Lanthanum 11.12

  remembering John Tagliabue (1923-2006)
In the uncertain light of early dawn, I woke to find
the ghostly presence of Natasha, still nearby.
A morning mist flooded our tree-limb hideaway
& heavy branches seemed to dissolve... distend...
turn insubstantial.  This cloud breathes everywhere,
she said; we’re perched on limb of Ocean River – sea
where all the streams convergeLook now, Henry :
you’ll see a figure for enwombed Man – a butterfly
entombed – whence Melchizedek from prism flies.
Again she raised her hexmiroir, green-rimmed
with copper rust.  I looked.  My sight grew dim,
obscured by cloud... fine rain across my eyes...
& then I saw him, through the pre-dawn haze.  An
old man, limping bravely toward me... in slouch hat,
with white birch cane.  Gosh – is it really you, Walt?
I exclaimed.  The same, he said, smiling lazily (a
blade of wheat seesawing from his lips).  I’ve come
to give you a dab of bardic courage, boyCosmic
Union’s the nation we maintain : an epithalamic
verse revives the universeJust as I hummed
sweet pity over writhing youngsters, thrust
my hand into their wounds, to heal – to turn
blocked hornets of flint to water-myrrh – so
each deed of heartfelt care is bound in trust
to Everlivingness : her regal token, promised here
on earth (who’s omnipresent as the summer grass).
The door’s agape!  Torn off, unhinged! – yes, yes,
O sage of stone Jack Diamond ElkDanceCheer!


Lanthanum 11.11

The World War I Monument was dedicated on the eleventh anniversary
of the Armistice on November 11, 1929  – Historic American Buildings Survey, 1987
my subject is war, and the pity of war
Toward dusk, a rich mauve-rose light filtered
from the western ridge through Providence.
A breeze ruffled leaves of the immense pin-
oak, where I hid with my elusive shepherdess
(Natasha).  The town was blossoming before us
in its mixing-bowl of streams : violet shadows
welded with gray stones, the whine of cars;
the bay, the ocean shantied in the distance.
A spirit penetrates this place, Natasha said; but
how will they reckon who girds their dream?
Look here.  She opens up a kind of prism –
doubled, hexagonal – crystalline.  I angle out
through the lens.  Like a sea-kaleidoscope
the city coalesced in a clerestory (swelled,
suffused with lambent mist).  Its sevenfold
spectrum rayed from each dewlet, opening
in blinding jets toward an echo-arch, far
overhead... where the evening star (calm,
sweet, peaceful) seemed to send this balm
sailing back to the earth.  You hardly know
your town, do you?  Natasha smiled.  This civitas,
this union, elegant grace & equilibriumall this
is vaulted up in sacrifice.  I looked to the river’s
edge.  The fluted pillar of the Monument rose
to pierce the perimeter of Providence –
where lady Victory remembers time-worn,
bone-tired streets... nurses a wounded crown
of blistered plows.  Let the Requiem commence.


Lanthanum 11.10

Again I found myself awake in a strange place,
lost.  It was dark; all around me curled sinewy-
sinuous oak branches, rasping leaves... a river
of night-limbs, laired... entangled in Medusa’s
hair.  I was scared... until I felt the tender touch
of Natasha’s fingers on my neck.  Where are we?
Home : there’s no more hoboing for you.  Where’s
home?  In Providence.  Yes... there stayed the reach
of Roger’s flinty hand, as ever, toward the dome
of his state’s capitol, below...  This is Natasha’s
temple, harbored, hidden in oakto wash
the ripe earth clean again, survey Jerusalem
anewYou’re going to help me.  How? I wondered.
Recall that phrase of Roger’s – ‘til He comes
to tear down Kings & Pow’rs... – this conundrum
you must grasp & comprehend : it is the corner-
stone of harmonyCan exist no peace, justice
or liberty, ‘til righteousness rules in one’s soul;
‘til goodness reignsreins in the fearful circles
of anxious desire, despairour own blind circus
of deception, malice, greed... lust, vanity & pride
that guides the whole world into sordid Babylon.
This is Roger’s sense : when Wisdom comes again
she will disintegrate those chains, & raise the dead
to spiritual delightas he would say, soul liberty.
Not to control the sundry authorities & governors
chosen by men... but to reveal the brooding aegis
of this Agape – & their recovered telos in eternity.


