Saturday, April 5, 2014

Theory of Travel

I am the angel of speed !

My instruments—jets, wheels, and walking sticks !

The boy with the bright blue jacket soaks his shoes in the surf
The woods were already cut when he got there
Beyond them the domes of the capital rise against the evening sun
He follows the red highway to arrive at a closed hotel

As a piano established in the Himalayas
Hollows out the canyon of its presence,
A train curving along the mountain’s edge
Climbs up above the cloud-habitats of men.
She had left herself and all of him behind
For where she was not likely to be found:
“If I could demolish the rules and keep the tradition,”
She said, “romantic and melancholic and austere,
Pieces that would be handed down, like a shawl,
To escape the repetitions of afternoon,
Mechanical thought, the habitudes of house
And home.”  The widow floating on the lake
Viewed the orchards and terraces of Ko.

My angel, my soul, my hypocrite
Imagine the luxury and languor of travelling first-class
In leather seats that recline into a chaise longue
Espresso exported from Peru to Venice
The latest financial news printed on pink paper
White burgundy black velvet blankets
Sleepy cigarettes, white chocolates that burn the throat
When privacy is optimal
You embrace me like a viola da gamba
Glancing around the cabin as we break the sound barrier
Here everything is decadence and pleasure
Repose, extravagance, and leisure

We notice on the ferry bound for Naxos
The color of the sea, when one looks straight down
And not from a distance across its beveled planes
It is as the poet says, not green, not blue

I pluck you like a sheep
From habits where you sleep,
Of body and of soul,
(The last, more powerful)
To keep you clean and clear
Of useless care and fear.
I might send you on the road
To lighten up your load—
Or plop you down a chair
So you may travel there.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

There Is No Recipe

The poetry of this life is the clarity of this life
The elevation and the elegance of it
The clear seeing into it—which is also transport
It is beyond the truth, not tricked
Reduced, as a sauce is, intensified
One can construct it out of anything
Cancer as bright as conception, all assembled
In freedom, jinxed, and clear

Thursday, December 12, 2013

A Veil of Glass

We drift through the chatter of advertisement.
The images are thicker than the snow and cold.
The fruits of our labor are plucked by others
As we plucked them from others.
We are proudly bursting with shame
And now is never the time to unlock it.

Did our eyes invent the night and the stars?
Some part of our innermost selves erased them.
If one could cease thinking, time would stop.
Conversely, time is the extermination of thought.
When all time was spent, there remained a final thought.
We ride its echo like the crest of a wave.

This poem arrived here against the odds,
Escaping the scrutiny of the mind and the taste
Of others who like to put their hands on things.
I am at a loss to write the next words
And yet they come from an infinite converse
With disembodied spirits we call books.

We babel the dialects of God, whose existence,
Like language, in some sense depends on us while we live,
Yet in another, obscurer way hands us a deathless irony.
These thoughts came to me one evening.
I have no way of knowing if they are true.

So a veil of glass divides
So it is a glass veil that divides
So it is a veil of glass divides
Thus a veil of glass
Thus it is a veil of glass divides

Monday, November 18, 2013


 division of division of division of division of division of...

                                            into another

                            we come

perience                                                                     of se



                              a branching

(The mystery of the origin of life as it is related in mythology or the beliefs of the world’s major religions may be cast as the following problem:  how can something come from nothing?  Or rather, how can life come from death, or at least nonlife?)

                                                I and this mystery here we stand

                              above,                                                           below
beyond                                                 behind

“no name no tongue has soiled it”

                                                                  the mind / the spirit

                                         leaps!   to hold it, to behold it


The animate and the inanimate are not so logically discrete as we might like to think.  
E.g. the virus.

Why should death be the defining experience of humanity?
1. because it is universal?
2. because it causes the ego pain?
                                                                              fuck that

A collision of molecules brought you into being,
                                you in-process you

a process never present to itself as complete
                                            completed, it no longer           is

                                                                    What molecule(s)
                              will you meet
                              that stop

                                                                           the becoming you
that you are?

AND IF (ah, the beauty of “if”)

                                                        you bumped into
                                                        (“Hey Mikey!  He likes it!”)

AND YES (good old “yes”)

the bird, the wind, the wave,                       the star, the clock

The mysterious                                   “and”
            the mysterious    “yes”             &            “earth”

                                                       a plural of parts

part AND part
                     night AND day
                                            pain AND joy

               empty of unity
                                                            empty of transcendence

Friday, November 8, 2013

Not What We're Looking For

Today one is taking out the garbage of judgments.
They stand in noisy steel bins outside the mind.

It was the clutter, the clatter of others,
The self parsed by the self, that had to go.

And yet it is hard to part with what feels
So familiar, like a second skin

The way a chevalier must have felt
Steeled in comfort astride his horse

Staring at the latest, the villainous harquebusier.
Is it a matter of life and death?

The death of something, yes.  Invisible,
Molecular, a spring cleaning in winter,

The smashed and bundled furniture of the spirit
(Gaping at its vacancy) brought to the curb

For the idle and scavengers to pick over
Till the garbage men arrive.

In throwing it out they are what they are,
Free, stinking, and strong.

Whatever Tsarina and her minions think,
Of themselves, and of their own glass Easter eggs,

Plain sounds and secret etymologies
Keep chewing through the wood of one’s mind.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Brownfield SIte

Drifting into the corner a knot of thread
Not of wire plugged into the dirt of a sofa
In the forest the walls soaked in urine
Like the earth just a portion of which
Can never return here to what was built
Are layers of paint on broken walls still
Layers under choked vines when the core
Of the wall exposed is cracked and laced
With the song of a hospital’s mother
Everything incites us to walk deeper
Into abandon the leaves the pharmacy
The dank tile floor of the woods
Now would be the time for a story
A pang of suspense in the rank brown air
But sometimes the stories are over
Told once and dispersed in aerosol bursts

Signed dark outside the abandoned lair 

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Places Where Inner Others

Each day the unsettled camp
grows expansive with ideas
and the tables strung in a line
from house to shore are filled
with whisperings of lace
and daisies, and swaths
of black-eyed susans chatter
on the return from the range.
Evening activities yet to be planned
are on no one’s mind as the
campers are loath to leave
the woods until sunset,
and then only rarely.
The flag once raised echoes
from a distant horn,
the misty mornings muffling
sounds or slowly conveying
wet letters from the clouds.