banquet at the end of time


The banquet at the end of time,
the invitation read –
the living & the dead
to celebrate.  This pantomime

of solemn feasting they perform
beneath cavernous timbers
(burnt resinous embers)
foreshadows that preternatural storm

of joy, tasting our expectation –
when Eli’s empty chair
so hopeful (floating there)
is overflowing with affection

once again.  As we well know,
observes bright Magdalen –
beseeching, in the garden,
gardener (raw moon of woe).

& what it all may mean for Hobo
Hank, lazing out
his salvation-boat
conundrum (Solipsism, ho!)...

Can it be can-do canoe?
If anyone thinks they
know anything (See
St. Paul!) they’re in Pig’s Eye

sez he.  My inconsequence
is like a Pushkin move;
chess is like love,
government... clear as Providence.



eye in the level

replica of Roger Williams' compass, pocket sundial


The pilgrim in the wilderness
like young George Washington
will draw a survey line
in order to project his progress

straight ahead, from point to point.
Primordial Providence
the paradisal focus –
your pen’s first instance.  Appoint

your 2nd Adam, then, Most High
to be the gold eye
in the level – bead the way
with your Accordion of earth & sky,

dream-song of host & guest alike.
My Christianity
is primitive, really.
This nazir chanting by the lake

was also Elohim; we sponged the vinegary
wine together, soaked
the dry bread – smoked
the peace pipe in his company.

My Providence is primitive as well.
Young Roger at the river’s
edge, his seekers, strivers –
welcomed, welcoming – a lunar shell

for pattern of a little government
upon her shoulder (Ocean
State).  Mirroring Sine
of Wave... rinsing tomorrow’s present.



a glossolalia from grapevine hive


The gray clouds in the distance, over
the Bruegel panorama.
Coltrane, Alabama.
Hollow octave.  Windblown clover.

In the foreground, a guy named Frank.
Jeff, Joe... somebody
you know, Big Daddy?
No.  Here to clean the sewage tank.

In the garage, a long-unused canoe.
Dry almond shell,
cicada husk.  Well,
things happen.  I loved her, too.

Everything wears out like a garment,
Preacher says.  Love’s
monarch’s in the grove –
dark cedars frame him monument.

Cupped hands perform their wrinkled rite,
a mandorla for Miriam
(her longest night).  I am
your cloud-shape spinning into sight,

I am your turtledove of rose
granite.  A woven smile
gets fuzzy, chile.  Goes
bumbly, succeeding prose;

a glossolalia from grapevine hive
that only Providence
(unleafing salience)
can sail through oven husk – alive.



plastic leaves & bottlecaps


This autumn wind-chime Sophie made
like El Anatsui (African
weaver spider-man)
from plastic leaves & bottlecaps, tied

with bright ribbons – a key, a table knife,
a silver keychain ring,
a crystal ball... everything
needful for the voyage into afterlife

(October & November, winter
ice).  I hear it now,
an echo from the prow
of gray stone mothership.  Your

Notre Dame of infinite mercy,
villain François.  Or Chartres,
Hen – where light chartreuse
rhymes with sky-blues, calm sea

of sunset rose.  On the scarred floor
a labyrinthine feedback
loop speeds Argo-carrack
by umbilical thesis to Ari’s door.

Arachne, Ariadne...in Rhode Island?
One subterranean Ocean
Stream, Atlantean
where every son of J sails home again

across Medea’s Méditerranée – &
where Medusa’s stone frown
melts, to gleaming crown
of salty dew... grail of compassion.



goldenrod honeybee


This bumblebee on goldenrod,
hunting the crossroad
at close of summer.  Old
Hobo character – camouflaged

in yellow-black (almost).  Henry’s
obsession with absence.
I’d go the distance
into infinite cornfields, he says.

The river subculture, the dream
of floating back home.
Churnagogue palindrome
or unknown womb... clay baptism.

