4.19.2017

J. Fisher King



WHAT CHEER

April rain soaks the riverlands.
The cottonwoods are green
with a mossy sheen
(a milky spray).  Giuliana understands

her little boy’s harmonic joy,
winding up his yellow
gyroscope (so
imperturbable, this balance-toy).

Ravenna sifts backwater Time.
The hollow tock of wood-
pecker, carving a shed
for screech owl (minima sublime,

incognito).  Little gray on gray
tree-rings of Okeanos –
oscillating Knossos,
Minerva-maze.  Flute-bird (in clay).

A copper Jonah, lifted from the well.
Dusk-rose, Venusian.
Seal of the Son of Man
like Hamlet’s ring, in wax (fell

Icarus, from labyrinth
– the ship sailed on).
Trials of the paragon,
the paradigm.  Blue hyacinth

of Shaker spirit, trembling
Will   I am
Alpha Omega   home
in my petroglyph   assembling

              *

light stars   on the horizon
Thunderbird ghost-
dance   round pivot-post
of early souls   lifted from prison

At dawn in Providence, the light
gathers gold   atop
the dome   What cheer,
Netop   the independent soul   bright

spear   at petrel summit of
this Camelot   simplicity  
a brave’s priority
to choose the good   be led by Love

J. Fisher King   Ancient of Days
as it was   upon a time
at the beginning (lame
limb   violence bears away   always)

& the smile of quiet eyes & lips
the canoe in the shadowy
garage   Ferrara iron
burgeoning almond   Natasha limps

toward her vault   in Magdala
Gesthemane   April
umbrella   of good will
the given Earth   the rose mandala

a fingerprint spiral   of gratitude
Thanksgiving feast   soul
liberty   constancy   whole
serene   uplifted   Rhody-rood

4.19.17

4.18.2017

paradise thirteen



ELEVATOR MATRIX

An eagle gliding motionless
& swift under the rain...
a message from the sun
outside my window.  Inverness

beyond the clouds, it says.  Dauntless
Dante beheld a double wheel
like Charlie’s Wain, meal-
sifting Hamlet’s dead-end eddies

into Ariadne’s crown of yellow
maize (Paradiso XIII)
at the center of the sun;
Dominican, Franciscan, we shall go

along with Beatrice too,
into that Minneapolis
where incognito Jesus
is a twin St. Paul (aboard canoe);

from White Bear Lake to Resurrection
Cemetery, we’ll unbury
Berryman & Mary
Magdalen right now – a Raven

intersection at Jonah & 4th,
a Jubilee bird-fest
out of the cosmic nest.
Jerusalem is raying mirth

from every corner of the universe;
the gray hide of a mule
hides one God-Jewel
gold-sprinkled fiery agate-cosmos

      *

spiraling like fingerprint
of Everywoman, every
man.  The ordinary
ferris wheel begins to glint

with light most cosmopolitan –
green emerald of soul
freedom (personal
live-oak of Okeanos – constellation

of the Showy Lady’s-Slipper).
Be careful how you tread
this living woods of dead
leaves, sprouting crocuses – your

difficulties are not partisan,
your cures are neither red
nor blue.  The crownèd head
of King George, or the plowman

trampled underfoot by Mammon,
or the young stranger, mortally
undone by poverty,
her kids tossed into pauper’s prison

by our favorite mythologies...
we’ll mingle in the great
grain elevator matrix,
where the brightest of celebrities

& most anonymous of soldiers
meet.  Before the stars fall
through the vortex – Love
wingspans our last full measures.

4.18.17

the tender green



INDIAN GRAVE

The tender green fans out in sprays
now, over the trees
by the river.  Hobo sees
a little rise, like an Indian grave (Scythian?)

through cottonwoods – a salience.
Here Mrs. Sippy Nile
meets the 4 Grail
streams – Po (Eridanos),

Avon, Neva, Voronezh.
The raven is a dove
by day.  The paths of love
merge in a lattice-nest (collage

of gray clouds in circumference
of radar palm) where Jonah,
from the salty eye
of hurricane, flutes wholeness

(restoration).  My simple stick man-
woman, caved-in
charcoal Job, has been
the universal algorithm – toon

of Empire or Democracy, depending
on the rope they knotted
(quipu linen, rotted
on the mountaintop).  Swaddling

kid, Vallejo baby.  Lincoln
logs cradle the guest
fresh from wilderness
of ruin (arc of Constantine)

               *

lit by milky Okeanos
whence a black stone
fell, judged by no one –
Petersburg akme (nostos).

