bearing her true report


This tenderness of moss-green light
in the craggy oaks around
the Witch’s Hat (ground
bass of Sibelius, to finish right).

The hat itself a darker green.
Twilight of thunderstorm –
fork-gyring twister-worm
over holm oak in Oklahoma (lonely

scene, brooding).  That mounded Pan
by Mississippi, in Rez
graveyard... his enormous
Rabbit-corpus.  Heavy Everyman

skittered, skating on ice
unswift as raven-wing
(Po-boy, kow-towing
Whitman’s rust-mold Providence

under the night-shade of Cautantowwit).
Earth shaken by thunder,
horns of Minotaur – 
titanic labyrinth of lies (knit

by yon dull orange cur, on fire).
Outcast beyond these walls
Jerusalem worm-hurls
against the black hole (central pyre


of Man’s propensity to murder)
– bearing her true report
like tattered gun-shot
pennant under murk of war.

These damaged epitaphs of pride
& shame (twin Boanerges
buried for albino
snow-contagion).  No crypt can hide,

no script elide.  Vermilion Thunderbird
wheels down to Red Wing
tallying everything
& reckoning each deadman’s ford –

plumb eye of blistered Galilee,
eye of the hurricane.
Out of the depths, someone
traces an arc of palm, for Henry –

skipping from the sea like royalty
(posthumous Davy for
posterity).  Sea-floor
of grey Jonah.  Ocean-reality.

From Queequeg’s casket, like Osiris-
tomb, the rose tattoo
(framed by two-man canoe
of Manitou) slowly rises –

sweet grail of sunken Paradise.
The maze of Ariadne
beams from Milky Way –
meek penny-glow (seal’s copper glaze).



as a Chinese jar

Bangladeshi New Year festival, Eagan, MN

What does it mean to assert that the poem is an end in itself?  In this season of crowds and anxious change, the assertion is controversial, maybe counter-productive.

To say the poem is an end in itself is a way of saying that beauty is an end in itself.  Beauty is self-sufficient; the poem is self-sufficient.  The poem justifies itself, merely as poem.  Beauty is what it is.

But what is beautiful about a poem?  We have a sense of what is meant by a beautiful face, a beautiful act, a beautiful life... not by any means always the same thing.  What makes a beautiful poem?  What makes a poem beautiful?

There are infinite paths in and out of poetry; infinite occasions for the right, the perfect poem.  I've witnessed them, heard them, countless times, in countless places, over the last 50 years.  So what is their common denominator, with respect to the beautiful?  Beauty itself shows many faces, many dimensions - but the common form, the universal factor is this :

the poem is an end in itself.

The poem is its own fulfillment : a kind of pleroma of time & experience.  A breathing, living, perfect, indestructible entity.

An icon, in other words.  A representation of something metaphysical - the transcendence of time, death & change.  A heart-stopping stroke of lightning.  A stillness still moving, living, breathing (Eliot's "Chinese jar" in Four Quartets).

This is the perfection of the poem.  Every poem bears some trace of it.

But the really confusing, paradoxical thing is : the beautiful is everywhere.  Poetry draws its materials out of the most ordinary, impoverished, grotesque, pathetic, banal, & recalcitrant places & episodes in human experience.  The metaphysical diamond is made out of coal dust.  & moreover : the coal dust itself is beautiful (the haze over the grubby railroad tracks, the derelict abandoned bleak junkyards).

The beautiful poem is simply a gesture toward the beautiful poem of reality ("the Kingdom of Heaven is in your midst, but men do not see it", chants the Nazir-poet Jesus).

A gesture.  A geste.  An act in words.

The poetry I enjoy & admire is steeped in an awareness that these perfections and gestures are already complete & finished for us.  Their presence is tacit and unassuming, but it is there : the work of the poets who came before.

This is one of the dimensions of the early 20th-cent. Russian poetic tendency known as Acmeism : an acknowledgement and receptivity toward the past.  Not a groveling imitation, but a sense of kinship - as opposed to the Futurists, who advocated a rejection of the past as a basis for the future.

There are no revolutions in poetry, because the beautiful is inherently integral.  It is a whole, a wholeness.  This is not to deny the validity of other kinds of revolution (political, social, personal).  It's only to say that poetry (as opposed to prose) is (ultimately, somehow) in touch with something beyond change, something perennial.  Rhythm, harmony, music... the beautiful.

Good to keep in mind during wartime.

