the flute zigzags

Thus we bring to a close Book 6 of the great mumble-pilgrimage, in form of Cricket-Chirp Epic, which we call Ravenna Diagram.  Six books = about 340 poems already.  I do believe the sheer steadiness of this eccentric errand is beginning to garner a little more public notice.  Some batches have appeared here and there in Blackbox Manifold, in the U.K., the Journal of Poetics Research, in Australia, the Battersea Review, in the U.S., and in other fine places; one poem is forthcoming someday in the venerable & magnificent Poetry magazine; and the estimable Puncher & Wattman publishers, in Australia, have made a preliminary commitment to bring it forth in book form eventually.  For all this support, I am so grateful to the editors involved.  And special affection-rays beam out to those steadfast readers scattered about Rhode Island & elsewhere in the cosmic blogosphere... thank you, dear pals!


Walk back   through a rainy-day memoir
through the watercolor (Grace
Ravlin   Gloucester, Mass.)
over a fireplace   wherever you are

down the River Road   by the cottonwoods
through the rose garden   with
a quipu-thread   into depths
of summer   Willy’s hobo moods

when the eyes relax   deep into green
& a river flows   to the heart-
matrix (almond, athwart
twin orange trees)   your ascent   unseen

Father Hennepin   or St. Louis
by the Stone Arch Bridge
on   New World ridge
where Evening Star   harps Liberty

These harmonic  concordances
Apollinaire   à New Orleans
Ariadne’s  contra-dance
in sleepy Paree   sybilline séance

The flute zigzags   l’après-midi
sad Adams (Henry) perks
his ear   the password works
once more (Encore, encore!)   you see

twin gates rise   virginal   ange d’or
with safety net   one golden
thread   trompette marine
from Jessie O. to J.   soft whisper-door



Concord, Columbia


This gazebo’s tilted octagon
of weathered, worm-eaten
cedar holds off the rain
in Minneapolis, again.

Again, Henry will dream his songe
like a train-hopping sponge
& let summer arrange
cloud-peaks of glory (strange

magnet, fourchette d’orange).  Concord,
Columbia – créatif
brain-fever of native
mer-wit – good Will’s three-cornered

cap of happiness (wasp Osip’s
honey-basket on the Hill
of Skull).  A game of skill
is Vladimir’s, & music too – the ship’s

a Kievan ark (turned right-side-up
beneath its choral dome).
Salt-azure breath of wisdom
streams from Maximus (one cup

of simple crumblevine); his prong
is set like Lebanon
cedar beside the chronic
faultline – earthquake birthpang,

epileptic flow.  & now one smile
reverses Golgotha
with OK light – it’s manna-
Madeleine (kneads pain into a grail).



of the clay peoples


Path P stretch in six directions
out of Cairo, Huck,
sez Jim – any way you look.
One of them north-south junctions,

I reckon.  There was a labyrinth
of red clay trenches –
dead men in its clenches
like flies hung in a spider’s tent

– heavy that clay, so heavy!
Like the bottom of the sea.
How could a little child be
dancing in such dismal gravy?

She’s Pueblo, of the clay peoples;
they put away wrath before
the sun go down, f’sure.
Lookee there.  & through the peephole

of his fingertips I saw (obscurely
as that garden of Sheba)
a lightning pathway – Sun-Ra
threshing floor – arisen merrily

from ripened Flanders wheat (so
melancholy).  Like Van Gogh
seized with a fury-glow
of happiness... Persephone?  O

yes!  Threading her crane-dance
through a peacock’s eye –
purple Hagia Sophia’s
woolly poncho-swirl (at cave-entrance).



hove-to before Frisco


Strong wind in Minneapolis
today, & slate-gray
clouds (stone solidarity
on high).  Big Wind, my father’s

nickname (Indian Guides).  I picked
West Wind.  Some air
in the ceremony there –
pre-Scouts, & pre-Socratic

too.  How a breeze shoulders a mountain
into laurel blossoms;
how one lilac sums
a people in a spell (for funeral train).