The cottonwood leaves seem to flow
like golden honey, then –
in Taurida, on the autumn
wind.  Like little heart-ships, so

they swim.  Out of the tight-knit shawl,
out of the everlasting
fire.  None shall be coming
to the Father except by Son, y’all –

by way of Mother.  That absolute
Somebody – a labyrinth
of stars, wherein we are hid
like lightning bugs, or lambent flute

reflections (crane-bone twins).
Flickering far beyond
woodpecker Trebizond,
sleepwalker Knossos – wheeling fins.



political sonnet

                                  i.m. Alexander Litvinenko

Some Russian in a London hospital
is losing all his hair, can barely speak.
The doctors are confused.  His liquids leak.
It seems he may not make it, after all.
He slumps his ugly body to the wall.
Polonium-210 is quite unique –
this instrument of power at its peak
reduces fractious elements to nil.
And yet a feeble whisper emanates
from dying lips (all victims are pathetic).
You’re a bona fide barbarian,
he croaks (to Mr. Vladimir Putin).
You’ve proved you don’t deserve the trust
of my beloved Russia.  Last words stick.


Beulah is 90

                       for MRG

Beulah fell asleep this afternoon
in her sidewalk chair.  Phosphor clouds
spun tacked-up overhead – caravels
unknotting archipelagoes of dreams.
Beulah is ninety.  All she’s done
was finished years ago – love, kids,
work... making, helping.  Now the swells
of receding seasons wester into beams
of sundown.  The scramble to survive,
the ferris wheels of sex and politics,
her wrestlings with faith and doubt
are folded into one frail dormant hive
of arms, face, breast.  Fleet prolix
dreams fuse with the Dreaming she’s about.


most August wind-chime


So another August 8th-month
inches toward its close.
Whatever Pilate says,
goes – IN RI, nailed to a terebinth.

Whatever happens, happens, now.
An old man is an oak leaf
skimming like a thief,
going to ground.  & when the winds blow

the silver pipes of Sophie’s chime
go tingle-tangle... melody
of sea-blue cherub, see?
Clasping Columbia, his sweet tame

turtledove.  While her fire-engine chair
waits in my octagon
beneath late-summer sun –
a migrant tabernacle... Amor-

Shalom... transportable to Paradise.
Her father is a recent
immigrant, & citizen.
The Shekinah is mercy for chaste eyes –

unquenchable fountain of pure love
for simple existence, for
its mysterious source.  Our
wisdom, Sophie – like your turtledove –

comes shimmering down... she permeates
all things, & everywhere.
As it was always, my dear –
the mind of Love revives, creates.



the rubles flow from here to there


A mouse ran across a bridge
one winter, in Leningrad –
his name was little Vlad.
He had a key, which was his badge.

He wanted to be Czar one day.
It made things easier.
When life got crazier
he took control – things were okay.

The rubles flow from here to there
in pockets of his underwear –
he makes a face, to scare
the other wolves (the sheep won’t dare).

He liquidated people in the way.
It wasn’t always easy...
Scotland Yard (like Stasi)
fingerpoints (Polonium 1-A).

The light flutes in another realm –
coral reef of seraphim
& monks on mountain rim
(Kievan polyphonic Argo-helm).

A scattershot of goldfinch tunes
or chords of Marian
sis-diva Anderson
lift off cimetière dunes

Pushkin or Berryman would know.
Sparse salty grass.
Sand underfoot, hélas.
A Black Sea seething, as of long ago.



poem in memory of Sen. John McCain

                                        i.m. Sen. John McCain

Politicians are not often poets
though they might be actors
in a denouement of Shakespeare’s
Measure for Measure.  Just deserts

are rarely staged there, in the Senate,
these days – when a thumbs-down
from a stalwart shaken lion
mimes the freedom to be obstinate

against all bullies, liars, tyrants.
When a simple judgement – white
supremacists aren’t patriots,
they’re traitors – damns those deviants

from one magnanimous dream of Union
(human, not partisan;
global, not only Arizonan).
Comanches raided every town

along the Rio Grande, once: Yankee
& Viet Cong slaughtered
each other, martyred
kids; but we transmute reality

by change of heart, by radical
meekness.  With mutual
respect... consensual
advice, consent... our ancient legal

dance of equity, for human dignity...
so might this son of Cain
be able to smile again
in that unperishing Republic of hilarity.



aqueducts for bumblebees


In the anonymous late grass,
among the stray brown
stalks like overgrown
aqueducts for bumblebees

Hobo looks off toward the flesh-
tone Mississippi bridge.
He yearns for the courage
to be like Woodpecker, in his mesh

of stealthy wasps & stolen honey –
I mean that Thunderbird,
drilling his fiery word
dovetailing out of Galilee;

the lightning rod atop the dome
whose inner lining is mosaic;
a kingfisher, whose beak
flings Geryon from his kingdom.

