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)?