Lanthanum 10.8

Man was put on this earth for one purpose : to make civilization
– Joseph Brodsky

So this newborn spring curls from sleep, a moss-
green fiddlehead along the Ms. Riv. A wrinkled
dry Rip (his bones waxed old from dammed-
up roaring). Shaken awake amid squalid chaos –

ramshackle shacks, contraptions, conniptions...
Shady contrail (pine-needle Cézanne). Lingering,
elderly, nearby, Shoshanna (naiad-Diana, fluting
in Renoir petal-shower). O dappled conceptions!

Slanting (double-time) across fishing-grounds,
bass-line salmon arrays. A regnant monarch
butterfly, aimless & amiable (Melchizedek’s
wine-flowy picnic basket – milkweedy lost-&-

found) goes drifting by (through evening arroyo).
With the specific gravity of a lightweight meteor
homing, homing, oh my gal (gringo dem Russkies
). To a high pine mound of black limestone –

meet Bethel meetin’-place (Ojib’s midé dream-
spot). Secret mental elevation, or lateral L
near as the whorl in Homer’s fingertip (well,
). Your own heart’s raveling Cyrillic dhowry-

anthem (Sheba-Natasha). Seed-grain, Scythian
tattoo-scar, Ypsilanti-refrain... wild dusty haylo-
(out of iron bedsprings nord o’Duluth).
Such be the serpentine bronze signals chosen

to meld like honey-vein in rock. A solidarity
of fern-things first : that we live in a place
emphatically our own
(& that this emphasis
is as calm palm on child’s hot brow). Hilarity.



Lanthanum 10.7


So spring comes in, comes in moist morning glow
across this gawky adolescent chaos - a girlish,
coltish land of cluttered yards. In baby-lambish
lambent air, that temple-dome on Morris Avenue

smiles toward the young sun her honey-gold reply,
& Henry is quietened with flighty V-swarms of half-
memories. Phantom birchlands of Karelia (Nabokov
tamarack mnemonics) summon a Kievan panoply

of iron bells. Upon their tidal drone he would lift up
Byzantium in both hands, and, kneeling, offer Ilion
to impress Empress (haloed in sheen-cape of a trillion
eyebrows’ dolphin-leaps). From rudimentary cliff-top

he would lean his shade across a continent,
raise his Juliet-Eurydice from harbor-grave –
two ghosts re-muscled in one clamshell wave
(one pearl-encumbered comber). Affectionate

fundament of every wedding is, this tout-monde
pre-imprinted printemps (haunted brood-nest
rook-a-coo)... just so the template-test
of each vocation is, an infant meekness (curving

round). Mercy & truth are met together;
righteousness & peace have kissed each other;
truth shall spring out of the earth
... mother of
each sunburnt thorn, high-hearted counselor –

Hagia Sophia of the blood-soaked cottonwood.
How scarlet veins of mute servants filter through
vast fields of birth-pangs (pain-pinioned, labor-crew
planet)! Walk me toward your equinox, ochre redbird.


How to Read a Bit o'Balderdash

America & world, a-roar with a disintegrating mosquito swarm of conflicting pointers, alerts, trumpet-blasts... read this! Look at that! Listen up!

How many billions of poets are there, now? At least 6-7 billion, according to the official 7,000 poetry supervisors. Pay attention!

What am I supposed to do? Keep writing gibberish. It's a long-term, serious project, very much worth your time & careful research - Gobbledy-Gook Enterprises (GGE).

What follows : a few shallow remarks meant as helpful hints to the most recent episode of Lanthanum (see Lanthanum 10.6, below).

The poem was written on St. Patrick's Day, hence is "occasional". Differing from much other Lanthanum in featuring silly Irish brogue in my recital.

(In case you are new here, I've been in the groove of an unusual (for me) literary haybaling process : I write the poem & then immediately recite the poem, & send it out to YouTube et al. It is really hot off the frying pan into the social media.)