Confessional blog post # 341

Greetings, fellow moles.  I've lost the habit of conversational blogging.  The old Brown University Library (the Rock) was my Alexandria, my table-talk slab : now I'm way out here in the high lonesome, like a rolling stump (off Highway 61).

Apparently we inhabit these digital knowledge-canals.  Robots remember things for us, bots remind us, etc.  I've gone out of fashion (about 10 years ago) as bloggentator (aka Mr. Potato-head).

Poetry shivers in the frisson of its immediacy, its grasp of The Cool - the shimmer of This, your slangy Now.  Behind lurks the power of the Word Itself - like an Old Master, like Big Daddy, with the moneybags (Universities Bank Here).  It Can Help You.  But the kids are nervous : that's how it goes (swimmingly).  The Academy of American Poets invites you to become an Associate Member (tote bag to follow); Poetry magazine hits monthly, like velvet lightning.  Jimi Hendrix reads us!

(It is really good, btw - especially the issue I was in, sometime last year.  Tonic verbs, with scattering of playdough... what is poetry, btw?)

I've lost, as I say, the hobbit of consternation.  Out of the gloop.

Still try to read books, now & then.  People may get the idea I've retreated into some kind of bizarre eccentric personal hut.  As John Keats once averred, "I am picked up and sorted to a pip.  My imagination is a monastery, and I am its monk."

Yet my day is very scheduled (horae) - what with family industries, managing various major national crises, reading parts of a book or mag, and writing my Answer-To-Dante Poem...

As a matter of fact my personal mental space is so "Middle American" it's become exotic to many.  Recently I was subjected to a biting, sarcastic FB attack, by the accomplished young poet Phillip B. Williams - I guess because he felt I was some kind of Neanderthal.  Probably a generational thing (young guy knifes geezer).  You have to wear a digital sign on your head now to explain what appropriate medicines you are currently on in order to make you immune to the wrong purifications.

Am in the middle of this volume, American Covenant.  By another Philip - Philip Gorski (Princeton UP, 2017).  See, I can still find scholarly tomes!  This is a good one.

Do you know the difference between despotism, liberalism and republicanism?  Are you aware of the "civic religion" of These States?  Are you conscious of its binding presence in American history, and in your daily life?

It's a kind of hagiography, or demonology - from John Winthrop through Hannah Arendt, H.L. Mencken, W.E.B. Du Bois, John Dewey, Reinhold Niebuhr, Martin Luther King, Lincoln, the Federalists, Roger Williams, many another.  Along the road you receive a blast of enlightening rational political science, theology, sociology... sorting to a pip the various strains of religious nationalism, radical secularism, libertarianism, neo-liberalism, democratic republicanism, etc etc - aside from the special orthodoxies of the Two Major Parties - which have framed the debate about American life since the Primal Dawn of Roger Williams' Canoe.  Umpt to Trump.

Gorski is searching for the spiritual-intellectual common ground : the forces moving American history.  I'm finding (right now) his commentary on Hannah Arendt quite stimulating : her concept of the "public happiness" - as she describes the revolutionary origins of the United States - having to do with a very concrete experience of democratic participation, a path to finding oneself-as-citizen, something wider and more liberating than oneself-as-private (economic) individual.  She gets at the root of the necessity for self-government, popular sovereignty : that we become content, energized, & deeply happy, as we engage with our neighbors on a basis of equality and justice.  Thus she redefines (or rediscovers) the Founders' meaning of "pursuit of happiness" : it's a public, civic thing.  So she asserts the authority of the forum, the commonweal, as a counterweight to merely private interest, the seductions of predatory Mammon (pure money).  Reading Gorski's interpretation I was reminded of my halcyon days with the VISTA program (established by JFK - the domestic Peace Corps) so long ago : community organizing for civic engagement, empowerment (by the scruffiest neighborhoods).

There are many sorts of poetry.  I'm following up some very ingrown toenails of personal obsessions, with me since the early 1970s (that's almost 50 years ago).  Problems with Shakespeare, Bible, Nabokov, Mandelstam, Akhmatova, Hart Crane... Pound, Dante, Stevens, Eliot, et al...  - what to do with the Epic Poem?

I am aware that just because they are old obsessions doesn't mean they are interesting.  Coolness is a kind of polish - lemon wax.  You have to be able to speak to the moment... perhaps I've lost my touch, my Lemon Pledge (if I ever had it).

