most August wind-chime


So another August 8th-month
inches toward its close.
Whatever Pilate says,
goes – IN RI, nailed to a terebinth.

Whatever happens, happens, now.
An old man is an oak leaf
skimming like a thief,
going to ground.  & when the winds blow

the silver pipes of Sophie’s chime
go tingle-tangle... melody
of sea-blue cherub, see?
Clasping Columbia, his sweet tame

turtledove.  While her fire-engine chair
waits in my octagon
beneath late-summer sun –
a migrant tabernacle... Amor-

Shalom... transportable to Paradise.
Her father is a recent
immigrant, & citizen.
The Shekinah is mercy for chaste eyes –

unquenchable fountain of pure love
for simple existence, for
its mysterious source.  Our
wisdom, Sophie – like your turtledove –

comes shimmering down... she permeates
all things, & everywhere.
As it was always, my dear –
the mind of Love revives, creates.



the rubles flow from here to there


A mouse ran across a bridge
one winter, in Leningrad –
his name was little Vlad.
He had a key, which was his badge.

He wanted to be Czar one day.
It made things easier.
When life got crazier
he took control – things were okay.

The rubles flow from here to there
in pockets of his underwear –
he makes a face, to scare
the other wolves (the sheep won’t dare).

He liquidated people in the way.
It wasn’t always easy...
Scotland Yard (like Stasi)
fingerpoints (Polonium 1-A).

The light flutes in another realm –
coral reef of seraphim
& monks on mountain rim
(Kievan polyphonic Argo-helm).

A scattershot of goldfinch tunes
or chords of Marian
sis-diva Anderson
lift off cimetière dunes

Pushkin or Berryman would know.
Sparse salty grass.
Sand underfoot, hélas.
A Black Sea seething, as of long ago.



poem in memory of Sen. John McCain

                                        i.m. Sen. John McCain

Politicians are not often poets
though they might be actors
in a denouement of Shakespeare’s
Measure for Measure.  Just deserts

are rarely staged there, in the Senate,
these days – when a thumbs-down
from a stalwart shaken lion
mimes the freedom to be obstinate

against all bullies, liars, tyrants.
When a simple judgement – white
supremacists aren’t patriots,
they’re traitors – damns those deviants

from one magnanimous dream of Union
(human, not partisan;
global, not only Arizonan).
Comanches raided every town

along the Rio Grande, once: Yankee
& Viet Cong slaughtered
each other, martyred
kids; but we transmute reality

by change of heart, by radical
meekness.  With mutual
respect... consensual
advice, consent... our ancient legal

dance of equity, for human dignity...
so might this son of Cain
be able to smile again
in that unperishing Republic of hilarity.



aqueducts for bumblebees


In the anonymous late grass,
among the stray brown
stalks like overgrown
aqueducts for bumblebees

Hobo looks off toward the flesh-
tone Mississippi bridge.
He yearns for the courage
to be like Woodpecker, in his mesh

of stealthy wasps & stolen honey –
I mean that Thunderbird,
drilling his fiery word
dovetailing out of Galilee;

the lightning rod atop the dome
whose inner lining is mosaic;
a kingfisher, whose beak
flings Geryon from his kingdom.

Late August air grows clear, autumnal.
He’ll shed his jester threads
like Hal doffs Falstaff duds
& lie down by the Rio del

Espiritu Santo.  Watch how that firebird
melts hearts into unison –
lifts into comprehension
both Jerusalem & Athens, toward

a chastened & revived Cosmopolis
where neighbor-love is measure
of the planetary future... &
then he’ll mosey back to Minneapolis.



by the teeth of St. Anthony Falls


End of summer sounds.  A surf
of crickets & cicadas
swells into the branches.
Phantom cottonwoods (leaf-

hearts pale yellow, dried-out husks).
Anemic light, grown timid
spooked by swollen shade –
August forecast (autumn dusk).

Henry attends to his North Star,
his Union under onion
dome... tending toward ruin
now.  Anger drives the darkness car.

Sleek starlings yoked in harnesses.
Electronic neon
beckoning Power’s iron
catalogs (bright pigeonhole affinities).

