milk of All Souls'

               to Reinhard Genzel & Andrea Ghez

For decades, the rival astronomers
– Genzel, male, & female
Ghez – aimed instrumental
eyes toward the heart of the cosmos –

muted piano key of the galaxy.
Genzel flung his telescopic
javelin (atmospheric
annihilator) toward a dusty

shoulder of Chiron (the man-horse,
Sagittarius) while Ghez
gazed from the Andes,
waiting, measuring her course.

From the center of the Centaur
the whisper of a signal,
as from Eye of Bull.
As if from his maze, a Minotaur

murmured – beckoned toward his lair
in the galaxy’s grave
(her gravity-cave,
light-shrouding tomb of Milky Way).

As if across the Black Sea
the shadow of the Argo,
like a winged hippo-
horse, shaped signal-symmetry –

echo of those sunken galleys
encrypted on the salty
floor – an Ariadne-
thread from Sagittarius


as on a line from eye to Ghez
its waver-tremor moved
from Memphis to beloved
son... a bullet-train (just MLK’s).

We’re standing on that floor of sound.
The black hole marks an end
for time & space – a frond
of palm marked Jonah, on a ground

of milky whale-spume.  There
he stands, in her eye
of hurricane – not angry,
mild – her Son of Man, her heir

of air, from navel of gravity
humming his servant-
song (for a new advent
of justice, lovingkindness, charity).

Where Ocean River shapes galactic
horseshoe lakes (whorls,
eddies of fresh worlds
and clear water) your prophetic

Nazir chants his invitation
to return to life – joy
spiraling unceasingly
from springing restoration

of all things; eternity
undying, in that heart
where all the rivers start –
her darting glance, from middle C.



gash of a calm current


The daggers of the sumac (plum-
red, maroon) accent
the gash of a calm current
between these knotted forks of autumn

cottonwood.  The knot itself
an ellipse, like bole
of oak (hollow hole...
screech owl?) – for an emerald elf.

The Green Man in the green glade.
Prehistoric American?
Or an Irish cousin.
Gardener in the garden (maid

Magdalen’s Gesthemane).
The river is a strong
brown Gould.  Unstrung
out of New Hampshire (Alleghany?

Ohio?).  Or maybe Negus, Ravlin...
leading the flock mesmerized
to Iowa (West Branch, 
shepherd).  Buzzing a Quaker violin.

We have dawdled long enough
in Babylon, children.
The labyrinth (Parisian)
folds Theseus into a trough

much like a Mississippi mirror
dreamscape, umbilical
(& smoothly paradoxical).
We mumble into the interior.



a place in your mind


Providence is a place in your mind.
And also a town.  Like
the sun rising over the lake
be burnished benevolence – &

also a solar systemic fact,
dawn’s chilly weather.
& if we dream together
rather than apart... the intellect

somewhere outside the movement of
these moons, planets...
Now what you grinning at?
You wilna guarantee supernatural Love?

But I am what I am, & I am, I am
a wondrous thing (after
10 a.m.). O ye rafters,
rise!  O ye gates of Jerusalem!

Providence, funky old town.
With a history.  Roger,
under killing weather
in a warm wigwam.  The plan

for the planets, the calm creation...
like a vase whirled in milk,
a home for Black Elk –
at the door of six directions,

where the sheepfold meets the sea.
A little oaken Okean.
A microcosm, spinning,
Jen.  Dream, le songe, where you meet me.


curious Winter's Tale


Tell us a curious Winter’s Tale
before October ends.
This cottonwood sheds
flagship – by remnant sail,

from crown of flimsy raven nest.
Berryman’s birthday.
Not a block from here... hey.
Fold him he water music (final test).

Pledge of confirming intellect
spurs poet to sole deed.
Life’s halcyon meed.
Plum plummet (kingfish dialect).

Not that yellow-gold & blacken’d
leaf, cornered in eddies
keyed to cotton levies,
blackface parodies... Huck reckon’d

not.  Rather this lightweight,
ineffable lovelight –
staging for drifting wight
her leaf-romance (it’s not too late,

Hermione).  Tale told by idiot
king, floating everything –
how twin brothers ring
the mirror lake of Camelot,

& Guinevere & Lancelot
surface (Gennesaret)
Stravinsky trance-daughter
by prairie vortex... oaken chariot.



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.