Solo Zone Publishing



Bartolomé Alberti

© 2008 literary estate of Bart Alberti

The Motto:
``Deraciné refers to those who know more than they care to about things they cannot continue to believe in.''
Japanese photographer Daidō Moriyama quoting Maurice Barrès


by decade

The Poems

Chapter 1

1.1  You, Robert Lowell

in its incontrovertible evidence of impersonal love
Time will pluck the withered rose that fell on Bosworth Field:
Time shuffles, gimleted, that Eleanor might yield:
Time compels material to speak
that he can violate and bend until it shrieks.
Consider the description, consider the described,
the soul abstract or the soul concrete,
foliate or alarming on a littoral of desire,
white houses with red roofs clustered,
the cove where the sailboat awaits to take
under frenzied negative winds of self-conceit
in a journey which another will remark
in a narrative description of imposition and error
to a rock lonely in a middle of the ocean
where Jesus sleeps, smiling amidst night-birds.

September 22, 1972

1.2  Cézanne's Apples

(Clive Bell)

poker players desire
a pair of aces:
flowers; flowers fade;
Cézanne worked slowly;
artificial flowers,
durable, behave;

immarcescibleness endears.
Death is a change of scene or meter

in spite of sequels or sea gulls
your troubles flow from the stars;
hysterical shrieks are an evil spell
(the stuffy clinic).
``Let us imagine
a vesicle of Sensitive (poetry?
a neutron? a big egg?)

Stephen Daedalus
with the power of life,
alone, on a beach in Ireland:
the vesicle,
a clatter of crows
touches the contents
under pictorial means:
the stiff sea breeze
``The sky! The sky!
September 17, 1973

1.3  At Gertrude's

Like the spoon and the educated banana
grammar shows a sympathetic fraction
any letter shows
that capable of recital
it is a flight simple
it is a celebrity
the proposition of
the certain relation
between the merit
and that which is

why is the exchange perfect?
it is so disorganized
the credit comes from interregulation
of maritime industry
but there is a call
for mountains and character
whose surfaces connote additions
(a living shadow...!)
in quantity, design and distribution
the season which is free
is so firm, begun like that
the little tag
or the larger couch
of fullness or agility
the solemn use of patience
halts admiringly
before there are windows
likelihoods and wagons

dating is momentary, it's sobriety,
certainly it devises collections
and the encouragements of aquariums
and conversation which is apparent

we did not see the remainder
who did not stay
kindly expecting
the things that are not lasting
would be disappearing
exhibiting something
in every center.

October 24, 1973

1.4  The Greek Islands

(First Article)
the sudden call
the city responded with a barrage of cats
wound-down, the scene was thrilling
moments of increasing, incidental inferences.


get the keys... get the keys
it was an open and shut case
a push, then a punch, then a black-out
the supposed and subsequent feelings.


Knowing effortlessly nurtured,
sure new born, making room for feelings,
feeling (phenomenal, fabulous) structures
sure, still these feelings, well-wishers.


the apparent absence of action
a pocket emptied of its anxious contents
(a kinetic storm quivering and ripe)
the message is put back, repeated as hearsay.
(Second Article)

Your heart was the billowing fumes of paper-thin candles
the woman is in pain by the right transept door
dressed in unwrinkled satin and sparkling jewels
he jumps up on the wooden hauling chest.


the boys resemble black and yellow fruits
the boy touches the pearl about the woman's neck
the child's hand touches the hip of the woman
nor is there any pain located.


What are you doing, asleep? abundant
and persuasive as an embankment?
or the modulating, delicate voices?
two couples, grouped, turned towards you.


``above all, please don't fall,''
encircled by the foremost fog
the topmost hauler presses his whitening thumbs
the city returns with packages of medicines.

January 31, 1974

1.5  Virtue and the City

I was the blueprint of the City
the incited wind: chimney:
``upstairs there are lilac trees.''

sunlight flushed the lawns and brackish cypress,
the sessile, the inhabitants, the tiresome windows
who are these self-reflective children?

peaceful metals are splendid
paradise carries the weight of the world
with intelligent headbands.

intent textures, the visible, survey replies
in the accustomed deliberate air, bearing
perpetuities' good graces, worthwhile and engaged.

May 2, 1974

1.6  In Proust: Combray

Like sheet of falling water
Sonorous and transparent

The water lilies
are ordinarily dark green

The flowers were more frequent
tightly folded, moss roses, loosened,

farther again, hovering, blue and burnished,
a happiness silent and restless, but alert.

May 8, 1974

1.7  Giacometti

The dead are smaller
and less material than the living
they weigh less

by which the dead are separated
(from us);
it envelopes them, their shroud

death is an interval
of rubbles of feeling
like stacks of rejected

circling lines
darkening tones

habits of the eye
preconceptions of the hand

death succeeds to them

June 10, 1974

1.8  Grand Meditation

a profusion of identity
that is what we want
but why am I wearing a marine jacket?
while she sat there looking so unhistorical?

why is it so important about the name?
because the poem will be a new country
defeating her desire with exhilarations
and embarrassments devised to correct
new difficulties of the old problems
that had a sense of sequence.
``It isn't ours. The world is beautiful
and inconvenient.'' How fortunate, then,
the sliding window drawer where one
observes and records of destructions
and the positive statement. To each's hero,
each's decor. But the intentio auctoris?
Whose? The overwhelming question leads
only to flowing hair, Fragonard sighs,
prepositional phrases of the grammatical,
partitive constructions.

The miracle of the mirror,
its contemplative caresses
are the eminences of our intensive ancestors.
On the eve of revelation you dream
the friendship of suicide.
Tu m'obsèdes, O phantom.
Without the relief of change
you no longer love perfume bottles,
plants, bedclothes, the murdered
woman's head, dissimulations
of the foliage in Tangier,
the sweets of nightmares, the physique
of assassination. What were
those hours, all-powerful, waking,
which could not remain?
In the stupor of illness, you gaze at the Kiss,
the involuntary details of love-making
remind you of the preconceived and spineless
future by which you were undone.

Yes, you will investigate the contradictions of praise
when foreign manners elbow true feelings
which shiver as you cross the ocean.
New giant, I cherish you!
Charity now has you in her labyrinth,
credulous numbers are speaking the truth,
rebecoming one, triangles escaping the square.

The future, love,
the wounded bed seems empty;
children, enamored, are self-sufficient,
blind to repetition, age, the world, plots,
far from space, breathe, being born
each minute, unvanquished fantasy
of parallel lives. The child's prospects
of marriage comprise so many readjustments.
Marriage is only a rich solitude. Who are you
frequenting? Your former ways?
Holding the reins of the heart shaped horse,
help me to learn to love you. Disguised
as an owl, later is too late.
The smile hurts.

Summer 1974, Toronto

1.9  Paris, France (G. S.), 1940

you talk to yourself about chestnuts
and hazelnuts and walnuts and beechnuts

there are falling stars in war time
one star is very red
and when that star turns blue
there will be no more war time.

her aunt was extra-lucid
she knew what was going to happen
what she liked best about the Curé d'Ars,
his talk about the nuns' coifs.

automobiles came quickly in the moon-light
they came slowly in the dark
because their light was green and blue
not white. She knew everything

and this was comforting

August 22, 1974

1.10  The Literature of the USA

the music is playing
there is a melody in this somewhere
it is not the phenomena of radiators
one character is a ventriloquist
another, a sleepwalker
is this merely the rearrangement of the valves?
their intelligence is spasmodic,
but tonight this piece is our own.

the celebrated transoms like representative mistakes
are actors addressing remarkable refugees
at the appearances of trams, string pearls,
glass cups, reading a clumsy book,
rivers, streets, hotels, tastes, songs
things understated like Boston or New York.

that was the elegiac statement
it was not William James; there's
no escaping the Church of England esp.
in America: remember the Archbishop,
Santa Fe or Sangre de Cristo mtns.,
between the Cretaceous batholiths,
sobbings like Henry Adams.

The poem is of these states, brazen
gamecocks, pigs, pits, prosody,
Hartford; where nouns are names, Gertrude
was diffuse: not grand success but
benign, pleasant, omniscient, American;
but Paris was ``dual tug.''

It is the irritation sense. It's in the hand
the conflicts of creation. The will to paint
and the memory of paintings. The major
cycles. Gasping-with-admiration: chancy
fictions are absolute realities. O style,
you are mortal: only the will is eternal
the will to change and the Abandonment.

Colors are tremors. The number principle:
repeat the Transfinite. It never
ends; the eternal is only a beginning.
It is liable to repetition and sequence within
its order, the economy of its attention,
transcending the abstractions of action
and the materialism of disgusts,

wheelbarrows which accumulate puddles
doctors from New Jersey or insurance men
Connecticut ignored, separated by distances
and tumid with obstreperous delights
furnished by the Department of Marine and Aviation,
roll onwards to Delaware, past Pineapple,
past Joralemon, past classical prosody,
which I so love, past the trials of emotion
where Byzantium demonstrates new talents.

Your soul is a painted cardboard leading
the shamanism of maps, wood chips,
empires of stamp collectors, umbrellas
of delirious sirens, beyond the bureaucrats of time
wielding thorns or circles of tiny smells,
like lost crayons carrying unstressed lines
into the valleys of promises: fools below
earth are laying claims and raising curtains
of extravagant blandness of fruit baskets
where peonies are talking textures.
Arriving subways prescribe geographies,
which, are all very beautiful.

I have walked these roads.
I have thought of them, living,
respecting great art in this way,
as a potentiality for the living.
Art, your muted luminosity:
(DeK.); God, we are scattered
when you depart, desperate
our separate beings, abstracted
in quivers of the metaphysical
which is evoked in our elevated actions.
For years it was customary
so to speak, loquacious,
tentative, serious: each still-life
was a frustrating search of sketches
of drawings sustained by austerities
of the imagination. Laws of necessity
once ruled New York, like a cubist
device of misplaced anatomy,
the livery the future wore.
Somewhere, they are still selling salt.
Fresh uses advance to open prairies

or flat-colored squares are an artist's
will thinly painted in tones of
pink and yellow: city streets
move the spontaneous hand
in modes of accumulations or re-uses
to the continuities of psychic tensions
related to the creased tablecloth.
The shape that is a sign is not a stasis
the formless and the all-inclusive form,
driven to the foreseen result,
a female figure holding the Torch.

O history
your affair is of vegetable oils
and coarse fibers
Queen Anne is raised on pulleys
the crustaceans address you
from raised beaches and other shell-
fish from the bottom of their hearts;
but the scarcity of time pieces
the illiteracy of the people
their unwillingness to get out the facts,
the accessible, unrivaled
emotions of facts
from the unconsolidated strata
of literary persons, prevent
your giving the oracle, American,
Confederate or Union, Mojave,
or Bar Harbor, quietus or quenching
either way.

Who, given a stack of Japan paper
makes six drawings
orange bled into white,
Six hundred more . . . ?

Elegies to that Republic
sullen, mysterious,
violators of their own gifts,
impasto excitations
or somber evoked grandeurs,
Dutch clarity of tone,
allied with the Spanish reserve.

We are guided from the peripheral;
a painting is sheer extension
varieties, subtlety of intuition
and automatism, scrutinies
of light and subconscious spiritual means
technical only, not effects, but
preconceptual, specific
tenderness and poignancy:
the motif dictates the medium:
drag it, splash it, flatten the interval,
flow it, accomplish the presentation
of the relationship, of the images, wholly
utmost expressionism.

The sea is a metaphor, as dice are;
release arm energy, abstract waves,
in an emblematic: besides, the sea
disembodies literature or machinery.


April 22, 1975 to November 1975

1.11  A Vacant Lot in New York City

(Upper Silesia by John Ashbery)
the anarchic lot suffered then
that backwards reign
of yellow somehows making room
among the geraniums and softball
birds, like the wind in the same
rooms of dusty summers
and toys and mirrors
of that Upper Silesia
where it changes daily
into loggias of thrushes
inhabiting the porticos
of the antique modes
of the Kings of France
and debouches on vacant somewheres
wheeled away, among cyclone fences,
envelopes and key rings.

February 1976

1.12  Coast Fever

(Carter Ratcliff)
(i) the cooling terraces and whitewashed
walls are an architect's percentages
and the secret eaves, the invented
discrepancies, elusive framing pre-
monitions to comfort you. So in
your mind...

(ii) the form of your desires,
Wallace, a big boat in the river, feed
despairs, which shivers ask of you,
``Do you, completely, like a bird and crying,
bestow the answer on rattling palmettos
or in sultry lightnings...?''

(iii) ``desperation,''
he says, ``my time,'' and was created, Jack
Frost, to fit the shelves, city of curbs
and make-believe lights, framed in paper
and in ornaments. The shimmering foothills
supply imagination to the changing map,
verging co-ordinates and the hem of some
curtain called ``Maya'' and shot through
with sneezes and afternoons of indulgences
which the gentle voices rise to meet,
in bubbles, long months.

March 1976

1.13  The Daughters of Helen

(S. de Madariaga)

the blue sky, a glass of wine,
a face, an hour,
superficial features at the mercy
of strong differences.
France! Spain! Italy!

 Tres, eran tres  Las hijas de Elena  Tres, eran tres  y ninguna era buena

history is a cloud in the sky
which the wind drives; past
is the treaty of Verdun, mother
and queen of Empire, Rome,
drafted into regular units, fighting,
a psychological curiosity of the Italian people,
like the use of vowels, attaching special
importance to pilots, motorcycles
horsemen. Rightly or wrongly,
the law giver acquires a profile,
stamped on his coins,
from Doctor Bartolus,
his imagination of forms
that are not artists' forms, at all,
nor like them, but sonorous in Latin,
possessing their models of long
precedents (not the French, telling
for the sake of the tale.) The present
is a cycle as the future is, no
moment now, but thick with cloud;
werden, and the flowing river,
and the grasping yew tree. Junipers
of autumnal knowledge
joyous with expired time
and the partitive articles
of divisible substances
like the earth under roots
of a field of uses, sure
linguistic sign of respective ways.

   Consequential tensions
with no trace of envy, Paris,
like the thorns of the rose,
fixed mirror, under those clouds,
which are the form of water,
correspond, respectable
hemlocks lending objective
desire and high value
to the eastern neighbor
and the maritime cemetery.

Aptitudes are knots
as loves are, invasions
steeped in modesty;
feelings, too, are symmetrical.
Russia is like the sea, every
direction a cartographic
scruple; and the Englishman,
he says, ``I have dropped
my glove.'' The words,
the gummy menage, closely,
for material things, empirical
executive genius, but this
merchantman or man o'war
is ``she.'' Odd, both, in sex,
in England, and the German knows
nothing that is not unpleasant;
the master of handling sex,
is like longshoremen at cargoes.

German ability after the inept expulsion of the Jews,
remains, gregarious, like disciplined weeds, rank
Thames, mother of the crowned republic, sweet vigor
and wild thyme. At the dooryard they are not looking
where the eyebeams, cross as with friends
behind bony noses of loggerheads, ever desirous
of the vineyards of Aquitaine, refined memories
haunt the space of him who called himself King
of France. Only yesterday, in lists of Anglo-Norman
baronage, snobbery spoke French in mainsprings
of prestige and intellect, until the German menace.

Whoever doubts French admirals are anti-English?
Hitler came to power through the Lutherans. Spanish
fleets and harbors where the trellis spoke Eldorado,
galleons of a King at peace with his Queen, tune
their forks on Big Ben. In Italy a terseness in colors.
But who blocks the way of the ascending flames?
Incendio, Spain. Tu eres desobediente . And the
beginnings of things attract: in the beginning, space.
And the fire that burns above the space.
Whose vowels are austere. The absurd group
are in rebellion against the reasonable; the mad,
against even the rudiments of the rational.

April 1976

1.14  The Library

The affair at Babel externalized the city
in bio-social evidence. This poem, like
New York City, is a partial consensus.
In the library are shelves of literature:
the opposite, the judicial shelves, carry lawyers'
books. William James is in the other room.
The supreme mystery is between the N Y P L,
G C T and Gotham Book Mart. It's called
Bryant Park! and the delicate runnels
of whose cortex, digestive tract, coffee
shops, homo sapiens talks. Just like Bill
Williams said he would! No need to
go to Jersey for this! Thousands of languages!
Minuscule stones, each texture!
Villages are divided by valleys of low, long
eroded hills. And at the extreme, rivers.
Syntax? Who got it? The power of statement,
abatement and designation. Say, Quirites ;
re-enact the sufficient mind. Declare
what dismemberment of the great, enfolding
serpent of the world. Something dovetails
perfectly. What is it? Substance or shape?
The modern epistemologist might put it
with perfectly defined roots. The facts
of the case. But the crime came later, its
truth like a dusty pane. The tongue of Eden
was flawless glass, until they, eavesdropping
on the gossip of the gods, were harried
like yelping dogs, exiles of the single
family, unable to grasp. Strive,
to attenuate! Stars and fabled rivers,
Passaic or Hudson! The obscure fluvials
argue the full meaning, reaching the ocean,
the Hudson Chasm, the undoubted idiom.
Lexical traces, equitably scattered, mosaics
constructed an incensed God, would restore
by applying to ancient names, a divinely
nominated calculus. Very high. He knows
the truth as he speaks it. What is
the cipher of Elohim? In brief: speech,
the original scattering. The arcane web
compacted seventy-two designators
of the fount. The memory of God?
The purposes of the Wall were contrary
the insolent Tower. Quit the City? ...the fist!
The Tower is a necessary ``move,'' a surge.
Sensate time and space interpenetrate
with alternative cosmologies, consistent
speech energies animate the actions
of the mirrors of enigmas, a high, silent
wind in unstable, conjectural habitats.
What no poet has imaged, dreamt elsewhere
the figures of another's speech
gag at our sinewy throats, garbled
as the tongues of Babel's fall, gibberish
the fibers of the grip, the gist, the grain.
Close-woven legacies, verse and fable,
constitute a mapping, familiar as sleep,
quick with interchange, occult moves
on the step. Your memories, man, merely
are of the war that was before the war that
you remember. The autobiographies
archangels wrote, this concise fiction!
A pastiche of a fastidious pedantry!
Bill Williams is another Quixote?
``...subtleties animate....'' Descend,
descend, beneath the exterior disparities:
that all men known to man are able! Sustain
life, the actual work of speech! Pose
questions, the conventions of approximate
analogies, rough-cast similitude; just
tolerable, when cognate languages really
spurious are tongues and sensibility.
Intermediary attitudes in guises are traced
to common sources. All nations traverse,
travail the lexical sources of historical
coloration, scrupulous growths! Pregnant
muddle, to-day is uncanny. Nature provides
literature of world rank! A waking nation!

April 28, 1976

1.15  For the Duke of Lorraine

the central mystery
(of France herself)
blossoms; place-names;
as the ageing hero
discovers deceit among
the arranged lime blossoms
and the defaming chessmen,
until the compass of that dawn
in which colors, learning hate,
extends its arc to the scattered
pleasures of afternoons, wordy
with melodies: beyond the shapes
of dreams hesitant with Paradise
and libraries: elemental executors
after the multiplied acts of begetting
(guardians of the Settlement) bringing
doom to the House, to the corners
of dream players deploying pieces,
sleepless islands, fishes, rooms,
instruments, stars, horses, delicacies
which corrupt and confuse. Death,
Singing, barren Death, in bunched
words, equaling (not surpassing) mythologies,
toppling the reluctant diseases. Colors,
alone, work miracles, and corollaries....

May 14, 1976

1.16  St. Bartholomew's Library

(it's by the Waldorf Astoria)
(or, Examining the Real Estate)
Giddy with pocketfuls of medicine
flasks of colors (fleeing at bus stops)
lawns undone at sobbing hardware stores,
they apply rentals of allegory, symbols,
structures, with particular attention to
lyric evolutions in corner rooms; off
white in intermediate Italian or taking
comprehensive sexual views from penthouses
of astrological innuendo or filmic
charades screening Parker Tyler: East
River's silver thread on ribbon is calm
at 3 p.m.: the Williamsburg Bridge plays
cribbage and sonnets write themselves, LXV,
from Providence (R.I. which was,
once, Duke County). Life is nutritious
cheese, replete of uncouthisms; faute de
poets cry ``reredos of crunchy
menagerie gravel.'' (E. 61.), rolls bowls of
marbles to the orangery which agitates chrome
problems of Rhodesia. Art goes on, reeling
and puking in the nurse's arms; orthodox
Freudians repair university chairs
at the Vatican Summerhouse. Everybody's
got a favorite system, their own favorite
Ashbery poem: some take the ``conservative
mood'' taxicab; but Freud's express is a milk
train to Syracuse. And this induced neurosis,
called the City, just keeps on coming,
but declining in population and gasping
for culture, no-where, the future.

May 22, 1976

1.17  The City: Seamen's Institute

If you come this way
expecting miracles: they happen
revealing mysteries. Notice
the wall painting. Réel sans être
actuel. Veritable
. So you want
a recapitulation leading to
l'impuissance . These afternoons
we think of icy images. We
preach Hegelian living to
the peasants. Our feelings
are masks we design in sunlight
and at heart. The canal is full
of coal barges, burning lignite
replete sputtering hazards. Beautiful
sails discommode beautiful orchids.
The clothes we wear are the logs
we burn in the fireplace, providing
warmth. The graveyard at sea,
Emma Lazarus, occasions the poetry
of the sailors' bells. We are blind
in light as we utter what the sun utters
in masks of light. The huntsman of the wall,
who is in a cave, draws the bow, in light.

June 15, 1976

1.18  Chekoviana

weakening eyesight misses
dim houselights and the trees
that are made of paper floating
on the water. The nervous wood
takes root in the real thing
whose small, provincial edges
are still-lifes of future cobblestones.
Affections are depressing, in mornings,
characters looking for limpid reasons
of faultless summers of lacustrine
theatricals where the players change
clothes in the orchard. Song is
as natural as blossoms open. But
the bankrupt drying furrows
exchange battlefields for fates
in common, and stones, tombstones,
and matches lighting up wounds.
Temporary brilliancies are larks
wearing old forage caps; moonlight
comes later, pounding at the waves,
at a low moment of the night.

June 15, l976

1.19  Sept Leçons sur L'Être

One childhood. One old age.
But connected to the same life?
In death is the beginning.
Original sin, nos jours , is a disease
reaching out to a transgression.
Filled with mistakes, recalcitrant,
we equal the worst looking for images.
Vacancy was preferable. We desire
death, but do not will it. Each
of the images was drawn out
of desire, like a white light.
There is an active principle.
The world is patient of its
transformations, as the self is;
and Desire is active. There are
principles of sequence, and sequents
revealed by the principle, selective.
Each occasion of disjunction is
L'être, le néant . That it fall
into vacancy is desired but the
Vacancy is not desired except
by the Desire which is occasioned
by the vacancy. An image is not
a moment. But the movement in time
(time not being a movement), the
movement in the arbor where the syllables
gathered, is the nourriture celeste
by which the triunfo could be active.
The several languages are someone
speaking to us. Who is it? What it says
is unknown, but the identity is
also in question. Our questioning
reflective beings, addressing the Whole
do not forget, memorialized by repeated
errors which do not condense, replacing
the vacancy by the image. Our souls
are now simple points. And you thought
your childhood was behind you,
not seeing the infinity of rebirths,
mere child, emitted by the Horn,
like strings of pearls. Time undid
you; undo time; a single point
is all time; and you thought so,
that past time could be remembered,
and there would be world enough
and some time.

June 15, 1976

1.20  The Weight

The scholar is at the dark armchair
above the gushing pond whistling
of death and circles, convivialities
like knowledge arriving in wooden
shoes which learned history
out of wine cellars and old arcades,
nocturnal masters. Change our lots,
time! who goes everywhere and is not
refused access. Dead execrable
enormities are put under the haystacks
where the scholar in a beribboned
carriage gazes out at high clouds.
Beasts are striking at a clock. The
little meadow runs up to the busy hamlet,
eager with branches and hurling rain
at the windows of the library where the boy's
forehead touches the genial sunlight, later
Tonight, across the moon's face flit troupes
of actors which seek the grand opening
from red and black mudstains of wet roadways.
Under hemlock, the scholar is pained,
and the maiden is unspeakably confused,
hemmed in and in divided landscapes proposing
anguish out of the image which had been
indolent as a cat. How short, the blue
letter paper of life: the last green is
without luster: and the leaves turn umber
beneath the blue sky. The child's apron,
which they hold, is yellow, violet and grey;
in that palette the pathetic blue rejoices.
The tiny pond whose wrinkled surface
is growing older, where glances kindle
the dark hair of the lily pads,
hears the notes of the dark clavier

July 4, 1976

1.21  Patmos: Holderlin

(see Quarterly Review of Literature vol. XX, Nos. 1-2)

The God is hard to fathom
so near, growing in close
darkness, the abyss
to cross over light roped bridges,
swaying. The peaks of fainting time,
mountains overlook innocent
undivided waters; and the
winged mind. Swifter than

forseeings which are scented
with the air of a thousand peaks
Asia burst open before me.

I sought a Genius
to carry me ... to my own house....

The speaking twilight
went to the shadowy wood
to lands that never knew the mountain-stream
whose flowers climbed the steps to heaven
freshly glorious, in thought.

High are the silver blossoms in snow
witness to immortal life:
I have grown unused to roads

(and the inaccessible ivy
grows on cedars, laurels ...)

The boatman knows the islands
that are around Asia:
not the others, not like Cyprus,
not like Cyprus rich in fountains
is the grotto Patmos, hospitable,
poorer in griefs and longings

O departed friend
the Stranger draws near;
She hears gladly, her children;
the voices of the level field
and flowing sand fall,
echoing the nursed sorrows
of the man.

The God-loved, the delicious,
who had gone with the Son
of the Highest; loving the simplicity;
the attentive man seeing clearly
the mystery of the vine; they sat
together at the hour of Supper.
Great soul, the Lord spoke
out of death and the last love,
calmly foreknowing; for,
he saw it and the good words.
And the friends, they saw him;
He looked victoriously, the most
joyful. Yet they sorrowed;
the astounded evening had fallen;
and the men in their decision
of soul, loving, under the sunlight,
the life they did not wish to leave,
nor the countenance of the Lord,
nor home. Deep, like iron-fire,
and the shadow was beside them;
he sent them the Spirit;
the auguring heads sat brooding,
heavily assembled, the heroes of death.

July 11, 1976

1.22  C. S. S. Pierce

The secret of life wrested itself
from extraordinary times in that Season
of Dreams in which God's separateness
succeeded to His Love. We are exiles
of purity. With invention the spaced
nothing changes, unless the starry
line measures out an original matriculate
necessity. Until there is a new mind,
of which the mind is always new, the old
repeats itself, recurring to the witch-hazel
at margins, among the shallow banks
of the old swale channel, the small foot
prints of the mind under tufts. Death
grows, too, has its own system of growth,
parallel, overhanging in oleander,
crumbling in chalk pits. The sun is
at offensives. Summer does not doubt,
being mortal, leaving chance outside
until dormant reason wakes in many
colored fruits of autumn. The eternal
only are in doubt, their eternal negation;
but the mind is ever at poesis (what
has poetry to do with the foolishness
of dentists at the exposed nerves' ends?),
productive, graduate, Love and chance ...

July 17, 1976

1.23  Courtly Oaths for Tennis

( John Ashbery)
The bloodied water which you have been drinking
goes on loving or wins the race in the blotted regions
which elect the President all the way through
fog and drizzle. The stammering sincerities
of coastal margins which intend villages and fatigued
wild horses and guesses, are worried. Water beetles
are still skittish and are mailing letters in kettles
which emit jabbering steam like a lovely tent
or an incomprehensible dance. Clouds. Mystery.

This is a set piece. The production number
for the mid-latitudes; taking advantage
of the climatic optimum, the inter-glacial
inter-montane photo-montage of soil, air, rain,
emotional effects in the moment of the ringing
bells. The carnations are otherwise, and doctors
coming over the road, consult with Philip
respecting The Times and symptoms of glacial
movements indicative of oboes, undeniably
wearing hats. Fears are groundless; the sharp
edge of the continent, island arcs of anxieties
festooning the garment, intervene reassuringly.

Lilacs, blowing across the face are botanical
notes choosing this moment to inquire
about black and white stripes pouring across
the drowned valley where the pilgrims
were all going home. The caretaker
in solicitous (but there are fewer of them)
and the shifting blood in the quaking
dream, which is a death dream, foretelling,
where the light smelled orange
and the man's shovel was filled with moss.
In this glen the privet hedge jests
about hot spring nights and steering
automobiles in Swiss tunnels which
are haunted by bees disturbing the staid
impressions of direction held by dwarves.

Giants attend to the crashing waves
of the maremoto and write letters
home telling of the devastation. The listless
ivy is watering the exchanges committed
by wandering genitalia which understand
tables and chairs. Sunlight changes ever so
slightly to resemble thumping boots at noontime.

The air around us is strangely obedient
to the demands of the garage roofs, which
the painter notes in cabbage patches
of purple and Matisse rings. A minute
after the side wink, the books from which
dangle wild thyme and sentient grasses
are laughing, lighting up the darkness.

August 1, 1976

1.24  The Society of the Co-Deceased

despair speaks with algebraic brevity
the diary has acquired poetic coloration
cataloguing the uniquely unhappy

the past has not yet come;
he is already dead; the first kiss
is in the past which has not yet come
to be the future: hopes
find themselves in conflict
and cannot die. You cannot live
for you are already dead; you
have no time. You are like the Spanish
Knight, a creature of desperation,
standing still with time in the stream
of chessmen which are nostalgic
for the first things and becoming
apparent in their removal from time
itself. How haunting the all-embracing
indolence! Or the embracing tedium
which does not suffer pain. Boredom
is in the pages of the concept or the familiar
profiles of development or the absences
from self which were the motivating forces.

It all began with dread. Immediate
stages without disquiet gently rocked
the unclarified emotion. A presentiment
evolves into seeking, between
dreaming and desiring, symbolizing
outright, temporally dreaming of sweet
pain. Death is a sympathy which observes
children in prodigious adventures
awaiting mortality. Dissention feeds
nothing. The flower gets wings fleeing
towards death whose colors are suspicious
that death is the swiftly vanishing object
which reappears like a glowworm. The
original unity of the graveyard is not forgotten
by the iron trellis on which the unwearied
experience a moment of repose. A part
of you lies sleeping in the world. To
use words you dwindle away, almost vanish
from reality, like a startled deer; the circle
which finds you a way in from reality
to the deceptively simple does not hesitate.
The trait of freedom... the butterfly....

August 20, 1976

1.25  S. K.: The Cloisters

``as the raven lost the cheese''
so you will lose the absolute
if you look out

as the nerve filament
lies under the nail
so the sexual relation
is the egoism of the giving
of life

God demands of the giving
which is in the gift of the giving
up of the giving of life

the Fall is the satisfaction
of the egoism; that the race
be stopped; that the grip
of evil teaches; the consequence
of quarrels: to be salt:
to be saved out of the race:
barring the way for our race
to be sacrificed

spirit is the dying off
to be world after the being
in the world kept alive
in a state of death

the punishment is to exist
ripe for eternity:
that dead person's will
that I want

August 23, 1976

1.26  Gabriel Marcel

(Metaphysical Journal ,
October 23, 1920)

The problem of death becomes clearer
is it an absolute distraction or some
other mode of paying attention?
death can be compared to some one
of whom we have ceased to know anything
(not being able to give information)
we conceive a world of partial
identification and participation...
an unverifiable and non-existing
distinction of truth...
for consciousness to exist it is necessary
for it to exist in relation to something
other than itself. To be examined....
September 9, 1976

1.27  King's Bench Walk

( George Moore)

Pigeons call a hansom which notices the
sapling and the restless black
dotted sparrows spring on india rubber
which are celebrated for licentious literature
are emitting a blue and white sky showing
a seventeenth century gable.
Spring tides and Japanese decoration
almond trees, the gardens dream
of lovers and the daffodils are reminiscent.
The canal had not been abandoned. I
had hoped the lean horse of the past, the rope
tightening and stretching, pulling a black mass with
ripples at the prow and a figure bearing
against the rudder: servants of a sacred spring.
The chestnuts are in bloom stirring the memories
of my dead life and of the grey sea. The flat
way across it, it seeming like a beautiful
plan, without beginning or end, moving
so as to keep even with itself, until the darkness.
And the crews seek for the town and the grey
slate squares and the round roofs disappearing.
The quays shake with the clumsy movements of their hips.

