light gleams in Colchis

                                No estoy yo aqui que soy tu madre?

The spiral molluscs from Precambrian seabed
in the limestone facing by the door
remind me of you; the bent lyre
of the cottonwood by the riverbank led

me back to you too – bent over your clay
wheel, shaping the river-mud
into a smiling imago.  We tread
your maze toward home, thread-spun Ariadne.

That Mexican Last Supper diorama –
chipped clay bread-&-wine feast
you repaired... bones of a beast
lifted from bloodlines, toward a panorama.

Light from a distant prison window
gleams in Colchis.  Maximus
knots three bright strands
beneath a keystone arch – mingled so,

they mark a brow with perfect diamond,
one spark of dancing flame.
Perfection is the frame
of right accomplishment – the ripe almond

of what thou lovest well.  Well-founded
Gateway Arch, the light flows
east to west – what Rhodos grows
for liberty, for justice (lightning-grounded,

here & now).  Crossed in St. Louis
by Rio del Espiritu – & there
one eerie soaring flare
of Raven passing through (southwest)


inks the last answering quipu
to that sweet hypothesis
of sea-blue Maximus –
the imago, a kind of kindly Manitou-

insignia.  Seal of copper Penny
gleaming from the bottomland;
Columbian wish-well (one hand-
eye palms its moss-green rim... see?).

Southwest, southwest... Cautantowwit,
drawn like a Malcolm, like
a black-orange monarch
through the double dove-doors of that

moonlit mirror, into Mexico –
to touch the orange checkmate
of an azure Golden Gate.
Stubborn, impoverished, soft Frisco

mule!  Lifting the ancient key
of human harmony
again, for you, for me –
netting the breathing sail of safety

there, at last – for Juliet,
for John, for Weldon,
Malcolm, Hart... for everyone
yearning, unreconciled, disconsolate;

& across vast timespace hollows
her winged hands & face
stir courage to embrace –
Grace penetrates the Gates (& Rose).



just east of Providence


Scavenging Raven found a crust
of broken mirror for
his nest above the river,
in a craggy oak (Blackstone, dust-

laden, winding her copper yarn
just east of Providence).
Po (or Eridanus)
glinted in that shard; a purple crayon

traced a spiral crane-dance there,
pinned to a dove-grey water-
wheel (by hand).  The daughter
of Caesar trolled a welded cluster

of rust-rose keys just below the surface –
keys to the worm-riddled door
of haunted Sant’ Apollinaire
in Classe (where Pharos ghost-sails

teem for Stilicho, Galla Placidia).
At his perch, Cautantowwit
reads smokefires lit
from Paris – On 29th of May

Corn Maiden will pirouette
one Final Show (a Waltz
to End All Wars).  Salt
is good, croaks the haunted vet –

share salt amongst yourselves, &
be at peace.  The night bird
oars southwest – his last word
whistled into silence (prairie-land).


Note : on Aug. 23, 408, the great Byzantine general Stilicho was executed in Ravenna.


antipodean parks


Uncle George the plowman zigzags calmly
weaving his furrows back 
& forth (west of Fond du Lac).
Laboring almost at rest, along his way.

The black soil teems with memories.
Childhood in Mendelssohn,
a helium balloon –
only now the fatal pine shades Miriam’s

plein air Jubilee (specific gravity
of coffin-keel).  Time,
History here touch the rim
of a labyrinth (Fro-Back, so corny)

whose perimeter outlines her face –
smiling, dreaming, lost
in the supple meadow-grass
of Eros flowering to Agape (O Grace).

Spruce Mountain rises straight ahead,
pilgrim – just south of Bonnie
Craigielee.  Matilda will be
waltzing there, in a tamarack shade

not far from the sea; she will take your hand
where kids’ bird-voices
boomerang – where earth rejoices
in equilibrium, & equity.  One command

radiates Franciscan swag of turtledove;
one cloud sheds orange arcs
over antipodean parks
of aboriginal penitence (blue Jonah-love).


painting by Phoebe Gould (about age 10)


for the Samaritans of Skala Sikaminias

                                       for the rescuers

A gray light shines through the normal world
a silver-scale dawnlight
like the sea-sound in the right
chord on an oud, like a sail unfurled

on a cedar mast, standing simply free
on a fishing boat, out of Skala
Sikaminias, on Lesbos.  Ah,
sighs the wind, for the drowned refugee –

Oh, keens the seaman, for the ghost
of his son (a scarecrow
helped to shore).  Hard row
now, for Samaritans – for the host

village, gasping by the sea, in the normal
world, in the feathered light
of the mourning dove, so quiet
here (in the soughing wind, in the tall

cedars, in the shy bird’s nest, in the forest
dusk, in the soft
dawnlight, in the gray gull’s loft,
in the normal world).  Plain salt is best.

