I check my newsletters today I see the big headline question Just how resilient is Spacetime? Quickly I hazard a poet’s caution And throw all science to the winds Ships sail by the edges of the world The fruit all sits well in the basket Spacetime's as resilient as a banana It’s as good as your weekend plans Count to 10 count to 20 good luck Then wait for the endless replies.
I’d smoke cigars all day and into the night while I wrote and wrote without any hope or the slightest assurance that anything I’d written actually mattered or rose to a standard of literary merit. I’d languish in the smoke that did me in and call it the cloud of my unknowing, so sweet in its taste, such as it was, of Cuban soil. That would be paradise in heaven that’s so overrated as endless bliss it kills to imagine it's a place for living forever, no less, with nothing to do or lips to kiss. I’d curse, therefore, with the best of them—the legion of Saved—as I sharpened my pencils and smoked my Punches in the simple room that I’d be given with a desk for writing and bed for remembering the things I’d forgotten. And reading too, I almost forgot. I’d read and read since I’d be done with sleeping, but dreaming, no, still dreaming a lot. I’d live to live again with moments of dying to see how “lucky” I was. I’d use my body as an eidolon with invisible wings that fluttered in the void as if it were air and hummed in the dark where I could see.
Crystals gleam before the night she awakes before the others a cave lit in both directions Putting hands on hard stone walls she walks beyond their last erasure midnight of vision or dawn of sleep She’ll walk 50 feet past the erasure in and out again by the force of fire surprised when the subject is the same
Decapitism stuck to the end of my tongue. What to do but call it names I thought. It wasn’t thought I was think- ing I’d have answered had I been asked, not even thinking I thought… I sat brooding, tracking a feather’s drop, plummet my lush regard. I sat brooding, hen’s heat yogic so bent my hickory legs were, hickory stiff transcendent so flexed it was. So it will have been said absentmindedly rolled off my tongue. Least thought, last thought I mock made-believe I believed, prophet shod in castoff tread… Profitry rolled off as well, jelly-coated pill I bit. Bitness rolled with it or might as well have, qu’ahttet’s broken jaw. Change was the law I sat reflecting, right foot nested on my left inner thigh, left leg pointed straight ahead. I sat, Buddhistic hurdler, musing, mouth open, ip- seities arrayed in a row… I sat, I was thinking thought’s province re- ceded, beauty’s provocation revoked as our loins contracted, Itamar, Anun- cio, all us men. Tantric hoist I was thinking, thought’s adumbration, what ached and what resigned itself, dis- placed… We sat checking out the yogis in leotards, Ahdja, Eleanoir, Anuncia, Sophia, every womanly wisp under the sun. I dreamt again we were away with no way home, this or that plane waiting, this or that takeoff missed, sweet crease loaded with ore but to be absconded with, gold we’d’ve otherwise been. Bent intonation inter- vened, a reed off away in the distance, Net- sanet’s name I no sooner gave than was given back, Brother B’s wild ox moan… I sat dejected, thought’s ap- pointment missed, disappointed, abscondity’s eviscerate redoubt. I was thinking thought had yet to be- gin, thought’s far emblem a star too frail for sight, leotarded crux and cur- vature’s ignition, thought’s due ad- vent I thought no such arrival, what come- liness it wore wore thin. No ideas but in them I thought, cloak and conni- vance the lords of that house, abode we abided by (2015)
I wish I had a mood About autumn instead of A sore back, a hangover
Memories of love like Cicadas drop from trees Washed in hot rain
I wish I had an autumn About a mood instead of Noisy insects, the summer Still whistles, not autumn yet It mumurs with fans and sweat Days are long, calm is rare I’m a long horse-tail Swatting at the flies I try to order more wine
I believe this is as real as anything but safe. It’s like Puccini: we’re so close to the moon up here let me tell you who I am — and guess about you: do you like to fable — I mean danke — I mean dance? What I like is not knowing what we look like to each other. Isn’t it that way anyway? I saw silverberries so high atop stones they were black against the sky. Limbs, finger-thin. More evidence never hurt a case for handsome but by the time you reach me, I may be somewhere else. You might not even know — like sleeping in a tent on a dune moving miles through the night. Or now when I’m close. Are you close?