Impenetrable wisdom of
Columbia... the dove
of liberty, hove-
to – an alien corn-trove

in that placid Atlantic harbor,
lifting her copper torch
of caritas (scorch-
welded like a bolted nut) over

the twinkling arbor of a bent planet.
The nations tremble, the old
Winnebago starts cold –
rumbles into mobile mercy-net;

Thunderbird circles to Red Wing
becoming human being
in the mirror of Sing-Sing
(bright angle of prism-thing).

She was woodpeckered to a tree
like some Raven-Bluejay
out Oregon way.
Crossroads of simplicity –

a monarch butterfly in Mexico
could not have sung better
with keel o’ green cedar
or almond in Quauhnahuac (ey yo).

4.17.17

4.14.2017

in the still life


OKIE CHAIR

In the still life, when the sun goes dark
the absinthe green on the old
wooden door (color of mold
or holm-oak acorn).  In the park

by the lake, the sparse grass wakens
to an April sun;
& you remember someone
battling the ice (forsaken

minstrel-king, nazir).  A buried man.
Some twiggy unknown soldier –
stranded black-gold heir
thread-spun beneath Stalin hardpan.

The butterfly’s a Morpho blue.
Blue as Siberia
in winter, da (selah).
Listen : Quartet 15.  For you,

Nadezhda.  You, Natasha.  Through
& through.  A nature morte
très fort et dur.  Part
rags, part soft shoe, Corporal Goo;

part forever, like Francesco
dropping all his duds.
Back to his father (odds
even he’ll marry her, you know).

There was a war in heaven, in
your heart, your mind.  Jesus
the Rabbi snowballed thus –
blackballed in Memphis – sharkfin

                  *

razor between Hell & Paradise.
They call it history –
a dime store mystery
(Elsie in profile, in an oval vise).

It’s only poetry.  Someone will pay
for it, eventually
(Harry Hawk, maybe –
Our American Cousin).  A splayed play-

stub (Miss Understanding
Under Study) stuck
on a crossbar (Buck
Stops Here).  Eagle Has Landing.

Davy in the Detail.  Film roles
for everyone – all which is
inheres... Macbeth, Cortez....
Universe is empty (full of holes).

Must be that woodpecker, prying
for a worm – the dry mast
puckering (will never last)
to kiss the lightning (scrying

from a crow’s nest now, Cautantowwit).
Whittling toward Arthur Street
in Mendelssohn (complete
symphony to be determined).  Sit

down, Henry, in your Okie chair –
the nave is full of light.
Acorn shines bright.
The Rite (à Paris) is a sweet nightmare.

4.14.17 

4.13.2017

green buds are just -



TROMPETTE MARINE

Giuliana opens a ceramic shop
on Ravenna back street.
The “Old Man of Concrete”
surrounded by gray pots of slop

paints himself into a nearby corner;
Giuliana’s little boy
paralyzed (Guillain-Barré?)
plays with his yellow gyroscope.  Her

lover mopes, lost... (ambivalent
professional).  Red Desert,
Deserto Rosso.  Hurt
blooms in the sea-salt spring (Lent...

Easter).  Lofty kind eyes in shadowed
stone (Pantocrator, &
Theotokos) still stare down
from hollow warehouses (A.D. 600).