St. P : patron saint of Ireland. Bringer of Christianity to Eire. That is the traditional understanding, anyway. As I understand it, a saint's day is a kind of birthday, name day.... they're all related.

The poems in Lanthanum are all related too, so there is some accretion, some sedimentation of echo-meanings & feedback-loops.

Lanthanum, over the last few years & chapters, has been circling around, gyring down closer & closer, the Gateway Arch Monument in St. Louis (there we go, another saint). It's a tuning fork, a mandala, a symbol... an amalgam (steel alloy) of many different things. An arty, imaginary idea of a kind of focal point, joining America (US) to earlier things & future things. That's the idea, anyway.

But let's look at this episode. The "poet-speaker" Henry, or "King Hen", is musing about saints & saint's days. Meanwhile there is an undercurrent of cryptic allusions & meanings gathering. In the 2nd stanza, "hid in his live-oak mist" etc. begins to point secretly to 2 different "once-&-future kings" : Bonnie Prince Charlie, and Charles II of England, whose birthday (May 29) is celebrated in England as "Oak Tree Day" or Restoration Day - recalling the drama, during the English Civil War,
of Charles hiding in an oak tree from pursuing Roundheads. Now May 29th happens to be the poet's (Henry's) birthday too, as well as of that other Camelot-figure, JFK. It also happens to be Rhode Island Statehood Day.

Our speaker moves along into stanza 3, recalling that Emperor Henry, promoted to "doorkeep". This is referring to St. Henry (II), whose "day" in the Catholic church used to be July 15th, which happens to be the day, in 1099, that the crusaders captured Jerusalem and reached the Holy Sepulchre. The "doorkeep" is a reference (one of many) to the Psalms - the line which runs something like "I would rather be a doorkeeper in the House of the Lord than one of these mighty princes".

But then Henry (poet) shifts his glance to another St. Henry : "the martyr - on the Finnish line". This is a different Henry - the patron saint of Finland. His day is January 19th ("juneteenth") - a birthday he shares with Martin Luther King - MLK, the "Milky Way" of stanza 3 - major symbolic figure throughout Lanthanum. So Henry is finding a "silver thread" from various saints through to the meanings of Lanthanum : since the Gateway Arch is in some ways a Finnish accomplishment (cf. its architect, Saarinen).

Thus in this "amiable tabernacle" (another paraphrase of the Psalmist), Hen might "touch a key, perhaps". This phrase a direct steal from Hart Crane's poem The Bridge (another America monument poem) - from the section called "The River" - in praise of tramps, hobos - whom Crane suggests "touch a key" : are in touch with the tacit, feminine, American earth (in contrast to the American world of worldliness & power).

In the 1st line of the 4th stanza we come across the phrase "bonny advent" : punning-Joycean reference to another St. - St. Bonaventura - whose saint's day is also July 15th.

Thus the poet-hobo Hen, in his dreaming tabernacle (seeing through rose-tinted "Rhody-glasses") is beginning to imagine a sort of visionary America centered on the St. Louis arch, "affirming ascent" (Crane's "spiritual gates"). Its substance is a sort of Irish "lightsome glee" inspired by the thought that the entire cosmos, the universe of reality & experience - is manifested out of nothing through some kind of benign-wise-loving creative-mysterioso Whatnot : so that "the stars shout together for joy".

& then (stanzas 5-6) the poet imagines lying himself down at that "milky entrance" - stretching out his whole length, as in the Robt. Frost poem - on the earth; strumming his "harp". & he becomes a kind of giant there : like Paul Bunyan or Babe his blue ox. With a "heart like Hobo" (Hobo is compared to Falstaff in earlier episodes) and a "mine deep as Prince Hal" (another once & future king). From Providence - where the vision begins - to San Francisco, at the Golden Gate (another structure which plays a big role - Orphic-Eurydice tending - in H.'s oeuvre). "Through the needle-eye" of the Gateway Arch. ("Omega-MO" is a complex pun which will likely see further development in future episodes, better left unsaid here.).

