flesh-tone bridge


The wistful twirling of a yellow leaf
falling from a book of leaves
by the big river.  Waves
of leaves, infinite beyond belief

slanting down through a universe
beyond fall’s azure,
through its perfect mirror
of ineffable air.  The woodpecker’s

not waxwing, but a twin-bird –
matching Thunderbird
like third wing, or word
thing – in Red Wing, we’ve heard.

& they’ve buffed the naked concrete
of the Franklin Bridge
to warm flesh-tone (Wedge
whistling to Jay : almost complete,

they say).  Like hands arching across
the tingling serpent below
someone signals so –
right, all right.  The frail cosmos

is built of moss & dogwood leaves;
made like a dream-song
on a thread so long
from inner lining of young Osip-sleeves.

Hid in a nightfall of Apollon-wrath.
The child-heart trembles
when the chief dissembles –
ice winking in the barrel underneath


encompassing a land in shambles,
wasted by Behemoth
& Metheboss (cloth-
of-gold twin skimlords, crashing cymbals).

El-Moloch asked for the heart of your son.
For your son the king,
the bloom of everything –
Aztec football in place of the sun.

Apotropaic sign or mirror-pharmakon,
the murmured word of love
becomes a catcher’s glove –
inside-out Osip net (for rescuing someone).

You search the scryptics, yet you
do not come to Me.
Gold almond cider, see?
Where Mendelssohn defeats Deep Blue.

She’s by your side, a kelson, smiling,
spinnaker through gray wall
of seamless cloud – whale
of light fog, swallowing Jonah – a ring

of stone, becoming breathing feathers
for a child of Ocean River,
borne downstream from Neva-
Neva-Heavenland (all-planetary weathers).

Her green eye walks through doors, through gates.
That crossroad in the mirror
overwhelms birth-terror –
seals mazy charter (Liberty checkmates).



at the local cinema


I met the surviving Saarinen,
Eric (from California)
at the local cinema,
showing his film about those Finns –

Eero, Eliel – who competed
to complete a monument
at navel of a continent.
Congratulations E. Saarinen, stated

the telegram.  Nobody knew
which one had won...
uniting father & son
in gratifying mystery.  Eric, too –

the latecomer, the odd man out.
Hurt psyche of a boy
forsaken for his father’s toy,
dream, rest.  Took roundabout

lifetime to ravel up & down
that furious steel arc.
Papa went into the dark
before the triumph of its dawn

upsoaring vault over St. Louis;
yet the late film follows the
mammal-forms – waves, hollows –
Eero spread across that Fifties

U.S. gridscape, breathing curves
& ribs so delicately
bearing gravity
they lift the heart out of its grooves


toward self-transcending levity –
high tensile alcoves
where swirly flocks of doves
shape octave-looping solidarity –

a wider vista of the whole
concordant cosmic good –
a brother & sisterhood
of green, rose red & lilac soul.

Her intricate diamond quipu knot
rays out in six directions.
An acorn salience,
an Oklahoma holm-oak plot.

An atom from a honey-bole.
A seed rooted in sky.
(Suzuki harmony
sounds deep Hiroshima bell-toll.)

Wayfaring Eric, leftover grandson
remembers his abandoned
mother, at the end
of the reel.  Displaced... the unknown

child.  Sculptor of turtleshell
glide-shelters... curling
strands of hair, unfurling
chords of clay (who softly swells

a lightweight matrix).  Tender tower
of color, glowing through
the fading film of you
& me... green mound, light-freckled bower.



the river is a strong brown god


The brazen serpent of the Mississippi
runs through my veins,
cantinnas Hobo (in vain).
How to tell my own (con version) story?

The antic disposition of these shelves
of incunabulae (obscure
revoluminous curious lore)
ripples off Norse keels – revolves

around my cranium (son of
McCain I am) – the worm
a canker, iced like berm
at Sutton Hoo (& strong as

love).  He will lift himself up
into his father’s affection
(this child of deflection)
at last, & be first in the stirrup

at the gates of his sly enemies –
he will be the son
who twists there (frozen
image of abjection) underneath greed-

seas of rifle-toting angels
(Cuzco school).  Spleen
of Hamlet, by the bedroom
screen – cunning de Kooning angles –

that Master of Gray, backed in a corner
of Ravenna – or raving
Coatlicue, stoning
the Consul in the dog-ravine (here,


Fido)... someone lurks in a mirror
with double doves (tin-
whistle Hobo-child of sin).
Abandona-donna’s abbatoir?

Some Aztec alphabête of yesteryear?
Hazel the moth-goddess
flits into brown recess
of brown recluse... (the spider’s... her).