Too late now, I guess.  I'm an inveterate Blog Monster.


haunted scent


My soul, like a woodchuck hidden
in Old Charley’s Oak,
must be lit by a stroke
of lightning even to begin –

like that gold spearman on the dome
in Providence, icon
of limpid Everywomban –
Williams’ independent spirit, come

to revolve like Gabriel Crozier-Torch
around his merry Morning
Rose (see Alighieri’s singing
sky).  An Ocean Island (search

Queequeg’s tattoos).  A green Tahiti
lapped by peaceful Ocean
River – Night Sea span,
gold-threaded geometric Ratio,

squared rail-split Israel rondure
(Galilee of Lincoln-
logos, all for one
& one for all).  O armature

of lovely Law!  Fleet safety net
bracing each breathing sheep
with her own fleece... keep
dangling in catenary grace!  Yet

lift the lilies of your haunted scent
until the spirit in us
brims past avarice,
hot pride – guide to your tent


under Polaris & the prancing
Bears, where free children
ripple the utmost common
well.  Like Addams, balancing

book-learning with hand-work,
art with science, freedom
with obligation... some
justice for the beaten fork –

the disenfranchised, cheated poor,
collateral damage
beneath our idol-image
(smoking low sulfuric Boor

of plump kin-pride & greed).
So Hobo Henry muttered
by the mud-brown flood
of Mississippi river.  Honey-mead,

sweet sea-salt air of tamaracks...
the vaulting spire of Dante-
tracks filter the ray
that flies orthogonal – strikes

Roman iron with Hebrew vine.
Gold thread (Apollinaire’s
trompette marine) bears
light into the grain combine –

sun through the moss-green shade
above the ancient spring
(a Restoration thing).
So in a Maker’s aye all things are made.



cradle of rain


Grey cradle of April rain.
Your riverine Nazir
or holy fool was here,
rounding his moat with a vision

of metaphysical hope.  Song
like Mendelssohn mandala.
Smallest coign (voilà!)
of the realm – just one among

many, Penny, to kingdom come.
Copper wrung with fire,
like Cassini in pyre
of saturnine canons – Love’s hum

somehow redeeming them, each little
statuette of soul 
freedom (the cosmic equal
sign).  A dab of mud & spittle

might reveal the night garden –
snowflake octavo
revolving over Buffalo
(holm oak to acorn, evergreen);

the whole note of the Nazarene
squared & shaved round
like some lost-&-found
locked-room problem – Tom the Twin

tying twine into a knot-cradle
of human & divine,
of Jew & Syrian
(or Greco-Roman republican).  Ladle


of Milky Way – the Twin Bear Cube
softly circling,
a tiny light unmoving
(port for Magi-King & rube).

The light strengthens as you climb.
Climb toward the broken
seal, the torn silken
veil, the split seed of our primal crime...

ecclesia & synagogue divided
in the keystone arch
as airy lark from larch
(twin siblings from earth-shaded

sky).  The seed is the salty word.
Out of the undivided
Ocean-Jonah glided
magnanimous eagle-wings – soared

into Benedictine Aesop-cells
from Africa to Memphis,
Iowa to Mississip –
aerie of equality, wells

of everlasting life.  That vermhurl
knot, spliced by an outcast –
Pushkin-slips so fast
the prophet scatters into whorl

of matrix-hurricane.  Rude eye
on Zion, Washington...
Heartbroken Hart (one
eggshell mason’s crooning sigh).



Tom the Woodpecker


My muddled speech, this tangled veil...
like these mingled branches
of an oak triad – spring’s
catkins green-gold (skylight-pale).

Crane’s last night in the dark Gulf.
He teeters toward the sea
aboard the Orizaba
absolute zero, Abba’s Tower... wolf-

shark mouth of heartless Minotaur.
Cracked glaze of Manitou
might double-cross you
into salt-grey void, pegged charioteer!

– while Hobo ambles blind toward
center of the maze.
Cassini, in a crystal haze
hugs close the knife-beak sword

of Saturn’s rings.  A Saarinen-
style ark, wind-surfing
into her 7th ring
of fire – fuse-molten onion-

dome (midéwé Mendelssohn).
Walk through mandorla,
hums submarine 484...
Specific massive planetary Galilean

gravity here clusters in a coal-
black hole of Memphis
diamond (direction 6).
At marrow of the tree : oak-bole


Thomas the Woodpecker ate
into a little apostolic
room.  Darkness so thick
only a Thunderbird might penetrate.