So we have an east-west line, where the hobo-poet stretches from RI to California. Then in the last stanza we have a perpendicular south-north line (from LA delta to l'Etoile du Nord ("star of the north" - Minnesota). The body of Hen-poet, lying across America, sketches a cross-shape. There is a sketch of an emblem here in the final stanza which has cropped up many times in Lanthanum in various ways ; a sort of graffiti figure of a stick-man shaded by a curving arch or wing. It could be a sepulchre (a cross marked on a grave); it could be a person standing under an arch or portal.

But here in this stanza, the symbolic emblem flips over ("like Lazarus"). The giant lying in the earth stands up. Finnegans Wake, might be. & becomes an outline of another symbolic emblem : the figure of a stick-man on the cross-beams of a large anchor, with his feet on the curving base of the anchor. This happens to be the official emblem of the Episcopal Bishop of Rhode Island (a crucifixion on an anchor) : since RI's state motto is "Hope" and its state symbol, an anchor. So the poem circles back to Rhode Island, where it began (with those "saints", Roger Williams & William Blackstone).

Hopefully my strenuous unpacking here will encourage a few readers to explore the undertones in other parts of this giant piece of balderdash now underway (Lanthanum, work in progress).

p.s. & bear in mind, the western edge of this 4-leaf clover - San Francisco - is named after yet another saint - Francis, of Assisi : the greatest "hobo" of them all.


Lanthanum 10.6


A cool St. Pat’s day, cloudy-gray – from mourning
to gaiety, sackcloth to sun-shield... good day
to read Joyce & be glad thereof
, I say, sez
old King Hen, mit peacepipe in mitt – harpening

away, hid in his live-oak mist (like the bunny-
hop charlie-horse once-&-future he wuz). Saints’
e, he mumbles – saints’ days, saints’ days...
there was that Emperor Henry, promoted to doorkeep...

& that other, the martyr – on the Finnish line
with the Milky Way, one January (juneteenth) –
silver-gray hairline, secret thread, methinks
& musing, ambling into amiable tabernacle, Hen

might touch a key, perhaps. Some bonny advent
come wheeling like St. Elmo’s fire over quaternio-
clover earth, sprung-wound... some old green Eire
through Rhody-glasses, sure, affirming ascent –

aye, lightsome glee, when the stars shout together
for joy, at emerald Danae’s immaculate &
milky entrance! & he will lie down then with his
delicate harp, & strum... I say he will stretch far

& wide, like Bunyan (or his Babe), with a heart
like a Hobo, a mine deep as Prince Hal, he will –
Providence to San Francisco, through the needle-
eye (Omega, MO) – from basement chord out

of delta swamps, upstream (ahh... l’Etoile du Nord) :
& that shield of dove-grey tuning-fork (pronged
in the tumulus) will... flip! (like Lazarus) – O, almond
of anchor-smile! Hoisting sail (blue-grim grinrood).



Lanthanum 10.5


In Frisco, cornered by a sunlit wall, a tramp
erupted utterance... mush streaming
from the cornet of’s mouth. Wholesome-
boomy Hal spake : Get thee behind me, scamp!

When Luna least thanks a wisp a’will, minced Hobo
right back Adam. Noli me tangere, kerfluffled
Hen. Nolo contendere, that punk rebuffed.
A draw. Put up thy pup, rabid boho.

Robo t’you (thus th’insouciant bum, beneath
his breath) – we needle each udder, blubber.
S’all milk to me. S’ain’t finn yet, brooder –
jailbird – j’martyr Memphis’d me Hyatt be’eth

bee-fur I J-teenth! So we mutt-scrumble trough-
boskets of this nonesince-amulet (whupped &
wisked) before the chanticleers... before air
mops honeydew from sunlift, double yew-

inscribed (hengraved). His tipsy-cupsy crust-
warp walks thick plonks of a legal case, yawl – !
Pretty dingy, if y’ask me, plunks Peter Pull
the silo-manx (fezzy catamaroon). If y’mast,

replied the prince (omni-puss’d). Meanwhile
plankton swimmy’d t’freedom (drawn by light-
mote, ship-shape frame) – sketched an infinite
Gödel-scaffold (aflame). Resonance-turnstile,

tensile mappemunde. One pianissimo octave-
span, from Westerly porch to parked car
on fry-pan... through noodle-eye. By river,
bound. Beneath North Star (Finn’s architrave).



