Fontegaia Space Odyssey.


A still-bare delta of branching limbs
in light March rain. Tributaries
flecked with tiny green flotillas.
Something pulsing through those stems

redeems the worn-out winter grass,
trash-dotted ground. Old unshaven
hung-over hobo season! Even pavement
sprouts your weedy wanderlust (en-masse).

A momentary pirhouette. 10, 9, 8...
two billion years from now, the galaxies
Andromeda and Milky Way (say stargazers)
will marry, merge. Black-hole checkmate.

The End. So let Hobo unfold his hand.
A pocket-size apocalypse (poco al poco,
loco pard). He'll only marry Mocha
Midge, his loony star - her wedding band

but a wavelength long (blood orange to
dark honey milk). Twin doubtful wraith
those two will plait - a ghostly path
across Lethe - wrung out of range

of deepest light (one copper penny
pays the fare). And we were there,
fair witnesses. It's in the air,
maroon, marine - in Magdalen's keen

cleaving to your fate. A way of seeing
April blindly home; a copper wight's green
calibration, tightening a Pvt. No One's
skull. You paid in full, O Revenant (beaming).
Where is this Fontegaia, the poem, a-goin'?

Who cares? Not Poetryland. Their loss.

It's not work, for me. It's play, though it takes some effort.

I'm trying to blend some things, some figures & ideas. I'm drawing toward a design & thematic crux of this long poem. (There is a numerical & sort of structural design, but I won't go into that.)

What's it all about? Well, I'm trying to establish some affinities - very tentative, very gradual, very indirect.

1) there's the link between, on the one hand, Siena, as a sort of aesthetic model of the "free city", with its art and natural surroundings (the hidden river Diana) - and, on the other hand, some of the spiritual roots which have a presence as part of that history : the cult of the Virgin as Patron of Siena; the background presence of St. Francis and the Franciscan ethos (poverty, brotherhood, love of nature), and the mystical-historical thinking of Joachim of Fiore & St. Bonaventure. The notion of the millennial "city coming down from heaven", the New World. The little model city which the Emperor offers to the Virgin, in the Byzantine mosaics.

2) & there's the affinity between those things & the ecstatic-visionary spirit of Walt Whitman - very "San Franciscan" - filtered partially through Hart Crane (the Bridge, the River, the hobos, the "key").

3) & there's the "river"/fountain motif... the mingling of Amazon-Nile-Mississippi-Jordan... the interest in the Ethiopian version of the "ark of the covenant".

4) & there's the mingling of several painters & their images - Ambrogio Lorenzetti, Martin Ramirez, Jasper Johns, et al. & their connections with Crane, with all these other themes, with Joachim's drawings - his (& Dante's) spiritual "geometry".

5) & there are personal & autobiographical impulses & references.

So slowly, partially, obscurely, indirectly, I'm concocting a sort of American elixir... drawing connections with old things & old poets, toward ideas and commitments which are still important for poetry & history & social life today.

(p.s. & who's this "Frisbee"? Well, Frisbee is the name my mother gave to an adventurous little Tom-Thumb character about whom she told stories, back in the 1950s - such as the one about Frisbee sailing his paper boat down the spring rainwater brooks in the dirt road called Arthur Street, where we lived. A few years later, "Frisbee" reappeared in my family history, as the name of the whirling disk produced by the Whammo company - the copyright for which my father, a lawyer, had something to do. I remember flying Frisbee prototypes around the yard with my brothers. I suppose I've already written about this, here.)



It must have been a time like this,
in the beginning of evening. Between
naptime & dinner, supper & night-night.
In Mendelssohn (the music of what is).

A circuit of happenings, a plot - a splendor
played out in murmurs, mirthful surf.
Backwater pools; tributaries
trickled over turf. You begged for more.

Like a supple dancer following a tune
her story swims into your heart's delight.
Nine muses, seven days... his tiny chariot
spins faster. Frisbee matches sun and moon.

Then weeks of years... weak years
of broken twine... you counted swine
while waiting. Waiting for the tail-end
of the tale, at last (printemps appears).

Now sunset touches dappled walls
in the lofty room, where time came
to an end. Twelve candles frame
a moody, shaded ricochet - signals

from beach to ball, from all to each -
as if an omnipresent rainbow reigned
muttering warm colors. And remained
(uttering itself just out of reach).

It was in the family from the beginning,
then. (The Negus branch - remember Lucy,
when she'd just begun to skip?) & so will be
- see the young dancer step the ancient ring.


Fontegaia zeroes in.


Saturday afternoon. A lambent flickering
through old porch glass. Slight rainbow
effect against yellow-green (stealing
toward brown) wood frame. A ring

of midwestern Mnemosyne (faint memory
of summer cabins?) lingers on the mental
doorstep. This is how they call,
the seraphim (hardly there, really).

A pair of prophets in a sunset fresco,
silent (in the weekend city hall).
They stand beside a doorway. Still.
Wrapt irises converge on San Francisco.

We hardly knew you're there.
Like mutters of a hobo sketch artist,
horsing around in solitary. O most petite
one o'nine muses, grace his gray,

his patriotic zero stare! For good.
His flag's his flagging repertoire -
a simple tune of freedom (by a shore
of IKB and salty waters, streaking red).

Under the darkening colors, beneath
the gray, a midnight milk-&-honey train
hoots (like wayward whale) across the plain.
Upstream, along the riverbank (its wraith

of steam trailing the other way). Zigzag
retreat toward monkish habitat (gray-
green palm fronds, some Sheba-almond joy).
Sheds everything, grows light (high milky jag).


I start working on these things during breaks at work. Then, if I have time & energy, I write them later.


Providence. Rain-soaked street.
Hesitant March weather (cool,
gray). Low clouds, parallel
to the granite, concrete.

Where fountains of ocean sky
come pouring, showering... a gray
mosquito boat floats - hovering
between the streams (evasive, shy).

This concrete husk of solitary walks.
Maze of temporary paths.
Revolving labyrinth,
crepuscular (within gray rocks).

Along descending granite steps
a wake of wayward pelerine -
maybe some muttering Madeleine,
grey-eyed Ondine (of unknown depth)

- within an Escher etching, inside out.
We know how Jonah must have felt
beneath Leviathan's gray pelt. That
submersible arc light, sans spout -

grave of abortive prophecies,
gray cul-de-sac - sacral skull
(chambered) sounding burial
at sea
. Within a sea-worm

(see?). Then a swift gray seedling-
bark of buoyant pity - one o'nine
amazing coattails, trailing five fine
contrails - thar she blows now, peeling...
C'mon down & meet Anny & me.

