she is a mason too


When the farmwoman goes out to sow
a scattering of cornseed
or fleurette africaine (dark weed
flung wide), she is a mason, too –

planting a cornerstone at dawn
to the northeast (between
the subtle nightshade of illusion
& nuanced elaborations of the sun).

Hope being the common denominator
of all our troubled labor
buried out there, somewhere.
Does language know?  Prickly pear,

prickly pear... where the shadow falls
across an exact location.
33 light-years... (someone
WW knew – at Kitty Hawk?).  Tiny candles

flicker in the hot wind from the crypt.
Presently details of the little
room emerge.  Her title
to the seasoned sailor, found amidships

after the ashes scattered like black raven-
doves into infinity –
where Mr. Sunborn’s akme
of knowledge curled its crown toward heaven.

This the mandala the builders left me.
Jenny with her Book of J – my
golden lamb of Ghent... familiar eye
peeled back, unvarnished (dyeing history).



relativity behavior at the end of May


& what if all the Seekers, Roger’s progeny
– that prophet-salt of the earth –
assembled in an ark (Bertha
the birth-canoe)?  Like an almond eye?

Like tall Sophia-Top, spiraling from sky?
The quintessential star
of relativity behavior
in the Great Congregation, at the end of May

(5.29.1919, to be exact).  When Albert
raised a toast to the memory
of time & space, & we
felt that fire... like Baked Alaska in the desert.

Birthday for Ocean, constellate;
malingering little reprobate
always castigated by Bay State,
always flaming in a pentagram – complete

salt sea-bird tugboat-gal
who lofts Old Ironsides
to cosmic shipyard one Ides
of July (my Galilean madrigal).

It is the nef-tune, from the underside
of the sea, of the mind;
Love’s ecliptic incline,
like one grain of sand.  Wave, light... abide;

to launch us from our shadowy shells
& melancholy corners
into this brilliancy of yours...
all-human cradle where the hearth-fire dwells.



a gargoyle versus Mars


Henry, Seeker, trails Hobo down.
Molting to Hobo in his sleep.
A baby spring flows deep...
soft ripple, brimming delicate renown

amidst angels, & water nymphs.
His almond lens mists over
out of focus (blurred,
all out of blue red).  His eye limps.

High in the dark sky chant the stars
above distraught Columbia.
Arcturus, Regulus, Spica
framing a gargoyle versus Mars

(opposing men-o’-violence, that Man
of Lawlessness); a trio
in the Dragon’s Head (O
money jungle, African fleurette).  Tin pan

for Paris ghost-dance gold... your own
damn note, hunchback Igor
(boom boom Guillaume, poly-
poilu).  Viol sez, follow me down.

A purple prince from Minneapolis!
Adonis of grain elevators!
Lapped into clay (all yours,
A-frame).  A rose eye came – his sis,

Iris-Sophia.  Whorled full of vertigo,
gaunt San Francisco...
floored in the adamant, so
grand.  Your sky-blue motherland, Hobo.



for Dina Tagliabue

                                 for Dina Tagliabue

I never made it to the Mimbres Ranch,
Dina – though Alex & Phoebe did,
& brother Jim did, too – up
in them hardscrabble cactus hills, with a bunch

of hippies.  You chugged out there back when
in your VW bus, dragging along
stray hitches from Michigan –
getting the farm going, the pottery kiln...

Bob was there early, I guess, plying
the seasonal pickers’ fields
& his carpentry (& sprout yields
from the bathtub hydroponic mung-bean

enterprises).  Early & late he was –
composting with you to Sicily,
your garlic plot of earthy
transplants (care of kind Erica, & Grace).

