what you might believe

kids climbing oaks on Arthur Street, in Mendelssohn, ca. 1958 (by Mary Gould)


Childhood in Mendelssohn... my mother
helped us build an igloo.
Spiral parabola
of ice-blocks, framing up a doma

seamed so fine, snow-translucent –
its arctic arc an image
(Inuit bird-cage)
of the revolving deep blue firmament.

Complex reality’s concave enigma.
Mirror-image of
a winecup-face... dove-
Jonah diving from the ship – Mama!

– spewed out on shore by Moby Dick.
The Q in Queequeg, or
Coatlicue – the semaphore
of Joseph’s coat, turned inside-out (thick

darkness shrouding every mountain-top).
Fine rational weave
of what you might believe,
while dreaming (temple veil, torn up

from bottomlands to Memphis crown).
A knot in the cucumber twine,
Apollinaire in umber vine...
a fishnet made of golden fleece.  One

lifesaver-lead sinkers the weight
of the whole wide prairie –
like Cathedral Mary
or that flute-bone poet-fishbait


goes by name of Buried-Man’s Henry
– bright grandson of the late
star Morning Star, whose crate
floated Twin Cities to the Gulf (see,

Tommy, how the dead rise from the grave).
All 12 disciples died
by violence.  The Ghost plied
her woodcock back & forth, & wove

Ariadne’s safety-net (one grey thread
bent like accordion file
from Ocean vortex, mile
on mile).  Behold how us dead

rise from fleecy loam – your dream.
We dwell in a matrix-
creation – Beatrice
skips from Florence to the throne (beam,

Natasha, from your vault-chariot)
& Juliet will navigate
the high bar of the Gate
d’Orange (Pacific somersault).

The vertical of Dante’s Pole
balances Henry’s hobo-
equilibrium... so
the message in the oak bole

from the King of starry Heaven
sets a gyroscope
in motion – Henry’s hope
& Giuliana’s love (sweet corny leaven).



elephant fig tree


The grey matter beneath the gray dome
over the elephant’s
great brow.  Intelligent
murmur through muted horn, become

flute-sound of turtledove – a rose-
gray granite labyrinth
in miniature (by mouth
of elephant-gate) whose lid will close

this casket blossoming with images.
A concordance of old & new,
the synagogue-ecclesia
of you & me (through corny stages

of a mystery play).  Tall gnomon
of a totem pole (Raven
shadow in the grim ravine,
the wooden idol in its barren

cul-de-sac) points toward the sun.
It is Cautantowwit,
testing your trickster-wit,
lifting his twisty calumet (smoke, son).

Ineffable infinity of Manitou
embodied now – made
manifest in mode
of neighbor Nazarene, addressing you.

Come into my garden, urges he;
the Magdalen has found me,
so shall thee
her almond eye’s polarity


seeps Providential clarity
as clear as spring rain,
clear as tearsEnter
my garden, friendyou’ll see.

My Providence was like a field
where Hobo limped through
wildflowers, bumbled into
common day – let childhood yield

to manhood, womanhood – O bright
ripe liberty to keep
sweet civil peace (a steep
ascension to the morning light).

The message of the good grey elephant
is like an invitation,
then – to taste Creation
as a gift of vine & wheat... sent

from grey clouds like rain, or as
a green palm spokes its wheel
with light.  Let it reveal
itself – ultramarine, topaz,

gold, diamond.  In articulate shade
of elephant fig tree
cresting azure Sydney,
reckon the pattern starlight made –

an octahedral Southern Cross
lifts through your heart
transporting human light
to everlasting dwelling-place.



my circuit is circumference


Sunshine in June – one whole note
melts into the chord
of summer.  In the old
garden of Time, the poet’s boat

extends its shade toward evening twilight.
The golden ratio of the sunflower
stretches to the nth power
(its perihelion); clay speeds to insight,

cartwheeling uphill into angelic life –
that bright-gated City
whose anti-gravity
magnetic North amends all strife.

Through this fan-feathered diapason
of a planet, the limpid figure
of a limping friend, your
sister-dove (gray pebble, midnight sun);

her hazel eye takes in mortality
as a grave garden absorbs
the one whose goldfinch orb
will bend, in parallax fluidity

as rivers from Paradise stream forth
or a mustard seed
flares – life’s high meed
a sunny gyroscope (balanced from birth).

