Lanthanum 10.16


April woods, ablaze now with the glory
of forgotten wildflowers – hypatica & spikenard
& infant russet bells of honeysuckle, spangled
in cupolas over mass moss-forest on quartzite
cliff (blackened by time).  & all this overflow
of delicate evanescence invites me to botanize
one evasive bloom no hunter will recognize.
Imperturbable, the monarch proceeds (Hobo
mysterioso) toward her cedary home, in Mexico.
She floats past St. Louis, adrift between Cahokia
& Gateway Arch – grand tableland panorama
elongate from river-matrix (Missouri, Ohio...
Ol’ Muddy).  A quality of equality, the plainness
of the plains – Jefferson’s agrarian dream
in river-vortex (Fluvius Jordo Cyclorama).
Here convened, like Pawnee on Inca terrace
(in a game of kings).  Choice game, hid
in Louisiana cypress chest – encrypted there
like a passenger pigeon in cobra-lair.
Eld Indic jade garland, no doubt (mounded
Ameri-pemmican, in meet-me backyard).  Frail-
woven hands tilt above high contrails... you sense
something greater than Jefferson here (immense
thunderheart out of pipestone smoke-trail,
limestone relief).  The micro-minimum
is equal to most humblest monk, in this 
confessional – is Maximus (the meekest,
wisest).  Sunhop-perihelion is also herm :
humming belfry-birds, wringing each crumb
of winding sound from unending waterfalls.
You the microcousin-cosine, Maximus.  All’s
figures, Hobo-fool proclaims (to kingdom


Lanthanum 10.15

Old Hobo, see – h-hand shakes, strokes pigeons
splayed across h-hum-array of keyed-up shades.
As if that bent-rottenèd rote-durn fence had
speared one palm, a glancing blow (sidewinder’s
bronze, or copperhead-positioned hand-breath).
That thick-veined, sandpaper palm even bleeds
a little, aye.  Hey, it peeps through the weeds
of crosshatch lifelines, fateline... all that spent
J-man’s skittery-jaggery 88’s.  As if an orb
lay nestled in a pidgin, sway-dangling ‘pon
wheeze-stablished cedar stool.  Nested dome
or vexèd cave... magnetoreceptive earlobe-
jewel... some loco jeepers-mercator for wingèd
longing (Palm Trio, opus 1132 – or was it 3168?
– forget!).  A lady, loitering in inner lake (wait-
staff in shuddery Lebanon) tripulates childhood
again (Bukovina, & Mendelssohn).  Her J-coat’s
reversible, too – cue for tiny-teeny MOM to
harbor (O m’gal St. Lou-Pea!) yon angled OMO
(muses maiden Maggie, by the fire).  Compost
compôte, geological Hobo-mélange (deep clay
formation – mellifluent limey, in crypt)... only
an aye-aye, in the hand of a hand – bifocal
bond, unbreakable foundation.  Love’s foray
into crane-bone tune – Ocean Rose (smoke-sign
from clouds).  Heart’s closest-secret closet
Sung y’Songe, that only Maggie understood – yet
swaddled in those hills (tight, tight).  Shared.  All.


Apologia parva pro Lanthanum suum

Lanthanum... I understand how you might grow impatient.  Seems to drone on & on without going anywhere.  But you might read it less like a journey, and more like a curtain, or sail-shroud - flimsy, translucent, wavering back & forth in a sea-breeze.  (Nice to think so, anyway.)

& what's with all this obscurity?  I might be accused of whimsical, even (un)ethical complacency.  My response to that : a poem is a kind of dense singing.  You have to enter it slowly, as into a zone or key different from ordinary communication.  It has its own timbre, texture.  If a poem is not sufficient-unto-itself, it's not really a poem : hence I'm constructing a kind of screen or wall (curtain) of slanting sounds & meanings.

Yet this self-sufficiency is not the same as what was once called "art for art's sake" (during the Symbolist-Decadent era).  Because when we say that poetry is an end in itself, we mean this in the same sense that we speak of the aims of any intellectual or artistic labors.  That is, poetry, along with every other productive labor, is self-sufficient in the context of the infinite, the universal.  We say that the beautiful is simply beautiful; it fulfills its purpose thus in being beautiful.  Science fulfills itself in being true - yet the infinite is part of this truth.  So truth, ineluctably, grows deeper, goes farther - on an endless path, which includes infinity.  The poem - as art, as part of the beautiful - must be an end in itself : but all endings reside within this context of endlessness.  Unending growth, change, renewal, discovery... every poem is a way station, a marker, along this infinitely-shady trail.  So, in the end, there is no such thing as "art for art's sake", though the art work may indeed subsist as a self-sufficient end-in-itself.  Art's self-reliance is always simultaneously contextual, within this infinitely-subtle mystery, the ethic of the whole.

