Gray clouds like a heavy wave across the sky.
Washing over the last of the reddish-gold
maple leaves. Mysterious, water-logged
Thanksgiving – quiet, solitary. Aches
it, perpetual. Slowly. Slow mist of soul –
almost medieval, out the cool window.
Distant sound of Flemish dancing, down-
wind. (Through the mirror's modest pulse.)
(Blurring. Astigmatism.) The distance...
in Louisiana... in a wide flat space,
uttering joyous leaves... it seeps
like a woodland scent. Standish?
John? Speaking for yourself? Or maybe
turpentine, or linseed oil? Solitary
Harry the Minnesota turkey rattles
pardoned neck-whiskers a-beam
the Presidential podium, today. Today.
Heavy roasting odor hangs in the quiet air
of empty streets. A green spar, or sprig
in the lonely room of one gray doting
solitaire, uttering a different scent
(oak sap? Sperm oil?). Today, knave –
in an old house in Paris, covered with vines.
Taste and see, crumblette. River-nets
and trawlers – nascent Crescent.
City. Rio del Espiritu Santo. Flows
one Mardi Gras, 300 years ago – wolfs
down your flood of tears – one tessera or
tesseract. One cataract. One dome
petrified, and buried in your muddy delta
being born, borne upside-down – an addled
ark, ancestral crossroad – mode
of darkened prairie – storming sky
gone black. Pitch-black. And winded.
In your mother's living room – painted node
of bent grass, purple air, skewed sticks
of weathered telephone poles, still standing.
Empty meeting of two roads – three –
in the presence of the wind only – earth
droning, murmuring – under a distended
whining, whistling – call put through too late
to nobody – bent vertical, invisible there
in the frozen painting, at the vortex – ether
calling – switchback – rattler's tale.
Where the serpent curls in the headwaters.
Where the alligator opens wide the gates
of ivory, and all the mistaken messages – Tagus,
Thames – Neva, Yangtse – the whole tawdry mess
merges – emerges – spread and disappear...
bobbing, soaking, sinking – papers, cigarettes,
summer nightloads of confederate rags,
money... toiletries and crockery-of-paradise,
the whole production... handicraft, hand-painted...
as though the scattered basketry of breezy
implausibilities – mere silverfish zebra-
script – tongued a J2 temperate
perfected buoyancy – your oh and ah
along a London flank – Finnish, complete
and seaworthy – a curious token temple
of adhesive animale compagnevole –
the cup or crown of long-forsaken Baptistry.
Longing through the serpentine meanderings
to the spread-wide grand finale of a Mardi Gras
out of Lenten snowfall, backward, forward – stippled
beast, graven, to apple-pied, applied
beatitude – Jonah to Joan in
an arc or surge of stone-dislodged
desire, afloat now, Archimedean –
you reckon, Huck? – you see-saw, Jim?
Acrest to the brim of your Shakespearean
deluge-dodged mad-hatter's reaper's
close-shaved bardic midget's
gunnelled whaler's rim-rhymed absoluted
Absalom, my boy! And they whispered
under the hanging moss, among the wide-spaced
live-oaks, drifting with the curving tumbles
of the banks, rafted and bound together,
logging the current and the depth
with little stones – their pithy thud
sounding token icons, registers
of greater gulfs – further up ahead, downstream.
Mica and aluminum, pings in the soil –
bubbles in the level. Gneiss loss -
binoculars (measuring a missing distance).
Just the words, the symbols, the shapes themselves,
shadowy inscrutable and serene, against
that turgid background of a... bloody
mischancing of human affairs. Vikings and
Dallas Cowboys... Lincoln saw ahead,
LaFarge, Degas (fils de New Orleans) –
beyond the blue-gray looming snarl: blagodar-
nost (mingling with blood and oil). Anointed
stonemason geysers from the throat
with nadezhda – all across black
44. Odessa jail – pale in a cab
in Brooklyn - theater of troth
bonded with a bondsman's muscled arm:
yea, though I walk through the valley of death
– psalm, solemn love-bubble, thread
of overflowing burst from Roman
candle's bronzen breast-coccoon: another
fluttering monarch of my soul (meek
Indian summer colors – merged akme –
Sumerian marks and crane bone theremin).
Oswald fingered a Cuban .44, scrawled
limply, languorous. Sport of nature (sick, ef-
feminate f.m.c., flushed under a doctored kiss).
Democracy (grand seeming, scheming: reckless
gamblers: emboldened lambs). In Creole
haunts, headwaters mingle with the ghosts
borne slowly (through a muddy All Souls'
mist) into the gulf... one live-oak leaf.
more floodwaters from July: