hope is the anchor of the soul


The salty bread & wine of commonweal
is not a partisan domain;
it came before Abel & Cain,
magnanimous magma of the real.

Like these green palm-prints in a ring
my daughter planted on a square
of Grace’s linen, whirling there
like burning wings of seraphim (wheeling,

wheeling)... the Power of the universe
flames through a hearth-fire
(undermining empire
with compassionate adhesiveness).

I watched this morning as a lone
bald eagle, gliding quickly
in great catenary
arcs (like Guillem de Gellone

or Joachim, the hermit of Fiore)
mimed curvature of bridge
along that autumn ridge
like a daguerrotype from Civil War –

the process signifying Liberty
teeters twin wings
an unknown soldier brings
to bear (O turtledove of solidarity).

The downward angle of the bird
that signifies nekuia
& kenosis (ah,
bright wings!) so anchoring the word


she flies – & radiates upward (selah)
that Shekinah you heard
wailing in Ramah (sword
rotating every way)... hey ey

yo, Ma!  Your motherland the Earth
is calling you, Hobo.
Only primordial blue
clay, replicating Ocean birth

can shape the high ship of the whole.
Those human ribs, breathing
from Galilee to Sing-Sing
slip the galley through a needle –

bear Arcturus to the North Pole
via waltz of galaxies –
salve memories
of lost sailors, & reconcile them all.

Hope is the anchor of the soul.
Light seed, planted in soil
of churnagogue, still
twirling on your milky way... scroll

out your almond gospel alms,
Melchizedek... your ray
through aquiline papyrus
lens, through Gilead pine-balms.

The clay awaits your bread & wine.
The heart yearns for it,
through dry thicket
retina of Man – your sappy pine.



We few, we happy few

                        i.m. John Berryman (on his birthday)

October burnishes the oaks
to ruddy bronze.  Ancient
St. Crispin’s Day, meant
for veterans, the player-folks

of Agincourt & Balaclava
(ours not to reason
why)... bright caparison
of mental mists, pink pillbox (ah,

Jackie).  Man, the intelligence
of his soil... what triggers wars?
Mobs of blood & tears...
flame, shadow-boxing with a fence...

In chessboard worlds of red & black
for every victor there’s
a loser too – King Henry’s
brother-band meets Paris Jack,

sad Roy du Jour.  So each Garfield
meets his Guiteau – the best
& worst, the first & last,
the wheat & tares blent in a field

of glory (shriven up in sheaves).
Was it for blood & soil?
Intelligence of soul
says no.  What man or woman loves

in battlefield or study is
glory itself, & fellowship
in pain (joined at the hip) –
not flags or nationalities


but one star over Ark & Argo-ship.
Light from a tiny acorn
grows resplendent Okean
sunlight of restoration (skip,

Jackie, Jean, around that Minotaur
of stupid pride – a hollow
idol full of nothing, O).
This living Imogen is where you are.

Let’s stand with that Shakespearean
from this day to the ending
of the world.  His battling
with fright (mother loss & father gun)

an inward thing, not of the arrogance
of windy crowds (a victory
over himself the only
guarantee of happiness).  An instance

for the rest of us (the human race,
that is).  Restoration
of an idea – of a nation
of united nations, reconciled by grace

& with humility.  Familia of Man.
As Imogen stepped from the cave
so Henry might rise from his grave
– somehow Franciscan, now.  His plan

simply to walk across these states
barefoot, like Mark Baumer –
glad-handing poet-palmer,
Johnny Appleseed (with acorns, dates).



it hovers outside


Hobo mumbles along the riverbank
as October air grows cool
& clear.  The leaves, old fool,
the leavings... swift canoes, that sank

like royal palms into an azure sky,
into a fiery wheel
of oven-clay.  A seal
baked into bright red wax... on our way

to London, Guildenstern.  Or to
Verona, Ferrara...
mirrors of Ravenna
(fatal salience, Ursiana’s woe).