He stands by the teeth of St. Anthony
Falls – a Berryman
apparition, a ghastly John
lingering by fish-scale cutlery

(zombie ice-fishing is reviving
local watering holes,
say Twin Cities
polls).  Barely surviving

in professional cinch, Polaris
remains fixed in place –
kingfisher Falcon-Ace
tweaked by that wench in Paris


out of all shape, except a heart-
scarred origami –
Guillaume or Alexei
dovetailing it to Jordan-sprite.

So helpless Noah watches his waters
subside.  He turn to Hobo –
Hobo turn to her.  So
child become grain – grain gathers

to child.  On the scandalous retina
of Mary Magdalen,
the Earth rewinds again
as Man – wrath spun to mattina.

I have no rage.  The otherness
of your... your mother-smile.
He lay for a while
on sands of Jordan wilderness,

at peace.  Your American motherland
is an adamant green
Everywhere.  A limestone
welcome-mat (with waves of eye-in-hand).

It was here before we all arrived;
it was not to be won quite yet
by war, but by legitimate
befriending – loving everything that lived. 

& only a bum in San Francisco
or homeless reprobate
treated like jail-bait
knows Charity enough to say hello

& happy lovey-dovey Thanksgiving to you



Hagia Sophia with mermaid eyes

                                    for Sophie, on her birthday

She shines like a little smile of light,
your happiness.  Shot through
with violets, with rue
of yellow-gold... a sea-green Amphitrite.

She swam from a box out of the bottomland.
Big Muddy concept –
buried in refuse, inept
mentalities.  Blind eye-in-hand,

dread fright of bloody bandage-men.
I stood on my headwaters,
the only Falls that matters –
Mill City, where they grind the grain –

a nauseated Hamlet, dizzy
with green v-vertigo.
Boxed rivers overflow.
He’s Hobo now, or Ishmael, fire-fizzy;

curled up in a tattoo-basket,
floating in the womb
of his own dream-doom
to Gulf of Mexico (Nantucket?)...

where butterflies of poetry
emerge as monarchs
from sea-chrysalides
& sketch fine arcs on pottery

insouciantly, with haunted grace.
Winking tesserae,
unscrambled... Hagia Sophia
with mermaid eyes (each facet-face).



serpent ocarina


The king is carrying his cross
wearing his crown of thorns.
Only his mother mourns.
The restless crowd is at a loss.

So history plays out
on broken banjo string –
scratchy LP spinning
over & over the tethered Scapegoat

Song.  A narrow beam of rust-
red copper, through shade
of rock.  Copperhead
of light.  Serpent mouthing dust.

Tan sand (some Navajo camouflage).
Everyman, eaten
by ants.  Has-been.
Hobo, dreaming in a stream-montage.

Nobody.  Only air, flashing
like feathered wheel –
Thunderbird heel?
Lo, him – Kingfisher, splashing.

In the clay matrix, Morning Star
pirouettes in Paris
for Apollinaire.  Pax
lounges with Liberty, while from afar

twin pillars of a temple rise
in unison – an azure
octave, lifting her
amid dew-glittering, sea-breathing sighs.



all the way to Mt. Moriah


This weightless branch of butternut
floats in the August stillness
like palm-frond of Isis
in sky-barge of Cleopatra-Nut.

Earth grown deserted as a pyramid.
Nothing moves in silence
like Lion-Sphinx
crouching with a question on her eyelid-

casket – just for you, Orpheus-
Oedipus.  Your arcane
cane limps against the grain,
gone serpentine... a missing Theseus.

Where’s Ariadne then?  Arise,
light Jonah-seer, sweet
grey-eyed sister!  Meet
him in the wrinkles of the Minotaur’s

disguise, find him in the stone face
sleeping like a Roman guard –
motionless, Medusa-hard,
until your gardener grins in his place.

She’s kneading my clay now, adamantine
mother of amusement.
All the way to Mount
Moriah, she’s dragging my crown.

She’s molding the planet, children –
shaping this loafer into ships
of almond-bread, with those lips.
Those eyes are sparks for tinder-men.