So Hobo slips back into sleep, as of old –
where he’s at home (in midst of the earth).
Axes & hammers have ceased their wrath
against wooden parentheses... now hold
only one limpid terrace’s clear air. Morning’s
milky smoke lay bridled there, in its oaktree
tabernacle; the habitations of cruelty
slept like Rome; the turtledove’s moaning
sheltered thy servant’s quivery leaf-shield
(enfolded, plunging salience... lips’ lyre-
lair... foam-shell). At cusp of the year,
when John-John leapt in the wheatfield
of his trove-tomb : at the Jubilee (that
Sabbath-crown – that end-of-Mayan, 52-
pickup, jade-coral hoop-game). O I.O.U.
of every wombat womb-man... O magnet
fiat, implicate – each etched, emboldened
van der Weyden infant, limned – frescoed
afresh, today! Beneath a concrete cloud
of solid dark, the bubble-level (liquid
pearl) suspends its calm, magnanimous balance;
between that sunray in the portal-eye
& crypt of Minnehaha-Paradise (ebony-
spanned ivory 88s) there is a river-entrance...
you’ve been there, Hobo; you swam
with the 28 young braves, under the sun;
the 29th (like overhanging lichen), doubling...
finished (the day). She loved; you are, I am.
In shady Galilee of a burnt-out Lent
& far from his Mississippi home, Hobo
catches, barely... the slender tremor (low
coign) of his repentance. His recovery tent.
Only an inkling... slight tendering of air.
Through shuddering snakeskin screen –
scaled pattern of dogwood leaves (green
gone rusty). A nest, a tabernacle... lair
of late winter sun. Whose coming-forth
as bridegroom, racing hearth to hearth
is cherished there, in her byre of earth...
in sunset-land (east, west, south, north).
At the antipodes (remotest heights & depth).
And it was like hearing a keen through a pillar
of glass – an orphan cry, looped in a mirror
swerving, like a wing, out to its azimuth
(a still grey glint). Then steep descending
streak through grassland (flashing silver-
gold) plummets into river’s undertow
where (on a bank) his pals are gathering
& smoke (for their wispy signals, lifting,
gone). Our W, he blabs to someone...
JB, J-tree... she plants a wild, sown
key in me, he moans. Soon, son. Swiftly,
arose. Toward yon high room, & the great
Thanksgiving feast – calling all lumberjacks,
winos, sadsacks from Hackensack... Maximus
& Walt shall shofar tout; Madeleine to celebrate.
Within moist mollusc-husk of February pre-spring
on Prospect St. (outside the French House)
the little witch-hazel behind the wall lets loose
improvisations of gold leaf – her pliant blazoning
pent by chill wind. Early diviner, bent like Hobo
just tipping the keys (in Mendelssohn, maybe).
Leafpile mandorlas of wide gold laid siege to Heidi
there – blonde matrix & epitome (little sorrow-
tree, foretold). Tends thus his balance-beam,
Hobo, upon his shoulder... retrograde flame’s
importunate command, transposing that skim’s
taut-plaited graft. Hurt knight’s lamb-dream
across straitened chafening tightrope (aimless,
airborne). So the arc of arcs curves back
to the crackling hearth of Blackstone’s
own Quauhnahuac (yon implicate rubellipse,
myrrhrose). Limns the sunburst labyrinth
of Chartres, where Hobo inches (inch by inch...),
obswerves the hilarious limp of her firstborn. Cinch,
Blaise. The light’s manifest (emerald absinthe,
Vincent). & all this nonsense for a pin-
pricked star! Scythia-gold (Sheba-forsythia)
above mown grass; a handful of corn will flow
in brooks from the mountaintops (amen, Martin).
Blessed be his redemption-name. Because Love
is unstanchable fire’s (whirl-fabricladding, star-
enflashioning, volcán-swaheeling) sheer choir
y’Hawaii. Moltenscarred heart (hearth-stove).
Just now, the quiet churchbell plumbed b-flat
across the street. Ash Wednesday evening,
mild as April; watercolor air; soft brooding
drone. Yet thoughts turn round, like Lot
back to that January bridge – the frozen salt
of ice-trapped years (yours, Henry-man) –
the drift-down, say, of one white hexagon
into your palm (taut fiery snow-mote)
...before you go. Into that Resurrection
Cemetery, south of St. Paul... your narrow-
leaf slate silo, camper; your flinty sled, below
Siberian snow-surf (32,000 flakes, fraction
rings of permafrost stenographers). You are
just that far gone, eld Irishman. & yet
your lines declineth too, toward pleasant
faces... I mean the twin cities of Natasha’s
eyes : those agate portals, fusing labyrinth
of threadbare lips – faring with you (by harp
& psaltery) – hoisting you from earthdepth
once again! In limpid eyespan (Arimathea)...
