Dreamsong heads downstream


The sheep in the mosaic, in Ravenna.
Ravens in the scroll,
in the temple (Emanu-el,
off Morris Ave).  & in Siena,

Lady Pax, lolling like Jenna
on the couch, beside
Justitia.  Wide
open, now, your Burchfield scena

wind, grassland, heartache.
What brung them blues, O shy
bird bro?  Frail sky
disintegrates in Birdy’s eye, beak

cradling bright penguin soot of Man.
Handing his crozier
gently to its heir
a sheepish Father Also-Ran

smiles, mild as any lambkin
Pontifox.  Herder-
gypsies circle ferder
into desert places.  Julius Putin

frescoes chimp dominion, over
stalag mites hiked to hell –
old human story (well,
there goes the antelope).  Clover

for meadows, cottonwood for bison...
Amaranth? – or pick
your poison, Hobo Dick.
I’m rippling a dreamsonge Union.



Mais ou sont les neiges d'antan?


Primeval spring, at the center of the forest
at the source of headwaters
where mothers find daughters
& fathers, sons... your robin’s nest

I sleepwalk toward, beneath half-notes
of chickadee, shrill keening
wail of cardinal, seeking
Persephone (between ice-flotes).

Psyche, Ophelia, Juliet...
your muttered hobo-names
for fishing lures.  These games
of avocation... drowsing yet

below Cahokia, the Kore fields
of poppies (Orleansville
or Alexandria)... Île-
de-France... Ariadne’s golden wheels...

Old Guillaume with his mummy-crown
smokes goldenrod & wine
beside the snoring Rhine.
Hobo might catch a Jonah-fish, or one

might swallow him (it’s all the same)
pining beside the brook
of Lethe... – say there, look
anew, McDuff!  Her ancient name

is Cora – she’s a round boat-maid
of cedar (juniper);
her berries are pure
blue, honey – she’s evergreen (almond).



wedding ring-structure


These sibylline papyrus leaves,
so many shades of raven-
ink, scribe-feathered Ocean
etched with moony mesmer-waves...

The earth’s a musty limestone book
Psyche a palimpsest
charting gilt-emerald quest
through eerie oreille (slant rook

to woody isle, Macbête) – a flickering
archaic pain-matière
or wedding ring-structure
spring Geraldine Fitzgerald flung

for blue-eyed boys & one grey heir.
The old man frets in dust
& stone; his ferryman
(Rouget Blackstone) fins through the air

from northern Iowa to Eire;
the turtledove they seek
has grown so pigeon-meek
her flutings barely skim the lyre-

string.  Once in Calabria
flint-hermit Joachim
pictured a raptor-flame
plummet through time (vera-

mente Kiev-pointing).  Gentle
Columbia, please ravel up
my rusty finger-dab...
lips’ labyrinth, rose-granite mantle.



Among the people that you meet


The fresh air by the Mississippi
that glides to St. Louis
from here – muddy promise
of snowmelt, my clay Persephone.

Among the people that you meet
– around a picnic table
in Duluth, or at that fabled
native board, beside the seat

of Massasoit (near Plymouth Rock) –
one person hovers at
your back, discovers what
you need before you ask (more bock,

mayhap).  Like plucky Jeanne d’Arc
– or her twin brother, Tom
o’Hawk – she flies from drum
to flask like Nessie shatters dark

Loch Ness, grise foudre scorching east
to west.  She’s Omnipresence
in pauvre disguise – Franciscan
ass with horsepower (a Falcon-Beast).

Stepping forth into canoe
from granite lintel, W.
looks out toward you,
Eurydice de San Francisco

straight through steely Gateway Arch
midway from sea to sea.
Notes your grave levity
melds plenitude – lark tuning larch.



