heights & depths


In the phosphorus dwelling-place of the Most High
Dante, murmured Hobo
will I be able to hear
that melancholy train-horn cry

so-so long gone?  His pal Henry
felt that ol’ pulsing flame
of lonesombrero, becomin’
churnagogue (centripetal clay) –

that emerald lichen-moss of Giuliana,
flanking a time-hewn sepulcher
with it still whorl
of tesseratic Emperors & Empresses... ah

Psyche, from those regions which
are Holy-Land!  Smoky
incense signals eye-
in-hand, Galla (yon casket-niche).

The soul is feminine.  The turbulent
churnagogue is melting
galaxies, in buttermilk –
hamlets of sacred discontent;

YHWH, detached from patriarchal kings
unveils a weird Coatlicue-
possessed & epileptic Dante-
muse... Venusian fire – & Jonah sings

Love leads us up like moth to flame
from steel-train Iron Range
down to Delta... strange
diamond, Latrobe (El MLK mandala-frame).



under the Memory Wing


Henry’s ancient mother in the Memory Wing
shows him how dying &
amnesia are kin.
When coarse indifference is the thing,

my countryfolk, how to redeem the time?
Henry tumbles down with Hobo
to wallow like a gator now
in river muck – fish out the paradigm.

Wakan Tanka, Great Spirit, O
Thunderbird of Red Wing’s
olden days – you being
transcendental I AM – hey ey yo...

The metaphysical is just outside
your A-frame, Hobo sez –
& as such, pivot of the rez
(or any reasonable maze of hide).

You get me, Hen?  Might be
the shadow of that Jonah-
J’waytroulife, clear to eternity.

So this rough clay my mother molded
with bare hands (these
Mexique 4-face planters)
might morph a continent – dead

rising altogether from each cold silo
into the dream-sponge
Providential plunge
uncoiling slowly (at Cahokia Ground Zero).



hidden by Ocean in an oak


Henry’s troubled mind sends him in search
of Hobo, down by the riverbank
as usual.  He’d never think
of working on the Sabbath, in a church

or anywhere else, or any other day,
either.  Tarries by the stream
Espiritu Santo – off-beam,
at ease.  & murmurs thus to Henry –

Born to trouble like the moth flies upward;
like my uncle Zack – bartender
in Pig’s Eye.  Took a gander
from a sycamore – & suddenly soared

up tippy-top, full of T-total joy!
Clambered down, & followed
that young’un, Jay – he’d
never be the same again.  & I say,

ol’ Hen, the comfort’s hidden in your mind –
an equanimity & rest
that plummets to your birdnest
straight from yonder Pole Starfriend.

Love’s quicker than muscle, nerve.
Is there already, waiting on you –
wing-form, wave-form, arrow-
true.  But – such a swerve she gave me,

Hobo!  Bed empty, whole place cleaned out
on Sycamore!  Off to D.C.!
Take it from me Henry,
was all deservedly, you woolly lout.

Grace gave you a reprieve – your whole
lamentable life.  Coiled
at the source, like a cockle-
shell of plenty – to restore your soul

& the whole damn world.  Some morn you’ll wake
like that blithe monarch
hidden by Ocean in an oak,
& see the Restoration – like an earthquake

coming with the Child of Woman.
You will no longer pine
lovesick as lamb (in cotton-
wood, or buttonwood) but rise & stand

like Abraham, by them great trees
in Mamre, or Ogygia –
& watch that little acacia
of Jessie reach on up to Paradise.

& then Henry saw his shadow on the path
blend with the branching shadows
of the cottonwoods.  He goes
as it is determined, through sluiceways

of wrath, up to the blazing Southern Cross;
faces jangled music
of a Minotaur’s acrostic
(all this New World torment) – at a loss;

& yet he feels the light breeze of that grace
Hobo made plain as trees,
American as any poetry’s –
dark gold fleshtone foundation, keeping pace.



until this firefly leaps


The flickering faintness of a hobo fire
grew steadier as Henry drew
near.  All for you,
muttered Hobo.  Your Falstaff, sire.

The heart’s a cracked & splintering
toy drum, he droned...
Henry just groaned.
He felt pangs of fibrillating

Providence – inviolate rose island
in the hearthland of the sea,
where what might have been might free
one Bonnard fête from tragedy (a sand

mandala, slipping under the wave
of pewter experience).
Imperfect sense is
normal, Hobo (hustling to the grave).