Her tiny snowgrain, set like fire in hearth
a lemon-crumb, a-tingle on your tongue
framed by a train-horn’s rusty iron lung
worn silver now, gone resonant... inclineth
thine ear now, little ant, to green proverb
lifting its brow like tendril of a rainbow-
wing – skyward, through rain & snow
climbing, ellipse (unleavened herb).
Mardi Gras. Ash Wednesday eve. & if
I sketch RW (or double-U) striding there
through Westerly portal, the whiz-whisper
trumpet of pursed lips his gift
for all – O happy equilibrium of
semaphore-claw, high pining air (all-
human hills). Soon my shifty scribble
shimmers in bleak graphite mote-gleam
(Venus Beats All, lead #2) – takes on
manners of ‘nother (eyebright) hand;
hurrosgamos gathers momentum (land-
ho!) – I seize a ladder up to heaven –
footfall-pyramid of Hobo, Blackstone,
Maximus (hard to explain!). A leopard-
spiral toward universal ensign-standard...
clear coral triangle, minuscule madeleine
of speechcrumb qubitspark – circumzenter
navvy-worm (blue SF-sphere above gate-
prong). & for such hymn she make date
crow last, & verily (her spanner-cantor).
Only a dram of octave-dream, from La-
Soo land up to l'Etoile du Nord. By way
of a crust of snow-crunched pain – eye-
burnt Magdalen, sharp Siena-saint (aha-
delight!) who ran all the way (make haste,
my God!) through the leaden garden gate...
toward you. Maximus designed his ancient
intricate epithalamium (beyond those wasted
poppy-fields) in the moonlit night seasons
of stony Trebizond. Blackstone listened...
squandered coaldust turned to diamond.
Ask JB (Cora Clay... her flotations).
Sunset, walking home up Hope tonight –
a kind of smelter’s glow out of Van Gogh.
A glassblown alloy spun round that rose-
gold eye – sapphire, emerald, set in a tight
brown casket (earthshade). Evening mirror
from a brow just north of Angell Street.
Slim susurrus over the mansion (Italianate,
clad in dark wine) where oak leaves linger –
& you would pine for your conjectured J (vale,
valentine). Imago... my Psyche. So we project
an extended forecast, in familial yokel dialect –
just as you were your brother’s summer double
in that Twin Cities’ dovecote (over the wrinkling
winking river). A part of song (appoggiatura,
grace note) paired with his major delta D –
sprightly, bittersweet, solitaire (a twinkling
clarinet, Octavia). We carry the gilt icon
too close for care : such compatible leanings
as dreams are multicolored coatings, filling
hollers with excess 8th-notes (Pygmalion’s
pig-latin). Hunky dory was the children’s ark
until the last dog bark – a curial star, a rose
of Charon. Then we mourn our double (her ruse
our loss). Under that April horn a’plenty (mark
the date, Sylvester) – by tentative frail tents
of Providence, yearlings of clay. Our moon,
cast in an antique shell (death-mask... pontoon...
fish-fly). Granddad’s bronze bugle. Frankincense.
i.m. John H. ("Jack") Birss
After much falsework – skittering expenses
in a waste of swaying bucks – Marwan (cinnamon
cat with greenfire eyes) will arch his tendons
through the cunning rug. All’s in play (fearless)
at last. While Diego hunches up the cloudy steps
with shifting temblor on his back – an al fresco
infancy. Fat babies, mild-eyed povero...
Guadalupe-sombrero... so homeliest precepts
prove most beautiful (what’s mine is yours).
But not from nowhere, their swift circular –
great was the public company self-anchored
there, on hinge pipe beam, deadmen, girders
2047 feet from shore to shore (saddled
with sacrificial sections of weakened steel).
It was 28 young braves, lifting centripetal
lightbeams – a pendant, bending self-addled
streams toward soldered reunion (unseen
yet feathered silver, with a yellow crown).
& a 29th bather in ark of oak – unknown
& apostolic turtledove’s ecumenical grain –
her sea-salt shanty’s banked in a riverbed.
Come with me then, down to the water’s edge
where shells glissade from willow-branches
& drafty lyres are granaries (seven-tiered
with light). Where fathers yodel in Mendelssohn
& a 5th of Sibelius, in stately waltz, swings low
her catenary iron ribs. Where birchbark rows
into aurora borealis... (harp-wrung Magdalen).