The sacrifice of sacrifices –
hunters’ offering,
a shiny golden ring –
is like this image from ice-fisher’s

thing (icon of everything);
is like this light bread
Moses left for dead,
or Aaron molded into iron Sing-Sing –

a memory of Psyche-crimes
no one can heal,
nor break the lead seal
from the dark backyard (abysmal

time) until the flutter of a wing
like a mind from the sea
Hobo’s thirsty misery
slakes   or forsakes   a palm, circling

through the gray salt latitudes
like blistered sword
blessing   like sunshade
père-sol   ultramarine   (beatitudes)



equality knocks


The heavy freight cars clinky-clunk
across the iron bridge.
The fright none can abridge,
tribes’ crimes, no matter how deep-sunk

beneath Big Muddy waters of oblivion...
a heap of birds, still footloose,
shoeless (moccasins,
not lady-slips) – each alien citizen

from Cloud Man Village (in mirrors
near Mirror Lakes).  The DNA
gets even with Edina,
Adam – eidolons of Mendelssohn longeurs

gone wilder now, gone weedy, native.
Your nimble paeans, flying
yeast to west, are tying
knots of soul pain into silos – jive

dives backwards (ortus/porta) –
Heidi skips Handel
by hand – O almond
rod of generations!  Your vice-versa

treads of controversy flipper
the dial upon a human
(orant) golden mean.
Gaunt sundance of elderberry skipper

deep within the pilot-whale
of Jealousy – hurt pride
taken for cane-ride
through hell-hole, pole to pole


until you turn a new triangle –
in Bermuda, Berkeley –
by the Western Sea,
where Empire meets the salty shingle.

Reverse the langish!  Scrape the jam
off the doors!  Behold
What-th’Dicken’s-Son would fold
into an origami florilegium!

Cloud Man Village lasted one decade
in Minneapolis, where we
people have planted roots – jewelweed

4th of July parade, indeed!
– a Black Elk hexagon
or hazel moth, gone
in the wrinkle of a wavy diamond.

Systole, diastole... orange arcs
repeat heartbeats,
where azure shelters fleets
of sails... flight-path of firefly sparks.

In Cloud Man Village, where the theft
& violence are felt,
are lifted with a grain of salt
to taste the bread of silo pain – deft

metamorphosis of Yahweh wrath
to steady charity –
calm spun-gold chariot,
cedar Melchizedek love-bath.



Hobo's New Year Address


The gentle adagio of these
yellow butternut leaves
like Venetian galleys
cantering down into the grass.

The slim ribs & spine of each
a gilded replica
of that emerald armada
still tethered to its summer beech.

Prophetic microcosm, georgic
farewell speech.  The poem
wavers down to home
so... some big moody Amerique

or bottomland Berryman mound.
Hobo will mutter her.
He misses her forever
sunk by fratricidal wound.

We cannot remain free unless
we recognize each other
in ourselves, bro – so your
Uncle George cries in the wilderness.

Hobo would touch the iron swing,
its rust-corroded spring,
chi-rho, chi-rho.  Wing,
Raven, down to Mexico – sing

autumn’s monitory mirror.
Minotaur must turn anew.
Like Rosh Hashanah, you
shall too.  O Planet, hear.



just beyond my window

John Gould (U.S. Navy) with root beer, Minneapolis, ca. 1946


September crickets in the darkness
just beyond my window
harping seasonal sorrow
elegize their summer quickness.

Cassini in her pure remoteness
plunges through the rings
of Saturn.  Airy things
(that fiery opera house in Venice,

flammatory lance of Beatrice)
coalesce toward autumn,
build a nest of flame
for rangy Thunderbird (eagle-Bice).

& is it only Ouroboros?
Boreas, recycling?
The ancient iron swing
Granddad assembled (90 years

ago) still creaks its aching 2-
note plaint (see-saw,
curse-us)... as though
the Iron Age were never through.

Someone must bear it all (above
rusty Titanic murk).
My father squared his cirque
on his last day.  His eye on Love,

one grip in mine, his other hand
traced a clear circle
over that whirl-debacle
with one thin finger... with one bound


beating the bounds of that vast realm
where Jesus & Black Elk
go roamin’ (with Melchizedek).
& if a 6 turn out to be 9... at the helm

6-wingèd seraphim feather the font
of Holy Wisdom.  Little well
of do-well... purling from hell
of trompe-desire, of chaine-ressentiment;

Alighieri’s checkmated yearning
tree-hum-yuled to heart’s
lightness... O sullen art’s
deep-harrowed aim – O desperate learning!