This quipu-knot of seared wood
is double-bound (veiled
mystery, inviolate).
Only the Nazir-dancer Ghost could

walk through walls, only the Twin
could feel his wounded palms.
As the film rewinds (alms
for a morning soul) a theremin

spooks everyone – the living flame
of Beatrice-Juliet
flares orange-emerald yet
through black flags   of the same

bridge   where Columbia flutters   red
white blue   & Jonah
(azure   jasper)   joins
wheel with salty wheel   the dead

rise   from their graves   the poison
scar of scary Scriptures
cured   with ironic sutures
when the Republic   of the all-human

makes mutual amends   in welded
fire   Saturnian arc
of painful truth   mark
twain   the river-depth   Elohim healed


find the unicorn


Fear of another is fear of death.
Instinctual reaction
to deadly situation – a
primitive contagion, or jaguar teeth.

So history’s abacus shuttles
red & black, or blue
& green... just for you,
little black-&-yellow Moth of Battles.

These stately river-cottonwoods
flare mossy banners
now; Hobo’s many spanners
choke the bridge-works.  Shaker bloods

from Puget Sound redeem themselves
with help from epileptic
shaman-chants... pep-talk
of buried elderberry souls (elves’

yodels, echoing their green on green).
The Word circles like
a hungry raven – pike
or spearmint (Mermaid Queen).

St. Louie, with his trumpet, now
brings up the nondescript
rear-guard.  The script
calls for Ezekiel, or sunflower –

Iris in the limestone cliff
curls into Unknown
Soldier.  Soddy Brown
they called him (working stiff)


whose star skims from the evening murk
anonymous Firebird
or twinkling agate-shard
in snarl of spiral Melville shark-

tooth, spouting salty balderdash
crossing the Portland bar
– whose thunder-straits are
worse than Frisco Bay mish-mash.

O the gray shade-vault of chilly Chartres!
The golden limestone cave
framed with architrave
of ancient enmity – Synagogue-martyr!

The fractal fault-line of an old polemic
circulating ossified
eddies of Johnny’s gospel
spleen... (tragic & epidemic

unintended consequences).
O the smiling Word
chants resurrection... heard
in Ramah & Ravenna, Rimini (Ez

kowtowing to voracious Rule).
Crossroad strictly abstract
for everyone – the trick’s
to find the unicorn (a holy fool

who paces like St. Francis through
the prairie steppes).  Someone
calls you... homespun
Natasha, limping toward the sun (ey yo).



cosmic Sing-Sing


Gold catkins dangle from a twisted birch
like those heavy earrings
Empress Theodora strings
into mosaic (grey papyrus bark

afloat above Ravenna choirs
of San Vitale). The canoe
of state is lighter now –
only a woven fingershell or

chorale, a threadbare catenary
smile strung like a veil
from cosmic pole to pole
(north, south... from sunny Sydney

up to autumn-grey Paris).
There’s no place like home.
Kansas... or Burchfield foam
of leafy wind, of writhing tree...

unheimlichkeit unleash of slings.
Lincoln... King... JFK.
World-axle with Ojibway
wing-nut (rust of bee-stings).

Hexagons, unraveling.
The 6 paths of Black
Elk – diamondback
seal of universal Spring

shedding bright tombs of tattoos
into a gathering
of cosmic Sing-Sing 
prisoners in liberation blues


& grays (old Frederick Douglass
understood the sinuous
ways of shifty US).
Let Egalité ring, sang Liberty lass.

So the cedar gazebo of the Word
(a flexible oracle
or circular coracle)
swims in a spiral toward the absurd

happiness of the whole creation –
the chaste eye of Union
at the heart of the onion-
dome of humanism (egalitarian)

welds in its molten planetary core
the future of affectionate
recognition.  Incarnate
octopus of Chinese lantern, your

Guillaume d’Orange Franciscan gate
frames solidarity
amid ecstatic charity
whorled in a fiddlehead agate

or Ariadne labyrinth
(primordial Spring).
Blue Vermilion thing
with stubborn terebinth

or almond flower (ancient
indomitable people-
bloom) – tall steeple
wheat-blade, waving, lambent.



J. Fisher King


April rain soaks the riverlands.
The cottonwoods are green
with a mossy sheen
(a milky spray).  Giuliana understands

her little boy’s harmonic joy,
winding up his yellow
gyroscope (so
imperturbable, this balance-toy).