Green buds are just emerging here,
Psyche, Persephone
in center of the country
(Center, N.D.).  Land mass, a sphere

from sea to sea (theoretically) –
a glop of potter’s clay
in solar roundelay;
Palm Sunday to Good Friday (bloody

travesty, Ford Theatre).  Then
the turtle at the finish line
emerges from the brine
reborn – Rabbit in acute cartoon

(Metamorphosis at Minnaheehee
Falls).  Dante, Beatrice
step through the sun (hey
ey yo) astride Dakota prairie

hoisted on stray lambswool thread
like Vallejo’s poncho
(wheat-gold Paris gaucho-
robe)   or galactic Temple shroud

woven from smoke of calumet
& Camels   (veteran
Guillaume   a crimson crown
swathed round his beaming pate)

so Theseus & Ariadne   circle-dance
the gold pavement   grey Chartres

                   *

matrix   womb of silence
&   clear light   joy of the makers

On an upward path, the labyrinth
becomes a spiral, &
the Minotaur’s command
the envy of a shadow (absinthe

green).  Your quipu-knot records
an anchor weight – the rings
of one stone, tempering
the river-sweeps... only soft words

like flute-sounds, scattered seeds.
Stricken Giuliana,
limping hopeful Natasha –
Nadezhda, too – resilient reeds

walk in solemn palm procession
round the sea-wall
& the sparse green hill;
the bald truth of clay   passion

& its aftermath   high keening
sea-bell   through   seraphic blue
the ultramarine   (Pacific
hue).  Jonah   always coming, going

always being born   out of the waves
of infinite agape
lifts old sails   away
for Columbia   & Liberty   she waves

the light torch   over homely harbors
mangers of refugees
fleeing plaited Caesars
(their cracked saucer seizures)

as the integral of   furnace fiddleheads
the deep-sprung source
of Everyland   smokes Morse
code goodness   penetrating sadness

like undying Hope   into the arms
of Osip   or Goldie the Finch
your friend   in the clinch
of Hart’s woe   John’s alarms

the desolation of a lonely child
a hearth-star   shines for her
the safety net   saves her
Love blazes from the center   wild

onlie-Begetter   mild   trompette marine

4.13.17

meet & join


personal compass of Roger Williams

FAMILIAR ALMOND

My snarling yarn snowballs thistle-
clumps of confusion into
the midmost of the Slough.
Incomprehensible green missile,

towing kisses from that acrid swamp
in Mendelssohn (whence
we dragged a canoe by bare
feat, Heidi, home – only to dump

it in the permafrost garage).
There are many jinxed
men buried in there, minx.
Path P was a chi-rho camouflage –

X murks the spit (twin cousins
rustling for windy blessings).
Oaky, salty Invernessings
hone your eye into a baker’s dozen –

thirstings between gold floor-leavened
loafers & a 14
April funeral (foreseen
but not seen-for).  The scene’s unheavened.

Then for heaven’s sakes, let’s have it,
Lucky.  Twelve’s the number
of twin seraphim (Mary
& John) & Jenny’s lost mint (Juliet)

– the mother rising in the leery
graviton – the hamlet
feeling mighty chary yet
(Blackstone on hold, with Roger steering

                     *

spins his compass toward the iron clearing).
West, Virginia, west
to Vermilion... yon felix
nest.  Gone dragnet spearing.

& yet the guyline mumbling
of poetry retrieves
a sense of limpid leaves;
the universal shuttling

of loom with lambent seraphim
conceives an agate diamond-
crystalloid familiar almond –
6 paths of Dakota Slim

remind the mind of Eagle-Heart
(who reigns by thundercloud
of humble Jonah-bird
O sages in the Super Mart)

that everything says meet & join
in lattices of give
& take   Seek ye   & Live,
that honey-dome   of stubborn pain

intones   my cousin Juliet
great-grandmother Jessie
Ophelia   madre de Jenny
listen   a gentleness, O jet

of Mississippi water   sip & see
the ghosts come back to me
in Paradise   a little tree
of Jesse   blue   (a juniper, maybe)

4.12.17

4.12.2017

sleek as raven-eel



LICHEN DOME

The last snow before Easter.
Sophie’s footprints etch
a squarish spiral sketch...
still photo (lento, Bruegelish faster).

From long distance, every
bird’s-eye view can fuse
with every other (sans
confusion).  Each waltzing orrery

links hands in Sydney – under those figs
whose natural majesty
anchors her panoply,
a fractal Dr. Octahydra (sky-digs

of Southern Cross, O dusky lady).
Bends toward akme
of the starfish now, Henry.
Meteor Hurtle Aboriginal Day.