Complex rings


Once, one limpid winter morning,
at the little white shoebox
with Russian Orthodox
sky-blue-gold Cyrillic writing

trellising the doorway, I noticed
a young man cross himself
climbing its wooden steps
& pass alone into its lamplit

depths.  The anthill maze of time
& history is echoed
in the heart’s Morse code –
labyrinthine motherlode (of crime

& punishment, betrayal &
remorse); stone battlements
& iron tongues foment
confusion in the stricken mind;

the hungry roar would hush forever
every low flute-sound
of doves (tremulous under-
side of olive leaves, their silver

ripplings). & yet a lightfoot ghost
still paces pine barrens
past tombs of emperors
& saints... his testament recast

the chaos into complex rings
of plenitude, redemption,
commonweal – knotation
of crosstreads (eternal things).



White Rose sets in the west


George Washington was born today;
Sophie Scholl was killed
as well.  Her cup was spilled
in order to brim up the bloody

mystery of iniquity that is
our history – an epic-
georgic bio-pic
or tragicomedy (blind Theseus

meets Ariadne in a maze
of corn – assumes she’s
golden Taurida... FINIS).
Wings waft into a purple haze.

The moon belongs to everyone.
She set this morning through
a window shade (pale blue
the air, drawn up from Galilean

shadow-well).  This labyrinth
contains a Minotaur
indeed – his name your
own.  The light is very thin

within retaining walls of iron
chicken-wire (chain link);
quincunctial conjunction
for plowman (Sir Thos. Browne).

Wisdom B. Justified (in all 
her children).  Madre moon
sheds rain upon human
travail... silvers the plow (selah).


Moonset, 6:35 a.m. (Minneapolis)


the order of the day


Jesus likely would not recognize
what we have made of him –
exemplar (in rite & hymn)
of royal prehistoric Zeus

or Pharaoh-gilded rain.  Human
mind climbs out of beast.
Not long ago, the feast
was drunken heads – the scar remain.

The ink dries on a twisted pattern.
Tyrant’s father-hamlet,
laden sack – fried omelet-
omen (under midnight sun).

A raven zigzags over Noah’s
bow (yew, cypress,
acacia).  Her nest
will not be found on land, selah.

Someone, singing a see-saw
in Galilee.  Sea-
shanty (shanti, shanti)
maybe.  Malcolm?  Simone?  Naw...

maybe.  Light metamorphosis
the order of the day.
Pines, tamarack (way
back beyond Ravenna, Beatrice)...

A little moth molts molten gold
out of black stone,
southwest (of high Zion).
Wings ray to Nazir tinder... (fold).


On a ceiling in Verona


Late winter gloom.  I’m stepping down
an ice-path to the river
like an Incan on his sliver
of Andean terrace (steep, frozen).

Downstream, the dark-eyed Jessie O.
(steamboat captain’s daughter,
was just a child, coming up from below

St. Louis... O Jessie Ophelia...
Cleopatra Desdemona...
Solominka, Marina...
frescoed on a ceiling in Verona-

by-Neva, maybe (in a dream).
& I, only mere boy,
half-yearn... imaginary
Longfellow, flaking off the stream...

Your dark water-crossroads, Pawnee-
Hecate.  Whirlpool
of Eurydice.  School
of Dante’s cinder-journey.  Three

ways, all phosphoric (thundering
falls).  Only to find
that light Diana-mind
Justinian burrowed, for his high welding –

only the lightest spider-thread
from Colchis dawn will do.
For Juliet.  You too,
my child, may skip the tightrope-tread.



Une Saison en Fever


The muted still-gray river
slides past cottonwoods
& snow, makes hay towards
New Orleans.  Fevered février

saison de décision.  Party
of the partisans puts up
game faces – trumpets
bray wide, nosing opportunity –

battle flags ahoist, strong words
spray sound (Spartan array).
She moseys on her way,
accompanied by big black birds.

My soul, you tap your Sunday palm.
Must carve down, serpentine,
through plated clay – shed skin
to utmost bone.  A Lenten hymn –

let it all go.  Beneath gray stone
lies diamond – the fiery
akme of the maker,
kamen of Cape Horn (cross-thorn).

