to look fear in the face


March trudges wearily this year
toward April.  The robins
tremolo their violins
with plaintive warbling.  The end is near

for many.  Gaunt doctors, nurses
wait upon the Emperor…
his unrelenting petty terror
carts off families in makeshift hearses.

Now courage & compassion race ahead
to look fear in the face –
offer to stand in place
for fainting visitants, among the dead.

Is life a dream, or mere nightmare?
Behold her profile, bent
over the bed… his silent
fellowship… the grieving watch they share

with every tremulous shocked sufferer
(who must foresee the end
as lungs contract… distend).
Is life a dream?  We wonder, wonder.

I see a silent servant of servants,
across whose labors galaxies
& all their glory graze
in circles (up above our sacraments

& merry games).  I see her figure
shine like sunlight on brown river;
glance at Rabbi Live-Forever;
smile from rose bateau (Dream-Builder).



beneath Corona Borealis


While boy-o Henry skipped down Arthur St.
in birdsong Mendelssohn
a few miles up the trolley line
J. Buried-Man lingered on Arthur Ave (complete

Dream Song lament, at 57).  In Paris now
they’ll have to reconstruct the nave,
restore each curving architrave.
This knave goes drifting to St. Lou – his blue

canoe, beached crosswise (by Cahokia)
a kind of compass needle
aimed straight up.  Will weedy
Hobo ever stand erect himself?  Selah,

Ezekiel, Isaiah.  At San Vitale in Ravenna
or at Notre Dame, pilgrims
still stamp across the lurking limbs
of Lucifer – ravel a penitential way

by grace of Mary’s Ariadne-avatar.
It was her love for Theseus
(like Maggie Miriam’s for Jesus)
reeled him out, dis-mazèd – free & clear.

Lone Henry looks straight up, to Pole Star.
Ariadne’s Crown.  The toxic night
a donnybrook for his distraught
Columbia – his ark battered by Minotaur,

his Constitution of chaste liberty
suborned (sat on by Putin’s man).
Look, pilgrim, to the heights again –
whence cometh Thunderbird.  Dove… see?



like a gouache by David Jones


Day like a gouache by David Jones.
Diaphanous vision, muted
by sea-wind, raincloud.
Mountain, meadow, rust (earth tones).

The nightmare of the Great War
like sulphur tuning fork
or buried line in Eden Park
commingles its dilemma in a metaphor

like rose in steel dust (Roger’s compass,
pointing NNW).
& Image of the Beast is
emblem for the matrix of that enterprise

encrypted at the center of a corn maze
where Satan & his Minotaur
(ICE-bound, possessed) are
snared (handcuffed in their own cold glaze).

The Man of Lawlessness, like Terrible
Ivan – he makes his own desire
the absolute measure;
he’s lost to caritas (in his own bubble).

Imagine Ghiberti’s golden doors
at the Baptistery in Florence
with angels forced to dance
to the lash of demonic matadors…

imagine Eugenio, alongside Clizia
locked in the library
with Mussolini – her sturdy
sun-glance, over the chessboard… ah,


bright wings!  When Everyman & Woman
breathe in the heartland
of their living temple… &
Joachim’s eagle plummets through the Plan

of Ages!  Providential restoration, O
downglide of Holy Ghost!
Multitudinous host
of human happiness – blue emerald glow

of soft & silent cat’s-eye revolutions,
roll!  & be the planetary
hearthland, wide prairie…
deep swell of Thunderbird flute sessions!

Because all the world’s a stage, coach;
the play’s the salty verse
for catching Eddy the Perverse,
who suckles his Corona like a roach

out of the Minotaur’s bleak heart –
rotten as… who can say?
God knows.  Only way
’s to pinwheel back where we start,

Pocahontas – up to the swirling
origin of springs.
A little grotto brings
its whisper of clear water.  Everything

draws near.  Pleroma for Fisher King
(little lad in oak tree)
shines, golden, leafy.  His
mother smiles… rainbows from nothing.



searching the pipeline


With a guttering cigarette-stub candelabra
planted on his tin pan rim
old Hobo H., yea verily him,
sets off, vagrant pilgrim, on his last hurrah.

& recalls that fond octagonal gazebo
where many a summer
found him (quizzical plumber)
searching the pipeline for Cy Manitou.