Look at that butterfly in Whitman’s weeds,
Henry!  Monarch, Hobo?
No – black swallowtail.  So
azure constellates, where black clay bleeds.

Ouroboros universalis – until
this firefly leaps... a spark
your gemstone soul to mark –
the pure gold’s melting to fulfill.


Like a gyroscope, the soul balances
on threads of conscience
& the normal universe
awaits your restoration, Hobo Eli sez.



serpent in the clay


Henry leans on Hobo, stumbling along
the river path.
Sullen serpent of wrath,
her mud-green bronze glistening

mutely as she goes, her banks
tight-lipped, angry with Man,
older than Man.  The sun
barely registers on shady flanks

slipping by, tongue flickering.
The plot thickens.  Clouds
darken where crowds
hearken – listen! – princes, bickering...

& who shall have the succession?
A cast of characters –
kings, clerics, warriors –
mime St. Vitus in scared possession –

sleepwalk their sacrificial totem
for a perennial repetition
of the same (again, again).
& armies marshal around Bethlehem

to protect the kingdom from its violence;
a convenient woman shall
be found, to dance the ritual
in their place (a chosen princess)

& her cacophonous Parisian Rite of Spring
will set the keynote for a war
to end all wars (for
a while).  Meanwhile the black spring


of Rio Mississippi coils in anger
on the Iron Range, under
the North Star.  Thunder,
Hobo, Henry says.  It’s Woodpecker

come back – alight near Red Wing,
so they say.  What
does it mean, old mutt?
He muttered back : it don’t mean anything

to many, Hen.  She walks beside you
like an iron canoe,
the spiral J of Synagoga –
like that Micòl in Ferrara, like a shadow

of Our Lady.  Spiritu – loving you,
who don’t deserve her
sacrificed for Minotaur
on every altar, from Cahokia to now.

Then Henry saw a little emerald
almond leaf, shaped
like a boat... wrapped
in a river-whorl, spun, twirled

downstream.  The Delta beckoned,
where dark Mère Lousine
grinned from the deep.  Lean
over some more, Henry, Hobo intoned.

There’s Benjamin Latrobe & Son,
sunk like a foundation
in the Gulf.  An American
sun blinked, dark.  A slow wheel spun.



have you never loved & suffered?


Hobo crawled out of a hollow log
like a moon-bear from hibernation.
The River held him in suspension
between breaths, heartbeats (in a fog).

Have you never loved & suffered, Henry?
Do you comprehend soul-agony?
He was a Man of Sorrows, he –
acquainted with grief – like a lost penny

(Lincoln?) at the bottom of a well.
I have, Hobo.
If you want to know
I too be tarnished imago, two steps from hell.

Like who.  But I carry this flashlight
handed me by Lightning
Littletree one morning
(way back, in Providence).  It all right.

Or going to.  Everything you see
is a fresco-dream,
June-bug – the triple beam
searchlights all round (Imogen Dovie

in your mind).  I see you grinning,
Beatrice.  Bunny Rabbi
and Ignatz O’Lamb, too (hi).

will it spin in the sky?  Little Bear,
Big Bear?  In a sloppy gyre
you may bespiral somewhere
sometime, Hobo... in your underwear?

King David hopped like a rabbi
alongside the canoe.  Micòl
was like... O well.
The pure fire is restoration, Jun-eye.



call him Halfway Hank


Hobo staggers along the riverbank
halfway between Henry
& Osiris (bury-
man).  Call him Halfway Hank.

Like Bluejay all out of mummer’s tricks
memories of a Myth America
detach from his hat (ha-ha,
caw-caw).  Tall Tale of Two-Sticks

maybe – or The Time We Had a Picnic.
Nostalgia for infinity
invokes our Plenty-
Big-Prairie; mysterieux Henri Pick

was anonymous, along with Alexander P.
These meadowlands are Russian.
Thunder’s Oblomovian this
afternoon (American iz you & me).