Surrounded by wolf-raven, Juliet.
You dance the sacrifice
like unto death (Paris
1913) – knifed in the clammy sweat

of granite vault, the stony silence
of the lie – artillery
deployed (ply over ply).
& does she live or die?  Hence,

Hobo-Romeo – you’ll roam
like Orpheus in hell,
sleepwalk a frozen spell
(so buried man goes skipping home,

strange hierophant).  Ineffable
grey granary of wisdom,
Ursiana’s 8-pt. dome
gathered to a grain of sable


sand... one little grain of sand.
As in articulate horsehair-
dream of Leonardo, air
figures crystal acorn – understand,

it hovers outside everything, & so
transmits clear folds
of Salvator’s bold
Nazir-songe.  Swing low,

sweet chariot... ray forth your fire
out of an almond eye
blazing   you shall not die
with gallant measure to inspire

the rooster of the Earth to crow
like Voronezh raven, or
like Vitruvian Man
from center of the Earth grow

feathers   coppery feathers   Ferrarese
Veronese  hazy
morris-dancing   mazy
corn mandala   limping   A-Z

sweet librarian   Natasha
or Nadezhda   sister-doves
swelling   dawn alcoves
of spring   primordial   selah

in the mandorla   of the casket-
womb   you must be borne
aloft   grey   Valentine
your sepulchre   1132   (kismet)



rim of that heavenly Rome


Inching back with my mother down
the nursing home hallway
from dining hall... hey ey
yo.  Keep her from falling (too soon).

Sprightly, amnesiac, brave.
We filtered burnt photographs’
international orange (‘70s
epitaphs).  Look – you still wave

from chilly distance, eldest one.
Your sister, brothers... your
father, meek & mild... War
obliterates peripheral vision, son.

Like game of hangman (simplified).
Figure out the letter
in the word.  Row, Edgar
Poe – enough rope be dangled

like that infamous platform
lifted out of season
like Francis from prison...
only to travel far from harm

along a single beam of light.
Real American creed
spooling through Voodoo
Queen Marie – gonna be all right.

Antithetical Poe held
his ivory casket
in a bird-basket –
row, row, coracle... spelled


IONAH on the bow... over & out
for now.  The cosmic battle
between Caesar & that
measly songster (Stalin puttin’ Anna

into the hollow double-barrels
mimicking Utopia – everyone
happy in warehouse, hon)
becomes a set of Shaker castanets

or scallop-shells of Aphrodite;
– a skirmish in St. Louis
soars above Cahokia (she’s
us) into a supple Rimini-

design.  The poet, poison-pounded
pharmakon, cribbed out
his hazy Paraclete
in limestone layerings – founded

Apollinairy nothings on a pole-starred
pine.  Rose horizontal stripes
on snow led wayward ships
to Milky Way, somehow (the bard

might know).  Over the river E
(for equal sign) carry
me back to cosmic liberty,
Eurydice – united we are free;

like Sophie with P. della Francesca fan
loving galactic neighbors
stitch their laborious
light-canoe (twin Manitou of Man).



my Bruegel panorama


The little gold galleys of the butternut
navigate through autumn air.
My Bruegel panorama
of proverbial bird-wit is fading out.

The motherland calls Hobo.  Every leaf
a chaste canoe... Rus, Rus.
The enemy be us,
pugnacious Pogo cries – war is grief

between brothers.  Apollinaire
drifts in gray whiffs
of wistfulness... his skiff’s
more tangled up with Minotaur

than was before, sighs Psyche-
Ariadne.  That graybeard
on Ravenna guard
surrounded by gray paint-debris –

he might be me.  Ocean is gray
as wing of turtledove today.
Way in the middle of the air
Ezekiel saw them wheels a’glory

Louis sang (on path LP
somewhere in Tuscany).
Leonardo da Vinci
drew Vitruvian Man like a Kali

on a microcosmic wheel of fire –
he was such a star!
& in the Last Supper
Judas & Jesus in sfumato-mirror


reach together across girlish Jean –
or do they reach for her?
Shocked faces of the men –
is it betrayal, or espousal sign?