So the Messiah-bloom of Israel
like Joachim Fiore,
Henry Flower (ey
hey yo) anchors goodness to the Pole


Star, steadfast over midnight waters;
so Infinite Presence
arcs into salience
turtledoves & fiery matières

de Bretagne (Arthurian hide-&-seek
the Once & Future King
resolves, into a ring
of riven oaks & golden fleece).

The One Who Rose from the Dead
lives in our midst –
Who left his Holy Ghost
as marigold, to blaze undaunted

Hagia Sophia (with a million eyes);
American peacock (turkey?)
or Aramaic poppycock (see
how archaic our ways – how wise!) –

only Phoenix-Turtle comprehends
how from dream-song flame
Reality revolves the same
again... as when a potter bends

her starfish over azure sand
& lofting clay from seabed
into galactic Roundhead
Cavalier (old Charley-Horse le Grand)

curling himself into green honey-oak
until the lightning stroke
flashes – where thunder spoke
the wheel that spun Ezekiel (Rose-Boke).



Hobo's dream-sponge


The pearl shines at the bottom of the harbor
as a lamp glows in the darkness.
Color of St. Francis’
donkey (silver-grey, St. Thomas More).

Henry’s church is in the grey-scale too;
a weathered pebble, like
an unknown soldier (Psyche-
cloud, veiling the ocean’s blue).

Bright pennants of the jungle world
(green, orange, black) are
silky glass, refracting back
primary triplets of an orb unfurled –

gold sun, red clay, & midnight sea.
Her mouth is milky ivory
from Santa Giulia, in Brescia...
her parabolic harmony dovetails for me

into a grail from good grey Elephant
(whose queen is dark & comely
Africa).  So Henry’s comedy
plumbs bottomland; its hierophant

is Hobo in disguise, pearl-diving
from the Golden Gate;
his Beatrice-Juliet
is Orpheus-Eurydice – is every living

soul, sleeping to swim the wake
of Lake Victoria.
Birth-rite of Jonah –
rock-dove sparked for Zion’s sake


& all Creation’s sign of Noah.
Suddenly, like lightning
we are made – brightening
kids from adamant stone – Aloha,

planet-people!  Welcome to Providence!
A grey Rabbi heeds
my mumbling... new needles
green the stems of an immense

Jerusalem spear-flower... Juno
to Juneteenth, July to Jubilee,
the fallow air grows milky
& the Glory of the Lord will show

petals of pink & indigo
before too long.  Behold
the twin mirror-doors of bold
St. Thomas – he who was slow

to believe.  Now the dream-sponge
out of Resurrection Cemetery
sucks Lazarus like Henry
into a mystery play.  Plunge,

Cautantowwit-Raven, into the deep
Black Sea.  A Thunderbird
breaches your salty word
in spumy clouds of Neva-Sleep,

& Woodpecker hammers out Twin
Oak’s mandorla-canoe –
a Restoration Day, for you.
Casket of Lazarus – a milk-crate tin.



poem for Father's Day

John Gould rowing in Oxford, ca. 1995


Father’s Day.  Here’s a quiet hallway.
Grandpa’s twilit apartment
on Delaware Street.
Cozy, gemutlichkeit, OK.

Grandma’s old Revolutionary print
over the dining table.
George Washington & nimble
Lafayette – their filial détente

confirmed in pizzicato minuet.
Grandpa’s brass cannon
shell shines dans le coin
Et nous voilà, sieur Lafayette.

So the crimson seal in melting wax
like Hamlet’s father’s ring
purls out, expanding
into undiscovered final acts –

Pacific reconciliations, palm-
print circumferences...
the moss-green salience
of Liberty’s majestic calm.

The Son of Man looks to his father
as to an anchorage –
firm stay against dry rage,
banal amnesia, unruly weather;

history would lose its thread
& be estranged, without
a commonality of thought,
that human constancy – dead


center of the curly sprout
who springs up (fed
by seedy Shakespeare’s Head)
to brazen River of the Holy Spirit

(Father of Waters).  Before all times
the soul looks out in joy
upon a wide Creation Day
like mossy meadowlands – rhymes

with Honest Abraham in his
absinthe mandorla – bright
JFK & MLK – light-foot
Truth come marching in (this

copper seal of Peaceable Kingdom).
Light of fathers everywhere,
the milky dawn-lair
of the race, breathing soul freedom

like whisper of Lipsanothek
(cross-braced in elephant
ivory from distant
Brescia) – a life made perfect

sustenance.  So a little acorn
from William’s Catholic Oak
(in windy Providence) spoke
to me once, as father to son;

as a green man in emerald coat
smiles from a heart of sunny
gold, so dauntless – funny!
Lifting my heart to his coracle-boat.


