When I was writing July, a lot of "American" things came through sort of improvisationally, like George Washington (& Walt Whitman, & Abe Lincoln, & Mark Twain). Luxuriating in childhood reading & memories.


Wail of a far-off freight train
rolling into the distance, the distance
Blackstone deep in solitary meditation
disentangled Anglican by nature or

design looks out upon a landscape
pale green moss near Oxford peaceful
on Orthodox Christmas, Epiphany
in England knotted somehow paschal child

made manifest in birth in starlight
when the light that enlightens is
a kind of new birth and every infant
perception (mangered gemutlichkeit) is

hidden berth of all our memories of
goodness and hidden beneath
our sins which are themselves (Theban
labyrinth) hidden beneath our pride summer's

weeds become so threadbare buried
with the masks prepared for the Mardi Gras
of the world so that we may not stumble
and so the mask may not slip not dribble

accidentally into sight this courage of sinners
in wastelands of each local hell to fabricate
a bolder front O Satan, we thine atrophied
bats! Proud servants, glorying in rancid

! Odd Hessians on a long voyage
in circles toward some banal drunken
surprise across the Delaware naked
and unaware while the Father

of his Country perches (serene, detached)
at the wobbly prow and there is no system
of Dante's hell, only the eternal mystery
of waiting for a punishment which God

I have no wrath will never send since
the evil deed is punishment enough
(along with the heavy tinfoil
masks each deed entails)

A little child shall lead them
Blackstone gazes out the window
past the sagging sagas and the dunes
of fairy tales toward his Bethlehem

down Blackstone River into Sunset Land
since it's always the blanket or
what's under the blanket or the blank
black hole where it was before (Nile

tomb Inca burial cave and icicle child
emerging from a manger steaming
with domesticated beasts) we must
find it again like breadcrust

tossed from the rail into the sea and
floating home where we began
where the blanket wrapped our nakedness
like the frail translucent texture sighs

and comfortings there in the manger
the walls of the coracle, your hurt
heard her heartbeat thread the
nexus naiads now (this gam

of wedded hulls of grain-crumbs drifting
to feed the orphaned gulls crying and
piercing the dead silence, becalmed) raking
the void with fire John Paul Jonas (fighters

with fire sons of thunder Boanerges
suddenly bursting through the powers
of darkness) and James whispers
antiphonal from the tower wall Jerusalem

rings out over the rooftops
of Jerusalem like the sound
of the Hiawatha hooting Now's
the time was then
as the spotted fur

of the leopard in the emerald nef
spins counterclockwise like
a constellation (Pushkin's
Swamp Fox trail into the fen)

and Bébé climbs into the boat
lets fly the dove and all
at once Law and
Prophets merge in a tub-gemote

A little child shall lead them
your heart remembering under
the wreath of wraiths of undone
wrath gathers the myth

like mud from the bottomland into
the eye of your hand (quiet clay
wheel balanced over the delicate
hides of beasts) in order to wean

the shepherd from the marketplace
of words and the sheep from the stalls
of beastliness and all at last from
the woeful pride of a forsaken masquerade

so that the ship may float like an ark
or civic kayak pivoting on trust
and unexpected grace and the steadfast
love that looks on tempests and keels over

no more but laughs and gives a measureless
measure (floating free and buoyant once
again like the crust of bread or mote
of a sailor's aye-aye Captain!) seamless sails

through Stephen's Gate into Jerusalem
the distance, the distance gone
struck out into the territory one
nigredo fin off Kalevala J-sample

of blood poured hand to hand red
heart from Teotihuacan host
hollowness come home stone
bedrock light afloat through two dear

bears (sun-heart at midnight or
North Star Aurora Borealis
ancient light sown-silver robe
of whispers now dim tiny)

(a tiny light in the middest of
Blackstone veers green
Magdalen Vierge
Venusian and steady) (hum)



Under the wayward spears of an Atlas
Blue Cedar in Swan Point Cemetery
with the Seekonk beside us quiet, dreamy
and the January sun pale distant

seemly tombs inscriptions
fading I come to bury Caesar
not to praise him
Antony's ruse
(coffer with a triple bottom cryptic

spring-wound crosshatched hieroglyph
box-within-a-box Gorby doll
of repetitions Mobius sea-swell
mummy-wound and filigreed

like the brow of Moby Dick)
as I sprawled across the old sofa
and watched the Vikings and
the Dallas Cowboys like a kid

fallen into mother's milk
repeating himself as if reborn
with muses circling a barren urn
fixed pivoting from wheel to kiln

in a spiral toward a Marion Peru
limen or Blackstone's Law
lost in the notebooks buried in a wall
beneath three floors of European

monarchies (of butterflies or swans)
concentric waves of ripples expanding
as the water moves over a damp
Atlantis of Mississippi river mud snow

melting it lands there beside bridges
between twin cities heavy lonely capable
in the bleak winter light balanced
by steep cascading banks mournful dirge

of river-streaming Où sont les neiges
? He died on a cold winter night
slowly I have no wrath quinsy
carried him away hard-going gentle

man having accomplished his will and
said goodby his throat closed sealed
against the crackling of thorns
under the clay and all the Law

and the Prophets concentric in a green
firth beneath the bloody flag or
cross of light on Grace Church floor
of renunciations overturnings

humbly retreatings and surrenderings
the servant of his country thus
bending the line of tyrannies and
years into an arch like these windows in