Lanthanum 11.9

A hush falls over the solemn day.  The limping
soldier, under his faded cap, star-hemmed, draws
near – sketching (beneath a tent of constellations)
his cup of cups, his homeless homeland.  Mumbling
between 1 point 2... and 1 point 3...  His name’s
unknown (only one of a moth of nullifieds).  Bit
from all-in-all sky-cavern.  Reversible earth-vault
smashed into milky spudscape (gala gallows-game).
Psyche, Blue Morpho... Monarch, Viceroy... just
a little blue babycap of brimful infant-joy – feet
caught amid nets of fire-teeth, anger-spite.  Yet
he mumble-burbles... foolish little smile-wastrel!
Wake, worlds! he yells.  Awake, windowless ocean!
The fire encircles his googol-cranium – bullets
of cheap death, meant for millions – caskets
for Notre Dame.  See the raisin fireseed, O man!
he prunes, in travail.  Turn, shun the shells
of brass, peopletoward cradle-rockament
of honeybeesChase cryptic fundamental path
that climbs, my androids, through these hells
of displaced nadir-wells... war-theatre theatres
devised by Everyman – us, prodigo drifter-sons!  
An Arabian hula-hoop wheeled by, airborne;
& then I seemed to see his gypsy stepmother
limp alongside him, abeam resinous galaxies.
Eyes closed – across my retina, like a wheel
aflame.  Who sketched (feeling her way) on
limestone slab... Stickman.  A gate of gates.


Lanthanum 11.8

Like Tom Thumb in a vertigo-revery, I woke
disoriented – as if tossed through the spiral
of a huge index fingerprint.  & when the whirl
finally subsided, I lay in the grass – my back
curled against the foot of an oak.  It was
Prospect Park.  Roger stepped as ever through
his granite portal; a lone mourning dove (blue-
white-silvery) was fluting low, ruffling feathers,
perched on Williams’ outlimned limb.  A tiny
white parachute of cottonwood seed softly 
sailed by (28 inches over my head).  Swiftly
the dove rose – & dove into the green tapestry
of a horse chestnut tree.  & then again I heard her
voice – Natasha’s – from the depth of that mountain
of candle-blooms (tiered ark-menorah).  A wind- 
whisper... like susurrus of light rushes over
us.  Henry... you’ve left behind old Hobo now.
You’ve made the first circuit of a rainbow triad,
surveyed your Lazarusland with my midnight-
sunlit calipersLook again : retrace the furrow
of that blooming plow.  I stood beside Roger
at the edge of the cliff, gazed west again... & saw
a triple rainbow, through a haze of dew.  Below,
plunged in Cahokia ground, that silver tuning-fork –
droning, vibrating to an octave chord (B-flat).
& there, beneath the soaring span, the russet
figure of a mighty one... shrouded in delicate
glittering seraphim-feathers, graven : OLIVET.


Lanthanum 11.7

The air grew clearer as the day came on;
& as I pursued Natasha’s line of sight
hovering there on her cloud-pillows, a bright
embrasure of gray granite, cropping a stone man,
emerged.  Held firm on cliffside, like portal-
prow.  His feet in wave-laved point of a canoe,
hand primed avast Providence (piano man’s true
blindsight, blessed).  He eyes a pencil-scrawl
on the horizon... Who’s like the righteous man?
Natasha said.  A fire burns in his bones
for libertà, justizia.  Uneasy conscience is
life-sign... forthright unfettered courage can
cast up a hero from quiescent dust, its cautious
roundWilliams reckoned pride of common law
on rough-shod knees of Edward Coke He saw
firsthand the power of right reason over kings
& all their spectral swaysensed universal
equity... grand springtide of a cosmic Jubilee.
Yet such zeal-fever marrows deeper stillSee
how it harries him from home, to find life-swell
(a refugee) in wilderness – an alien (taken in
by wise Melchiz-Canonicus, that kindly chief).
Good will; natural law; Love’s omnipresent gift
of reciprocity... the civil peace : a final token
of redemption.  I listened to Natasha’s obscure
speech... Hope’s the anchor of the soul, she said.
& suddenly her cloudswept car whorled... bedded
in oasis-spiral.  Feathered palm’s imprimature.