Lanthanum 10.4


Hobo shakes his shaky Shrovetide palm
with a handful of doubled (iced). Dicey, this
wistful one; not congregate with the mighty.
Yet his heart greatly rejoiceth (Bum

Smiles Thru Tears
). Your sadness (flighty-
voluminous)... much like these little gnats
weaving brief light-show shawl (Psyche-
parasol) by trunk of tremendous, defunct, once-

&-future mighty oak. Be aware, idiot-gods
of marching, of your ideas... be wary that
nevertheless, thru volleys of mockery, night
may befall, leftenant (in autumn... harvest-

odes, funereal, grimpen). That oak a craggy cliff
lifting bracken-alms toward sun’s cloud-muffled
azure (tall remnant of marigold). Tuft
of milkweed memory, its cloud released (gift

of dead bees). O vagrant monarch, wandering
batman-baton! Under the volcano
of your unbelief... coraggio, amigo! Sow
your seedling myrrh, amnesiac Madaleña...

bully, Dionysiac! Arch like the nut you are,
Maggie Mick o’Magnesia – these numbers
do not lie! Wailing Miners Strike! (umber
vein... violet bread, wine). Them bearers

ford a rude saw-theater (hands’ operations)
– one dust-encumbered ailing Railman splits
the night (with Queen of Spades, nitwits!). O
most-artefactual Atlantis Rose – congratulations!


Come Thou fount of every blessing

Lanthanum 10.3


Hobo, in the delta (near Florida) wandered
beside levees of the sea. Pocatapetl
fumed in bright ether, somnolent. Little
Maggie McGee kept an eye on him (remembered).

How he sketched things he barely heard, saw.
Like that funnel-cloud of Okeanos (angry
flipside of a smile) – that Feininger
photogravure, Stella-vortex (Stella!) – hot

n’tot’s wormhole, quicksand-burning (Africa).
Poor baby in a crib of delta gamblers
(chance wobbles on waves, where wagers
mince). Green envy's iceberg-throne (back, back).

The conscience-stricken ne’er-do-well bears
premonitions of returning (rose-golden ore-
liquorice of honeyed limestone)... & if he
does, he will be welcomed there. He shares

their scrivened waiting – lento, Lenten
(compassion-harbor, patient-solidarity)
of understanding all compact (charity’s
emblem, seal-wide, spindrift)... done.

I will enquire regarding the plain path
to the pavilion (your sacrifice of joy).
Your house. Your tabernacle (oh boy,
) – your gate of wrath.

Behold, a small green whirr, over rock
in secret thunder-spot : where
Cherokee crossroad (fern theater)
aligns a flame (hummingbird hummock).



Lanthanum 10.2


It was 11:32, not far from midnight.
Drowsy Hobo nodded, weary... heard a whisper
nigh. Give ear, sleepwalking shepherd; here.
He stumbles forward, blessed with sight

through stubby fingers. Gaze on that bloom
afloat o’er rhizomatic limestone, there

(between the cherubim) – its violet flare.
Hobo squints... his fuzzed vision (broken zoom

lens) wavers... notes the luminous periphery
(a halo round the moon). Then, like magnifying
glass on August grass – a flame! Whizz-flying
toward him – face to face! He turns away...