September 9, 1976

1.28  Valéry-Poulet-Proust

(i) what hammer blow
has the being or the thing lying
there received that it is unconscious?
things, places, years, move around us
flickering and changing their place to the
disincarnation of lost feeling

(ii) vacillations fill up the conjectured
lacunae lighting up the doubtful visions

(iii) the magic chair carries forward
to the magic lantern. We wander
in duration as well as extent....

(iv) what certainties can a consciousness
without content find? What can
you offer, beggar, that you are?
Are they themselves, and not other?
Going to bed, in the room of your life
is doubtful, the occupant.
Thence proceed the contractions
and rebellions of the threatened
parts of whole selves, of the secret,
partial, tangible, and true which
interpolate themselves in successive
deaths. To be dead, is not, simply,
not to be: it is to be another.

(v) I no longer loved her
and had died, wearing
a new face....

(vi) ``...after the drop of time
a resurrection follows
in a different ego, the life,
and the love of which are beyond
the each of the elements
of the ego which is doomed
to die....''

(vii) the death of ourselves
is a fragmentary death
the substitution of self for self

(viii) the assurance of survival
to find oneself again
in the Kiss of the child
waiting for its mother
to burst open the precincts
of death

(ix) which tells us: ``you were such''
which covers the reality
of a lost paradise.

September 23, 1976

1.29  In Memory of Feeling: F. O. H.

humanism is against the sea
painted orange in Celebes where
the coolness of the shutter closes
on the incognito of the mailbox.
Supreme lucidity is an emphasis
or a barge fleeing like rockets
in the night counting itself lucky
to be the celebration of gondolas
and numerals. The winter has a taste
in it of verse, at times, withdrawn,
from the streets, chilled in cool skies,
addressed to its colleague, Death.
The response of eternal justice is the hunting
dead, talisman of the invaded, reciting
ideas, which are proof in themselves
being hunted by the several years.
Centuries will say these lights are dead
trying to count them as they die,
the mere ideas whose merest nostalgia
will cause our death. Thinking in solitude,
where the pony stamps at the edge of the sea,
the winds are bringing horses. The ear
of the world is fleeing the scrutiny
of the bushes which are catching fire
as the heels of autumn sweep through
the drying air.

September 25, 1976

1.30  Watt: S. Beckett

The shifting detail is adding to the caprice
of its taking place in the scene in the music
room signifying a tuned piano exchanging judgments
with the fragility of the outer meaning of surprise
in the row boat smelling of flowering currants.
His dead father appeared to him in a wood;
an old lady of delicate upbringing unstrapped
her wooden leg. Suddenly brought to mind,
remaindered legs and trousers in shop windows
quantified the incident, as men will do,
in stories, déja entendu , ill-heard,
half-forgotten, but of a great formal
brilliance. If his attitude had been less
anxious, these incidents, occurring
off-grounds, with the toys, the simple
games of time and space, the peculiar
characters of time playing with space,
requiring him to enquire of the induction,
forming the body of experience, out
of the recollections which prompted
the notorious difficulty, out of obscurities,
rapidities, eccentricities, the aptitude
to receive which was proposed, the idea,
to whom they were committed,
attain the great quantity of legs
and trousers, but ill-told, not
knowing what had happened. The nothing
that had happened, with the
utmost formal distinction, continued
its phases beyond to the clarity and solidity
of their vexations. The meticulous
phantoms beset their variances,
exorcising the operation, until the
application of the virtue, replaced
in due course, another of the last
assistance. In terms of the series,
does the innocuous speak of the least,
or peace of mind, or periods of rest,
or, in place of another, hypothesis? Self
defense involved, in the original, the piano,
obliging to speak as thought and spoken
of the meaning of varying the length drawn
out of the initial.

September 30, 1976

1.31  Substitutions: Proust

The exposed mirror
shows the scraps and islets,
hawthorne, apple tree,
the wriggling swarm of base emotions
providing the first sketch.
All is undone that is done.
The distances which define our concerns
constricting them to deprivations
fall into the accomplices of nothingness
as we reconstruct our admirations
to include their imperfections.
Time, the iconoclast, wonders
at the enormous importance
of the Book (or lime trees in leaf,
or apple trees in blossom) in his
hurry to convert into metaphor
the miracle of the sense of the subtle
sensations, hurrying to destroy,
and, at the same time, to reconstruct
the image, ground into shape, pulled,
dropped, taken up again, submitted
to every form, which are never exactly
what he is looking for. The attractions
of death are the despairs of its attainments.
The journey continues: but the goal and the cause
have changed to the more mysterious
kingdom which is that of the dead
disguised as the living. Separations
which are mere difficulties
and their tendered proofs become
the urges of creatures to be
dissolved into that nothingness
of the demonstrative pronoun
of his gnawing tumor. Nothing
can resist the premonitory
symptom from bringing disorder
into the cellular of manner and thoughts.
Death is the explanation of all we find
in the malady of the lyrical search.
Death is the cause of all we find.
Disappointing is the thought learning
how to die in the contemplation
of the vicissitudes whose anticipatory
denouements fill up the frustration
of our sympathies, which increase our fears.

October 1, 1976

1.32  The Study of Robert Lowell

The unjust dead do not suffer, dim witnesses
to felt truth: in a class by themselves
symptoms of a consummated disease
they do not fear the trial and judgment
of the peers of the dead, sinners of life,
whose thick smoke billows from the factory.
Life is exhausted, preexisting and trembling,
human conditions, deceiving the writer
with compassion, causation, destructions,
practicing speech against the days of loss
which undo the work and propel the achievement
into the aristocratic, Plantagenet, blind,
counsellors of the dear victims. And after
the cattle plagues and the depressions,
induced rinderpest, in the victualling
station, called mortality, buiten
of an outpost of the civilization
of the immortals, what do snails say,
making love, ``Conch you?'' Timidly, we fear
to make the slightest allusion, not to our
mortality, which we know (nor to Death
whom we have never met), but shook
by the promises made us, Voilà messieurs,
and descried their effects in our careers,
deserted on some destitute island
of politics and the English language,
we describe our lives for publication
in well-known miseres, contending
for a passionate oblivion.

October 22, 1976

1.33  The American Landscape

( Howard Mumford Jones)
cerulean hues; ceaseless abusive caws;
sequestered costly welcomes; disruptive
and avulsion; palisadoes; beyond
the farm, or the village, or the church,
or the meadow, or fishing pool, or picnic
spot, or the park, there lies vast, extended
Death (shimmering skies, a mysterious
mist, mountains that block the view)
indented with numberless bays,
embellished by fantastic headlands,
dotted with islands; but, single,
solitary like a snow-white cloud,
sang from the blood pond,
its silent pool, losing itself
in the continuous wood. Life itself,
its drawings, illustrating its conchology,
paleontology, botany and geology,
in wonderful colored pictures that still
retain their freshness, pours alkali water
on those graces, terpsichorean,
sacrificial, and fiducial,
which anoint the broken wheelbarrows,
shovels without handles, blunted
picks, cobble stones and boulders,
in mastery of cunning manipulation
of personal relations, but well-shod.

October 24, 1976

1.34  Waiting for Godot

Am I? Me too. Together
at last. Celebrate; but how?
Not now. Inquiring of spending
the night, in a ditch qua ditch,
in the same lot, as usual, the heap,
of bones, as usual, derisively
replied, in the little present
minute of time, that he had, no doubt of it,
``When I think of it, on the other hand,
what's the good of losing heart,
if you had what I had, hurts, taking
off my boots?'' Stooping for buttons,
neglecting the things of life, what do
they expect, the last moments
of neglect, deferring to hope, relieved,
at the same time, of the concurrent
faults? Suppose we repented,
the details, of our being born,
if we, that is, gave it up, wholly,
to the Compassion which produced
us, when we dared laugh
at our privations, smiling
from ear to ear, swimming
in the Dead Sea. We were
once poets, swelling visibly,
and, yes, the two thieves, too,
remember the story. Who abused
the Savior, because he would not
save? Imbecile! From death!
Ambitious, too, to save from death!
One of the four says that one of
the two was saved, which is to be
believed, all there is to it, and why
not, in the only version they know.
Limping to the extreme left, sure,
that they cue to wait by the tree,
a willow. Where are the leaves?
It must be dead. No more weeping;
perhaps, it's not in season, the bush,
not possible to weep. Stopping to talk,
minding to sleep, lonely, telling
the dream, privately, we wouldn't
go too far. The wayfarers are calming
themselves over the calming prospects
of the beauty of the way. Angry,
but for the sake of the kidneys,
they hang themselves from a bough,
which is not to be trusted.

Vague supplications that we'd seen,
he seeing, us, not promising,
anything which was in promise,
the disgrace contemning the nothing
we can do. Dropped, we fall
asleep; stool, after journey; what
ails us, putting down our bags?
Say something! His neck aches,
after the seeing; the running sore
which the rope made. It's the rubbing;
a trifle effeminate, the slobber,
eyes goggling, needing the bones,
and absorbing the nicotine, in spite
of precautions, not appearing to falter,
begging pardon for the silence,
when, perhaps, you didn't speak,
mollified, awaiting the idea
of parting. Do you imagine
how well you carry the idea
of the capacity, pig of mortality,
doing the job of work of the miseries
which regret the decision first
mentioned? Remark the pardon.
Someone is crying. The best thing
is to kill him before he comforts
you; pity him, lest his pity
forsake you, making haste,
before he stops bleeding, in
the middle of cooking eggs.
We are crippled. Someone will
carry us. Try to walk! If you can!
Your tears, brilliants of the first
water, beauties, truths, graces,
abound in vehemences of common
things, which would be professional
worries of the departed, gathered
in baskets, covered with cloths.
Screeches of pain would be more,
delivering the nerves which think
afterwards of the natural order.

You have such need of those,
encouragements, which were intentional,
because defective memory,
and the selective attention
at the defunctive music, parallels
the civil gentlemen having an honest,
dull time as the twilight tortures
with its ten francs of immortality,
who are not beggars. We do not
take precautions against the sun's
not rising tomorrow, but we fear
our death, which we, not seeing
(don't you believe it, sirs),
that it observes a schedule.

October 25, 1976

1.35  The Ship of Fools (Sitwell)

bleak music from the old stone wall,
in effect you see yourself when dead;
such things are transitory and depend
on winter light. You will not accept the hope
of immortality in the sun of Italy. More
in the false heaven of the brief remembered
life, and the emotions of the dying. Survives,
something of us; there is that in us, long
chapters of aphorisms summarizing the contents.
Skip it; it has nothing to do, terrifying
haystacks with pitiful hands, tempering
the railings with parodies of mayors. The secret
of immortality is thought made substantive,
become real: viewing the bayaderes,
meeting the Abbess, accepting thanks
and unexpected fruits and necklaces.
Time deepens and grows more solemn,
brushing the sprigs of pomegranates
past the snapdragons quick with
apperception, trifling with
the familiar demons and the phantom
Dutchman. Metal groans; big
machines wax dramatic; the nocturnal
cloud has the wings of a rebel angel
and drowning men. When did one
die? and not the future is the question.
The serpent is not the only animal,
and stultifies and holds back.
In the extremity of the underworld,
we cannot look back to the bright
colors and high spirits, to the double
fetes which were two brass bands
playing at once. Are you the shirt with blood
stains at the back? an old top hat? flap
of felt? carrot or turnip? or wooden mouth?
For you said, something indistinct, among glass
cases. What is the intention among the invisible
bodies, which animate the stories which distribute
their burdens of advantages in jars and bottles?
They memorialize the shadows.

October 27, 1976

1.36  Sir Walter Scott: 17th February 1828

I think the stomach has something to do with it
or walking on feather beds, in the sense of pre-
existence, nothing that passed, said for the first
time; old friends are mirages; a calenture
aboard ship, distressing yesterday the fancies
I did or said. The phaeton arrives on Dunlop
tires. The wool I knit with seems strange,
and the flowers, not being real, I find
I cannot die. That I am I, surrounded
by all that can render, is the something
between my life and mine whose tender
caresses show fluctuations of mood. Life
itself is full of spontaneous recoveries;
being itself a recovery from the anterior,
the Wordsworth line, anxious to get well,
finding the way harder, the state of the state.
Jealousies disconcert, travelling by train
or bus; double-decker hopes or ambitions,
the constitutional factor, as in ``he divined
me with a look,'' connect thought or feeling
and simple stresses. Collapsing, fainting,
or dying, the personality experiences
the act of sitting, which, at any rate,
is a part of life, with its water-brash,
tinnitus, as the driving force of the wandering
womb. Haphazard, ``I am sure you are falling
forward,'' with grievances, the employer's
son, striking back with differential
diagnoses, choreiform movements, mimicry,
jerking gait, tolerating the safety pin.
At the grave of Thomas Hardy (St. Winnifred's
wishing well of neurotics), the opera glass
gives up the three-mile looking of the hanged.

October 28, 1976

1.37  For Henry Adams, November 1, 1976

after death Time withdraws
and the memories do, too,
thus comforting us with knowledge,
when no one remembers us, we need
not fear, nor the living body,
keeping us alive in our stretches of fatigue.
The domain of time is cruel, so many
years of the little bell in the garden!
How assiduous are the young divinity
students! Those giants on their stilts!
Their church-spires are constantly growing!
For the road was wet-black, deserted as the moon,
as the ego shivers, pulling up its collar;
and the stars are distant, escaping time.
Frozen air is mixed by the wind, and is vastly
consoling to the fatigued, and obsolete soul,
conforming to an open three-field system
which in fear of death is the wisdom
of October, partial to grapes and figs,
dead leaves, drifting logs, water plants,
branches and weeds. The birds depart;
the flowers wither on the floating island.
On the square grass turns dried brown.
But at the same stone, schist and garnets,
the fruit tree, whose purpose is fruit,
is in fruit, camped under sunny glass.
Our truth, little strokes of the tuning fork,
the personal pronoun tendering its advices,
describe men - monstrous! - occupying time
allotted, time forgiven, time extended,
for a time, to us, the living.

November 1, 1976

1.38  Morte d'Arthur

Unsupported by reason the fish declare
their concern, collected in catch basins,
along with the leaves which are turning
green in water wells. Dreams infringe
on the reluctance of occurrence. They decline
in adverbs which connect avenues to squares,
a kind of wardrobe of salutations thrown out
to the environs of space. Some one uses crayons
to apply colors to the transforming tides
which wavers, to and fro, inviting the flowers
to cold dews, the altered moon, the nagging
climate, from their poplar alleys, pollarded
willows which had sheltered them with the logic
of their arts. These fence posts sleep like dogs
in the moonlight; the reproaches of the hollyhocks
deduce a geometry from tubes of emerging clouds.
Splendid are the bright rays of the ensuing
sunlight: its protracted smile produces
fructifying displacements which the blind horse,
leaping the trimmed hedge, utters, through mists,
happy, as the blades of grass are recording
the imprints, which are reserved for the attentions
of recorded time, conferring on the impervious air,
the obstinacies of their achievements.

November 3, 1976

1.39  Thanksgiving 1976

And you immortal daughter of the scissors!
Whether Mozart from wood shavings
billiard cues at the sanitarium
gymnosperms at the botanical gardens

the gulfs of infinity
yawn before the coastal margins
dawns of quietude! dawns of rainfalls!
The water tanks are bursting in flame
over the Serbian cathedrals; the maidens
of noon and the matrons of sunsets
are seeing the spraying liquids
with ribbons, bandannas of desire
as the clouds gasp with relieved
attentions directed to the acts
of the premonitions of those
graces which announce a composition
of the divine before the hints
of the Annunciation. Conscript
fathers! what senescence corrupts
the innocent sky before the begging
graces, handmaidens of the muses,
cover the discursive waters,
as the slow horse of time
from the hotel room called
``blotches'' lines up with those birds
which persist like a wish? Dreams
and truths, the samplers, suffer
relations of fuming light, displacing
the high courage, the intelligence,
destined glories, in the middle period,
as it alights on the rocks, piercing
the clings and the powdered crevices,
with the sides of the lifted tide
which mount as they symbolize breezes,
as they ease the emerging activity
before they empty out late afternoon
by exercising their trammelled will power
from a thousand tenement windows
to which nightfall emits its signalling.

The pure vase of position was not like that
waiting to receive the butter of the gift
as the angelic shaft through the window
from the divine sky blue, suspending the fatherly
surprise at peace with her, stopping her breath
with those hinting griefs which afterwards would hide
in the grass. The northern blasts are testing human ills
before the remarkable tree will mock the ripening
star and the naif senator with its immaterialities
which anger the pardoned tutelary shudders,
vexing the muzzle, drying the wreaths in idoled
cities where calumniated Death is pouring out
its shallow streams from which pious hands scoop
the arms and the saved legs held together
with clothespins. Swooning trumpets were born
for that fracas, the clarity of the vellums
ruling the smiling pubis; none remembers;
the thousands of familiar ecstasies; the memories;
the honor of the tranquil; the air solemn with words;
the mystery of the Rose and the City, nothing
of whose mystery retains the interdicting dreams
as humility rests from its duty in the gardens
of the stars as the diamonds work from the flowers
whose stems entwine the chalice thrown
to the depths of the sea!

November 27, 1976

1.40  City Island

The forgetful loathing is the example
of the favorite anger of the growing cities
within whose tower the controlling idea
dipped back to history for the artifice
of paper and swans, the branches burning,
until ascending love charged the embarrassed
afternoons with beacons flying like sentinels.
Romantic diction, creative, till now, until
the planned farewells and scheduled thoughts
of hours in the middling and violent seas pressed
you in a dream from which you awoke, unmoving,
till the sea breezes whose projects are your face,
greeting the closeness. The air is already here,
and it is telling you, writing in water, its own name,
(which is called the waves), but which wants something
from you, outsmarting the logic of the worst, in a climate
of situations whose opinions are building a mountain of
energy, which is content to alight thoughtfully on a petal
forming a rainbow in the falling sunshine.
November 28, 1976

1.41  from Herodiade

The shaking wax called twilight; not dawn only, no,
but of the reddening dawn, putting its finger,
envious taper (so sadly it struggles), burning
against the fingernail of the stained glass window;
is remembering the trumpets of the old sky
and the former stars and the weeping time
prophetic of the young girl exiling the swan
to hide its eyes amidst its plumage. For which
the diamonds are chosen and chosen among the blots
of eternity so that the insolence of entertained
Hope which under the dying, shining stars
(soon enough news from the Cisalpine) which petitions
the fountains or the supreme seats, casting gold
among the splendors, in the struggles (antiphonal,
songs among the linens), is reconciled to the water
of ancient basins, resigned, weary, surrounded
by his shivering flowers and the spiteful pomegranates,
or even the moon as she escorts the ineffability
past the odorous and enigmatic corpses? The pines,
(are they of Bayonne?) useless for you as forsaken shadows
preaching to you of the water clocks or wrinkled
walks among the iron grilles resinous with sleeping hair,
are on the dais, and the rostrum is emitting fragrances
which you haven't seen yet: but, the young girl
admits dreams (lamentable sign!) in the languishing
brilliancies. Because the shrouded pines are not inferior
to the wandering river enfolded in thoughts like cloths
whose stiff folds and desperate fretty laces
whose meshes of roots and long branches of respect
whose trunks emerge from the vases of the earth
whose big knowledge and capacious aspiration
evoke from the kept beds of those roses who guard them,
the risen flights of little thoughts like silver phantoms!

November 30, 1976

1.42  Rockefeller Center: The Skater's Rink

The entity of being, apart from the flagellation,
enters their colors on a warm February day
whose momentum and whose violet swirling hips are
an absolute demand. The next decibel in series,
masses which push the unexpected dancing
into perdition as the scarf flies following
the excited call is the answer of novelty
projecting the expression to silver blazes
which cannot remember the chiding
nor retain the theme of rippling water
where the surface is changing the light
for the ashamed children who are skipping away.
Sodden, contending for the demanding laughter
we collect forty seventh street rink-side stamps
for the deer in the mauve streets, appreciative,
and bright remarks reckoning the subtractions,
to the bright summations of swollen sands,
as the fiend staggers under the weight
of melodious tolling. What does not give
but the sustaining passage, late
in life, musical friendships, attendances,
where the blank wall is drowning
in whiteness and space and the
demands of tears and checks and eagerness
before the tree trunks will fall over themselves
with a crash, revealing the enclaves of shadows,
not excluding their devotions. Forgotten time
from the low sky is falling like snow. And
the rabbits in the wood note the insane ghost
that rushes from the parallel perspective lines
that connect the horses to the distance,
and the dim banners in the sleeping distance
to Death. Nothing that is, is right. Children
covered over with dust and ashes will repine
demanding the all-seeing ogre, swollen pillows,
abundant caresses, extravagances of whims
condensed to fingers, before the ethical dilemma,
beauty, one voice, with the cancellation marks
on the postcard, with a child's devotion, replaced
that intuition with vortices, like flying words
across the sky! The black ivy is having lunch
in the summer house, the black and orange
of the tempest, with the arms of the chair,
and the flowing wind. The mirrors are covered
with dust and dried grasses: and the Regents
of Sight are announcing the new installation.

December 13, 1976

1.43  Solemn Homage to Ezra Pound

(dedicated to Josephine Miles)

(i) we see, in window, ourselves,
(and not through any mirror)
seeing the cardboard boxes
arranged by the girl
which the doll house
arranges into light and shadow
of the bourgeoisie in space and time
reaching the limits of mortality
where pride clings to Achilles
passing into the aperture:
it would have been in character
the demagogic consistency of the demigod
refusing the Elysian Fields in barbaric defiance
until some German Jesuit re-interprets
those letters which started the agony...

(ii) she dwelled in the era of the kings:
the epiphany chooses the action,
(wood struts beating the drums)
the rhythm of the action of the sacrifice,
so that the fitting is completed
before the balanced mannequin
swelled before the godhead
receiving the whispers
which did service for shafts of light.

(iii) time and the drama are beloved of man
as time refashions the images of the soul
entwining roses. Who is time's protagonist?
After he is dead, what will time say to you?
Nobly do clouds awaken the ensuing day,
as Love and Death at their lofty duet
attend to the participants whose agon wishes
to hear the syllables, before an image sweeps
them all away in torrents of feeling,
so that the contemplative gesture may free
from the closing in the destiny of a moment.

(iv) And the Names of Beings in the supernatural light
illuminates the risen bodies in an astonishing
Union. The moist rich smell of the fading edge
and the fading maidens, ``Queen rose of the rose bud,
garden of girls,''
lost in the relation of passion
to the forms of speech, the constant orator,
in the old age of that genius, stranger to allegory,
beyond what it actually said, a memorialized cypress.
Walls and their constituents, unacknowledged quotations,
are strangely modern. Certainly, size makes up symmetry.
Vultures, those living tombs, lapse from greatness,
puffing on puny pipes, factions, revenges, tears,
bonds, sufferings, wounding of our ills. Such spaces,
the horses of the realms of light sweep the city
and its vessels which the light wheels along the sea
plain, making that structure dramatic and combative
among the flocks of the creatures of the deep, in wild
Joy disporting. Wisdom is kind to man. We catch
glimpses of the brave Aias and Achilles; of the doves
which fed Zeus; of the noiseless stream; of the Pythian
prophetess at the tripod, inhaling the mephitic vapors.

(v) by gesture, by look, by voice,
weight, grandeur, and energy of speaking,
variations of case, tense, person, number, gender,
enlargement, multiplication, hyperbole or passion,
death shall be his that moment

(vi) assigning the narrative part to himself,
as is fitting, the sharp threat has, suddenly,
attached to the angry chieftain, doom to the House;
what brings you, herald, pioneer of the imperious suitors?
He has a rare power of swallowing, as in Xenophon,
the anatomy of man's bodily tabernacle;
the heart is a knot of veins, the fountain of the blood;
the head is the citadel; the bones are hinges;
the passages or pores, he calls lanes.
For the beating of the heart, in the expectation,
or the summons, receives no hurt. Passion
is the man's, appetite, the woman's part;
``as long as waters flow or poplars bloom.''
Words, thoughts, actions, beauty, tunefulness,
disposing us to stateliness, gains the mastery.
But the ancients, the capital and wise ancients,
gave the chief point to greatness, in free government,
and democracy. And the font of eloquence is Freedom .

January 31, 1977

1.44  William Yeats (May 9, 1917)

On the grey sand beside the shallow stream
which burns beside the open book, tracing
a founded style; that which is complete
is flowers and trees and plants and kinds of fruits.
That we may acquire power: our repentance
is the thin substance of dreams. Shaking off,
and fixing, in a dream, in a concurrent dream,
the dead are living in their memories,
persuading themselves of the sources of instinctive
fire; the Mother will come from her grave
of knowing you are dead into an altering
stature of brilliant eyes in chambers
where the greater passions are watching
from the wall which is poignant with the mirrored
life of the mediatorial shades. All acts
of power are instantaneous, drunk, stupefied
with honey, exchanging their memories,
imagining the successive objects to be the stronger,
the repeating instruments. They will be planted
in the garden of regrowths. But there, there is no wall
nor gate. That we would rise (no emotion brought
to no sudden stop) to the Condition (plucking
the mask) of Fire, imaging the rhythmic body.

February 1, 1977

1.45  The Hunters and the Hunted! Sitwell

better still, they are selling roses and carnations.
There is a stand of paper windmills, the jellied
eels, the fish nets, the trawlers, wild roses in hedges,
and the thrush flies from the pear tree. You can hear
the rain still pouring down outside. She has taken
shelter here, like Dido, hunting, and they are overtaken.
There have been painters and architects. There need
be no flowers or trees. We have to be anonymous.
We inhabited a room in a hotel. We saw the summer
lightning over the sea towards the mountain. And our
memories of music were beside the summer sea,
before the phantoms met in London, the person,
mortal, whom we will meet again, walking the River,
under some trees. We must go. But the women
are lingering before the mirror. The mystery
is that the bridge stands in isolation. We must go
to the high arch, the segment of a circle, past
the sleeping, past the lopped stems sprouting
leaves, no living being, nor voice of any bird.
The fronds gasp at the pavilions. Of what do the towers
remind us? Buildings that have never been
are fantastic, hiding the plane trees; they are washed
by the River. Exactly alike, the two visions
of morning, awake to the octagonal, with conical
roofs, apparently, gleaming with gold, in proportions
of their poetical or magical importance. Our longing
is for Whoever, his terrace: and the river of paradise
flows through the idioms. Goth, or Ostrogoth? or tent?
or man made to glitter, distinctive, with the Byzantine gold?
We follow the Chrysorrhoas to the Palatine and the bucklers.
We could credit the golden lions as they roar, thrashing
their tails, the mechanical birds, the ropes pulling the vases
to the roof, the tree wholly of gold, could credit the crocodile.

February 2, 1977

1.46  From The Rimbaud of Paul Schmidt of Texas

at the banquet where they are dining upon hearts,
the abounding, grouchy bottle corks are silly,
are sick like the bellies of basset hounds
at their First Communion, where the sunflowers
are industriously falling all over the neon tubing
dismaying the profits, like an adulteress or patriotic
sonnets crossing custom sheds. The photographers
of the flora where vegetables grow in dormitories
which play drooling flutes, wicked tuberoses,
extract cricket from the botany. The drifting
Peninsulas, conquer the delights corks, bobbing
from the seaward quays. At the banquet they are lulled
by storms which blink and vomit with anchor and rudder
and green water and the bargemen who are dining on the gruel
of stars, devouring the greens of the azure and the thoughtful,
the drowning men, straining at delirium, jostling at Florida,
with their muzzles, whose reefs are like shutters in the ensuing
stream, straining the stinking swamp, where the bridled
swarms of kissed flamingoes, tumble from the sky, like shattered
foam, like giant lice from twisted trees, bathed in perfume!
I wanted to show the children these fishes. And the fishes
that sing: and the wings that are tossing the delicate air.
Like women, latitudes are at their funnels; as the little
boat takes its guests to archipelagoes where more swarms
greet them from bottomless exile in strong and heartfelt
dawns for their own, swollen, bitter, moon-shaped, bird-soiled,
slow, sour, stooping! . . . breaking! . . . sinking! . . . !

February 4, 1977

1.47  A Birthday Poem

Death, ultimate theme, is not an image of which we have no
image of. They, also, are strumming the theme: the mandolin
is dropping the notes of blood on the cellophane on the pavement,
which is blotted ``joy,'' and which is transparent. If we are,
yes, `` ondoyant et diverse ,'' under that heap of calumnies
called ``the hour of our death'' which may be found speaking
to the loquacious mirror, abundant with the caresses
of recital: our acts, then, are simpler terms, inexact
comedies, having a tendentious aspect. Later on,
our small ox, our marriage, our illness, seem so much
like the necessary coincidences of an exemplary
career before the legendary fiction, five-act,
takes over for the multitudes. Maybe even
the pagan episodes, the puritan, the Communist
add up to it, like a 1925 model ``Wallace Stevens''
they are retailing under the name Andre Gide.
The fatality of the serene Tudors, after a wild tangle
of superimposed motives, leads to the single,
conscious one that fits neatly. Stars in the depths
of your heart, insatiable devils, from the white water lily
reach up to its accords, searching for the reciprocity,
which with the two pigeons stroke the desperate cap-o'-feather.
Yes, you may die; but this richesse of sensibility
in your pockets, as the packet-steamers toot up the Hudson
crying, ``You, Rachmaninoff,'' turning into words, foam,
spume, sforzandi , into the elegance and harmony
of febrerous structure, as they pass the slumbering
giants, Rip Van Winkle, and High Tor, in the oeuvre.
Is this the Tappan Zee? Shall I compare thy destiny
to that of Oedipus, the Freudian? Declarations
of the first person, singular, suave, ingratiating
have effects. Montaigne, on the ``ourself essay''
whose social behavior is another intimate confession,
of which some of it, honorably played, believe me,
forms examples of this supposedly worthy life. If
efforts were worthwhile, so that examples could be of use,
my ingrate, in indefatigable, in inextinguishable nostalgia
of the Sense of what is. Our archaism, our idiosyncracies,
our incorporated selves: all this noise camouflages timidity,
lapse, retrogression, before the magnificence of age, fame
and those strains of seaweed on the rippling sands. The cedar
is in my nostrils; they give me parti-colored newspapers.
O! The brains, they scheme under the bubbling green water!
O beautiful bee! Death is very busy in its ingenious toolshed
scraping those thickets of lobsters which cluster about those
syllabaries which the machine is clasping in claws of steel.
February 5, 1977

1.48  A Symphony for Proust

How can we guess whither Time will direct
those blows which is in its option? It is ours
to have the patience to ruin the details
of the cartouche of the church in the Schoharie Valley.
After the engagement at sea, we were so adventurous,
sifting at hazard the conjectures of the delirium.
The higher mob would not be so angry, this day seven night,
not having a teaspoonful, nerves shattered, losing in threes.
There is only one life in which to love one's parents.
To show capacity for feeling is to be perturbed by

Dwindling virtualities incline the metaphor opposite the hurt
which welcomes the actions setting the seal upon moments
which flag down the train whistling to the syncopation
of despair in the private station of inner time interchanging
the schedules (as when the year is covered with the hoar frost,
juggling the climatologists, confounding the spectators
with outer darkness wherein Day or the sweet approach
is wholly o'er clouded) printed up in that leafy tracery
and burgeoning promise of adjacent misery, while he lay
in the transient pool of egocentricity. Hail! Reynaldo Hahn,
how did Proust conceive of Death? Occupying the tissues,
expressing the remorse, awaiting the anticipations, lovers,
would you kiss, and would fain deny the astonishing delicacy
of touch of your memories?

