ledge of regal limestone


The cool dry tesserae congeal
in Sant’ Apollinaris –
dance, coalesce
into high figures of a royal seal.

Exalted features... recognizable.
Your neighbors (Limentani).
Riding bikes to the sea
to get away from scent of stable

(Mussolini’s racehorses).
That was then; this
is placid Minneapolis.
We’re not like them, of course (off-course).

The constitution of a human pledge
blazons these images
from pencil-boxes... pages
scratched out.  Natasha’s ledge

of regal limestone – living rock,
streaked honey-colored
marble.  Moss-layered
icon, limpid under chopping block.

Our covenants of disputation
rest on implicit ground;
Rhode Island in the round,
an Ocean State of transmutation.

The bond of love is clean as salt,
as plain as day.  We are
redeemed by holy fire.
The one you seek has left the vault.



stone for bread, bread for stone


The soupy heat slouches toward
July.  Flesh sags &
drips, we’re breathing und-
erwater.  Jonah’s gone overboard.

A billion fins of fans rotate,
create more heat.  Hobo
lies flat under a willow.
He daydreams of an ancient date

by Highland Water Tower; the whole town
spread before them, just
beyond the graveyard.  Lost
her name somewhere.  Don’t drown

me in false memories, he begs.
Canova’s statue (broken)
of George Washington
writes its own ave over his crossed legs.

Farewell, Columbia.  Guard well
her statue in the harbor.
Beggar not they neighbor.
Muzzle Nero, tripping up from hell.

That shimmering seine, the veil of Isis
shrouds the face of Henry’s
Clover.  Out of bleakness
of the grave, young spring may rise;

beyond the azure of the Golden Gate
one facet of euphoria –
one artophoria
of stone – revives... brings light to fate.



conversation for kids


The Hebrews found a verbal replica
for Pharaoh’s pyramids.
Conversation for kids
(& sheep, & goats).  It was Jehovah

came to intervene, to interview.
Some saw an Oedipal
triangle – shadow wall
of mud-baked bricolage (dream stew);

some saw trois anges, craning down
from Paradise – to speak
with Abraham, Sarah, Isaac
(that lightning twin would play the clown).

The pyramids are office towers.
No one will explain
how so much pain
depends on callous fingers (ours).

The just one wears a diamond pin
stuck through the heart –
IN SUMMA SUBTILIS (wide-eyed dolphin).

The Middle of the World, he said
& made the sign of six
ways (willow sticks,
or cottonwood).  So truth’s inbred.

Her little pearl of rectitude
is portable – rides
water as a cheek glides
tears.  That’s all (beatitude).



yodeling in Mendelssohn


The mind is like a little mirror
& the word is like
a mirror in that lake.
We skated there, one ancient year –

across the icy glass, Heidi.
In Mendelssohn, sweet
neighborhood (complete
Garden of Cyrus now, in memory).

A melody of day-lilies cheers Henry
Hobo (by the Mississippi).
He might be somebody
you know – booked into penitentiary?

Sol.  Solo.  Absent Sheba
browses in another aisle
(archived in old Rhode Isle).
Her ship’s in search of Colchia

lambswool – seamless gold web,
mute mutuality –
griot reality
lofted to laughter (on Mount Horeb).

Square triangles of pyramids
fit into portable log
cabin logarithms, Mag.
Your stone’s a tiny tablet, hid

beside that lake, in Galilee –
a solidarity
sodality, a party
writ on water.  Fountain, artistry.



by the long slow delta-mouth


That line of poplars in the Corot distance
like on the way to Ravenna
or along the Seine, Papa
– no, only the topmost branches

of a simple sycamore in Providence
– no, just a maple
in Minneapolis.  O ample,
inexpressible, tongue-tied inheritance!

In the heart of the heart of the country
maybe.  Where anguish lives
alongside hope – conceives
the origin of time-&-space, Henry –

this wilderness of unfound, foundered
land.  This knotted maze
where a wood casket will blaze
(portable grail, marine crossroad)

the suddenly articulate harmony
of an integral universe
like that scene on a vase
when Isaac, Ishmael & Melpomene

leave town together, shaking tambourines
a procession to seashore
on the blind side of Minotaur
throwing down scimitars, carbines

for their Thanksgiving celebration
by the long slow delta-
mouth   at the seething O
& ah   bright flash   of seraph exultation



O day-song of a day


Some ancient Oklahoma sage
knows life as integral
& whole.  A round corral
of circle dance (light wind on stage).

One heartbeat, straight from Manitou.
John in the river, calling
each to prayer, & fasting –
washing clean (life to renew).

The little red plastic lawn chair
Sophie uses catches
the sun.  Minuscule edifice
subject to ridicule, she will suffer

small kids to be comfortable here.
Her persecuted refugee
will be your judge someday –
the heart of old Bluejay casts out fear.

