the beginning of July:


Gray skies on a late spring day. A start.
In the parking lot. Pawtucket? Cumberland.
Sound of someone hammering – what?
Iron. Waiting for my daughter there,

her tennis lessons. Nowhere. Somewhere.
Out in the open. Gray skies, hollow
hammering. A hole. A whole
world (of lonesome rune-moss).

Armor. Wheel. Hubcap. Sky-
scraper. Redmen in moccasins
on rooftops – cashmere
lamb's quarters and yaks –

kayaks – stitched all around again?
Like a lake in a corral – your
coracle – row, row, row
we go. I'd like to... snag

you, elbow room. A Huckleberry
getaway somewhere. Wide grass
where the hurt surges – surges
like active vitamin – Buick

in high gear. I leaned back
against the health club wall.
Low sub-suburb, lawless.
Clouds moving, carboniferous.

Spaces for eyes. Flag in yard
beside white aluminum siding.
Farmhouse hemmed inside
clutter. Derelict, dreary.

But that hammering was happy.
I was going into the meadows
again – lose myself for good.
So long, Julius. So long, Pap.

7.15.99 (St. Henry's Day)


Upstream from Egypt or New Orleans,
north or south. Colors on a raft
blend – snow, or Afro-cat.
Coffin for Ishmael. Snore awhile

on board, then wake with another start
or vociferous snort – was it a dream?
Blackstone, with feet in cow-merde
of New World – slow golden apple-taster –

or Berkeley, testing all ten toes
on reality stones – and the air so
gentle, and the noise so seldom – soar,
dream... no machine, but a knotted

meeting, under the apple trees and
sweet grape vines. Arbor day behind
the cottage where LaFarge, Degas
hibernated – downstream, tender

colors merging, a harmony
of many at the brown delta, singing.
A Niger of negritude,
or tunes of an old rhyme nomad –

tapping feet while they waited there
for the beginning and the end.
Laden ship in the Nile den-
mouth – moon-moth wreath –

so diaphanous, yet overlaid
like a tablet of the future law
or tables carven in the wall
of every hut. Love-dreidle,

homespun doodle. A shadow
gouache from treelimbs all at once:
a see-saw operation of the sun
or evening ocean on a beachhead.


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