When men fall into Minotaur’s embrace
& Ariadne’s thread
snaps at the nail-head
one slight Rabbi-hair, O Falcon-Ace

might lift you from the corral waste
into fellowship
of Primavera soul-skip;
where lovely Manto-lips taste

intelligible everlasting bliss –
a porpoise laughs at death
& with one deep breath
huffs cobwebs off God’s gold telos :

that gardener of souls at dawn
lifting a toiling Job-
of-all-work by his nob...
Rachel out-sailing Ahab... Queequeg’s fin.



human with human, clay with clay

Bde Maka Ska, 9.1.17


Now as high summer light ripens
for departure, I remember
how the slight high-wire figure
teetered with tinker shuffle – he bends

his magnetic pole like a long-legged
water-spider, concentrating,
pursuing path P (humming
under his breath) – like a ragged

American robin yodeling, like Francis
the mule on his slight dogwood
perch – so Mayflower would
not sink to sea-floor, so helpless

crowds not tumble from twin towers
to be men not destroyers
his mind moves with those powers
preternatural, avian – showers

of coruscate sparks   from Night Sea
mind   of Okean-reality
heart of   gratitude-mentality
a rustic Thanksgiving   Massasoit will see

to it   along with Black Elk   &
that woodpecker   Thunderbird
a red-streak   flute-word
seeking the common factor   grain

of sand   salt   the personal touch
her hand moves   back & forth
her footsteps   north, south
with his   east, west   in a torch-


song dream   a melody of Sabbath
silence   invisible liberty
simplicity of   soul poverty
& touch of palm   Grace   have no wrath

So you enter the fiery mind-hearth
of heart-mine   the flame
that never dies   who came
from Sky-Whale   to the earth

Jonah   turtledove   blinding Phoenix
so that disconsolate disunion
of father & daughter be undone
with mother & son   a catenary

parallax   twin for twin   tower
for gate   dark green Atlantic
azure-tangerine Pacific
primavera robin   in woodpecker bower

raven & bluejay & eagle   looking on
all these old threads   a nest
or safety net (good, better, best)
for wounded souls   yearning for dawn

So take firm hold   like little Philippe
the water-spider’s   shaking   handlebar
& skip   like Juliet   there
on the sandy shore   where Okean-Ship

embarks for a feast   of reconciliation
human with human   clay
with clay   like a Greek galley
with smiling eye   aye-aye   cosmopolitan



What cheer, Netop?


Words gather round you, little tree
of Providence – little pine
of memory, blue-green
as the sea.  An Itasca task for me,

to reckon the source of poetry –
freshwater Ocean State
from a spring so shy, so late!
– in the heart of Hobo’s Mississippi.

Like a calm symmetry between
twin Mirror Lakes... maize
mazes, where she stakes
me down (tied at the bow to green

apple root)... under the granite gate
at Prospect Terrace – Roger’s
benevolent dream-sponge,
soaking up querulous fear & hate

& wringing them out upon a font
of Narragansett friendship.
What cheer, Netop?
hails the raven-tested testament

of human fellowship – fond canoe
of rational amphibian,
this turtledove Leviathan
who swallows all to bear Jonah anew.

Buoyant almond of my soul... you are
that copper-penny Liberty
harboring everyone for free –
between Caesar & God, one Western Star.



A few flords after long filence

O splendiferous butternut


September butternuts bombard the ground,
soft lime-green globes a-burst
with rich black compost-
muck.  By genealogy of sound

they must descend from Milky Way
on high; from some black hole
of fiery Moloch-El
shifting the gravitational display

plummeting like an otfe-stone
out of St. Peter’s burg
to vertiginous epilogue
(Akhmatova-agate, or Pushkin-

bone).  Sealed with a raven-knife
tattoo, absinthe still-life –
l’Affaire Dove-Sister-Wife,
mired in a faro-game of civil strife.

Her smile’s invisible as air.
Now Phoenix is on fire
& flooded Lone Star Empire
waits for Milly the Kid to appear;

up here in Minneapolis, Frank Gehry’s
fishtail art museum
harbors Hartley’s muse.  Glum
Crane surfacing as white shark – hairy

situation! & out the window, there’s
Berryman’s burnt span –
marooned sad son of Man
abridged to riveted soul-tears.


Some autumn in King Lear, mayhap
(John’s doggèd copy?)
may Heav’n shed mild mercy-
milk through these blind spokes, old Pap.

It’s waiting for you, Cain, McCain –
open your magnanimity
to gratitude!  See
to the superflux...  She comes again

light-feathered through your heart –
Cordelia, Columbia;
unscrolls the epigraphia
footnote on warped LP (dappled 8-part

harmony) – spectrum of a weedy
Jonah-flag.  Within gray
scales, smoke-signals (hey
ey yo) her hand waves complimentary

colors – black earth, jungle green
& orange flaring yellow-
gold (passage to indigo);
red, white & cinder (ultramarine)

complete the ashen diamond
salt-cube of Manitou
(that Hiawatha 1-3-2) –
whose handspin sets a table ronde

for Pilgrim as for Wampanoag
& etches mene mene tekel
onto Minotaur’s tough Jekyll-
hide (only a promise, Nadia-Mag).