a merry caw-caw for Thanksgiving


We give thanks for life’s poetry
which arrives (unexpected)
through gates of neglected
farmyards.  For the spare mystery

of solitary lighthouses, beaming
steady wheel-spokes
(Rhode Island folks
know what we say, dreaming

sea-woven Narragansett night).
A merry caw-caw
semaphores her law
by roof-smoke... Raven’s last rite;

like Roy Van Doublegram – cross-eyed
matryoshka doll
(owl in a well) –
Hagia Sophia’s multiocular Argo-hide

(serpentine tesserae’s bronze
glint, like Quetzalcoatl
drifting up from Mexico).
For being lifted up to heaven’s

dome, by way of Providence
(O supernatural Grace).
Who is that Falcon-Ace
on Ibis-wing, speeding to silence?

Emily, Cordelia... be
with me now.  Will
must climb volcano-hill...
Love’s Istanbul (Turkey).



Ojo de Dios


The iconoclast in his canoe
oars his poetry
(defying gravity)
upstream.  I’m following you,

he murmurs, to the light
behind his back.  One
senses waves out of her tight

spring, jetting toward the Delta.
The prophet’s out of season,
Henry, mutters Jason
Bluejay (Hobo’s twin).  ‘Strooth, sirrah.

Fake saviors, antichrists will rise
like worms out of the mealy
rot, promising Envy
great Vengeance.  Where the body lies,

there vultures will assemble.
The Boar will tusk the Prince,
fill Earth with violence...
foundations of the planet tremble.

His canoe, the eye of Providence
(Ojo de Dios) whirrs
to emerald headwaters.
One pine, one fiddlehead give evidence –

your vernal J spirals intelligence
of love (bright quickness lost
& found).  Swift Holy Ghost
Rio pours restoration, recompense.


personae taking shape


On the high ridge of River Road
Henry seeks his throne –
little Sophie-chair (long gone
from her gazebo octagon). O Lord

Apollinaire of Poetry, what now?
Is the Great War ended?
Are the lads mended?
Have we entered the Third Aeon?  No,

not yet, vows Joachim (1132).
When Eagle molts
to Coulombee, & bolts
from heaven like a swallow blue...

the eye of Providence triangulates
over an Isis-pyramid
of West Branch clay – hid
from Cahokia to now, he states.

Hobo slumps closer to the river, sound
asleep.  He dreams of her,
who dreams of him – somewhere
over the Franklin Bridge (an Indian mound).

Henry, fragment of Osiris –
iris from Rhode Island –
sees her too.  Sand
curves through silent Providence...

soft glance of Magdalen, absorbing
mourning (wrung like tears,
like rain).  Those anxious piers...
Hart’s, John’s... frame her redeeming orb.



down by the River Road

Mpls. Star-Tribune, spring 1957

Hobo, out there in the wind & the rain
like a shattered King Lear.
An old-fashioned father.
Harmonica squeals – like brakes on a train.

Looks up toward the ridge, where Henry
mimes King of the Oak.
The Knot-King (royal joke).
Spidery threads cross buffoonery

with tacky mute muttering...
clay Eye-in-Hand
from Coatlicue-land.
Anne Boleyn territory (stuttering

terror).  He’s your 8th alter ego
this month, moony Earth –
been angry since birth.
Tsk, tsk.  Some boor’s addled Eddie, yo.

Divided-dividing, fibrillated
fibber... earthquake
salaud in pancake
make-up.  Henry?  Must be related.

Brothers, battling in his head
since Cain was able to kill –
equilibrium still
left out of the equation, love.  Sad!

There’s a buried man on the other side,
sire (near Pig’s Eye).  Emerald
green, her leaves unfold.
Big Muddy catfish will abide.


like a dream


Like a dream in the womb, in the mind of a maid
before all things were made.
Came naturally, she said
when the foundations of reality were laid.

Providence, burnished by smoky November.
Like a canoe on the edge
of the cataract of knowledge...
at Prospect Terrace.  You remember.

Roger Williams, sturdy son of man.
Dark grayish blue
Hope Diamond, you
whisper (below junk jewelry scams) your plan

for Providence.  Triangulated eye
over the Mammon-pyramid.
Re’s Eye, long hid
in our blind eye – to crucify,

Henry (in RI).  That woman in the wilderness
of last things (Chinese vase
still circuiting her stillness).
French, blue, Jeanne.  Fiery duress...

