poem in memory of Mark Baumer

                             i.m. Mark Baumer

The poem’s wobbly orrery
of airy ore is self-
correcting, like an elf
inside a gyroscope.  Unwary

cheerful troubadour, he walked
barefoot across these states
joking at potentates
to heal a hurt planet – balked

by Mammon, Moloch (vanity,
acedia).  The white van,
an indifference machine
in seething Florida... such petty

wreckage snaps a sapling tree.
The jungle broods, silent.
Her gentle ape’s extinct.
Minotaur mutters his poetry.

We have not learned the lesson of
the golden bowl.  We tread
the fractures on a head
of Incan stone (grey mourning dove).

Coatlicue is raging at
her funeral.  Splinters
of daylight almost pierce
the warped crossweave – chariot-

spokes of angry Manitou.
Thunder comes soon.
The light’s deep green.
The land is ripe for tornado


when Francis ambles right past you.
A river of pink peonies
surges through cities...
salty labyrinth in Dallas blue.

Her pillbox hat, his scattered bran.
Unnatural shocks (that flesh
is air, too).  Gold mesh
of tangled fleece... your Ariadne-

champion.  All-suffering rabbi
who declares : the violent
bear it away   rent
robes of kind Melchizedek   mild

eye of Isis   throned in adamant
warm heart of Magdalen
at almond gate   Open...
Joseph’s weathered rainbow-garment.

The poem’s just an ornery gray stone.
The slash of Cain that clouds
its brow irks human crowds –
has not been stitched til now.  Atone,

Adams.  Icons through unworthy
lips break into clay
rivulets & melt away –
your only balm is Charity,

sole antidote to Jealousy.
Spring comes on mild
dove’s feet... her wild
breeze from the open sea.


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