Lanthanum 10.14

There is a symmetry in this labyrinth :
a labyrinth of symmetry.  In the quietness
of a fleet rest note, your eye gets lost;
flowery immortals of a garden coming-forth
are coming forth; suddenly, the river-
lines in your palm become 4 rivers, lined
with palms.  Holy, holy, holy... the old
summer camp hymn rose from my quaver-
quivered seahorse-chest (4 crystal knobs,
each with a password to the past).  Rapt
knucklehead I bean (deaf, dumb... unkempt,
sore broken... 57-reproofless) – yet plumb-
bobbed somewise to your 10-string psaltery
of praise!  Good thing to give thanks with.
For the union of reunions... clay eyes (ephphatha)
washed clear, ‘til all is limestone rivenclay (light
salt, a sword of diamond-edge)... & streams of
tears ray through this wide-open manna-earth,
this rotor-branded Brandywine (God’s myhrrth
a fifth-ace, graelic victory)... immersed in love-
kindled kindliness.  O sip & see, Ms. Mystery!
Ever the same shall be, shall be, the curve-drilled
angle-architects carve into time.  Their blarnacle-
sketch (charnel-cartoon) – stick-&-stoned Evie-
man beneath rain-piloted mote-arc – smiles now
in a universal reversal : arch ark in your main-
sail embrace (doubloony to some, no doubt).  I’m
singing around the house  in 7ths (clé of rainbow).


Lanthanum 10.13

O April’s love-travails!  You led me blind
by whisper-trellis, through the vine-nigh,
vine-high night.  To trace a flicker-shadow
of blue phosphorus (a zig-zag jay).  Inward.
The lens-curve lining of this mini-retina
is as rose coracle, or limpid vesica.  A rude
mandorla (me) filled with scraps of yankanoodle
sails – my papery mis-steps, cul-de-sac accidia-
reports.  Yet from such booty of dearth
you lift me into azure, shade... sheltered
by sentinels of cedar, cypress (cloistered,
grave).  This limestone river-cave – earth-
lapping light-waves leapt from its jaws.  Frieze
bent like a rushing spirit-arc – a waterfall
of overflowing laughter.  Ponte Vecchio guild-
hall, binding the flume of mangled histories...
I cannot build it myself.  Yet heaven is integral.
Yearning, limping one, by the Livingstone-tree,
eternal menorah, you harbor me within feathery
ellipse – so I may not stumble, though I crawl.
& the inward lining of my patchwork, jumble-
sale soul rethreads itself – this heirloom J-
square Coatlicue-shroud (serpentine Jonah).
A Pontifex Maximus smaller than Tom Thumb
or Pushkin’s button spins upon its pinpoint eye
– where Hagia Sophia rides on a bumblebee
toward the North Pole; where Sacajawea
folds up yon aurora-tepee of stars (hey-yo)...


Lanthanum 10.12


That lone pigeon or mourning dove I saw today
soar like a chip of shale overhead, near India
Point – tail shaped like a paintbrush (Charlie
Burchfield, or maybe Corot) stroked highway

& tenements, bridge, with color. Pigeon-
pigment, rare indigo blue (from rainbow-
throat). Out of whale-scum, offal (phew!)
– urn-pot residue (Hell-rot to Empyrean)...

& so, dark Phoebus, wisdom is justified
in all her children
. The full scale croons
in that arc of clear air. Freedom’s pontoon-
bridge, perihelion-balloon – A-frame filigreed

in gold. Up from low hum of redemption-
brow, a kingly Sheba-curve, full of milk
& hard questions. Memphis garbage-strike
groan-crown, toward equilibrium... O Zion-

Jubilee! – all through earth, & blue-gray
sea. & for me? Only a pokey mosey
down Dove St., where we used to be. &
are, J-bird... a pair of cleated arms (spooky).

This, O seraphic weld of bread & wine...
apex-draft up lofty sweep (of stealthy
steel). Rescue for tramping misery
to recognition of a molten trine :

bees’ hula-hoop of union-domes, melodious
facet o’ sun-filed Rocky Face. Peters-
burg’s nocturne-glow (radiant perimeter’s
tremulous Point.). Rust-trestle. Us.



