mysteries of the oval garage


Those benign spectacles of the Franklin Bridge
were long frozen over.
Inside & outside were
captured in a mickle mirror (garage

at the edge of Ferrara).  It wasn’t a map
of America, so much;
only Hobo’s tender clutch
(Falstaff) of Henry’s hand (old chap).

He wants to show you something.  Opens
one puffy palm, and there
tattooed in coppery-red scar
– soft oval eye, mandorla lens.

America sleeps in her own green fields.
Feminine Hamlet croons
to her, lit by Hobo-moons...
Turn back to thy La Paix, Ophelia.

That Egyptian Art-Deco monolith
of Roger, stepping off
the cliff – out of his skiff
into a void of air, the whole dream-myth...

– & it was underfoot all the time.
Like a grail-dish, or agate
eye; a lamp on a frigate
or arc of a torch, Lazarus-rhyme

or Jonah-wing.  The harbor’s safety-net
for flowery Juliet –
buoyant, incarnate
Normandie (gilding Henry’s Mayflower signet).



I'm only thinking of you


Snow-canyons decorate the streets
of staid Minneapolis;
sparkling crystals
coagulate in mountains, glacier sheets.

Ripe grain of whole, deep faith,
murmured epileptic
Osip – stamping his shtick
of shaman-Pushkinite (limpid wraith).

Tiny hexagons of Siberian ice.
The glowing eyes of thief-
wolves, killing for life.
Vast evanescent Paradise

in an infinite complexity
of human innocence
destroyed by violence –
Patmos St.-Vitus peripety

of mangled lambs.  I’m only
thinking of you, dear
spark (unknown Shakespeare
pebble-soldier... yearning mystery).

Gemstones of civilization glitter
through the drab darkness.
You are only weakness
squeezed into clay – a simple mutter,

oscillating like a reddish agate
in a muddy kid’s palm
(copper reunion-psalm).
Jamie discovered it – I won’t forget.



& know the place for the first time


Say we come back to the place of 4
paradisal rivers, & find
it’s a limestone seed-rind
west of St. Lou.  What’s left to explore?

& that grand, sane, towering grainy-mother
is closer, more real
than royal – more U.S. steel
than Byzantine gold (your equal sister-

brother).  How did we get here?
Some palladium of Lamb-
Seeker, out on a limb,
lean-to from Providence canoe... Roger –

halfsome Grain Elevator Song, mayhap
(May 29) – his Pentecost
a Rhody smoke-hole, tossed
southwest, southwest (tornado giddy-up).

Magnanimous hand, reaching toward sunset...
Solomon, seeking Sheba;
a concord St. Columba
spied, twirling Ionian Golden Gate.

Kernel of equal daughters, equal sons
chaste Isis of West Branch,
Virgo-Astraea in a conch...
a coracle of oracles, lifting crane bones

to life within her almond carousel;
Ophelia & Juliet
transposed to Olivet,
Henry-Persephone retrieved from Hell.



La Vida es Sueño


Henry, magnanimous prince
like Saggy Mundo on his
Tower Hill (the Witch’s
Hat) waits in his chains, listens.

Them animal pelts smell bad,
sez Hobo (Sancho
P. Zee).  Life, my friends – no
dream, declaims Sir Galahad.

The little paralyzed air-prince
like a baby Fisher King
(Guillain-Barré) would bring
last summa out of everything (wince).

Like Adam taking Eve’s advice
he’d melodize the whole
isle to an apple donut
hole – & give it to his son (nice!).

Pallas Athena wore an aegis-skin
with gold palladium-bangles
dangling at all angles
from her circuiting Argo-spin;

it was a sacrifice, like Morning Star
or Igor’s Rite of Spring
the icon bearing everything
buried in grassy Galilee, in a jar

of myrrh (brimful, for Magdalen).
Lippo Memmi pinxit
(now in Providence).  What
X will mark the spot, Justinian?


