Rose Island Light


Hobo takes his descending path
sloping to the great river.
What can he give her,
steady Delta Queen, to stanch the wrath?

Past frigid walls of enmity
feathered with graffiti –
a rust-red major C
like an iron magnet... Rimini

or Cleveland?  Venice, maybe –
where the blind king lies,
his crazed hawk’s eyes
closed (petrified) beneath the sea.

The crane dance of the manic poets
circles the salted harbors
of the Gulf.  The Earth bears,
pining, their smoldering caskets

toward one windy maelstrom-vortex –
matrix of Rose Island Light.
Human massif, beaming bright
rotating manna-sun, whose Artifex

is spoked with rays like peacock’s eyes;
radiant Ancient of Days
out of the heart of praise
within a ring of living creatures

breathing fire against the cold
accidia, the starved
& shriveled souls carved
with the scar of Queequeg’s mappemunde


the raven-star, the midnight sun.
& the Nazir of poets chants
one Galilean entrance –
lacustrine circle, Aquarian –

out of the sea as rapt Columbia,
planetary bird of clay;
cloud-shade of Day
for restoration of Terra Incognita.

Hobo beheld this mighty mandala
like a rose wheel of limestone
light, through human bone
& muscle, limbs & ligament, figura

tattooed by Piero della Francesca
as a mirror for your glance –
as Miriam in moody trance
harbors the light ray’s umiltà.

Like the Hart of Marsden Hartley
in a rose from the sea,
in a sea-knell’s 33,
out of the sunken chest floats free

the vision of immortality –
Love’s salty clarity
spouts from the clay
enchanted unison, octave’s high C.

So Hobo lay in his muddy riverbed
south of St. Louis.
His clay revolved; his
turtledove hummed overhead.


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