The segment of Fontegaia posted yesterday (#3) - seems like one of the best of the bunch. Underneath the kidding around, it emerged from some pondering about the nature of language, especially religious language.

Ever since Yeats ("go in fear of abstraction"), Pound, & the Imagists - if not long before - poetic language is contrasted with various kinds of abstract discourse. But it's possible to think of a poetry (Stevens, for example) which goes over into "enemy" territory - tries to grapple with the nature of linguistic abstraction.

In the background of my poem here, I'm thinking about the universal application of Biblical principles - say the 10 commandments, the Proverbs, the Sermon on the Mount. Or even about more seemingly general notions, like "God".

If you imagine this language as a set of general laws or principles, which only make sense within the "local" context of particular persons & situations; and then if you add this concept to another concept - that of the idea of Man as "imago dei" - the image of the creator-God on earth; then the outcome is, I think, that you can begin to conceive of religion in a subjective, inward, personal & individual way. In other words, the language of religious doctrines or religious knowledge only makes sense as you apply it yourself, in your own mind, in your own actions. It's like a tool kit rather than a positive description or ontology. It's universally-applicable, but meaningless unless you make it mean something. (Is this pragmatism?) (cf. Stevens : "Two Illustrations That the World Is What You Make of It")

& this rhymes with Roger Williams' notion of "soul liberty" - the primary, irreducible (& irreducibly free) relationship between the individual person and God's divine love. One can also "read" Christ's statements about his own work as leading in this same direction : the "Son of Man" (ie. Everyman, Man in the abstract) is the locus & benchmark of all meaning; God is not "outside", but is manifested by the "Son of Man"; the Word of the Gospel is universally applicable and everlasting; and "my word shall be your judge on the Last Day" (ie. the abstract "laws" of divine Love are reflected - inexorably - in the existential results of each person's attitude and actions toward same). (p.s. I know my interpretation of the term "Son of Man" - as Everyman - is probably not the usual or ordinary one.)

This seems like a very arguable & very American (Emersonian) set of ideas... which I am still trying to figure out for myself... no final attitude yet.


Fontegaia. To be continued...


I was lonely in the Fatso Tower.
Mangia, mangia! implored the Hungarian
waitress (my nemesis, my fate). Someone
barged through an archaic swinging door -

was it you? Or my Assemblyman? Fair
deal, m'friend
, he was shouting into his cell.
It's only a dream, he yelled. Swell.
I tipped my left and got out of there (fast).

We have got roubles, methinks - right here
in River City. With a capital R and that
stands for Jail. Lots of collars of a lariat
in a gray corral, Mister Fog - sheer

Poe-croquet, Froggy. Malaise. Oui.
The chirp of a pigeon on the Chom Ping
Lazy-A will never hazard me bowling
that egg scroll down me throat, Bobby.

Ideogram this, my Chinese characters!
Brain-drone croon-droogies - beyond pals!
The signals drip, pivot - halyards
slap, swivel - the whale-rim teeters

on its own spoke - Everylubber applies
his waddling gat against the shoulder,
shirking... only, the sea is colder, colder.
Only the Transylvanian masseuse - the wise,

the amazing Miss Nile mid-USA (mass
Mattress of the Universe) - only she can spin
even this potted flashpunt toward one Parisian
plumb-bob. Weave, Magdalenian - windlass!


Imagine, friend, a husky infant seedling
everywhere the same. A sort of emerald
revolution, furled in jasper bronze. Old,
yet still alive. A kind of everyseed.

Coconut palm, perhaps - a milky sphere
lapped by dark and rugged threads.
Royal drink for an eagle Negus; mead
for a Queen Bea, victorious. Sacred beer.

You searched for that pithy shell
like an under-Stanley for his living
Stone - paddling up, down - striving
through crystallized honey, pell-mell...

- but it can't be commanded, no,
nor imposed upon - only planted,
grown. Meaning only (in the future)
what you find it locally, my loco friend -

the way the 2nd Coming keeps not-coming
except in your knotty heart, Pinetop.
A funny kind of phonautograph (post-op
encryption - ghost puffball thing-a-ming)...

She sings for Solomon's soul liberty
out of a sheepish seedling caravan -
make of it what you will, O lover-man.
It's like the storied storehouse, see,

of a maid on a maiden camel-trip -
like a man in the hold of a mosquito-
ship, a triple-whammy for a two-step
shamble, Sheba. Break a leg. Skip.
- there, got that off my chest, said the egomaniac.

We don't want to imitate the vain blind selfish applause-seeking hypocrites chastised in the Gospel.

Then again, we'd like to take part in the Grand Parade (down Highway 61).
Feel like I'm in between things... an early spring, March state... incipient &/or depressed... preoccupied with various distractions...

Feels like my poetry CAREER has been a matter of painting myself into a corner... frustrating (maybe I'm just impatient)... choices I've made which are perhaps somewhat self-defensive, compensatory...

- the yakky blogging & commenting
- the long, long (endless) poems
- the self-publishing
- the non-involvement with scenes (beyond online gabbing) & magazines

Where have I been published?
Copper Beech Press did a book, 1979
William Slaughter's online MUDLARK did the "Island Road" sequence in 1997
Tod Thilleman's Spuyten Duyvil did a book in 2000

- scattered appearances in Witz, Apex of the M, Fulcrum, Jacket, Lit, The Hat, alea, a few others...

I'm not complaining!!! Maybe it's all for the best.

Where/how do I situate myself as a poet? I started out back in the 60s, with an interest in the New York School anthologies. In the broader scheme, the NY poets might be considered informal formalists. That is, they rejected both the new prosy narrative-lyrical free-verse styles which emerged after (or with) the Confessionals, as well as the conservative formalism of the 50s (Hecht, Wilbur, Merrill, et al.). They practiced poetry as self-consciously formally-informal, and self-consciously minor (at least on the surface). Humor & light verse played a big role; irony, parody.

How you start is important. These early influences maybe inoculated me against an American "faux-naif" approach to poetic self-presentation - in the mainstream journals - which consists in a sort of earnest, prosaic, ingratiating, transparent, socially-thematic (ie. "my poem on animals"; "my poem about my mother"; "my poem on 9/11"), anecdotal stance (I know, this is a very inadequate & unfair abstraction...). Part of me just feels like that's a mode of discourse, a contest I don't want to enter. I'd rather play hockey or chess or knit shawls or something.

