the otherness of the poem


The turning year brings its anniversaries.
Sunken ships in the harbor.
My fleeting image of an arbor
green on the slope at Golden Gate – Julie’s

last day (her father Jim’s birthday).
Today the sun glistens
as if through Temple linens;
pearl beyond price, merciful Gateway...

The otherness of the poem is merely
the cosine of a conversation,
Cuz.  Light trinity of sun-
moon-star, embedded in clay lips (dearly).

As America is balanced in the scales
by a feather from Byzantium,
so a Pipestone eagle-drum
summons a kingdom borne on wing-sails.

Covenantal arc of steel
at navel of the earth;
gangway to spoke-berth
coralized beyond our iron wheel.

& from a pearl-eye in the mandorla
light beams to every hamlet-
brig across the planet –
melting the blood-red wax of Danelaw

& Washington, pouring dark wine
into each muddy river-vein,
lofting all-human
fellowship again (curving J-spiral sign).



bridges of Hennepin County


So many bridges flung across this river
like stitches on a wound –
their heavy iron-concrete bond
knitting a wintry Twin Cities together.

One thing is welded to another,
like the almond in a Venn
design – Cahokian
canoe of koinonia? – out of mother-

clay, spun wide... like risen bread,
or galaxies of diamond fire.
So lights flash over limestone
mire, through night-black thunderhead.

& Hobo, hunched beside the riverbank
is like the shadow of Henry
as Henry is of lowly
Galilean king (his incognito prank)

– as are we all, in that high diagram
checkering light across a dome
in old Egyptian Byzantium
(proof-stone of perpendicular wisdom).

Like Hagia Sophia with a million eyes...
rimming the twin-bent boughs
of swelling arcs (in Voronezh)
where East & West, mud-rings & skies

are melded in your almond lips’ ellipse
& God & Imago
& world & Churnagogue
are sanctified, sealed with a kiss

of peace (pax, agapeWakan Tanka);
where Rio del Espiritu Santo
whispers I love you so
& Hobo walks with sister Joan (Columbia).



Byzantium or high Armenia


Light snow cascades into December dusk.
Each flake a brief memento
of infinity.  Drifting so
far... from a distant world.  Ask

& it shall be given unto you,
intones the snowy-mantled
priest (Byzantium,
or high Armenia).  So the seed grew

amid its granary of full, deep faith.
Here in Minneapolis,
first snow is ceremonious.
A sanctification for the dying earth,

a last light blessing to the forehead
of a fading year.  I think
of Roger, leaning at the brink
of the Terrace... one hand lifted

floating over Providence spread out below
& miming his canoe’s prow –
an equilibrium of high & low,
of holy & mundane (Jonah-Hobo).

& Henry, tilting on the pivot-point
of Berryman’s rail (Washington)
is rescued from oblivion
by a mustard seed of restoration... faint

hexagon of gold sky-fire, transfiguring
the babble of his broken tongue
to chaste vision – sprung
rite from Ravenna (almond wing).



if I walk through this wormhole


If I walk with Hobo through this wormhole
at the bottom of a zigzag
Mississippi... will I see Cesca Tag
again, when we were young (my soul)?

In Providence?  Et tu, S2?
Picketing the perimeter
of Sagittarius A*,
noting that gravitational tug, you

sense her there, the ghost star...
back of an ecce-crypt
time-vacancy you slipped
through (holeworm, treacherous sailor).

Lean music of the sunflower.
Tall spirit loyal to the sky.
Your gravity a steel gateway,
oar-eye – florescing tacit power.

So this gold Einstein-Rosen bridge
domed by the Milky Way
shines like a lighthouse ray
into a monarch’s heart.  You wedge

there, anxiously, between her wings,
like the child in the blindfold
when a Black Ship sailed...
til tenderly his midnight origami brings

enfoldment to the nth dimension;
Liberty her royal seal
in beeswax, breathing... feel,
Hamlet, soft sunlight’s restoration!



perhaps we are Hagia Sophia


Down by Mirror Lakes, in Mendelssohn
Henry collects the silver
trading cards of a younger
self.  Still innocent (the future Hobo-man).

In that Providence springtime,
when we were setting out.
Pure Japanese note
of your own childhood (high chime

of Tokyo folksong).  Your Florentine
round pallor, papery
sheepglow (Butterfly).
Who knew I’d be the priggish Pinkerton

of Rensselaerville epithalamia?
Til that blindfolded boy
waving a Yankee flag (say,
can you see?) – sows stony drama...

Puccini’s on the turntable, at Amiata.
Her spectral Iris-wings
loft LIBERTY (to thee we sing)
unto this microcosm of liublyu stigmata.

Yet, perhaps... we are Hagia Sophia
with a million eyes.
The crucifixion of surprise
curves down, humbled with apatheia

– still time, still time, to turn
from the spent spirit
to that glad esprit
reflecting oui (edging Ravenna urn).



the sense of being right


The sense of being right, said Mandelstam
confronted by the Kremlin
goons.  Gumilev’s vision
of sweet radiance (chaste equilibrium

of morning dew).  The restoration
of all things might not be
some dystopic unreality
but a balancing of earth & heaven –

the way a canoe takes wing downstream
like feathery kayak
or golden bubble-track
across the sky (the Ocean River of your dream).

Kennedy, Jack.  A 4-leaf clover
assassinated every day
along with brother Bobby, &
King, Martin Luther (justice-lover).

A green eye floats, engraved over
the pyramid.  I calibrate
the shifting angles of a late
Atlantis – one heartbroken sky-rover

whose tears will magnify an Iris
in transit, like Venus
(from luxuria to lux
aeternam).  She was born for this –

to be the eye-in-hand of muddy clay
transmitting Jonah to Columbia;
to launch a hallelujah
from Monk’s Mound to D.C. (U.S.A.).



mercurial transit of the Martian sun


Armistice Day.  For all veterans.
For memory of an end
to hostilities.  Promised Land
or Providence... high limbs of the ones

who came before, palms lifted (orans).
From martyrs of brave speech,
whole truth, let us beseech
ineffable blessing.  Alighieri stands

nigh frozen Sant’Apollinaire
trasumanare in Ravenna.
Where mossy Giuliana
calls me from her potter’s lair

(soft aviator from a sunken realm).
Like that Tim Taylor, seeker
at Pacific depth (1132
ft. down... USS Grayback graven on its helm).

Project Lost 52 – to bring to light
every forsaken sheep-canoe
& let them float anew
somewhere divine (mercurial transit

of the Martian sun).  She’s calling me.
Like salt-grain in the war-engine,
a kernel from the Corn Maiden
of Grant Wood haunts... her Grand Marquis

a black blind spot across that gilded orb,
Ferrari Rio Santo Spiritu
she snakes toward you (& you)
from her smile-park (topaz to curb).