On a concrete floor, someone traced a star
like an octagon, in a Sapphic
ode – under harsh traffic,
under raving codes, like a graven bar

on a looping ply.  In a rosy key
sailors skim toward home –
from a morning comb,
roosters crow for Lesbos (merrily).


*for more information on sources of this poem, see today's New York Times article


convex grassland cave-complex


I retrace my steps again
along the River Road
past Granddad’s solid old
brick fortress.  A trumpet vine

shines orange & green, climbing
a mud-brown corner into
August light.  I’ll go
down to that riverbank now, rhyming

with Nile & Jordan, Voronezh, Po –
a stream that crosses borders,
winding atlatl corridors
so sinuous & serpentine, into

the gray matière, the mutter-mouth...
sea-grotto of an Ocean
State (salt origin
of shanty-song).  From north to south

diagonal, my yellow gyroscope
leans, vaulting on thread
from Gate of the Dead
(whose soft, dense orange-&-azure rope-

ladder lifts up the gravity of stolid
steel & staggered stone)
to Magdalenian
interior... & cartwheels there – Bride

of convex grassland cave-complex –
Cahokia coyote-
gal, whose Galilee
glee-zone (primordial) sketches a hex-


agon – galactic rumble-stir
of light-warp milky skein
or reign of windy Wayne,
pouring a Who-He? mirror-

ray into the rainbow trine
of spray-tossed clement
Clementine.  Cement
shoes will not keep her in the brine

of Poseidon forever – see her shadow
stride the surface now!
With pink tugboat in tow
paintered to Ariadne’s golden bow

– refracted ball of lambswool, bent
through Roger Williams’ granite
lintel – Dante’s bright
brooder-line.  The Great Commandment

coming down from Manitou
like light... it is
not liable to conquest
conscience is free, a gift to you

who seek for Me.  A wheeling sword
glinted above a garden;
a ring of apple trees, hidden
in shade of Sant’Apollinaire.  Word

melody   green hummingbird vine
Guillaume’s trompette marine
a secret acorn   Queen
of Royal Oak   (she is a 5   & 29)



Noah's yawl


Long ago in Florence, Alighieri
smashed the limestone font
at the Baptistery – Don’t
Panic! – to save a little boy

from drowning.  His prophetic sign,
a riposte for his own exile 
sluiced out with bile
& blood of lawlessness (Italian

style).  The sea rides high, the rain
seems endless.  Human
callousness a given,
leaden sinker-weights anchored in pain

call for a coracle, a basket-woven
safety net (to keep
the child alive, upon
the deep).  Cross-stitch the waves then,

Raven – paint Noah’s yawl afloat
until we memorize the name
that hawsers through this game
of crosshairs (golden, black & white).

Only a shadow over the sea;
an eyelash, lancing
a tiny tear.  So bring
your harp now, Queequeg – free

that pearl-feathered quasi-gull
whose omnipresence bobs
the wavy globe.  Corncobs
& acorns in Polenta (Dante school).



like Don in Key West

milkweed palms


Hobo lounged by the great gray Ocean
River, his old hide detached
a little from his mind,
like Don in Key West, his one-

time winter host (at the Q Motel).
Distanced a little from the
whitecaps, red & blue,
that molder to a stucco frieze of Hell

sometimes.  He remembers wild violets
that peek beneath gray toes
of an elder copper beech, whose
crown shades Providence; those roots

drill deeper than the black & white
of shaky party platforms.
Down beneath worms
mining resentment & indifference, the bite

of greedy centipedes, the slugs
cold as a winter street
in Minneapolis, whose neat
chewing fattens themselves alone (bugs

do not think about their neighbors).
Whose murmurous gray arms
have framed the milkweed farms
of metaphysical Hope, that anchors

Roger Williams’ canoe –
Love’s almond chariot
that smiling Faith built
out of flocks of can-do

monarch wings, green palms
circumferencing the gray
scallops of yesterday –
twin limestone radials (emblems

of spousal harmony, e pluribus
unum).  Whose tap sinks toward
the center of the gourd,
the hearth Love stokes, wells tears...

& where a voice from her grey mirror
sang in Hobo’s ear –
Behold the Platonic Year
revolve at last, aboard my double-decker

Greyhound!  When the game of suits
& spades & royal clubs
gives way to hearts purple
& ruddy diamondstwin 52s

orbit an orange origami octagon,
one Chinese lantern, standing
in the night gardenbring
Hobo to the table, thenIt’s done!

He pondered pumpkin murmurings,
& mooned there, by the muddy
banks.  The breeze of poetry...
only a feeling (sighed).  Our burdenings

borne by that humble muse, whose trust
in some deep loving cloud
grey Manitou’s abode
will wave back (Noah’s buoyant crust).