The other side of the coin : my failure to break into mainstream print tended to disallow any sort of relaxed, easy congress with the "ordinary" reader - any confident "public" or normative mode of call-&-response. There's no response. You get inured & adapt to being marginal & marginalized.

Anyway... after a long strange trip-hiatus in the 70s, I started back into poetry... even more distantly unconnected with contemporary goings-on. Did a lot of reading... Whitman & Dickinson, Poe & Melville... Pound, Joyce, Crane, Eliot, Stevens, Yeats... & the poets they referred to... Renaissance, Dante, Homer... Olson & Williams... some Russians (Mandelstam, Tsvetaeva, Akhmatova)... I know, it sounds like mostly men, & it was... that's one of my limitations...

Read lots of monographs & dissertations... essays & criticism...

Got very focused on how Pound & Williams & Olson brought history & prose particulars into their poems... but believe I am basically a musical/evocative rather than visual/descriptive poet, so the influence of Stevens & Crane was just as strong...

- wanted to incorporate in poetry my own view of world history, as a counter-weight to Pound/Williams/Olson's epic arguments...

- & so went off on long, long private voyages through verseland... got myself entrained into the quatrain train... a personal idiom or compositional process...

& there is no response... in the vast multiplicity of (more-)talented voices I am a pigeon blending in with the sidewalk...

(p.s. : I'm being completely unfair (in my fussy egotistical way) to those intrepid readers who do visit here, & read my scribbles... & those dear people who have responded, helped me along over the eons...)

Still hopeful & doubtful at the same time... I've constructed an odd "Henry" persona-presentation, sort of a Rhode Island embodiment of loco-locality (on top of the dome of the RI State House is a golden statue called "the Independent Man"). (Note : RI Statehood Day & my birthday are the same : 5/29.)

My long poems & sonnet sequence & short poems... I want them to be seen as a recapitulation of modern/contemporary American poetry history, with my own personal "Henry" stamp - In RI does the Olson/Williams train, Forth of July does the Crane/Stevens train, Island Road does the Berryman/Berrigan sonnet strain - that's the idea... I'm here...

Sweetly Now

Walking home,
head full of gloom
(my own woes muddled
with those of the world) -

noticed (on the sidewalk)
cheerful letters in pink chalk
(rounded, girlish - cursive script,
broken off - author skipped?) -

(signed, in a heart-shape) CLIO

the Muse of History : as if to say
I'm starting over - here, today.


Reading: a history of Ethiopia; Pope Benedict's study of theology of history of St. Bonaventure; exhibit catalog of current (fabulous) Jasper Johns show at Met ("Jasper Johns : Gray").


& so begins part 4 of Fontegaia. 10 yrs after Stubborn Grew.


Good Friday moon came round somehow
on the first day of spring this year.
My little swirvy Frisbee-sailor
navigates toward deeper waters now.

Like that babe in Nile-reeds
in a curved mosaic. A very slow
circle eddies in the stream... she'll row
(backstroke) whence her spring proceeds.

And there's a courier pigeon (camouflaged
in gray cloud) with a scroll copper-wired
around one leg - some napping friar's
hieroglyph - threefold dreambird montage.

Her dream a melted timepiece, burning coal.
The vision of exhausted Jonah, cornered
in Leviathan. Your end is mine (last word
in submarine? - aground). He's calling

. Yet, there - (glinting
so faintly over collar
of coroner) - a dove, a dove! Far
across curve of everywave... ting,

ting... sea-bells ring... heard everywhere
at once. As the moon lifts ocean water
toward the source of all Victorias (the
waterfall, the reign of reigns) our cruiser-

nut carries each wight upon his keel
(Joe Nobody, a milkman in the morning
tinkling across the sky). Hear the milk train
moan - a miniscule echo revolve (its creed).

3.21.08 (Good Friday)
On Good Friday 10 years ago, I finished the first book of my long quatrain freight train (Stubborn Grew). I'm still at it...

how stubborn grew the rose!  How
stub born grew the rose stub
born grew the rose stub born
grew the rose stub born grew
the rose stub born grew the


The latest version of Rest Note, which includes the new chapter of Fontegaia, is available here.


...& all my books are available here. You can look at the previews for each book, sample the poems, evaluate the print quality, etc. It's all my own work. The print is rather small, but on the other hand these are genuine "pocket books" - they will fit in your pocket. Or you can download an electronic version, for the price of a large cup of coffee.

I don't carry any imprimature but my own. There are no blurbs, recommendations, curriculum vitae, awards, medals, or insignia to be found on the covers. You'll just have to take your chances.

I have nothing against regular publishers. I've had a few, & I hope to have a few more someday. But in the meantime I've written too much to keep it all at home - my poems run to book-length sequences. I learned typesetting & editing through publishing other people. For now, this is the simplest way I can make my work available to my contemporaries.


Conclusion of Fontegaia, part 3.


It seems a squareful solid world,
a daylit world, when a gray evening
moon slopes through a curtain
of grey cloud (light frigid, furled).

Its face bent toward pining (yearning
service, servitude). Its pallor speaks
some excess, overflow... weeks
of years of tidal turning... purling,

pearling... weighted toward their end.
When the curving edge of the earth
closes that melancholy eye (a wreath,
red-rimmed, marks its encirclement).

So sorrow hides itself away
like love that looks not to itself -
by a relentless law of gravitation
offering up its life (O gentle ray).

On the slimmest branch
of the narrowest tree,
the smallest acorn - see
it break off, launching

free. To drift downstream,
almost invisible. A pigeon
in a marble niche, a bairn
in a barn. Light beam,

okay? In the bull's-eye of a rainbow
sings a solitary pine, from the taiga.
In reunion with a dome, Diane (Siena
lifted toward you on its bending bough).


Fontegaia, winding up...


Lakewater used to lap the shore
where a lonely scholar turned her back
on the glaring blare. Awake, awake,
the water whispered. Try once more.

