slow boat to Atlantis

archaic Mississippian ware (Minneapolis Institute of Art)


The steady quiet of the river leads me,
& these monarchs afloat
toward Mexico.  Mote
of black-orange sail, tacking across a sea

of green... like a jasper flag of Jonah
(flickering calm coral
pinned over equatorial
squall).  Sextant from Alexandria,

sunken Heracleion – lamp from Atlantis
beaming through night sea;
matrix of Milky Way,
your Isis-canoe... assembling Osiris

from slow-roiling flatlands (Mississippian).
So Wolfram’s grail-witness
(ineffable justice
planted in lovingkindness) branches on

through Osip’s, Nikolai’s chaste vision –
adamant acorn of creation
(shining emerald of redemption
framed by buoyant casket-stone).

The red muscle pulses into veins.
A wheel turns versus gravity
rowing time to eternity;
the melancholy of Ravenna cranes,

the mortified forsaken innocence
of flighty Juliet
my filmy safety net
hugs tight – lifts up to cedar salience.



now we are six


Today be the birthday of granddaughter Sophie
the Bangladeshi-American.
Her Baba became a citizen
in 2017.  They’re just as American as you & me.

We made a covenant of equality
before God, long ago.
African-Americans know
how long it took to become just barely free,

not to say equal before the law
in this blood-soaked country.
It begins with soul liberty
thumbprint of human dignity.  We saw

how Roger stood alone against the weight
of Boston magistrates,
to separate a faith’s dictates
from common civil rights – & shape a state

of openness, of global mutuality
– planted in equity,
grounded equality –
premonition of a new reality

emerging like a dream rose island
from an imagined Providence
(Roger’s capacious sense
of Edward Coke’s law-learned hand).

Sophie, dancing image of an unseen grace,
child of the universe
sprung up in Minneapolis,
take hold of your inheritance – one hopeful place.



to shade the children from the burning sun

my Hobo Code coffee cup


I’m coming to the crown of the river-tree
& the mouth of the copper serpent
following Hobo, where she bent
toward the Delta of American poetry.

& there’ll be singing & dancing, each clown 
& dressed up like an Indian
to celebrate the simple joy of Union.

& I’ll trail behind Benjamin Latrobe
the good mason of Washington
taking after his dear son
to build a floating city from mosquito-glob;

I’ll watch that Phoenix-bird arise
like an evening Jonah,
spreading her ghost-persona
wings from Frisco Bay to Providence

to shade the children from the burning sun
& fly them to a new playground
where wave-thrums sound
their steady oceanic Truth for everyone

whose eyes merge in the Sophie-bark
curving over the Churnagogue
(octagonal pine-log
hover-canoe; dynamic-ceramic arc

empowered by the muscled wheel
of hopeful human clay)
– J-stroking toward an Agape
aflow to share, to guide, to lift, to heal.



shout it from the rooftops


Hobo was playing solo crane bone flute
like an airy trompette marine
as he watched Henry puzzle on,
muttering his thumpy rhythms en route.

It’s the Union, the Union, Hobo intoned –
as your eye is clear & light
in the pasture breeze – right?
We wrestle with this violence, shark-boned

with vicious avarice – yet Sophie-gentleness
may rule at last, a restoration
of your soul’s volition
the true child-wish, mild & harmonious

as that lamb-lily in the tiger’s eye;
as Sophie plays her middle Cs
at center of the keys
& swings all 88 into the sapphire sky.

Hope is our natural state – for a grace
bestowed, unbeknownst to us.
Lost & found – like that Tombs
Angel, swimming from the marble face

to lift a prisoner out of the dust –
Rebecca Salome Foster, spun
by Bitter-Lamb into the sun;
drawn out again (by Jeremy Ann) at last...

