National Poetry Month begins with April Fools

                                       i.m. Jim Harrison

April by the ancient river.
The old bones of the king
remember everything
that he forgot – his yellowed quiver

like a scrollful of desire, old goat,
old Harry son of Harry,
with his dogs, with his ’44,
a massif in a cave, disconsolate –

world like a bungled maze, a hive
of killer bees, in a hole
in the ground.  Old King Cole
with his pipe & his bowl, still alive

somehow.  A dust-mote labyrinth
horned by his own shade.
I met a straw-blonde maid
of Proven├žal, spruce terebinth

from Marseille, or Toulouse – name’s
Quitterie  who kissed
me sweetly, once
outside St. Martin-in-the-Fields...


Turn again, O Man, from thy insect
wickedness... a dust-storm
swarms the bristlecone
pine, high in her cold dry cleft,

still evergreen.  Through yon spiderweb
of desperate cities
one clear flute-breeze
intones a major melody (B-

flat) – frail threads transmogrified
like griffin-chords into
transparent unison – blue
octave through twin pillars (pied,

squared).  It was an iteration
out of alienation, empty
heart of vanity –
whose nothingness nested creation.


Long ago el Rio del Espiritu Santo
rolled, a mighty glacier-
torrent, out of here –
before your dream-songe Manitou

brought you to tent among these timbers,
People.  April was Earth
before a human birth
lent gentleness & poison (hers,

yours, mine).  I found a moss-green coin
locked in a cedar fork,
swept past the flooded park
into this punted limb.  Begin the Beguine,

spun the vapid strings... the War to End
All Wars is ended.  An old
king crawls from the blistered
bole (emptied orphanman, around

the bend) – shines in the springlight
like a babe newborn.
Roland honks his horn;
Guillaume unwraps his gauze (a Calumet).


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