To penetrate to the smiling target
through a knot of jungle vines (concentric
rings of shimmery spectra - pastel Olmec
mimosa crest of feathery waves - a coronet

of birds of Paradise)... and begin to hear
the granite roar of a Lake Victoria, falling
from the sky. Where all the rivers are
recoiling foam, seething, moist - cleft, sheer...

as if the sigh of some Red River
of the North, encircled, echoed
upon an equatorial green. Golden
ordinance, bell-governance - Love's

Admiral of the Ocean Sky, looped down
and knotted to a limping sailor. Neptune-
child - inept, familiar shadow's Chaplin-
quest - your errant, midnight son...

a wandering hobo-star, a Francis-mule,
a river-freebooter (plain flaw, a-flow).
Touch the keyboard, star, she whispered. So.
Out of a hole in the rainbow donut, foolish

one, it flows (beyond the garish ceremonies
of the day). O sleepy wake of Everymoon...
you are my Ocean, streaming light, a crooning
dog-star Orient; the only sweetness of the seas.
This last section of Fontegaia chapt. 3 (#26, below) is a wee bit murky, even for me. May have to work on that...

Chapt. 3 is the (planned, anyway) middle part of a 5-part poem. Fontegaia is an attempt to explore certain historical, geographical, religious, political, & poetic phenomena through the lens of Siena (civic murals & artworks, the Palio horserace, local saints & other historical figures, & so on).

Elements of the city sort of shift around - like a lens focusing on different facets - in order to represent lots of other things (beyond Siena itself). If I write about the semi-mythical river "Diana" (which the medieval Sienese, always in need of a better water-supply, went searching for beneath their hilltops) - at the same time I may be writing about the moon (Diana was a moon-goddess), about other rivers (Mississippi, Jordan, Amazon, Nile), about searching for "the source" of things, about baptism (in the "font" or the spring), about masculine/feminine (& psychological) aspects of religious iconography ... - etc. etc.

Chapt. 3 (as you can see if you've been following along) focuses in particular on Diana/moon/river-sources. (As chapt. 2 focused on the Palio, and the 1st chapter on the Lorenzetti murals & other art.)

As I finish new chapters, they've been added to the Fontegaia work-in-progress, in the book titled Rest Note. Chapt. 3 will be added soon, I hope.


Also, I think, if you want to understand what I'm trying to do here, you'd want to see Fontegaia as the culmination of a longer "quatrain" train (as I've mentioned before). Stubborn Grew - the 1st book of Forth of July - opens with the poet-speaker looking down from Prospect Park at the "local Rhine" (the Providence River). The Providence, the Blackstone, the Mississippi, the Amazon, the Nile, the Jordan, the little spring rainwater streams that run down Arthur St. in Mendelssohn (Hopkins, MN), & various Russian rivers, all play a very big symbolic role in Forth of July & some of the quatrain-sequences which followed it (like Rest Note).

I could be wrong, but I do feel I am drawing toward the close of this particular long streak of writing. So it's culminating around this little fountain (the Fontegaia) in the main town plaza of Siena (the Campo), over the supposed location of the underground tunnels & channels of the mythical Diana River.


Some more Font-mumble.


There was a voice whispering in the jungle.
Beneath fitful circles of mosquitoes.
A circuiting, a hum. Longueurs of river-
moss, a silvery cirque - one angle-vector,

ivory. Gray wave-splash in the backwash,
tidal gravity - where ingots of gold repent
to silver minae, copper mites; a stream-
bent parallax (Mammon to mimosa's

spectrum crown). Summer's looming
honey locust. Beside babbling brook
within Babylon book, cornered Acorn
John (gold oueil of Pequod-flummery).

A cold profession shipped sail
from paint-filled windy coin,
whirligig realm (your own);
Caesar's wilderness, or Israel?

Rome was not built in a dhou
nor moon pent in a milkweed-
pod, my friend - its cresting mead
dandled bumblebee's black-yellow

elephant-flight (copper periplus).
From such minimal rock lifted
bright wave of Abraham (soft
aching moss cribbed in papyrus

hippo-pot). Archimedean Medusa
levers each flock with a simple kiss.
Its longing-latitude equals this -
hers be the heartache. Hers the pieta.



We abide beside you, swept the mournful pines;
we abide. Shade of a modest mother's
radiant moss, lichen (forest floor).
A steadfast, windswept point. Shine, shine.

A pair of humble shoulders, sloping, strong
lift from an upright spine of sweet
mercurial water-spray. Pivot
of a leaky dome - a swivel-spire among

the vineyard hills. Whose shadow
hefts a globe at last? Antea's lambkin?
Atlas, Sinai, onyx, obsidian? Slight kingpin-
hobo, fallen into milk... just presque vue.

Wheels within wheels gird the mappamundo
in the tower. The Campo's curvature
capitulates a horserace calendar.
Her walls reiterate the green hills' O

and disappear into the teeming earth,
its tender dream, its true beginning
(sprung from tight-wound ring). An
India in you, dear - see her shine forth.

And who is the painful knower there
(inept) in frigid billows, bald gray sea?
Whose hand impressed a sailor's sympathy
(radius of descending bathysphere)

upon a cavernous echo-design
of hollow vault, inconsolable pine?
I know the name. Where wells begin.
Where moss grows over runes; jasmine.


Roll on, Fonty...


That dusklight through a southern window
(massive stone Palazzo Pubblico).
Like tawny wine upon an ancient fresco.
Time slows there; oaken beams begin to glow.

There easeful Pax (relaxing) yet lifts firm
her salient olive branch. Leans back against
some sloughed-off armor. Shoots a glance
(out of that solid scene) toward you - her charm

begins to work - such casual circumference
as planets wrinkle star. Unfathomable
gentleness (as touch of air upon mobile
swings). Complete silence.

In such a pause, a mantic oracle
cracks wide the secret caverns
of the earth - Antea's green
armful slips off, a catenary coracle

(homeward, by all the Circes of the Nile
at once). As when a brittle film
breaks down - Atlantis turns him
back (around a horsetrack). Infantile

sun-tag, dorsal dormitory murmur.
Myrrh left on a moor, lost in Vigo-
miroir. Melchior-guy. Your
zaddik travail (toward Sheba-star).

The ziggurat of moonlight. It is near
and far, it is here and there...
it is Andromeda, Medusa's double
M - a paw in the waltz-race (purr, purr).

(note: obscure references, Vigo etc... Several years ago, I was in NYC, at Lincoln Center, watching old Vigo movie, L'Atalante. Suddenly the film stopped, started to burn a hole on the screen.... had to leave. Stepped outside - & there was Susan Sontag.)


A silver light whispers along a vine
like tippling water. There I retrace
my steps, across harried pacing
of pavement cop (a raptor's whine).