It wasn’t my life, it was yours –
tied close to soil
by musing love-wrung toil
until this planet glazes bronze, & grows...

your joy, your blazing smile, Dina!
You were the sunny sister
to my moon’s iris – her
Inca-mauve Sheep’s Clothing (Francesca);

& now I see you foot the potter’s wheel
& knead your human clay
into a memory of joy...
molding earth to sunlight, in a laughing reel.



quirky rustic poet battles orange Goliath


It was the winter of our ill-advised
& misconsent.  Embouldered
Julius the Quartered,
housed within his wanton witness,

raged (a savage orange walrus
full of fetid fire) against
that bad news feminist
in flight from Rus (hilarious!) –

while he, with his false staff, embarked
upon a cross rubes’ con
(some matryoshka manikin!)
against Old Ironsides... which worked!

– for temporizing (time... & two times
at a time).  The war was on.
“Where is the server, then?”
barked Julius again, again.  Crimes

filtered down like snow from Kremlin
gremlins.  Stark treason,
trickling out its own raison
d’état, took aim at Mississippian

Columbia.  One fiery wheat grain
in her heart – one star-
quintessence of her
pyramid – opened its eye again;

the child she harbored in her arms
across the Memphis flood
cried – “Human brotherhood!”
– & smiled.  Light pierced the storms.



winter gematria


Henry drooped with the blues, his head
on his hand, his wings folded.
Gloom gathers the Gould
with something other than ghost dancing –

rustic farm implements, tongs
in a crucible of heavy rain.
He knows Great Congregation
= love x God+neighbor, yet... wrongs!

The prophet speaks goldenly of such
in his report (Jack
Joachim).  He saw black
where the red-squash bore would touch

his tender rib with a poignard – that son
of a coagulated sow! –
but he rests easy, now
in his little room, in the Forest of Ravlin

I reckon.  Jacques & Jules, Jack
& Jill, tumbled off the wall
& down the hill... so we all
fall down, sang the old buried hack

full of Fathom Fifth.  His vanishing pint
fled like a bat, through a gap
in his rainbow tooth; sap
dribbled from his dank sepulchre, his mint

of 43 years (32 + 11).  She was only 17
when she danced the tyrant-
tellerpoky little Calabrian haunt
who yet might spread her wings (sweet halcyon).



beam against klepto-autocracy


A little portable communion box,
bedizened with a coral reef
of gems (wheatsheaf
engraved on its acacia locks).

Gray pebble – miniaturized
more than a thousandfold
from that rock stronghold
whence it rolled (Paradise

Mountain, milky Jerusalem).
Or tiny grain of wheat
sifted to ground (infant
metropolis), from off the hem

of starry Virgo, Lady Liberty.
Her gown of purple (streaked
with gold) rustled... & sparked
such rays of justice & mercy

that the fickle wind of red & blue
(pushing our pennants back
& forth) fell slack – &
the Janus-faced Minotaur (just you

& I) curled back into his golden urn
within his clammy cave,
& promised to behave;
the strong man was tied up again

with his own silver spiderweb,
& dropped into the Seine –
one convoluted sign
of violence, reduced to tiny nub


of seedy violet.  Her sea-green eyes
gaze from the bottomland
of human clay, the river-sand
of human time; she is Persephone’s

Corn Mother, she is Cathedral Mary
with her Sophia-torch held high,
armed with stone tabulae
of wisdom & knowledge, she will be

the restoration of democracy
rooted in human sovereignty;
from calm civil society
bring judgement on kleptocracy

with care for that bright seamless web
of mutuality her Memphis prince
proclaimed, magnanimous –
with love beaming from Mount Horeb

& intergalactic Galilee (a waterfall
of Washingtons... a rainbow
prism of Jerusalems).  So
the cartouche at the foot of soulful

Garfield – on the brow of mournful
Abraham – in the eye
of emerald JFK –
gleams with this glancing parallel :

off the prow of the Ark of Covenant
& the beam of Old Ironsides
shines the light nothing hides –
Beatrice’s look (Thunderbird’s lieutenant).



a woman in a hammock


The earth waits, like the source of the Nile
on the periphery of the capital.
Behind its porphyry wall
princes perform their tragedy of control.

The earth sleeps, like a woman in a hammock
dreaming of a happy home.
Crowds gathered in the New Rome
to print their great seal on a marble rock.