Only a child’s distress.  Cordelia.
Le coeur de Lear, de l’ear...
Coeur de Lion, here.
Skinny crane-bag (of ocean spray)...

St. Paul’s most blazing eloquence
out of heart’s Pig’s Eye.
South of the city –
Mississippi limestone (fossil evidence).



serene Cosmopolis


Imagination of the common good
gleams in the mind’s eye –
a gift from on high
to children of the neighborhood.

I remember Ellen Ryan, from Bridgeport
out of Holy Cross,
smoking under the asbestos
of the Henry Sharpe complex (fort)

off 95 – splitting Providence
just as in Bridgeport,
where her father (Mort,
the cop) & mother (Mary, since

deceased) instilled their sober sense
of ultimate innocence 
outwitting insolence
by grace (elusive fauna of experience).

Sheepish cabal of VISTA volunteers!
Bussed into Washington
to lobby Congressman
Boro Dolpawa (he’s “all ears”).

Chaste vision of the commonweal.
My strength in weakness
is perfected (witness,
black lamb rust-red wool).

Beyond transparent vanishings
serene Cosmopolis...
bright realm of kindness
radiating equilibrium (eternal things).



like variations on a theme


It was a first snow falling on your birthday, Alex
38 years ago.
Cesca’s labor so slow
& painful, there in Miriam Obstetrics

under the klieg lights & the surgeons
she took the C-section
at last (proud, stubborn
mother) while the soft newborn

stars sloped across the parking lot
in silent counterpoint.
The time was out of joint –
your father, too.  Every hamlet

screens its circular pilot plot
through every heart;
Henry left his hearth
to wander Cain-like into Camelot

(his Ars, his land of Nod).
The story is familiar.
Eros sparks war
for Adams unwilling to plow the meek sod,

buster.  Adonis was a narcissist.
Henry plucked his Clover
(tuneful Faustian lover)
& spun the wheel no heel resists –

the veils of Isis & Osiris (masonry,
mummified fire).
Venus, Morning Star
shone pallidly, across the whole country


a kind of Cairo-Poe magnet (wherever
you are).  Middle C
on the piano, tenderly
(Ravlin Princess, Ravel).  Life-saver

played out to Juliet, by Hart.
Like Bach, young Alex –
one sea-tempest X
along path P (where all the tempers start).

Grief comes in waves.  These little ripples
echo from the pangs
of Providence (where swings
a cosmic jewelry show).  Dilated pupils

merge in swarms of busy drones
(watch-birds for smoke-
signals).  Go for broke,
the Iago of the capital intones.

Unleash the dogs of war.  They hated
me without a cause...
Faust is no Santa Claus;
the raging boar will not be sated

‘til the last woman on earth
flees with her child
into that desert wild
nursing one lonely human birth.



on Veterans' Day


They walked on the beach on Veterans’ Day,
Henry & Alex, 11-
11. Father & son. 
A peaceful drone from the Pacific, hey

ey yo.  Henry, oh Henry, what
have you done?  Broken
the lawful bonds of Christen-
dom.  Limps toward Yehoshephat,

your son, your son (beneath milky
ocean spray).  Laborious
struggle to restore justice...
the father’s crimes his legacy.

Innocence precedes the chaste
memorials of same;
children entering the game
adore that grass, to which they haste.

Endicott ripped the Cross out of
the Union, Jack – inspired
by Rog Wms (hired
Ajax?).  Puritanical ab ovum

back in Topsfield (prior Zaccheus
Gould).  Desecrations
rule the day.  Someone’s
idea of revenge, rebellion... us?

The Narragansetts have a word
for youthful arrogance
(I forget).  Once
Henry walked another beach (Rhode


Island) lugging remorse (mule, dunce).
The heavy waves pounded.
Ocean-soul sounded.
Cordelia’s quipu-crown (silence).