Lightning smacks the merry-go-round.
Wooden ponies fractured in mid-
canter-prance; a pinwheel calved
into hungry horseshoes. Under

flame, a copper stream broke free;
upon its back, Atalante bobbed
(your lost Frisbee, Henry). Mosquitoes
sobbed like violins in Finland (balsa

sibilance, fey forest ambience).
Formal ship's papers flit through cold
frost breeze - midnight aurora-mold's
brief lofty affidavit (MLK of Paradise).

Only a ribbon of riven quaternion
(near Babylon). Hear ye yon horses
nigh? Where wind hilltop-discourses.
Where a font's pluperfect ratio is born

aloft (ringed by grenadine
repose). Green vines. A wheel
of labile husbandry. You feel
it flex beside a treason-

scene - odd strains of being,
fortified (by seasoned oak).
Electrified folk?
or some Kush-pinon thing...
Reading fantastic book : Antipodes of the Mind, by Benny Shanon, an Israeli research psychologist. About ayahuasca, the unusual psychoactive potion used by shamans & religious cults in various regions of upper Amazon. Burroughs' & Ginsberg's "yage".


Have to try to pull myself together & write a real essay on this issue of "poetry as gesture", and its actualization in the public sphere of "cultural politics" - stuff I was ranting about over at Harriet. Because I have the feeling I'm really onto something. Want to get there before somebody else does. The idea that the Chicago Critics' Aristotelian approach to the definition of poetry - based on the sense of form as trans-verbal gesture, which achieves its actualization in reception - really has something to say to us.

Too bad I have a tendency to polemic, sledgehammer, oversimplifying. It's a question for fencing (the sport - I don't know the term). A counter-jab against verbiage & theory.

The fact is Elena Corrigan, in Mandelshtam's Poetics : a Challenge to Postmodernism devotes a lot of attention to this issue, in relation to M's argument (in "Conversation about Dante") that poetry is always the interweaving of two strands : the verbal material and the poetic impulse.

I'm trying, I guess, to get at something which involves not only poetics per se, but some kind of "reception theory" of aesthetics. Maybe I will try a review of Corrigan's book.

Of course it's the quality (or values) of the "verbal material" which draws our attention in the first place (cf. John Latta's variable responses to the various writers in the Grand Piano project). A set of subtle signals, to which we respond just as distinctively. But what is the context for these phenomena? Is there a single context? No.... yet I'm drawn to the idea that a culture "canonizes" certain works - takes them to its (relatively) common heart - in very elusive, unforeseen ways. There's a politics of social change involved, of course - yet I would also posit a basis in common humanity, to which some great literature gains access - something like Arnold's "touchstones", maybe (sorry)...

Every type of human art & science has its pride, its proprieties, its vast reserves of in-house craft & knowledge... all those things which set it apart from the uninstructed or uninterested multitudes. Yet just as a surgeon's knowledge is only validated in its application, & the proof is in the pudding, etc.... so the vast piles of literary works and their producers & keepers perhaps find their real justification in actual performance, in the sharing & transfer of aesthetic value. & this fact sometimes gets obscured by the pedantic emphasis on texts alone. Because the dramatic aspect of poetry finds its echo and counterweight in the dramatic substance of current events - Shakespeare's (moral) "form and pressure of the time". The poet fences with the cultural politics - and sometimes the immediate politics per se - of the moment.

& I may have said this before somewhere, but I also think this Chi-Critical concept of form offers a way to get past the sort of simplistic, superficial notions of same, represented on the traditionalist-imitative end by New Formalism, and on the nouveau-mumble end by Language Poetry & its postmodernist affiliates.


Fontegaia chapt. 3 heads homeward now.


It was summer. Little Henry went looking
for Frisbee the paper hat-boat, down
a rainstream in Mendelssohn Lane.
The morning moon like a leftover something

(wedding ring or silver dollar) in the plains
bright blue. A shadow of the Great State
Seal, the coin that everyone had helped
create - river, horse, Indian, plowman,

star. It was all there. And Mendelssohn
your secret crown, alchemical quintessence,
infant font of fond infinity. A vague, dense
matrix of remote wells - comet kingdom.

Evening fireflies, country weeds... sealed
in the hold. Minute meow-mn in copper moon,
mild Negus-riddle of your own Nile-rune.
Where's Frisbee gone? It's not revealed.

Little Henry, you must go
to the antipodes of your old slough
where strange mosquitoes dangle dew
above an Amazon... past Mexico

There is an ink-path to a sky-redoubt
above three knotted quipu threads -
yourself, your friend, your enemy. Triad
of pain, renunciation and reprieve - scout's

honor, civic vow. For the slow fast,
for the sobornost, for the solid air
of winged, flighty joy. For the plowshare
of that watcher there - her willow-mast.

In the course of ridin' along with Fontegaia poem, I'm suddenly deep into Ecuador jungle, secret sacred plant-vision ceremonies, the famous Orson Welles' Martian hoax remake in Quito (1949), which cost many lives, &&&... some of this stuff doesn't seem to have been touched since Burroughs & Ginsberg & the Yage Letters (1961?). Which is pretty odd (that it's me, I mean).

How I got here... not sure, exactly. But it may all go back to that gold doubloon from Quito, nailed to the mast of the Pequod (in Moby Dick). & Viola Sachs's interpretation of that. & the mosquitos over the cemetery on the 4th page or so of Stubborn Grew.

Vision, vision... the psychoactive something. I seem to just get further & further way out of the American poetry box, which hath been belabored together by so many cozy literary ants & uncles.


Fontegaia on my mind...


It has to be this morsel of sky, an acorn
in the corner (tumbled crown). Violent
combines (narrow blades) deflect bent
furze (X furrows Y) - a stormy

gust across your breast, Robin.
So in the Palio, the slowest nag
will snag a cobblestone, lug that
snail's house to the Campenone,

let go the ring. They'll burn her for it.
Try to understand - the winning hand's
your own. As when a mumbling pigeon
in a frame reverberates through infinite

honeycomb. Somebody's polyglot upstairs.
If bookish Homer would sail home to her
Penelope must pen like a geographer
Sparrow Hills will number every hair.

I've forgotten the word I was trying to say
(blind swallow, dive...). As if harness
shook horse, as if the inexpressible
were simple fate. Whack! raloo, raleye, ralay...

Note how in frostbound forest pools, a red moon
gallops. Mere shuffle of thunder shakes
oaks, earth - a muttered drum takes
up a thousand tents, shrouds them in word

balloons of fire, smoke. They will follow him
through the mirror (sire of Pegasus, blood-
shield) - be raveled up in clouds of
silver rain. Your copper penny pays the requiem.