So Henry clutched the muddy wheel
& turned it, counter-clockwise;
from oceanic Providence
to clear pine river-source... you feel


it turning, turning... into San Francisco
& a rainbow pigeon-throat
blent with rainbow trout
all natural wonders for that footloose hobo

full of ecstatic spiritual deliverance
marked on his feet & palms
from walking, chanting psalms
all the way to the Delta – joyeux entrance

into azure Gulf, American trumpets
O when the saints
come marching in...
& the clay wheel turns bronze serpents

into flame-gold lambs, whose linking thread
folds limbs into a March on Washington :
where they will wash away corruption
& the violence greed breeds – the dead

shall climb up from their graves, & dance
the Beguine – the beginning again;
the restoration of all men & women
in the clay river-light of Cahokia’s immense

plateau – across Big Muddy from the sky-
blue angle of the Gateway Arch –
that silvery canoe, echoing the arc
of one invisible & omnipresent loving eye :

Aye-Aye of Providence.  Elliptical wafer
lifted from humble bowl...
Hagia Sophia (universal
soul) wearing her limestone life-saver.



whispers out of Colchis

painting by Michael Gould (acrylic and Elmer's Glue)


Henry hearkened to the dream song hum
along the stairwell of a crane
bone flute.  The black mane
of Mama Miriam Dodona waved to him.

As if a little tree anchored his coracle;
a branch of whispers out of Colchis,
woolen silky-shroud of Maximus –
his golden fleece a minor miracle

where twin wheels mesh to form one
almond (of almonds).  Mighty
mickle canoe, whose Isis-eye
looks from the prow (tease of the sun).

There is a vortex in the Black Sea
where the Great Year pivots –
Hamlet churns through his regrets
there, until Milky Way whorls like a G.

There is a grail of emerald stone
beckons from the bottom
of the sea.  Four rivers stream
out of a matrix there – exalted zone

of moody CHURNAGOGUE – the potter’s
center & circumference;
Ferrara ghetto-sense
mingled with Dante-radiance (all hers).

& the backward Nile flows down to Memphis
where the martyr at the bleak hotel
sipped from her cup, & cancelled Hell –
his milky dome hoisted to foamy wisdom-bliss.


photo from Ballets Russes


Old Hobo-&-Henry, down by Big Muddy.
Hobo lounges in cottonwood shade.
Twirls a bright curving blade
of tiger-lily, so orange & black, idly

between finger & thumb.  Henry
thought of mossy Giuliana
walking away from her pottery
shop, entering the gloom of Sant’Apollinari

high frieze of majestic virgin martyrs
carrying their crowns.
The photo from Ballets Russes,
Paris, 1913 – spring maids, en fleurs...

& the black dot of Juliet in the distance
crossing the tensile spine 
of orange tiger-dragon
one last time (beneath frost-cobalt silence).

Strange oak, epileptic, near the shore.
Bent like a lyre before
a cluster of cottonwoods – your
humble servant, it seems.  Kingly no more.

Hobo eyed it.  Washing their leaves
with hers, maybe, he said.
Like San Francesco & his bride,
his sister, Povertà.  Humility cleaves

to the pivot of this world, the matrix –
to the crossroad, to the tree
of life.  I look into you, Henri –
to your salty heart.  I read the asterisk


you scribble for a star, approximately –
I scan the fresco-sketch
you offer for a spirit-potlatch
replica of New World Galilee.  It’s funny.

Earth is in its birth-pang death-throes,
Hobo.  Hope is hard to find.
Yet... the kingdom’s in your mind.
Your heart, my friend.  The Shadow knows.