The Rio flows toward the Gulf
into the center of the earth.
Where molten rock gives birth
to metamorphs of sheep & wolf –

of black & white, of red & gold.
This alchemy’s a Union
sparked before the sun –
along still waters (as of old).



El Shade-Eye


If I murmur a little in your direction,
little almond tree, lessel
mandel baum, it’s only
because you’re a little evergreen

in my heart – still leaving, leaving
from the great ash mast
where you still last, & last...
as if lashed to a breathing & grieving

breeze.  Maxims, beatitudes
sing through its rigging
(cicada-susurrus, pinging
from Maximus, Boethius)...

its compass just a simple carpenter’s
level’s bubble-eye –
a kayak reciprocity-
needle, trained on bent meteor’s

immaculate arc (unbroken smile
from sky to Ojibwa midway
way).  Immense gravity
waves emanate from a small gray pebble,

tossed off the stern like a Jonah-
pigeon, never to return –
Raven or Betyl-stone
(anchor sunk to seabed zone).

A pyramid of limestone glyphs
guards fair mum-tomb;
your skipper’s Sophie-doom
from living lips... (forever flips).



Rosebud mission doors


Hunchback Richard & the Hunkpapas
were driven off the earth
in hails of lead; their leather
shirts splayed in the newspapers

like ragged flags of slander (flapped
by harrying wind into
nonentity).  The men who
cornered them were full of sap –

Miles, Sherman – clinking heroes
for a swell new nation;
never had a notion
of the Lakota they drowned in woe.

The Great Spirit will judge, muttered
Red Cloud.  Old Manitou
your deeds shall deal to you.
The Rosebud mission doors are shuttered

now.  Over Washington monuments
another cloud congeals,
rubidium-fierce.  Sky-seals
are torn – rage flows in torrents

through slick marble halls, bears down
skewed scales with partisan
self-servicing, crude
greed, the yap of infinite Mammon –

armored in barking thunder-tread
of heavy weaponry
(gunfire from Albany
to Bernardino – many children dead).



Remembrances of 1865 (so beginneth Ravenna Diagram Bk 6)


To turn your glance back, eastward, from
the height of a great orange
pier (Home on the Range
in your ear) – immense Pacific foaming

behind you... like a lookout in a crow’s-
nest – a single burning glass,
a golden eagle-eyepiece
taking in a continent.  Up to Rose

Island Lighthouse (Narragansett Bay) –
to the byzantine capitol dome
in Providence, whose gnomon
is a gold harpooner – looking away

back west, toward you.  Photoshot (still).
As when the sun stops briefly
over Jericho, before they
blow the trumpets, & the walls fall;

as if you stood before a Peto
still-life (intricate
& accurate memento
of complete stigmata-scrimshaw hero).

I hear another sea wash, sighing
round salt emerald shores.
Columba’s Iona (wars
far off, now) laved with dying kings’

repentance-prayers (touch of blessing
for the wounded flutes
of clay).  So lift your lute,
sad Frisco boy.  She’s leeward (glistening).



& so concludes Ravenna Diagram, bk 5


J was for Juniper (Maia genus,
Jenna) – an ordinary
quiet little tree –
you find them everywhere in Rus,

U.S.  One of the cedar family –
of which great masts are made
in Massa Maritima, she said;
& note the canoe, so beautifully

wrought, that graces this garage
full of rusted implements,
old iron junk (ribs,
tubes, gunnels, disjecta, garbage)...

no, don’t kiss me now, it’s almost
Valentine’s.  Here’s a letter
in the litter, from your brother
in Minneapolis (him & his boats!) –

expatiating on that Inland Ocean
stretching from Superior’s
index, through Mississippi
dells & vales (his new obsession)

leaving these microscopic spirals
...in the pervasive buttery
limestone underbelly
of the land... seashells, fan-whorls;

epitomized in one moist flesh-toned
stony nave & spire
(near 34th & 34).
Meek modern well-proportioned

masterpiece, harmonic matrix
of father & son (elegant
Eero, eerie Eliel) – bent
Saarinen ark, soaring to Beatrix

rondure... O navigators!  Inching
over gravity waves,
black holes, ripe graves
of wombified Vikings... cinching

one planet with your splintery
kaleidoscopes (wind-
buffeted facets of land
& sea) under Dancing Bear, Polaris!