So memory would like to dab a fresco
containing a continent.
As when a canoe is bent
around a bough of yew, or spent willow...

in some fictional garage in Ferrara
where recent immigrants
gather for sustenance
like Jonah huddled in a whale’s cantina

& the eye in your hand opens like a tear
& the river streams into the Gulf
where Wolfram & Beowulf
celebrate Thanksgiving (more Grail? – here).



upon St. Swithin's Day


‘Tis hot & muggy in the octagon
upon St. Swithin’s Day.
& will it rain?  Say.
St. Emperor Henry’s (Holy Roman)

also, once upon a time.  It’s stifling.
An unreal toad usurps
the garden throne, & burps.
His orange tongue is mean, & trifling;

his fire-red refuge-chair is for a child
who hasn’t come home
in 33 years.  Christendom
conquered the Holy Sepulchre... wild

slaughter & rejoicing on this day,
1099.  But will his Ghost
lift from that gloomy host?
Joachim daubs a fingerpaint contrary

blindly, with bare feet (a cave-fresco
for San Francisco).  & Henry
plots his own obscure & minatory
figure : double wheels.  Of milky glow

& river-clay – Cahokia, North Star.
To turn the Great Year
5 29s... & spin from here
some monarch milk (a little almond to restore).



for washing Washington


Before you can enter the realm of God
you must imagine it
& you can’t imagine it
until you turn & become a little child

again.  As a red-black monarch
dances over a mauve
milkweed cluster, like a hive
of honey – so the Ghost in her Ark

skims with light shadow wings
through unconscious nature,
& lifts, here & there
the heavy hearts of human beings.

Grace Truth is her name; Liberty
her gift; & the joy
that shines like equality
throughout the cosmos sets you free.

The Ghost courses through human veins
like shade of a rose,
like a prism of rainbows –
wherever Imago walks, listens, leans...

Like a Mississippi made of murmurs
or a clay flute molded
out of golden moss,
the Ghost in us surges toward a chorus –

a waterfall of sound, for washing
Washington – bringing
Vierge-Astraea, singing
from the Delta (milky monarch thing).



otherness of the Someone


Her fingers fondled Red Wing clay
on the circling wheel
into Northwoods bowl
or Mexican flowerpot.  Wheels, say,

within wheels... microcosmic canoes,
Arks of the Covenant...
even Charon’s punt,
Henry (we who have passed

over Lethe).  The woman with child
in her apocalyptic
mandorla, chased by Dick
the Drag to the edge of the wild

(up north, near the Boundary Waters,
in the Iron Range, near
Itasca).  Fresco a veneer
across Ravenna beams – Jordan River’s

sleepy patron god.  Sort of like Hobo
witnessing the fire-dove
skim down Cottonwood Cove
& settle on the shepherd kid... just so...

but I just don’t know.
Iconoclasm sets in,
considering we’re human –
liable to make it up as we go.

The otherness of the Someone.
Your friend, your judge
(merciful – but won’t budge,
won’t fudge the facts).  Solomon

petitioned humbly for wisdom,
sensing the dire burden
beyond each king’s ken :
the destiny of Jerusalem


under a blood moon of violent men
& the everyday mayhem
the grinding paroxysm
of atrocious cruelties – shifting pain

to the weak (convenient scapegoat,
ordinary poor).
Even blindfold Synagoga
might remember something critical, something

our mosaic Pantocrator forgot.
A little gray-brown moth
settles on Hobo’s mouth,
like a fingertip.  Hush, seraph.  That

maybe we are Hagia Sophia
with a million eyes.
Solomon was wise
to be humble before the Shekinah.

& Hobo was a mumbling bumbler
more like a river than a man
more like clay than person.
& Thunderbird was a rumbler

in Red Wing, churning the rusted wheel
until it sparked like gold;
helping her to fold
the wet clay of America on steel

braces... evenly rotating... Source
to Delta... Sea-Rose
to Golden Gate... flows
through the arch... Mud-Morse...



mark how red dust leaps


The trickster-shaman & the prickly prophet
frame a stumbling-block
you can’t dislodge... mock
as you may, puffy lectern-puppet.

It is a fundamental moral world
they dramatize, a place
of breathing flames – their science
is conscience, this life a dream unfurled

on stage (his banner over me was love).
On board a fellowship
from birth, we skip, we slip
& slide toward the deep (sky-alcove,

ocean-sepulchre... Osiris-canoe
full of Isis-candles... grave
of MLK, our architrave).
As if returning to our own soul (true).

In West Branch, Iowa (my grandmother’s
home town) there is a dark
moss-green catafalque
of Isis, adamant earth-mother (who remembers).

& the North Star of the martyrs shines
like a seminal spark
over the Iron Range.  Mark
how red dust leaps into lifelines –

how a merry-go-round of American clay
swings toward the gateway ring
upstream, down.  Shaping
newborn, translated children – maize, hay hey.



all the unspoken waltzing things


Henry has his scribbly hobbies.
Hobo is obsessed.
Osiris in his nest
buried (maybe touches the Keys).