John Gould, U.S. Navy, 1945


a flower for Bloomsday


Gray Hobo-bird faces a problem :
how to save his own long
featherweight fern song?
How to rewind a strung-out poem?

Effigies & icons flashing by
like ripples in his eye –
Burchfield, El Anatsui...
Hartley, Martin, Klimt... Johnny

Jasper... fond winter raven-
oeuil of Master Bruegel...
Pompey, in the empty well
of Yahweh, was befuddled – No One

There.  The clear plein air of Quaker
meeting house, of Shaker
chair.  The carpenter’s
simplicity of Philadelphian law-

oracles.  We hold these truths...
But Hobo’s murmuring his
Nil Reed Candace house;
his prairie wind blows wild (Ruth’s

trail through mazy corn, tracking
Boaz from Goshen-land).
With poem-in-a-can
in hand (his pemmican) & Red Wing

Thunderbird-Woodpecker perched
atop his hat, he moseys,
slouching, sea to sea;
aboard his polar bear canoe (birch-


light) he circulates a mystery –
where be this Henry Church
round whom leaf-sundials march?
Planted in Resurrection Cemetery?

Or hidden in a holm oak tree?
The painted whisper gallery
enshades invisibility.
Will he sleepwalk forever, Poetry?

The milkweed monarch fans meekness.
This moth is camouflaged
brown dust.  The sagebrush
rolls through red deserts, the cedars

pine for Juniper (slate-blue).
Time’s broom sweeps clean
but tiny seeds remain.
A microcosmic mustard-yellow

gyroscope (spun in Ravenna
backwater) balances
Galilee on Providence;
the bicycle with one duo-antenna

twirls its silver spokes into
a rose-wheel window.
Where did Harry go,
Hobo?  He’s hidden in Otranto

glass.  He’s riding Pegasus
into a cirque matrix –
cartwheeling carny tricks
as Henry Flower Wilderness.



Shakespearean marzipan


Behind fine axe-hewn basalt
of the Incan hive, an eye
like Aaron Siskind, maybe –
quick, delicate, alert.

Mortised ramparts of any state
mark its mandala-border;
stone blooms of order
warp twisters of love & hate.

Only this human heart of flesh
harbors invisible diamond –
petal-scent of almond,
marzipan snowstorm (baked fresh).

Imagine one simplified snowflake
in three dimensions, spinning
like a gyroscope (one wing,
one leg) after one thunder-shake

of glassy dome – Will’s trident, maybe
in a late romance (Blackfriar’s
globe).  King Henry sires
trouble for himself – falls into sea

pursued by Bear.  Near Normandy,
flagship goes down – she’s lost,
it seems – until at last
Hermione steps forth, sleepy...

La Paix (familial, civil, global)
breathes yet, to dance once more.
It was Sir Thomas More,
lapped in bearskin, at the North Pole


who played the bear, who played the fool;
who played Disoriented Lamb
bleating I am, I am,
who flit the snowflake (melting soul);

his mother (Everywoman, from
Mulberry Street) wept
for the shame; she slept,
& it was glory in the end.  Hum

flickers (pictures in a whisper gallery).
The cranium of Unknown
Soldier wears the crown.
Empires of high frozen sophistry

shudder beneath an infant’s smiling
gaze.  It’s not the wise
who find the way (surprise!)
but every lovey-dovey Sing-Sing

resident – repentant heart, meek
mule.  Chaste planetary
hearth, Psyche-egalité
bright thunder-akme... slant, oblique

world-pirouette... Hagia Sophia
in a peacock’s fan.  Tango,
barefoot kid’s fandango
under the sky-vaults in Ravenna –

light of my light & yours,
Waltz of Three Bears
by Mendelssohn.  Flares
Franciscan, by Pacific shores.