Some knot of gravitational waves
whorls into matrix-vortex.
Beloved spindrift Rex
emergent from that sea of graves –

a eucharist or mystical body
encircled by a palm
inscrutable as that helm
of Jonah, breaching the cloudy

surf of Ocean River – O font
of soul-transfigurement!
So rooted in the fundament
we rise as citizens of Turtle-Tent

when the Eternal comes, & we
are summoned to a wedding-
feast.  Melodious syrinx
of Orpheus-Nazir... blithe epi-

thalamium from sparkle-profundum.
Wrath of Kali-Coatlicue-
Moloch subsides away
& Leonardo frames his simulacrum

of one vernal smile... Mona Lisa
bubbly as Virgin
on the Rocks.  Come in,
she says; God’s blessing in persona.



stars of Jubilee


The cottonwood leaves are golden,
beaten thin by frigid air.
Graphene hearts, everywhere
now (mid-October).  What is Man?

that Thou take heed of him?
Flesh tends to disappear.
To fade – but not before
these bright medallions of seraphim

sail swiftly from the autumn tree.
Invisible beehives
of honey-gold enclaves
cluster like galaxies, ring you & me –

it is that via media,
that midway midéwé
colloquy – humbly
clustering from 6-way

crystalline antipodes – path P
of Providence, the clear
circumference (here
now & everywhere) of high Sophie.

Nerve-center of the flesh-toned bridge
uniting matière, esprit;
Venn diagram, complete
ellipse of air, water & light – edge-

mingled man-&-woman bloom,
transmuting rage & fright
with wisdom’s calm delight
to reconcilement’s sun-filled room


from midnight Minneapolis
(by way of Providence)
into your honey-dense
dawn star-forest – Cosmopolis.

Stars in the deep blue flag echo
that secret Jubilee,
when all the nations will be
reconfigured from the roots of woe

into one level plain of soul
equality & liberty.
So Salvator Mundi
implies, through Leonardo’s ball

of crystal – meek & sheepish mule
of a Franciscan king
correcting everything
with one orthogonal gesture, one smile.

Jesus is for sale at Christie’s, now;
the Earth is up for grabs
as well, it seems; crabs
gather in their gaudy, gilded scow

to celebrate the arrogance of rule;
our men of violence
fill up sad prisons,
cemeteries.  Is Man a Fool?

No... just blind.  Tall cottonwoods
stand, lean together –
dark pillars, that weather
storms of gold in planetary neighborhoods.



pavane pour une enfante


The river’s running high.  A tattered
linen cottonwood leaf
would lief be drifting
down the bronze serpent, toward

New Orleans.  January ice
will buckle on the iron
bridge – kids’ tongues on
frozen playground bars (cruel vise).

Hobo’s pal, Billy Apollinaire,
will mime an Orphic flute.
Satie, Ravel... sweet
astringent melody (pure air,

unseeable).  Pavane pour une
enfante défunte.  Meanwhile
male bondage is in style.
Our Master fabricates jejune

disgust for all things feminine;
his orange bonfires meld
fright into towering shelled
walnut eyries... flight from Someone

unaccountable (strange, uncontrollable).
Within a bomber’s O-range
now (I will arrange
accommodations for my sable

granite safety crypt) some Bluejay
whistles like a soloist
through sea-pine mist
sparse knotty blue-green (sotto voce)


memory.  The threads are fractal,
earth-quick.  Escapees.
Some limestone frieze
of Aphrodite, out of Rimini (or Hell)

feinting assaults above Sault Ste. Marie
(Lawrentian divides
shift icebreaks, tides...)
until the copper icon of green Liberty

lifts torchlight like Hagia Sophie –
her living harmony
of agape, for you
& me, enthroned (Okean-sea).