When all the over-work of life Is finished once, and fast asleep We swerve no more beneath the knife But taste that silence cool and deep; Forgetful of the highways rough, Forgetful of the thorny scourge, Forgetful of the tossing surge, Then shall we find it is enough? How can we say "enough" on earth-- "Enough" with such a craving heart? I have not found it since my birth, But still have bartered part for part. I have not held and hugged the whole, But paid the old to gain the new: Much have I paid, yet much is due, Till I am beggared sense and soul. I used to labour, used to strive For pleasure with a restless will: Now if I save my soul alive All else what matters, good or ill? I used to dream alone, to plan Unspoken hopes and days to come:-- Of all my past this is the sum-- I will not lean on child of man. To give, to give, not to receive! I long to pour myself, my soul, Not to keep back or count or leave, But king with king to give the whole. I long for one to stir my deep-- I have had enough of help and gift-- I long for one to search and sift Myself, to take myself and keep. You scratch my surface with your pin, You stroke me smooth with hushing breath:-- Nay pierce, nay probe, nay dig within, Probe my quick core and sound my depth. You call me with a puny call, You talk, you smile, you nothing do: How should I spend my heart on you, My heart that so outweighs you all? Your vessels are by much too strait: Were I to pour, you could not hold.-- Bear with me: I must bear to wait, A fountain sealed through heat and cold. Bear with me days or months or years: Deep must call deep until the end When friend shall no more envy friend Nor vex his friend at unawares. Not in this world of hope deferred, This world of perishable stuff:-- Eye hath not seen nor ear hath heard Nor heart conceived that full "enough": Here moans the separating sea, Here harvests fail, here breaks the heart: There God shall join and no man part, I full of Christ and Christ of me.
After Reading A Poem Because it is a poem again despite the stretch of darkness and there is echidna, octopus and cat and so long as there’s that in the world sealed bags will not go around the head. There will be more quarrels with the self that will demand more meaning, while the profound self adjusts to the search for it. Although, as always, I suppose there may come a time when enough is fair enough and to give it no more never more will be the better, yes, alternative.
It’s said that one word writ upon a wall is not a poem, that a leopard may not know its spots whether behind or with or during and some new love only requires that an old love jumped the fence – so today I can talk about how we frame things and I speak of being released by history by gender and neglect and all the dreams of the poor and the angry – then I see six bored students I’d put in a sacred circle.
She Saved My Ass During an altercation in a bar one night she saved my ass my back was turned he came up with a knife she hit him with a bottle she was from the mountains they believe in hard things it was then I fell in love big arms and shoulders every inch of her 6 foot tall it was such a simple thing when we were leaving she stomped hard on his hand after that the graceful years lord she was so tender her feet were lovely & she loved me very well.
Less at its features than its darkening frame Where quince and melon, yellow as young flame, Lie with quilled dahlias and the shepherd's crook. Beyond, a garden. There, in insolent ease The lead and marble figures watch the show Of yet another summer loath to go Although the scythes hang in the apple trees.
Now that I have your face by heart, I look.
Now that I have your voice by heart, I read In the black chords upon a dulling page Music that is not meant for music's cage, Whose emblems mix with words that shake and bleed. The staves are shuttled over with a stark Unprinted silence. In a double dream I must spell out the storm, the running stream. The beat's too swift. The notes shift in the dark.
Now that I have your voice by heart, I read.
Now that I have your heart by heart, I see The wharves with their great ships and architraves; The rigging and the cargo and the slaves On a strange beach under a broken sky. O not departure, but a voyage done! The bales stand on the stone; the anchor weeps Its red rust downward, and the long vine creeps Beside the salt herb, in the lengthening sun.
She’s in the desert releasing the ashes of her father, the ashes of her child, or the ashes of the world. She is not
what she observes. The rare spinystar. It does not belong to her. Bright needle threading a cloud through the sky. There’s sun enough, there’s afterlife. Her own body, a pillar of ash. I fall to pieces, she says. Faithless
nimbus, faithless thought. In my life, I have lost two men. One by death, inevitable. One
by error: a waste. He wept from a northern state, hunger too cold for human knowledge. Once I was a woman with nothing to say.
Never did I say ash to ash. Never has the desert woken me up. I said who releases whom?
Inevitably, all have known what the desert knows. No one will count the lupine when I’m gone.
No one looks to the sun for meaning. For meat I’ve done so much less.
Cattle in the far basin, sagebrush, sage.
I live in the city where I loved that man. The ash of him, the self’s argument.
Now and then, I think of his weeping, how my body betrays me: I am not done with releasing.
Imagine a ladder into the clouds After the wealth of all that sweat You’re climbing for what? Heart Or endurance, ¿flaco o flojo? Stars Ever closer to the gateway of your soul. You finally get there. All around it Looks forlorn it took you so long.