The Minotaur strode back and forth
sleepless as a pumpkin seed –
his labyrinth a putrid gourd
of fireworks orange (Julius the 4th).

He fought the dragons in his nightmare sea;
he clutched the basket of his swollen
head; his world was stolen
from a woman’s arms – bound to tyranny.

Hobo droned his drowsy song in unison.
The earth still turned for him.
Saturn & Venus, in their stream
of light, grew calm.  Night was for everyone.

The enormous clay wheel spun her sarabande.
The great ship shrank into the distance.
A tiny needle in its compass dance –
the apple of the capital (in Hobo’s hand).

Her shadow was a cloud cast on the evening sky,
a handful of benevolence.
A mystery of loving Providence
instilled in hearts by art, with eyes from Aye.



Song of Songs in a snow globe


The twin foxes & three pine trees
on honeymoon (in a sweet
snow globe, in Norway).  What
use your Solomonic sarabande, these

loopy solemnities?  & the echoes
far into the motherland
Cahokia to maid’s Gravesend
your Adonai, my Adonis   a Memphis

trial by fire (intricate clay bark
buried in salt harbor).
O serious Nile laborer!
Nephthys, Dark Lady, mark

these fathoms of thy bottomland.
Snow was general over Ireland.
Strum the steel mandolin
then, Mary – plectrum in hand!

We climb out of the clay to shape
this Royal Arch, for St.
Latrobe & Son.  See the faint
wave-trace along its rim (crêpe

for a funeral train; flute-song
transcription).  Grain
melts into wine again –
the living man or woman prong

from earth.  We called it love
& swam into the circle
where snowflakes speckle
dark green live oaks (O crooning dove).



sketchy star-map


The idea of Janus.  Osip is born;
war saw.  The tiny hexagons,
whose bite is bitterness
& valediction, zigzag down

here, in our Cerealian Capital
(Pillsbury, General Mills).
Grandpa, in Saskatchewan
wills grain elevators toward the pole.

Above these winter clouds, invisible
Venus the flower-star
describes tobacco-petal arcs –
Gravesend’s Dark Lady – indelible

cartwheeling Corn Maiden – springing
& sovereign rite of way;
dewy washerwoman, our MVP
lifting the horizon over D.C. (washing

everything).  Verily... except a corn of wheat
fall into the ground & die...
Over the green pyramid, an eye;
red rose for Memorial Day (complete

now, finished).  Elvira, out of Ravlin
opera, spins toward blue clay
herself.  We go that way
with snowflakes, with January’s frozen

squeaky violin... we go together.
At our reed-muddy center
she alights on the perimeter –
Adonai cornucopia, our milky tether.


from David Ovason, The Secret Architecture of the Nation's Capital, p.190


so Pocahontas might emerge again


The timid sun blanches behind these clouds
of January dim.  The miniature
ice-floes speckle the river
as they move south.  Chilled Hobo nods.

Yes, Henrah, there’s sleep-work to do
in this hibernation.  Dream-
boats a-building.  My trireme’s
a ship-in-a-bottle (of Irish brew).

See through the glass?  A beauty she is.
A bloom of almond petals
like a round of Grumman metal
canoes (nickel-dime aluminum Kris-

Kraft, maybe).  Like a micro-tuned
pontoon bridge, bent
from Iron Range to Ghent
gildered from Gravensteen to Gravesend.

Henry slumped on a frigid cottonwood
stump, stumped.  The lantern-
bark in Hobo’s paw turned
green... little nef of oaken holly wood.

Cathedral Mary mine... he intoned.
Turn back the puny gangsters
of the bleakthese drugstore
Minotaurshigh Fraudulence enthroned.

So Pocahontas might emerge again
& roll Rebecca out of Gravesend
lifting her golden wave of corn
enchanted, vertical... toward Washington.



in the shadow of Notre Dame


To you who have walked with me
all along this many poem.
I would translate my diagram
of raven wing into quick algebra.