Some perfect day in June, she’ll come
for you...  Shine, raving dove
from Resurrection grave!
She’ll ask what you have done, she’ll sum

you up.  And it’s not too late
(amid these arcs of oak
& pine) to add your spoke
to the wheel of penetrating light –

to hear Natasha’s whispered promise
in the ear of Mandelstam
& join the rapture of a psalm
clasped in her kiss within a kiss.



American Gothic


This light foam of wild spring clover
on a green hummock, like
a burial mound, back
to the river... O my Irish rover.

& only the plain brown smock
on a Quaker wife
(with the quincunx life-
crux) remains – to lead the flock

in a morris dance (slim track
to paradise).  American
Gothic.  Meridian
through cornland, by the clapboard shack

which was Birthplace of Herbert Hoover
where a Belgian oasis
for inscrutable Isis
echoes the cenotaph to Henry’s Clover

(the other Henry, in another city).
Wind wafts through green
montage like a has-been
Hobo, wheezing dew (for pity).

Hard to make a go of it, under
them glum St. Louee flying
spirit-flings!  Crying’s
no help – you have to be Apollinaire.

The spray, the veil, the rosy foam.
The train, the backward boots.
Minotaur, with his galoots.
Ariadne with her pigeon, humming home.



bring it all to bear (she-bear)


This Hobo, then – who he?
Lounging by Mississippi
lumpy, caw-caw-hokey
groaning accidentally for She-

Bear – as for primordial Iris.
Great purple monarch,
Theodora in birchbark –
like unto Micòl, or MLK (who is

& was & will be, by the light
of Milky Way).  His Big
Rock Candy brig
like a Black Sea barred-owl frigate

slants downstream, toward Colchis
or N’Orleans golden fleece –
& that arc, that St. Louis
centerpiece, shaped an L for his

Osiris lance (his buoyant flatboat
horizontal).  Troubled in mind,
some perpetual blind
haunt (old King Unfort, behind his moat).

& the whole American Dream lies
like dustbowl wasteland
of frosted heart, hard hand.
Sleepwalkers, unredeemed Henries



yoked to their stock.  An iron band
for an age of iron years,
until they can weep tears
again... up to the waist in river-sand.

Providence is in our eye,
he mumbles to himself.
In Ocean State – elf-
green, Rose Island red... (sigh).

Immaculate, born from the sea...
baptism for Columbia,
the Jonah-Dove.  Selah.
An overlay, a palimpsest... a little tree

of life & liberty... an ark
bearing a covenant
of loving-loyal parent,
child – for you, America.  Embark.

Into the open sea of universality,
where the human fingerprint
whorls to its fundament –
that knot of radiant mutuality –

the heart’s own ruby (in a sapphire ring).
So melt the iron with a diamond
flame, graft flowering almond
to the great oak’s mistletoe, & bring

the limping Hobo-King into her limpid
shade, moss-green & grey...
Hagia Sophia, who shall be
statutes of Liberty – dancing, embodied.



hummingbird hum


A ruby-throated hummingbird
zips past my hideout
like a Feirefiz out
of Wolfram.  Parzival inquired

at last – What ails thee, unstrung king?
& tears of fellow-feeling
poured from that Grail-thing
wrapt from all eyes.  Dovewing-

featherlight, yet penetrating stone –
translucent as stained glass
above tall quarry-house
of God’s emerald-&-ruby throne;

& waves radiate from your Ocean-
Shadow, like the flowing beard
of an Ancient of Days.  Mild,
domestic weather.  We are all children

of one family, Turtledove coo-coos...
Come into the Riverboat
of Paradise, & float
upon a Fontegaia (green, chartreuse).

Dive into Dream River, Orpheus,
Eurydice... the River King
is on his dais, chanting
the origin of everything (in caritas).

We are all offspring of a Thunderbird
who lights the way with lightning –
guiding tears to clay, shaping
these bones into gemstones (flameward).



not kingly oak


Not kingly oak, nor prescient almond...
just some pale cottonwood.
Moon milky-green, for good
measure.  Shedding vagabond

fluffballs – like poetry, or
cotton boles – bales
for Memphis, N’Orleans...
spry limbs bent into hangin’ tree.

I go into jags & eddies, dried
pemmican.  Downstream
from vinegar dream-
sponge (where the Bre’r-man died).

If the Word were truly a fluffball of light
I would be acorn coracle
green mote on miracle
worker spinal curvature (bent wight).

It gleams through red Pipestone
peacepipe – an emerald
happiness, turned gold
as sunshine.  Welcome, Everyone!

Translucent presence of a place
for you, before all places
cling to timespaces...
a nest for omnipresent Falcon-Ace.

Benevolent breeze, that moves these leaves
to waver into swing-time
antimatter – chime
morning with Hope (sings in the sheaves).