Who dwelleth in the man-door, there?
In the man-door there, who dwells
? the bird-
voice warbled, crooned. Soft grey-wing soared...
The sudden overwhelming sweetness of your

omnipresence, everywhere : the center
of centers is dispersed like seeds of fire
& like a silver keyboard of sea-waves, or
molten hive through mandala-perimeter

(Argus-eyed Hagia Sophia) this water-
whorl (tender hurricane of tears) led
Hobo on forsaken track, through Land
of the Dead... toward sound of laughter!

The mystery lingers near the sunlit stone.
Limestone Evening Land... whirl-mound.
Kurgan of conscience-riven bards. Fond
spires... Homer-come-home (wrung clean).



Lanthanum 10.1

Heaven is integral. – O. Mandelstam

Slouched across St. Louee misery-pallet, Hobo
clammed his eyelids... glimpsed a grey-eyed,
gold-filamental sister-bird (spark-flared
in mordant gilt). Mosaic Regina (Sheba-baa

of shepherd kings). & given that Man
might just be a just man (how long?) – pregnant
on ecumenical cliffside with all-human covenant –
so Hobo, humble bumble-poet, might just scan

his premonition into line; things yet unseen
by man nor beast, unsaid – how to enunciate
this annunciation, van der Weyden? Implicate
with slippery clay-signals, the tacit dove-croon

of belated lambkid world, impending,
peaceable – 50 cycloid-states of a gentle
Jubilee. Global pearl (yoked, ornamental,
pendant) : nestled aye in 10-fingered palm

of shady urning (oak, willow, tamarack...
a milky cottonwood, pining). & to behold
there (in feminine Psyche-mirror) untold
unfoldments, from shroudy clouds, Micmac...

For we know the higgledy-piggledy history-
tapestry already : bayou of battle-axes, dented
helms, lead, bronze... an endlessly-reiterated
fool’d of cloth of gilt. Yet this magnetic sliver-

mystery – parable-density of clamped-on
unknown (Private Ewe?) – begins to drone
from primordial Cahokia-lump... & rise (halo-
zone)... mossy spacegerm-collage in river-cavern

(over-&-underwoven). & as the gate of dreams
is a reality-porthole... so this granary-grail of
loafy clamurmuring might lift the whole whorled
rose window into place (sighing up berm-streams).



Lanthanum 9.24

Lift up your heads, O ye gates;
and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors

Providence, ye forest of whispering hands.
Compassionate mutter-potter generations’
unknown grey purring multitudinous dove-
downy town (integrity of heartfelt hopelands).

At the eastern cliffside, under an arch
of Westerly granite, eyeing the interior,
facing the labyrinth... RW. Our double-
you, double-ewe. Cézanne might touch

yon roughened fatherly profile with horsehair
warmth of color, bare outcrop of vivid green;
who glimpsed a hopeful artichoke-yet-unseen.
Those who’d impose belief by force have never

known my companionable Lord... in the end
their faith’s in tyranny itself
(lost to a God
of shepherds & of lambs). Thy rod, & thy
staff, they comfort me
(not destroy : defend)

affectionate friend. & as chloride + sodium
blend into salt of earth – as +&- interfuse &
waltz in each golden atom – as those pillars
(Jachin, Boaz) stand (portals of Jerusalem,

brothers) so th’twin tablets of your Coke-in-
still’d Law unite (at ladder-foot of universal
scale). Nature’s donated golden rule of civil
commonweal (simply : fair, kind & true) folk

(Turk, Greek & Jew) can follow, understand;
& if they climb yet further, might take hold
of that steel cruciflex-anchor (as he foretold) –
bells’ pain-carved gate. Heights’ helping hand.



Lanthanum 9.23


In a cabin cradled by snow & tamaracks, sore-
troubled Blackstone communed with his heart
in the night. Traced a fine curve eastward
(grey grainy graphite) from l’étoile du nord

into faint pale green-violet pre-dawn light
(opalescent, sweet). Unknown path, ellipse
of surf-steps... aslant a black inscrutable sea.
Out of blind fogs, a lens-canoe – its bowsprit

like a fiddlehead – frond of solemn fern-barge
in procession (distant funeral, in Colchis).
Suddenly WB beheld (swaddled in azure mist
over womb-dream) a limpid silhouette emerge.