The stone fell (odd fellow, ultramarine).
Fey otter – furry,
sleek as raven-eel –
into the gilded net of Saarinen

(Sibelius?  Some other fin).
Architrave swept (over
canoe).  Windhoover,
agile Harry Grizzly (buoy-woman,

boo-hoo – smoking Camel,
him calumet).  A Caliban
or Cain (Abel).  A Son
of Man – sad Prospero (blithe Ariel

                  *

is in the pine).  Where be the porpoise
here, Dauphin?  Your plow
scratches the surface now.
Her keen lengthens toward Paradise

(swell memory of Outremer).
The palm-lines slacken,
ease... shade thickens then
toward Wingy Rock (you know where,

Coatlicue).  The cedar forest
where the monarch dies,
lives.  Memorize
my speech, for its spooky taste

of dead bees (Finnish sacrifice).
There’s the arch, like
a prow (turn on the mike
now).  Spin the jenny, throw the dice.

Snow mantles the martyr’s tomb.
Green lichen dome
where breakers foam
from galaxies of Mendelssohn (home

run).  I don’t know where to go
from here.  The scared poem
swims down Rio del Hum
until your blues become a hollow

rhumba-Rome (flight-bud unknown).
Whispers vespers... purrs.
Her bop-team be yours,
egg-woman (inner-tube pontoon).

4.11.17

4.10.2017

the law is not a sword


WILD GRAPES

A timid April tiptoes toward
her Spring.  Gun-gray sky,
leaf-brown river.  Hobo’s eye
moseys from earth to heaven (&

backward, again).  Raven loops
his knotty diagram,
figures 8 a.m.
some eats (thin scraps he scoops

betwixt instinctual communal hates
of squawky flocks, nations).
Noah’s inflammations
Eli salts – warns, Don’t be late.

Fuming smoke signals just
add to his unease.
Alighieri aims to please –
his bones rest in Franciscan dust,

his narrow beak angles from spark
to spark.  Hearth-embers
flicker out drear winters of
scalding be-ice.  Imperial dark

is splintered by gold threads of light –
lamb-thin graphene ravels
the cave-mouth – mangy hovels
hearken to trompette marine (slight

return).  Apollinaire or Orpheus,
shepherds in New Orleans,
Ravenna... rustic scenes.
Under an overpass (U.S.

               *

or Rus) refugees convene,
lean farmers share
their plows... while everywhere
stones ricochet like bayonets (mean

answers mean, unkind unkind).
The law is not a sword;
it is a binding word
uniting variable humankind

proceeds from love, & so returns –
one warm traveling lamp
from isolated camp to camp
where Roger & Canonicus trade yarns

& Edward Elk defends each Everyone
upon egalitarian
thread-frame (one golden
safety net for all the wobbly children

of sweet Manitou).  Cautantowwit
whispers a Narragansett
name over each hamlet-
nest in Providence.  Let’s eat.

The gathering of crumbs, wild grapes
& hobos has begun.
Mississippi sun
beams west, southwest... Pacific shapes

crest arcs of rainbow (orange, indigo,
azure & rose)... an Ocean
State anchors her span –
Hope’s incarnation (Jonah show).

4.10.17

4.04.2017

that river road to Memphis



CLEAR LIGHT

Again the baby crocuses
peek from the clay.
Blue as those starfish Mary
Ravlin molded, bright as seahorses.

The cottonwoods lean by the river,
hearkening to milder
time.  Spring child, your
mother flows to Memphis, where

one milky King came to his end
willing to walk that road –
real prophecy, he said.
Against our triple-headed fiend

(entrenchèd greed, malice & war)
to shape his earthy will
to one kiln-fired good Will
& forge a worldwide fellowship – soar,

mighty Martin, to that eagle’s lair!
Let your green trumpet sound
until a safety net is bound
with international orange there –

strong as titanic span & pillar
soft as a catenary
wing   shadowing gray
Ocean   in the sky’s wide azure

where twin doves from Mexico
open their double doors
hid among cedars
on a high hill   where monarchs go

