warped and entangled in rat upon snarl
daily my intimations of personal greatness
propelled me willy nilly along swathes
I rarely was conscious of cleaving
My crocus eye never quite caught gear
as I trod prosperously into the mirage
of a glistening promise never quite prospected
I never thought to examine my pinnacle
as an unwavering plane, so simple
for some untrained eye to track
A-wallow within, the glorious quest's
geometry appears to have evaded me
So certain of my touch of magnificence
I never elaborated it - never shed light
upon the elegant needy crystal.
You might say I was a fool dancing upon twine,
so strictly to forego reality,
living only to envision. I knew
the dreams were figments!
yet my vision, hark, was faultless,
my coil unique, so direct.
Still I hear a voice call my name.
I am a grand highway, I am true.
Alive, I am new,
it isn't a drama,
and never surreal.
the tense smiling dogs of war dream.
they long night and
day with every breath for
young girls, fecund women.
desperate to touch his own
unborn child, each feels
reduced to body
alone. they think, entranced
amidst the thunder and roar
which in each heartbeat
refines their souls,
of life, sight, reflect
upon light, or reclining
recall a parent's soft caress.
they imagine love, yawn or howl , and
yearn again for the newness of loss.
it is time that roars,
torn formless rat corpses will
putresce and become a
victors' sweet pride, the dance
and glad song of parades.
beneath the moon
my nostrils flare
the night smells like your body
coalesced, set dark and deep
an alloy steeps sleek alloy steeps
midnight's lingering tinctures
compose, with a guileless
line, your eyes, teal eyes
and sliding crow through blue thin mist
I savour almond darkness coiled,
dusk's blood braided through the bouquet
of your sleep, the desert's solitude
purpling sky the rich sand's red
prescient whispers swell in the
hissing waves at dawn
--my heart quickens!
swaddled in your dream's incense, it's
my voice I hear call, yes- I
declare aloud your martian name
I could be lost as I hear
a complex fiddle strain
confide no more than that I'm here
no stream to guide me nowhere
to hide what need not be concealed (that is,
what I do not own
yet suddenly hold so close)
low full moon
pale cypress billow
night smells like
moon still reminds me of you, sometimes
for Cathy Keachie
you weren't ever one of the women I
wrote poems about. I gave you no promises.
never tried to get you into bed,
even with your face like summer.
Cathy you filled me with strength already.
I had no cause to doubt I was your
handsome prince. (you said so!) we shared time.
came a dance we swirled thrice about.
then just happened to be circling different loam
for the next pair of decades. a thousand other dreams.
nothing has changed all that much really since you died.
that's a hard one to reconcile, but life seems to eke it
through. one time, I think you'd remember this, I was tripping
on my own, white LSD, in your stone farmhouse. flat speechless.
hand in hand you and I gazed into the transcendent fireplace. hours,
it seemed. I told you when you asked it was the ocean I saw.
then laughed about how that sea had looked like your eyes.
(yet never asked, but now I do - what was your vision, in the flame?)
you know, Cath, moments still come, whole days, when I
shut my eyes I don't dare move. lest every motion shatter,
gravity spasm, and all light abandon my face.
no big deal. same old stuff, you know. (where have you gone?)
stirs me at the odd moment, though. all no different from before, I
know, but then we were too young to think anything of it.
1. Deep within my heartache,
dancing like a ghost,
is a strange little man
who is joyful.
Inside of this shattered spirit,
conjuring like an open eye,
the eternal image
of a heart which laughs.
2. Abiding in my grieving heart,
banshee howling a capella,
is a shining room
of vibrant peace.
Alone in the center of fearful love,
singing like a vagrant,
light swells and flows
quietly, sweet wonder
A Tanka's Heart
I held two mirrors:
one reflecting blossoms, sky,
snow, goats. The other
bared my lone eyes surveying
silent nature in the first.
It's not required: the
at every turn.
we find it in the wasteland,
here, where paradise is sown.
halfway up the mountain
blind and cheerful with
his choices. tea from
a stone cup. a lone
column of rising
smoke to tell the tale.
moon-faced hermit by
the candle knows a
tao he never speaks
never tells, so I
may hope to find mine
Love's a fantasy,
living's work. Yet if you don't
work, the fantasy dies
the clouds turn out to be steel leviathans forging the airways.
would have been more than enough, let us tell you, from
the beginning. el numero uno up front and side-wise, yes,
plenty to embrace from the proverbial get
-go. but then! then they rode the seas like samurai, rolling
strode the denim skies like sparkling sons
of a grey wind, enveloping whole mountain
ranges in coiled raging ecstasy. there was a harvesting.
cliffs wailed, stars muttered. quarks and rumors of quarks.
dogs and cats disguised themselves as parking meters, televisions,
jade toads, plaid scarves. no one's noticed yet. windows
the same as doors by then, statues like masks, and
somehow, again, the drifter did escape.
we always felt exhausted after consummating
these taxonomies; but knew we'd done our best,
we always did, and could expect mist-colored roses
at rest beside our porcelain plates, as reward,
seething and rustling in the candle-lit dawn. like it is.
my eyes read a book I cannot see. the
clouds turned out to be steel leviathans
Roxanne By The Sea
--I have heard the drowning men, she said.
They are so lucid at their sodden ends,
overwhelmed at the sudden clarity of vision
filtered through the fluent coiling sea.
--They do not bellow or caterwaul. They don't cry out
nor even, at their irrefutable last, choke and glug
like porpoises somehow gone tragically wrong. (No
anticipations in the dark of last-minute deliverance, you see.)
--They never thrash (or not for long). My dears, she says,
my dears, they sigh! Oh, can you believe it? she entreats.
That final transit of breath is no triumphant roar
nor ragged moan -- but a fervent gasp, then sigh
like a whisper, perplexed by the struggle passed,
(for now they no longer quite recollect life). It's true,
for I tell you I've heard them, I swear, those impoverished
sweet sinking men as they pray their drowning never ends.
The Poet, Again Finding Nothing, Somehow Glad
So the circle. In my youth
I too feared my inner poverty. How could I not?
But I grew, at least I changed. What else? I stumbled, faltered
through my days. Like lifting stones I unearthed a sublime
number of words useful for masking the barren-ness I'd concluded
I perceived in my soul's bottomless liquid labyrinths.
Searched out a surfeit of synonyms to disguise the ones
I worshiped most, who lit me like a small match:
Berryman, Borges, Eliot, Frost...
In the process almost always I ignored them somehow,
receding into a cloak of despair or ecstasy -- one
always nearby to belie the other. I slept witnessing dreams
as if they were my own, all the while suspecting they
were not. I was never quite sure when I woke.
(This may not be precisely true but was just so nonetheless.)
And so arrive here now replete with nothing but this I --
which surely prefigures the same absence I will carry, some bright
morning, into a grave whose nature I still cannot,
perhaps because I so seldom try, imagine.
Yet I am whole. How is this? -- my fear presently resolved,
somewhere within this foggy maze, into outrage and laughter,
rhapsodizing I am fulfilled and strong as though this were the
golden heart of summer, and I the soft shore
reflected in a sparkling stream.
Like I was born already knowing
all my questions need never have answers.
Should I ever die,
be sure I shall not
die of disbelief.
Not I who'll fade as
though I'm the only
one who'd ever been.
Nor shall I need regret
a turgid lifetime
nurturing some million
stinging rank regrets
passing through my coral
eyes like burning birds,
searing final Sight.
Devastating hope. Not I.
If I should ever
die, I pray: I see
your face, your face. Then,
Nothing wasted. Nothing lost.