I am the Goat

Ours is a golden age of verbosity and explanation.  There is a very smart geek or robot or app for every verbal tic.  I, Blogger, am a part of the slough.

I certainly love music and musicians, but I think I love painters even more.  Why?  It seems more awkward, excruciating and difficult (maybe because I am more of a musician myself).  It seems even more anti-verbal than music.  Painters are famously inarticulate, no matter that they are makers of signs, semioticians par excellence.

My 60-odd year career in poetry swamp might possibly subsist on a few basic touchstones - patterns which survive the various zigs & zags of enthusiasm & commitment.  One of these touchstones is ut pictura poiesis.

My mother in her heyday was mainly a painter, a potter, a maker of images.  & also a reader & a storyteller (to children such as myself).

Three poets who quickened me most surely & steadily : Guillaume Apollinaire, John Ashbery, Osip Mandelstam.

Painting the image.  The sonic image.  The mysterious fanfare.

I feel very strongly that the contemporary whatnot scene, the global blabbateria & confessional cannibal-fest, the photo-shoot, the selfie-group love-yogurt hut, the total hug machine & forthright commitment speechification party, the holy us-v.-them war, has very little to do with poetry, no matter how much it has to do with humanity.  Ut pictura poiesis in this environment is a way of stepping back a little.  The otherness will jar slightly with your Community Jar - but without otherness there is no togetherness, right?  Every schedule needs a goat.  I am the goat.

Telling it slant.  Telling it so slant you don't get it.  You just gonna have to look & listen for a while, like Oblomov lying in a Russian wheatfield.  Life is larger than Tolstoy, according to Tolstoy.

You are not going to "get" my poetry, America.  Summer is here.  Go jump in a lake.


The gray underside of these
dogwood leaves, clustered
over my head.  The blistered,
lingering pussy willow.  Evening’s

repose à Providence, which I
must exit before long.
Into the slough I’m diving...
weedy heartland (lake country).

Roger Williams’ apple-root,
Blackstone’s Yellow Sweeting
will remain.  A meeting
at Swan Point – starry circuit,

milky wheel (Pappy’s birthday
pivots on your mother’s
grave).  Some Vladimir’s
renunciation – icon of clay

starfish, her lambswool tracery
around a baptistry –
Boethius in ecstasy
after the rack is rolled away.

Uncle Henry weaves his spiderweb
out of one gold strand
of maidenhair.  Trebizond
cell for Guillem, Maximus – ebb-

tide for violence, with violins.
A child skips over granite.
Spinning, inviolate
djinn, dynamic Virgo (mason’s pin).


MRG, painter, potter

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