Lanthanum 11.6

We’ll turn back homeward now, Natasha said.
She spun me round again, facing east – I was
still wobbling like a pelican – so, with a smile
she said, Come, join me in my strato-sled.
We lounged in the cockpit, rested for a moment
(just the twinkle of an almond eye).  She pointed
through that shimmer-haze, toward the Atlantic
– azure screen that mingled sea & sky.  A tent
of tangled green stood ‘mid rainbow circumflex
(a vivid, vernal dome).  This is the secret house
of William Blackstonestray self-exiled priest
the one who went to live with Narragansetts,
Wampanoags. & then I saw the blurry figure
of a man – arms raised, framed by that wooden
fogbound alcove.  In a free wilderness, beholden
to none, he found a place to start anewyour
pioneer of spiritual liberty (& grace, & peace,
& happiness).  Preached kindly, bravely there
under his Catholic Oak... yet his real treasure
pearl past comparewas Sabbath-day release;
in lone prayer, on Study Hill, he fixed his gaze
within & through that wavering candleflame’s
dream-vision (victory).  Among his apple trees
his Yellow Sweets – Will B. beheld the rays
of a round & ruddy world set freesome future
realm of Jubilee.  I glanced then over at Natasha
on her cloudy couch – saw another Madaleña... in
that dawnlit graveyard, weeping.  With a gardener.


Lanthanum 11.5

The sun slipped west, behind the brooding Rockies –
I found myself dangling feet, like Humpty-Dumpty
from perihelion of that great & empty catenary
swerve.  Get up, my circus-sister cries – turn
90 degrees – face North again.  I did... but
wobbling on that westerly, she took my hand,
said – balance on one footLook overhead.
The sky was slowly shuttering – a royal blue...
& Venus lifted from the sea.  There, she pointed.
I saw the two cups pouring... & the small star
at the pivot, stoutly aflame – quiet Polaris,
galactic gate.  True, magnetic (Étoile du Nord).
Homeward, my integral soul, she murmurs.
Up to the source of this winding sound, this
wounding sign, of many waterfalls.  A mist
lay recumbent on a limpid stream, immured
in creamy limestone banks.  A stand of pines
& cedars circled round a spring, that played
unceasingly above a rocksmooth face.  Shade
of all that’s hidden from the proud, the vain...
I heard Natasha whisper, as the wind
washed through her hair, & mine.  Only
an outline, or a promise... flowing cleanly
through me, lifted to stand... (to understand).
You hear leafwhisper of the tree of life,
said she.  Yon early tree, forsaken for
false, glittering gloryYet joy will soar
in its manumissiontranslated to flight.


Lanthanum 11.4

I don’t know how long I lay there, gazing up
at summer sky-flocks, meandering across 
their bluegrass planes... hypnotic surf-race
over the surface of one shuttered lens.  Hope
springs in the North, Natasha muttered then;
everything coalesces in the North, she uttered
(cryptic sprite).  Or convalesces? countered
I.  You’ve read Recovery, my languid friend
you know how that frail-minded, shattered poet
suffered, from beginning unto end.  I saw
his gawky bird-bones, feathered in the snow.
Despair can scatter limb from limb, disconsolate
lamb.  Then I felt once more the strange wind
of life & death, as it fluttered through the shade
of an immense, enkindled chestnut tree (widespread
& imperturbable).  I heard its low voice... wingèd,
kindly, comforting.  I turned to her.  Natasha,
tell me, what has Maximus Confessor-monk to do
with my mournful Confessional – his manic, panic 
woe?  – Henry, sd she, you’re his image : fashioned
in stealth, the blind sigh-lash of his mantic sword.
How does it feelTo be the figment of a dream...
a hard crust blown across exigent ice, extreme
SiberiaUnderstand, now... so life is scored
for every woman, every manSo each is scarred.
A blade shall pierce your own soul too, the prophet
criedYet buried hearts will soar again, from lofted
cribs of ash & cottonwoodredwings, fire-starred.