I would scratch my cartoon of your fellowship
with the circumference


of an almond salience –
one bright Penny’s (legal, tender) skip.

A dove circles the Bay there, Columbia
where the beats gather
spliced to twine pillar,
shrouds & safety nets of a still Finlandia

wheeling wings, massed between sea
& cedar palisades,
Pacific rock parades
& sigh of spray... enveloping, visionary

finish at the prow of fiery
sunsets!  & I recall
the rudder of it all –
kind capitan of Little Rhody,

prophet of soul liberty
gold Independent Man
atop the mobile span
of Providence – abeam with charity!

Wrapped in cloud, the binding peaks
wink now with S.O.S.
Laurentian Divide is
where the waters separate – soul seeks

her Earth, commensurate with hope
– justice of Manitou
sluicing like rain (for you
& me) across wide prairie slope

to live-oak bottomland.  My faint
hen-scratch... mere filament
to trace the lineament
of Kalevala-coracle – St.

Mary’s fishing-boat, or Paul’s
(vain little man, whose plan
would hook Leviathan) –
one rosy ark, riding the squalls

where refugees huddle for warmth & light.
O womb abrim with life,
grail-casket, Raven-knife
matrix of River’s coppery might –

lift up your little pine apex!
Crown my origami fleet
with fir-green fin – beat
time with silver oar (moon reflex).



Vladimir's Mnemosyne


The little height of land, pasture
behind the slough, Heidi,
in Mendelssohn – where we
hunted fireflies together

as on a giant turtle’s back
in the dark – like sparks
or bees on a gloomride
puppy stars under the black

sky sidling, sidereal
in sympathy, friendly
affinity, & simply
love (centripetal

North Star).  Vladimir’s Mnemosyne
within the hazel wood
only pure good 
Time the shady tall ash tree

that leaves its paw-print on your brow
today.  Miniature
meteor, or sepulchre
in microcosm, negative snow-

flake, flinty seal of Solomon;
emblematic passion-
flower, heart’s icon,
salt for a matrix-flame... O Queen

of the South, nightingale’s
bridegroom, at peak of
deep star-well – Love’s
rose-nest (crowning pregnant sails).



Steady as she goes


Late afternoon.  Light sound
of soprano bell, from bass
drone of freight train
over river-bridge.  Nothing profound

(just slightly wistful).  A poet keeps
time.  In the ear’s recess,
faint heartbeat-stress
marks passage of the sheep

over the dream-track.  Nothing more
nor less.  Down N’Orleans way
the Indians are gay
tonight, beaded with coronation Flor

del Rio del Espiritu Santo.  Amen
& hallelujah, hey-
ey-yo.  Let us pray
for the grain of wheat, the salty bran

of liberation (touch of soul,
Touchstone).  So dance
your way into the trance,
Hal Marie!  & remember, all –

tomorrow’s Lent (already).  The square
of ash upon your brow
a sailor’s salty vow
to steady as she goes (fair,

kind & true).  His hand waves from
the deep – he’s called Acorn.
He wears an English crown
of oakleaf (he’s Vermilion Flem).


A missive from Petropolis


In the clear winter light, the bright life
swings through memory
like steady Mississippi
viewed from a bridge.  My wife,

whispers a tottery unknown Schweik,
hugging his beloved
flak-jacket (bullet-
holes & all) – Maya Jhenna, that Mike

mumbles to Neva (ghost of a muzhik-
moosh)... my shining
inkling, engravening wing-
back turtledove... (nuncle be sick).