A Viking ship in Minnesota
sleeps near Lake Itasca
like a Moses-mandorla
or canoe (garaged in Ferrara);

a pregnant Virgo by Francesca
curves in an oval
like a miniature whale.
These fish are scaled to hallelujah

& back – one swallow swallowing
a smaller, swifter swallow –
& water seems shallow
until you measure it (by hollowing

a sea-grave in the Milky Way).
& so Jonah yodels,
while Akhmatova spells
lowly on an ocarina (hey ey

yo).  A warbling robin sings
out of Mississippi clay
her infinite wedding day –
all the unspoken waltzing things

logrolling like a planet made of grace
in a dream-songe dream, Henri.
Near that Melusina-sea
glistens in memory (her San Fran face).



let me orchestrate a pantomime


Epileptic Dante struggling like a trapped ant
in his centaur-world
in medias res, Gould –
in RI, for example (not so pleasant).

& nothing gets better in Minneapolis
immediately, automatically
or even slowly, gradually
& verbiage without chasteness

is only noise, eh.  We all agree, eh?
fire renews nature as a
whole – spiritual telos of poetry...

So let me orchestrate a pantomime
rooted in that ancient flame
proceeding from a paradigm
of our immaculate Ariadne-dame;

the shoreline seething with desire
under a summer moon again,
& memory of lambent pain
(Ocean’s infinite suspire).

As when Hart’s Hobo settles down
at last... rolls on to sea
& stubborn ghost of MLK
becomes triform Medusa-Charon

only to deliver newborns (on
St. Christopher’s Day).
Naked Nut-bridge, say –
or eye-in-hand (almonds in Mendelssohn).



on the 3rd of July


On the 3rd of July, looking out of this
rain-soaked gazebo into
the yard, I’d like you,
cameradi, to digest my curious

thesis.  Because every moment is a choice
on an axle of light and dark,
& who knows?  Some dream-work
might lead a soul to Paradise.

Out of the Iron Age of infantile aggression
where malign honchos rule
by gun; out of the school
of bully shocks & clinical repression

locked tight by rapacity & fraud;
out of the surly tank parade
Czar Minotaur has made
his own amazement... into the wide

milk-meadows of a Golden Age.
But you have to recognize –
these lightning-bug sparklers
kids wave over mosquito grass image

some more graceful & inexplicable
coherence.  Someone breathing
nearby, in your ear.  A thing
beyond abstraction... elementary table

of an I AM dream-cosmos.  Someone 
Brother?  Sister?  Mary?
– calling you by name.  See?
Here.  Hearth-dance of Daniel.  Be reborn.


toward the 4th of Juliette


Lone robin yodeling his evening threnody
plaintive, solitary
on June’s last day
what would he intimate to me?

That summer was immense & infinite
beyond the figuring
of our (almost) unerring
memory of planetary things.  That what

our dreaming signified was plain
(glory beyond our ken).
Tomorrow’s now & then
only a ghost might fold again

into the origami of a labyrinth
of Chartres granite, Mary
blue – like this contrary
stubborn root, trapped in cement

blooming, bleu Ming, nevertheless
along an Ariadne thread
signed (calligraphy by Ted
the Mason) in a matrix of finesse

by its ineffable Makar (aye
laddie, on a tear
shed from everywhere –
like Ocean River, or the Milky Way)

& the stone drones below human hearing
it rhythmous b-flat bass
someplace in Memphis
where Osiris met his fate, shearing


Love from its neverending source
(like Jackie K’s wing
saddled to her hat thing
flying off convertible, in Dallas).

Was it a Lincoln?  Was it a star
mobile, from galaxy?
Something moving in the clay
rotates like Ezekiel wheels – where

Louis Armstrong melted to el P
& X marked the spot
(Montale’s really not
at home – it’s Giorgio who has the key

to the garage, muttered the lovely
Michal of Ferrara dunes).
We don’t recall these tunes!
Ecclesia et Synagoga cousins be –

double-wheels within wheels, sez
Zeke, in Minneapolis.
Where Juliet was, once
before she lost face... fell from grace...

how tender floats the human form,
ephemeral!  Until
we knot yon safety spiel –
until that lightning robin find his worm

& like a Caliban, or Jordan weed
begin to mold the clay
into slow-moving roundelay
(American)... Cahokia high meed.