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?



how to say hallelujah


The poem reaches like a zigzag vine
through thick vernacular
toward the actual here
& now (woodpecker in a pine).

Turbulent nation, giving birth
to glossolalia.
How to say hallelujah
in Osage, in downtown Fort Worth?

Don’t ask Dallas.  Some holy fool,
some mendicant small-fry
tried to catch Caesar’s eye
before that scapegoat kicked the stool –

you know the rule.  I’d’ve marched
if I had to.  The heat
made everything complete
hell.  Our very words parched

on our lips, like crackling cicada husk.
Some said he was coming back,
some just nibbled hardtack,
but all agreed – he could really busk,

back in the day.  Seldom was heard
a discouraging word, when
he blew that harp.  Listen,
disconsolate hearts.  What appeared

before you on the road to Emma’s
echoes again like dew
before morning – will do,
will do.  Old haunts of summers...



like spinning Jenny Gyre


The late-May lilacs are long gone
but light grey limbs
& the green leaves rim
the grass with shade yet, absent one.

The sound of an ocean softly seething
in the branches overhead.
Is she alive or dead –
my sainted, tainted Juliet?  Still breathing

somewhere?  Imago or Imogen...
merely some ghoulish Ravlin-
Gouldash revenant, then?
Some Beatrice-crystal-Poe routine,

arising ghastly from dank ditch-ravine?
But no... a memory
lifts all azury
from sparkle-spray beneath benign

leap of wide Golden Gate.  Almond-
eyed sprite, a-whirl
like spinning Jenny Gyre
balanced on catenary wire... light bond

that ravels tout le monde... infinite
undisplaceable safety net
& cloudy calumet
confirming universal concord... so be it!

Grave knot that tightens less & less
toward infinite regress
of infinitesimal kiss
(minute atomic balm of tenderness


merging without mixture or separateness).
Maximus once limned it thus,
the monk who bore witness
(with loss of limb) for concept Orthodox –

incarnate knot of human & divine,
united unlikeness – like
that tomb slab, a limestone block
marked by what seems a breaking line

but only seems; the two are one
in one Person, of three
in all; still guarantee
amid the waltz of turning sun & moon

of Love’s immoveable eternity.
Out of deep matrix
of Ocean – intergalactic
scheme of merry stars in that sea...

inconceivable conception of
all origins (harmonic
correlations, thick
with measureless & dancing life).

The Manitou all people know,
Aquinas wrote.  The God
who dreamed this serenade...
we meet you in the shady slough

beneath great knots of wild grapevines
beside the muddy Jordan –
down by where solitary John
once cast a seine for Jonah (safety lines).



conducting veinous electricity


These three mud-clay homunculi
hung from pink ribbons
in my tent – lumpy remains
from some Dance of Death?  My

mother must have brought them back
from Mexico (mud-angels
to guard her potter’s wheel).
Coatlicue of Quauhnahuac,

adamant Madre of encrusted Time!
Out of your bottomland
whirls eye-in-hand –
out of Monk’s Mound’s perennial slime...

Clay muscles rolling stone – conducting
veinous electricity –
out of nothing come to be
loaves loafing from the oven (rising,

singing).  A moss-green Isis by the Nile
(or in West Branch) you
rain your rivers blue,
compassionate Magdalen – your smile

lifts Jesús from the grave, raises
Enrique from the cemetery
too (some ordinary
day on Earth).  Hobo Jay cleanses

all hearts, rinses eyes with river-clay –
sighs, EPHPHATHA.  From boulders
God can lift up equal daughters,
equal sons... just look at buried Henry-manqué!



Reasoning about the existence of God tonight ?

Back in my Caesar salad days, I used to ham it up on the old blog almost every waking slumber.  My forte (whether by music, poetry or pure verbiage) having always been improv - "uniquely suited" (as they say) to extensive bloggification on all matters pertinent and impertinent - I was having a field day every night.

Oh well, enough about that.  I've been reading - trying to read - an extremely dense and philosophically technical book by Denys Turner, titled Faith, Reason and the Existence of God (Cambridge UP, 2004).  It's one heck of a meatloaf.

Turner is defending against an old traditional challenge to St. Thomas Aquinas.  He's too rational, he's too philosophical : and as such, he veers too far toward the "natural", the secular, the humanist, the agnostickal, the pantheist, etc.  Turner is also challenging those contemporary theologians who have basically surrendered any rational argument for theism, on behalf of an interpretation of "negative theology", apophaticism, & so forth, which disallows rational argument on behalf of mystical (post-rational?) faith.

I'm not doing Turner justice, and am bowdlerizing & totally messing up what this extremely logically assiduous scholar engage is trying to say.  Nevertheless, I'm on his side.

After working through, very carefully, the alternative mentalities of Kant, Bertrand Russell ("the world is just a fact") and a few other prominent agnostics, Turner comes around to defending, very obliquely, very elegantly, the logic of Aquinas, regarding the one most basic & most profound children's question at the heart of philosophy and religion : Why is there anything, rather than nothing?

Sit back and think about it, quietly, for a while.  La vida es sueno.

There is no simple "positively theological" answer to this basic question, as Turner makes clear.  Negative theology, "apophaticism", is inherent in our reasoning itself : because we know we cannot explain how God has produced this intricate dream-cosmos.  The question ends in wonder.

Which leads Turner, and Aquinas (and me) back to the delicate distinctions of the Chalcedonian creed.  We know God only through her manifestation as the conjunction of differences : the human-divine Person... "without separation, without confusion..."

Love manifest as infinite mystery, gift, harmony... and, in the end (at the center of interplanetary melody) - victory, glory, law, fulfillment, redemption.  Star of Redemption... promised land, "kingdom of heaven".

Don't ask me to explain.  Bird has left the cage.


the poem is a sort of Edicule


So then, the poem is a sort of Edicule?
My allegory’s all unglued.
Runny gouache, stewed
river clay.  Some no-count school.

The building, trembling in devolution
shored up like a veteran
with iron-rivet skeleton.
Metamorphosis by desperation.

My babble-model of the cosmos –
molded on a mini-dome
within a dome (Jerusalem-
fond matryoshka doll).  The keys

to a box, where lie a bunch of keys.
Over meleki limestone
slab, one forest olive-green
icon.  Your madre of collapsing gaze

rains down (with her clay ointment jar).
He is not here, he
is not here.  She’s
muted as trumpet, or Morning Star –

an eye-in-hand, an ocean tear.
Light blazes (calmly
coruscant undying day).
He is not here, he is not here.

Wind mews in muscular oak tree.
They’re up in Galilee,
maybe Cahokia... you’ll see.
Inventing deeds of agape – live poetry.



only Osage land


July... all the baby flags.
Every bright young lamb
tuck to torment in Vietnam.
Lyndon moon-face – how it sags.

Hubris... alien, demonic force
unhinged from humility
(vomitgreen parrot pity).
Folds bomber-wings in remorse

after all.  Neither national
nor international;
only irrational
(November’s double coronal).

I’ll finish off this work in progress
now, Columbia –
OK?  Oklahoma’s
only Osage land (but I digress).

& poetry?  Is just a conversation
among singed beans.
You joint it, Henrythin,
to ease U-Haul into elation

(somehow).  That OK.  The heart
is made of meleki limestone
(royal).  43 lamps shine
down upon them groove.  What

now, Henry?  What hum?  What ghost
flit as yum turtledove
‘bove fry Friday pirate cove?
What smile lightum up (coruscant host)?