more floodwaters from July:


Gray clouds like a heavy wave across the sky.
Washing over the last of the reddish-gold
maple leaves. Mysterious, water-logged
Thanksgiving – quiet, solitary. Aches

it, perpetual. Slowly. Slow mist of soul –
almost medieval, out the cool window.
Distant sound of Flemish dancing, down-
wind. (Through the mirror's modest pulse.)

(Blurring. Astigmatism.) The distance...
in Louisiana... in a wide flat space,
uttering joyous leaves
... it seeps
like a woodland scent. Standish?

John? Speaking for yourself? Or maybe
turpentine, or linseed oil? Solitary
Harry the Minnesota turkey rattles
pardoned neck-whiskers a-beam

the Presidential podium, today. Today.
Heavy roasting odor hangs in the quiet air
of empty streets. A green spar, or sprig
in the lonely room of one gray doting

solitaire, uttering a different scent
(oak sap? Sperm oil?). Today, knave –
in an old house in Paris, covered with vines.
Taste and see, crumblette. River-nets

and trawlers – nascent Crescent.
City. Rio del Espiritu Santo. Flows
one Mardi Gras, 300 years ago – wolfs
down your flood of tears – one tessera or

tesseract. One cataract. One dome
petrified, and buried in your muddy delta
being born, borne upside-down – an addled
ark, ancestral crossroad – mode

of darkened prairie – storming sky
gone black. Pitch-black. And winded.
In your mother's living room – painted node
of bent grass, purple air, skewed sticks

of weathered telephone poles, still standing.
Empty meeting of two roads – three –
in the presence of the wind only – earth
droning, murmuring – under a distended

whining, whistling – call put through too late
to nobody
– bent vertical, invisible there
in the frozen painting, at the vortex – ether
calling – switchback – rattler's tale.

Where the serpent curls in the headwaters.
Where the alligator opens wide the gates
of ivory, and all the mistaken messages – Tagus,
Thames – Neva, Yangtse – the whole tawdry mess

merges – emerges – spread and disappear...
bobbing, soaking, sinking – papers, cigarettes,
summer nightloads of confederate rags,
money... toiletries and crockery-of-paradise,

the whole production... handicraft, hand-painted...
as though the scattered basketry of breezy
implausibilities – mere silverfish zebra-
script – tongued a J2 temperate

perfected buoyancy – your oh and ah
along a London flank – Finnish, complete
and seaworthy – a curious token temple
of adhesive animale compagnevole

the cup or crown of long-forsaken Baptistry.
Longing through the serpentine meanderings
to the spread-wide grand finale of a Mardi Gras
out of Lenten snowfall, backward, forward – stippled

beast, graven, to apple-pied, applied
beatitude – Jonah to Joan in
an arc or surge of stone-dislodged
desire, afloat now, Archimedean –

you reckon, Huck? – you see-saw, Jim?
Acrest to the brim of your Shakespearean
deluge-dodged mad-hatter's reaper's
close-shaved bardic midget's

gunnelled whaler's rim-rhymed absoluted
Absalom, my boy! And they whispered
under the hanging moss, among the wide-spaced
live-oaks, drifting with the curving tumbles

of the banks, rafted and bound together,
logging the current and the depth
with little stones – their pithy thud
sounding token icons, registers

of greater gulfs – further up ahead, downstream.
Mica and aluminum, pings in the soil –
bubbles in the level. Gneiss loss -
binoculars (measuring a missing distance).

Just the words, the symbols, the shapes themselves,
shadowy inscrutable and serene, against
that turgid background of a
... bloody
mischancing of human affairs
. Vikings and

Dallas Cowboys... Lincoln saw ahead,
LaFarge, Degas (fils de New Orleans) –
beyond the blue-gray looming snarl: blagodar-
(mingling with blood and oil). Anointed

stonemason geysers from the throat
with nadezhda – all across black
44. Odessa jail – pale in a cab
in Brooklyn - theater of troth

bonded with a bondsman's muscled arm:
yea, though I walk through the valley of death
– psalm, solemn love-bubble, thread
of overflowing burst from Roman

candle's bronzen breast-coccoon: another
fluttering monarch of my soul (meek
Indian summer colors – merged akme
Sumerian marks and crane bone theremin).

Oswald fingered a Cuban .44, scrawled
limply, languorous. Sport of nature (sick, ef-
feminate f.m.c., flushed under a doctored kiss).
Democracy (grand seeming, scheming: reckless

gamblers: emboldened lambs). In Creole
haunts, headwaters mingle with the ghosts
borne slowly (through a muddy All Souls'
mist) into the gulf... one live-oak leaf.

11.25.99 (Thanksgiving)

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