The hasty serpent of the warring worlds
had double-crossed himself there
in a radar room in Ecuador.
His exoskeleton reduplicated curling

spirit vines - dim trees at forest mouth,
vivid lincoln logs (all 212 of them).
The Martians are not coming, Clem.
Antea's little jaguar fur slipped south,

so smooth, so chthonic - preternatural.
A forest black and green, invariable.
Anticipate her Great Eye, man! Sable
glamor in an almond brow - earth poetry!

The tumult faded like a hosted hoax.
Only a nauseating hollow vortex
where a snakeskin dangled. Latex
apparition. Ghastly mist of Ahab-Rex.

And then the sound of the mosquitoes.
A mossy blur - ten thousand feet
above Quito. A summer sound
complete with firefly-stars (gold Moses-

mites) - a thrum of give me, give,
heartbitten. And the stretched ripple-
chord (where toiling eyes rim hopefully)
goes taut. Plowman looks up - rivers

emerge, merge, murmuring.
A ghostrider tracks that marge
on pegleg steed. Unwritten charger,
prescient, humorous. Pure purring.

Lately I've been in something of a combative mood (in blogland - at Harriet, etc).

I'm in a lonely spot. Non-participating in journals, magazines. Publishing my own books. Indifferent &/or opposed to 1) poetry academia; 2) mainstream poetry; 3) "progressive" poetry networks. Ignored & dismissed by them, in turn. Arguing with other poets on the web.

Yet I've been at it for a long time. Since the 60s, actually. Whereas the web sometimes gives the impression that time & history don't really exist, or count for much.

Poetry in my understanding, is the human (sometimes singing) voice, pushing back against time, violence, emptiness, chaos. The voice of living particularity and experience - the irreducible, the solid quiddity of things, the vivid, the vital truth, the actuality.

Critics, historians & theorists try to recruit poetry for their own ideological and intellectual agendas. I try to think & speak about poetry as a poet.

Not that poetry is necessarily one thing only. But one of my allegiances, I like to believe, is to Joyce's early re-working of Aristotle & Aquinas, where he focuses on the notion of the literary epiphany : when the aesthetic qualities of claritas, consonantia and integritas - brightness, proportion and wholeness - produce a flash of truth or verification about the whatness, the quiddity of things.

This emphasis, from my perspective, must be applied in turn by way of a sense of history as sub specie aeternitatis - ie., the temporal, the historical, as folded within the eternal, the perennial, the everlasting, the infinite.

This is not an easy thing to grasp or assent to in this day & age, I reckon - & it sets me at odds, it seems, with the intellectual zeitgeist.

History, for me, remains informed by salvation history. I am closer to the historical (if not always the social) thinking of Pope Benedict, than to any of the literary theorists or philosophers in the West. The prophetic poetry of Isaiah or Ezekiel regarding the "return from your graves", the return to the promised land, embodies the speech of a people & its strange long destiny - in a poetic way : and makes its ineluctable imprint on the history of the world. & the apocalyptic "play" of the New Testament, the message of the apostle Paul, re-frames this into the cosmic-human drama of the "Son of Man". This is still the uppity, unplaceable human singing voice, piping all the way to Celan.

(Nor would I ever desire to impose my (wavering, unknowing) faith. I am ecumenical. I am a disciple of Roger Williams. Forth of July is as much a "ghost dance" as a Bible remake. But there is that powerful mathematical-philosophical knot, tied by Parmenides way back when... something about "the One". The One as inescapable. & the related question about universality and human nature.)

Let's say the Ancient World ended with the conversion of Constantine. & the Middle Ages ended with the voyage of Columbus. & the Modern age ended in 1945. Then we have the intermission of the "post". But what, really, will be the "new" age?

If we think of medieval & modern as somewhat Hegelian, & mutually dialectical, divagations from the ancient, then perhaps the "new" age will be some kind of return to "the Same" - to the Ancient. (I'm thinking here, in terms of poetry, of both Hart Crane's Atlantis, and Mandelstam's Acmeism - "domestic hellenism".)

& now I'm thinking about how my own interest in the historical particularities, the quiddities, in the poetics of Joyce, Pound, WC Williams, Olson - has led me in various ways to re-frame that same impulse into the para-Biblical "chronicle" of In RI, the airy-windy transcend-a-national epic, Forth of July. & all the other poems, short & long... making a kind of rocky quiddity out of "Henry" & "Providence".

My little bit of wild-mustardy granular iconoclasm is very itchingly, gratingly inconvenient for hikers in the big hiking boots of Americana Poetry Industry, I know, I know.


A Fontegaia Saturday.


A gray March-rainy day in Providence.
Everything evens out at last. Moist
pelt of willow-bud releases drops as if lost
in thought, slowly, deliberate. Immense

canvas of peregrine sketch-boy, hobo...
his reigning Rainy River, gushing spring.
He pencils in concentric ovals, circling
ripples, primary shades - strange rainbow

anchors, fountains. A stream like one vast
branching oak (from Dina Miss. to Moonlight
Minn.). A candelabra, rotating (ultimate
height to bottomland - pt.A to last stop, pt.

Z). A curious Mayan-Sanskrit outrider
stands upright as pin-oak, at the center
of a rain-washed flagstone target, there.
Mast of O Democracy - an Everynobody,

rampant. Submariner, engulfed in brain
amnesia... one palm outstretched (to bind
a piece of string from pier to pier). Kind
span... muffled sound of omnipresence...

you are that murmur camouflaged in concrete
blocks, an undertone to every unslaked heart.
Archimedean shark lure, dangling disinterred
from sky. Curve where all the moorings meet.

Just willow tree. A silver chandelier.
With myriad arms outstretched to grasp
a simple moonlit bend. So one slight hasp
widens an April (wafer-thin) mandala-door.



Up in the quiet municipal chamber
over the burlesque of the Palio - just
a paint-smear, where the mappamundo
disappeared (gray-blue, jasper

radius). And the magnetic knight
bedecked in yellow-black, astride his
massive steed, over an empty space.
Meek shall inherit mournful moonlight.

They go out weeping to the fields...
and hardship children to the prisons.
Meanwhile, Vienna's life-size figurines
above Town Hall emerge (on wheels)

from their great cuckoo-clock (the king,
the queen). And someone must ransom
Richard Lionheart again. That noble bum
hobo'd it to the Holy Land, a-signifying

furiously (nothing serious). Foggy bottom-
land, swamp delta spring, plump Danube
Willendorf for gypsy caravans (rubes,
minnesquitos). In the rotundum,

a gauzy cosmograph, a veil (with tears)
where once a year one designated hand
pulls back the curtain... scents the land
with winter petals, acorns, empty choirs.