Ravenna sifts backwater Time.
The hollow tock of wood-
pecker, carving a shed
for screech owl (minima sublime,

incognito).  Little gray on gray
tree-rings of Okeanos –
oscillating Knossos,
Minerva-maze.  Flute-bird (in clay).

A copper Jonah, lifted from the well.
Dusk-rose, Venusian.
Seal of the Son of Man
like Hamlet’s ring, in wax (fell

Icarus, from labyrinth
– the ship sailed on).
Trials of the paragon,
the paradigm.  Blue hyacinth

of Shaker spirit, trembling
Will   I am
Alpha Omega   home
in my petroglyph   assembling


light stars   on the horizon
Thunderbird ghost-
dance   round pivot-post
of early souls   lifted from prison

At dawn in Providence, the light
gathers gold   atop
the dome   What cheer,
Netop   the independent soul   bright

spear   at petrel summit of
this Camelot   simplicity  
a brave’s priority
to choose the good   be led by Love

J. Fisher King   Ancient of Days
as it was   upon a time
at the beginning (lame
limb   violence bears away   always)

& the smile of quiet eyes & lips
the canoe in the shadowy
garage   Ferrara iron
burgeoning almond   Natasha limps

toward her vault   in Magdala
Gesthemane   April
umbrella   of good will
the given Earth   the rose mandala

a fingerprint spiral   of gratitude
Thanksgiving feast   soul
liberty   constancy   whole
serene   uplifted   Rhody-rood



paradise thirteen


An eagle gliding motionless
& swift under the rain...
a message from the sun
outside my window.  Inverness

beyond the clouds, it says.  Dauntless
Dante beheld a double wheel
like Charlie’s Wain, meal-
sifting Hamlet’s dead-end eddies

into Ariadne’s crown of yellow
maize (Paradiso XIII)
at the center of the sun;
Dominican, Franciscan, we shall go

along with Beatrice too,
into that Minneapolis
where incognito Jesus
is a twin St. Paul (aboard canoe);

from White Bear Lake to Resurrection
Cemetery, we’ll unbury
Berryman & Mary
Magdalen right now – a Raven

intersection at Jonah & 4th,
a Jubilee bird-fest
out of the cosmic nest.
Jerusalem is raying mirth

from every corner of the universe;
the gray hide of a mule
hides one God-Jewel
gold-sprinkled fiery agate-cosmos


spiraling like fingerprint
of Everywoman, every
man.  The ordinary
ferris wheel begins to glint

with light most cosmopolitan –
green emerald of soul
freedom (personal
live-oak of Okeanos – constellation

of the Showy Lady’s-Slipper).
Be careful how you tread
this living woods of dead
leaves, sprouting crocuses – your

difficulties are not partisan,
your cures are neither red
nor blue.  The crownèd head
of King George, or the plowman

trampled underfoot by Mammon,
or the young stranger, mortally
undone by poverty,
her kids tossed into pauper’s prison

by our favorite mythologies...
we’ll mingle in the great
grain elevator matrix,
where the brightest of celebrities

& most anonymous of soldiers
meet.  Before the stars fall
through the vortex – Love
wingspans our last full measures.


the tender green


The tender green fans out in sprays
now, over the trees
by the river.  Hobo sees
a little rise, like an Indian grave (Scythian?)

through cottonwoods – a salience.
Here Mrs. Sippy Nile
meets the 4 Grail
streams – Po (Eridanos),

Avon, Neva, Voronezh.
The raven is a dove
by day.  The paths of love
merge in a lattice-nest (collage

of gray clouds in circumference
of radar palm) where Jonah,
from the salty eye
of hurricane, flutes wholeness

(restoration).  My simple stick man-
woman, caved-in
charcoal Job, has been
the universal algorithm – toon

of Empire or Democracy, depending
on the rope they knotted
(quipu linen, rotted
on the mountaintop).  Swaddling

kid, Vallejo baby.  Lincoln
logs cradle the guest
fresh from wilderness
of ruin (arc of Constantine)


lit by milky Okeanos
whence a black stone
fell, judged by no one –
Petersburg akme (nostos).