So like the sun lifting from azure salt
the fellowship of wisdom
born of mute charism
(Love’s lightning catenary vault

of steadfast blooming adoration)
lifts healing rescue-signs
for desolate young queens
& kings of darkened mind, O Solomon;

the little princess Shining Star
pirouettes all morning
in her stone-circling
agate labyrinth (somewhere

near Chartres, Oklahoma) – Ariadne
slips the woolen thread
around your wrist – dead
spring to life (Magdala, Galilee).



bleak side of oblique


The long flat barge, the tugboat
pushing a pile of dirt
upstream – the delicate
reddenings of autumn trees... what

was Henry saying? – up Big Muddy...
Onshore, the back of Hobo
bent like wheedling oboe.
Imago of male failure (Osage hey ey

yo).  Autumn moon... they smoke
& dawdle out the sunshine.
She was a figurehead of mine,
Miss Posy; felled with a single stroke

(of either oar).  Nobody you’d know.
Besides, was long time ago;
sort of a dream-show.
Some tormented buried Poe-ego (Pogo)

traveling unraveled down Path P.
Nominated Henry
(domestic amity
is key to what-y-call happy).

Something between a rat-mensch
& Minotaur.  All entrailed
with entitlements, failed
fatherhoods... sweats on the bench.

Mercy of a rude stream, somebody
said.  Children of want
want what they, but can’t.
Have.  Le-Hev-Hev, spidery


black hole of the cannibals...
Only a drawn-in breath,
inhalation of death.
That’s all, folks (snaky nuptials).

Hollywood, Kali-Kali-fornia.
The sacred woodpecker’s
your twin prospector –
gold-digging Theoria, Inc. (wing

of raven feathering from cloud).
It’s a Pacific mist,
mister – a golden twist
on Vertigo, for crying out loud!

Shapes of a familiar otherness...
someone you know.  Her
scent (don’t bother
to ask).  As from the wilderness

of the sea (or out of a bath).
Not Venus, exactly –
not even Aphrodite...
maybe antipodal Sheba,

Queen of the South?  Or maybe Johnnie
of the Ark, or Jeanne,
or Mary Magdalen...
under cedars of Lebanon (selah).

Sometimes you see a faint rainbow
on concrete sidewalk.
& someday somebody will talk
to you (smiling wave thread shadow).



like a Balinese cock-fight


Poets’ business, like a ring
round a Bali cock-fight –
goodbye to all that.
Shake your kaleidoscope thing,

ping your kalimba – your bricolage
a grubby grab-bag
(seven pounds of brag
& rage, mixed up with garbage).

Meanwhile that flesh-tone bridge
(crossing my Mississippi
song-&-dance) will be
morphing some spider’s double-edge

Venn diagram – a stick figure
at hobo train junction
where sunny Everyman
remembers split Coatlicue.

Rumors of an impasse, whispered
through a chain-link fence.
Barbed lozenge of insistence
scarring Rome, Jerusalem... the word

made fishy (west of Galilee,
east of Athens, Georgia)
as a picnic smorgasbord
laid out beneath barren oak tree.

That smell gets into everything.
Like something baked
a week in a canal – like
messy string theories, untangling


a knotty plot of pots & pans, banging
the human family
to kingdom come (really?)
from seedy tribes to Nero’s hanging

gardens.  Shady Rome, where every
cosmic veil is torn –
& a black rock is borne
upon recalcitrant shoulders of slavery

into the center of a black hole’s
starry honeycomb.
What ass bears the whole
sum?  What shoe of prophet’s mule?

Maybe an offshoot of Coatlicue
wearing a flimsy linen
Joseph-coat.  A woman,
patient Pietà... La Pia, Psyche...

Ariadne or Arachne, raveling
path P... that rugged,
ragged Francine – plugged
at Frisco crossroad – traveling

freight.  Sometimes you meet a person
heavier than time & space.
Rough wind carves well-faces
lined with laughter, hope... pain...

She steps forth from black stone –
stirring bears in her arms,
palming clay amid storms
of adamant love (makar-maid, shown).