Sign Of The Times Gruesome reminder, the mountain Always gives up its dead. Time However, ticks a little differently. All kinds of unexpected men & women A glacier releases, slowly, like gold Or a butterfly. A tree gets green leaves. I get my heart back. I get art. I get you. A family gets their sons back, plus Old boots and a rope that couldn't hold. Meditate on this when sitting in a crevasse. Look down, listen, as your dark shelf moves.
LIFE of my life, 'take not so soon thy flight, But stay the time till we have bade good-night. Thou hast both wind and tide with thee; thy way As soon despatch'd is by the night as day. Let us not then so rudely henceforth go Till we have wept, kissed, sigh'd, shook hands, or so. There's pain in parting, and a kind of hell, When once true lovers take their last farewell. What! shall we two our endless leaves take here Without a sad look or a solemn tear? He knows not love that hath not this truth proved, Love is most loath to leave the thing beloved. Pay we our vows, and go; yet when we part, Then, even then, I will bequeath my heart Into thy loving hands; for I'll keep none To warm my breast when thou, my pulse, art gone. No, here I'll last, and walk (a harmless shade) About this urn, wherein thy dust is laid, To guard it so as nothing here shall be Heavy to hurt those secret seeds of thee.
The hell to be inside the mind of a racist marked by his old code shaping an angry world yes I too am marked by my old codes by what is human man is an important signpost we take our bearings from that we wander not too far from reason else our conviction destroys us liberal dream broke.
No worst, there is none. Pitched past pitch of grief,
More pangs will, schooled at forepangs, wilder wring. Comforter, where, where is your comforting? Mary, mother of us, where is your relief? My cries heave, herds-long; huddle in a main, a chief Woe, wórld-sorrow; on an áge-old anvil wince and sing — Then lull, then leave off. Fury had shrieked 'No ling- ering! Let me be fell: force I must be brief."'
O the mind, mind has mountains; cliffs of fall Frightful, sheer, no-man-fathomed. Hold them cheap May who ne'er hung there. Nor does long our small Durance deal with that steep or deep. Here! creep, Wretch, under a comfort serves in a whirlwind: all Life death does end and each day dies with sleep.
Daylight come Daylight go How far will it reach? Ain't nobody know
And when the dawn breaks The cradle will fall And down will come baby Cradle and all
And now I know you need the dark Just as much as the sun But you're signing on forever When you ink it in blood
A.E.I.O.U., A.E.I.O.U. I use the state of the art Technology Suppose to make for better living Are we better human beings? We got our wires all crossed The tubes are all tied And I'm straining to remember Just what means to be alive
A life worth living Now you can feel it in your chest Building like the little birds Just building up the nest And you build it up strong And you fill it up with love And you pray for good rain All from the Lord above
I use my state of the art Technology Now don't you forget it It ain't using me 'Cause when the power goes out I got other means 'Cause when the power's going out I hear the power's going out I mean it the power's going out I really mean it the power's going out
We stand in the rain in a long line waiting at Ford Highland Park. For work. You know what work is—if you're old enough to read this you know what work is, although you may not do it. Forget you. This is about waiting, shifting from one foot to another. Feeling the light rain falling like mist into your hair, blurring your vision until you think you see your own brother ahead of you, maybe ten places. You rub your glasses with your fingers, and of course it's someone else's brother, narrower across the shoulders than yours but with the same sad slouch, the grin that does not hide the stubbornness, the sad refusal to give in to rain, to the hours wasted waiting, to the knowledge that somewhere ahead a man is waiting who will say, 'No, we're not hiring today,' for any reason he wants. You love your brother, now suddenly you can hardly stand the love flooding you for your brother, who's not beside you or behind or ahead because he's home trying to sleep off a miserable night shift at Cadillac so he can get up before noon to study his German. Works eight hours a night so he can sing Wagner, the opera you hate most, the worst music ever invented. How long has it been since you told him you loved him, held his wide shoulders, opened your eyes wide and said those words, and maybe kissed his cheek? You've never done something so simple, so obvious, not because you're too young or too dumb, not because you're jealous or even mean or incapable of crying in the presence of another man, no, just because you don't know what work is.
I too would be all gunfighter And explain how death hits The floor, except that the floor Is constructed with the sweat Of many workers, mostly men And some don’t much mind death, But in the early morning they lay The foundations of the rest of us.
And I too would be all Casanova And explain love and how it smells The body, except that this body Is constructed of the serial fears Of unknown lovers, who don’t know That heartbreak isn't the end of life, But still take their chances, even though It's late in the afternoon of the rest of us.
And I too would be all Zen master And explain how old dust accords To new dust, that hitting the wall Is dripping with the mind of billions While the Three-Self Movement cries Wisdom won't take your life on the street, But please come take a late walk by the river While the moon waits there for the rest of us.