Impenetrable wisdom of
Columbia... the dove
of liberty, hove-
to – an alien corn-trove

in that placid Atlantic harbor,
lifting her copper torch
of caritas (scorch-
welded like a bolted nut) over

the twinkling arbor of a bent planet.
The nations tremble, the old
Winnebago starts cold –
rumbles into mobile mercy-net;

Thunderbird circles to Red Wing
becoming human being
in the mirror of Sing-Sing
(bright angle of prism-thing).

She was woodpeckered to a tree
like some Raven-Bluejay
out Oregon way.
Crossroads of simplicity –

a monarch butterfly in Mexico
could not have sung better
with keel o’ green cedar
or almond in Quauhnahuac (ey yo).



in the still life


In the still life, when the sun goes dark
the absinthe green on the old
wooden door (color of mold
or holm-oak acorn).  In the park

by the lake, the sparse grass wakens
to an April sun;
& you remember someone
battling the ice (forsaken

minstrel-king, nazir).  A buried man.
Some twiggy unknown soldier –
stranded black-gold heir
thread-spun beneath Stalin hardpan.

The butterfly’s a Morpho blue.
Blue as Siberia
in winter, da (selah).
Listen : Quartet 15.  For you,

Nadezhda.  You, Natasha.  Through
& through.  A nature morte
très fort et dur.  Part
rags, part soft shoe, Corporal Goo;

part forever, like Francesco
dropping all his duds.
Back to his father (odds
even he’ll marry her, you know).

There was a war in heaven, in
your heart, your mind.  Jesus
the Rabbi snowballed thus –
blackballed in Memphis – sharkfin


razor between Hell & Paradise.
They call it history –
a dime store mystery
(Elsie in profile, in an oval vise).

It’s only poetry.  Someone will pay
for it, eventually
(Harry Hawk, maybe –
Our American Cousin).  A splayed play-

stub (Miss Understanding
Under Study) stuck
on a crossbar (Buck
Stops Here).  Eagle Has Landing.

Davy in the Detail.  Film roles
for everyone – all which is
inheres... Macbeth, Cortez....
Universe is empty (full of holes).

Must be that woodpecker, prying
for a worm – the dry mast
puckering (will never last)
to kiss the lightning (scrying

from a crow’s nest now, Cautantowwit).
Whittling toward Arthur Street
in Mendelssohn (complete
symphony to be determined).  Sit

down, Henry, in your Okie chair –
the nave is full of light.
Acorn shines bright.
The Rite (à Paris) is a sweet nightmare.



green buds are just -


Giuliana opens a ceramic shop
on Ravenna back street.
The “Old Man of Concrete”
surrounded by gray pots of slop

paints himself into a nearby corner;
Giuliana’s little boy
paralyzed (Guillain-Barré?)
plays with his yellow gyroscope.  Her

lover mopes, lost... (ambivalent
professional).  Red Desert,
Deserto Rosso.  Hurt
blooms in the sea-salt spring (Lent...

Easter).  Lofty kind eyes in shadowed
stone (Pantocrator, &
Theotokos) still stare down
from hollow warehouses (A.D. 600).

Green buds are just emerging here,
Psyche, Persephone
in center of the country
(Center, N.D.).  Land mass, a sphere

from sea to sea (theoretically) –
a glop of potter’s clay
in solar roundelay;
Palm Sunday to Good Friday (bloody

travesty, Ford Theatre).  Then
the turtle at the finish line
emerges from the brine
reborn – Rabbit in acute cartoon

(Metamorphosis at Minnaheehee
Falls).  Dante, Beatrice
step through the sun (hey
ey yo) astride Dakota prairie

hoisted on stray lambswool thread
like Vallejo’s poncho
(wheat-gold Paris gaucho-
robe)   or galactic Temple shroud

woven from smoke of calumet
& Camels   (veteran
Guillaume   a crimson crown
swathed round his beaming pate)

so Theseus & Ariadne   circle-dance
the gold pavement   grey Chartres


matrix   womb of silence
&   clear light   joy of the makers

On an upward path, the labyrinth
becomes a spiral, &
the Minotaur’s command
the envy of a shadow (absinthe

green).  Your quipu-knot records
an anchor weight – the rings
of one stone, tempering
the river-sweeps... only soft words

like flute-sounds, scattered seeds.
Stricken Giuliana,
limping hopeful Natasha –
Nadezhda, too – resilient reeds

walk in solemn palm procession
round the sea-wall
& the sparse green hill;
the bald truth of clay   passion