Broken lilac. In a trance, they guide
that sleepy limb toward its elaborate
ground zero (prime rib, immaculate).
Swamplight irradiates the jewel-weed.



We want the sound of equilibrium.
We want the rusty iron gate to creak
again (back, forth). For the sake of
old heartache, we want the pendulum

to swing. Over there, over the last
grassy knoll, up on the bluffs above
St. Paul - a pantomime of puppy love
plum forgotten until now (gently cast

from Highland Park). Continuum-
dream - sound muffled, mollified
by atmosphere - the hurdy-gurdy
fairground, bells of heifers, hums

of farmers... tinkle of the carousel.
There there's a lowing going round
set to its quaint somnolent sound.
And the hand of the hired hand - well,

it's part of an old diurnal masquerade -
the workingman's deus ex machina,
red with a reddish light-patina
shed by his blue-ribbon shed.

Obscurely the painter's fingers trace
a radius beneath the horsehair panoply.
Locked in the pigment, ineluctably
a lamp is poured into the sky's dark face.

You will behold her, limpid countryman,
her priest of evanescence... mottled
ingenue inside a moss-green bottle-
ship from Ecuador (mosquito'd master plan).
A response to my friend Kent Johnson over in the comment-stream at Reginald Shepherd's blog :

"Kent, I don't think you've read my posts carefully. I know it's not easy to do in these comment-box streams.

I'm sorry if my tone seemed cantankerous here.

It seems to me that Reginald, in his closing paragraphs above, misreads the substance of some of the arguments which were made in those comments. And then he personalized it with a psychologizing attack on those who questioned his position.

The point was not being made that we are still living in the atmosphere of the 50s & 60s. In fact the point being made was just the opposite.

I never claimed that the work of the Chicago Critics was my own invention. I don't care what kind of shirts they wore, either. I'm claiming that their insights into poetic form are relevant to the issues raised, having to do with the current and future developments in poetic style.

How do the Chi School ideas relate to the NAP poets? I already went over that in my comment posts. My argument was that poetry, in relation to "the big outside" (outside academia, outside in-house solipsism, etc.), should be thought of as a form of action or gesture, which is not really "actualized", as an aesthetic form, until it is "performed", in some sense, in the "gray area" of the common world, the general public sphere. Aesthetic form is not reducible to the verbal construct alone, or the text alone, contra both the New Critics & the post-structuralists.

The NAP poets, as standing somewhat outside the New Critical academic consensus about literary form, were making, to some degree anyway, such a public "gesture".

I never liked Robert Duncan's poetry."


Andiamo, Fontegaia...


Steadfast in the furnace they were dancing
sparks, undaunted motes. Within gray
cloud formations, heavyweight
metals, ultraviolet rays. Pong, ping.

The amorphous force bent the almond
limbs, the chestnut candelabra;
the view took on some abracadabra
tincture, primed by spectral wand-

baton. Its name was long,
irreducible, infinite.
Hurt palpable, sweetness
close by - long was its name,

prevailing its mark.
The span of one brave arm
across your shoulders - come
and go with me
... here we embark,

camerado, Jeanne-ma-soeur.
That beacon flickered through the brain-fog,
lastingly - your kaleidocosmic mystagogue
bent toward one ray, revolving, sure.

And lifted toward dawn. Beyond
tumult of sawing, sighing pines,
toward an ordinary roaming-round -
toward a morning dome in Trebizond,

a walk downtown in Providence.
How explain yon salty commonweal?
It were a sea-bred constancy, the feel
for aslant, a-deck. Longing-experience.

A few days ago, on the Poetry Foundation's Harriet blog, you declared, "Postmodernism is over." What was that all about?

I guess I was being silly. I tend to have a knee-jerk reaction to that term. Actually I was focusing on a rather narrow & specific aspect of the whole postmodernity/postmodernism zeitgeist. That is, on the effect(s) of postmodernist theory, discourse, etc. on contemporary poetic style. In this case, I was reacting to the title of Reginald Shepherd's new poetry anthology, Lyric Postmodernisms. I was also responding to some of the commentary by him & others about the general strategy or focus of that anthology. I haven't actually read it yet, though I'm familiar with several of the poets he listed as contributors to it.

So, why the animus? What is your concept of the postmodern - in general, and in relation to poetry?

I'd like to read more about it, actually. Most of my information comes 2nd-hand, by way of monographs & studies I've read on contemporary poets. The theories get filtered to me through those applications.

In regard to the general historical epoch which has come to be called "the postmodern era", I'm skeptical about neatly-bordered historical periods. It seems obvious, though, that world history is in a period of radical transition, after the huge wars of the 20th century, the Holocaust & other mass massacres, the advent & use of nuclear weapons, the vast & rapid changes in technology, in social, political & economic life. But speaking very sketchily, I would say I align myself neither with the "classical" theorists of Enlightenment modernity & progress (Habermas), nor with the theorists of Postmodernity who posit a radical change in consciousness, epistemology, reason, etc. (Lyotard, the post-structuralists).

Science is advancing exponentially. Traditional social & political structures are rapidly changing, being shaken. Near- (or actual, I should say) apocalyptic forces threaten life on earth. Our concepts of human nature itself are drastically changing. Yet I seem most interested in the curious presence & persistence of the past. Maybe I have a Bergsonian (Nietzschean?) interest in the phenomenon of "recurrence", of memory. This influences my notions of metaphysics, & "subjectivity"....

& how could I really be either a Modernist or a Postmodernist? I'm a 70s Jesus freak, to tell the truth. Shakespeare & the Bible got in touch with me personally. I'm someone who was snagged by the scruff of my neck by the Holy Ghost. I belong somewhere between Ancient & Medieval eras, back in Byzantine/Hellenistic times. I think both art and science require reason, analysis, intuition and creative imagination - but while the aim of science is to produce a consistent explanation of phenomena, the aim of art is to produce a holistic image or mimetic representation of actual (or conceptual) reality. The language of art allows for the subjective, the personal, the vital - in ways that sometimes leap beyond the evidentiary and the strictly "explicable" (subject to discursive reason).

So I guess these allegiances of mine probably define me as some kind of neo-Romantic : one who juxtaposes, in Blakean fashion, artistic vision to secular rationality, skepticism. Not that I am opposed to their synthesis, by any means. I'm an early Renaissance humanist, short on the Greek & Latin; a protege of Nicholas of Cusa.

