5.18.2018

Philadephia harbor




SHADE TREE

Stewart’s old print of Philadelphia harbor
(1821).  The great shade tree
by the shore, so peacefully
imposing.  What’s America for?

The benign bonheur, hovering over
our intricate pursuits
of same.  The one who loots
forcefields of dominance, mon frère,

may never find this canopy
of feathery leaf-
grace, hopeful belief...
for we the people brook no satrapy –

relentless justice of the golden rule
the frame of human dignity;
law’s equilibrium of equity
our guarantee of commonweal.

My own boat pilots back to Mendelssohn
so slowly, through such vast
flat riverlands.  Her mast
a pine tree split from almond Someone

cloudy shadow of a smile (O shady oak).
Your heavy clay, Coatlicue –
the chilly violence you
still portray – fired to a silver spoke

as fine as spiderweb, becomes a sign.
Your limestone epitaph –
a serpentine & fractal staff
fractured for us, broken for bread & wine.

5.17.18

5.17.2018

those double doors




DEEP RESCUE

Those double doors of the Baptistery
in Florence, where Alighieri
was restrained from returning.  He
might have admired the mastery

of Lorenzo Ghiberti – that golden river
of perfection, surging from
Eden to Gesthemani... some
inscrutable summa of Prime Mover

spoked in parables of heartbreak
& confusion (Miriam, lifting
both hands in agony).  So bring
what you have to a blindman’s break-

fast, to her Thanksgiving feast.
From the belly of a whale
came Jonah whole & hale
as dolphin-breach (O swift grey beast)!

The linèd forehead of Leviathan
is like your own... therefore
be not dismayed.  Footsore
mule, flinty thin Prophet Stan,

your Livingstone (still at the Nile)
holds firm against the flow
of time – your steadfast glow
upon the brow of them who show.  Smile,

Indigo!  Passage to more than blue!
– these equilibria
of gyroscape... mute
mutualità, below the soil... deep rescue!

5.16.18

5.09.2018

How to be God's friend?




JUST BEYOND

The lifesaver : a fruity ring
invented by Hart Crane’s
father.  Across the plains
yawing wind-wagons roll.  Something

akin to Grant Wood corn, maybe –
an icon.  All’s figures,
counsels holy Zero
Summer.... Burchfield parody

(complete with feverish Light-
in-Gale).  Deep swampland
heartland, over sand-
fly latitudes.  God’s outa sight;

Dad’s a kind of Kingfish, generous
in all the wrong ways.
Those were the dog days.
Rain... unlikely hymn (so mysterious) –

another author, just beyond the pale.
Moses climbs from his dinghy
ready to shake that thingy –
waterspew from Rock (a Word, set sail).

How to be God’s friend? ask
the Friends.  Williams hectored,
but he left on record
how to walk humbly (high shellfish task)...

Friends gathered in a Rhody cave.
Silence is best response
to Charlie’s dalliance.
Our Author is a friendship trope – to save,

not to condemn.

5.8.18


5.08.2018

I am what I ham




NIGHT TRAIN

The night train rumbles like a ghost
of iron over the bridge
over the river.  Sage
Minnehaha, Hobo loves you most.

He’s lying by the muddy bank
trying to clear his head.
Everything he’s read
demands – who am I to thank?

The driftwood spines of shattered books
surge downstream, sink.
Think, Hobo, think –
a deadman’s glancing you posthumous looks.

Twin humps in winter refuse
under the lamp-green
of young leaves...  Scene :
pillars try an almond (Moses, Jesus).

Through teenage foliage coheres
the rust-brown iron magnet
of one (hold tight!)
modal mine of shifting gears –

the rocky profile of a personal friend,
who’s center’s nowhere
& who’s hairline is (look there,
Horatio!) nowhere near the end.

A sibyl croons from the ancient world
whose prince is dancing
naked by the prow.  Sing,
mickle dam... like slingshot hurled.

5.7.18

5.04.2018

one Coke hand




LILAC-JOY

High fan of infant cottonwood leaves.
Their light-green spray,
pale sign of spring today.
Come late (come early May).  Cleaves

to the swollen river – spewing snowmelt,
winter flotsam, garbage.
Nature floats this mirage
of metaphors... for what the Sibyl spelt.

Your sister-dove (Jeannette-Columbia).
Shade of Beatrice –
plumb-bob Eurydice,
sounding the depths of Sheol (ephphatha).

On this day in 1775
Little Rhody broke the tie
with Mother England.  Die
is cast.  The wasps have left the hive.

Still an ineffable spider-bridge
dangles its catenary M
between two pillars.  Hymn
of Wisdom’s unbreakable pledge –

octave uniting heaven & human,
person to person – one
Coke hand, spun
to Ocean State... wide chordal span!

Your mirror of primordial Sea
(reflecting golden doors
of Baptistery) pours
lilac-joy – Love’s ripe To Be.

5.4.18

5.03.2018

be manifest, be imminent




TUSCAN HILLS

Nestled in his city of rivers & bridges,
hidden in his cabin
of Lincoln logs, alone
like that baby screech owl (wedged

in his cozy cottonwood hideout)
Hobo will contemplate
his May-time temperate
zone, his mild creation, riverine, remote.

Knotted by Amor – like an Incan quipu-
net, like a ruby bud
of that burbling Word
afloat so murkily nearby (his Brook of Q).

Ahav-be-manifest – be imminent
as hale touché-scapegoat
whose royal honey-kismet
soldered Okean to oak – bent

light to leaden doomroad (East
to West).  Jerusalem
gleams in the sun – shalom,
shalom to the returning one!  A feast

for the soul of yon American
blindfolded rambler.
Holy fool, shambler-
yurodivy, from Voronezh to San Fran

you’ll meander, like an old river
& mumble of a Union
equable & all-human –
soft Tuscan hills, moss-green forever.

5.3.18