February 7, 1977

1.49  The Harbor of the Port of New York

derisive whosoever, bitter prince of beef
grazing the midnight velvet crumples the stiff
guffaw. Seigniorial as the impatient castle,
the vertigo of statues whirls about the beating,
whirring sirens, melting into fog. heaven
is weak, invincible but curbed; the mind wears
its headdress, heroic in human turmoil,
``anxious atoning'' as the mute infinity
of the stellar birth would be change
holding up the slack, as, raging under an incline
the abyss is desperately roaring and trying
to steer that flight, deep inside the weights
of those dumbbells emitting odor of honeysuckle,
whose wings as casting shadows on the adjusted sails
spreading against the yawning hulls of ships. the
arisen master is inferring the conflagration, informs
unanimous cadavers which withhold the destiny of winds
until the helmsman prepares his feet for the one number
which yet hesitates playing its game on behalf of the ship,
ancestrally unclenching his hand. O innuendo! O whirlwind
of hilarity! Save the midnight! The constellations grow cold
from neglect or disuse, awaiting the next sidereal collision,
revolving, doubting, taking out insurance on the minor planets.
Some one points out the distances between thought and thought
and between that and the winking lights picking out the void
in local splashing and perdition.

February 11, 1977

1.50  The Virgin of Thomas Eliot

Shores and grey rocks
and scent of pine and of the wood thrush
my daughter sharpens the tooth
of the dog; and the hummingbird
has ecstasy of the pulse of the sun
in its small laughter

cracking with heat, painting on rotten
canvas, her teeth made quadrilles in gasps
and recoveries; elderly muscles provoked
the shaking of breasts

and the rusty green iron table; gravel,
stone, marble and straight lines; surface
without mystery;

once again I walk onto the field of images:

whose feelings are we sparing? what
are we protecting? what
is it you're still expecting to happen?

the balustrade, a mass of stones?
collapses? brushing her hair, the mirror
turns to look at the advancing door
which begins the ascending staircase,
to the sunshine.

II. because the loveliness of the Lady
proffers the portions of contemplation
to the oblivion of dissimulation
honoring the Sovereign in meditation
I shall pass my life in the devotion of forgetfulness

III. the polished stone, the little light dappled
with shadow, the building forming at the tips
of our fingers, the beams of our eyes, the
rhythms of the names of flowers, the symbols,
the gambols, the rose-gardens, the écriture ,
dead leaves in autumn calling to the whispering birds

IV. the door is closed, now, and you remained undecided

February 14, 1977

1.51  Tansonville (Proust)

Not the picture of the steeple but the steeple itself
distances of miles and years engrave the band of scarlet
bursting in pure flames of silk hang from the apple trees
in hallucinatory sunlight. My dead mistress lay by my side.
And I, not finding her, recollected the memories of my arms
and legs, pulling the torpid bell, taking Francoise's time
to answer; before those memories, which I had confused
with animals and vegetables, opened like flowers.
These masculine associations had the ineffectual quality
of resistance filling up empty space: until love of women
encumbered the swiftness, fear, concealment with identical
causes of the grace and ease. Affectation of the sentiments
carries theatrically to slimmer gusts of wind, buffeting
the sitting-room, buffeting Marienbad with the mobile
exaggerations of the cavalry officer, to the palette
of her handkerchief making up to the bleeding mouth
the laughter of the violet sweat of her grease-paint
and dark rings. Amidst green foliage in the violet tinted
window of the church at Combray I had supposed to endure,
the jealousies which loved women concealed the mistakes
of truth telling in the imagination which admits blindfolds
to be a present certificate to pursue those opposite courses
emitting those statements having affairs with one another.

February 21, 1977

1.52  La nouvelle opération

As recently as Cordoba
the splendid deception, prompt in its losses,
of the fig-tree (and the Night of the reeling
acrobats) conferred its anxieties indifferently
to the living and the dead. The torment
endeavors distinctions to wean you
towards the Beauty of the Fulfilled Terror
of the maiden, the maiden you carry around,
equalling the thousand natures loving the orange,
the pomegranate, and the voices of running water.
He carried Redemption. And our redeemed nature
is remote to us. The veins of the marble
(house, gate, bridge, fountain, jug, olive...)
address the free animal in running springs
which ever die and always are rebounding expressing
the ripening fruit. The stones resemble the fruits;
and both are beautiful. The tower, the mountain,
the citadel, are well spoken of. The breezes,
mild disenchanters of the lonely, are. And that is:
the calm of them, the ancients, and the terror of us,
fleeing the freedom of the freely dying. Death
is ultimate symbol and the woman is always Full.
Wading, warding, and warning, how terribly big
must she be? Even when one survives, spurious
garner of power, lavish expenditures neglect
the advantage, striking the flag of peril
in the storm of her raging world.
Time is indifferent to all;
and the anxieties which are behind Time
are deeper still. We have surcease
from our perils in the thought of Time;
but not from our cares. Sinister men,
dead children inhabit the garden;
``I could see, then, almost nothing;
could concentrate nothing.
And the woman in the quiet street!''

March I, 1977

1.53  F. D. Maurice and Company

Has Death explained its meaning to you?
How has the uncertainty been removed?
What is the evil which I find in myself?
Must I perish, that it perish?
``If thou hadst known'' the solemn intensity
and delicate charm, nor of the clear light,
knowing real things, and the quality of love,
experiencing the impact of the American Civil War.
And I remember his memory, him not speaking
of it then, the prostration and defeat. It is only
persons, and things and happenings that we remember.
``We have no memory of memory.'' But we do. Our access
is given in feeling. God raised Jesus from the dead:
Peter, he cast a net for fishes. The problem
is of the analogy of being, of good, (what quod
in the quad;) while, I believe it to be implicit,
doubtless; but loving? . . . The sick, the weak
and those in jeopardy? And the Church, she finds
His grace sufficient. We are filled with language:
that one man, in the name of a number of others,
drawing from a commons, gives forth an interpretation,
of the present state and of history, as evidence
of the reality. We acknowledge a language.
We are filled with compassion. Whom were they
constructed, such, to talk with or to talk over,
what address or relation, persuasion, menace,
introduction, what reciprocities? Intuition
is a question of good eyesight. Who's your
optometrist? Are his fees moderate?

March 12, 1977

1.54  The Director of Curaçao

(prose poem)
In the beginning was the horselaugh, a whinnying noise from Reno, Nevada sweeping across and ransacking the Sangre de Christo Mountains, passing the High Chaparral, beloved of television, past the red and bleeding K. C. stockyards, sweeping past Florida real estate, until, face to face, with the Man with the wooden leg, the Director of Curacao. His head, with those wide eyes which commanded navies and assaulted Delaware, is not to be found etched and notched in granite, anterior to the Presidents, nor numbered among the sedate Brahmins of the Hill nor found walking the Yard. Not the plantation, or the rubbing stones on the rocky hills, not the gust of wind flashing its storm and snows from inland seas at the pilgrims from the Gap; not any of these. In the morning, the sun emitted its flowers which was called the sunlight, distributing a competitive zeal to the pilgrims, displaying their honors to the cavaliers of the Battery of the South, prophesying the abundance that was in promise in the prairies of the interior, proposing to the florid air the modulations of the regulated grandeurs which conjoin to the symphonies of history the purposes of man. The distinctive individual ...writing? ... about? ...What can the Great American Novel be about, in fine, if not the destiny, the evident destiny of the American people to be Lords and possessors of Nature? To possess the world and to annex the planets! Isle of the Manhattans! Thumping! There are happy moments in the evident crunches whose intercalations, noticed by Scott and Henry James, mistakenly called epiphanies by the literary critics (empires by the historians); which are, in truth, occasions of feeling, the paradise of the Armenians, the Socinians, and the Swedenborgians. The resources of the pure labor of thought were called out, and their token, which were the buildings, pulled down or raised up (the laurels of consummated praises) were taken as the substance of that achievement, whose essences, diffused by the Shining Lady of the Harbor was liberty only.

March 20, 1977

1.55  You, Andromache

You, Andromache, rebuilding and dry gutters;
at the Carousel they are teaching the bourgeois children
the subjectivity of value, antidotes of the tutelary poisons
of Mithridates, who died old, speaking the language,
the heavy solemnity of the bear. The low mutter of impartiality,
the dispenser of the modern crowd, the silver clown
of the Procession of the Alleghenies;
the squalid pus from running eardrums
deafens the initiatives of the latest flowers
setting up their pianos on the far alpine peaks on whose topmost
boulders the weather vanes are pointing to the villages,
the schoolgirls making frantic gestures in their haunted rages.
Ponderous ghosts are rattling anthills: filled with ideas,
the cities point their beaches to the all-inclusive seas
whose gilded barges shiver under an ever deeper blue
of that sky which is scratched by a single cry,
which is flat like a pane of glass, inexhaustible,
like a reservoir of love, which emits the single spasm
of the note of that immortal Blue: and the ignored children
come to a sudden stop, noticing the pallor, neutral ashes.
For, dead, you will explain the infinite for the succor
of the Queen and for the Millions: in the fearful landscape,
of mineral, marble, waters winding. Memories, regrets, fears,
anxieties, nightmares, angers, and neuroses: frightened
monosyllables! unfurl the flags! the resorted Voices!
God has exalted white like the fluttering moth;
furious violet like herds of panicking cattle:
and the astonished maps, fill with those flickering arrows,
red and blue, O! circulate the seasons, the oceans,
with simple letters! And the hoops are still brought out
for the credulous...!

March 21, 1977

1.56  The Reasons of a Guest Which Is The Muses

( Barbara Guest)

I am here. I am not
among the ibises. The permanent
city at the seasons of occult rains
which cover the lower slopes,
proffers the parasol of snow in my mouth
as the cobblestones gesture respecting
the lack of shoes. Blue, antique blue
is still the whatever which grips
the vases of darkening chrysanthemums
whose petals fall into the mustard.
The straws of sleep clutch the waking
in the street until giving up mere trips
to the pacing which a room translates
into those leaves the foreignness
whose silence echoes from the sails of barges
to the difficult tower. Winds,
friends of the static hour, your edges
and my developed skills, have lost
the performances of important luggage
whose elements are lonely hotels.
The waste sand is cruel and winter
is a seacoast on my tongue and it is
like my buried heart. But two hearts
are where the light is not idle,
full of voyages, moving from room to room;
and changes are representative of us
just like the thoughtful water,
and the certain window sash
where we open it to touch our skin
to the travelled wind. Constant monuments
are casting views on angry sculpture
whose facade journeys to the uncut rock
testing our bruises whose welts resemble
bloody cities countering our wounds
and our delicacies with the excavations
on their own soil which is desolate
and their name is unpronounceable.

March 30, 1977

1.57  Spring 1977

The saltimbanques are gathering on the plain
under the discovered rings of Uranus. The Regent
of Mars is in amnesty: and the feelings: the Archer
is aiming. Death is in his arena, conscious of multitudes,
after winter died, something of the way he plunges about
asks: what does it mean there are so many? Spring season
is a throng amidst the heart's recesses, ebullient.
Lily pads take notice of it. Ripe ears keep eager
the noncommittal promises rising up from the bed
which floods the river with news of the city. The moon
does illuminate as it awaits the transparent clouds
which sum up the reluctance. The sun blazes with a generosity
of its love, masculine, freely giving. Spring is a progress:
whose end explains its uses. Fitting are the constellations,
impassive at the building of the city; and knowledge.
The light falls, clear and white. The lilies are rising,
fumbling among the weeds and drumming frogs. Surely
the sky, which is calm, lucid and weightless does not surmise
merely the remembered distances which drink up the darkness
into which the unrelated spheres are sinking. Life is
going to happen to us, under the sky. Sky, you sit in your bare
room of the heavens drawing grandeur and force from a kingly sun
and lightness from the woody birds and beauty from the song
of clemency and justice from the foreseen majesty of words
which form the sentences to the songs. How arcane is
the painter's view! How simple is buoyancy! The candles
will omit to scourge the romantic stranger:
for whom the courts of appeal afford relief:
modest is his going forth, secured by the pruning tree.
For their branches are the affections of universal cohesion.

April 1, 1977

1.58  Virginia Woolf: Sleep is Milk

Calm, aloof, content? Let us try then.
The light that puts out our eyes has no share
of the serenity of the person in that happiness
of death which even now is invading our peace.
In the garden, for the lady, we plant one tree
for the birth of each child. In all Italy,
this windy morning, the vines laced about the pillars.
Intrepid pain writes a new life recited at the banquet of love,
before the ferry snatches us from the gig to the veranda,
to the gazebo, to the toll-gate, the gate at Mekenes,
riding good horses, the gate where someone accepts a loan:
where the baked walls make an issue of admiring townsmen.
This is the chamber of ambiguity. Life, and Death, the equals,
are cast shadows on the vigorous pillows. Friendly horses
hold open the door through which the tagged dreams,
after twenty volumes of hills and farmlands, high grippers,
renew the lips bursting with song and blooded.
The light it wants to be flesh. It is very potent.

April 9, 1977

1.59  Georges Cattoui: Marcel Proust

The cloud and the wind speak of tombs
(hollow to voices!) which rattle the drumming windows
until the hemlocks concert together a spiritual itinerary
for which the snow gathers about the stones:
surely, it is that winter, which, unable to defeat things,
sees in them what has occurred, flecking the frozen marshes,
the sheets of ice, the solidly woven cloth of stippled grasses
with the memory of a former life in those hollow orbits
from which the light has been removed in moments which borrow
the friendship of twilight to bestow on the inner sanctuary
of an enclosed garden, where everything is made of one substance,
the movement of the hours. The dewy hoar frost, balls of light
rolling down to the frozen stream from the silver hillside,
dotted with hats, emblems of the disguised God, counterfeit
the images of reality which so clearly ceased to live in creating
the double task of death and of the absolute in all that we love,
in the only honey of our lives. The true ghosts are rising
from the sea mixed with the sun which is formed by the mists
which the drawn curtains shut out and by which the speaking voice
in its deadly fatigue, like an immobile owl, behind closed
shutters, awakes to death as it would to love.

April 13, 1977

1.60  The Sentence That Explains

( Gertrude Stein)

With a little bit of it, the Honey-suckle, all but
two of you, made necessary by the recall of excitement
redistributing the hours which are lying about
the late afternoon, famishing, perching the carrots
and the awnings, a treatise in sound, adding
to the literal wind, he and a voice and three voices
calling grammar and the nightingale and the narrative.
Placate the instinct for the admirably gainsaid
and the letting it alone in the succor of the spoon,
the premonitions of accomplished beneficence,
the memory hidden in the tail of the fortunate comet,
hiding the apple blossom within the call of orchids,
and lady fingers which reconsider the established
collaborations which infer confidently (examining
the couplings) the management of ten baskets, six hats,
the felt noon, the supplies of commas, the fancy wedding
commemorated on road maps which regard the position
of troops. A here is. And old coat is worn.
The days are getting longer, the necessities
of pleasant walks. The harbors are so authoritative
with striped bass and sea gulls which surround
the marshes with hills, giving an account of
their preferences in the deft shelter of the
kindling advice of home fires which burn
with the chipped poplars. Luxury announces
strawberries and honey-bees. The canvases
are welcome, set on the hillside, in the liberty
of color: and the old man, who was so old,
he had a château, explains sentiments and romances
to the moon-lit lindens and the well-remembered
occasions. The scissors grow adroit in decisiveness,
meet the bishop who likes his parcels. Good
chrysanthemums in bloom provide news to box-hedges,
saying there is no difference between a princess
or flowing water or the dictionary or fur-bearing
animals or discouragements of the sluggish liver.
Cry out about sentences: positive is the hour, the joy,
the philosophy: for in the sentence is no flowing time,
nor flowing water: but only shiny stars and the scrapbook
from which memory has vanished, having never entered.

April 15, 1977

1.61  Providing A Narrative

( Gertrude Stein)

Disaster comes in threes and plenty of azaleas;
maybe they will use winches. Petals which add make nouns.
Temptation is a wish and a clause in dispraise. People are
bothered when they favorably decide, being doubted before:
like a long sentence is like a long life, culminating
in a surmount. Disturbances are ready now. The St. Bernard dog
is giving Wilbur an allowance. The Buick automobile transports
its cousin. What are the adverbs? Think what you like:
Jane Austen is a sentence, not at all; that you like nearly
to please. What are wishes? What are tenses? What places,
what bones? The look, the sigh, the sound and the smell:
they are only nouns. Whenever is part of the time. Have
the pleasant effects, with all the hope. Nobody will hate
the colliding nouns which isn't strange: which is appreciated
when you think about anything, the easy way around it, giving
pleasure every day. But the withdrawing disaster, the anxious
not to always have it be shows variably the rest of it.
Opening your mail, they sent you a verb and a dangling participle
along with the articles which cry out for abuse. Without doubt,
they pressure the same into a sequence, into strong beads,
knickknack rosaries, charity lunches, one at a time, at the old
square-dance and common caller who is either followed
or not followed. Paradise is replenished. It is not
an introduction to the how many before the affectation
of disturbance, speaking ill of the unique (which was
incomparable) before the Danish state which owned
the little while in a little place which was a state,
added to the rot with partly another one.

April 15, 1977

1.62  The Dover Edition

Time is like alcohol in the soul with the possibility
of masterpieces which accrue as you eat.
Like the evidence of nondescript music, the captured
tomato in the ignominy of the complaisant shutting
the door, marshalling the fastenings with thumb tacks,
lost discourtesy, hum macadamized roads lined with toucans
until the sententious advice of the open field system
and the relaxing furniture made of bent willow twigs.
None can know the commonplace mistake, before mysterious
arrivals, before the entry of the Religious, before
a paraphernalia of metaphysics will compare itself
to the obliquity of the ecliptic. In the farmhouse,
in the packet-steamer garnished with the detective novel,
in the professor talking about speaking, as he speaks,
in the daily paper animated with shouts of schoolchildren,
among the bourgeoisie, among the collectors, historians,
the grammarians, the dullards, drunkards, listless,
the craven, nouns meet with approval, among bells.
Among belles, what is grammar but the indwelling?
How fortunate are paintings! Who are not against sailing!
Filling ideas! Welcome truth! For time, which always lives
a hand to mouth existence, produces a prosody.

April 15, 1977

1.63  Shinnecock Inlet

Ministrations render the annoyances
and the obligations surrounding the wall
which is jumping up and down in the high
pressure of January in the temperate latitudes
scattering the sycamores to the tumbledown
summerhouses which await rain between lattices
and those cries which distribute advantageously
about the sand-dunes. They variegatedly left winds
to the betrayal of their instigation: until placed
announcements recalled the guests to the alacrity
of the supper table renewing the appointments
with the noiseless mastication of favored Death.
Assure, Understand, Alarm: Bertie Applegirth and parallel
nerves and the fan-shaped ginkgo where the ready cry out
which the rainfall is choosing is abundant, nourishing
precipitation, is endlessly annoying the violets
and colliding interpretations which tickle Right
and Truth called now ``Installation of Preference.''
Selections do happen, not as a burden, as a relief,
just a pleasure, in the way of better than stained glass,
in plenty of time with respiration previously conditional.
The Maximum intrepid, like cyclamens, in plenty of changing
twenty- fours, enlightens harmoniously the destination
of a collection of the many minutes which allow elegance
to prevail silently. Intercalations of a periodical
do not omit to adjoin the prematurely resigned and puzzled
next of kin not knowing the difference between a part
and a part left around. Everybody talks of the date
of composition and those consultations and their particular
blusters. To smile; to die; to disregard the sands at Montauk
Point; to pass the inlet 'neath the little bridge; to breathe
and breathe no more the Wordsworth line, sheltered with a little
light. The windy plains, the laurels and the privet hedge,
the flaming lilacs, the bloody wood: where sing of dishonor
and disgrace and of Death which hung among the bloody dish?

April 19, 1977

1.64  The Death of the Moth

( Virginia Woolf)

They are careful about their coupons
where the daffodils play with the ruined children
in the château of which the townsmen speak with awe
and the moths do, too, fluttering about the rooks
soaring about tree tops making a net of thousands of knots.
The twigs are at their festivities. The kettle drums
where the assyriologists on the causeways are rolling in
with vigor from the fields and downs, are benignant
in ivy-blossoms. The vital light zigzags like lightning
as beautiful shapes awarded the approach of death
to dealing cards concealed at the bottom of the window pane,
unconscious of the helpless attitude of the far off smoke
of houses, the romantic voice of the steamer out at sea.
What remained of the corner of the possibilities of pleasure
of humped bodies, garnished and cumbered, struggling legs
holding the mass which feeds, like a bird, in the brook?
The sympathies of efforts and evenings and lifted pennants,
and invalids at the freckles of red villages in lamplight
and pink cloud before the stars are all thoughts advancing
through beauty to the letters written up for the ostriches
Probus will fill up the spaces with. The dying moth creates
another book, filling up the work of other men composing
the fingered portrait with a complete and prodigious gift.

May 8, 1977

1.65  Edgar Lee Masters, (1869-1950)

Unsuspecting is the cruel violin
treating your lips badly
which are pressed to the words
whose hands standing in windows
hold slender fingers. The hushed knife
is a still life of proof and fun
and gunnysacks and propping by the door.
Sonorous are the vaults of the iron ages
and the ice ages and the bloods
whose moisture beneath the soil
is merely the invention of the plough
as it dreams of the crane who,
with wings outspread, flying over the rock
(the New England rock) which shuffles
in thawing soil, muffles dreams in feathers,
and the nodes of lead under the road
whose margins are littered with pewter pots.
A bird opens and closes the drifting recitals
of blames and denials scattered on coarse moraine,
as nightfall, brushing the naive thighs of passion,
makes the coarse gravel weighting the balloons
rising in tanks of lacustrine and liquid
emit the just note of pain (shaped like a fish)
smiling a blue smile of love and sunlight and guitars.

May 9, 1977

1.66  Oration and Elegy for Hart Crane

The perplexed machine called the ocean lay limpid in the sea
while paradise attended
to the latitudes. The fish ate ambrosia and evolved the
sea-blooms diffusing the
clouds with balms. My infant, my little soul, you whitened the
sea-clouds on the
surface of the sea far below the calm of the ether as the greens
swimming in the sea
were the hues of heaven pouring the glistening blues on the
brilliant iris.

The resumes of the channeled interborough connect the shaking
with the demented
rain, tense, with the malevolent wet sheen of umbrellas, urban,
mortal. And the
massed composition of the skyscrapers! Hedge the seaboard! Dance
Chestnuts are falling on the bluffs and plains of Ohio more
suddenly than porcelain
can roll down the catalogues of the ages, to the sarabande of the
marsh fowls. Age
brings one to the sea, to flags amidst weeds. The semite winks at
the procession.
The dead are unfettered. And the laughing sea demeanors a machine
made out of the
corals of eternity. Yield, there, beyond the ponds sheeted with
the sheen of Wallace
Stevens, the vast belly of the Crane, to the infractions of the
torments of the sea,
claiming the Relicts of death. The rotten roof is shattered by
the river bed and no
superscription written in the terrors of the snowy clouds will
memorialize those bells
of San Salvador rung by the clanging muleteers.

May 11, 1977

1.67  Horatio Nelson in the Mountains

Thoughts like ships in snow travel
to see the rain that fall on the lips
of your whole life resting there
like a sound carried to the roof
of the mouth. Wherever the mountain
or the heart leave the million shafts
drilled into deep water whose sides
curiously resemble the hands which reach
and float near the bottom, ungrateful
yellow was given. Ungrateful, yellow
was taken, not seeing green only once,
like a meadow in sea-meadows, like a meadow
from on high, drowning blues, exiling reds,
and grey, flying and webbing. O dreams, my tongue,
like a knife, shapes the lizard on crusts of stone,
straining the droning insects, the crypts we left
were so odorous, pale as buried voices, bathed in oil,
longing for yellow.

May 12, 1977

1.68  Laura Riding

You could see
and make a mystery for,
to see the raindrop springing
from the wind springing
from that air so extensive,
but toothless. Incorruptible
is the promise of personification,
finding dresses in old shoes;
the near skeleton wears lace.
The indoor faces, face
each morning's thistle patch of lavish
memories. Love? Love is self
alienating. Put eternity
in your mouth. Wear
the sleeves of doom,
saying lengthy definitions,
low hills and the oak, the true
exercise of a man, W. C. W.,
not merely a cool frescade.
In the way of, breaking up rivers
with sluices, plying the pints,
sewing words to the wreaths,
of hinges about the late door
where the numbers litter
the broken glass waiting
in the hallways for thoughts
and clouds. The man on sixth
avenue sells bandages
to the yapping which calls
from the baskets and the jambs,
the calendars, the caskets,
the escaping fiery gases,
the gallery of the condemned
in the Tombs, to the hats
which play poker with snapshots,
where the cabbie has lost track
of the River, to the tweedle,
and the wash, and the kicking,
to the plotted murder
as the green apple plops
to earth again. Dust, you
are so lovely to shape, again.

Doctor, all the way to the river,
the falls glisten with moisture;
they split the rock wearing
the saxifrage, word-flower,
the retorts of the factory
where the fractures of the rock
compact change with revelation
of regathered drumming and violence.
Each age brings rain which falls
among the winds and which re-
enters the flowing stream
as the birds re-enter the streaming
wind with seeds with which the earth
enters the channels of that air, in flowers,
which, breathless with the fog and sea wind,
prays for rain. The empty ages
greet the well-disposed bargeman
under the brilliant moonlight.
Speaking of water lilies, fish, fowl,
which commend the bird in white
above the swimming bird,
bringing the proliferating
undulations of Time casting
its arrows on the void
which achieves the depth of the wood,
the sure laurel, the coarse holly,
kindling in flame, the dispersing
landscape. Sure is time past
pulling down, flung, cracked,
the roar of lost recognitions,
burnt (so clean is the tale),
rekindling the bed, ebbs
about the flaming reeds
the burning air and eddying
and windblown flames, waving reds
about the waking ash. Winter,
winter, and the hemlocks thick
with dark fog, green and small
with white deer! The sunken
meadow seemed gentle and good
about Fire Island.

May 17, 1977

1.69  The Fields of May

They are filling baskets with shadows
which they cause with flashlights
escaping the calendars whose pictures
are of gloves. The night is impoverished,
not having enough blackness,
after losing all that light. Shame
is tying its hands to disgrace. Necessity
is full of feathers which hang from bridges
in uncolored sacks. Little cups
are full of blood. The valley of lice
smells of lightning which erects shields
made out of salt. Chains are so beautiful
and the metals of hunger are in common,
asking applause of the waxy substance of the dying.
We hammer the billowy pennants
on which caravans of bugs recite lessons
and parcel the bells which announce
the train entering the station
whose rooms fill up with rain and parasols.
Supposed to be pulleys, the innocent remark,
thinking semaphores are mailmen bringing lamps
and banisters and horses eating cashews.
The king of the moths is dying, long dead to sorrow,
hoping to spare the bottle its shattering grief.

May 18, 1977

1.70  The Ronsard of Passaic, N. J.

( W. C. W.)

If a rose flutter into life awhile,
if it make there a poem,
local, by the roaring tracks
and hearing of the Falls. Every
voice arose as from the sea
arose the headwaters
making a new construction
upon petals, among syllables,
within Time....
What is the way to the River?
What is the voice saying
as it jumps about the mouth
over the jutting chin? What names
does it emit or sing?
or do the dead sing the footsteps
of Time without-a-key
or of place or anything at all
to jostle the motions of the small
sleepers; where the night-lantern
plays upon the wall
the motions of approaching storm!

May 18, 1977

1.71  James Ensor Views the Bust of Frank O'Hara

The skeletons are trying to warm themselves
by entering Brussels on a diptych
whose interest came into the garden
like a fog inspecting the hinges for something
like a tooth or a dreaded push over the hill.
Over those hills! The very sound is like a bell
to toll thee like a fist, a conquistador, a renegade!
How beautiful are black souls underneath the mirror
laid out on the curtained tabletop which myself
the target of competitive vulgarity, dropping
the plate, seeing the puffy dust, clenching
the dead. You've got a ticket to Rangoon
in your voice box for the fox your elbow reaches up
to that disappearing elephant on soft shoulders,
expressing starry motives to the struts
holding up the night. Do not invent the forehead.
You did not invent the fire from which the quarry
belches by the gravel heap (an upside down volcano).
Call it the giraffe principle so you can see farther
the avenues of the recommendable future where the crazed
dog, the ego, pants at the sound of the trombones
which had so much fun at the place where the zebra
displays its tongue at the window sill. The City
is as impetuous as a bluff: the cold is little music;
the clock is kindling to the skillful yellow season.
Our city, which is undeniably New York, is at
perspectives to the approaching poet, astonishing
in elevated surrealism, unforseen, inevitable, evocable.
Christopher Street is at pains under the crumbling ruins
of the viaduct. Gazetteers are glossaries of emotions
for the kiosks of feeling like reredos attaching the stoops
to the butts which occupy them under clouds, (fiery clouds?)
which offer the waffles of breakfast to the bosses. How
smiling, the Ramble, north and east of the Lake! The
Harbormaster directs: the dune buggy of Al Leslie leaps;
devours the swelling line like pythons, the sudden,
the ellipsis, the Cemetery at Springs, the evoked
Mayakovsky, the Master of Baltimore.

May 22, 1977

1.72  Spanish Landscape

The almond voice of the singing murder
in the stone house is like the pink
umbrellas uttering the thought which resembles
pink olive trees on the hill with the hoe.
Cauldrons and ovens and puddings
are set for tables piling up with words
from which the people are fleeing
to sweet murder and the endless sausage.
Don't you think that if you had eternity to hand
it would have a rhythm and you might
think you were in time, after all those guitars
inherit the Book left on the raft by the river
held with the rope by the blood-dimmed women?
Low pleading, like forgiveness, open
the elbows, inviting everybody to the feast,
the picnic tables of History, where the pig
addresses the neighbors who resemble the fatted
calf, respecting the three-legged items
holding the sharp entrails, priestly
emblems, country breads, before somebody
takes a walk up the hill, who must be drunk.
O herons, O deserts, O elevated language, who sees
all, tucking the skinny legs under the stroking wings:
where the shade of the cactus gives o'er to the horses
pressing the wheel onto the burros' solicitude:
so that the mesa need not encroach on the desert
nor the silt spill on the green snake. The mules
are pulling on the sweaty winds to push the corn
tassels so that they shake the sleep: so that
the men will finish up the adobe house and the white
church, under the umbrellas, keeping off lamentation,
the sorrows, the bereavements which is time. Giving love,
the ample, the spots on the moon's face dress up
the coral reefs where the empty lagoon awaits the wild
spinach. And the sulking turtles emit the note
of mythology, holding up the earth, with a single
sheet, of a cry of justice, by means of words.

May 24, 1977

1.73  The American Poet: Frank O'Hara

(i) Lawns govern the bays and the tent-filling
horses composing simples. The learning foxes
glitter before they die. Their cool tears mature
like wine in the stormy lake on which the imprints
of the horses hoofs greeting the god-like summer
is seen through fog. At the end of chains and roads,
dogs bark soundlessly as soundless light
is falling an the single island whose chestnut trees,
so clearly are dappled with the sorrows, shedding
the composite numbers on which the lattices
of the Ghost gaze upon the spiders webbing
the doubts between the leaves and the waves.
(ii) Your claims are just and will be allowed
in the interface of feeling and judgment
which is the masculine predicament.
Fastening sea shells to the agates of your eyes
before the weak infants, with leonine
wrists in the hour of the fingernail
which resembles trees in waterglass, for the interims,
form the phalanx giving out with sobs.
The moment, the present moment, is busied
about parallel structures, as the vanishing
army rushing for the togas and the gum
arabic rubs over the withering grass
the new carmines which were kept in a shed.
Charity is a snowmobile washing out
the avalanches where the eyes are
at the sufferance of white. Portugal,
you are willful in frigates, the navigational
days of remorse, before chalky England
with the plucky forehead got control
over the soups, the hoofs and the scourges.
(iii) Climate, attend to me! The Vatican
is a big raccoon coat ambling about
the shuffling polar bears cooped up
in the dreadful Bernini colonnade.
I want your serenades, before the cardinal
deacon attaches futurism to the ruminations
combining the whiteness of the lily and the whiteness
of the dazzling lightning. The mist is embracing
the rust. The orangery wears a medal,
announced as statuary; the swans, the very
swans of Mrs. Havemeyer, panic aforesaid,
cool the lust and all the striving, soften all that
history of the rivulet decades, in swans-down,
bequeathing the salt-cellars. May they mend
many a stone wall.