I haven't really answered your question. But I find myself (often vehemently) opposed to trends in poetry which deny (or qualify) reason, subjectivity, realism, history, etc. I understand about the inter-personal and inter-subjective, social & historical complexity involved with any grounding of the "self". Nevertheless I would strongly affirm a notion of wholeness, which includes & enfolds : personality & personhood; historical actuality; creative imagination; artistic making. In fact for me the "prophetic" and uncanny quality of poetry is tied very closely with a belief in subjective, spiritual & psychic wholeness and vitality - a belief in some kind(s) of consciousness which transcend or stand beyond our mundane experience (or suffering-through) of time, history, mortality. I believe in metaphysical Personhood.

& I believe in the idiosyncratic, unaccountable character of the artistic gift, as manifested in poetry. I identify with poetry as, sometimes, a kind of prophetic behavior : a flighty speech-performance, which breaks through the structures & customs which tend to tame and channel it into functional & practical prose. This is the kind of "act", in the American context, which I identify with Whitman & Dickinson, & a few others. & this stance, I like to think anyway, relates to my interest in some of the Chicago School poetics theorists (R.S. Crane et al.). It's the gesture, the holistic action, which underwrites the form of poetry - & not simply the verbal material. Thus there is no way I could accept either a New Critical or a Deconstructive (post-structural) theory of poetics. Reality is not a fiction created by our own verbal constellations. And poetry is not actualized in the text; rather, the text is a score, or an aspect, a facet, of its actualization in mimetic gesture. In the poem, words become deeds.


Fontegaia has inched along to a certain perihelio-pivot-point...


To think it was there all along,
in the penumbra of an eclipse
run backward. Time-warps
in super-8s. Ping-pong

tournaments in the driveway.
Frisbee trials in a reed canoe
tracing rainwater U-turns
across Mendelssohn. Someday

will compile an anthem
(first mosey to last
jaunt, red moon-mist
to fountain-columbarium) -

the magnetic smile of the wave
of your hand athwart the crib
(hoist in an oscillating jib
of mobile sails) shall save

that glancing moonlit fleet
(typing a reel above temblors
rumbling beneath your tumbled
bed) for a peculiar mirror-feat.

Where the weary mutter of an unknown
Everyworm touches the catenary arc
of suspended charity... O sparkling
triple-ballet turn - blue ozone

flame! The furious horserace here
meets end to end, in a carousel
for a pigeon's talisman - wells
from a homing throat (All Clear).


Last weekend I happened to be in New York, & went over to the Frick Museum to see the mesmerizing "Antea" portrait by Parmigiano (of "Portrait in a Convex Mirror" fame). This weekend I read about the "Miss Outdoors" contest, held for the last 50 yrs in the Maryland swamplands, near DC.

Hmm. OK...

Fontegaia in the woods...


I would be opening my
wooden paint books
of oaken smoke
for a fair, or a ferrous

account. A round gray
ring (protective shield
or target) welded
to sky. Wispy

the Pillow-Sailor
curls back always
to Mendelssohn, his
wet bow. Figgy, where

are you
? In Washington?
My Gnashington? Weep
not, me jipper-babe,
jailbird. We's dumb

Clatter of rusty book-ends,
raucous dead-end clamor.
How tinder that armor-
tender, Hortense

the Orchid! Sheep
in the burns blent
as birds on cement
or wand of Bo-Peep

- yet we No-See-Um,
Commodore Popsicle!
People am fickle, fever
petal - and then some!


The moon went under thundercloud,
shrunk to a pipsqueak at bowsprit
of shadow-ship. A weak
ray. Bark of Gypsy guard-dog.

Good Friday cried. You OK,
? Trailing his guide
he relayed sad rude charade.
Fiasco, sure, seems that way.

Waves riffled the deckhand,
the king faced the fishes,
waterlogged hobo peep
sunk for a tense sec

into iron fern orchard.
His pearls, aye, they, they
were wormed in her treasure -
chested, O, Miriam, immured.

Foreign, forlorn was the moon then.
And as if the stiff boards of the stage-
coach creaked with everybody in a rage.
You tried to pull the rough wood open

of stubborn doors, of golden hours,
to peel back layers of burnt Siena
scenery, the hulled mulberry of Captain
Tom's morbid planetarium, Shakespeare's

chariot... there was no need.
Beneath limpid pale-green willows
of the cemetery, odd mosquitoes
bobbed and dove into folded reeds.


It were a tense hour or two for Man
aft the merry mirror sang at the ford.
I meant at the door to the wood,
where Pop's vassal in a sickle-moon

contraption. Kind of meta-Jack, bro.
Smokin pills. Blurred sign for fire,
possibly. But where was Effie?
Left her beside the hot tea silo?

Solo maven? We stumped...
Figured her for a frigidaire,
a Polish nightcap (arctic her
curled back against lunar

sump pump)... Meanwhile, wan moon.
We was mean, I guess. She was
- let's not discuss it. Cuz.
There will be a countdown very soon.

The horologic of drumboots
preceded to elude and bust us there
in the forest. We stumbled, sure -
it was like walking through gauze quilts...

There were my Palio pals on poles
in a fairy-wheel, and there were pale
rainbows tailing us, like the smell
on a snail, like the ghost of a - us...

A - moose? The sickle masqued a little
Moor, lampshaded - a Roman musket-bull.
Dilated to vet you, Sal, Sol.
He'd hatchet every volt, each vessel.


There was a pile of silver-gray fog
all right, in the gray matter.
Wandering with a wand of wonder
in the woods. And did you keep a log?

No. Memory of fleet shades
fled, spread sail (forgot one
frigate there). Only tentative
reach of bare willow branchlets

setting off on chilly early march
prompted a plywheel of outflung
batons, feelers... a sheepish string
of pussy-buds, cat-tails. You watch

from your homesick L-shaped hideaway,
unpopular, forgotten and forgetting.
Through incipient gray-green netting
bedspread with magazines. A whisper-ray.

From the longest arm of the oak
hung the horseshoe swing.
Just a wooden board, dividing
infant heart from sky. Okay?

Strung with serpentwine halyards, and
a kid with a golden oar of some kind
encircling. So that the blindest
of the blind kin find (in homeward

stretch) the baby glimmer ring
above the carousel. It was only fair
after hairy sparky circuits, nightmare
signs. A kind of grippling embrace.