Steady as she goes


Late afternoon.  Light sound
of soprano bell, from bass
drone of freight train
over river-bridge.  Nothing profound

(just slightly wistful).  A poet keeps
time.  In the ear’s recess,
faint heartbeat-stress
marks passage of the sheep

over the dream-track.  Nothing more
nor less.  Down N’Orleans way
the Indians are gay
tonight, beaded with coronation Flor

del Rio del Espiritu Santo.  Amen
& hallelujah, hey-
ey-yo.  Let us pray
for the grain of wheat, the salty bran

of liberation (touch of soul,
Touchstone).  So dance
your way into the trance,
Hal Marie!  & remember, all –

tomorrow’s Lent (already).  The square
of ash upon your brow
a sailor’s salty vow
to steady as she goes (fair,

kind & true).  His hand waves from
the deep – he’s called Acorn.
He wears an English crown
of oakleaf (he’s Vermilion Flem).


A missive from Petropolis


In the clear winter light, the bright life
swings through memory
like steady Mississippi
viewed from a bridge.  My wife,

whispers a tottery unknown Schweik,
hugging his beloved
flak-jacket (bullet-
holes & all) – Maya Jhenna, that Mike

mumbles to Neva (ghost of a muzhik-
moosh)... my shining
inkling, engravening wing-
back turtledove... (nuncle be sick).

Awhile soul clap in jail, this bird
will penetrate the day –
a wormhole P-Jay,
serpentine (heart’s own sail-shroud).

Like Raven, still criss-crowing
over Noah’s bobble-head –
whose flinty beak’s dead
reckoning will note the gorgeous

hillside, blooming afar, over the sea –
so that prophetic castaway
(Hobo-Jonah) will play
black Orpheus to Coulombe-Bee;

a missive from Petropolis
(long-axled hasp)
plumbs Negrepontis
limns Clio’s last golden gasp.



Truth shall make you free


There were Goulds for 150 years
plowing granite outcrops
in New Hampshire.  Topsfield
nurtured them, with jagged shears,

thick brambles, frozen lakes.
They strove in relative
obscurity – no live
broadcasts, no edited remakes.

Live Free or Die.  The grumpy stoic
emits a little light,
no less – the gift outright
be given back (one life, unique).

An intuition of soul liberty,
that’s all – that one might have
life in oneself, to serve
& swerve again (Boethian quiddity);

that conscience might arise like spring
in blustery New England –
a crocus prancing gold
before snow melts; your being

perfect, in a sense (meek master
of your own ramshackle
chicken-yard, O Jacqueline).
You glimpse them off the highway – chicory

menoroth, maybe – glimmering
remote star-woodcuts,
lamps over lonely fields...
just rightness in your bones (beaming).



Upon a tangent in Ravenna


Dawn light through circumference
of dome conveys some sense
of dreaming weightlessness
as of infinity & omnipresence

so Hagia Sophia & peacock tail
might meet upon a tangent
in Ravenna   Dante’s ancient
flame a spark, skimming the axle

of a galaxy, loosed from an arrowhead
flint, striking limestone
footprint (Galilean,
Nazirite).  Behold star in its idea

adamant & diamond
centri-petal (almond
mandate) everybody

Ordinary & Ionian,
the windswept sea-grass
bareness of the place
tombs of sovereign dominion

lean down to green Columba
(San Franciscan)
his poverty of means
reverberating   simple soul euphoria

& an implicit recognition
of immeasurable flow
bread, wine   now
always   (indelible, human)



Old Man of Concrete


By the Somme, a century ago
a sum of desolations.
I had a visitation
in a dream last night.  Harsh old

Uncle Ezra – driven mad
by madness, muttering
corrections, versing
disenchanted elegiacs (sadness

in my head).  After the trenches
he would pit force
‘gainst greedy Usura
high-boot it over squamous stenches,

inky pyramids of mental fright.
Let your barefoot Daphne
skip the alfalfa
down the nave then, rancid knight;

your whisper’s contrapuntal now
through salty reeds (remorse).
Francesca’s creaking hearse
in Rimini.  Cracked limestone brow.

Our errand in the labyrinth
is brief, & mostly blind.
The mirror is unkind
to the unkind.  A little terebinth

will slake its thirst, where lofty elms
once reigned; our monarch
is lowly – yet in his park
wings fan that once were casket-worms.