May 29, 1977

1.74  The American Poet: El Hombre Esencial

the ingenious rose, offset by the very colloquial;
far from this shore, everything does look brighter,
the blue, quiet sea of July: on the beautiful afternoon,

blueness is not enough touching the white foam,
as John Gould Fletcher would touch the distant sea
from a window whose ears turn green under rapid

lights, whirling about, gazing, reading, traveling.
No masterpiece will ever keep the stopping, celebrating
the witticisms of the sixteenth birthday, which displays

solitude, whether public or private, in the powers of the writer,
claro, walking through the Puerta del Sol
of Madrid. The spirit in its letter. The soul's

light, that other material light, so like love, whose theme
of love, razon de amor, the highest joy, in pronouns,
in rose-like corporeality, where love inherits its infinite,

like a dolphin, delphin verde, showing its back
above the element, proposes to the space between itself
and the crashing waves, the space, which shines

with an immaterial light, embodying the spiritual.
you trace designs in like a flying boat, on which the feathers
have been writing on the parchment, with the blue

ink of the heavens, promoting the grace. Say, are there
other lives in this penultimate mystery, space, before
the mystery of God, final and transcendent?

What can we know? We are so fond of toys, extreme
manifestations, and weighted with old crumbly books.

May 31, 1977

1.75  The Song of the Gravel

If you pull up nothingness by the roots
what remains? Some lump of clay in the corridors
of time? Which are just ant-hills full of crumbly
sandy grains of time, pasted together by a shiny
rain-fall. Time is so mysterious, pruning
shadows, like hedges, a kind of nothingness,
too, mastering the arts, whereby the Beginning
is tied mercifully to the End, as the chute
opens and closes, disgorging pennants,
little ruffians, which jump out from the corners.
They emit melodious praises, caresses of saltimbanques,
break the featureless calm of winter Sundays:
just like the water lily rises to the surface
after the ruffles of the oar picking and choosing
the sudden furl as the breath which was held in
sums up in a glance the absence which is in point
as the Fear of Appearance. Does not the little gate,
at the little moment, open, and the boxwood hedge does, too,
encircling the arriving feet bursting the bubbles
of the puddles of the sudden showers which emit claps
like little rounds of applause, dispelling perturbations,
with the majestical hinged effect, which allows
and ordains that a little bird enter, aquatic interloper,
and the little insects on the imaginary flower? Surely,
a bliss above the reeds, mirrors in the beds of non-existent
gardens, daylight responding to the monotones and the grays,
the crimsons flow out of the artificer, veiling the face,
the outbreak of the Nightmare, the sun setting
on its black granite rails, the sinister rims of the Curtain,
marked ``Exile.'' The vision is surely lost!
whereby the Analogy doubled back upon the rivulet
its great cry of Justice, and the row-boat, its big cry
of Paradise and Estate, which gathers up the lilies
to their symbols, spreading out their demonstrations!

June 7, 1977

1.76  The Conquest of the Air

the noise of oars
the creaking of oars in the rowlocks
the tide washing
lifeless, sluggish, dazed; spring, twiggy
spring, the stuff of bushes
tomorrow the stiff curl
wasting the muddy fields,
reddish, petals packed close: teasing
the lake with breezes
the tentative miscalculations
which we held at liberty to revoke
were kept in clock faces or housed
in harmonicas or left with metronomes
which we adored at the railway station
where the carved animals looked over the walls,
proving a lofty theorem, adorning
the awnings where the shuffling daylight
comes apart in stripes. The quick years
do differ among themselves.
we bury the dead, sweet trauma, the precipitate
falling waters, hurrying the ceremonies
which adorn the null flowers which glisten
with the distractions of the rain showers
from which the thirsty skylarks or the thickets
of bountiful quail utter their laments
for the goldfinches shining with the mirages
of the seas, penitential billows which darkness
grasped. How we planned our starvation
in those ordered situations whose gravity
is like the random mensuration of children's
theses! The hammer blows which the air dealt
to the risen, melodic dead fell short of the gratuity
of earth at the hidden grave sites. For the masses
are at incantations. They are like bicyclists
riding the tightrope formed by a violin string.
The gentle oceans are lapping under them,
showing the way to the entrance to non-existence.
The child is comforted. The moist peddlers,
from all that rainfall hold up their broad brimmed
hats. People light up the wet streets,
addressing matches to the slanders of their lips.
They turn up their collars, as in heavy wind,
to watch the hands of the years to come
lift up the dumbbells.

June 13, 1977

1.77  The Book of London

The Book emits the obstacles of sarcasm
oratio obliqua of which the person Hecuba
is the subject of any text implying that
undecidable proposal with unanimities.
It frequents the alternatives, pure Being,
not to be spoken of, aggravates,
when the turbulence of consanguinities emits
the affections of hostilities. Helpless analogies
cover the painting, full of impotent speech.
The effect of persistent dreams is to discourage
mutual moods. Without composition of center,
wasting valves and plankton, prodigal
geometry is vexed by the irrelevancies of red.
Longing for Descartes, longing for the flesh,
the stained carpet rolls up to the ogives,
conspires with sly fractures. The shrubbery
is full of logs and those proconsuls who point
to the path of the isle of the dead and those
antecedent fortresses begging music. Light,
Sovereign Light, is marooned in the elations
and those avowals, which are tenses: and time,
ragged woe, is an anxiety inhabiting a room
in which dying grandees transpose their plights
by means of their poignant tongues tasting
the waters of Babylon. Trust chances, from time
to time, leaving Ireland, confessing, haunting
the Shadows of the Ghosts inhabiting the natural
rain itself which prevails now, outlining the hands
which in the sky, doubtless, where the City began,
in Reliquaries of the latter days. Rain falls incessantly,
in the midst of time, on the margins of rivers,
and upon them, the dominant arcane tongue,
conversing in labial gifts. The clouds bestowed
a collection of half-sentences. Centuries
which thought themselves to be evidence added
to the library. Successions, the components
of recognitions, look forward to leaving
the mass of notes in the weight of winter,
in a procession to the Isle of Smoke by way
of the Boulevard of Veins. The sidewalks already
fill up with shriveled colors: and the umbrellas
held with small hands emitted from the benches
are seen from the windows.

June 15, 1977

1.78  Forwarding Fees

Home is the future where it happens
in those pieces which are peeled off from pauses
of time and which are attached to backgrounds
which avoid surprises and resemble chairs.
Exactly say good-bye to advantages,
fountains, languages, otherwises and tender
piano notes which gently touched the sliding
door. We all grow towards the Alps,
in stridency of alarms respecting
our nourishment, sounding the parliamentary
decorum of the dinner-table at the approach
of cwms and arêtes. Reports from the steppes
shuddering with sluices and sloughs
are hoping to be hawked on the street.
The retail emporium marked ``jurisprudence''
is at clashes with the forward movement
as daylight opens the zippers of the side bags
inhabiting the pockets left behind in the eddies
of the climate which is so edgy. The earnest
of the north wind advises respecting our attainments,
pick up the image and drag it to the adoring
deeps where the waves are resigning to contemporary
moods. The animalcule, alter idem, is melodious,
like the threads of a tapestry like nectar of the gods
when the earth fell down about the Donor. At eye level
they held a hand mirror which looked backwards
to a crouching figure encased in armor. The world
is an immense gosling apt for damp paws and fangs
against the throat. Surely, dreams are suggestive,
founded on reason, full of roses. Perhaps it is
the advance force, disguised as dwarves, having no
inkling that living millions, already, had succumbed
to the summation, yielding their giddiness to cracks
and shadows. But there was nothing to see...
in the white sheet and in the white light!

June 20, 1977

1.79  The Symbol in the Thimble

What circumspection had the cirrus cumulus
with the raindrops which fall on your uplifted face
as the emotions which surge within you have commerce
with the moral purity of the grand hotels
whose shattering envisages the grand skyline
which hides its vast bulk behind the invitations.
The Tall Ships are sailing on your forehead;
they emerge from the devil's point of your ears;
they utter the voice of the Bearded One, Rip Van W.
O sky, O sea, O land, your spirits dance
to the waving songs uttered by the dancers
who are dancing to that music of the sidewalks
which are made out of cardboard which conceals
the fresh paint which gently ripples on the painted
lakes of Central Park. Are not the fountains
currently filling up with wine? The catacombs,
the viaducts, the elevated are caressing
the girders with the laments of the stressed,
the architectonic element which smiles
at the fleecy clouds, so like the Tall Ships
sailing on your forehead, so like emotion.

July 6, 1977

1.80  July 4, 1977

Your inchoate, nascent feelings are prevailing now
amidst the summer breezes which tickle the languid,
liquid summer lakes with wavelets which untie
the ``one-two buckle my shoe'' of the limbs
of those trees which resemble the booms of sailboats,
which cry out against the withering and autumnal hints
of orthodox teeth. O truth, thou art a weeping sea!
And your emotions are so like wispy embroidery!
Beautiful sentences are at clauses in the summerhouse
whose lattices are the grilles from which timid nuns would
peer out dreaming sunlight. Where are you, in welters? What
shoelaces, really, is the wind tying up: so that sailboats
do not founder at the very flagpole holding those warnings
which can be heard a mile away and are foghorns.
The children are weeping at the plenitude.
And they are weeping at the vacancy.

July 8, 1977

1.81  Speedboat

(after Renata Adler)

The city, of course, can wreck it. So much for
insomnia, access to the state of mind of the salesgirl,
prosperous landlords, births, marriages, dying rhythms
calling in question the reverent satires. Speech,
you try it waking, like love and dreams balking
at the jump, and you're over the genres like a hedge.
Relishing the sails, when the wind's against, blowing
gently against the rats, sitting skittishly on the fences,
waiting for the tremors of getting up at six, the parents
of the anecdote, knees behind a high stone wall,
the Dobermans, the friendly hair of the old mistress.
Tenements are nervous breakdowns displaying
their falling plaster which is suddenly grabbing
for the telephone. The drum and the flute echo
across the mountains, the four mile valley,
whose acoustics are so good. The speedboats
are flashing across the lakes.

They have entrusted to me, the anesthetist, an immense
sack, brought by an old man whose neck displayed
presence of mind, reading the literature, repopulating
the Ark with the owners of oryxes who subtly
enrage or reassure the truths which are too busy
looking away. The marsh was frozen on which he
skated, the stubble, dry and cold, showing above the sheet,
like a geologic time span which won't shut up, in those
seventies, interrupting monologues of the hard of hearing
who haven't buttoned their coats. The implements
of the museum were redolent of place names
and little errors of spelling. Our blood temperature
is lowered, it having been raised up,
and the terrible sack is lowered.

July 11, 1977

1.82  Ibiza, 1970

The ocean is so satisfied, wholly, lapping gently
but with a great deal of mass on the basin, cupping
the geologies, reverting to the earth, speaking in elegies
of the earlier life, when the mother was without form,
wholly void. The summer is so blue, opening out above
the plane concealing the volume of liquid. The symbol
will appertain to the structure, like a student cafe. Castles,
Spanish castles, above the beach, remnant prestiges,
are like the manatee, or, mother of the crowned republic.
At issues, the colors have the substances of castles.
You are not lost, feeling heavy, crowded with color.
Motherwell, you endeavor the lightness and the blue,
starting from Oregon. How limpid the banker's son!
Our Degas! Famous for color and not lost to line!
The Francophile thought and the francophile elegance
attach to the Spanish aristocracies of feeling their
bourgeois completions. How lovely to look at! Doing
Perpignan, this summer, or the jetty, which is looking
just like Braque, the arm is everything; like the elbow.

July 13, 1977

1.83  Virginia Woolf

The indefatigable sun which is so bright
it wrinkles the creases of the tablecloth spread over
the waves of that sea which lies beneath its own surface,
the thick strokes passing the bar. The canoes
slipped through and were pale tinted. The access,
given in feeling, to hallowed death, loses sight
of the door, slamming behind, the few precious stones
around our throats. The engrossed floods of raindrops
dried by the wind bloom in the gardens. This serves
to explain our confidence in the sunless
territory of non-identity. The moment of appeasement,
their intermittencies, the circles of light, luniform,
draw out the room with the swing door. It is
stifling. It is lonely. The night will take the heat
out of the sky when change is no longer possible.

July 17, 1977

1.84  A Promise of An Annuity

She waited, Kate Croy, for her father to come in,
showing the glass over the mantel, the common auction
of the feelings, the stale, neither shirking nor lying.
The rosewort, the bladderwort, the blue green algae
formed the surface of the pool, consolidating
the sediment before it fell: and the rumble
of the sorting, drilling and the marshaling yards
was an intercalation. And Goodman Brown, say your
prayers for Georgiana. For the pond lily grows abundant
in the margins. Cardinal flowers kindle, superabundant,
the existence of the glove, the ostensible Kate, the taste
of honey and of milk, the play of mind, the statement.
Scarcely generous, the lapse of emotion, which had
been the embarrassment of the railway bridges
leaving the weeds to notice and little bits of paper,
isolated, unmothered and unguarded. Powerful neighbors
occupied a throne, called window, presenting ovals,
fine faces in dull glass, lost minutes pulling round a name.
Reasons to see that arose from between the oars splashing:
for the little gate has opened, and the hedge is turning
towards the lake, and the Guests of Being are accounting
for their reserve which surrounds a marsh.
For the little boat will weigh the water.
And the shafts of light will weigh the air
with the kennels wasted by the conflict
which are carried out like the sandy hours.

July 27, 1 977

1.85  For Céline and for Melville

No pain is forgotten. We persist in certain things,
such as, for instance, a language of spare abstraction.
Life is malicious. It is illogical. But it is full
of beautiful sentences, whose commas are like thorns.
Why are we innocent? For, all suffering, we are,
evidently, guilty. We were versatile and scoffing,
plying our skiffs and easing up to the three-masted
schooner, giving intellectual status to the cemetery,
boiling our milk, passing the bachot. Doubtful cases
we reserved to our superiors, ripples on the tides
of the illustrated playing cards, when children spoke
to the hateful puppets who wore hats and commanded
from little wet rowboats, for solace. ``My father
is dead. I will not send for You'' After the music,
you see the tone that's made for us, the melody
of death, so noiseless. Try to bear witness,
the resemblers of a deliberate language, Pomona,
to the way of men and things, in the absence of a God
who speaks for us, between the lattices, of His absence,
for His deathless Love for His Redeemer. The manager
of the rubber company, most faithful of fiances,
is taking up the study of English, filled with anguish,
for the little metaphor which offers its views, tripping
over itself, to the rushing boatmen, busy with nets.

August 1, 1977

1.86  Eutrope, or, The Poet

We seek in dreams, the reality beyond the dream,
which does not share any corruption. A search for this nothing
at all, has no daily round, inexorable glimpse! In the losing
of the self, like a Manhattan street corner. The greatest mystery
is to feel, before death, the agony of these minutes, struggle
with one another, round sums, and drown us, complaining,
like lieutenant colonels in a fishbowl. Watching the boats
on the river, some little progress of the self-transformation,
projecting the parts of the realm of fiction which dries
and which another replaces, with the thought of death,
painful to contemplate, and, once used, discarded,
as though death were worn out, too, a burlap. The tone
of nightmare sets just the right note as we ascended
in a balloon, noting the potato blight down below,
which was caused by Madame Henrouille, whom I detested
greatly; and the refreshing oxygen from the cellophane bag
kept us going, a thousand feet in space, a thousand
miles away, in time! Silk! wool! leather! food! the soft,
moist, muzzle of the reindeer comforted me, and its low
voice saying, ``the psychotic reasons thus, in error, by means of
the paralogism.''Disdaining the proffered advice, I crept
into my igloo and I wept. I wrote my articles. I admired
the magnificent lyre-horned oxen. I saw the earth,
covered with aloes, even in the depths of the sea!

August 1, 1977

1.87  Oekomon, or, The Steward

Angels, what would you hear, if we mortals could sing?
At the crevasses we seedlings utter our diminuendos,
which are the havens of the pollen shed by the Godhead
out of the regions of that nightmare whose interstices
intermingle with the folds of his Love. We are cast out to the
saxifrage to be single: angels are kneeling among the boulders,
cousins of darker angels, hidden behind blue stars, terrestrial,
destructive, collaborative: to be rooted dreams, dispensing
the solid, the uninterrupted matter of the gift of thought,
in supplications! I was for becoming a stone, full of mineral,
wanting to separate the shadow from the light: memories,
you undeceive your own volitions: the skull, a sky of flawless
blue, a plain of clouds from the cockpit: carrying the stream,
steel is disabused: and I was in this hell a desert of stones.
How can you tell the hellfire from the hell whose cruel tongues
curl 'round themselves, tightly twisted in knots which so resemble
red-hot stones which have driven off the thoughts of water- psychic
relief!-in their impenetrability over which the blue sky offers
only the Tension of the Enigma?

August 2, 1977

1.88  Consistoires Brahmaniques

Existences coincide with the distances and the emptiness.
How can something that doesn't exist, the future,
so implacably calculate the memories, the myths,
the budding threats shortening the dread of waiting
for the truth, which is Death, where the dancers take up
most of the time which is left, after all the other time,
which is used up, is fled into the graveyard and the granite
tombstones which recite the spelling lessons of the deceased?
The hotch pot hierarchy, which, in a word, is music,
Goupor-Rawhidor, provides no information, triggering
outbursts from the antique shop-islands of Roses! island
of Sapphires! from the early pages, switching to a religious
vocabulary. You, cornflower, a warbler, is a love-story
not a love affair, as well, telling the flower of San Francisco,
of escapades, shortcomings, of motionless barges at abandoned
river banks, through the block trellis work of the plane trees,
past the Neva, past the dented ping-pong balls, of the ladies
in chaise lounges, who pull the vanishing act of literature,
called baffling magnetism, which trains the eye to contain
Death within the scrupulous beauty of conception?

August 12, 1977

1.89  Cosmomediumnique , or Aux Rencontres des Philosophes , or, Plus One

Enchanted, rising out of time, the voice of death
is not able to tell North from South or Radio London
calling the dancer, and nothing else, sleepy. Little
anecdotes tell each other of the ignominy of the toboggan
transposing the snows onto the dental plates of yesteryear
which wore the satin slippers of the undivided individual.
Ninety-two and sixty-eight got the soles of the warders' boots,
and the dog eared dossiers of the web of time revolve
around the cry of pain which emits a dance masquerading
the guises of the Eastern gods. Not so here. To use religious
language to describe them: ballet, theology: emanate: fear,
guilt, hatred, remorse, from that bundle called the Godhead
which is almost dead already. Reciting the monologues
of the agony, the last but one, attending to the etymologies,
Greek, no doubt of it, in such a state, this time,
then more, the perhaps of I think then perhaps a last time,
then I think it'll be over. When wax goes bad,
it melts. Time is so plastic, a little like that,
described with a scientific vocabulary
where they sell off universes in Einstein's
bazaar, where the weave meets the warp,
of the Ghosts, tracing their hatred. Their lack of time
is the lace of time's embroidery: blood, music and lace,
dumped into a sailboat, carried far-away, to the depths
of a starry night, to Kings of Silence, to whom nightingales
sing, in flames that are colored blue... orange... green.
The incessant illiterate intelligence at the siren,
which weighs twenty-one stone, used to work
as a porter in Les Halles, eerie world, quiet corpses.
What you are really doing is creating a new vision
of death. It resembles the old one. But it's a new one!
Nothingness, by no means to be confused with the hysterical
lunatic, by no means the hole punched in the sky
by the old man with a cane, not the original
of the counterfeit of the invention: neither utility
nor reality. Philosophic rigor, I kneel to thee, Rimbaud!
At first I thought nothingness was an exercise: but notice
the birds and the herds, and the villages, their brigade
of drummers, which they were still doing in my youth,
supremely sober, like water vegetables, in the London
greengrocer I saw, July, 1970. Nothing, you are a giant cabbage!
Nothing, you tend the garden of completions! Nothing will out.

August 15, 1977

1.90  D'un château l'autre (Céline)

All sensational things are only a prelude
to the lamentations and their hatreds which lead
to the shadows working their magic on the anterior
hatreds of the short-lived trilogy. One or two,
Achille, senile repetitions inhabit the rose garden,
where the old men with straw hats are at the litany
of the resistance of the mad priests, begging guilt
and evil, never miniature. Detested at Sigmaringen,
bearing the witness, pamphleteer, depicting
the innocent, transferring the blame, escaping
to the tirades of betrayal. Idiot children
fasten on our despairs, take stock of our grievances
of the neglects of our own passions. Our resentments
purify us: and the parody of the wafer:
and our pity which does no hurt: nor falls
into nihilism, the crime. If Man be evil,
God, His grace existing, is Good in man; the non-existence,
giving no hope at all. Despair, the sense of nothing,
is not absent to the mind, so gentle, like the wind,
so pure, like the Heart of Emptiness. The Rose
punishes the thought of accompanying death,
dragging the double around the street, empty
as the freedom that has vanished. The projections
of the several, how desperate! The figure
of the One, how fugitive! Alas, the struggle
which we set up, to survive a little longer.

August 16, 1977

1.91  The Great War

``Metz,'' we whispered and the beautiful daughter
and the shouts of laughter where the ground up testicles
resembled the lettuce and the asparagus of the fields.
Qu'est-ce que l'art? Repondre a cette question c'est
. And does the man still give la parole to the woman?
``What, lieutenant,'' said Gina, ``three ounces of bread?''
And the grand ceremony, as late as 1968, of the connétable
de France
? nor of Norroy King of Arms? nor of the fields,
the green fields wrapped in the shining, silver pods? Where
are the challengers? Where is Mountjoy? Where, Bohun?
And the friars minor in the bloody nave? From Cambrai,
to the Scheldt, robbed of everything you got; and the Beckett
in the ditch. The archduke, my cousin, he rode in a sled;
and was slain in the square: setting the Diploma aside;
and ultimata. Weep amongst the sacred wood, you Dryads
and Hamadryads; amongst the shades, weep, collected
among the dreaming kings and the shining, Christian water.
They are bathed in that light. They are full, the metaphysics,
not of the sun, not the withered sun, weeping,
do not the grieving years of the Somme and of Verdun....

it was not the matter of his horses or his box
or the celebrated chestnut rising over;
for the promontory which separates two arms
of the lake, in attendance on the sod of Sfondrata,
fenced the rounded, the cultivated fields
(whom praise equals, but does not surpass)
surrounded by hills of uneven height on which orchards
(reminding you of money and speculation,)
address the wild cherry and the little steeple,
and the hermitage, and the noble and tender glances,
and the vigorous slopes running down to the sloping
sea: from which astonished eyes are raised
to the austere and sorrowful peaks of the Alps,
recalling the sufficiency of the present rapture.
Imagination is the distant church bell. Stories
float over the water, taking on the tone, and the resignation,
which is a language of old age, gives back the heart
of youth. And the tomb is erected near the famous avenue
of plane trees in the direction of Cadenabbia.

weakness and dereliction
before the whirlwind
our persisting generation
growing stronger in secular
power: lament, children,
grownmen: banish the dark
illuminations set in flickering
light. For your end
is accomplished: that your flesh
endure the sorrow: between
the encompassing and the wars
casting their bloodshed
on the treacherous years.
Enchantment was the central
of the awful vision, an abyss.
We were lost. We have not recovered.
We are dying. We are dying
out. The French, the Justinian, novels
are unsheltered, now, before
the death. Truth is a certain
pain. Docile, ductile, we list
history at the shuttling wind.
We are fragile. We are impotent.
We have forgotten the strictures.

Lady, with three blind eyes, I, sitting
under the big elm in the schoolyard,
in the beginning, I felt fear. And the loquacity
was it the cause, the recompense, the feat,
exculpating or assuaging? or was it new cause?
The latter, anglicé , penitential, weeping dry tears
of the dry bones' marrow, before the driven fears
concluded their sport, condensed into a City.
Many thought that, narrowed but heightened.
History, permanent thing, detaches itself
from the mirrors of persons: unparalleled
purity of design. Isolation and austerity
were convulsive, like absences of atmospheres,
the latent omnipotence of affirmation and negation.
The stifled light and the hesitant, temporal rhythm
sang on my lips the phrases glorifying the tricks
of the feathers or the branches of the deceitful
sonorities with which the air is fleeing the depths
of the spaces, noble, pure, simple, of meditation,
disdain, silence or gaiety.

There are, in these varieties of death, ends,
which evoke the repercussions of a grandmother's
protracted agony in the intermittencies of the heart
sullied by a double murder, the soul, dying, alone,
abandoned to its deliverance, thanks to concepts,
and the less probable sorrows, obscure servants
of the truth and of death. Death, defeat,
doubt, denial, damnation, disavowal, disgust,
is something less bitter in the magnitude of the laws we bear
in the suffering called love wherein we became detached,
in the idea of love which helps us not to fear death,
and in the idea of death which settles within us, like a love.
Ghosts and the absent have carried to the verge disappearance
in the being ourselves and yet another: within the presaging
walls, unmoved in a child's chaste sleep, in her absence
and virtuality, in the liturgical Gregorian street-cries
penetrating within an unknown life. My desire is undivided
in the world of silence, dragging things before us, like the sea
which at that hour almost resembles itself: as the long, white
threads of the horse's quick trot stretch and knot
the furrows of the silent sea to the topping edge of stony
lands which pass in front of one, invisible substances,
in which the eye, which cannot apply, is caught,
and caught up around us.

All nations which have been the glory of the world
have been ground into lifeless dust, like ashes
of tombs, by that Past whose animosities compose
the damnation of our Posterities long before the events
in equinoctial and southern America reminded everybody
of the white and yellow roses. The Araucans of the Southern
Cordillera, encountering the numerous English, doubtless
agitated, they freed themselves for it, that they might
expand with the steam engine, the balloon, the voltaic pile.
The manitou, cultivator of the Western Wilds, be to me
a glass, a lump, not destitute of the affections!
That system needs, then, some amendment, some flash
of privileged insight into life, the gateway, like the boat
of hallucination of the profusion of creation from Meudon
to Sigmaringen. Moss graves or the Russian front,
monstrous insects! Life is, half-way between quarantine
and operetta, hopeless perdition, the strain of believing
in an ultimate harmony, the apiaries, the bees, glowing
coals, finding out their fear, dreaming the deep desire
not to be, losing interest in politics. Forecasting ``there
ill be peace in the world until all the cities are razed.''
Madame Bonnard sings of Christine de Pisan, comments
on the shattered panes of glass. Baden-Baden is a dream
says Madame von Doph. The sky will never smile.
If we do not hate, what is the use? Our obsession
is medical cooperation, as we strew our graves
with those flowers which are the ambiguous images
of our own beauty, which has shrivelled, luminescent
like a ghost, with all the colors of the rainbow,
slumping into nothingness, like grave-digging
lepers sent off across the snow, above the Circle,
above Stettin, forms, which look like forms, darker
than shadows. Uncertainty is forensic: over the waiting
room at the railway station hovers a bluish glimmer
where you cannot tell whether they are dead or not,
those people in the chronicles who are falling away.
History is a list of names, standing for the variation
on near nothingness. Soon the town will be empty,
Warnemunde, presenting a characteristic play to
echoing seas, grey platitudes, like little pebbles,
drops of water, blending together, under the mirror
under death, under nothingness, where the air
is symphony over this ocean of ruins. Flowers,
petals, fall all over the scrap metal with the giant
blossoms green... red... and blue, surrounding
the idiot children with laughter, refugee beauty,
prancing, funereal cortège! Our passports
are bundled with tubes of cyanide; in the trees
rare birds sing. The elements are quite beyond
their own detail. Death is very close now.
Life can persist only by magic, charmers
of the wondrous, tremendous gamblers, wagerers
of the otherness! Metaphysics is nothing,
shaping the trilogy, explaining the simplicity!
The old clown is still up on the ropes, and selves
are dancing, protecting against concentric
death, the resentful grave.

August 16, 1977

1.92  Two Songs for William Blake

When I was young
all I did was play

and Mme. de Staël
on the Island

where all the hills
were bare and dry

The Blessed One

still and calm
had rings round his eyes

and all he did
was dance that day

tomorrow he would
play and die

August 16, 1977

1.93  The Old Dominion

Death is a ghostliness, turning over the leaves
in Virginia under Willis' Mountain, suddenly
absent. What is filling up the nothingness,
with the perverse plumage of an ordinary sentence,
hanging from the commas of its bony wing? Nothing!
Or shall I fall, victorious, abandoned to the lanterns
where they hunt the rabbit behind the ridge
at the time of the dying moon, between the space
of time of sunset and A.M.? Departures
direct ghosts and deaths, the old man with a sock,
the old hired man, re-forming in our hearts,
the bees of the invisible, the honey of conversation:
postings from the grave, searchers of the hound,
angels casting shadows, summer and the freedom
found you: words becoming objects by the addition
of their consequences. Grasping the earth,
does not the hoe sing to the relict lacustrine
of the old shoe? A task and a preparation.
The double men are incomplete among the land,
gathering the landscape to the discourse,
Orpheus in Virginia, seeking honey in the middle
of a river, reserving for the earth, the dwelling
place of mankind. That controversy of the only-feeling
over the not-thinking or the not-knowing, blue or
grey; but what of the heart of the over-soul
or Massachusetts in ruins? The double of language,
the gates, recomposing motives, retrying intelligence
which does not falter in the motives of those things
that we are not, in the folding over of the silences
disclosing the Web which the hoe enters
trying the Patience, catching the hands which float
silently by virtualities tying in the invisibility
to the visible devotions of the real. For you,
the promissory of a composition: ghosts inhabited
a relation and a behavior: among the details
of the distance elapsing between divine
and human love the information of the thorns.
Patient, like Aristotle's stamp, fresh noises,
gliding river, among ghostly voices are
by degrees... a Ghost... descending the steps...
to... to the Mouth!

August 23, 1977

1.94  The Poems of Marsden Hartley

(i) I never talk of the other kind of light,
multiple benefactions, from the lips of the red cliffs,
stroking the centuries which emphasized our infancy
in their house roofs evoking the celerity of the sensuous
boughs over my head: save to say of it, it is
another kind of place to go. In point of experience
resuming the eloquence of evening, doorways
grazing the cheeks, the synchronous kinetic,
(welcome to the supposition!) clamoring for nothing,
having no time for the sky, is our thin
sky from which hangs the pear tree, oiled wood,
seaweeds composing the torments of the tide
whose wavelets are the wrinkles of my bed linen
which they dare not call ``sleep.''
(ii) The dead have flowed out of themselves,
the moment in Celebes, leaving the eyelids
to the descendants who spit their passions
extending their reactions of your lengthened shadow
stuck to Immortality like a star turned
inside out, footing the street lamps. Half
of Infinity is straining through the weeds
and toe-nails, pineapples, spread out
like a blood matted Spanish fan.
O disease you are crazy standing
on one foot, thrilling the activities which confuse
the intimacies of ashy streams and their beautiful
fishes. How innocent are the abstractions
of laughter! The old mandolin kept in a closet,
does it not dart with joy to the notes held out
by the crystal dish which shatters as the wind
presses between your thumb and forefinger?

(iii) Bronze and marble, how you smile, supposing
the confident poetry is vast between towering trees
and vertiginous grasses. The thin child, thin as ice,
showing the demeanor of hand-in-hand, is imaginative
as masses which change their outline at a glance,
so eager, and the copper earth spilling over,
heaths, casques, red wagons, helmets. O, let
walk the growling trees, chirping at marble,
which sows its veins, mimicking life, churring at rocks,
streams, nearby pompous frivolity searching
for its audience, looking for sub-titles. O propelled
subways, standing still and walking in New York,
the little garnets of your foundation garments, push,
steaming and blasted, heave our honors and our hearts,
earning the tangles, which, under the fleecy clouds,
form the heroes of our loves.