& you were right to shape the Southern Cross
surrounded by Sydney fig trees
into a diamond-figure Paradise –
to stem four rivers from St. Louis

like emerald casket for the Eucharist;
for Micòl in her black canoe
& MLK in Memphis too
sustain that central martyrdom of Mars

just as Dante foresaw, in his basilica
where little sylvan J
circumferences her almond tree
delightfully... & the grail of tears (Ephphatha)

opens broken hearts across the globe
to each one’s almond Argo
Isis-eyed Hagia Sophia...
see, Henry Church?  & like a strobe

light suddenly unfolded, Henry felt
what Osip felt – accompanied
the rapture of the universe (sighed
with bold Marian... watched iron melt).



throned upon dignity


The muse of my Ravenna poem
is secret & silent, hidden
in quiet like that Belgian
Isis – adamant black Mom

throned upon dignity in West Branch
shaded by old oaks
& the whisper of spokes
on a windmill (over limitless green avalanche

of cornfields).  She is my implicit
First Mower – my ground
of whispering midwestern sound;
Hobo, curled by his sprung rivulet,

her loving servant & factotum
& my bosom pal;
we three walk out of Hell
by the glow of one sole lux humanum

an eye-in-hand, like that manifest
benign donation of a palm
opening from the cosmic realm
above Transfiguration of St. Apollinaris

in Classe.  & as we are three-in-one
in the mode of deification
we mirror that diamond Everyone
dwelling in the well of supernal Union

before, within, beyond Creation –
in the heart of the dream-songe
& the rêve-vision, we plunge
toward Restoration like a green acorn


& rise like ancient Osiris or Lone Ranger
through the climbing limbs
of an emerald Okean Stream
glowing more human (richer, stranger)

& more alive, as we lift toward that
light cross-tree of stars
where gentle Dante stares
& time & space availeth not

& where the marriage of true minds
is blessedness of spiritual grace
as we become one Falcon-
Ace, or Jeanne-eaglet – who finds

her microscopic lamb-lamp in the grass
just as Maggie spied Jesus
composting the flowers
there, in Resurrection Cemetery... Rise,

Sister-Dove!  Walk, Jonah-Lazarus!
& thus the reunion of the universe
is now our interstellar fire-house –
Maggie a tower of almonds (brown eyes

shaken up to smiling Milky Way
between Jerusalem & Athens)
& my dry diagram begins
to melt into a double Tiger-Lily –

like this one (Hobo showed me)
peeking from the shade-weeds
by the Mississippi – beads
of green, black, orange... a flag (you see?).



the stubborn Acmeist


The way a stream flows around a piece of granite
rough gray in the water, winking
with rose quartz, mica (splintering).
So the stubborn Acmeist would honor that

which is, that which exists.  & Osip
would agree with Oscar Cullmann
as to the meaning of Redemption –
it’s already happened.  So right worship

is a thing of joy – ample gratitude
for being, & the hope
of Restoration (its full scope
a celebration, braiding bread & wine).  You’d

barely sense the almost-infinitely distant
echoes of a first Thanksgiving...
everyone hoisting something
to that scrawny picnic table (ancient

light).  So as we J-stroke forward
let’s return to New Orleans
with B. Latrobe, who kens
the old French buildings there (mired

in mosquito nets & drainage swamps);
where he will follow his own son
to his malarial grave (one
body, bread & wine).  Under yellow lamps

like fireflies in the harbor (swaying,
soaring).  Scintillant mosaic
for one lugubrious Republic
(hopeful, Creole).  Clay American thing.



on six directions


I will not rival Dante’s double
spiral (from depth of Hell
to heart of Love) but spell
a complementary bubble-

rêve, mapped on the horizontal.
Infernos of damnation,
sparks of elation
harbor here – my guide no Virgil,

only turtle-speed Hobo;
not Beatrice now
but one blithe ocean-dew
rainbow (her smiling Jonah-brow).

Like that mercurial Micòl in Ferrara
she lights my imagination
with X-S creation,
aslant from Providence to Frisco –

a river, crossing at the Gateway Arch
like some switchback, Pawnee
Missouri – molding a key-
stone at Cahokia (ten fingers’ kiln-torch).

Where slowly, slowly, the potter’s wheel
with shaping eye-in-hand
rotates the whole land
counter-clockwise – churns against the keel;

casting her clay cup on six directions
like Black Elk diamond –
firing her mandala-almond
amid each human hearth-rose (Hobo reckons).