The madness works itself out (&
might end, someday) –
the greedy Boar will slay
& slay, until his tiny orange hand

is stayed.  Complacent cows of Bashan
wallow on the slopes
of Washington (one hopes
Starbucks will runneth over, son)

until berserkers finish slaughtering
(but that was in another
coffeeshop – it wasn’t her).
Columbia keens for her offspring

in Ramada Inn, who are no more.
Henry Oakillas, huffy
Henry, O... what now?  I
do not know.  To the bridge?  Claymore?

More clay?  Sword shall pierce
your own soul, Mary.
The air, soft here – sea-
air (light of a sweet lightness).

The chaste beginnings of Thanksgiving
in the myth, in the dream...
on the shore, by beam
of some old canoe.  Hoping, hoping.



Election Restoration Day


Henry’s diary for a dying day
saunters into November.
After Wars to End All War
will Guillem find his smoky way?

Apollinaire in a Sikh turban
waits out the head wound.
Carried to the ground
from a Paris window (11/11).

Long way to Tipperary, Gil.
Grandpa in his macintosh
in Belgium rain... gosh,
long ago, Captain.  Farewell.

So long.  Today’s Election Day.
Are we of the electorate
yet?  Like a checkmate
in a game with yourself, aye –

Reds & Blues – rival brothers
in mired mirror war.
Each bears a torch
for her – the midnight soul mother,

those faces of benevolent fathers
children carry deep
into their forests of sleep.
Only the branding iron cauters

its contrary mosaics (through the Age
of Iron).  Black Elk
troubles the star-milk
with one royal touch (smoky sage-


brush sand mandala).  Soft, Selkie –
blue dolphin from Skye...
this mournful rage to die
sulks in the dark heart, MLK.

You must lift it from us, black lamb.
Forever & ever, light
candle through the night –
mass-vortex Gal of each I am, I am.

She smiles through waves, ineffable
Wisdom – heart’s foundation,
coracle of liberation.
She lifted Jonah (willing Abel)

into eye of hurricane –
the diamond matrix,
Everysoul’s six
ways – your dream song, Hen.

Her word burns like a fire in the Book
of Love, her Testament.
What Maggie meant
when she saw the young Nazir look

from the bright eyes of the gardener
& shouted, He is risen!
Out from your earth-borne
everlasting fire, world-fashioner!

So Morning Star whorls her self-sacrifice
& Guillaume flings another jest
& Henry’s safety net
swings sister-dove from rigor mortis.



ballet russe


Along a cinder pathway
through November woods
Hobo, in one of his moods
murmurs a Mississippi lay.

Under his arm, his matryoshka
maiden – his mater within
mater, painted, wooden;
on his head, folded like Chippewa

canoe, an old felt hat
crimson as pileated
woodpecker.  Belated
prophet from Yehoshephat,

brown Mississippi of decision!
He mutters a woman’s name
under his breath (same
as under his arm) : Marion,

Miriam, Magdalen... Jessie,
Juliet... Beatrice, Jeanne...
Natasha... each one
enclosing the other (ballet

russe).  Sacre du Printemps.
1913, at end of May.
Pirouette, grand jeté...
Juliet, sans seine.  Lamps

are going out all over Europe.
Hobo yet knots his woolly
safety net – the glory
of the Lord, letter & envelope.



golden autumn of the codgers


A synthesis of reality
is the poet’s quarry –
the whole serene array
sweeping like wind over the sea.

Not that irritable reaching
after fact & reason
but a subtler conviction –
life’s laughing dolphin, breaching.

So lips’ continuum of air
sustains your sea-sounding,
reverberates in rounding
surf (os-scintillating there).

The light stems from another realm.
A gravity so dense
you’re pulled beyond sense
to transcend...  Owlish Athena’s helm

shines like an emerald acorn cap
out from that wilderness
of native lovingkindness
(Williams’ mayday just a maple tap).

The Ocean State is what we seek.
The Providence of Roger-
Seeker... golden codger
settled in his freedom, meek

and bold.  Like admirable Edward
Coke, who founded
justice vs. his confounded
king – a chaste equality (rood-hoard).



milk of All Souls'

               to Reinhard Genzel & Andrea Ghez

For decades, the rival astronomers
– Genzel, male, & female
Ghez – aimed instrumental
eyes toward the heart of the cosmos –

muted piano key of the galaxy.
Genzel flung his telescopic
javelin (atmospheric
annihilator) toward a dusty

shoulder of Chiron (the man-horse,
Sagittarius) while Ghez
gazed from the Andes,
waiting, measuring her course.