September 29, 1977

1.95  Ode to the Narrows

The shuttered sunrise holds back the pencilled night
throwing its remains to the enormous city
where it begins in the lapse of nerve, called
deep sleep, before we seize the available greatness
through the laving generosity of inimitable yellow
beams: your picturesque spirit to be standing clearly
at the window in the streaming wind which is colored
orange tumbling all over itself, ranting Gotham
at the Narrows, awakening our courage and our care,
convicting the pillaging tides slinking their history
past the lightships. Look at the flags;
look at your eyes, running up the flagpole of your person;
ascend the air, the little flags of clouds, the little puffs
of demotic wind, the dangling banderillas of the calendars,
the little drops of blood on the wrists, jewel like
red drops on the shoulders: the sun the brilliant yellow sun
ascends on stilts finer than a girl's wrists
to the upper clouds where it pours its yellow
on the blood, the swift coursing red blood
that is pouring down the thighs of the blood-dimmed
tidal women who are crying for the moon
and crying out in rapture under the sun.
Fathomless is the sky which goes on upwards to the sun!
The rose of the dawn turns white above the clouds
where white faced death has disappeared
upon rocky paths which connect one pale star
to another whose scent is as the breeze
weaving the face of the future strolling into a field
in that light we seek, broad and pure,
as we walk on the horizon carrying
our variable weight with springy steps
we have been taught for the embattled hours of day.
The blinded heroes will guide us: the sun
tearing up the rose with fountains of light
which cannot see enough or do not see enough,
as the blood, guided by the pale but greying
death, began to pour, from the petals of the rose,
down the rocky slopes, to the pink
and blackening seas! Dawn, O dawn,
you must always come back: to blot out
those stars that gather when death approaches
over the inky seas where the white wind dries
the grey spider's web, blowing delicately,
which they spread to the ensuing, catching
eye, the round eye of vertiginous sight,
in its dolorous interceptions of the thinking
hordes of colors which express our desires,
painful as the many-hued sun!

September 30, 1977

1.96  Les Entretiens de Rapallo

And I, forbidden winter and excited, crowded
places, on a flat roof by the sea, shuffling the painted
kings and queens and knaves, now that recovered
leisure, which is more than merely mathematical,
fitting the middle Zodiacal, with the tinctures
and shades of palm trees by the sea,
hotels thrusting their rounded edges
to the pocket bones and pieces of meat
of that ranging, rounded sea, without contours,
giving the lie to Nicholas Poussin. He knows
that History never nurses the café cat,
which is enjoying a momentary rest from writing
verses, dropping his burden before attending
church, filling emotion with white brilliant light
that resembles gratitude. A chance word,
really to trouble or overwhelm, the cat lapping
milk, the people who are talking to people,
who would mistake the misunderstanding,
saying, ``we are starved.'' Always ingenious,
ever cruel, the script deteriorates. To foretell
the event is not to foretell the moment of the event.
I cannot summarize the accompanying illustrations
of succession when the shaft of light struck the chair
which shuddered: or hearing the whistle announcing
the dream, whistling ghost, the one giving explanations.
Sweet smells are the most constant: now of incense,
now of death, of the violets, perceptible flower
filling up the room, the old hyacinth official.
Your little work of study and arrangement
begins at the sound of the little pipe, hearing
the burst of music in the middle of the night,
at that hour when nobody comes to the objective
and the distortion, amongst the blessed spirits
of the Ghostly Self....

October 13, 1977

1.97  The Jewelers' Death

(See New York papers, week of September 23, 1977)

Pain is the burden concluding of the intercepted
-ignorant hordes!-milk trucks, splashing,
guttered buses up the avenue fluttering with clouds
and newspapers. Walking with open buttons
the streaming sun roars its steadiness
to the contradicting hordes lying in bed
like rubies, having cocktails, tying the cellophane
to the corpses of forty-seventh street. Let us live
with the hairs that summon the anxious organs
with their materialistic, narcissistic hungers
closing the tear falls of the City with solely
the fragments which avoid the misery
which must picture humanity. Slave of the image,
over-prodigal dispersals of need, you spread
your arms like a crater belching seeds,
vitreous obsidian, glassy-eyed individual
silvery, poems! Ask the squeal or the grunt
lavishing its attentions on the logic... what?
The slow culminations of the marshy ground!
Variety, you keep us from living freely,
too young to know the arrow of time
which flieth by day. Who teaseth the mind?
What is the divine gaiety of the Supreme Persons
proceeding through the little triangle
which turns over itself in infinite
rotations out of its eternal being
offering us the glimpse of its perpetuities!
O Time, you are a wandering hunger
on my lips; my knees are crushed
by the sledgehammers of the Godhead.
Henceforth, I am called small, like the nations,
as the death of its people saluted them,
the air of the stars washing ashore
the starfishes which leaned on the prow,
the flying barquentine, passing the harbor
to the interminable, explicit sea! silent beyond!

October 21, 1977

1.98  The House of the Dead

( Apollinaire)

The little party of the newly dead
were clever, knowing the dead from the living
who cut sheets of viburnum, kneeling
at the feet of the whistle which announces
the breaching of the cask. She speaks,
like a bell, of betrothal, of which the dead
woman replies, singing rounds, doubtless
the remnants of the antique, the shrill
zither, scattering the absurd words
of human songs, who slips a ring on our fingers,
and our clothes which are scattered
on the fields, as stars are scattered in the sky
where the dead girl and the cavalrymen
join the countryside to a less funereal bearing
of the sky and the earth lost in phantasmagoria
when the sky laughs at its shadow which it sees
behind the sun. That was their former lives,
the departed bodies to which the flames
had come far a little walk in the country,
which grew fair. How flamboyant are the leaves
in autumn! Gold and red, the relatives
of alchemy, how you count the tenderness
which weighs inside me! Anguish, you had sung
shattering the windows which lined the causeways!
Fear, you looked from another world. The quick
eye of memory lights up the glass which covered
and covers the trees, protecting the apocalypse
from the finite, flat earth. The first time
in the deserted cemetery stretched its flanks
to the cloister smiling behind the window panes.
Why, all this glass? Who will deliver from their cells
the abusive, impotent dead? Who will shatter
the walls of Time? The sound of the bell, angel,
will it smile, as we grimace, on the flowers
of the shores of Him at Galilee, bearing its face
to the rejoicing dead which is between themselves
and the light? We went about the City, then,
reminding them and the dead woman seated
on the bench of the barberry bush which is forgiving
the boats moored in the harbor which the dead
are so capable of rowing clad in yellow dresses
until they reach the glacier, recumbent
on the rocky coast, which has forgotten everything.

October 21, 1977

1.99  This is Called a Session

(for Michael Kressbach)

That I love lemurs, typewriters, begonias
the straining beasts of Immortality
from the secret place I hold, old-knowledge
making sense, the two more beats of unlife,
seeming to have more to do with the something else
of the slim diet woman striking the frigidity
of the stars of yesterday whose ashes are
the perhaps of the dream of language.
Brimming appreciations of the coy rose
casting aside the dreadful hundred headed
dog which she sees through the window pane
whose mullions compose a two fingered sonata
for the monks waiting for the shoulder-blades
descending from the bruise colored falcon.
I feel this in the stomach and to trample
over Normandy, striving, ugly, just depraved
to the point of its being painful to them,
the droves of people, chatting lightly, lightening
serious talk with bubble faced beliefs.
Torture is just so indefinite, the frames
of the movie pressing the pain against the sound-
track, feeling the attempts, as slowly as the parties
went on to dinner, their extremities embellishing
the notion with notes inégales . Is it possible
that a Divinity could try to express
one moment to another, influencing all of them
with visible indications of the vast gulf
within the muted laughs?

November 2, 1977

1.100   The Infancy and Much After

Les Enfants du Paradis ,
killing the sympathizers, wretched
nouns, the wild-flower of the beautiful bloom,
or Ronsard, comme le fleur, the districts
of Paris, passageways, quays, the occasions
of Inferno, writing the music, their deep breath
shakes off the weight of memories which threaten
the larger scale of the suffocating crisis
we mortals call death in our awareness
of writing and the propriety of motivation.
Endearments, embrasures, avowals, even
so, stagy mistaken reproaches, are so audacious
like the bloody hand that shatters the hourglass
caressing the grains of sand of the loquacious
depressions of the clammy alcoholic. 0, fog
you drool over the pebbles of the beach
confounding the topography with the temporality.
Paradise, unseen Nature thaws in each bud
the constitution of events: so timeless seems
the grey, warm air: so fluid and impersonal
seem his moods: his name a prophecy
even to the school of turlhide whales stranded
in hot noon spouting in rich, essential manure.
Dumb esoteric reality, the not speaking
except in music, Martineau, the music formed
by the words, unam sanctam catholican
et apostolicam ecclesiam, the slow growth
and change, vigilant angel!-how you, militant,
disarm and menace the hieresiarchs, a horde
of heresies fleeing, mitres awry. Somebody
has eaten all we have left. Those incursions,
successes, and settlements, on the archipelago,
princes, the sons of kings, and travelers cheques
have bereft the pirates of their anger.
Cardinal di Sarasate, will he play the violin
in blank verse drawn from the mottled bottle
containing the filthy substance, the waxed,
the oily, for you the presents of the dead,
the reliable stuff?

November 3, 1977

1.101   November 4, 1977

  And the flow
of softness, the softness of the clouds where hawks
cry where they come from remote reaches of sorrow.
Death flows from your eyes and clusters with grey
shore flowers. Close the gates to the suppliants
where the perplexed, the pure open hands of clay,
of snow, woven, whose tongues are calling
for a dance of walls for bones and flutes.
O Marrows and Corollas, you compose on clouds
a desert of roses! Water, like a needle, seeks
the cliff from which to pour on the animals
whose mouths are like bellows. The wind
will not pale at the thought of death. The tumult
of the cemeteries is deaf to the dreams
of the apple. Whose ears are full of freshly cut
flowers? Why, it is the wind. Who, in giving
kisses, does not feel the smile of faceless peoples?
Why, it is death. The agony of the sea, which
they think of as waves, is pressing the roses
to the sky and to the wind. And that hand
is reaching out from heaven to seek out
the roots of the oceans.

November 4, 1977

1.102   Words, Gerard (Malanga)

I fear to hurt you, to have hurt you
forsaking the personifications of my life
and the friends and the current history
of the bleeding sky and the consciousness
of the beliefs of all the lives in the candle lit
room. Your trash, your poses, ignorance,
servility appreciated the admiration
and the power. Just as I did of the way
you were free of me. When it is not yet
the twilight of another life, the having come
into life, through the rain and the mud,
the candle in the blue room disappearing
into next morning, that I have come to life
unable to find, in the transcontinental blue,
in the room of place, hiding altogether
in the contempt of the inability of the giving of love.
The truth telling once, as the open fields
where the clouds made shadows of the innocent
standing grass, as the young girl comes back
to the standing memories in another life
where the years of death are forever turning
to the someone lying in bed before going
under the ice. Can't we meet, for instance,
in a tenement hallway smelling of urine?
What are lost things? Names, you but memorize
the conventional figures, Christ and the Virgin
and the oval mirror, speak in a language
we dreamed about wearing white suits, the victims
of misfortunes. Great art, dirty streets,
how do you hide the passions, turning away
from the forgiveness of Italy and the darkness
of a stage without the lights! I can see there
nothing. And your voice, endowed
with the blood of my lips, said the refrain
nothing. Occult blood and the fragilities
hastened the common self-destruction.
Pain is a bedroom or a stable of potted plants,
or the wind is seeking out its direction
in an atmosphere written up in signatures.
The disinherited die in their repeated deaths
of the prior dying: and the unloved sleep
in a light-house, filled with biographical data.

You are dead. The secret weeds are attracting
the photostats to the myths of searching
for the recurrent wind which dies in the refinements
of winter. On what table may I put the dream
flowing into the hand of the boy? Who spoke
to the girl on the terrace, where childhood
was a sunset which remained faithful
to the friendships before the second fever
of the body passes? You are long dead,
in the passing ten years: your thoughts
are to be that nothing of the contradiction
of I love, I do not love, in the impotence
of lament, exceptions, or the loneliness
of a circle which says to the sailboat
nothing at all, to the harbor, nothing.

November 30, 1977

1.103   For the Anticipations of the Death

As the river bends in the night
after a diet of fruit yogurt in the runny
plains it holds up hand held weights
which accounts for the personal
influence of the boulders and crackling
gravel turning sympathetic intuition
into pale photographs becoming crinkled
memory and the nostalgic reminders
of the delta. How beautiful was the original
finger sending fire to the aqueous earthen
vessel where the Voice cried out in accents
of creation! Cutting his arm off for the love
of Pupa whose own private, unwritten up, fate
was the destiny of parenthood and anonymous
deaths by causeway: the agony of expression
feted the stumbling river, until she was broken,
a marshy reed, uttering the words to Ettore,
``Sunlight on the Duomo!'' For, the reconstruction
of emotions is the work of day, perceiving
a universe which misses the expectations
of the small church by the sea where the young
boy returns up the river, robust man,
clutching still the stuffed dog of wishes,
curiosity and games, and the nostalgia
to return to Rome. Spiritual beauty
and the closed window, the past lived
into the future whose thoughts are to be
nothing, like those thoughts of New York,
which begin vanishing as soon as uttered.
How do you tell me, the never returning? How
will you know I've suffered? I have survived
in a world of separation, of the better world,
of the Division of the Century, immediacies
of feeling, aristocracies of graces, on my lips!
Listen! We have caught the glimpses of the accents
as they fall, gracefully, on the garden chairs
about Poe Cottage! Spirit, you hide behind drapes
and muffled heavy voices, and histories
in the cloisters and the massive stonework
of the fake medievalism of the two hundred seven
streets which seek out the intuition breathing
the misty vapors of the Harbor, praying
in Supplication to the Godhead!

December 6, 1977

1.104   The Geese of Pure Being

The invisible music acknowledges the trees
whose branches played the pipes emitting the notes
of the animals who are poring over their thoughts.
Surely the field is open over which the sun pours
where the light moves adroitly filling up the void.
Lonely, spirit buries the animals in later darkness
which begs for substitutes. Bubbles of light pour
down in that darkness which can't see anything
as the wind is causing flakes to peel from the black
night; for, as age grows old, it dies, marveling
that something kills it, perhaps, gnawing the child's
face as the broken back emits the silent, final way.
After tattered heap of remonstrances and grandeurs
of accusations, the animals occupy the small,
private sea of grief pleading for some same story
regarding a tree which a shepherd leans against,
whose trunk motioned them to be seated where relaxed
fruit abounded on the boughs, in a delicacy of branches.
Anybody who approached, no snakes nor clearing detail
for the mind, garnered wisdom, hard knotty diamond.
None of us in the learning experienced the pardon.
How adventitious are the voices from the skin
of the animals which note the sky which is on fire!
Delusions informed the nightmares. Whose? It tightens,
what imitates every possibility, hoping to prefigure about
terror the securing horror which seeks to protect the Absolute
in the neglect of that pain which nurses us with its blood.
Paralysis lines the boxes where people's mouths emit hot spray.
Our desires flow like little boats lost in those boxes
which fill up with what nobody can find, the dead,
because they are feeding apples to one another. Surely,
the harmonium is at hand. When I was young, I was blind.
Seeing the false design, they say they tried to hurt us,
the animals.

December 16, 1977

1.105   The Symphony of the Late Simone Weil

Clear music, the window of apple trees, the lane
of drifting moths, measure the running feet
sighing of rooms where they enter like ripening seeds,
whose dawns of transition, in the whispering hour, open
the door of that month held suspended in a book of funerals.
Think how age or candles sing on the wrought iron porch,
with the contemporaries of death, beveled glass, burled ash,
houses where they do the tricks, memorable at eye level,
of the catafalques, who blow trumpets at us. They lower
the body, eating the food their families brought. Waiting,
in the glorious, exceptional sunshine, overlooking burial,
the sun becomes part of the emotion of light, with ourselves,
families of painters, reported in paint. Making lace, making
music, studying stars, cities of the dead, from their ossuary,
``aux morts de Leningrad-France amie,'' rise from the dead,
like the sun, uninterrupted, opulent, dominant. Spendthrift
in presentations, from silk walls, reclining on damask seats
the sun, whose circle fills up with the figures of the peoples,
whose faces mirror the water of the far shore in their brilliant
white eyes which shimmer of the airy gabled tan facades,
lights up those very pendent-pearl earrings. The Astronomer
is a triumph of light in the Hermitage.

June 15, 1979

1.106   The Flowering Chestnut

This had been a recalcitrant spring, vigorous, sunny, inflexible,
a constant north wind keeping a clear sky, so there has been
no rain, nor fruit trees in bloom, in suburban orchards.
In the Tuileries, the chestnuts, all they can do,
is to burst into mere green leaf without flaming
their floral candelabra. On Easter Sunday, and we rejoiced,
the air was finally warmer, but calm and uncrowded,
as spring matured, suddenly, knowing, nous sommes chez nous ,
that it was ours to despoil or defend. Silver trim gleaming
in the murky smoke, amidst the shambles of Friday, the bloody
wreck, fragments of clothing and an occasional shoe, glass
on the sandy sidewalks, heaps of desolate curtains, awaited
inconsolable Saturday, in the morning of the impassable
half dozen hours, like an iron fence composed of mere duration.
Immobilization, that is the kind of death. Or, the metaphor
of prison: that we were well treated prisoners whose phones
gave out. Glumly, before a metal fire screen, dressed in velvet,
drawn into a public tapestry by a conjugal destiny entwining
the divine figure with the human, porcelain mask, fallen asleep,
our strength lay in our aural sensitivity after so many years
of the crammed amphitheaters of angered hopes. For, overcrowded
as tenement rooms, the catacombs are filling up with printed
gossip. We were eager. Upstanding, bloody Friday; envenomed
Saturday; they pass. And how simple is the Resurrection,
its serious lack of answers! Uncrowded by the campestral
acclamations (the ubiquitous skirmishes of the rain showers,)
the air smells like the sea-side, filled with strong wind,
the statements of salient ghosts.

June 19, 1979

1.107   from Kafka's Diaries, 1911

Are the woods still there? Hardly had the glance
gone ten steps, caught up in tedious conversation,
about our future with this body, our despair,
as we catch fire, in this heap of straw, in the night
of comets, in tepid ivy. He gave up his heart,
exchanging a toy hammer. The mist was so strong,
we could not enter it: and our hands we raised.
The privet hedge, is it vanished? Or the green for books?
This cold autumn morning is full of yellowish light.

* * *
Sound the trumpet, for the drummer is coming,
leading his little reproaches by the hand, the small
one there, the undamaged sigh, who lacks an upper lip,
an ear, a rib, there a finger, pockmarks and counterparts
to the imperfections becoming lead, which stick in the body
like a musket ball. I no longer have the corresponding
body. Repentance takes pain to one side, settling affairs.

* * *
I make of my rages musical instruments; as I held them out
to strangers on the street, the terrible bandstand which has
nothing inside it but the wind tosses me from side to side
like water in a basin. My reproach is a strange and heavy
tool which I have not the courage to lift. Look out
of the window where you see the fishermen sit there, immobile,
in their boats, like pupils taken to the river from school.

* * *
Incomprehensible, their immobility, like flies on windowpanes.
Do not name them twice, the beautiful strange women
within the framework of their ceremonies, full of elbows
and knees which flee the burning theater, who had else
drunk in the rainwater the thrilling verbs which made choices
amid the vermin, the servants, and chandeliers,
gathering attentions for their fragile panes of glass.

December 3, 1979

1.108   Taking A Cruise

Undoubtedly World History has a separate playroom
for the sub-teen set: but, whatever Chroesroes said,
ski gear, togs, grooved runners, the smooth snow
melts, the watery butter, sunshine, glistens
on the decks. Oceanic, the thrilling wind blows
sand grains in the eyes of the stars; surely, the tinplate
known as the dome of Heaven is as benignant as scissors
held in the same hands which hold the threads of which is made
the garments, pull-cords, shuttlecocks, the sky-ride
wherein the Riders disport in close confinement. Poetry
is a kind of stillness in the midst of that. Under
the hemlocks, heel on the needles, under the divine wind,
it is a kind of utterance. Children, will you listen,
to the throbbing engine which is adding its declamation
to your own? You, who were witness to the snowfalls,
falling like a cold pomade, ointment to those mountains,
like swellings, what do you say? And the Child replied,
saying, ``Wallas', he recoiled, saying, I had trusted
on the strength of the Most High: and the smudge on the wall,
it is the Stigmata, which else would be my hands.''
In this frightening sunshine, we cover up, lest the days
of rain groove our narrowness, this thin hull part.

February 20, 1980

1.109   (Untitled, February 27, 1981)

Through daylight past all the reactions,
the accusations of the somnambulist
are the desire for rainfall and gossip
before the age of thirty, aloof as a pair
of scissors. Look at an old beef pie, ladies
with runny noses awaiting the telegram
from Sophocles, sober as the sharp awe
of death: death is like a mucus, discontented.
Silly weeping exhausts the heart, cruel king,
which falls to a low place: reascended monarch
of forgiven time, exposing laughter. Only
girls require gentlemen, who are less than vegetarian.
Odors, the old quartet, the mistral, the fountains
of Toulon, tomorrow's warfare, this contest of sorrows
stifles the boredom of completion, horrid azure.
If you take death responsibly you'll get a new nose
to smell cloves by. Survived anguish is a kind
dying before the other dying who knows the person
well. New smells for the cinnamon: we are vermin,
dead men dreaming we are alive. We are not waiting
for death, explaining music: dead already. Contraries,
inconsistencies, past desire, acts accomplished,
the nobility of enumeration, the siege of admiration
in the port cafes of Rapallo, the vulgarities
of the Assumption of the Virgin, klaxon stridencies:
Who lies down in expensive chambers? That is
why we are born to ask no questions permitted at all.
When we wish to be misunderstood we can still
melt or use imagery or leave our hair its natural color.
As you go through the longish tunnels you didn't notice
the mass of twisted steel the lunatic has caused
with his little rock on the tracks number. Remember
beauty was an assembly line resemblance, launching
an attack on the heart by means of immoderate
freshness, sad and damaging shock, another
toboggan ride. The unbeat drum isn't beating,
in necessary depths, with toothpick and with cotton,
our little ears pick up the unheard melody,
which our little fingertips eke out, the little reddish
wax. The others manage; where suddenly among us
stood a sailor, a little sad but virile, whose burst
muscular neck, soiled and unsmiling, wraps a cloth
around itself, whose oils are like cheese, or the cadaver
which falls into the lake, another immobile body.
The torn drum is split, spilling over the dark woman
the sweating tongue amid dark winds, cold
incessant rain: which flit about in bare feet.
They toe the artifice of fame.

February 27, 1981

1.110   Explaining It

Not to go so far as, where I lie me down,
tight-rooted bloomer, under the dance,
whose hooves beat about my head, falling
rhythm, is the idea so different from the thing?
Lost in the dream which succeeds the dying,
past the derision of mortality, I long to attempt
the renewed presumption. For they have put onions
in my ears, stuffed my thoughts with a weird
phantasmagoria, trammeled up my eyesight.
I wanted to be so curt: to speak in clipped
accents, in images that are angular
or orbicular by turns. I did not think
dying would take so much. I did not think
to dream. The gneiss, shiny veined, is crystal
of death. The garnets, minor gems, are the stars.
My forehead, under earth, is already underneath
the roots of memory, where the imagery
pounces, like little gnawing rodents,
where words come out singing one by one.

March 3, 1981

1.111   Our Friendly Hegel

Lord and bondsman
these three
they dance
about the tree
in History

March 3, 1981

Chapter 2

2.1  The Eye and the Gaze

After the strain, the images, the intensification

of their colors: our position is that we do not see.

In the dream we are as a butterfly. What are figures?

What are shapes? The butterfly paints itself

with its own colors dreaming of being. In dreams

we follow ourselves: in the beating of the little

wings marked by the grid of desire! Reduced,

to zero, to nature, to the punctiform evanescence

of the ignorance of whatever is beyond appearance!

Aug. 14, 1989

2.2  The Icon of the Deceased

the signal of anxiety,
he expects to find it: has

only, his eyes veiled by green
lenses, to undress the huge

body. Her body was like
huge letters on a map, spelling

the name of the country. Feigning
effeminacy, he folds the letter

like a glove which the Queen
turned inside out. The absence

of precautions... how suspicious!
The circle of significations...

how revealing! What happens
when speech is full of emissions,

of vesicles, of transformations
to the four corners of the eyeball?

August 14, 1989

2.3  The Play of Light

( Lacan: ``The Purloined Letter'')

The light solicits me: the gleam of light

which is at the heart of my little story,

which paints a picture of my little story.

My eye traverses a space of light to hear

what is called an image, whose wild odor bites

at the tragic moment as we have heard the loss

of him who speaks. What is the way we wished

to take? beyond the screen? What glimpse is

on the horizon of the Hunt of Artemis? Rays,

threads, eyebeams, scanning of the unnamed

substance on whose meditation is a pretended

mediation of thought! Seeing itself seeing

itself! The finger of the glove turned inside out!

O read the flesh of the world which chooses

to withdraw in vision! Light looks at me,

situated, distanced, introduced in elisions,

grasps me in a mastered landscape, eye

to eye, or in Holbein's death's head composing

itself as you turn to go and leave, farewell

Ambassadors! into the ambiguity of the jewel!

August 18, 1989

2.4  Hymn to Freud

Wherever it is, I must go there: to feed
with blood the shades which have emerged
from it: the absolute Master (Death)
has disappeared there, passing away
in the recitation of his desire (in hesitation,
an impertinence of invocation), Signor,
passing into a rupture, a gap, a threat, Signorelli!

A mirage is split wide: a dream is fissured
and the nothing that is myself is brought in light
of day.... Who am I? Who was I? Who asked?
The Father dreams of his dead son close by, falling
asleep, the image rising, ``Father, can't you see
I'm burning?'' What is in the next room then?
(What is the next room then? Where?)

If we are locked in Time, how is Time locked in us?
in Desire? The Jew: ``I will lead my people there...''
In the recollection of the forgetting of a dream
is the beginning of knowledge. We do not seek
truth; we seek certainty. And we ground
our certainty in our doubt. What is death?
Our anxieties, they do not deceive, ever...!

We need to disappear... in a slit...
which is full... of thoughts...! Where it was,
our home, full of dreams, manifesting refusals!
The storm of our anxiety, the gods speaking,
through dreams, to where it was, wherever,
to the shredded, slashed, tattered arras of reality!
``Where Id was, there shall ego become!''

August 25, 1989

2.5  La Bougie Nouvelle

( Maurice Blanchot)

having nothing to express
-the simplest sense

whatever-it is nothing.
nothing: it is a material:

forms, allusions, all the no
that is the no to this, invest-

igations, wills, standings apart.
``-I have nothing to say-''

simple denial? a self-accusation!
describe your dread, head first,

the trap, and no assonance
any more to repair your shoes!

the feeling-that produces dread
(linking to what object?), losing

in a death (interchangeable sign!)
our loyalty to dread, whose protection

is an ease of the case, of exorbitant lack,
in a comical discourse that opens and closes

the sky: the activity of a man sitting
at a table (mute orator!), realities,

capacities, methods, what annihilators!
Such are codes of masks or solitudes

of effectiveness, wherein we
submit to the certainty of the failure

of what I am when I am certain.
the supreme possibility-that we

understand the existence of dread-
-like a messenger who comes

to teach what I cannot understand,
my synonymy with the crushing

and tearing, to the truth which leaves
no imprint, the vermin Truth-

which dreams its reasons to add
to our dread!

August 25, 1989

2.6  The Encounter

Like a Stranger on the Path,

Death appears beseechingly

To you, begging your kindness.

Will you not be kind to Death?

Will he not then be kind to you?

The Stranger of the Path, he

Throws a rag doll at your feet.

Will you pick it up? (Its

Stuffings are drawn out of it.)

August 12, 1989

2.7  The Advent of Christmas, 1983

the nostalgia for the homecoming of death
through the magical projection of the open doorway
which leads the enchanted eye to the infinite
immensity of a sky done up in bathhouse
or mortuary style, popularly sinister gestures,
to the silent acres of lawn or wood, where little
dancing men, equipped, cruelly served, armored,
to whom oaths are heriot, to be paid out
when a life falls, before raising seed to a deceased
brother. Whoso the mutual amputation, a mutilated
Osiris? We may carve our lives into independent
members to dip smoking blood the talismans of the god.
On those islands where the eater of men is a name
of the supreme gods: these rites deign to recall to life
the shades of the dead by libations of drunken blood.
Yet we have survived, in a declining way, but calm,
no wishes or fears what is in promise of issue of blood;
we say we made terror to be the gimcrack reliance
of our banality. We have scraped and cleaned our hearts,
making in the room of Him to receive that Him
Which is the first begotten of the dead...!
We grip our fingers onto modern volumes of those stony
pages purchased at the lesser prices whose amounts
bear their nostalgia of the diminished succors.

Xmas, 1983

2.8  The Gaze of Orpheus

   whence by man came death, we can only comprehend
by denying ourselves existence, by making death possible,
so that we fall outside the possibility of death. Certes ,
we have read the Kabbalah! A man enters the night:
he does not awake: the night awakens. Or else the man dies,
carried forth by rivers in the night. he is a strange man.
He has forgotten how to die. Yet another, knowing he is dead,
struggles to die; death is over there, a castle, as life was,
over there, a native land he left; now there is only to learn
to struggle to die completely: but if you fight, you yet live.
This is high praise: or some powerful trickery: a privilege:
To be a moment: a point where the world is seen in entirety.
To be a moment: then another moment that will be a moment
in another whole: a point where the world is seen entirely.
To be a man beyond death could only be a strange possibility:
to be, in spite of death; to be capable of dying; to lose;
to go on as though nothing had happened. But wiser, to fear
nothing: which is to be nothing: to be this ferment: is to be
nothingness at work: as the work of death prepares humans
for the truth of their names: which work is a huge eating
that is eaten, devouring, swallowing up, a walking staircase
whose every step represents a moment like the clarity
of language spoken into air, as it turns toward nothing,
the sickening substance filling the corridor, trying to be,
nada, deploying the tired imagery of dead animals, fat, felt,
wands, rust and detritus, as he shows you the German Plain,
dotted and grey, the paint plowed inches thick, mixed
with straw, bleak, obsessive, psychological,
whose emblematic palette is borne up above a pool.
So they show you the poetry, the gigantic, haunting murmur,
another defect. So the end of everything is fame.
Where is death which is hope? The truly blessed man-
the man who is really dead...!

December 26, 1983.

2.9  After Mallarmé

It shall be the tomb of your pensive shade
Like an eye fired in an oven of thoughts...

For we have questioned the living shades,
the white pages of nothingness which admire the dance

of the swans of nullity upon the infinitude
of possibility. I sought imagery to clothe my soul

in those white embers to frame my single point.
Truth, you called back to me your friendly cries.

My eyes had sought to glow as simply, mistaking
their drama for a deliverance as though a flute

would become an embodied self of a shaft of light
emitting the white note of voyages whose feet trampled

the serpent truth in the round spheres of luminescence,
tempting the winter dawn to blossom its imaginary flower.

For I had not thought death could so endure
the chances of infinity in the brilliant fumes of winter!

Sing, swans, whose necks shake off the white torment
of space or denial, captive of solitude, of sterile winter

whose abyss of dreams has failed to sing, O horror,
reciting the only realms of life...!