& its aftermath   high keening
sea-bell   through   seraphic blue
the ultramarine   (Pacific
hue).  Jonah   always coming, going

always being born   out of the waves
of infinite agape
lifts old sails   away
for Columbia   & Liberty   she waves

the light torch   over homely harbors
mangers of refugees
fleeing plaited Caesars
(their cracked saucer seizures)

as the integral of   furnace fiddleheads
the deep-sprung source
of Everyland   smokes Morse
code goodness   penetrating sadness

like undying Hope   into the arms
of Osip   or Goldie the Finch
your friend   in the clinch
of Hart’s woe   John’s alarms

the desolation of a lonely child
a hearth-star   shines for her
the safety net   saves her
Love blazes from the center   wild

onlie-Begetter   mild   trompette marine


meet & join

personal compass of Roger Williams


My snarling yarn snowballs thistle-
clumps of confusion into
the midmost of the Slough.
Incomprehensible green missile,

towing kisses from that acrid swamp
in Mendelssohn (whence
we dragged a canoe by bare
feat, Heidi, home – only to dump

it in the permafrost garage).
There are many jinxed
men buried in there, minx.
Path P was a chi-rho camouflage –

X murks the spit (twin cousins
rustling for windy blessings).
Oaky, salty Invernessings
hone your eye into a baker’s dozen –

thirstings between gold floor-leavened
loafers & a 14
April funeral (foreseen
but not seen-for).  The scene’s unheavened.

Then for heaven’s sakes, let’s have it,
Lucky.  Twelve’s the number
of twin seraphim (Mary
& John) & Jenny’s lost mint (Juliet)

– the mother rising in the leery
graviton – the hamlet
feeling mighty chary yet
(Blackstone on hold, with Roger steering


spins his compass toward the iron clearing).
West, Virginia, west
to Vermilion... yon felix
nest.  Gone dragnet spearing.

& yet the guyline mumbling
of poetry retrieves
a sense of limpid leaves;
the universal shuttling

of loom with lambent seraphim
conceives an agate diamond-
crystalloid familiar almond –
6 paths of Dakota Slim

remind the mind of Eagle-Heart
(who reigns by thundercloud
of humble Jonah-bird
O sages in the Super Mart)

that everything says meet & join
in lattices of give
& take   Seek ye   & Live,
that honey-dome   of stubborn pain

intones   my cousin Juliet
great-grandmother Jessie
Ophelia   madre de Jenny
listen   a gentleness, O jet

of Mississippi water   sip & see
the ghosts come back to me
in Paradise   a little tree
of Jesse   blue   (a juniper, maybe)



sleek as raven-eel


The last snow before Easter.
Sophie’s footprints etch
a squarish spiral sketch...
still photo (lento, Bruegelish faster).

From long distance, every
bird’s-eye view can fuse
with every other (sans
confusion).  Each waltzing orrery

links hands in Sydney – under those figs
whose natural majesty
anchors her panoply,
a fractal Dr. Octahydra (sky-digs

of Southern Cross, O dusky lady).
Bends toward akme
of the starfish now, Henry.
Meteor Hurtle Aboriginal Day.

The stone fell (odd fellow, ultramarine).
Fey otter – furry,
sleek as raven-eel –
into the gilded net of Saarinen

(Sibelius?  Some other fin).
Architrave swept (over
canoe).  Windhoover,
agile Harry Grizzly (buoy-woman,

boo-hoo – smoking Camel,
him calumet).  A Caliban
or Cain (Abel).  A Son
of Man – sad Prospero (blithe Ariel


is in the pine).  Where be the porpoise
here, Dauphin?  Your plow
scratches the surface now.
Her keen lengthens toward Paradise

(swell memory of Outremer).
The palm-lines slacken,
ease... shade thickens then
toward Wingy Rock (you know where,

Coatlicue).  The cedar forest
where the monarch dies,
lives.  Memorize
my speech, for its spooky taste

of dead bees (Finnish sacrifice).
There’s the arch, like
a prow (turn on the mike
now).  Spin the jenny, throw the dice.

Snow mantles the martyr’s tomb.
Green lichen dome
where breakers foam
from galaxies of Mendelssohn (home

run).  I don’t know where to go
from here.  The scared poem
swims down Rio del Hum
until your blues become a hollow

rhumba-Rome (flight-bud unknown).
Whispers vespers... purrs.
Her bop-team be yours,
egg-woman (inner-tube pontoon).