What hour marks the lux fiat
when Mary in her pontoon-
boat (sun-gold doubloon
nailed to the keel) will celebrate

the whorl of Theotokos-kenosis-
hypostasis – on a clay
wheel (out of Cahokia)?
Whose eye-in-hand is... Henry’s

sister-cuz?  Whom doth the Grail serve?
I mean the grey stone
hands in that quaternion
of mudstream... – who has the nerve

to lift the lid of Henry’s sepulcher?
In Resurrection Cemetery
(northeast of Pig’s Eye)
Osiris waits for Isis-murmur –

America sleeps in her old nightmare
until that Pussycat (on Easter)
knocks the rolling door
out of the way... & Henry’s there!

Limping from his throne of rosy clay,
his island ocean-ray –
borne on his own birthday
like a faerie Pharaoh (Narragansett Bay)

to the Rose Lighthouse (near Gould
Island), in chariot
of dawnlight (mauve
& violet) – like a Sun Ken (holy fool’d).



all across Minneapolis


All across Minneapolis
the poet’s left evidence
like tracks under a fence
– long fellow’s footprints –

Nana Bozo the Clown, or
Hiawatha in slippers
(snowshoes, Alberta
clippers).  Fella came before,

might hop here again (ghost
dance, dream song).
Sunday stretched so long.
He was with us in the Lammas-host

like lambchild in the field,
a white cloud drifting
bluegrass... otskèn:rha, sifting
right from wrong (at Lammas-tide).

Bozo Lambrogio breaks up
the woolly categories
of our feral cats – Caesar’s
imbroglios, lions of Judah, Egyptian

pups... will skip the rabbi-path
out of the lake of wrath
back into Nazareth
by August 1st (we’ll do the math

later).  Yolk-black Fabergé cracks
in the snow... imperial
theocracies unreel; almond
Vierge Ouvrante gives berth.  Relax.



Dark Lady, mayhap


Near the headwaters of Mississippi
this silver-gray sinkhole
fixed as North Pole
in frozen vortex.  Photography

captures the chill nether-life
of Lethe (Brady sez).
A trestle-bridge passes,
rusty in the distance.  A pocket-knife

of cottonwood unfolds where innocent
Ophelia submerged at last,
last fall.  Her ballast
was a blast of wrath – so violent...

collateral damage of masculine panic?
Mayhap.  Dark Lady
(all Berryman’s study)
of minstrelsy... America’s Titanic

or J. Johnson’s grace (we don’t ship
no coal) exudes black milk
for wild Melchizedek
nested in Erica-barge (molto largo trip).

Jonah-Osiris was a dove, Columbia.
Like a Burchfield winter
or Grant Wood choir
she might emerge, Jesse Ophelia –

she might molt into an Ariadne’s Crown
stars shining down
around your bulbous clown.
Jaybird of Eli, couched over Washington.



beamed into a barn corner


When all the structures are dismantled,
the fabulous bright makings
woven by spider-kings
undone, what remains untold?

In Mendelssohn, I handed a dandelion
through the wooden fence
to golden Heidi, once –
old flame of infancy, first Valentine.

Her mop of hair colored like wheat
framing chaste happiness –
Gumilev’s compass,
calm charity for all (transparent,

sweet).  The shadow of the martyrs
like myrtle in the graveyard
darkens, green.  The bard
of America recalls through tears

the gentle captains taken from us
like matryoshka dolls –
god-like mortals
molting in dilapidated silos

like shimmering snowfields of wheat-
crystals.  So their presence
in aromatic silence
weights like ballast of a sea-casket

each holiday – all history
compacted in the oval
trace of one primeval
prophet’s kiss.  O mystery


of your mandorla – crumbling wall!
Like Jonah from the sea
come whispering to me –
dark almond, ministering honey-gall!

Your tiny grain of wheat must die
in the heart of Everywoman,
Everyman... becoming stone;
stone reddened in Rhode Island eye

not purchased by price nor money
but only by love.
So that Liberty-dove
became Columbia, for buried Henry –

Astraea beamed into a barn corner
& Virgo spread her sheaf
of compassionate relief
in a sparkling surf of harvest air.