Lanthanum 10.11


What, then, be this weird whispered word?
A one-note Churley, unhorsed – housed hidden
in lone-Okie corral? What secret gradient in
Hen’s 57-sauce – him ‘sippy recipe? Not absurd

so to inquire (for the sake of the choir, even).
Like a smoldering branch (willow, cottonwood)
dowsed in Jordan-water... from childhood
y’broodish Uther-Usher dragged his penned-

in pen... if only to seed & behold his own
flowering booktree. Dawn, Jonah whale-road
swoop-fled – fell asleep in olive grove (snored,
ivy knave). Ever the prod-gal seediness was,

is, sown. Not to be saved, either – burnt
lumber, embers, vacant lottery – except
within immeasurable charity – infinite
& feisty magnanimity (emerald welder’s

mint). Where we look to. Across the standing-
wavy grain, in an evening bronze (bellissima)
of aquamarine – alchemical grail-gleam o’
laughy-whaweh. Tough trough cresting,

stiffening to clear spring agate-whorl (your aqua
– diamond). From yon vortex-pinnace
of steep crow’s nest – walnut in his chest,
blazing doubloon – waved octahedral sunlight,

everywhere the same (Quito equality)!
Rose warmth of fluttery there-not-there...
close by. Draw near. Through ye man-door...
do re mi fa so – (unison). O taste & see.



Lanthanum 10.10


While Hobo was sleeping, like Frankie the tramp –
like the rest of us, with our cramped little dreams
in the garden of our lives (didn’t amount, it seems,
to mulch) – his soul was training her reading lamp

– planted aloft, in crow’s-nest made of birch-bark
(hidden in a pine). & so he played the shadow
of its abiding milk-train light. Hear that horn blow
now, silver, serene (silverine) across the sylvan

river-dark! The float moves upstream, serpentine,
while you doze... honey-melded servant-of-servants
on fleecy ship-sway (Sheba, Sheba). From Memphis
trance to St. Lou needle’s-eye (mandorla-medallion).

& as I sprawled there with Hobo, like a wastrel
in a weed-patch, I looked up... traced the path
that lantern traversed (arch over earth-borne
wrath). As if one soul stepped back from Hell

as from an empty well – stood upright at last
like diamond out of crystal cave – & sketched
an octahedron for the six directions (circumflex
of windy symmetry). To be an anchor – ballast,

balance (scaled to weight us). & all my heart’s
bewildered memories, remorseful hope
raveled upon that upright star-pole – sloped
to Bukovina, Karelia (vertical text of finish-start).

Prone upon earth, like Frank the tramp (spread-
eagled bounder) she lifted me (that Sheba-soul)
& all my dead with me (JB in the snow... HC
in the delta... Juliet at the gate). Into sun-shed.



something for holiday weekend

from near the end of long poem Forth of July. (For some reason Blogger doesn't allow for spacings within lines, between words... so you'll just have to guess where they are, or read the original - see link below.)


With dove in one hand and flower
in the other she is Spring she
lifted him from Sea of Galilee
to the top of Mount Moriah

where he danced a sun-dial
in circles a sparrow or
goldfinch singing Time Now
Here from my hands All fly free


And the weavers wove a barge
of reeds to float to the delta
where a child of a Sheba
and slave bore the scourge

of the lash into the litter
where the line met lightning
and blood met water tightening
a sandstone gall (pennyroyal bitter)


The linen like clouds
molded to the face
congeals a last
thunderstorm rolls

drums and trumpets
light hoofbeats girlish
Scythians mold each wish
from twigs the mordant sets


Sunrise by the garden tomb
enters as through oarlocks
of a slave's galley she knocks
lightly and the gloom

dissolves and the stone grows
lighter and the Man of
Sorrows' eyes open (La
nuech vai el jorns ve
he says)


(entire poem here, in pdf. format : Forth of July )


Lanthanum 10.9


Skipping its T-Rex rope of entropy, inanimate
matter loops toward equilibrium. A steady date
of stasis (nether word for...). As the late
(always) poet put it : stone waits (immaculate

coagulate) like pudding for the fire.
We’ve been here before. Rahab, Ethiopia...
we were born here (among burnt rocks,
ephemera). Bring aqua firma for the hired

! From where? From Hula Mountain
(yon Hawaii-mint island). Pacific grapefruit
gratias, fearless, unbreakable... specific
gravitas-hilaritas of All-My-Springs

(Itasca-fount). Mid-day sunshine beams
through disintegrated hexagons (April
adrift) – like mini-Hagia-Sophia dwelling-
wells, translucent hovercraft-triremes...

(fond shadow bending toward the lens).
One pink-gray eye looks up from dusty piles
of boots, at horizon’s edge : rough hobo-style
sketches her mollusk musculature (painful

conditional, vocational arc). &, groaning
so, stone leaps into groinèd arch – diamond
scrapes ice from still-born, chilly Neverland –
what was salted away, slowly waltzing, turns...

In the miracle of a lowly portal, hoary gates
are lifted eyebrows : your labyrinthine matrix
of forgotten streets melds into honeycomb-helix.
This man was born there (Golden Law Estates).