                 *

so blinding sunshine grant us   second
sight   when we gaze upward
& behold   lenticular cloud
of mauve & rose   afloat   profound

over the wheeling ground   & fold
ourselves into that solid air
relinquish pride & fear
for spring’s renewal   as of old

your web of mutuality
yokes unknown soldiers trudging
to the Somme   frauds pledging
sacrifice   for unreality

just as they had in Vietnam
your solitary   freedom
walk   into Jerusalem
tattooed with beatific stigma   I am

coming like a thief, he said
so keep awake   the day
draws nigh   one April   Day
of Jubilee   when   rising from the dead

we’ll be that crocus   Kingdom Come
a long time coming   freedom
train   of joy & wisdom
supernatural glee   from heaven   home

to Earth   again   soul liberty
as promised in the whisper-
cave   of Galilee   your
clear light   ever-afloat   Eternity

4.4.17

4.03.2017

slow crane-dance



SQUARE DANCE

The beech, a symphony of copper & grey
shimmers her palimpsest
of summer light.  Her host
of rust-green leaves filters the day

with fleecy shade.  In Providence
her hidden rings girdle
a slow crane-dance, a Gödel
harmony (irrational coherence)

stepped on the diagonal, a zigzag
pattern toward the center
while her limbs counter
equivocal winds.  Like a limping stag

the Minotaur (a forsworn king)
marks ink-scratches in concrete
with his third (wooden) foot.
They cannot be erased – the bee-sting

on the tongue of that stung beast
is like a humming bumble-
bird, bearing his humble
master on a mule (the least

shall be the greatest in your midst,
Great Scot).  When fair
is foul, weird sister,
and a hole is in the wholeness,

& the onion odor of this Union
hovers through the orange
facade of rough strange
battlements... the regal One

                   *

comes drifting like an eagle-sun.
Immaculate integrity
of breathing Truth will be
the seal on that bright Lincoln-coin –

of the people, by the people, for
the people... after the .44
that brings black milk before
the beech flowers (in Mendelssohn).  Our

infinitely gentle bunny Rabbi
– sire of reconciliation,
smiling Sun of Man –
shall stand again in one rose eye

of green & copper Liberty
whose burning torch will come
to this dunce inane – wisdom
will shine from Bozo Nana (dotty

Henry with his dancing bear,
jaded whit-knight from
Column B) despite him-
self : because a solidarity there

glows like green limestone from the depths
a city of straight pines
out of the matrix shines
where Jason is plowman   & Jonas

mans the prow   & merry Magdalen
raises her almond lens
yodeling earth-&-heaven’s
rhombic square dance (Topsy Ravenn).

4.3.17

3.31.2017

we were there at the opening

Minnesota Symphony (head in the dear lights)

SACRE DU PRINTEMPS
                                                  if a Greek could see our games...

Stravinsky, Sacre du Printemps.
We were there at the opening,
brimming Finn conducting
momentum – thunderclaps & stomps

revive   tired 20th century
Apollinaire   in wings
puffing peace pipe rings
heart-knots   knock-knock (really

Thunderburnt acceleration).
Sacajawea, limping
the cornfield, keening
high lonesome   milky halcyon

mother-of-pearl   a sacrifice
of Mendelssohn   &
pirouettes   rose islands of
melodious romance   (deep ice

instead).  The violence inbred
in Gothic bones   Poe’s
charnel House of Horrors
under clerestory lines   All dead,

alas   Jessie   Ophelia
sweet dark-eyed river-
daughter   (Prospero,
Moses)   a scent   selah

shelled corn   shellacked
by hangrin’ guilty guile
in lime   hid   laid   Ile
fit you   Why?   Hack’d

               *

be the hackers   ice cracking
at the end   some munster
python swallowing your
Sonny Man (ut one thug lacking)...

Little mote, little penny, tiny
splinter in your eye
Ford Theatre   The King
Must Die   in Memphis   on a balcony

lowly motel   or mangy inn
It had to be done, someone
must’ve said   musty felon
or gypsy   jew-boy   coon

& we all in on it   even FBI
even Adlai Stevenson
some historical person
Hubert Humphrey (or I’ll be J)

– the pressure-cooker of The War
to End All   Wilson   Geraldine
Fitzgerald   Cymbeline
or Everybud   the boar-hound or

the bore   deflect the arrows of
your .44 (or .45)   Merved
orange Grifter   Vertigo
(the movie)   someone’s flic’v love

home run   9th inning   must be
some kinda way outa here
I don’t want to be the deer
in the headlights, Maggie   help me

3.30.17

3.30.2017

in the zigzag brambles



A GAP

The effect of insight is a sway
of blindness.  Hobo stumbles
in the zigzag brambles.
Fractured fractal frater Francese

camouflaged beneath the Franklin Bridge
(Brownian motion
through a brown mountain
of thorny lozenges & Persian sedge).