From the center of the Centaur
the whisper of a signal,
as from Eye of Bull.
As if from his maze, a Minotaur

murmured – beckoned toward his lair
in the galaxy’s grave
(her gravity-cave,
light-shrouding tomb of Milky Way).

As if across the Black Sea
the shadow of the Argo,
like a winged hippo-
horse, shaped signal-symmetry –

echo of those sunken galleys
encrypted on the salty
floor – an Ariadne-
thread from Sagittarius


as on a line from eye to Ghez
its waver-tremor moved
from Memphis to beloved
son... a bullet-train (just MLK’s).

We’re standing on that floor of sound.
The black hole marks an end
for time & space – a frond
of palm marked Jonah, on a ground

of milky whale-spume.  There
he stands, in her eye
of hurricane – not angry,
mild – her Son of Man, her heir

of air, from navel of gravity
humming his servant-
song (for a new advent
of justice, lovingkindness, charity).

Where Ocean River shapes galactic
horseshoe lakes (whorls,
eddies of fresh worlds
and clear water) your prophetic

Nazir chants his invitation
to return to life – joy
spiraling unceasingly
from springing restoration

of all things; eternity
undying, in that heart
where all the rivers start –
her darting glance, from middle C.



gash of a calm current


The daggers of the sumac (plum-
red, maroon) accent
the gash of a calm current
between these knotted forks of autumn

cottonwood.  The knot itself
an ellipse, like bole
of oak (hollow hole...
screech owl?) – for an emerald elf.

The Green Man in the green glade.
Prehistoric American?
Or an Irish cousin.
Gardener in the garden (maid

Magdalen’s Gesthemane).
The river is a strong
brown Gould.  Unstrung
out of New Hampshire (Alleghany?

Ohio?).  Or maybe Negus, Ravlin...
leading the flock mesmerized
to Iowa (West Branch, 
shepherd).  Buzzing a Quaker violin.

We have dawdled long enough
in Babylon, children.
The labyrinth (Parisian)
folds Theseus into a trough

much like a Mississippi mirror
dreamscape, umbilical
(& smoothly paradoxical).
We mumble into the interior.



a place in your mind


Providence is a place in your mind.
And also a town.  Like
the sun rising over the lake
be burnished benevolence – &

also a solar systemic fact,
dawn’s chilly weather.
& if we dream together
rather than apart... the intellect

somewhere outside the movement of
these moons, planets...
Now what you grinning at?
You wilna guarantee supernatural Love?

But I am what I am, & I am, I am
a wondrous thing (after
10 a.m.). O ye rafters,
rise!  O ye gates of Jerusalem!

Providence, funky old town.
With a history.  Roger,
under killing weather
in a warm wigwam.  The plan

for the planets, the calm creation...
like a vase whirled in milk,
a home for Black Elk –
at the door of six directions,

where the sheepfold meets the sea.
A little oaken Okean.
A microcosm, spinning,
Jen.  Dream, le songe, where you meet me.


curious Winter's Tale


Tell us a curious Winter’s Tale
before October ends.
This cottonwood sheds
flagship – by remnant sail,

from crown of flimsy raven nest.
Berryman’s birthday.
Not a block from here... hey.
Fold him he water music (final test).

Pledge of confirming intellect
spurs poet to sole deed.
Life’s halcyon meed.
Plum plummet (kingfish dialect).

Not that yellow-gold & blacken’d
leaf, cornered in eddies
keyed to cotton levies,
blackface parodies... Huck reckon’d

not.  Rather this lightweight,
ineffable lovelight –
staging for drifting wight
her leaf-romance (it’s not too late,

Hermione).  Tale told by idiot
king, floating everything –
how twin brothers ring
the mirror lake of Camelot,

& Guinevere & Lancelot
surface (Gennesaret)
Stravinsky trance-daughter
by prairie vortex... oaken chariot.



after looking at Joan Mitchell paintings


The battle for the blank white page.
To start anew, Joan.
Pale-bright field of corn
shaded by grey to black paint.  Rage?