Lanthanum 11.3

I opened my eyes, & found myself back in the dream –
prone, sway-backed, like Chaplin with a charley-horse
at apogee of that coruscant arch (center of universe).
No mustache, no charcoal suit... like that chump
who came to the marriage feast sans wedding gown
& was (& rightly) tossed.  My cloud-traveling
companion (infinitely patient, kind) still levitating
at my side, said then : What ails thee now, Hen?
O, nothing much, I said.  Homesickness, I guess.
I was, in fact, in mood most desolate.  Remorse
like a void in the solar plexus – vertiginous &
seasick nausea.  Dim sums of selfishness,
my life’s harvest : & underneath, a constant
unrequited yearning.  For cobalt-blue
& quiet northern lakes... mute evergreen
uprightness of those somber pines.  For what 
it meant (one ordinary family’s unquenchable
& selfless love).  What home is, Homer
you prodigal wastrel.  Pure nuptial chamber
(parabolic, most symbolickal).  Humble... stable.
Father-motherly.  So I wept there, on that prow
of steel, for all my foolishness – its sour fruit
of absences & dust.  Natasha pitied me; brought
comfort, she.  Recall Memphis Melchizedek – how
at Ebenezer he defined 3 kinds of loveYou ark
a gap between eros & caritas.  Yet... disconsolate
beseech for grace might find (in shade) its infinite
source, surnaturel – sheer-welded in a rose matrix.


Lanthanum 11.2

We sped along still, ensconced there in Natasha’s
cumuloship – eastward again, just where Siberia
shakes hands with Alaska.  Circuiting our gala
rondure – RUS back to US.  Her eyelashes
curved upward as she said, All this loveliness
is but a bauble in the hand of heavenly Majesty.
See the high firmamentbehold aurora borealis
rustle her garments of sevenfold light. & yes,
yes – so it was.  But I glanced below again,
glimpsed Vladivostok glimmer under clouds.
Called up my almond-eyed song-guide... his
mournful end.  Dark is the grave wherein
my friend is laid, I murmured to her (sweet
baobabushka).  Grieve not for Mandelstam,
she said.  The slave is free who’s overcome
fear, he crowedRecall that epigram : feat
so light, so resoluteThe soil beneath his lines’
diamond is steepa cedar mountSheepfold,
greenship... harboring seedlings of deep, full
faith.  I looked again... & saw Vancouver shine
below.  Sad memories of Malcolm Lowry rose.
A shattered river-shack... rock-candy almost-
paradise.  Torment.  O troubled, tortured host...
Her soft eye rested on me.  Remember Maximus,
his message, friendThe edge of truth cuts
sharp & clean, even to distinguish between bone
& marrowIntellect, sense; body & soul... one
Love binds twoReunion, prodigalVictory at last.



Lanthanum 11.1

Natasha gripped my shoulder now, cleaved to me
like a loving sister-bird, as we drifted there
above the Black Sea’s shadow-sheen of somber,
opalescent azure (brooding, thought-like sea).
Here’s where we U-turn, Hobo – here’s
where we swerve north over lazy-hazy Rus.
To draft a sky-arc of clean air, bright birches’
bark – construct a parallelogram that veers
across the sphere’s Pacific rimWe’re
heading home, aslantdrawn back (in single
file of feather-spun steel) to US.  Sharp angle
of mercy-returncloud-seeded atmosphere
of prodigal redemption.  & as we swanned along
that quietness of steppes’ broad, slow streams
I began to hear, faintly, far-off, fresh fern-thyme
themes – frail tunes, thin stalks of columbine
or bluets in the northland moss.  Then, joining
in basso profundo, subterranean bells, voices –
drone-pitched so deep, deeper than all the halls
o’Hell.  Then – mingled with all these – pining
cries of endless flocks of cranes (fanning away
on either side of us) threaded those heights &
depths of tones into a stringent harmony – land-
bound, airborne – flashing Sibelius-sibillance (hey-
ey-yo).  Then, finally... as we edged closer now
to that granite beehive, limestone Petersburg...
I heard a human voice swoop (bird-like) – swell
& climb, like some rose-windowed water-prow.
Who’s this? I cried.  You know, Natasha smiled.
Your brother-yodeler, harping in harmony – your
Jonathan, DavidMay’s Mendelsohnny goldie-joy
in lap of baobab – sprung free at last nowWild.