Late August air grows clear, autumnal.
He’ll shed his jester threads
like Hal doffs Falstaff duds
& lie down by the Rio del

Espiritu Santo.  Watch how that firebird
melts hearts into unison –
lifts into comprehension
both Jerusalem & Athens, toward

a chastened & revived Cosmopolis
where neighbor-love is measure
of the planetary future... &
then he’ll mosey back to Minneapolis.



by the teeth of St. Anthony Falls


End of summer sounds.  A surf
of crickets & cicadas
swells into the branches.
Phantom cottonwoods (leaf-

hearts pale yellow, dried-out husks).
Anemic light, grown timid
spooked by swollen shade –
August forecast (autumn dusk).

Henry attends to his North Star,
his Union under onion
dome... tending toward ruin
now.  Anger drives the darkness car.

Sleek starlings yoked in harnesses.
Electronic neon
beckoning Power’s iron
catalogs (bright pigeonhole affinities).

He stands by the teeth of St. Anthony
Falls – a Berryman
apparition, a ghastly John
lingering by fish-scale cutlery

(zombie ice-fishing is reviving
local watering holes,
say Twin Cities
polls).  Barely surviving

in professional cinch, Polaris
remains fixed in place –
kingfisher Falcon-Ace
tweaked by that wench in Paris


out of all shape, except a heart-
scarred origami –
Guillaume or Alexei
dovetailing it to Jordan-sprite.

So helpless Noah watches his waters
subside.  He turn to Hobo –
Hobo turn to her.  So
child become grain – grain gathers

to child.  On the scandalous retina
of Mary Magdalen,
the Earth rewinds again
as Man – wrath spun to mattina.

I have no rage.  The otherness
of your... your mother-smile.
He lay for a while
on sands of Jordan wilderness,

at peace.  Your American motherland
is an adamant green
Everywhere.  A limestone
welcome-mat (with waves of eye-in-hand).

It was here before we all arrived;
it was not to be won quite yet
by war, but by legitimate
befriending – loving everything that lived. 

& only a bum in San Francisco
or homeless reprobate
treated like jail-bait
knows Charity enough to say hello

& happy lovey-dovey Thanksgiving to you



Hagia Sophia with mermaid eyes

                                    for Sophie, on her birthday

She shines like a little smile of light,
your happiness.  Shot through
with violets, with rue
of yellow-gold... a sea-green Amphitrite.

She swam from a box out of the bottomland.
Big Muddy concept –
buried in refuse, inept
mentalities.  Blind eye-in-hand,

dread fright of bloody bandage-men.
I stood on my headwaters,
the only Falls that matters –
Mill City, where they grind the grain –

a nauseated Hamlet, dizzy
with green v-vertigo.
Boxed rivers overflow.
He’s Hobo now, or Ishmael, fire-fizzy;

curled up in a tattoo-basket,
floating in the womb
of his own dream-doom
to Gulf of Mexico (Nantucket?)...

where butterflies of poetry
emerge as monarchs
from sea-chrysalides
& sketch fine arcs on pottery

insouciantly, with haunted grace.
Winking tesserae,
unscrambled... Hagia Sophia
with mermaid eyes (each facet-face).



serpent ocarina


The king is carrying his cross
wearing his crown of thorns.
Only his mother mourns.
The restless crowd is at a loss.

So history plays out
on broken banjo string –
scratchy LP spinning
over & over the tethered Scapegoat

Song.  A narrow beam of rust-
red copper, through shade
of rock.  Copperhead
of light.  Serpent mouthing dust.

Tan sand (some Navajo camouflage).
Everyman, eaten
by ants.  Has-been.
Hobo, dreaming in a stream-montage.

Nobody.  Only air, flashing
like feathered wheel –
Thunderbird heel?
Lo, him – Kingfisher, splashing.

In the clay matrix, Morning Star
pirouettes in Paris
for Apollinaire.  Pax
lounges with Liberty, while from afar

twin pillars of a temple rise
in unison – an azure
octave, lifting her
amid dew-glittering, sea-breathing sighs.



all the way to Mt. Moriah


This weightless branch of butternut
floats in the August stillness
like palm-frond of Isis
in sky-barge of Cleopatra-Nut.