Minnesota summer wheat
outside New Ulm.
Bohemian hum
of Anton Gàg?  Felt like defeat

for everyone.  Hungry Dakotas,
heimlich Bavarians...
local George Washingtons
banked on cheap lots (take theirs).

Everybody trying to shill Big George
back in redcoat London.
Not to be outdone,
Tidewater gents – that’s our land, by George!

Learn some Narragansett, maybe.
Milton did – from Roger,
one hot frozen winter.
To love, not to betray, your neighbor?

Somebody tell me how to get from here
to there, America.
Too used to being honcho
number one?  Come to shore;

wash in water.  À bas.  Restore.
The level’s golden measure,
simple bubble of air...
sea’s middle C, beyond all war.




                          for Tran-Van-Tay (i.m. Joseph Duemer)

The pomegranates on white linen
loom like autumn leaves.
A red that fades, grieves...
yet glows out of its midnight background

blue.  Like a chokecherry, or
some other berry, man.
(another long-gone war).

We were on honeymoon, in Paris.
that dried-up sack
of seeds (maroon, vermilion).  Osiris –

will he climb out of the grave again?
The grave of gravity
(1132 ft/sec) – for me?
One catenary arc (trompette marine)

– one thread cut from the labyrinth
of frightened Minotaur
One Ariadne-clue, one length

of yarn, your sheepish hermitage;
C-magnet of the knot-
king’s smoking calumet –
curled fringe of Jonah’s whale-image.

Out of the sea, the rudder swam.
Rhode Island... oaken
wisdom’s perihelion.
Rose Nile, set sail for gentle Vietnam.



Mediterranean or middle C


A Mediterranean or Middle
C – see?  Fulcrum
tempered on kingdom
come.  Providential soul-paddle.

Twin clouds of mist will frame
a motionless Morning Star.
Twin mares in a mirror
churn in her glory (lightnin’ flame).

Like Jonahs – brother-&-sister doves
chasing from dawn to dusk
their emerald cornhusk.
A linen cosmos-veil of mazel tovs

lips fashioned like coral canoe
skim swiftly upstream
to your veritas sunbeam –
Shakespearean headwaters (J-blue).

The wooden whorl of the knot-king,
skipping his safety net
around Gennesaret.
The one the crowds exalt... fling

into cauldron of Viking thing
(Odin’s raven, circling
– no, three).  O tree-ring
spiraling up from sea – sing,

C, for me!  The murky river
bottoms out past Memphis,
Cairo... (chi-rho, Isis) –
Mark Twain, sounding... forever.



and willows could not hold more


Maple trees aflame by the river.
A lonely bench – Hobo’s?
Siege perilous
for homeless someone (shiver,

anonymous child of cold fortune).
Collateral damages
from various pillages
of community pillars... honorable men...

the violent bear it away.  Wind
blows through pinetops.
A salt wind, like to freeze.
& leaves turn bloody at the end

of October.  Washington surveys
Shawnee Ohio hills.
Marshals militia drills,
rankled by Crown authorities.

His real estate’s on shaky ground.
Who owns land?  Who owns
sea.  Of his bones
are coral made.  O steady sound

of middle C – circumference
& center of the keys.
The 88, a breeze
from Cairo paradise (our Providence).

Who be that aye-aye from before
the beginning of tomorrow?
C-Jonah beyond sorrow.
Sister-dove.  Your soft sheep-door.



for National Poetry Day


America is the greatest poem,
Walter Whitman wrote.
After the gun, the vote
& gunboat diplomacy... hums home.

Beneath sea to shining sea
lies middle C : a note
on the grand baby boat
between red & blue (for harmony).

Purple mountains’ majesty,
inverted in a mirror
lake – not so Superior
this time, but simple, free.

So must our dream end in despair?
The first inhabitants
ordered the elements
on thankful tables – mysterious share

from Wakan Tanka (Thunderbird).
The greatest poem hums
beneath war drums,
discordant malice, noisy fraud;

it is the sound of the earth itself
awash with slow rivers,
where Jonah hovers
in her dove-canoe – a constant Alph

down to zydeco Cajun Zee.
America, l’âme
riche, la mer...
coo-cawing in cloud-thunder tree.