January 4, 1984

2.10  Vladimir Nabokov

The child's coffin was borne after two white ewes,
and the chaplain, her ladyship's chaplain, singing...

reflections of hands over lacquered wood, diligent
fiddle, brisk motion, robust achievement, obtuse champions...

how arduous is the silky triangle of the folded butterfly
effecting in the palm of a hand, a scheme of classification!

you gloat over phrases whom the Combination satisfies
like Anglican plainsong, sympathetic abyss, tripping anguish.

some rhythmic urination over an iridescent fish made
of science the cleverness of the electrician, or the bear.

you want to know the origin of life, the meaning, the nature
of space and time, the nature of nature, of thought...?

a little chill salutes in words the spinal tangle that I know
more than I can express in words, the little that I know
to express I would not have expressed had I not known more
by this music of piecewise phrasing, recurrent peculiarities.

next morning cold clouds concealed bright mountains as I
handled the blocks of wood with the acumen of missing fingers.

this hypnotised person made love to a chair, a deckchair,
complaining he said it was a ginkgo tree emitting laughter.

the sporadic essay of the doomed beetle in a wooded bog
whose liberty is so bitter in the locality of circumstances,

but for you, memory and imagination are a negation of Time,
in whose vivid phosphorescence glitters


n.d. 1984?

2.11  The Spirit Trap

I speak in the name of the power of death
to You who shield me from the dead
to You who kiss the holy distance.

Eternity is not in the act, drawn towards
visible things in the freedom of the freely
dying: whose unfounded directionless
future is seeing death as a Lover
who gazes at the outflung arms and legs
under the hanging copula which breathes
a thinner and thinner mist of absence.

What sign will speak, the voice that hears
itself speak, the common waxy substance
uniting the dying to the womb born finger tips
whose memories were a tender bond in knowledge
and the newer, more introspective Death who sees
our common future as a single flower of the anxieties,
a common stem of infinite thoughts. How watchful
is Truth! How it cares for us! Us, the windy
and shaky, reading up on the heartbeats of the assault.
the husband of the living is calling out his anterior
betrothals. Marriage! To the voice of God! Your given name?
You, who has vanished? Your name has a persistence
as of a kind of mineral delivered over to the geologist.
We no longer hear of the Earth and her opaque signs.

For we are free of death, free in death, an unguarded
charity which is freest in acts of soul, commissioning
the lesser fates to distinguish the mothers of needs
and legends who spring out at us out of their sorrows.
They hurl their torments to us who can hardly bear our own.
What do we gain from that, glimpsing superior power
as a living free, not rising at all, not gaining anything,
except influx? Our art will take our lives; it has already.

Hurl, then, the thick clods of the lightning of absence!
What toys are these existences and mysteries?
Weave a tapestry of griefs out of the longings
of the infinite! The infinite! Does it fail, too,
to reach out to the angels, vessels of its power,
as the wind would fail to reach out to the tree
which it buffets with its suggestion? Archangels,
even one step down is too much! I will invoke you!

Set down the lamp, not in darkness, but full in sunlight,
as the sun lights up the Grecian tombstones in whose torso
lies the tension of repose: set down the light
turning red in the guilt river of the blood, as the guilt
of dawn dripping with the torrents of immediacy, soothes
the hidden coursing blood solitudes: that lamp desired
to see the faces of the stars who hide their dark companions
of their floods of origins who pour down upon the fallen
mountains. Lit up, the air seems full of oils.
You, fevered little boy, the thud of fruits...!

Someone is coming to prune my limbs: myself was betrayed
by the promise of abundance. My true, my tree self, looks,
I see, seems to be metallic, strewn with ribbons; the sap
tightens in tears. How restless is metal, almost like blood!
Over there are cattle mating under the fig tree, which omits
its blossoms. O! In my marble veins is Death, the gardener.

Praise this world to the angel, we who are novices.
in the taciturn chambers we husband our pearls of griefs
and equanimities. We are still dizzy from our recent death.
We have consummated our failure in that triumph.



the garrulities of the oxymoron

the criss-cross of the...;

the enjambment; how do

desires make speech fail

and how do desires achieve

speech: why do they fail

to speak into or about

their revelation of the Sacred

(an important debate): the wit

of dreams: that slab thrown

into the ocean monstrously

evades its own ripples

which transform into the Larvae

of the Divine who outwit

their own succulence...!

December 3, 1983

2.13  To Naples (Sitwell)

Dying, as I sang, in the Scarborough where I was born,
forgotten by the world, its evening editions, of the green
children of the kingdom of green fingers, where the white
peacocks were driven indoors to the sheds, water dripping,
the lemon trees dark, and rain darkened terracotta pots, too:
that must have been a certainty of effects, a like
disposition of the tenor voices down there, carnations
and mandolins, in the town where I had died. My death,
there, they looked down, the nuns from gilded lattices,
an autocracy of the speechless, after the rainfall,
where they brought me to the flashing whites of the marble,
blood drying quickly, to the life beyond painted wood
and canvas. My life was a sleepy preparedness,
a pharmacy of realizations about the atrium,
huddling about the shrine, an affair of green weeds
and small sea shells, the utility of Scarborough,
which is obviously longing for marine luxury and theatricality.
I had liked Lisbon with its steep hills, and Stamboul mosques
like huge kettledrums on the skyline; and I was wishing
to be in pain so not to feel the terrible anxiety of pictures.

n.d. 1983-4?

2.14  No Exit! The Gruesome Twosome

( Cremonini)

Life and death, of course: they
play a minuet on the spinet
to accompany the gruesome ceremony
of drawing and quartering. As you summon
the materialities of displacement, of kneeling
down, of the gesture, a sentence, a prayer,
an act of contrition where penitence
is a gaze which resembles a handshake.
You were at a small mass in a small church;
or, maybe a minor match at the sports club.
You didn't escape from the painter with his dismembered
sheep whose whole strength was to paint a balcony
hanging in the sky. Life and death spring out
from polished wardrobes and beds: they hide
in the articulated skeleton of an island: amidst
the desire for disgust with objects under the drenched
choking sunshine: nor ``times,'' nor ``moments''
of the window open to the air: night, high
noon: that 1900 arm chair. So it is,
a matter of differences and not of identities.
So, History is a commentary on this necessity.
A kind of refutation is what he paints about the rocks,
is what they ignore: their weight and memory of oblivion;
of vegetables, the long shriek of dumb stems, the strident
outpourings of a flower displayed in air. He never painted
anything but the absences, the snap of time depicted
in an instantaneous cry of the voices of motionless sheep
whose bones pierce their skin, snapping in a paralysis
of movement, scattered like so many dogs frozen
in bronzed, caked ruts, the dismembered animals thrown
among men collecting bony carcasses, men emaciate
like the corpses they bear. All that he painted
about the animals were the bones: and of the men
he stiffened them into the same material: the animals
and their men, equally living corpses, circumscribed
by the air in which they think themselves free.
What do you paint? resemblances when there are differences?
Every god, even the painter, was absent, banished from cycles,
of the descent from the origin which is a kind of exemplary
relationship, or a history, using tools which extend
the bony limbs of men and animals. You may start
with the weight levers in the rocks or the exemplary
consanguinity of the craftsman. The true meaning of things
in the illusion it contains is the disposition of the means
of the comparisons of the canvas, an organization
of the differences where you thought to paint similarities,
foremost among them: the descent of forms: seen in the men:
the men: originally had the form of things: bodies and faces
reveal those bones transposed into tools, the thin elbows
reposing on the armchairs of the women erect like the iron
balustrades of their balconies, and their diminutive children.
The men: concealed in their origin which is an absence,
which made them they never having asked to live. The men:
fashioned from the material of their objects: faces corroded
by the air, hiding from the hostility of the sky, gnawed,
amputated by their own gestures. Then, only a few years ago,
what appeared, were the mirrors (I mean the relationships
seen in these mirrors) in shabby homes of men at grips
with their only wealth, the wretched past wherein
they see themselves in a circle of sight, seeing the men
even in sleep and in love, even under the hanging, dizzy sky,
even though mirrors are blind: seeing in these canvasses
the tall vertical lines: doors, windows, walls, where we see
the law of this pitiless, exhausted flesh: the weight of matter
in the desire of their lives. No one could argue the vertical.
The circles of the mirrors depict the difference
from the similarity of form in an ideology of the descent
of forms. The vertical of weight depict the difference.
Now there are no more mirrors: we see at once the circle:
we thrust our eyes through the window to the others who look
at the neighbors whose interior is seen where they are seen,
the holy butchers ransacking the gigantic carcasses of beef
(circle of men and animals), turning towards the window
(circle of inside and outside) where prohibition has drawn
a little girl who runs away even before she has looked in
(circle of wish and prohibition); even as the children
in a game of lost rules run about the furniture in a circle
marked by the anonymity of faces in abstraction of sites
in a history of men marked in a finite world, become body
of their freedom, in a closed space, dreadful knowledge...!

May, 1983

2.15  The Hero of the Towpath

The preponderance of memory
fights down in the ten generations
the secret feeling that is the enemy
of the Constitutions whose suppleness
and collectedness is of the rider
who feels the Victory coming nearer.
Horses and furniture are habits
like mere literature to which the sacrifices
of esteeming, still clinging to events, shuffled,
querulous facts, those fearful centuries,
elegant furies of pluses and minuses,
whose candor acquired the unequalled potency
of swelling blood. Caesar, since you are all
meaning and weight in the dream kingdom
of the ram and the sphinx whose rhythmic
is the silhouette of roof and chimney
under the Southern moon, under clouds,
so as we pardon murder in the invert,
treason in the Jew, so the insect
sent Ambassador to the Virgin
expresses the identity no more passive
than the male, rejoicing in the tension
of the rose painted campanile. The orchid,
in order to pluck it, I followed
the irruptions of the truth.
For God is full of nerves and images
of foam, tin plate, distributions
of that energy which clings to fibers,
as the light spills over frames to the candor
which is the divine frankness pouring over
the eye strewn, the historical words.
God is in pain and the knots that squeak
are so, too: they conceal twittering birds
which are tied together with little strings
which emit notes of the pinpricks of light.
They are pouring out of the brazen vessel
full of stones who have stones in their throats
in pursuit, not of truth, but of loving-kindness,
detesting that cruelty whose consent is so dear
to the confused rapping one hears from the shell
of that egg bathed in a greenish brackish light
before a back cloth painted to represent the sea.
For, the eye receives, diminished by distance,
not exact, the ingenious significance of the real,
the less beautiful parts, in tones of retrospective,
technical, mysterious allusions of the cold beef
spiced with carrots which, out of the kitchen,
gives the luminescent glass, if rage, if ``common
form,'' in promises of the pineapple and truffles
that were to follow the excitement of the ambition
of a diamond of that highest water every day
out of that pyramidal crassness which deftly inspires
malice. We discovered the fine weather, the cold,
the wintry sunlight, the preface to the cool and colored
glass of the creamed eggs, where habitats of the heart
whose climate was so much warmth, so many scents,
the flowers of the chrysanthemums gathering about them,
before Night itself gathers, the arpeggio of a victim,
a cooling dew. The good takes cautions, its essential part,
of the static side of moonlight, which as mirror to morning,
in presence of one whom one does not love, the sensation
of our loving banishes the invitation of that disturbance,
the defensible likeness of people to pictures, awakening,
now, not dreams, but memories embowered by the emblazoned
disappointments, spilling over the carpet, the table,
the pictures, the disembowelment of very death.
Such beauty is implied by the criticism, exquisite,
hostile, scandalized, exorcising the gracious pariah
of the agonizing charm of the old rose, the cherry
colored and Tiepolo pink, which halts on our pride.

August, 1978

2.16  For Neeli

the dreams of infinity lie stalwart as truth
like spokes about the hub: dreams are a utility
of nothingness. Sometimes there is a mirror
of polished bronze. To use imagery is to float
here on the waters; water falls in a certain order.
They play music which awakens you from the dream
into another dream of becoming searching for the dance
of many shapes where everything is blending. Once
I flew into truth. As I divested myself of the birdlike
cries a curtain moved. So I began to grow old.
So there were newly wetted stones.

June 10, 1983

2.17  The Way of Japan

and the wavering light beating the pulse of the night,
the thin impalpable faltering light picked up little rivers
running through the room, collecting little pools of light
which lacquer a pattern on the surface of the night.
Leave it in the dark, the chosen of faint light, part by part,
conjuring the gold reflecting the lamplight, the feeble
stunning gold leaf, emitter of light, surely gathers
the brilliance, somber, gleams forth, extravagant dignity!

whenever I sit with a bowl of soup, I hear the shrill
of the insect tipping the bamboo, the bird on the pine bough;
to me the burp of the teakettle is as the sigh of the wind
in the legendary pines of Onoe. Look at the food; do not rush
to eat it; the bowl is a silent music thereon. Praise
the clouds, milky as jade, as the faint glow of the grimy city
drinks to the deeps the light of the sun. Fish, pickles,

August 27, 1990

2.18  Invitation to Coxcombs

I made a list of the hedges
and the flowers which everybody
liked. I got so much agreement
for this distortion of reality
as it mirrored the failure
which was binary.

You see I tried to tell you
in excited speech and the claims
of friendship on a sunny
green filled April morning.

I talked to you on the hill
where the dead are buried
as we noticed the seeds.

So the valley was mysterious
and fresh, and the black
and white cattle were courteous
and friendly.

And this didn't disturb, but
the important thing is the way
they burn the dead, at Villanova,
put the ashes in a jar, covered
with the dead man's helmet.
Chivalry, you receded, in thrilling sunlight.
Let them be small. Let them be local.
``The lynxes! The lynxes!'' they cried out,
drinking coffee on tin tables.

I think the animals were made
of muslin sheets. Dainty, they
danced between the painted vases.
As the heavy doors were shut.

April 2, 1983 Cafe Picaro

2.19  News of Shipping

The beasts fed,
a woman sang
under the small, poised feet
of the piano.

We learn from the novel
what we mean by living.
The voice of elucidations
took a stick to the burning bowels
of cowardice, perversity, humility, honor;
the myths were not afraid
of frosted September; nor the voices.

Surely, not self-murder.
O let us talk of quiet.
As I Looked round,
I picked up a pitcher.

He came on me like a king,
the clumsy dog, who uses symbols
like he failed his chance
in poetry, a horror of blackness
of overcoming the bruised body
with daggers, or clatters
for the furnished ark, little cakes,
as the soul seeks the longer journey.

Your finger upon the orifices
feels the ash: dark oriflamme!
Give me a torch for these
darkening stairs.

We seek a theme
around which to organize our lives,
the insidious mastery!
As the great black piano appasionata
finds an exit it calls the clamor,
a keyboard of plashing oars...!

April 2, 1983, Cafe Picaro

Chapter 3

3.1  The Body in Pain

for Israel

...the dust of creation, is that
it is the luminous dust of the stars,
dust, sand and soil that surround

the promise of images: that I will
make you the father of multitudes
that I have made you to be

equinumerous as the sand of the seashore
counting and recounting: that I Who have
no body, have formed you to have

body, to dig wells, to pour water
from jars earthen with spittle, closing
or opening the wombs of the House,

(that to have raised up His people):
the unimaginable path of the Ribbon
to the one below....

Who doubts not but that some one
who became someone else
to suppose the verbal matter

of the first born (which?), in agony
where he brings forwards the top stone,
crying, ``Grace, grace to it?''

So men and women are voiceless bodies
in the place of hurt: God, the bodiless
voice of the scene of hurt: terrible

under the heavens, dismissable, longing
for meat, fish, melons, onions, leeks,
fixed ground for root fruits, for cries

and whispers that have ending. Catch
the wound the wand inflicted, like sickness
before death; note their fear and doubt.

February 20, 1991

3.2  The Martial Arts

(for Sally Larsen)

You use your mouth?
spittle or chew verbs
or pare adverbs, or eat
an oxymoron at breakfast?

Put a fur palatinate
on your shoulders, hunched,
pinpoints of attempted health,
romantic or pure or communist.

Make an encaustic on tabula rasa:
strike chin, swing arms; palm
scrubs clothes, elbow attacks
heart: go and gold leaf yourself:

lift the boulder; see it stretch
as the horse gallops to its trough
as the continental tecton
catches the moon which fell in the sea!

April 24, 1991

3.3  Nino Longobardi

(Barbara Rose)

the palette of bone white, ash gray, the dark
brownish crimson of dried blood: his figures,
climbing ladders, sweeping, picking up stones,
running or swimming: isn't survival and drowning
the revelry of the apocalypse? At the center man climbs
ladders. Dogs, apes, horses are both decadent
and aristocratic, piling up mounds of cryptic skulls,
site secret bones, where celebrates the sibyl of Cumæ,
an anxiety of existence, an antique violence
suspended in a viscous fluid of textures....
A gorgeous, dangerous sea... a grumbling volcano....

May 2, 1991

3.4  To The Full Moon

The sun rose in the morning and jumped about
in the sky on stilts; and I rose to join it
on stilts, too! Happy is the sky!
Which sees such immortal combat...! Alas...!
Alas! My stilts were of rotten wood made.
Now the sky rains down with burning sawdust!

The sun rose in the morning on stilts
finer than a girl's wrists. And I leapt
upwards to join the dance of wooden sticks
beating the dance of light...! Alas...!
Ashes...! Ashes...! The burning
cinders dance as they rain down!

O refiners, O brewers, preparers
of dyes, owners of brick kilns,
and glass-ovens and metalworkers
of all sorts:

O you, governors of animals,
trackers of spoor, or on the seas,
graspers of rigging, tackers of yawls:
you, who look to windward, and fear tragedy,

fit thy metalled moon wings to me,
above the mine shaft, under reckoning,
under the moon's shadow, that I may
soar upwards beyond the sun's orbit
to the unscathed stars ...!

May 28, 1991, & June 6, 1991

3.5  A Second Notebook

...the sound of a waterfall
suddenly looms in a distance
whose manly incomprehension
drifts along the river,
the water desiring its nakedness
in a light
so blinding....

Determine, sirs, not to be weak
when a single truth is so clear: the hard, luminous
nudity of buttocks, the truth of cliffs in a trough
of sea and sky: let us say you remain, a man
in light, being set on fire, waiting for death,
becoming love and blind light.

I looked up at a black cloud,
all twisted and tangled; it was
a displacement of my sight....
What could I add about the wall of flame
that opens in the sky, piercing me,
gentle and simple, like a child's death?
Fear as of silence seizes me: a fear
as of a silence truly empty, not pregnant.

So too, in the emptiness of space, in the open
depths of time, meditation reaches a cause
that frees me...: to describe the black cloud:
the man's ecstasy in woman's sex is her coolness:
it is his delight in her coolness....

July 9 and 17, 1991

3.6  You, John Milton

Sing: tell how at the beginning of time the gods
quarrelled: making a bloody milk of time's delivery;
Set up those instances of the poetic of the will
so caught up in a guilt that flourishes in rhythms
of capture, of myth forborne. Words may change
the heart. We seek in signs, in places, in history,
to make free the heart, to make it free of its burdens.
Great soul, why do you weep? What would you know?
Who is Sylvia? Who is Roland? Who Tristan? Iseult?
Exult Iseult, I say. Dare I say so cheaply, so crudely?
Names that passed away, these salute the passing day.
So then, Being speaks in many ways: the root takes grip,
the dinghy bobs and sways in the ebb and pluck of the tide,
seaweed dripping, caught in the groaning, squeaking oarlocks.
Eloquence persuades; poetry invents. I seek to address you
thus in metaphor, in rapid turns of phrase, in allusion,
elocution, prayers, menace, interrogations and in response.
Poetry, then, is an infinite use of finite means, somewhere
between genius and calculus. Up and down the water flows
over the flowing sand, paying its debt to Ezra Pound.
``The oars took up the notches in the gunwale, a faint
squeak of locks; I saw no rock but a slab of stone
a foot above. Flattening my palm I eased up, put out
a hand, set the dinghy snug to the mooring. My back
twisted, hurt, wet....''
July 27, 1991

3.7  Aquiline

things have not yet been created;
they feel the lack of a reason to be,

emblems of themselves, anecdotes
of metaphysics: there is the thing,

there is an image of the thing
looked at in a certain way.

Can't you see the thing's action
before it has begun to be,

its passion provoking you to attention,
to the attention of its intended action?

And how will you grasp the thing,
heel to toe, where it is, the eyesight

becoming a foothold in the snippy
passage from non-being to enactment?

You do not foresee the mere future
in things, you can contemplate,

as though whether it will be
or no is no question but only

a sight, a glance into eternity
whose wings flutter about your eyes.

September 1, 1991

3.8  Leonine

he uses toothpicks, the rusty
one eyed master surveyor,

whose footfalls on being
never notice the possibility

which his big mouth dining
on essence declaims in roars

like waterfalls. He likes
thick steaks on the hoof,

and compact reasonings;
his preferences are apparent.

Bits and pieces of existence
cling to his claws, essay

a poetry of living being
on tawny grass, on dark

savanna, under a brilliant
massy sunlight as thick

as nails, as solid as a meal,
as heavy as useless lumber.

September 8, 1991

3.9  Ursine

Bearish, stolid, like he knows
something he won't tell you

getting it from the horse's
mouth in the cave of Plato

where he spent a cozy winter
contemplating the Idea

while you dwelt in error
on berries and ice floes.

With his claws he shreds paper
which tears easily, the grip

of truth confounding black
and white, putting the hug

of rectitude on your lithe
body. He crinkles beady eyes

searching for a fish dinner
or peering at honey combs

whose invisible bees sting

September 11, 1991

3.10  Lupine

There are plenty of things
to note, existence a plenitude,

ravenous, where you step
and do not step into the same

river twice, the fiery river,
whose banks are abundant

with wolves disappearing
out of existence into non-

being. Twigs graze his hide;
flaming branches light his way

who hunts in packs
the smaller souls

on level ground, or hill
and dale, covered with

grass or inviting tracks,
full of party-colored soil.

I think I shall always still
follow the spoor as far as

white snow can to see
to where the flowing

fiery stream is quenched,
taken aback by stiff cold.

September 13, 1991

3.11  Vulpine

A scowl from the monk's cowl,
a tricky smile, a rapid gait,

he trots off from pew to dewy
sward, holding beads of sweat

in ropes like pearls of wisdom.
He excels in historical matters,

quirky, as hounds chase him
through the chevy in chervil

seeking to escape the Devil.
He has a career. The run

of the place is his. He
rose to prominence selling

smoker's requisites and ball
bearings to casuists who ate

apothecary biscuits sitting
on stools which are painted

red or grey. They call
the fall equinox autumnal

in his honor, with good
reason, who divides

one thing from another
with even, subtle, rapid


September 14, 1991

3.12  Strigine (Owl-Like)

Let me howl for the noiseless
flyer, the hooter of mice.

He swoops over narrow dusty ruts,
mud countryside, fields of bean

to where weeds flourish in a yard
around rusted garden table

and a rabbit pen, gaunt pines
and elms gone wild in decay,

the string of dead hares
flayed blue and black-red.

Where the general died
Chinese lanterns hung

over the dock, peonies
in wooden buckets, a trail

of moons straight to the sky,
the skiff lay at anchor.

Last years' grass stood up
dead and tall through snow

untouched under pines, ferrous
stains reaching down gutters.

All life is a preparation
for death; death is a passage

natural as birth. Milky eyes
stare forward: the worst

one can do is to struggle
to avoid death.

September 15, 1991

3.13  The Burning of Moscow

Old paintings are seen best in dim light.
We looked out of the window to where the swarms
of the small birds mobbing a crow looked to be
a bar of music moving through the air. One fire

burned slowly like a biscuit of fuses; another
erupted like a torch. It was the peat. The ground
caught fire: below the surface, the seams of peat
burned in tunnels of fire. Mushrooms stood still

as rabbits; they waited for the hunter to pass. Stronger
than an image, it was an apparition: as the burned
and hollowed earth gave up its exploding methane
pockets of gas like bombs raining cinders and blazing

dust. The men coughed blood. They took refuge in brackish
water. The twist of a leaf, the discolored bark of a tree
freshets in windflowers, accommodated the industry
of beetles. The eye took in a palisade of burning trees.

Here, inside, the dripping wet of old masonry,
the solid pews splintering to the touch, pigeons
dropping, old icons of gilt and framer's wood,
a prosody of ``beaten gold and gold enamelling.''

September 24, 1991

3.14  The Regatta

the wind drifted, the spume, the thews of sailors,
rigging, the yawl, the brig, the masted ships,
swaying and riding and sailing horizonwards,
a catalogue of the waters, a Tennyson cascade:
point the turrets shorewards, level sights
at cities: for we have not done with any of it:
the careful diction, a carronade of speech.
Words are like little boats bobbing up and down
like Emily Dickinson. They detonate emotions
of sound and syllable. Not much has changed
for this writing up of the Voyage. We venture
beyond the white cliffs perhaps to Hudson shores
or sunny Italy. Everyman has his own battleship
of nose and throat and sighted crow's nest,
puts up his punctilio of ruffles and flourishes,
fluttering flags and opinions of black powder.
Assonance and metaphor are a kind of fuel. Wet
toes are a figure of speech. I, landlubber,
tried to tell you where I was going, before I
ran out of bare earth and railroad tracks. I
felt a fluid current flowing outward bound
was the best racer across the narrow channel...!

September 26, 1991

3.15  Feline

It shows the note of Zen:
what is the sound of one paw

clapping? of all four sitting
still as a cucumber? Fur-balls

shedding wisdom, like the cat
i' th' fable, no reciprocity

garners the owner's devotion,
putting a tax on love, purring

theologian of despair.

October 6, 1991

3.16  Canine

Gruff as a fireman, useful
as a philosopher, running

ideas around like bones,
dousing conflagration

with spittle and yelps and big
efforts, his spots attract

attention. His paws scratch
at the ground digging rooted

truths that feel good to eat
and are otherwise solid. Lithe

probationer of experience,
greyhound, bloodhound,

what do your watery eyes see
which your mouth expresses

in useless barking
and wagging of tail?

October 6, 1991

3.17  Asinine

Furfuraceous, scruffy, good
for laughs, a stubborn problem

for beginners, a novice's
demeanor, a somebody's

nobody riding the donkey
to Jerusalem, l'histoire

du moyen âge , palm fronds
over big ears which are ears

to hear the proposition.
On the bridge of asses I

believe because it is absurd.
The brigade of asses is a proof

of triangles. The only truth
or argument is a haw-haw. And

the little simple truth of
devotion and faith is so, too.

I wanted to be more profound,
like the other animals, juicy

sonorous, evocative, but I only
can just plod along the derisory

divine path that leads I'm sure
nowhere, not even to salvation.

October 11, 1991

3.18  Peregrine

Swifter than foaming rivers,
as wide ranging as forest

and field these merlin,
kestrels, sakers, gyrfalcons,

adventurous in their narrative,
duck-hawk, falcon: royal pet,

he does not defend himself
from kites who lie in wait.

He eats only his food; easily
trained, he abides the falconer's

arm, hooded, starved, disturbed
in youth, weakened in leather.

The falconer is a high
officer of state, the high

falconer of France. Louis
saw the food on the table.

The bird saw it from he sky:
the fast descent, the sharp,

notched, tooth like mandible,
the claws reaching, the whirr

of powerful wings, extended
like the soul of Descartes,

metaphysical and aristocratic
in a vortex of extended,

pliable air where doubt
is banished in efficacy.

October 12, 1991

3.19  Piscine

the psychologist proclaims them
well adapted swimming in a happy

medium which yields unopposed
to their motion; to the genealogist

our ancestors are full of genes
and other good things edible

and heritable. Youngsters rush
for the old swimming hole grown

as wide as an ocean clutching
large caliber encyclopedias.

Fishermen ply their trade
in fog and rough weather;

their oilskins are awash
with spray and salty deliverance.

The Age of the Fish is past,
they say, dreaming on Aquarius.

October 12, 1991

3.20  Porcine

Much larger than an earwig,
grazing on earth nuts and truffles,

the politician makes merry,
assiduous reader of Aristotle.

Shrewd, smart, savvy, scavenger
hogs clean up after the carnage

of war, efficient eaters. Battlefields
are littered with bloody arms and legs

as they plead for amputation. Drink,
sirs, to my health, an election toast,

cowslip wine; relax with port, as tawny
as the lion you would fain be. History

is your chosen trough: you who examine
textures with rounded snout.

October 12, 1991

3.21  Columbine

buttercup: a flower resembles
a group of pigeons, crows' foot;

a harlequinade, a riot of color
a floral comedy, many colored

footfalls echo, a stage play
whose actors are stalks and leaf:

the comedy of errors: not butter-
and-eggs, a kind of toad's flax,

two tones of yellow, or butter bean,
or butterbur, the butterine wrap up;

not, certainly, butter of antimony,
a metallic pigment or medicine,

will cure your funny bone quick,
while an infusion is remedial,

seeds of rock-bell, for fever and ache.
Yes, Columbina has fallen in love, all

fever and butter-fingers. The stage
manager, i.e., God, will sweep up

the parti-colored mayhem with branches
of butcher's broom, clusters of white

flowers with red berries.

October 17, 1991

3.22  Passerine

perching and feeding we lay
waste our powers, blithe

spirits, eating insects,
birds of tuneful song. Lyre

birds, Darwin's finches,
familiar hoppers and warblers

pull steady on the caterpillar.
Song is an image of the soul;

birds are metaphors of spirit:
The Lark Ascending is music

offering beauty to my heart.
Wings that beat the empyrean

mark a faint blue susurration
on the tips of clouds. I had

thought beauty was only pure:
but it is mostly useful, since,

without it, we would be overrun
with the creepy, crawly things,

segmented, that have no voice.

October 18, 1991

3.23  The Wages of Fear

A cinematic kinesis of modern
art and politics, blow up stills
showing jungle roads, truck

cabs, nitroglycerin rumbling,
the road, a brown streak
through hot, green terror.

Landlubbers, they think not
of naval stores, tar, hemp
sail cloth, on their rutty,

hard, gritty, pockmarked track.
Workers, what do they know
of painted dolls in a bandeau

of roses or Russian Easter eggs
encrusted with diamonds, pubic
hair in a brooch of brilliants?

Uxorious are the poor, faithfully
married to the proletariat,
Infinity and pessimism, the relict

past, the European aesthetic,
incense for the analysand, mud
stains and muddy ruts. You

actors make up a tale of conflict,
drama and mechanics contending
which way the explosion falters

on a dusty trail in Central
America between two Oceans
whose tides ripple like History.

October 25, 1991

3.24  Half Moon Street

(Hymn to Shelley)

the motif of his tunnels and viaducts
was Tuscan capitals and astragali;

the great sawing hall, hundreds of feet
long was Moorish, even today the hydraulic

engines are awesome in their beauty: what
of the difference engine, the railway

engine, the Rocket, he loved it? The steam
boat followed the design of the fish

which the draftsman knew and the soft soil
tunnel bore followed the worm in mud.

Surgeons drew the wound, the face, physiognomy
of face, body and limb; the artist had to do

with mezzotint, lithography, acquatint, new
colors, Turner greens: and what the poet

and his lady talked making love was a recent
invention of the voltaic battery. The Hymn

To Intellectual Beauty is a hymn to electric
love. A new Reformation, a new heaven, new

earth, simple souls, caulker, saddler,
tobacconist, butcher, limners all. ``I

can look at a knot in a piece of wood
until it frightens me,'' said Blake. He

prayed, too, and spoke to angels at the
House of the Interpreter. Everyone, even

the dead sat for portrait. Pigment cakes
made new color brilliance on our island

for landscape. He scraped the paper,
he moistened it, sponged it, rubbed it

with bread crumbs, cut it, and the fellow
believed in palmistry, astrology, raising

of ghosts, and seeing of visions, 17
August 1778, 18 degrees, 57 minutes,

Sagittarius ascending. He drew the head
of the ghost of a flea. Palmer studied

anatomy and geology, the underground,
the muscles and bones of the land, greets

you with apples and green tea. They died
destitute. They were jailed for debt.

