scribe's tattoo


I miss the mourning doves of Providence
at the end of September
amid these amber
sheaves of wheat (gleaned evidence

of Morning Star).  A new immigrant’s
landed in Minneapolis
light gray, with neckpiece
of black-white bands.  Postulant’s

collar, mayhap?  Or a scribe’s tattoo
ably marked upon the neck
like Isaac or Melchizedek
or some Eurasian collared coo-coo

hums b-flat from the fiery furnace
of her supernatural
affection (international
orange toucan, maybe – or Falcon-Ace)

& so transfigures frozen Everyman
out of his callous armor
into another feathered Amor
winging like an arrow back to Magdalen

& turning to golden almond in her hand
like the sun beheld by Ondine
underwater (bright, serene).
As river waves lap softly overland

her clear tone modulates the earth
back to its mended origin
within your warm all-human
clasp (chastened Columbia’s rebirth).



like a willow bird-basket


As Hart’s Admiral of the Ocean Sea
inched toward his New World
or Derry’s Columba (Pearl
Harbor child) anchored his monastery

like a coracle of Ionian gold
in the rêvesonge of an orrery...
So that Prince Hal Harry
leant upon Hobo’s broken shoulder

in order to meld his Camelot tall tale
into a pilot’s river-rumors.
Driftwood-heavy humors,
welded like Jeanne d’Arc in jail

to the high dream of moral freedom –
each bright soul’s laboratory
of liberty (that’s the main story,
from Memphis to Melchizedek-welcome).

O the hollow heart of him Joan lifted!
Like a willow bird-basket
(1132 tons of Itasca
taconite) nailed to Galahad-helmet;

in the clay banks, at the matrix
of four rivers, where
a raven’s bone-flute sauntered
through the air.  Mourning genetrix

for son of Abraham (Jack-in-the-box);
sweet shibboleth of 5-2-9
transmuting sacrificial wine
to shocks of wheat (her arc’s bright locks).



at the end of summa


These heart-shaped leaves of the cottonwood –
yellow-black memories,
your excavated face
from the dark archive of branded blood.

Leavings from an old mosaic, my Psyche;
yearnings you magnetized
like a Tombs Angel surprised
me from despair – desire molting to fiery

grace.  Loose, unloose these cords,
sister Cordelia –
churnagogue Jonah,
heart’s winepress of happy candle-words.

I hear hands clap together
this little light of mine
I’m gonna let it shine...
through the funhouse mirror

mend you ways, O Minotaur
sacre du printemps
bête pour FIN DU TEMPS
so you may stand with sisters

brothers   in the great congregation
at the end of summa
when the threads draw
taut (1132)   Rabbi, Rab Ravelin

sursum corda   my clay Columbia
as out of the flaming kiln
the milky waters spill
& your glad-sparrow brother sighs   selah



translated to an island


Constitution Day.  Coke’s legacy,
translated to an island rose –
mother & nurse of repose
on the throne of Imago Dei – si?

Your lambswool, Giuliana – moss-green
through the red-dust desert.
Alighieri’s tomb, in quiet
(such as lie, smothered in grass, by San

Vitale).  Twin peacocks, maybe –
between two almond trees?
In the Ferrara freeze
(Micòl shivering in her garage)... see?

Your solar emblems not for me,
Ezra.  Marble from Ravenna
swiped for Rimini, & gloria
the simple immanence of meek Marie

shunned like a ghetto-child.  & so
the merry-go-round of sacrifice
creaks back to 1913, Paris...
Ugo, Parisina, burnt to ash once more

for the war to end all wars (before
the end).  A rust-bronze Penny
blackens backward, in Gehenna –
from dim crossroad will she soar

like diamond Southern Cross.  She is
lips’ ghost dance ring-
around-the-rosy... clear spring
Pax-water (your West Branch Isis).



Rab Ravlin was a weaver bred


Summer’s gliding toward those falls.
The sumac swords are rusted
iron.  Below the nested
locks (St. Anthony), swift sculls

are water-spiders on a dragon’s back.
Hobo Larva... Henry
Woodpecker, monarch (maybe)...
all worm, Noman?  Whose silver track,

mercurial, serpentine?  I was
the wolf in Sheep’s Clothing,
tearing Ariadne’s weaving,
trading lux for lechery (luxurious);

I was the shadow of the waxing moon
purling beneath Pearl Harbor
Day – casting her bitter
part across the bar (Frisco Lagoon).

Now crickets rattle in the looming dusk,
a chorus, waiting in its wings.
1132, the catgut sings –
our heavy grave (in one cicada husk).

Only the lightest antigravity
can spark the dark menorah
in the heart of King Henrah.
Lonely almond of sheer pity

welling forth Father of Waters...
what was Magdala stone
becoming human Union
(steely pontoon, welding 4 quarters).



glare attracts birds


      “But,” she added, “a tribute that kills thousands of birds?  Is that really 
                what we want?” – NY Times, 9.11.19

Little Alex was in love with them.
Would run out to the “woody
area” (floored with heavy
twisted vines) & note their thrum

of peregrine wing-calls; run back, report.
He was 20 when the Towers
fell.  Now he’s in the painters’
guild – swings from scaffolds out

in Portland (surfaced a new public school
this summer).  Everyone
knows someone so, dangling on
the perimeter of gravity (lead’s rule).

Edgar Brightman says, each body
is an etching of God’s mind
that Personage who’s fond
of persons that we are (might be).

It is some Berryman-Osiris dream
of emerald Ireland, or
Mannahatta... out of mire-
bleared violets, one twin-beam

(ineffable, 4 miles up into night).
The glare attracts birds
(like glamorous words
of bright adhesive poem).  Raven, kite...

– bad omens, harnessed by our own
self-heightening memorials.
Yet... all my trials,


New York Times, 9.11.19


narrow waist of driftwood


Summer fading into gray skullcap.
Henry with his brass trombone
& Hobo his hypnotic loon
shore up the railroad tracks with sap

of clammy shellfish scree (Rhode Island
sound).  My Providence,
your looming salience;
lines on a brow dwindled by sand

down a narrow waist of driftwood
sundial.  Stentorian
Henry, like a milk train
wreck, bundles through the neighborhood...

but it shall not be so with you.
Glance of dark green
(like black-eyed Susan)
measuring its circuit-wheel of blue

& blazing gold.  Iris of promise
under one lead sentence
(autumn rain).  A spindly
fence holds back the dunes for this,

my gift of dried-up horseshoe crab –
like a seahorse Pegasus
planted on Cain’s verses
(Falcon-Ace, clipped in rehab).

I’m only whispering to you.
From now on, friend,
faithful to the end –
where love is borne (rosemary, rue).