Earth grown deserted as a pyramid.
Nothing moves in silence
like Lion-Sphinx
crouching with a question on her eyelid-

casket – just for you, Orpheus-
Oedipus.  Your arcane
cane limps against the grain,
gone serpentine... a missing Theseus.

Where’s Ariadne then?  Arise,
light Jonah-seer, sweet
grey-eyed sister!  Meet
him in the wrinkles of the Minotaur’s

disguise, find him in the stone face
sleeping like a Roman guard –
motionless, Medusa-hard,
until your gardener grins in his place.

She’s kneading my clay now, adamantine
mother of amusement.
All the way to Mount
Moriah, she’s dragging my crown.

She’s molding the planet, children –
shaping this loafer into ships
of almond-bread, with those lips.
Those eyes are sparks for tinder-men.



where everything is born


When summer is a woven synthesis
of differences, a music
of what happens, homesick
Hobo thinks of Providence – yes,

Ocean State – that tiny place
where everything is born.
Microcosm, on a horn
of sea-salt... on a wave of seamless

grace.  There dreamt his dream
of mater Giuliana,
in her moss-green llama-
shawl (Francescan almond-gleam

within Ravenna).  Dante found Christ
in Beatrice’s almond joy;
hypostasis in our eye;
omnipresence of the Holy Ghost.

That fusion in Jerusalem –
gemstone of solid air;
communion of river
& sky great bridges ravel, hem

by curving hem (triplicate
unruffled grace).
Traveling eucharist,
friendship seal... rose safety net...

personification (into human
rainbow) of a humble
kiss.  Gold bumblebee,
sweet Henry-awk... sunken, risen.



the axis of the earth


The river moving through the cottonwoods
inspires Hobo-composer
to exceed his Oeuvre
Clumpy-Cloddy in the key of C.  Buds

trace their roots down limestone crevices
to seek that cave-lake
where dark streams make
ripples in a mirror-image (Beatrice’s

triune goddess?) in a palimpsest
of light reflections.  Mother,
lover, friend... your sister-
dove.  Affectionate witness –

Akhmatova’s golub-golubyanka
(an undertone beneath
the granite banks).  The wreath
Natasha flung into Fontanka –

today an angel, tomorrow only a worm
in the grave... only a promise.
Mary, in her distress,
beholds the gardener beside the tomb.

Hobo digs deeper, down his own
dream-channel.  Almond
eyes... the veil of Isis
in West Branch... curtains for Henry’s own

Clover, in Washington (where Adam delved
while Eve spun vortex-grief).
Vertigo in high relief
on Henry’s charcoal Chartres – shelved

Synagogue laid low, below Ecclesia
belies a Nazarene concord
older than Byzantine crossword
shaded by almond-Hebrew Bona Dea.

Keep digging then, my clod.  You’ll find
the key, within a boxwood box
where lies a bunch of keys.
A black Egyptian Queequeg pine-

box, layered with tattoos
of hero-griffins – figures
of hexagonal stars
that shine like golden bees... Who’s


there?  Out of the mirror-wars
of courtly kangaroos,
through shady fig trees
shines her diamond Southern Cross –

the double trinity of Black Elk’s
six-way sign.  An acorn
emerald, lightly borne
as crown of Restoration Day : melek’s

JFK : Zion’s Nazir out of Galilee;
spume-signal from an Ocean
State – whale-oil ensign,
anointed Son... clé-figured Charity.

That old medieval Paris of Villon.
Pigments of blood, limestone
& sky.  Stained-glass zone
of intellectual Aquinas-light – reason

& faith cross-braided, interwoven
in the jewel-box of Suger,
in the emerald sepulcher
of Wolfram’s wayfaring communion-

wafer.  Omnipresent grail
of equal daughters, equal
sons... Love’s universal
sea-supremacy – each heart’s high sail.

So the rod of Aaron blossomed
over Nile sandbanks,
& a bronze serpent yanks
all eyes to Hobo’s Bottomland

Jonah.  Out of that Okie Okean,
out of that Osage eagle’s
den, your clay-born angels
rise to foot their river-span –

a bridge of International Orange
pillared like Jachin, Boaz
in wisdom’s corny maze
of adamantine joy.  So rich & strange!