Awhile soul clap in jail, this bird
will penetrate the day –
a wormhole P-Jay,
serpentine (heart’s own sail-shroud).

Like Raven, still criss-crowing
over Noah’s bobble-head –
whose flinty beak’s dead
reckoning will note the gorgeous

hillside, blooming afar, over the sea –
so that prophetic castaway
(Hobo-Jonah) will play
black Orpheus to Coulombe-Bee;

a missive from Petropolis
(long-axled hasp)
plumbs Negrepontis
limns Clio’s last golden gasp.



Truth shall make you free


There were Goulds for 150 years
plowing granite outcrops
in New Hampshire.  Topsfield
nurtured them, with jagged shears,

thick brambles, frozen lakes.
They strove in relative
obscurity – no live
broadcasts, no edited remakes.

Live Free or Die.  The grumpy stoic
emits a little light,
no less – the gift outright
be given back (one life, unique).

An intuition of soul liberty,
that’s all – that one might have
life in oneself, to serve
& swerve again (Boethian quiddity);

that conscience might arise like spring
in blustery New England –
a crocus prancing gold
before snow melts; your being

perfect, in a sense (meek master
of your own ramshackle
chicken-yard, O Jacqueline).
You glimpse them off the highway – chicory

menoroth, maybe – glimmering
remote star-woodcuts,
lamps over lonely fields...
just rightness in your bones (beaming).



Upon a tangent in Ravenna


Dawn light through circumference
of dome conveys some sense
of dreaming weightlessness
as of infinity & omnipresence

so Hagia Sophia & peacock tail
might meet upon a tangent
in Ravenna   Dante’s ancient
flame a spark, skimming the axle

of a galaxy, loosed from an arrowhead
flint, striking limestone
footprint (Galilean,
Nazirite).  Behold star in its idea

adamant & diamond
centri-petal (almond
mandate) everybody

Ordinary & Ionian,
the windswept sea-grass
bareness of the place
tombs of sovereign dominion

lean down to green Columba
(San Franciscan)
his poverty of means
reverberating   simple soul euphoria

& an implicit recognition
of immeasurable flow
bread, wine   now
always   (indelible, human)



Old Man of Concrete


By the Somme, a century ago
a sum of desolations.
I had a visitation
in a dream last night.  Harsh old

Uncle Ezra – driven mad
by madness, muttering
corrections, versing
disenchanted elegiacs (sadness

in my head).  After the trenches
he would pit force
‘gainst greedy Usura
high-boot it over squamous stenches,

inky pyramids of mental fright.
Let your barefoot Daphne
skip the alfalfa
down the nave then, rancid knight;

your whisper’s contrapuntal now
through salty reeds (remorse).
Francesca’s creaking hearse
in Rimini.  Cracked limestone brow.

Our errand in the labyrinth
is brief, & mostly blind.
The mirror is unkind
to the unkind.  A little terebinth

will slake its thirst, where lofty elms
once reigned; our monarch
is lowly – yet in his park
wings fan that once were casket-worms.


We seek a sign


I remember that tropic hummingbird
levitating in the garden
in Roger’s Providence –
over crimson bee-balm, sailing leeward

toward St. John’s (St. Elmo’s?) fire.
New World already old
when Williams left the fold
for New-Found Land – an Aztec empire,

blood-soaked under sparkling banners
Huitzilopochtli.  Sign
of bestial regression
(eaten by bad table manners).

We seek a sign, & lift it on a pole –
bow down, force others down
before fresh idols of frustration.
Teeth gnash, flesh burns, heads roll...

But it shall not be so with you,
spake Dov the Nazarene.
One sign alone is given
that lad Jonah, in his whale-canoe.

