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.
Minneapolis Star-Tribune, 3.21.17