The little we see is like a microdot.
A pimple on an eager
pupil – light more meager
in the spokey distance than we thought

– a black hole at its vanishing
girdled with gold penumbra.
His hairs are all numbered,
Galla... fine fit for banishing.

& out of Purgatory rose the diamond
circled by dark chocolate figs
in Sydney.  Wisdom’s digs
are Solomon’s life-shade (moribund

quincunx in the quipu knot);
mild oil of Cyrus
poring shaky chess
wi’ Vladimir, in Paradise (not

Petersburg – Neva). & milky
black, El K arrays
6 ribbons in a Coke display –
the cosmic fizz is finished, Blackie

                    *

Pushkin (Abyssinian catastrophe).
I sense a communion
in an eyelid’s tear-borne
Rimini.  Her ruffled water-symphony,

her Moth Star – bracketed by wagon-
train or Charley-horse –
rose (by reverse Morse
code, or languish tombsk) to fill a flagon

slithered by play claw (dogwood
& oaken twig matter,
merged in a stream-mutter
toward Troezen crown).  Shivered

the Quaker grave.  Some Isis-ghost
of prodigal Ox-Iris lifted
Isaac from the scripted
crumb – some rose Mosaic host,

some chorus of arboreal grief.
Pacific prescience,
aquiline benevolence
ring from that innocence (belief

by kid in Hart’s magnanimous
Columbia-flow).  A simple
crossroad marks the ample
shadow every Geraldine or Uncle

Roger filed, & Dickey bird loves
just this – reciprocal
acknowledgement of all
a gap entails (Thanksgiving doves).

3.29.17

3.28.2017

crest of Summit Avenue



DIVERS STARS

Brune muscle-bound mansion of J.J. Hill
on the crest of Summit Avenue
surveying the valley where two
rivers join – where the railways spill

from St Paul to Seattle (Great
Northern empire, spread
with iron & steel).  O head
taskmaster, engineer, we celebrate

Twin Cities’ renaissance beneath
your wood-burnt work desk
(Richardsonian Romanesque) &
spiderweb of railroad ties (gold sheath

of Gilded Age gloaming, applied
so lovingly above
the banquet table).  Move
across the river, where they hid

Rez Cemetery on the bluffs.
There Berryman is buried
too (J.J. expired
on a May 29th).  Henry still huffs

& hovers overhead.  Clouds bank
their gray matter in shapes
like dolphins, angels... apes
ape each other, rank on rank

while divers stars shed Ocean light.
From Romanesque to Gothic
unison, one fractured brick
serves as keystone – wound tight

                 *

as Daphne or Coatlicue
rooted in broken clay
await another day
when Churnagogue stirs milky

honey   & Apollinaire
attends his Rite of Spring
uncoiling everything
like smoke from Calumet (a Bear?).

Old poison lingers in the verbal mold.
The Sack-a-Jew sad cruiser way
shone from St. Louis ‘til today –
Lewis & Clark & our New World (behold

the Old).  Shoshone shone her pilot
smile, O Sacajawea.
Solid light, our Bona Dea;
stars’ Primavera (bolting nut

arced out of nought).  She dances there
in place of sacrifice –
her graceful feet efface
the facade over the serpent’s lair;

she is the Jonah from the Ocean depths
who croons grey wavy shapes
for blind eyes   leaps
with a Nazir tambourine   & skips

a cartwheel through the broken glass
spoking a Morning Star
within that tender rose   O far
Pacific angel door   lamb-glowing Mass

3.28.17

3.25.2017

Dream song of reality


Just read Joshua Rothman's New Yorker profile of philosopher Daniel Dennett, his lifelong pursuit of a materialist, non-religious, un-mystical theory of consciousness.  Dennett steps out as a brilliant, original thinker, with an impressive science background (biology, mostly). And as an admirably enterprising DIY jack-of-all-trades.

