after looking at Joan Mitchell paintings


The battle for the blank white page.
To start anew, Joan.
Pale-bright field of corn
shaded by grey to black paint.  Rage?

Minnesota summer wheat
outside New Ulm.
Bohemian hum
of Anton Gàg?  Felt like defeat

for everyone.  Hungry Dakotas,
heimlich Bavarians...
local George Washingtons
banked on cheap lots (take theirs).

Everybody trying to shill Big George
back in redcoat London.
Not to be outdone,
Tidewater gents – that’s our land, by George!

Learn some Narragansett, maybe.
Milton did – from Roger,
one hot frozen winter.
To love, not to betray, your neighbor?

Somebody tell me how to get from here
to there, America.
Too used to being honcho
number one?  Come to shore;

wash in water.  À bas.  Restore.
The level’s golden measure,
simple bubble of air...
sea’s middle C, beyond all war.




                          for Tran-Van-Tay (i.m. Joseph Duemer)

The pomegranates on white linen
loom like autumn leaves.
A red that fades, grieves...
yet glows out of its midnight background

blue.  Like a chokecherry, or
some other berry, man.
(another long-gone war).

We were on honeymoon, in Paris.
that dried-up sack
of seeds (maroon, vermilion).  Osiris –

will he climb out of the grave again?
The grave of gravity
(1132 ft/sec) – for me?
One catenary arc (trompette marine)

– one thread cut from the labyrinth
of frightened Minotaur
One Ariadne-clue, one length

of yarn, your sheepish hermitage;
C-magnet of the knot-
king’s smoking calumet –
curled fringe of Jonah’s whale-image.

Out of the sea, the rudder swam.
Rhode Island... oaken
wisdom’s perihelion.
Rose Nile, set sail for gentle Vietnam.



Mediterranean or middle C


A Mediterranean or Middle
C – see?  Fulcrum
tempered on kingdom
come.  Providential soul-paddle.

Twin clouds of mist will frame
a motionless Morning Star.
Twin mares in a mirror
churn in her glory (lightnin’ flame).

Like Jonahs – brother-&-sister doves
chasing from dawn to dusk
their emerald cornhusk.
A linen cosmos-veil of mazel tovs

lips fashioned like coral canoe
skim swiftly upstream
to your veritas sunbeam –
Shakespearean headwaters (J-blue).

The wooden whorl of the knot-king,
skipping his safety net
around Gennesaret.
The one the crowds exalt... fling

into cauldron of Viking thing
(Odin’s raven, circling
– no, three).  O tree-ring
spiraling up from sea – sing,

C, for me!  The murky river
bottoms out past Memphis,
Cairo... (chi-rho, Isis) –
Mark Twain, sounding... forever.



and willows could not hold more


Maple trees aflame by the river.
A lonely bench – Hobo’s?
Siege perilous
for homeless someone (shiver,

anonymous child of cold fortune).
Collateral damages
from various pillages
of community pillars... honorable men...

the violent bear it away.  Wind
blows through pinetops.
A salt wind, like to freeze.
& leaves turn bloody at the end

of October.  Washington surveys
Shawnee Ohio hills.
Marshals militia drills,
rankled by Crown authorities.

His real estate’s on shaky ground.
Who owns land?  Who owns
sea.  Of his bones
are coral made.  O steady sound

of middle C – circumference
& center of the keys.
The 88, a breeze
from Cairo paradise (our Providence).

Who be that aye-aye from before
the beginning of tomorrow?
C-Jonah beyond sorrow.
Sister-dove.  Your soft sheep-door.



for National Poetry Day


America is the greatest poem,
Walter Whitman wrote.
After the gun, the vote
& gunboat diplomacy... hums home.

Beneath sea to shining sea
lies middle C : a note
on the grand baby boat
between red & blue (for harmony).

Purple mountains’ majesty,
inverted in a mirror
lake – not so Superior
this time, but simple, free.

So must our dream end in despair?
The first inhabitants
ordered the elements
on thankful tables – mysterious share

from Wakan Tanka (Thunderbird).
The greatest poem hums
beneath war drums,
discordant malice, noisy fraud;

it is the sound of the earth itself
awash with slow rivers,
where Jonah hovers
in her dove-canoe – a constant Alph

down to zydeco Cajun Zee.
America, l’âme
riche, la mer...
coo-cawing in cloud-thunder tree.