The Word-as-Such... the Word is such
for we who have passed over
Lethe.  It is more
than scent of orange – it is a torch

lit by shaping lips, a summons.
One hectoring nation
circles on its chain
thirsting for liberation... the romance

of Spring on earth.  It is only a turtledove
salience, a gray-feathered
stone from Petersburg;
just a load-bearing mule, hove-

to before Frisco.  & you are called to join
the company of saints –
where Livingstone faints
in swamps of cedar (violet, African).



Gemstone of Paradise


The poem is for lonely you
amidships (I-&-Thou
nailed coign to prow) –
& for that grubby neighbor too

next door (George or Georgina
with the garden hoe).
A solitary lamp-glow
lingers in the old cantina –

in William Blackstone’s study (man
who went to live with...)
– uphill, on the forest path
to Middy Wewe’s blithe fountain.

George Washington spins in his grave
to see how we behave
without a mind to save
us from ourselves.  Thee must be brave,

& true, & kind, & dedicated
to the perfect good –
that global neighborhood
that shines, wid’ green & delicate

kiwi-glow, beneath the rind
of blind & brutal night.
A callow grail-knight
stumbled on it once, near Samarkand –

spry Wolfram rings the tale – &
like an unknown soldier
leapt – O soulman Prospero! –
from here to Skye (in Neva-land).



There are orioles in the woods


They’re casting another bridge across
the River; saws whine,
a tug toots, the cranes
lift high & gawky, like red-rose

giraffes.  There are orioles in the woods...
My long-drawn notes
shore up a span that floats
on vague bleu Gulf streams – moods

& swings; you have to walk between
the strands of frayed thread
looped onto gravity (dead
reckoning)... O plum-colored has-been,

warped by Magdalenian
& riverine diffraction!
Yet one stone section
lifts the key.  Giuliana

limns it, with her simple pottery –
the old grey painter
in his deserted corner
emanates intransigent asperity

like mud-splashed cast-off prophecy.
Only the rough rind
of some green kiwi-mind...
her catenary rainbow bend (sea-

sown, high-flown).  Yon Earth-Gate
shines at earliest dawn –
solemn mandorla-keystone,
freedom-sign (gioia incarnate).



Of Marcel Proust, of Oblomov


In the old octagonal gazebo
shaded from sunrays
screened from mosquitoes
I think of Marcel Proust, of Oblomov;

of the haze of tranquil summers
in an equilibrium
of nature.  Let it come.
The books fade into memoirs,

epics filigree life’s borders
with remote heroics
while the housecat licks
his fur, & children play recorders.

To live life on the edge
of the petunia patch.
To bandage every scratch,
wipe every tear...  sea-azure pledge!

Noah’s flute-compass – a pilot’s
Providence – the homing
pigeon’s purple ring
of ocarina nostos-pivots...

Deep down in the teeming orbit
of the clay, a blessed
favor lifts each nested
creature into intricate

brush-feathered limestone – emerald
fresco, where white-
haired eagles congregate –
floresce into the parchment (gold).


In the deep grain


In the deep grain, American
wood flows like river
darkness, Indian-giver
is your claim   start again

with a gamble, shepherd   desert
is your friend   when you
become a   sheep (who-
who, keens   Cyclops-owl).  My yurt

is yours, pilgrim   enunciates
Canonicus (to the dauntless
youth).  His confidence
in the common good   illustrates

the Second Table   of stone
outlines   everyone
understands   Turkmen
& Catholic   Quakers, even –

that the Good   is transparent
& rooted   a charity
branch   shading   the nitty-
gritty (hungry teeth)   your Parent-

Spirit, who is Heir Apparent
&   (apparently)
Ancient of Mondays
also   her name is Clement

or Clementine   she wears big shoes
she drowned   in the river
it was my mistake   her
name   is Jessie (almond   of the Jews)