Lanthanum 10.24

So Hobo looked out from his high prospect
across the vast wide land spread out below
& felt his heart beat by an ancient woe, a
double blow : he heard inexorable time inflect
that planetary grandeur with its transience;
& sensed his solitude.  Mocked by his own,
held in contempt; shunned as well by a divine
distaste, indignant toward his lingering offense...
Natasha, where to now? he muttered gloomily.
Shall we follow that raven to the far southwest?
I’m like a desert pelican, an owl – or loneliest
sparrow on a rooftop, hereI’m ready
to go.  His kindred pilot’s hazel eyes kindled
& glowed then from beneath her vapor-veil;
lingered on him awhile.  Our sail swells full,
old snowbrow – we’re headed further afield
in vision now – so far southwest, it’s east of
hereCome, rusty one – we’re off to Lazicum.
She flicks her almond wand – they see some
wraith-like, venerable patriarch, his limbs
all scarred & crippled, in a threadbare robe
of pink & azure, like a child’s blanket.  This
ancient of days is Maximus, a simple priest –
exiled from splendor of Byzantium, the orb
& scepter of his regal wisdom (Solomonic
authority of Hagia Sophia) yet remains :
immaculate light-sprinkled manna-veins
seep from his glowing lips – symphonic
flute-flights, harmonies of cosmic gratitude.
Who, like a microcosmic firmament, upheld eld
octahedral honey-dome : one sinuous joy-welded
hum divine’s duet-triad’s glissando-plenitude.


Lanthanum 10.23

As Hobo pondered his shady Natasha’s pregnant
speech (a-bob there alongside him in a cloud-
vaporetto, at the Gate’s peak) – behold, he
could see all the way to San Fran! – scintillant
opal beside the Pacific – banded with bridges,
shrouded in lamb’swool mist, arrayed by sun.
Heaven almost for bums like him – christened
to praise ye paradigm of each flighty snowbird
a little touched in the head by God’s raven-
claw.  Fran, Francesco, Francisco, Francis...
padre of total self-divestment on the breast
of Everybird’s maker... wed to Povertà, even...
for unless you renounce all that you possess
you cannot be my disciple, he heard Someone
pronounce... & longed so to be!  Enough to shun
insipid hectoring of life-pride, flesh-pot, eye-lust...
(whirled, profane).  So poverello Hobo tried
contemplating that contemplative template,
the liberating potentate of Give-It-All-Away.
& failed.  His 57 greedy pilots (of a fogged-
in, insular, self-centered bay) rebelled – slunk
blindly off.  & then Natasha spun around &
spoke.  Grace’s the catalytic converter – or bend
it another way, the photosynthetic plonk – thanks-
giving builds on, just as cellulose branches out
from simple water & light to be shady oasis.
This is the power source, HoboFocus your
jerry-rig’d V – Don J’s hum-divin’ rain-be-troot.


Lanthanum 10.22

Still Hobo teetered there, at the summit of the Gate.
& his ship-shafty companion (call me Antho-USA
today; no, never Morelia) bobbed in her cloud-bay
saddle, nearby.  See you’ve rambled, reprobate,
back to babblin’-on, she said.  Me sorry, trumbled
Tramp.  It’s his leadweight heart, near to tip him
off the mound.  That peak between the cherubim
tops off his mule-pack (time, distance) – a tomb-
light, Ton-El – up an infinite suffertrail, dank
with wasted ghosts.  Across a milkweed Sheol
to El Rosario (Michoacan, where monarchs go).
It’s my sister-bird, Juliet – left me & Hank
too soon – off that other Gate, flame-orange,
far westLeft her father that way, too
on his birthday.  Dark wings waved (hoodoo)
over her chair.  Mercy... wind so light & strange,
passing... like that flighty-shady nymph (dear cuz
undone).  I knowYet you shall shed your fear
& sorrow, Hobo – here : take this to wear
over your heart.  An anthem-band of bees &
columbine she offered, then – light-heavy
with tenderness.  When the milkweed monarch
lifted off for Mexico, he left behind his bark-
pontoon, linen cocoon – scented with rosemary
& rue, with myrrh & frankincenseHunt now,
Hobo, for the scent beyond sense, the dream
enfolding reason; you’ll find love’s cosmic scheme
compassed by prodigal return... compassion’s vow.