Often they killed themselves.
October 29, 1991

3.25  The Glimmering of the Limner

(for Paule Anglim)
he drew the drawbridge open:
but the army drafted him, one

better, the matter of politics
flowing in historical channels

under some lacustrine ponder
enveloped all that commotion

into the geared up balance wheel
of recollected hope. I, who, was

not there, grasping the gneiss,
the schist, the gabbro and granite

in the hollow of my palm, I
who came near your heart,

the magmatic chamber, hot, I
tried to explain. Music

based in time, sings a melody;
poetry, based on words, tells

the truth. Yes, Wallace Stevens,
History is always happening,

more happening than the happy
happening called art. I called

about this. I got only an aesthetic
response. I found this sad. Go

back to the stony plains, the stone
fences, and stonehenges which were

boundary, religion and observatory,
reposing securely on the geology

that throws up as a kind of
bulwark science defending itself

and the outer planets and satellites,
too, from spoilation. I thought
before you discarded substance,
the category, you should hold,

your palm over your heart,
your beating, time based musical

heart. Time echoes like a bell.
The bell is made of stone. It emits

no sound, flashing out instead,
a white light, still and pure,

when you look at it that way,
wondering which way you came,

that you saw that, your ears
flooded with clangor. Your heart

is a fiery medium. I did say
that my words were explanatory,

an art poétique of my love for you,
my blood extravasate, sheds its

shade of red. But we were discussing
stones. These are things. Clanked

together with beat sticks, we may
configure time, whose very name

is a tinny primitive music. Time
is running short. I do not want

to pull you up short on this.

October 30, 1991

3.26  Constable (b. 1776)

He liked the little canals, the barges
and horses, the river, sedges and reeds,
small figures doing tasks, trees bending
over them, the skies above, promising
more water. ``I like,'' he said, ``the sound
of water escaping form mill-dams, willows,
old rotten planks, slimy posts....'' So
many are the shades of green in Nature!
``Every tree is full of blossom....'' Where
he turned his eye or put his step he saw
the truth, as he said it, sublime, I am
the Resurrection and the Life.
he put light and moisture on his canvas.
Soon, skies became the protagonist. ``Sky
is the source of light....'' An archdeacon
was his sole patron. He was not popular.

November 3, 1991

3.27  Gericault: The Flying Gallop

Horses: ichyphalic horses, covering
mares, copulating: and the English,
they loved horses better than women,
and he knew how their legs really moved;
and he made love to his aunt, a pregnant
inspiration; yet he followed the gallop
convention, to suit the public. Death
was fascination, the bagged at hanging;
the insane he depicted as they were, mad
women in confinement, hypochondriacal,
neurotic, suicidal. He loved to draw
monomaniacs. Male blacks seemed to be
stallions: from Haiti, his friend,
Louis, a passionate friend, a soldier,
he put on the Medusa's raft, three
blacks: Delacroix was the dominant
white sailor at the apex of a pyramid.
He interviewed the survivors and some
were models. He hated the slave trade.
Watercolors, lithographs, of the horses,
hunters, racers, chargers, the great
shire-horse drays. His political
passion received the support of the state.
He died of tuberculosis of the spine.

November 5, 1991

3.28  Note that: Turner

was a teenage prodigy and it paid;
his father went assistant to him,
stretching canvases and varnishing.
The adult saved his money, built
his own house gallery; clients paid
installments. Not married, he wasted
no time on emotions. Adept, silent,
he mastered paint, the new colors,
chrome yellow, cobalt blue, emerald
green. His paint box contained ten
yellows, four new in his lifetime.
He hated green, the insoluble problem.
He drew out of doors. He lashed
himself to the mast in storm; others
got sea sick; Turner, intent, knew
only the sea. He had a peep hole
in his gallery and no one saw sketches.
Sir John Gilbert watched Regulus made.
The picture was a mass of red and yellow
and the painter drove white all over
the hollows of the canvas, the effect
of brilliant sunshine. ``I saw,'' he said,
``the sun as a lump of white, standing
like the boss of a shield.'' T. saw
events, Greek independence, slavery
industry. T. abolished the classical
reign of brown and sepia: the ``white
school,'' an intemperance of color.
To see the world as light, shade and color....
Not to draw objects and color them,
but to paint the effect of light itself....
Translucence and opacity: cloud,
water, fog, mist, snow and steam...
light and atmosphere....

November 6, 1991

3.29  Or, the Line Dancety

I grasp a firmer resolve,
swept with emotion that I would
sweep you up in it

without any waiting for
stanza or metaphor or
poetry that dies.

You know how they all do and talk, common folk
and aristocratic alike

at the same moment of time
and in the same breath
of life or poised spirit

as the flame of a spirit
lamp that the breeze flutters,
putting out smoke.

I enjoy the lyric
and I hope you do too
as nightfall approaches.

November 28, 1991

3.30  The Loves of a Cricket (Courbet)

arcane clouds blazoned language
mysterious as the sphinx
indecipherable as the obelisk

your hands bear the marks
of the barricades; wine stains
adorn your frayed shirt.

you are the fanatic, aesthete,
disillusioned by the follies
that formed you education.

You carry a pipe; you sit
at the cafe; you sleep, enter
a refuge form society....

everywhere emptiness reigns
in society: to paint really
is to overturn all modes, to be

individual, democratic, to hold
the pipe firmly in one's mouth,
nose flaring, discovering

the market, publicity, self
promotion, enlivened by
the lithograph, the woodcut,

the photographs of Nadar.
At the graveyard the sordid
burial marked faces with claws,

the eyes dim, wrinkled foreheads,
stupefied mouths. Ridiculous,
this ugly, imperious beauty...!

December 3, 1991

3.31  A Parody Poem, 1848-1991.

The breeze wheezes another sounding
day and my heart gets chest angina
reading your purple letter

full of sadism, masochism, perfume,
rant, and verbal vomit. Allow me,
madame, to tell you how beautiful

you appear, as your breasts run
over your cups as your wine runs
over your glass of ordinary

ablution as you sit in the cafe
comatose with depression. Yes,
we loved once, and now like a church

acephalous, and metaphysical,
your heart was withdrawn from me
to lose on a tablecloth, checked,

stained and soiled, the last
ingredients of your stomach....

I see you clutch the absinthe glass
in your phthisic hand... I weep....

Barbell Albatross December 3, 1991 San Francisco

3.32  The Commune, 1871

carniavalesque this espousal of autonomy,
the conviction that a few good drinks
clear the head, the valiant conspirator
suspects our Republic that marches
in cadence, steps up to martyrdom.
Your foreboding is of disaster and death.
Who is to say different, hands dirty
with false smiles?

December 7, 1991

3.33  The Dead Man's Calvary

(Albert Jarry)
I put bloody hand prints along the stairwell.
sharing my room with owls, I clothe dreams
in priestly vestments, wearing dirty pants,
dirtier than yours, drink from morning
to night: white wine at breakfast, absinthe
in the morning, red wine with lunch, liqueurs
mixed in coffee for afternoon, more wine
at dinner: I commit suicide by hallucination,
full of allusions and jokes. My pet baboon
will speak to you now, not different from
yourself as your shadow rises to greet me
in the morning mingling with the shadows
that greet me in the evening, full of hate.
Ha! Love is claws brandishing weapons;
ancient monsters inhabit the wall of silence;
the heart is red and full of blue images;
love lies concealed in that artificial, veiled
absence of an iridescence that moves
between narcissism and violence. The poet
is a man from whom cowardice, dirtiness,
ugliness have been withdrawn; I am a man
for whom cowardice, dirtiness, ugliness
are the substance of reverie, the staccato
bumbling, aggressive vapor that I am.
You say that life is full of exceptions
whose number is null: the universe turns
exception to itself, a foul alchemy....

December 17, 1991

3.34  You, Martin Luther

(Christmas 1991)
The rose garden is warm and sunny
oblivious to the return of night.
A stone, a living being, a star,
the sun, are called bodies: as we
talk of bodies, the human soul
is part of the world soul. Let
us say that what we seek is a viewing
of divine secrets. It is a divine
service as we retrace His lines.
What would it be to see God nude?
To see, not body, but the Furnace
of Creation, a cold heat without form?
Say then, in music we grasp the harmony
of God's dentition: his voice modulates
to the key of A minor, as we, human
sinners dare offer him the violence of
our evil wills, the violins, with our
heart's dull thump of the twangy guitar.

December 23, 1991

3.35  Horses and The Ranch

(for Susan, Xmas, 1991)
Sweet as opium is the after image of the fire,
the burning twigs and logs, the wood stove,
the conflagration seen on television. Then
the other image: twigs against a background
of newly growing spring grass, a purple grid
over green spikes. Midnight cognac was tart
to the nose; the evening all closed in, dusk
fallen, night gathered about the big elm,
lights twinkling; the midnight afterwards. My eyes are as restful as comparisons
this morning gazing at feeding horses,
over which the grey rock gathers geology
to witness the indifference of lament.
The pipe was sweet, sweeter than tidings,
as the fire burned about the orifice,
raising notes of a musical forgetting.

December 27, 1991

3.36  The Master of the Zen Garden

(Muso Soseki [1275-1351])
one night she dreamed a golden light flowing in her mouth
it was a full thirteen months later the gardener was born
his third year as the history tells was one of loss. His
mother died; he left the shrine of the mirror of the sun-
goddess Amaterasu. Recall the master for whom the sight
of smoke of incense rising beside his mother's dead body
was a call to religious life, that master's inspiration.
His stepmother cooked sumptuous meals. He saw he would
not eat more than his servants. A master said, ``There is
no compassion and there is not any way.'' A master said,
``You should have told him he told too much'' Falling
on the ground he felt a bump and burst out laughing.
Pebbles cover the ground of the shrine gardens, ancestors
of Zen raked gravel gardens. Ponds, lakes, waterfalls,
there are rules for making these. There is a lake
with an island in it and a wandering series of rocks.
A path meanders along the winding lake shore. A stone
waterfall is celebrated: dry stone slabs suggest water,
a dry basin full of mosses serves for its deliverance.
Later on the gardener cannot control the curling moss.
Aged seventy-seven, they buried him under slabs of stone.

See, The Art of Japanese Landscape Gardening , also, History of Zen Buddhism .
May 19, 1992

3.37  The Visit of the Master

in poverty: love of mist and haze
in spring: friendship between us
a dry post on the shore
adds warmth to sunlight

******** ********

flowers of ice hide the blue sky.
a silver dust buries green fields.
over one mountaintop, the sun comes
to greet the bone piercing cold.

May 19, 1992

3.38  The Romantic Rebel

(after Emily Hahn)
irregular, eccentric, querulous, nay,
touchy, quarrelsome, eccentric, demonic
and a genius, your arrant, gypsy vagabondage
doubtless preferred the idle, epigrammatic
rich, but you chose to build your nest
with the birds of Night.
June 11, 1992

3.39  Sonya, Moscow, 1916

(from M Ageyev)

One window shone brightly
casting a square of light
on a tray of apricots;

the sound of a tango
mingled with raindrops
on piles of black, wet leaves;

in wartime, random flowers,
echo down the hallway,
mix renown with tap water.

Love, my sweet, may be compared
to the lacquered mudguards
of a cab taking us from joy

amassed in a fashion, anxious
and feverish, split like open lips,
a tangle of threads under fading eyes.

My fingers resemble ducks' feet.
My eyes squint in the sun: I choose
verbal battle as the field of love,

disdaining the vertiginous rhodomotade
of a child's hoop which topples over
as its momentum slackens;

or like kisses closing the gap
of the boredom of faltering words
which do not arouse desire

in a chaste love sans consummation,
resembling chairs and tables saintly
and dormant under white dust covers.

The yellow sunset like an egg yolk
sprawled on the dry tablecloth,
tinged colors of apricot and peony,

as dust grits the teeth, happiness
a fleeing butterfly, the sun declining
in a narrow, tangerine strip

over blackening roofs, as disgrace
and failure arouse the enmity,
not the passion, that had obtained

between those who thought they had been
in love until they tried to love.

(from a translation of M. Ageyev's novel)

June 19, 1992

3.40  To Erato, e.g. , Edgar Poe

Erratic ruses and affronts, shivers
of quips, quirks and curt oracularities,
mixing amber coffee, broad jumping
and civilities, not signs but gestures
quandaries in the present, entwinements
in the past: he approximated elegance
by growing thus, agitated, nervous
beyond the usual. The ``man of sorrows''
sang the psalms, rushed out of the church,
too excited to stay for Xmas service. By
New Year, jittery, abstemious, he wrote,
Ulalume, an overcoat across his shoulders,
a cosmic Thanatos in the Bronx in cold
January. In Eureka , he found an infinitude
of gods. The universe is the never dying
self, identical and coextensive with God.
``Arrant fudge,'' they said. He resumed
drinking. He was insane and unmanageable.
A second marriage failed in a cloud of ether
upon a sofa in Providence, Rhode Island,
the empty, unpublished banns expiring void.
He knew ``the marble stillness of despair.''
He died delirious.

August 20 & 23, 1992

3.41  The Return to the Origin

The light that has been shining since the beginning of time
beckons, the dove, to the proximity of sticks and stones
where they have built a great fire, where they dance to the
sound of a great log drum. THE FIRE IS CALLED THE ORIGIN.
We who are removed therefrom feel the heat thereof.
Feed the fire. Worship the fire. Beat the drum
to the rhythm of the fire. Your gaze envelops the fire
whose heat thrills in every pore. You look up to heaven.
A thick cloth has fallen: whose folds smother the fire:
whose tassels have choked your mouth. CALL IT TIME. See,
the fire consumes the cloth. Brilliant rays turn somersaults
about themselves, leap and dance in the stunted air. SEE
it called TRUTH and it fills your mouth with ashes.
Smile all you can. Worship the fire. The little dove
descends from the ladder (whose rungs burn brightly); bestows
a kiss, of faith, in you, the knowing subject, a glimpse
of paradise aflame. Your thoughts fly about, little birds.
They seek the light that was shining since the beginning.

September 7, 1992

3.42  Memorial Day

(after the Requiem of Mozart)

Why do the dead pray for us, who have no voice,
us, the living, whose voices emit the ravenous cry
of the damned? I think they have been granted wisdom.
Blow the trumpet for the mighty dead, imperious,
omnipotent in their loving kindness, who remember us,
who do not wish to remember them. Shall we put forth
a hymn of praise to the dead? Shall they who are dead
put forth a hymn of praise to the living? Shall they
who have gone under time salute us who undergo time?
Who then shall salute time? Time which flows equably
pauses not for the inept salute of the punctate cannon.
I think time is the mightiest of them all: for it
arranges both the living and the dead in a unity
of composition to be envied. Time is the flowing river
that slakes our parched throats. O thrilling artist!
O sovereign judge? Are you then God? Nay, the weight
is insubstantial of time in which all thing are effected
and ordered and which, itself, does nothing at all.
Time is as nothing as is death. It is the ubiquity
of anxiety. As the ubiquity that has lost propinquity
time slides over itself in a kind of scaly motion
resembling a fish in troubled waters. It does not emit
a cry. We emit a cry. Anxiety emits a prism of colors.
Our fears emerge from trombones, squeak from the bass viol.
One would like a theory of history at this point, a theory
of art, maybe even a therapeutic relationship with india
ink. No such luck. Efforts are made to make space make do
for time. No such luck. Space is without motion. Pure
space does not happen. Motion imports death. Look,
one thing replaces another. That is what time is.
Time is as impatient as we are. Time is as hungry
as we are. Should we wish to starve one who dines
on the stars? Then truly we fall prey to our anxiety.
Pray for us, Lady, now and at the hour of our death.

September 7, 1992

3.43  Poem to a Child

I flash of lightning struck my eyes. I blinked
and shut the lightning out. A cloud of dark
dropped a mask of darkness down. I puffed up
my cheeks and sucked the darkness in.

September 7, 1992

3.44  One Poem Today

comes now the metaphysician
mixing up regrets with aigrettes
and the liquid sifting of labial
delivery. Can not the Germans
speak but in gutturals and umlauts
or the English but in careful commas?
Assonance, I say, is the poet's part,
the mouth doubled over in consonants: but
the unfolding of truth, the revealing
of the innocent word in the clearing
amidst the confusion of utterance,
where the horse enters out of the sky
clattering over the gold tiled rainbow,
belongs to the order of philosophic wisdom.
I endeavored not to use an old metaphor
to express this: that Truth is not a part
of speech: it is an interruption of speech
an emerging, maybe a descending, maybe
a vanishing.

In the old book, the Name is not
to be spoken at all: too sacred
for mere words. So words convey
nothing at all: a covey of rabbits,
their tails fluttering in the breeze,
like animal similes in useless poems.
These are not the same thing: that words
hide sanctity, that words convey sanctity.
That words are meaningless and beautiful....

Perhaps, the spiritual man is content
if he sees
the undulations of swallows on a summer

October 7, 10, 1992

3.45  War and Peace

She opened her reticule
and said, in French, said
Tolstoy, ``I have brought
my work.'' ``Oh, don't talk
of Austria to me; Russia alone
must save Europe....'' ``What of
Napoleon?'' She smiled showing
her pretty teeth and unbalanced
lips. The Empress was in good
health, thank God. She wore a grey
dress with a ribbon about the bosom.
The men wore buckled shoes. How
do you get into the mind of persons,
you, if also, you do not have the mind
of God disposed? And the child whose toes
stuck in the crevices of the bricks,
the physical description avails naught
of science. How prosy is war! Nay,
it is the supreme poetry, full of spirit.
``Simplicity, goodness, truth,'' these are
the divine attributes and goals of our
living: these make our art, said Tolstoy....

November 3, 1992

3.46  Homeric

The wind shakes the trees.
The smoke rises into the sky.
A polished surface reflects
the light. Anger blinds the mind.

December 19, 1992

3.47  The Conspiracy of Champions

(after Harold Acton)

Verrochio painted it: sun above, rainbow
below, with the legend: Le tems revient ,
Time returns; the centuries are renewed.
The nymph gathers wind blown beech leaves
to feed a doe; another quenches flaming
darts of love in a fountain. I was no
champion in the use weapons or delivery
of blows, awarded the first prize, a helmet.
``Be a man and when you give entertainment
if you give dinners, do not spare expense,
which is requisite to your honor, horseman.''
Rhyme comes easily in the pine scented air
alive with falcons. The rivers are plump
with fish. In the study, vases of amethyst,
agate, sardonyx, of crystal and jasper,
lapis lazuli , shone. Scholar, statesman,
soldier, artist, patron, he, all that he did,
did perfectly, such as he of the Medici.

I ask my soul: what is the exact mixture
amber oil, of gum, of varnish, imponderable
ductility for the too sensitive materiality
of my material spirit? The impossible
thing, the material to paint in, two drops
wrongly put wreck my nights. The twentieth
century, what inventory of bizarre assonance
and baggy pants ideology and zippered objects
do you tweeze out of Time's hairline
box for your recipes of historical comforts?
Today, at the site of a building, the sight
of a rifle: we threaten by using copper wire
and sheet copper and nitrate from Chile.

Dying in the null odor of sanctity, my enemy
the Pope, in bed with his rubies and jewels,
his stony doxies, passed away. And the Duke
of Milan with five hundred knights I escorted
with no but six of mine, acquiring plaudits
all round. I hold congress with the virtue
of arquebusiers and I perfect Tuscan grammar;
let me show you my verses as I would show you
the pictures struck off by mine own friends.

 They chose next, lucky stiff, the mob
threw stones at his litter, the Franciscan;
precocious amorists, the papal nephews
soon engrossed the lucre too. (Let me put
my heavy fingers in the pie and describe
Florentine football to you. Twenty-seven
to a side: the front rank saw fifteen divided
in groups of three: Behind were five runners
and five blockers, sconcitori, `spoilers',
scattered about, supported by four half backs
`hitters' and three full backs. The square
field was enclosed by a palisade at top
and bottom, a ditch and a wall. The ball,
put in play by throwing it in the middle
against a marble tablet on the far wall,
by the neutral ball thrower, is contested
by the runners, spoilers, hitters and backs
who alone use their hands. So it goes.)

  The plot thickened, another murder
in the cathedral, ``nothing against the honor
of the Holy See,'' so the man-pope said,
and I extolling Plato and Homer with scholars
between olives and cypresses on the grassy
slope: how can the love of men for youths,
as in Athens, lead to higher things?

 The bell tinkled for the elevation
of the Host; nineteen wounds were counted
when they opened the grave two centuries
later. No two witnesses concur: the loyalty
of the people was not in doubt. Hanging
beside the other, the archbishop, dying,
bit the dead body of the boy: strangled,
the criminals were hurled from balconies,
or, heads sawn off, set on pikes, hearts
and livers finding a way to cooking pots.
Leonardo drew one who fled but, arrested
by the Sultan, was hanged in his Turkish
costume. Botticelli executed frescoes,
at forty florins, with verses by Lorenzo,
depicting hundreds dangling from the walls.
Let me show you Lorenzo's own death mask
(he survived many years).

 ``I had not thought death had undone
so many:'' of the brave and the beautiful
so many that fought on the hot spur
of ambition for the hot fumes of fame:
to put it that Renaissance way that is
the passing way of yesterday: look
I show you a drawing of the Tuscan
order by Ruskin with bombast to match:
is not irony the high sign of modernity?
irony mixed with lynxes? ``I would meet
you on this honestly'' (a Methodist use
of words, a locution).

after city butchery, a war.
such: misery, pain and death:
and the anxiety of that, by plague
by politics: under stone arches
in hidden damp alleys: in chill
winter rain, al fresco or paint
fresco, art is the triumph of style
over life, of style in life,
the classical way of dying into
the truth...!

December 24, 1992, January 9, 1993

3.48  Heraclitus Jumps the Gun

the bow and the lyre,
or the word of the poets
writing it: that is,
writing it as is where is
the wherewithal of, that is
as it is: so there: and another
words: the symbols of spoken
words: (are) the symbol of states
of the soul: being images
of things. Things? My God!
``Things die into things
(Rilke) (Who?).'' Let Aristotle
rehabilitate the crippled word.
Let us grab the chain between
the spaces. Trace out an emblem.
According to Plato they invented
writing as a search for a cure
for forgetfulness, a pharmacy,
both the poison and the remedy.
It's a gift from the blue,
riding a blue horse, mounted
on stiletto spurs, neighing,
whinnying, kicking over the traces,
the invisible hooves clattering
on the invisible air, ``stung
by invisible bees...'' (sd. Rilke
who wrote a lot and who was also
secretary to the sculptor Rodin)
From somewhere on the other side
of the clouds I will send you
a post card which you will never
get (receive) since I won't
survive the trip and you won't
/or both surveillance...
(emphasis supplied;
imagery omitted)....

January 10, 1993

3.49  The Raptor's Capture

What? The little frog with the big red eye?
From the peep show to the surgical theater
is a hop, skip and a jump: using alliteration
as a metaphor for survival of the fittest. Is
logic dead, as God is? Let us look closely
at the little puddle full of ducks and drakes
and the white swan that swims so majestically
in the middle. Look at its plumage as it beats
its wings in the sunlight. Has it got my poem
written in invisible ink on its white wings? A
French poet is famous for this motif. Logic,
drama, advantage, desire: such are the tropes
of existence. Where is poetry amidst this mishmash
of reality and guesswork? I suggested a scene,
a metaphor, an arena, a debate... a performance?
Hiding in the bushes, take a good look. Pray, ask
the surgeon who gets profit from trauma, damage;
or the lawyer; or the general commanding armies
of water buffalo or somebody doing something
somewhere in the pages of Wallace Stevens. I
think, because I write: which is as good an excuse
as any. Let us cast our eyes up to heaven
as birds of prey enact the scenario of survival.
Look, stranger, here is the kite, the kestrel,
the hobby, the gyrfalcon, reserved to royalty;
the peregrine, too, who has an abundant name.
You gaze in, your chin resting on the picture
plane, palette knife in hand. Surely you must
be in wonder as the talons are tearing at your
vitals which are in turmoil already at the anxiety
of depiction...!

3.50  Travels in Islam

(after G M Young)

Dawn, like a smile from the gallows,
pierced the gusty, drizzling night.
The stone was peach colored, marmoreal.
I looked up at the sun and saw in its disk
plans of cities inset like maps of countries.
Machinery sounded apocalyptic. A puff
of air twisted the buttercups of the high
mountains. History delivered a few random
blows of the hammer. Do you recall
the wise words of the Emperor Babur:
``whatever the work it is, it is to bring it
to perfection?'' The white robed Afghans
vanished like ghosts between the orbits
of the lamp, prostrate before the golden door.
Of the mosaic landscapes of the Grand Arcade,
we say, ``remark the identity of a tree,
the energy of the stream.''

San Francisco February 15, 1993

3.51  Eric Satie, (1866-1925)

(from The Banquet Years)

as the managers fell back, exhausted,
my heart resembled a very lightly traced
drawing. ``Endurance,'' I said, ``Satie.'' Triune,
I emphasize street signs and pompous texts.
Like a nightingale with a toothache, like a man
who carries huge rocks, I proposed slow
undulations amidst the flow of traffic,
like the waves of the ocean distantly seen
from one side of childhood. In dance,
the movements of the body furnish a text,
laconic marginalia of unreality or cinema:
like a droplet of mercury, called quicksilver.
Imagine an ocean of quicksilver, lapping waves,
shimmering, German... seen from the sandy beach
by the child who is holding his shadow in his fist
from slipping away. For the ocean, it is
a demonstration in provocation and boredom.
Life these days, the man says, is an evolution
in fatuity. ``Experience,'' he wrote, ``is
an exercise in paralysis.'' Banish, these
excrescences from Our Abbatial Musical Abattoir!

April 29, 1993

3.52  Alfred Jarry (1873-1907)

assassinate the hallucinating elucidators!
announce the death accomplished
on a bicycle

precocious imbecility
unregenerate misfit,
the army found he had gallstones.

he lived among owls and chameleons

magnificent gesture...
manifest imposture...
of repeated temperamental oddities....

his act: to write
balanced and precise works
of the mind during sleep

are you able to will the fall of the dice?
continue the dream continuum?
choose literary fiction,
eschew biological survival?

he advocated alcohol.
absinthe and ether
(the Lethe of forgetfulness...!),

his artistic goal:
to spend the rest of his days
dying and dreaming...!
to unlive his life, to
become another,..., another
self, u .-> b .-> u...! ....!

April 29, 1993

3.53  A Buddhist Prayer

I am asking to be delivered from the condition
of famished demons: by means of incense
or prayer or eating food from a little hole.
Song and music are forbidden me: so I write
poetry accompanied by gestures and the scent
of flowers. With a blow of his staff he smashes
the terra cotta bowl. For the deliverance
of the drowned, they send fleets of paper boats
made of lotus flowers upon the rivers
each bearing a lighted candle. Silence yields
to a pantomime. Almsgiving to the Community...
the Gift... the Way. I do not know who I am.
Perhaps some words are signs of the Me that is
not the thing that is said flashing like lights
in a sky that clouds up in mists and rumbles
with thunder. I am a waterfall that tumbles
over itself. I take refuge in the Buddha. I take
refuge in the Law... in the Community.
So, it is only part of a beginning. Put your foot
down on a path that leads nowhere, finding
footfalls on stones that shimmer with dew
over glistening quicksand where water runs,
streams flow, to an Ocean emptied of its water.
Yes, I write poetry. Perhaps, it is an act
of contrition. Maybe it is an act seeking merit,
redounding: Perhaps, then, of nothing at all,
in particular of nothing more or nothing less
than nothing in particular at all... winding
around itself to the nowhere beyond.... where
empty words empty themselves into an empty

May 11, 1993

3.54  Charms and Amulets

(after Taoism and Chinese Religion, Henri Maspero)

(i) only his talismans can deliver you from possession
by foxes. his seal is printed in children's garments
on paper hung around the neck. abstain from onions,
mustard, leeks, garlic, shallots: or milk or sour
milk or cheese. wear the seal of the Great Bear
embroidered with clouds and stars. each medium,
exorcist, faith healer fumigates his garments,
does not sit on a raised seat, does not kill.

Valéry said poetry is a kind of charm, meaning
it puts on a spell: That in a kindly perspective
promotion from tall tale to tall grass to the minor
deities twinkling like stars in an over-crowded heaven.
What of the Old Lady with the Broom who sweeps clear
the heavens? Her effigy is in every household,
flapping in the breeze. The god of the Yellow River
was a man who had drowned crossing the river.
The judges of Hell are old upright judges
who passed away only yesterday.

As for our festival of the wafer or cake,
Torquemada saw it: the priest carries
the huge, thick snake before the procession
in the manner of the Cross. The figure is honeyed
seeds and powder of grain and toasted corn
mixed with the blood of sacrificed boys.
Eyes of bead, green, white or blue: teeth
of grains of corn. The priests powder
the faces of victims to dull the sacred
death. Crumpled into crumbs, the males
eat the idol, readied for the war-path.

Look, here the Mongols have an idol
of compressed bread perched on a horse
of the same: in its hands a lance: offerings
scattered all around. In Tennessee,
the veterans are calling for hard tack
at their reunions.

(ii) Such is the truth of life: religion and war
and the war-path and the Way which leads
to and from the bellum omnium contra omnes ,
the Holy Terror and cakes and ale in the garden
where they sit on iron chairs sipping tea.
Terror, they say, lies in the mind, a foolish
thought: and poetry, perhaps, is a possibility:
arms and the man, and mother Nature, too....

They try to make out that metaphor is a triumph
over life, escaping the clutches of religion
or war or history and discourse: but it is,
I think, a discourse, within life itself,
witnessing life itself and what lies beyond life,
which may be the gods who dwell in heaven. I see
them framed by rose bushes brisk with thorns
chatting up a theodicy in which no one believes.
Exorcism, myth, is what they speak in the library
, the forum, the movies. Sir, the mass media
change nothing. And nothing ever changes.
There are no metaphors in these last lines: truth
is not a metaphor.

(iii) he rode a white donkey which he folded
in two like a piece of paper and put into
a little box when he was done with it:
dressed in rags he wandered along the roads,
singing, then, one day, ascended to Heaven.
Doubtless this happened in the ninth century
(of whose era?) verses being dedicated to him
by his uncle which were the cause of his magical
power: on being asked to read the Classics,
the child caused a peony to burst into flower
at once. On vacation from his body, which died,
he found another one, a beggar. Such are
the Immortals; they have inspired the artists.

here is what they say about the fate of the soul
after death: the Bodhisattva travels the ten hells
to deliver the dead, prayer being made, the left
hand holds the Pearl that illuminates the dark
regions, the right carries the staff with little
ringing bells,to save them from being reborn
or punished more:

shaking the bell,
I invite the soul
of the dead: do not
ignore me: by the Power
of the Three Jewels
come to me...!
``with a concentrated heart,
the perfume of this
rod of incense penetrates
the world of phenomena:
the messenger of hells
bring the souls here
to listen to the Sacred Book...!''

sheets of paper or cloth set up on the square
bamboo house in the courtyard the hells aforesaid;
the bonze smashes the rice bowl. some say
the prayers are not necessary: the gods knowing
the truth anyway. the souls of the just are
lotus blossoms: when the flower opens, acquire
existence by transformation, need not be reborn,
avoid birth, hence, escape death, the horror.
such is the fate of men after death.

not all men die: obtain eternal life:
by alchemy, the elixir, abstain from cereals,
asceticism, regulate the breathing. it is
difficult to attain the Peach of Immortality,
obtain the Abandonment of the Body, leave
the husk behind....

May 27, 1993

3.55  Robert Mapplethorpe

(source: Patti Smith and Matsuo Takahashi,
in the memorial volume, Robert Mapplethorpe , Tokyo, 1993)

as you lie on a mat
your pencil lies on the page (image
of complementarily). In this repose
of objects there is no choice. You

spend your time designing
the horizon. Here is the sea-
shore. Clouds pass in the sky. The sea

heaves. Mishima has written, ``To
combine action and art is to combine
the flower which wilts with the flower

that lasts forever.'' Muscular
are the hands: swift and accurate the gaze,
the classic male. Work is about trust,

an etiquette of knowledge and process
and creed just what the artist professed,
faith and trust and self-knowledge,

like a pilot dressing for combat
(image of spiritual warfare; image of Japanese
spirituality, image of homosexuality, image

of the implements of art). ``God gives
us life; He gives us death, too (writes Ms.
Smith).'' She mentions the garment she is wearing

billowing in the wind, as she walks beside the sea.
She remembers a friendship of twenty-two years.
``Smile for me as I smile for you....''