Trinity in Newport these sweet
repetitions of the rooster's crowing
shells within shells of shields worked
over the heart's ancient and riverine

artillery Masonic G plumbline
grown silvery across the iron sides
of railings toward infinity sedes
symmetrical seeds thrones enabling

this kayak at the perihelion of streams
to float out of its frothy berth again
I shall not drink it with you (mug of tea
steaming toward neglected cemetaires

of meteors or one bright lonely star
at the prairie crossroad where iron rails
echo and wind bends in narrow lines
the long soft grasslands rustling)

he left us parked there at Stephen's
golden gate paternal phantom
under the triple floor of a metaphorical
July or sham rock Blackstone's nef

ineffable last gaze toward Nile-mouth
afloat in pyramidal world-dream
aye-aye Cap'n so long Pap unfolded
quaternion whirlpool edicule thumbline

sketch of Royal Palm, shading Tigris
and Ticonderoga Finger Lakes enscribed
with an early ruse before the rooster crows
Abraham takes orders at the well a secret

angel will unfill with gales and stays
of laughter (come to carry Sarah's
not to bruise him
) where Sheba's
finespun blanket is thrown off the scent

for Solomon and the Roman drumbeat
rolls away the stain and sting of death
beneath the third floor of the coffer 13
lucky clovers come slowly round the tumbrel

timbre of the timbrel turned tender dawn
in the greenhouse there in Newport
a successful campaign via terrapin
swamp fox trot, Nathaniel with a nod

toward the east and Touro Synagogue freedom
in the mosaic mordant everlasting lamp
soft light shed like lamb's wool palm
of victory morphed

at the font of washing... salt
of Lima earth one cup of tea, one
baptism gone Florentine
one infant crown afloat

like a ship of light in a cup of water
turned to wine in a plastic cup
or emerald eye (established
before the earth was) Touro Newport

wedding 529 sails puff as
water grows black and death more clear
truth more salty and misfortune
simpler the cask or barrel coffer

with a star afloat like Jonah in its depths
a ghost-reflection one whole dove
set free upon the void

see through whistling clay
the flute sounds ride the mountain
waves in terraces your naval
natal day plays plangent scales



I was washing up in the winter courtyard,
Julius your red hair and my
failing eyesight meet in a mirror
like a rusted star cloaked in black dirt

brotherhood and Oedipus at the crossroad
crying abba, abba or an inverse she
baa-baa, she baa
over an Atlas
Blue Cedar, somewhere a sleepy sorrow

distant, muted like a child crying alone
on a couch softly muttering and unconsoled
while the loyal troops concerted vigilance
on guard by the old Newport Armory, Nolan

we are everlasting Finns long fellows
Waste Not and Want unraveled into
war beneath a distant invariable
charitable star far-flung swells

after the funeral and I saw him
standing there in uniform after the
re-enactment his name under a reef
of medals Kilroy like some conscription

remnant for the Father of his Country
some ruddy sunburnt equatorial
democracy of microcosm-reality
hove-to in that blinding snowy courtyard

where the general encrusted shell
of heroic David shielded in Scythian gold
obscures the star ringed with tartar dogged
twin not red but green like a glimmering leash

on life yes under the many-colored blanket
blooded with brother's blood (or lamb's)
ripples the star of orphan balm
buried deep beneath pentagonal calibrations

like an emerald bee under a jawbone lie
stubborn borne through black ink and
blank night on the rump of a donkey
Love into your palms my Jubilee

And like the night-light of a mournful child
past midnight and past adult eyes
you will be washing in that courtyard
the ice-cold clearness poured your chilled brow

drinks in the prow of reality ineffable
shadow of the Magi from the source
of every Nile as the Angel knows whose
hand held back the sword and baffled

both command and its fulfillment
this was the many-colored
jewelled lie like Manco Capac
beside the pool called Sent unfolded

leafed in a shroud of shades
the uncut garment of a polar bear
rugged yet mild and dewlapped rabbi
standing in a garden shuddering

with cold and early morning
a little child shall lead them Magdalen
or Lucky green quaternion and emerald
Cuba, Elián an island urn-manger

your berth is here upon an earth
grown supernatural in whispers
in the leaves of wind (lips pursed
with mystery) a tender curling ear

of corn whorled like Ruth
upon a path grown silver
trumpet now with violins
drawn parallel flown through

that feline pinhole of light elusive
jaguar guardian gone soaring
with no one on his track there is
no other happiness to learn from a star

and I'd like to tell you mumbling, my
little one that it's through our babbling
I deliver you to shine Bébé in
that circumference my bumblebee

since a star is only a star and
light is only light a rainbow
your calm smile my Marion Peru
at noon lifted from the cave to rest

and warmth gemutlichkeit
breathing sneezing
coughing crying out a Zeno-
Zeus so lucky home on empty couch

with nowhere to lay your head
until like a hungry blind unhanded
Maximus so slowly inching forward
under the upturned rafters of a dear

mosaic (afloat overhead
where an arch of sheep accompany
your voice a muted organ-pipe
gamboling toward the reed-divining

almond rod upholding the spangled canopy
or mystery poncho in Ravenna
bee-stung honeyed mouth-ravine
grown naked now and copious)

in the moss of night stars melting
flakes of winter snow your hair
flown clean (a feathered ray
falls there and trembles)

inching forward snailshelled
through the rusted fishing boat for
iron ore there in the northland tubular
bereft hulk or love-manger delicious

homeland Hiawatha hollow horn
blown sweet and lonesome now across
the prairie redman Lincoln Norway
spruce blue-green almond eye all

Magdalenian there at the star-cavern
within a nondescript exterior of
Superior stone pebble tear-shaped
eyelid Armenian cupola stern yet vernal

shines veteran dusky dawn-bathed
through turbid potter's clay
a Minnesota spring in January
one leap year one limber habitat


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