I'm neither scientist nor philosopher.  But I have, like many another, puzzled over the question of "mind", this ancient (back to Epicurus, at least) divide between idealism and materialism.

Just a few off-the-cuff reactions to Rothman's Dennett.  He strikes me as a curious, searching person, whose stance toward nature is essentially that of an engineer.  He's interested in the mechanics of process - how things are done.  This is obviously necessary for science, an attentive approach which leads to discovery.  But it seems ironic that Dennett's view of consciousness - as a continuum, shared with other animals and living things - is not that different from the classic "chain of being" perspective of Aquinas (for one example).  That other animals exhibit a "sort of" consciousness (Dennett's term) - an evolutionary preview of the human mind - parallels the chain-of-being picture, only without the traditional hierarchical fence between "Man" & the rest.  For Dennett it's a flow.  & it seems he has focused passionately on explaining (theoretically) the how of it : how our sense of consciousness could arise from purely physical, evolutionary developments.

This is, I would say, the blind spot in Dennett's vision.  There are limits to the mechanical, analytical dissection of reality offered by biology.  Whatever conclusions he can draw from such analysis only serve to justify his prior conviction of the non-existence of an over-arching God, Spirit, or Mind - something which cannot be "proved" by such analysis anyway.

It seems to me that aesthetics & poetry, as well perhaps as some branches of philosophy, can offer a more valid perspective - because they are rooted in a sense of holism, a synthetic sense.

The poet and the artist register the fabric of the dream.  The theologian (or philosopher of God) articulates the analogical/anagogical synthesis.  Materialist attempts to disprove the reality of Mind or Spirit lack the tools to achieve it, first of all - and, secondly, are probably asking the wrong question.

The question, maybe, is not how, but why.  Why does this immense spectacle of the universe exist at all?  "We are such things as dreams are made on..." - but why?

I've always found the theological answer the most satisfactory.  Why the wonder of the cosmos?  The truest answer : it's a gift.  Why human consciousness?  The truest answer is a kind of geometric/analogical one : human consciousness, which governs (imperfectly) life on our planet, demonstrates an analogy - a sort of geometric parallel - with the divine Mind that governs (ineffably) Reality as a whole.  And history is basically a spectacular drama, unfolding the destiny of that governing mind or spirit, working through humanity toward some kind (or kinds) of definitive expression - call it "Providence".

3.21.2017

its talons are for real


RAPTOR-SEAL

We moved through a smog thicker than coal-dust
filled with angry cries.
I couldn’t recognize
my guide, only her humming through a gust

of wind.  The moon was a copper disk
printed faintly rust-green
over that desolation –
like a hovering fingerprint, a mask

for Queequeg, Abraham – a penny
for Liberty, glinting
from the dark well (hinting
freedom, good will, where there wasn’t any).

A doubloon for Mammon flickered so
below shrouds of the Pequod
many an aching tattoo would
echo in blood that talent for woe.

Marine Corps taps (trompette marine).
Memory shapes emblems
like coral wreaths... drums
weave light fleece mandala, copper green

& gold.  Like an iron spring wound
taut into infinity,
one Mendelssohn memory
emerges from my swampy ground –

the ancient plow we found, Heidi
& dragged back home together
through April weather
(iris blooming like a peacock’s eye

                    *

out of dead bulbs that never die).
The tarnished metallurgy
Iron Age surgery
some Raven-shaman shall (with high

& fluting Light Warlpiri) bring
might lift our eyes again
to one galactic common
wheel, that voices in Ark-Argo sing –

Hagia Sophias in Yezidi throng
to harmonize their peacock
tongues, & nations flock
to chime each footnote of a brazen gong.

The Word flies backward so, before Babel.
Its talons (like a raptor-
seal of olive-arrows) are
for real – to carry us from Hell

to Paradise, fledged by free will;
its almond eye (above
the pyramid) is Love –
forever fair & kind & true, until

the splendor of infant Creation
shines like Sacajawea
from green Equadoria
justice & liberty combine

in meek Franciscan poverty
to weld the planetary
flora into Primavera
sunlight-gold... bright solidarity.

3.21.17 

Minneapolis Star-Tribune, 3.21.17