As daylight stretches into spring
I would head to Beltrami
a worn-out refugee –
Itasca hearts to weld by wring.

The Iron Range is as our life,
cold for sunrise, fire
by dusk.  Evening Star,
Dove-Bird, be thou my wife


whose effigy is coppery Peg
centered in Big Muddy silt
at Pentecost, green to the hilt.
Cahokia palm (with Easter egg).

She danced in the shadow of Notre Dame
a firebird, on 5/29
with flammable cardboard mural crown
for Apollinaire to remember (at the Somme).

& she wheeled across flat American clay
from West Branch, a circumference
of byzantine raven-sense...
to lift sad Earth toward the Realm of Day.


from a painting by Phoebe Gould


one foolish man & three Magi


Henry wakes from an old man’s nap
with a child’s sense of space
& time.  Heart’s relentlessness.
Here be the river; here the wide gap

between whispering grassland, distant sky.
Epiphany.  Three Wise Men
camel out from high Tehran
to find one homeless king, in a spare pig sty.

Tonight the belligerent intelligence of war
sent guided Minotaurs
heat-seeking vengeance.  Stars
were collateral damage (kids no more).

The ragged tent-flap & the drafty stall
are Henry’s flimsy turtle-shell.
His mind & heart a broken spell –
a wasteland shack, no longer fit for Grail

or Calabrian hermit-monk, or Parsifal.
Only bring me the gift, Melchior
of your toy myrrh-nef – your
river-sense, emerald, mercurial;

like a 4-leaf clover made of almonds
interlaced... like 4 canoes
bent to the whirlpool’s
mandala (Itasca spiral of palm fronds).

This Providence of tight-coiled J
anchors the Pacific Ocean.
Knots its rose-clay revolution
to a bottled ship – ensign of Milky Way.



in the entrails of the nation


So Henry hearkens to the sea-wash
over his meandered house.
From District C to Minneapolis
his terramara whorls, to Washington

& south to Frisco, lap after lap
of wave on wave, sea-green,
serpentine.  A Berryman
for Julian’s Bower (Juliberry nightcap,

mayhap)?  Osiris, in the entrails
of the nation?  Sleep, now
microcosmic river-scow –
everything grows smaller in the whale’s

rib-cavern, everything a miniature,
dioramic Minnesota (at the
end of the last knot, minute-
man).  Cold as a Viking vulture-

sepulture.  These bricks might save
the planet, Henry mumbles
to the museum baubles
in his sleep.  & then her hand will wave

to him, from waves of his dream;
Columbia the sister-dove,
his Tyche-tyke from above...
over the Father-of-Waters with a beam

of smiling light.  & suddenly the vermilion
shades atop Sunset Mountain
& the orange orangutan
threatening our rusty tub of human

communion (Old Ironsides to you)
are dissipated shadows
in a rosy dawn... & Henry’s
crown rests in her ark (shalom, J-rue).



lingo & experience


O the glittering golden champagne world
the sparkle of human Honigwein!
& Henry skulking on the margin
ever – shy & sluggish, owlish Thunderbird.

At the intersection of Congdon & Morris
in the Honig house, in Providence
whereat Berryman lay, once
with his books, bourbon & cigarettes

a smoking pyre of lingo & experience
where the poet stands – a matrix
Jessifying the cosmos (X
raptor).  & Henry maunders after... silence

& gravity his only friends, he thinks
(1132 feet down, beneath
132 6th St).  Bequeath
his Sloop John B. to them steeply drinks,

drafts of your Ocean State, O bookish
Cesca-Fay!  Where Cautantowwit
calumeets Columbia, knit
together in your Seine – sweet swish-

mel Arno-Androscoggin – rosy net!
As the planet in the distance,
like an intricate replica, spins
its miniature J (illustrious Celt)

you cut your figure on the dancing floor
(smooth sliding all-akimbo
smile) like a capital C, or O
out of Jericho – my Tosca to thy Carib shore.