So your soaring icon in a mandala
hovers over Ravenna;
so Dante’s antenna
transmits in spectral panorama

the rainbow’s interlocking rings
framing that child-king
set upon humbling
all earthly dominion – til everything’s

remolded to a level plain
or playing-field; clay
children romp all day
within your carpentry’s domain.



one copper penny


Airless stasis of the Brown Decades.
Peto’s trompe l’oeuil.
Abe’s wound is mortal.
Funeral train; black silk parades.

One copper penny glimmers in a well,
grown moss-green.  Imago
for suffering servant... halo
of ineffable good will.  Don’t break the spell.

Was it for nought this Man of Sorrows
took upon his shoulders
our hellfire – that smolders
while his penny ransoms all tomorrows?

Even Old Abe was an infant once.
Loafing on a ship
of milk & honey, lip
curving over smiling waves... a trance

of Promised Land, a river’s dream.
So Henry’s, Hobo’s path
folds under wrath –
collapses bridges into earthquake seam.

Reminiscences of 1865.
An absinthe memory
of rancid statuary
cluttering the dead wasps’ hive.

Disconsolate, they ramble riverbanks –
until the last light breaks
the sky into rose lakes,
magenta dusk.  Let us give thanks.



Shadrack kicks a crust in Voronezh


Weather here in Minnehahapolis
& St. Paul shudders
through ice.  The rudder’s
frozen to the keel – Athena’s

buzzing through chattering teeth.
Black Sea, Black Sea!  Black
ice.  My friend Shadrack
kicks a crust in Voronezh, beneath

malignant stares of a furnished dome;
he will never budge from that line
pitched on his builder’s fine
honey-gold level-eyed home.

Henry’s poem stays put, doesn’t move.
Like translucent ice cube.
Reflecting flickering rube
puzzles along thread-kelson of love.

The singing keel become great little owl
snug in her oak-bole hole
hoots a banderole
along limb lettered like Hebrew scroll

on papyrus barge – some hieroglyph
for hippogriff (abominable
snowman?) – soon to amble
from his polar desert (living stiff);

the high home of the North Pole poem
takes a bead through mica
on that grain of Spica-
wheat... wound spring from vernal tomb.



in the end zone


In the shadow of a song of songs
the anthems are always major
chords.  Mendelssohn... (our
home in Hopkins)... everyone belongs.

Tonight the rival city-states,
the patriots, blow
ram’s horns.  O
say can you see... big potentates’

eyes dilate... Vergo rolls out
Hail Mary feint (over
Washington Monument) –
Crazy Horse Rushmore... Touch-

stone!  The transfixated crowd
explodes.  Ghost dance
in the end-zone – Lance
Galahad will take the shroud!

The mob desires to crown a king,
a king of everything.
Sponsors oblige, with bling –
the glittering circlet is a diamond ring

for nubile Woody Berge Ouvrante
(Cheerleader from the Bronx
Will Marry Uncle Onx
Next Year).  Preview this fête galante!

Apollinaire heard the cicadas
droning in the oak –
of how the wind spoke
dry coracles of wheat to Colchis


& the streetlight in the snowy dark
zones a frozen cross
against the pavement (Loss
for Brady : Bells Will Boom for Belichick).

We’ll laugh about this tomorrow
(or maybe in 2020).
How the crowd, honey,
decides – & doesn’t care, somehow.

They insist on sacrifice – Sacre
du Printemps, ma chérie.
Tiptoe to thundery
finale... just before the war (nacre

& objets d’art, Guillaume).
Leap to the metronome
over the Metrodome,
Sophie – you will survive this doom

of frightened infants in their uniforms;
Thin Blade Societies
& Rudra puberty
sodalities... unconscious norms

(they know not what they do).  Thread
woven for a future prince –
hearts, purple sequins
imprint Valentine wreath for his head;

he’s singing of an anti-kingdom
where his anti-father
(shedding all that bother)
chords an unquenchable welcome home.