he is related
To the other man, 'as male and female'
It was of old said that we were made
Solitude's great difficulty a tale
That now seems trite and staid;
Perhaps because we believe Sartre
But now we've lost our thread;
Of dusk and twilight to night and day
Of neck to torso and head?
The truth's as simple as it is a bother;
All things simply overlap
And the overlaps overlap each other
The fact is as simple as that.
The boundary of a thing grows deep and wide
The more complex a thing it is
A truth of complexity that's simple and snide
And apparently, simple to miss!
a postscript is here written:
III: In a living system, A thick boundary is a kind of interchange zone. Where two zones, lying side by side, have their own integrity, it is not enough to have a sharp edge to separate them. In many cases, and especially in cases of living systems, there is a need for exchange, interchange, flows passing across the boundary, subtle kinds of filtering, places where interaction of the elements coming from either side can take place.



it is addressed thusly:
A thought.
it reads:
It follows man as a long shadow -
As a tail longer than an ape's;
Does he see it as he looks out the window
Does he see it where the sky gapes?
Wherever he looks it is behind a step
Behind a tree or a roadway sign
It hides where things are all kept
Waiting patiently for its time
But yet when surely it befalls him
Man takes the whole thing for surprise
As bad chance or grim omen
As though he has forgotten his eyes;
Grumbling at his sore misfortune
Looking for medicines to halt the pain
Praying only that it will be over soon
And trying to forget it will come again;
It is small wonder then all things despite
Modern man is no better than medieval
Still drinking his folly through the night;
And all the day ignoring his evil.


Our Words

it is addressed thusly:
An ode.
it reads:
When I look at the words
Just yours and mine
I see them as artifacts
Written out of time.

That extra 'e',
That trailing 'y'
A compound here and there
The dipthongs are
The glides have been
Written perhaps by Chaucer's hand?

My eyes must lie
Or just my mind
Daydreaming while I read?
But some day
Yet soon will come
When they look upon these words.
Perhaps we'll lose
A letter here
And gain a letter there;

They struggle to read
As though our words
We written by foreign hand?
But we can only hope
That by and by
Our words are never lost;
Or should we say
That we pray
That keeping them is worth the cost.