High & low, & up & down the river
led by that whistling flit
of Ray Caw-somuchwit (tight
Gansett smokehole, domed in Ravenna)

Hobo went on, a-glide like some water-bat
round that chartless labyrinth
amazed with gold, & crème
de menthe – a little green fleurette

upsprung ‘mid scattered fallen leaves
& spinning like a gyroscope
cross-threaded by Hope
so’s to balance what him heart conceives.

For that whisper-caw of Wakan Tanka
cries – all the temples of Solomon
& all the domes of Justinian
are but the models of a living Anchor,

planted ‘twixt the temples of your mind
beside the hearth-fire in your heart.
O speaking brook, where rivers start!
Handy RI aerie (in your eye to find).



on the North Shore of the North Star state


Not far from Berryman’s Witch’s Hat
in Prospect Park, off Arthur Ave
Henry beholds spring showers lave
his plague-burnt Vale of Josaphat

(in Minneapolis).  It is a hard Lent
& shrunken plain to see –
April trundling mournfully
to graveyards.  Brash head bent,

hobo Henry Hal recounts his crimes
(near Purgatory Chasm,
in Newport).  Hopes a chrism
helps redeem his own end times

along Humility Way – the icy treason
of a lodestone heart.
His mother’s art
pierces also, beyond reason –

those 4 unsoldered quarters of clay tile
where Henry & Francesca swim
below a swirling rim
of Gooseberry Falls (old Ravlin file)

in the blithe innocence of marriage
unbetrayed… unmade,
not yet.  Like Longfellow glade,
or negative of Dante’s personal stage

(Circle of Lust) the two of us
will splash, forever smiling
in that riverine, beguiling
clay lost Paradise of faithfulness


& O the hubris of Superior Prince Hal!
To think he’d play the alpha male
to Berryman, beyond the pale –
snow-bent J. Beerust, in his dream-corral!

My clay ticks slowly on its glitter-wheel
toward kiln of Judgement Day.
But you might take another way,
Kidron – follow the foamy V of keel

into that Ocean River of the galaxies;
gaze up into the Royal Arch
where smile-canoe arcs
over candescent happiness... frees

hearts & souls into the wholeness
they were meant to seize!
That Charity of charities,
that source of every brimming goodness...

the grace of Miriam-consent (to give)...
true North Star of the Sea!
Friend Berryman would be
beside me here, in this infinitive

to live – an evergreen, emerald
eternity of growth –
an exponential for a moth
(or butterfly) to find – New World

born from the Old, as wings from chrysalis
when Spirit strokes like Thunder
through clay rings… & under
your rose aye of Providence (soft kiss).



the continuum of life (i.m. Margaret Treuer)

                             i.m. Margaret Seelye Treuer

There is the fabric of the poem & there is
the continuum of life
as with Ojibwe mother & wife
& federal magistrate Margaret Treuer, otherwise

Giiwedinookwe (North Wind Woman) –
first American Indian
female judge in the country
(requiescat in pace, strong dancing one).

& I can’t always mesh the two threads
right – in poem, & with life
with my dull carving knife
rough-shaping sets of Minny-figureheads

for meanings I can’t quite project.
& in a one-room cabin she
grew up, ambitious to be
of service from the start – & heck,

she married a refugee from Nazi Germany
– Scattergood while you can
laboring man, & chairwoman
in labor.  Adamant to bring out of many

threads, & ivory husks of sister birch
one floatable resilient bark
or local replica of Ark…
wild rising, riding on waters of Ur-church

or paddling Churnagogue… to lift
the mournful tapestry
from scorn & travesty
to something like the glowing starry gift


it was meant to be, in the beginning
& she loved her Native ways
served as mentor & guide
teaching her children how to rice & sing

& hunt, tap maple, living off the land.
I was searching for a figure
like Pocahontas, Morning Star
stepping up to dance out of Gravesend

someone like starry Virgo or Corn Mother
to represent (in my rough-
sketchy way) just enough
for my own District of Columbia (another,

older coulombe, a deeper-down coo-coo). 
& as le printemps approaches
& spring tiptoes on lady’s
slippers through the forest, & you

sense the great symphony slowly expand
& breathe, toward end of May
a chord of Restoration Day
sounds in my heart & over the land –

when a glossolalia of babbling Pentecost
races glittering across
the coppery brook, & as
we rise in spirit toward that almost

ineffable perfection of the Everlasting
Thunder-life… we sing
of grace & thanks-giving;
our maypole wisdom-song we bring.