We seek a sign


I remember that tropic hummingbird
levitating in the garden
in Roger’s Providence –
over crimson bee-balm, sailing leeward

toward St. John’s (St. Elmo’s?) fire.
New World already old
when Williams left the fold
for New-Found Land – an Aztec empire,

blood-soaked under sparkling banners
Huitzilopochtli.  Sign
of bestial regression
(eaten by bad table manners).

We seek a sign, & lift it on a pole –
bow down, force others down
before fresh idols of frustration.
Teeth gnash, flesh burns, heads roll...

But it shall not be so with you,
spake Dov the Nazarene.
One sign alone is given
that lad Jonah, in his whale-canoe.

I recall the scene (Deserto Rosso).
Old guy, utterly grey,
cornered by jumbled array
of gray paint cans (cooped-up, coo-coo)...

We are all Seekers now, Roger.
Pacific island soul,
deep Ocean swell...
gray-green still humming (shepherd-seer).


Compass of Roger Williams (courtesy RI Historical Society)

Leaf to leaf, door to door


Light eddying through layers
of overcast gray sky
whispering, simplify.
Willow’s underleaf, lyre-players?

Silver.  Copper-gray the color
of this beech’s mammoth shade,
whose granite roots cascade
light (leaf to leaf, & door 

to door).  Motionless in time-
space, emitting signs
her gray hide underlines
in graphite (stubborn Balaam’s

Hoover-prophecy).  The beech,
the book, will not be moved.
Ink trail of raven-dove...
bare gouache, still ground (beseech

thee, spare thy headstrong mule) –
O break the prison mold,
snow-blind brain-cold!
Where father & son meet (fool

with fool) beneath the malachite
green veins, gray matter
of bran (or oatmeal banter).
Strange personal jade wight –

shade-mutter, everlasting
Sheba.  Clouds gather
overhead – weather
lit thunder (shackle-blasting).



The power vacuum is a shell game


There’s a power vacuum now
below the Black Sea.
Miriam, a refugee
gives birth at stern of carrack (dhou)

& when Rachel picks up Ishmael
off the concrete salt
an angry orphan (Baltic
pattern?) flings his own skull

at sociable Medea (Simmering
Mother-of-Pearl Revolver
Hid Woeful Moonstar).
& this is just the Evening

Mirror (ravening Wolf-
Mammon).  Somewhere near
(gray whisperdame’s here,
now) Jonah will surf from Gulf –

stubborn mule of humility,
his meek almond eye
only echoes her sigh
(Mary’s blues... welling salty

humanity).  This continuum
of mother-of-pearl, on
the inner lining (onion-
dome anchoring heavy ouragan-

glissando) shapes a simple
turtleshell rainbow –
twilight will bestow
pink robin’s-egg Love-temple.



Where the crooked sumacs are


The Redeye of these freight cars’
heavy backward thunder
over rubidium crossbars’
X.  Where the crooked sumacs are –

their creaky grey akimbo-structures
(rusty caducei).  Amorpho-
phallus Titanium?  No,
not quite... but ruddy, like Osiris-

Oedipus (up 3-Way Highway,
where the pylons meet).
Eddy Parallactic,
relatively paralytic – all that whey

so massive, bending light around
Caesar’s own seizures,
jade embrasures
(pyramidical, tyrannical, profound).

The iron Bruegel earth turns so,
in snowy dunes.  Until
one feathery perpendicular
percolates up (with bleaker crow).

Light eddied, slow (28, 29...)
where a spring coils
moss-green (oeuil
of Bosch, in Kansas City sun);

where Iris plants meek sovereignty
by Eero-Eeyore Gate – &
Eurydice, come late
May, rose... (tiny Iona tree).


MN Arboretum (Jan. 2016)


What's in a sine wave ?


This milky February sun
foretells another spring.
Still far-off – winging
eyebrow-arch reflection

of a snow-blue almond bridge.
Yet near... a looming
whisper (out of Red Wing,
maybe) in your ear.  Sweet pledge

of union, set sail southward
by wattle-crane basket
to mossy reed thicket
below Delta (belle Campagnarde).

Knot-eye of Popeye raptor-
sailor, here trans-
mogrified to mildest
peahen-cockerel (Eeyore-

Sophia, high over Frisco Bay).
Equable & everpresent
orthogonal well of charity

infusing one & all (mandala-
dome, dominion’s
doom).  Everyone’s
chest de trĂ©sor – heart’s ah,

life’s oh... amended Manitou
of Man.  For me & you,
within the vernal blue
of ocean wave (palm-feather true).