Whispered by the Sybil through
these gold oak leaves,
for everyone who grieves.
A comfortable acorn-dhou


down Nile, or Mississippi, weaves
her zigzag victor-wake;
from Jordan to Lake
Galilee, her circle rings the sheaves.



unbreakable chords


Your nostalgia for the aristocracy
of childhood, Vladimir,
I understand.  So here :
infantile tyrants bear it away

in sappy cerements of innocence.
Galla & her golden boy
& their brief beehive day
drowse in Ravenna, under silence

of mosaic stars; Dante too
sleeps there, still far
from his Firenze mère
the milky galaxy of midnight blue,

his babble-realm of splendor-joy.
A fluent melody
pours endlessly
from thine ineffable benevolence, Blue J;

a spiral at the cave entrance,
an everlasting sign
of all Creation
(ceaseless, calm, majestic dance).

Those unbreakable chords of Mendelssohn
at the end of the trolley line;
the sound of the violin
lesson, the neighborhood of children...

& the shadow of the Thunderbird
in the immense oak tree
the dark green sanctuary
of Morning Star   dolphin-shepherd


out of deep-twined memory
by the cistern heard
rose-enfolded Word
out of Ocean’s fond   Jonah-infinity

Instinctive fright becomes aggression,
dominance abets revenge;
since long before Stonehenge
each weak scapegoat endures oppression

& the tantrum of the infant
replicated by depression
each political occasion
filters through both mob & tyrant.

But it shall not be so with thee.
I have no wrath, the Ghost
murmurs; I am the Most
High Heartbeat, mild Invisibility –

indivisible reply
out of the crystalline
& quintessential Union
at the source of Earth & Sky.

I am your human echo, come to be
among you, in my realm
of love, mercy, wisdom
I am the Nazir, chanting out of Galilee.

& then I saw her, Jonah-Shadow –
wings extending over all
of Minneapolis/St. Paul.
Ghost-heart we feel, ghost-bird we know.



stone, water, light, fire


The agitations of a stone thrown in the stream
make ripples that become
a smooth continuum
of moving wheels.  One Gothic beam

draws light through stone and water –
blending elements
into high bafflements
of rainbow glass, mind with nature

beyond nature, reason with wonder.
Agnes – her exacting threads
trace Ariadne’s leads
through wilderness of sea & thunder.

Grant – his strange & strict constructions
spin a decussated
dream landscape – fated
black dirt looming beneath confections

of late sunset West Branch foliage.
Why, then, this mirage
of images?  The poet’s rage
wells from embodied fury – & her voice

– Arachne’s, Ariadne’s – is mortal
as that scar-calendar
of dread Coatlicue
unsnagged by force from Mexican corral.

Her poem is cast-iron Poseidon-net
straight from the furnace,
thus : a human face
veiled by the smoke of calumet


morphing brute fraudulence to peace,
transmuting blank white
voids to violet
& moss-green habitats of paradise.

St. Maximus Confessor, musing
monk, articulated
in theory what unfolded
in reality – fusion of divine choosing

with human liberty in understanding,
in enactment, as the spirit
moves us : radiant
tangle of wheels into a double ring.

All spokes are joined there, in the personal –
as in a room near Golgotha
babble turned glossolalia
& tongues aflame lit one bright coronal.

The poet chants out of that mental fire
& dances like a Nazirite
her intellectual delight
inviting you & me to join the choir

around that altar of a rolling stone –
a living hearth-fire
of the Earth’s desire
for equilibrium, once we throw down

the Minotaur lodged in our hearts.
Malevolent violence & lust
& greed for dominance must
be renounced... & so the dancing starts.





The wave-factor on a riverboat
differs downstream (or
up).  Rocking the shore
like thread of Agnes Martin’s Night

Sea.  & we are far from home.
Waves of corny grain,
of grass, of wheat... Main
Street.  Grant Wood’s metronome.

He lived four blocks from Henry Negus.
Farmer turned lawyer-
transportation czar
(bus co.) in Iowa City – is

my namesake (great grandfather).
Quaker-shlepherd genehaulogy.
American Gothic, see (flea!) –
straight from dry-humus bow-bent flower.

Arbor Day.  Planting families
of fanatics in the grass –
another word for pass
the ammunition, Grandma.  Crazies,

huh?  All-American.  Beyond
the scope of Scopes Trial,
Solomon... we’re all
afloat upon some stinkin’ frogpond

paddle-wheeler.  Gothic was light
pontoon (Jerusalem).
Grail-Sepulchre rim.
Gitchee-Pollen-Air, up & walkin’... right?