I recall the scene (Deserto Rosso).
Old guy, utterly grey,
cornered by jumbled array
of gray paint cans (cooped-up, coo-coo)...

We are all Seekers now, Roger.
Pacific island soul,
deep Ocean swell...
gray-green still humming (shepherd-seer).


Compass of Roger Williams (courtesy RI Historical Society)

Leaf to leaf, door to door


Light eddying through layers
of overcast gray sky
whispering, simplify.
Willow’s underleaf, lyre-players?

Silver.  Copper-gray the color
of this beech’s mammoth shade,
whose granite roots cascade
light (leaf to leaf, & door 

to door).  Motionless in time-
space, emitting signs
her gray hide underlines
in graphite (stubborn Balaam’s

Hoover-prophecy).  The beech,
the book, will not be moved.
Ink trail of raven-dove...
bare gouache, still ground (beseech

thee, spare thy headstrong mule) –
O break the prison mold,
snow-blind brain-cold!
Where father & son meet (fool

with fool) beneath the malachite
green veins, gray matter
of bran (or oatmeal banter).
Strange personal jade wight –

shade-mutter, everlasting
Sheba.  Clouds gather
overhead – weather
lit thunder (shackle-blasting).



The power vacuum is a shell game


There’s a power vacuum now
below the Black Sea.
Miriam, a refugee
gives birth at stern of carrack (dhou)

& when Rachel picks up Ishmael
off the concrete salt
an angry orphan (Baltic
pattern?) flings his own skull

at sociable Medea (Simmering
Mother-of-Pearl Revolver
Hid Woeful Moonstar).
& this is just the Evening

Mirror (ravening Wolf-
Mammon).  Somewhere near
(gray whisperdame’s here,
now) Jonah will surf from Gulf –

stubborn mule of humility,
his meek almond eye
only echoes her sigh
(Mary’s blues... welling salty

humanity).  This continuum
of mother-of-pearl, on
the inner lining (onion-
dome anchoring heavy ouragan-

glissando) shapes a simple
turtleshell rainbow –
twilight will bestow
pink robin’s-egg Love-temple.



Where the crooked sumacs are


The Redeye of these freight cars’
heavy backward thunder
over rubidium crossbars’
X.  Where the crooked sumacs are –

their creaky grey akimbo-structures
(rusty caducei).  Amorpho-
phallus Titanium?  No,
not quite... but ruddy, like Osiris-

Oedipus (up 3-Way Highway,
where the pylons meet).
Eddy Parallactic,
relatively paralytic – all that whey

so massive, bending light around
Caesar’s own seizures,
jade embrasures
(pyramidical, tyrannical, profound).

The iron Bruegel earth turns so,
in snowy dunes.  Until
one feathery perpendicular
percolates up (with bleaker crow).

Light eddied, slow (28, 29...)
where a spring coils
moss-green (oeuil
of Bosch, in Kansas City sun);

where Iris plants meek sovereignty
by Eero-Eeyore Gate – &
Eurydice, come late
May, rose... (tiny Iona tree).


MN Arboretum (Jan. 2016)


What's in a sine wave ?


This milky February sun
foretells another spring.
Still far-off – winging
eyebrow-arch reflection

of a snow-blue almond bridge.
Yet near... a looming
whisper (out of Red Wing,
maybe) in your ear.  Sweet pledge

of union, set sail southward
by wattle-crane basket
to mossy reed thicket
below Delta (belle Campagnarde).

Knot-eye of Popeye raptor-
sailor, here trans-
mogrified to mildest
peahen-cockerel (Eeyore-

Sophia, high over Frisco Bay).
Equable & everpresent
orthogonal well of charity

infusing one & all (mandala-
dome, dominion’s
doom).  Everyone’s
chest de trésor – heart’s ah,

life’s oh... amended Manitou
of Man.  For me & you,
within the vernal blue
of ocean wave (palm-feather true).