like Lear in rags


Hobo hides out among his cottonwoods,
a shade in camouflage
of cotton shade.  Mirage
of dreaming limbs.  She’s Robin Hood’s

Maid Marion, mayhap, he wheezes
in his sleep.  Across the road
(under the Shriners’ bold
benevolent scimitar) three turkeys

elegant & dainty as Enlightenment
grande dames mime
their quadrille parallelogram
athwart a sump pump drainage vent.

America drowses in Sargasso Sea.
The frigate Rachel picks
up Ishmael, sticks
him in her hold for an Eternity –

Queequeg’s confessions will be written
on his skin, with milky raven-
ink.  Temple of heaven
& earth, your living image (spit-on)...

Every inch a king.  Take physic,
pomp.  O, I have taken
too little care!  Reason
is gone, Regan is Goneril – my wick

sputters waxy blood, not gentleness!
Old man Pound rages
like Lear in striped rags –
Who shall succeed this rookie wilderness?


My cottonwood sap is like a floating mote
in Ezra’s crochet eye.
Lend him humility
for Lent – he’ll shrive his peacock boat

like Provençal Guillem d’Orange –
warlord who gave it all
away – the pride, the gall –
for fasting, prayer... passing strange

peace.  She is our peace – Star
of the Sea, the Evening Star;
ange of Apollinaire,
pirhouetting fée to end all war –

green child in her basilica
outlasting Stravinsky’s
thundering infamies
against her limping bull’s-eye

crane-dance labyrinth –
Natasha’s temple
limpid, humble, simple
climbing a ridge in Voronezh.

The temple of her body (yours,
mine).  A little salt
savors that azure vault –
elfin leap across the years

into the pond where Hobo swims
& Ishmael paddles... Jonah
surfs... Rachel’s Magdala-
spring (where the fresh well brims).


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