Prisoner, exile – tongueless, handless. Dragged
through penumbral valley toward his doom.
Yet stood there (pregnant salt) so calm!
His frame a phosphorus glee-beam – ragged,

magnificent – thus this penetrating spirit
(meek monk Maximus) rose (knot-bound)
into Blackstone’s sea-scoured horizon – found!
Almond nuptial memoir-ring (moss-green circlet

of rust) hidden in neglected dovecote pockets,
old wild graybeard shepherds’ folds. Still water-
droplets, radiating through irenic granaries
(remote, deep wells). Sheepish prophets

rest secure there, in forested chorale-corral –
bathed in unfathomable réunionyes, who cherishes
frail rightness of each lambkin... O magnanimous
acknowledgment – Joy-Cognizance – O playpen Pal!



Lanthanum 9.22


This choleric scholar sticks unto bridgework
of our Commonweal like wax
, like gum
the caustic bulls of Boston grumble – loony-
bin’s too goo for ‘um
(Blackstone)! some smirk.

All surround me, stare... riding my sweatball
out of town. Salt cleaving to my mouth...
my hapless boneyard, shockloss (gone south,
m’darlin’). Only green lantern of yon soul

am left alone (concertina’d quail – colluding
in concrete St. Paul?). Believe we must leave
the killing out, when all is done
, croaks Steve
th’admirable stevedore (prologue for broody-

turtledove’s 6-flagon’d falcon-eye). Moonshine
his horse’s name : who left the dell of a blow-
stump squeal imprinted in Medea-snow
(Medusa-cur). Mingled labdanum w’fine

snift of myrrh, to enhaunt her nautical J-
chamois (dune-croon’d, fiddling coxcomb
runnymedever with gilt guile-odium... some
fie-mint, pap-crush’t, papoose marais-

enfant). His candle was mortal. Lightweight.
Seedy, clearly (not long for this rude road,
by Joad). So Blackstone, Wm. & Wms. (beaded
Thisbe twins, eaglets) fled : felt through the salty

law (égalité) : unto the end. As did the Psalmist
(poor Jay Burrytroy) whose pastel mural-church
(in lambent milieu of Romania) rinses from ash
of books – Bukovina. & Mendelssohn. A misty
glissando... lissomeek sheepswhorlsack’s unshorn
Seekonk-continuum (goldbread dark almond oui).
Where ewe-kids frolics Yvonne’s fado fodder-sky
& (eva-hopeful) wonders... so’rs o’ star is bairn’d.



Lanthanum 9.21


Gleam on, great halo’d moon (in Hobo’s dream).
Gneiss angle, mica (garnet promotions). Horn
the dark red wine (trombone, Louis). Borne
‘pon multidirectional nuptial smile – eld step-dame,

waning (winsome smith). Beached over leeward
delta, sauntering... planted Pocahontas-canoe.
Parallactic pair of parlous turtles – whose
fin-smooch welds one plummet-sword

octet (Ravlin bluejay... midsummer halcyon).
& that face in N’Orleans moon leans north-
ward, upstream... toward frail martyr-mirth
of’n odd country longbeard (even Henryman).

O wheeling west now, Virginia... ben-Lenten
cruiser. Poor shepherd’s irritable strain
sheer Oz cruxifinnicky-fiction, in th’rain
(as live ammo wells up... tears foundation).

Hobo-pantomime... torch-limb yearning
toward miniature myrrhbox, at censer
of an ear. Where four horses canter
sof-sof boomerangs (purr-purring

char-choir). Hobo files alley frankincense
in portable mirror (Madeleine’s) – saves
daylight goop like bit o’honey (waves
a-tumble, bumblebee). Hence,

knave. Seine once more into sown
bran-grain, cast-along river-ice (grand
brain). Slow, slow, lazy Russian. Spend,
expend your dream, Oblomov (glass-blown).