``What do we mean by the absolute
solitude of existence? Existence is the perverted
form of nothingness'' (writes the grave poet Matsuo

Takahashi). Such is the primary nature
of Joy. Hence, existence is the scandal of Being
(image of the poet as metaphysician). Because re-

production is produced in the production
of the image as a picture (images flourishing
of the esthetics of the argument over esthetics),

the social scandal mirroring
the metaphysical rupture which is artistic
creation, outrageously growing like a tree

(whose roots are nurtured in pure Being:
as here, erect to choose a path,
a conduct wrung on the exacted page);

it follows simply that the lady
walking with her children beside the sea
is smiling as her feet tread the sands

(as, bowing, you, victim, greet your god,
victim of a calling, another horizon...)....

June 23, 1993; July 2, 1993.

3.56  The Children of the Owl

the boy is in the avenue of the birds
the girl grieves in the world that is hers

they are enamored of pools and wells
delicate fountains dying in their basins

her ring is lost in the depth of the waters
(was it by a fountain's edge he found you?)

the scent of roses we have smelled
is as sweet as the tone of oboes

the water, the wind, eddies of light
sparkle like raindrops on the moss

in the Tower,
tiles, grilles, marble
and wrought and
beaten gold-colored

in the Tower, the Master sees
mists, dead leaves, heath....

she says (but to whom?),
``there was no beginning.
there must be no ending.
there will be a darkness always.

ondine... ochre....''

``oncidium!'' he cries sonorously
as she reaches up for the ankle
orchid twirling it in her supple

October 1, 1969
set September 4, 1993, again October 1, 1993

3.57  Equine

They are turning my hooves to glue,
I, who was the neigh sayer,
whose mane bestrode the high wind
at dawn under shaggy skies and dappled
maples. Whoso, the name was spoken
in whispers by touts, by the thin
hipped jockeys, by stunning girls
in jodhpurs riding my back sidesaddle,
by swaggering horsemen flashing
swords on behalf of the Emperor, by
the clip-clop drayman with bells,
by anybody needing a little height
to their eyes, muscle to their legs.
No, I am not a chimera, fabulous,
lion's head, goat's body, serpent
tail, nor a sphinx, the strangler.
Let me tell just you, I, who likes
sugar cubes. Comb my mane, nuzzle
my muzzle as I whinny the same old
stories you heard before.

October 14, 1993

3.58  Porcupine

do not affright the fretful porpentine,
his dyed quills which herbal dyes turn
into moccasins for the adroit footfall
that does not bend twigs: witty foxes
eat the sharp barbed ones, snapping
at soft stomachs which patience exposes:
mixed with red horsehair and metallic
bits auctioneers love beaded artifacts.

they call him the spine hog who eats axe
handles, harnesses and the tops of kitchen
tables for the salt, smacking its lips
like a pig and drinking like a horse. Dogs
do not like him; few do and he lives a long
life to get stiff joints, arthritic geezer
who feeds on bark and mesquite who climbs

high into trees associated thence with the Sun
Whose quills are the sun's rays, Whose pelt
is creative energy. Whoso works in the guild
of the quills is secret bound to the company
of women: fringes, signs of power, guard boxes
of quilled smoked buckskin embroidery hiding:
the sacred tobacco pipe,
smoke curling heavenward....

October 20, 1993

3.59  Ermine

the herald shows blacks dots on a white field:
stout judges wear the robes of the turncoat
weasel who changes color with the season.
The stoat becomes quickly valuable in winter,
changing black to white like a autumnal lawyer,
when ``Pop goes the Weasel'' plays off a symphony
orchestra with the royal court cavorting
over hill and dale in snowshoes, shotguns
and popguns in the crook of the elbow. Mouse-
snaps too small for him; bear traps, too big;
the seasoned hunter squints in a white daze,
a figure out of Brueghel with trap and club
as laughing peasants pull out hot odorous
loaves from ovens free from servile tenures.

October 21, 1993

3.60  Amine

Am I in? in luck? in gear? in time?
in the game? Am I mine? What is my
identity? What nitrogen overrules
my vowel filled soul? with what amine
do I play? In the what worldly gestures,
in the contestation of the which molecules,
what concrete scraping and bending
of grainy crystals, crystalline edges
and surfaces will make of me, mine ?
think that I am mine ? Antiquity, futurity,
are only chemistry. And what colors it?
(Xanthine?)-after which subtlety, coffee,
or tea or aphrodisia of chocolate? You
did not know of the amorous ancient nuns
of Chiapas in days of the conquistadors
who mixed bitter chocolate and sweet milk
the concoction of love these last centuries,
for the one we call the Sixteenth, for those
who wear the ermine, or the black cloak
of secrecy or despair? The Family of Love
awaits in old Antwerp, the prevailing winds,
the call of the parrot, the tea of Freedom...!

October 21, 1993, revised for publication January, 2000

3.61  Ennui: Paris 1901

(after Vincent Cronin)

On the glass floor where the light changes color.
a woman becomes a flower, a butterfly, a storm,
a flame from a brazier.

Nothing annoys me. My emotions, pure spaghetti,
dangle like wrought iron kiosk arabesques
at the subway entrances. I have drunk today
vodka, whiskey and milk. Look...where

I am sitting, on a black lacquer rococo sofa. My
armchair is embossed red velvet, heroic bronzes,
many small but weighty metallic objects abound.

They sent a tapestry to the czar depicting
Marie Antoinette, by Vigeé Lebrun,
ominous portent, and now, worse,

they are sending me ominous gifts by post,
the pneumatic tube no longer in use. An actuary
knocks at my door: he denies the role

of tax collector in disguise. Aspirin
is of service here and the music of Rimski
plays on the gramophone.

I bought a bouquet of almond blossoms
but its scent is too strong and it causes
me to sneeze. I spend my time now in cafes;
the back alleys attract me....

November 6, 1993, December 27, 1993

3.62  A Fond Note on Myth

(Paul Valéry)

I hammer a nail in the flux of time.
I choose. I cannot guess what my choices mean.
I am poor. I reign over a world of parrots
and monkeys inside me. It is to reign
nonetheless. My books ooze a grey pulp
of assonance. My eyes are scorched
by an incandescence where I see... Nothing:
Nothing: yet an infinitely potential nothing.
(A kind of chaos begets myth: as order begets

You, my friend, are wise and simple, you stir
my laziness, as I reach out to grasp impure
imagery; us, fertile in the accord of natures:
acts, superfluous; words, a glance: banter,
truth. Truth? Truth is the substance of sweet
risk. Happy are the possessors of firm knowledge;
unhappy, those who rely on them. Myth, gentles,
it is the melee of the gods where we couple
with enigmas and beget strange children. Behold,
friends, my eyes perceive a clearly lit object:
baroque shapes, hideous fish, tousled octopuses.
Behold, I create myth with a jagged pen stroke!
A tourbillion of coruscations forming... demons!

Killing time, I fall asleep: awake, sleep-
walker, to find that aquarium that mariners
had left behind before their voyage in delight
of children drawing figures in the sands...
of time..., tentacles, feet, feelers, appendages.
So, join the lie to the truth: Let us call it TIME.
But time and the lie are hearing of the bell:
the artifice of speech.... Lady, I said,
to her, Myth! Rivalries gave birth....

Under the rigorous eye (of whom?),
under the repeated and convergent blows
of questions, the fauna of vague things sees
the earth as the combined presence of the body,
as the uncovered foot, free of the bedclothes,
reaches out for the foothold of its slippery
nightmares. Vainly we escape from what is not.

December 6, 1993

3.63  Santayana: Three Philosophical Poets

A: It is pleasant to frequent the temples. There,
in the spaces between worlds, the gods are silent
and beautiful. We return to our gardens, full of herbs,
fruits and abstinence. There is a hush in our lives,
as full of bereavement. Things, they say, give light
to things: other things are just what time is: a flux
of things. When we gaze only, we are unhappy, at the statues
of the gods: happy, then, we are made happy in that joy
of the gods, such prodigy of happiness and the honey
of the muses... accounts it...! Things rain down
on things: percussit thyrso : Could such great things
fall to our lot? Now the sea bears in safety the fleets
which traverse it. Venus, in her averted beauty, and Mars,
from his luxury, sing. For Venus is the progenitor
of Æneas and Æneas is the father of Rome. Yet, fecund,
the goddess will remain, when, drunk with slaughter,
the God of War will sink into her bosom. Thus mortality
belongs to man as immortality to the gods: as to the poet
belongs the language of the gods....

B: Honor the most high poet: honor the highest possible
art: the supreme poet who lies yet in limbo: picture Virgil
moving amidst the shades supposing Rome to be the Roman
Church, geometrical, mystical, tender; as the lovers
clasped to one another, like sentinels, are hurled
by the wind, like crimson swallow tailed pennants
fluttering against the heavens; as the poet's speech
astonished his virtues, foretelling magic and chance;
as I lie upon the rim of the ledge of hell I see
the bodies of heroes rolling unburied down polluted
streams. Sweet is the Love of God, sweet and infinite.

C: the acme: the throw of sixes: an event the top
of the wave, you are the foam of the rolling tempest
to witness its fall and the, to whom
suggestion is gratuitous, find the bee more exciting
than the sky, whose voice scratches the obsidian glass
of the globe. Say perhaps we fear death for the dreams
that may come after it: to those who sincerely pursue
death, death is no evil but the highest good; death
can be loved by you, a fatigued and disillusioned spirit,
in spite of being nothing, or because it is nothing.
I saw the mature sentiment of the symbol of my ideas
was a little quiver of the arrows which shook gently,
which gathered to itself its tips as I leaned forward
in the bushes peering outward chancing the garden gate
as the white cry of the mute swan leapt forward, twenty
hundred years of the lapping pond of waters: that lawn,
trimmed, shadowed, beautiful: a confidential joy
in tasting the brief, gently ironical, play of light
and shadow, the wing feathers brushing back eternity
or nightfall, the mutual intelligence, the reciprocal
divagations of the kindred...!

[author's note: it is Mallarm‚é and not Goethe who is the third]
December 3, 1993, December 7, 1993

3.64  Heidegger (says)

the darkening of the world
the flight of the gods
the destruction of the earth
the transformation into mass:
how does it stand with Being?
and what of the identity
of a piece of chalk? why
is there something rather
than nothing? Europe, you
lie in a pincers, a squeeze
of nothingness....

December 24, 1993

3.65  André‚ Maurois' Marcel Proust

(for Deborah Valentine)

the finery of three apple trees accosts the memory,
not the senses, as you awake to a bitter grimace
of knowledge of the sun's cotillion

as they tell you ``every phrase in his book
was an experience, a memory...'' of the white
and purple flowers in the garden, buttercups,

yellow, the fall of sunlight on the bridge
(to eternity?), the tiled roof, the cup
of tea which is worldly success at breakfast.

do you plan to repair the ditch
that separates poetry from work?
of which poetry is the work...?

dance, my darling, a whole autumn is passing.
look at the chestnuts through closed windows.
stretched out on the sofa, you lie planning.

planning the magic of existence, a tour of vistas
of rose trees, you look like a beautiful woman
impersonating a beautiful woman...! your eyes,

like windows, subtend the precious scraps of light
like miracles commemorated in the cathedrals
of France, windows like blossoms...! fluttering

in the wind...! when the sun goes down,
my enemy, the daylight, is vanquished: I am
able to panel my emotion in cerise brocade.

for the sun has gone down (I had it in oblique
view): and now, ``The Ark has been closed
and it is night upon the earth.''

January 3, 1994

3.66  Looking across the Channel

by the immortal gods! by the great horned toad!
``I would meet you upon this honestly.'' my feet
seek firm footing on this field of quicksand
where I lie me down, keen warrior, on a bed
of rude rushes and marsh grass, emitting methane.

that was one way of putting it,
periphrastic, glib, ironic,
but what about the little bell,
``shrill, metallic,...?''

a hint of sunlight on drab snow,...
a flash from shook tinfoil,...
uneven paving stones,...
suggesting the trance of reverie,
``as the candle guttered and flared...''

the personal pronoun begs to present its
compliments to the shadow world
dimly obtruding in peripheral vision
as ``other rooms, other voices,''
put out a muffled roar of hyacinths
clamoring yellow or like puffy clouds
delivering rain like speech;

which was another way of putting it,
namely, the same way. a dusty litter
of carpets and sideboards lying
in the room where the asthmatic
has closed the shutters... (Proust).
in heaven must we suffer the hammering
of upholsterers? the blows of...
a Fate? ...delivered in wheezes?
a respiratory music?

how can I understand the lives of others,
seeing that they are bruised with misery;
but, only as power, and eloquence speak
to an existence where pain holds sway...?

over the doors of the church, they carved
the saints, kings of France with lilies
in their hands: the little bell, tinkles,
metallic, clear, sweet, utterly insistent.
What is to be born of our marriage with Death?

January 11, 1994

3.67  Caprine

or goat-like in gambols: imagine
them dancing the quadrille in high
craggy kicks from their cloven heels
in the tenth sign of the Zodiac
under a splinty, frisky winter sunlight
under a perfumed, capric, mystic, acidic
moonlight, in high aristocratic abandon,
at the heights of dance at mere pleasure
(or is it a diabolical, horripilation
Goethe imitation of a Witches' Sabbath,
or merely a whimsical he-goat, bleat,
and she-goat routine? ``I didn't come
delicately to dance the minuet,''
said the revolutionary French lawyer,
covering all his bases). Jump-off
points are on offer to the suicide types
not capricious but intent, witnessed
by billy beards as sure footed goats toss
coins over cliff edges, sounding the note
of chance and fate, ``metaphysical withal..'')
Look! At the Spanish Riding School in Austria,
horses, too, kick out their legs, a capriole;
neigh sweetly for their well equipped trainers,
perform their ordered paces to an orchestra
which plays a capriccio under the fig tree.
Such ``caper nimbly before a lady's chamber...''

March 1-3, 1994

3.68  Chimerine (the Dragon)

``As dragonflies catch fire...,''
flitting swiftly over round wet wells;
as the violin plays emitting sheer notes
of dragon's blood; as the image forms
on the plate of the hurt engraver
(embowered by heartfelt snapdragons)...,
a house is set to the dragon geomancer:

He lies under the rivers and lakes
of China, spirit of the waters,
who emerged at the Yellow River
giving the sage the secret of writing,
he, who does not hear with his ears,
but through his horns, having no ears.
A brilliant pearl suspended from his neck
represents the sun, controller of waters,
father of emperors, whose bones or saliva
heal, who has the secret of invisibility.
Wingless, they rise into air by power alone,
the celestial dragons who guard the abode
of the gods. Some are small as silk
caterpillars; all grow or slim at will,
numberless as the fish of the deep;
apparent as clouds which vanish
triumphantly at a glimpse.

March 1-10, 1994 March 12, 1994

3.69  The Zen Teaching of Huang Po

and the trees are very much trees
and the moon is exactly a moon
and the crusts of bread taken with a pinch
of salt are moldy or not moldy
as the case may be as the little
coruscations of glinting sparkling
light (which is a metaphor for enlightenment)
which disturb ``the dust on a bowl of roses,''
which fade, doubtless; and the artifice
of the bowl is remembered, maybe, an illusion
of permanence in time, or beauty in mortality,
the classical idea, if I may say so, allied
to Zen meditation. The Buddha, you know,
his face is a Greek sculpture. There we are,
conversing with religion, with metaphor,
with history, as I turn the Golden Bowl
with a crack in it, in my bony fingers,
(metaphor for my skeleton, memento mori)
who would know (a Presence, an Absence,
a dialectic of Being and non Being) nothing
of it before the knowledge of the nothing
of it were to be known: as my fingers touch
the moonlight, the fingertips of mysticism,
the betrayal of words, the howl of the dog
of the taste of wild boar meat on my mouth:
shifting one's locus to the middle of Chinese
mountains where the monk discourses, one
paradox flowing after another's parable,
flowing swiftly as flowing waters, pouring
down light silvery moonlight...!

July 11, 1994

3.70  C W birthday poem [July, 15, 1994]

A piece of rotten wood, a stone, the cold
ashes of a dead fire: shine like reflections

in mirrors which discuss the ends of days
resembling the sun shining without intending

to shine: walking or standing still,
lying down, or there is nothing whatever,

as the sun become as a vine, full of leaves
and branches, watered by rivers which flow

from mountains, cold rain falling over wet stones.

Source: The Teaching of Huang-Po
July 15, 1994

3.71  Soricine

shrewish, insectivorous:
vigorously insectivorous, unendingly energetic
like (think of a worthy metaphor for one so small),
as History turns its victims into Myth, the sharp claws
tunnel below ground, the blind velocity of moles
murmuring of chitin delicacies, declaims a poetry
of ravenous stutters, savage, sharp toothed,
always ready to bite the many footed wriggling creatures
turning this way and that. The prey of owls, storks
and vipers; they have enemies; unsociable,
they live alone, join only to mate. Some swim very well.
Swiftly, let us sum up their contribution to metonomy:
History, blind as Justice, makes mountains of molehills;
History, smallest of mammals, yet gives milk.

May 29, 1995

3.72  Australopithecine

They paint reindeer and mammoth
on walls in the flickering,
flaring light of oily wicks.

Evoking a feeling
(thereby manifesting a will)
is akin to forming a shape:
at the count down to evolution
the crimson walls of the arena
faded to dark pigeon blood space
around A. prometheus ,
the tamer of fire.

The Champion stumbled:
Ho! Master Peter,
pour another drink!

August 25, 1995

3.73  The Captive

(after Proust, The Captive, transl., Moncrieff)

  ...the sound of the bell throbbed
like a silver knife striking a wall of glass.
I heard the sound of the hidden violin.
Song is born of these digressions. Variation
is the source of music, of the strings tightening
or relaxed as the light changes the hours of day,
light falling on the page like notes of music
by the open window. For the keen air blows open
the book at the right page of its own accord,
to set out before my eyes the Gospel of the day.
Françoise came in to light the fire, to draw it,
flung on a handful of twigs; the forgotten scent
traced a magic circle around the fireplace,
as the flickering pictures in the dancing flames
(which revived my memories in an instant)
made out the substitution of another person.
The scents, in the frosty air, of brushwood twigs,
were like a fragment of the past in this winter
which sole into my room: the sequence of the years
overwhelmed hopes long since abandoned. The sun's
rays warmed the transparent shell of my attenuated
body as hot as scorching crystal. Whereupon,
famished convalescent, I enquired of marriage....

(ii) I had been in love with Madame de Guermantes.
Today I found her swathed amidst a garment
of grey crêpe de chine . Speaking old fashioned
turns, clever and Parisian, she retained
of the soil only its accents....

(iii) His voice, like a knife on the grindstone,
emitted various vague and rusty sounds. ``You
were wearing a yellow dress with big black
flowers.'' The talk here was the Dreyfus case.
Pronunciation shows itself truly conservative,
puerile, perilous, stubborn: as one who signs
himself, as he was christened, with that handsome,
superfluous heraldic H that we admire illuminated
in vermillion or ultramarine in a Book of Hours
or a window....

(iv)   some generations later a bulbous red nose
over a deformed chin is seen asking for a loan
from M Nissim Bernard; the Baron knew nothing
of it. The loan not repaid, the tables turned;
the debtor complained of the creditor's slander,
went about with a loaded revolver muttering
against the Jews.

(v) My mistress opened the door. Her own mistress
had greeted me on the staircase. I recalled
the scent of syringa and an incident. Summer
had flown, taking its birds with it. But other
musicians, invisible, internal, had taken
their place.

(vi)    I remember well the name.
My first nurse used to sing me to sleep
with the old ditty, ``Glory to the Marchioness
of Guermantes.'' An old man passed by.
I see in that childhood with is a self
external to myself now, of which they tell me,
who am yet here in the ensuing, forgetful, days,
who dropped me a chocolate from his comfit box,
which tasted sweet, a veteran's pat on the head.
It was the Marshal de Guermantes. As then
Françoise took up a sneeze, turning up her nose,
at our new quarters, the princess paramount
of that place, who wore red shoes, drew nigh.

(vii) My life, whirlpool of names, has given to phantom
banquets, spectral balls, introductions,
of a poetry of the transparency of a glass
showcase, a palace whose stone and fretwork,
whose balustrades and portcullises, effaced
in the ribbons and billows of the little
pond that guarded the lily pads and swans,
a contemptuous affability and a leveling
pride of ``It's all the same, anyway...,''
from the old lady known as the Countess
who wore nasturtiums in her hat.

(viii) These ancient tapestries by Boucher were bought
in the nineteenth century by an art loving
Duke who also did poor hunting scenes of his own:
the town bears servitude of realty limiting
building heights to preserve the view... etc...
(the assistant dressmaker, in the Duchess' court
of honor, to whom, to fix a flounce, stitch a seam,
press a crease or sew a button, plump cheeks
and vivid color did not shew the falsity twixt
lips and eye...: our family disdained a carriage.)

(ix) `` play for me the Cassation in G Major
by Mozart on the pianoforte...? Splendid....''

[unfinished... from the text cited being read again June 19, 1996]
Aug 9, 1994; August 28, 1995

3.74  Obsidian Land

(For Sally, November 19, 1995)

When the GLASS MAN fractures
his cry is like lava in the dry prickly cactus;
there is so much fire in his conchoidal
heart; his hands are sharp like arrowheads;
the frost which dwells in the canyon
admits his feet to be the migration
of birds in the sight of that RABBIT MAN
whose petroglyph carved by the forgotten man
gazes from the cliff house to the wickiup below
whose smoke hole looks up to the heavens above.

November 24, 1995

3.75  The Master Painter of the Low Countries

Behind his stooped figure,
The Triumph of Death:
Hordes of white skeletons
danced above the sputtering candle.
Death chased everyone
even to the edge of the painting,
fiery red like an entrance to Hell
(guarded by armed skeletons
hacking all, rich or poor).
None made it beyond the edge.
Only a gaily dressed lute player,
his voluptuous admirer,
and one other, I do not know,
at the lower right corner, rest.
The upright man in his burgundy
suit seemed familiar.
``You've come for my funeral....''

November 24, 1995

3.76  A Temporal Lyric

We are simple folk content to wander
for a short time close to this star.
Time, sirs, is compacted of mortarless
cobblestones. Time, sirs, sighs like wind
through the Pines of Rome. Time, yes,
time is like a pair of lungs coughing
the blood of the centuries like so much
mist of the stars

December 8, 1995

3.77  With Friends in Rome

(from c w, Radio-Reactive Apples )

Tiles from Ravenna, endless icons,
sketches and weapons, picking the pockets
of the centuries: the drolleries shrivel
inside the pants by the side of the shard
covered table as the immortal violin frets
its notes of.... disgust. Suddenly,
the feeling cools, replaced by humiliation.
What is the price of immortality? And will
you, only you pay it? You will in future see
all your friends die off before your face.
The guitar, I think is kinder.

December 8, 1995

3.78  For Neeli, I: The Maids of Honor

The wine is rich; the food, good:
The cook's a rose, the waiter, a hyacinth.
Could this be where we dine? Form,
simplicity and grace, fateful arrangements.
We have heard it all before...

The Infanta, she dines well, royal dwarfs
at table; the mastiff, his eyes big
with meat. The mirror, shiny, reflects
the King and Queen. Yes, you have seen
the painting. And its eyes stare out
from it to you, inquisitive, reflective,
critical, appreciative, painterly,
epistemological. I have refrained
from rhetoric over this painting.

I hope - I do so hope - in the style
of the earlier part of this century
that you would understand in the manner
of, say, the Renaissance, as seen, say,
from Boston, where the women ``come and go,
talking of Michelangelo'' leading leashed
cheetahs like Mrs Gardner on a summer's day,
or as seen, say, from Paris quays, today,
imminent, as our heads swell, our flaring
nostrils like a horse in Botticelli, doves
in the corner of a Picasso, kisses suffusing
death among shadowed hands.
I thought, I would,
to tell you of my moods of this.... I hope
you understand as the bus rumbles up Fifth
Avenue, as the sycamore tree in winter waves
its bare branches....

For Neeli Cherkovski , January 8, 1996

3.79  For Neeli, II: Goyesques

what is the vista from the visitor's fist?
I, bereft of reason see nothing; my heart,
bereft of truth, is nothing.
the King of madness is dead.
the Queen of Lunacy has died.

our hands hold the reins of darkness.
in the house of madness is insults
and deprivations. nothing,
sham nothing reigns; mirrors
reflect nothing,

to the outskirts of attentions, rivers
of language and gibberish, the matter
of the suffering, brave spirit,
O Captain of Death,
unflagging to sail

For Neeli Cherkovski , January 9, 1996

3.80  The Red Tailed Hawk

left over, rotting churches, raptors
in rapture, birds of prey in action:
feathers fly atop the roof top cross.
What is it? Osprey? Eagle? Peregrine
falcon? Quick, get the visual aids,
binoculars, grab the camera, telephoto
the lens, point the video. It flies
away: here comes a flock of pigeons.

January 29, 1997

3.81  Figurine

for Vicki Doubleday

In Degas: The Dancer, Dressed ,
the straight neck holds leek-green ribbon,
chin stuck out, half opened mouth,
a sickly, grey face, drawn, old prematurely,
her legs, nervous and twisted, exercised,
topped by a muslin skirt like a tent;
her hair is real horse hair. Ready to leap
from the pedestal, her painted flesh throbs
furrowed by moving muscles. She occupies
a niche in the history of the cruel arts,

said J. K. Huysmans.
June 22, 1997

3.82  One Bud Tongue

(For CW on his BD, from his own words)

what is light? what is light?
as the wire spider
pulls the carbon to the edges
of the vertex of the perfect cube
with its little tendrils
of its hand or body woven thread
it asks the question
as it sees the incident beam
(of light)
getting the little nudge
passing through the fine powder
subtle, diffracted: the little
Cosmic Spider whose net enmeshes all
and who complains ``I never get to use
the word `tasty.' '' He says that
as rainbows embower his web.
What is light? Isn't it bright?

July 15, 1997

3.83  My Soul is with the Sun's Disk

the heliacal rising of Sirius, the dog-star
pegs the date: down below they mined gold and turquoise,
smelted copper. After death they would be with the gods
in their journeying: wandering in stone as intractable
as diorite or granite with the aid of copper chisels, saws,
or, by laborious rubbing and pounding. Granite is a difficult
proposition, its quarry methods uncertain. For painting,
minerals ground down were mixed with adhesive, glue, gum
or egg-white.

October 19, 1997

3.84  Great Song at Sutter's Mill

You diggers! the great spate of the hydraulic scour, the pouring
spout, pipe clattering with its gravel of auriferous debris,
the hoped-for pay-dirt, where over eager feet stumble on stubble
of dry grass over acorn bores (as the others had fingered corn mush
in the anterior days before the coming of the devils). Living
in tiny cabins, ``cribbed, confined,'' by their own greed, grizzled
bears of humanity...! O Miwok, delighting in abundant game
and flowers underfoot...! (They believed the earth round
and floating on a sea held by five ropes, stretched by the hand
of the Creator, in the cardinal directions and northwest;
in death the heart lingers for days near the body...)

We grasp the grind of the plates, the stresses on the fault- lines,
of the tecton of the blocked mountain as the eroding feathered streams
discover the yellow golden-rod, canopy of the yellow metalled mother lode.
We survey the field of gold as we would survey the field of battle.
To them, these combatants, we grant them, fallen, the emblems,

a legacy of a tester ornamented with the boars' head,
a fermail of gold made to represent the four points of the compass
a silk girdle figured with imitation roses in silver

October 10, 1998

3.85  The Surrealists

tortoise shell masks, mother-of-pearl inlays,
monumental drums, megaliths, bark paintings,
what exuberance...! totemic
figures, entrails visible, until the night of mystery
and terror, represented by dolls of masked dancers.
Patterns and colors, the mentally deranged,
horror of blankness. of vacancy, of the nothing
that endures

The concept of beauty. Philters of fantasy,
Literature, the ``new spirit....''

painting or sculpture? Receptacle: a glass dish
colored fluids, pieces of wood, iron, chemical
reactions. Shake the receptacle. Look
through it.

What is the regime of co-incidence, modest
recording device of the Infinite...? So,
complimentary tickets to a fairy tale.
Appeal to fear, to the attraction of the unknown,
to chance, luxury, fondness, longing... the drug
called IMAGE, to enchanted eyes....

February 1, 1999

3.86  Rionido

When Mother Nature precipitates catastrophe
our slattern houses slide over muddy banks
onto outwash flood plains
and our little bridges
hover over angry water foaming below
as gulls careen seeking the wiggling fish,
worthy career of the purely natural....

April 21, 1999

3.87  Words and Tubs

in the Ancient world a picture,
an old man read to by a boy
or, in Barry Lyndon , my lady
lies naked in tub, her ladies
read to her from the French
(her husband politely at door
knocks for admittance): reading
is a public act (so is bathing
in Japan). Here is the West
there is a certain domestic
architectural component
of language; it is not merely
verbal expression but it is
primarily expression. There
is a reader; there is a hearer;
there is a social milieu.

  Words, in the Middle
East have a depth, a resonance,
thick as bullets and it shows.
There is a component of history.
There is a pledge of allegiance.
There is the quest absolute.

Surely in the Orient, all life
is really landscape architecture
out of whose winding interstices
wily DEMOGORGON speaks sinuously
in those winged words which maybe
took flight from the wine-dark sea
to the land of mulberry: words
which are not expressing emotion
but containing it: if you should
tear the wrappers, it spills.
Two metaphors, then: of the bird
as pure spirit: of liquidity
as the formless: of the speaker
as demon (three metaphors
and counting).

  An argument is
in verse like that of Wallace
Stevens. Here, then, I put
a sprig of lilac on a clavier,
eat a slice of quince, pay my
dues; I compare my soliloquy
to a duet of roses whose song
never wilts nor cloys,
monumentum perennial.

As for me, being ironical
and American I hear words
calling out from far away;
they make a thumping noise
with rhythmical emphasis.

June 7, 1999

3.88  The Path to Nowhere

the strategy
is correct: to walk down
the path seeing the enemy horizon
receding. The dust devils whirl
sideways their bits of debris. So,
it seems to be working as I note
the flashes of lightning overhead
emitting rumbles. I am eager at
the edge where one drops off
the edge to nowhere which marks
a slight crease in nothingness
which existence is. I think
of metaphysics every day
while reading the newspaper
which presents the weather map
of pressures and temperatures
and the brilliant conversation
of invented people. Now I will
go to the restaurant; they serve
a dish of courier ten point type
in bowls of fonts. I try to write
poetry at the restaurant
before resuming my journey.
Suddenly, I look up rain-faced:
for, the true poet has come
towards me up the path
a toothy grin plays about his face,
a toothpick of teak in his tight hands,
as he kicks an alliterative balloon.
He invites me to the staircase
by the sea to tread the risers
which flex in rhythm like accordions,
steps, maybe to the stars or, maybe,
to some drop-off to non-Being,
attended by the sound of a silent

June 7, 1999

3.89  Tartan

the horn of the Colquohoun is sounded!
as the sandpaper scrapes the sides of the violin
the man reaches for his bow modulating
   his voice in the key of A minor
and the little string fastened to the bottom
of the sea is knotted about the rainbow in the sky,
around the neck of the rainbow in the sky
   like a noose!

3.90  Saccharine

Yes, there are some clean shirts in the room:
those who drink absinthe discuss philosophy
where Aristotle wore a stomach pad filled
with hot oil. What a great man possesses
is, in the end, only his eccentricities:
the alcoholic fever ceases, the harsh voice
is stilled, the head falls on the table.
To me is the twilight, and the fire-place;
It is well to remember the heroic candor
of youth, as the Polish Jewess pounded out
the melodramatic music from the insistent
piano, the lady whose passion was corpses
and snow. I hear she married an archaeologist
or was it a maker of wooden toothpicks?

Source: V. Thompson, French Portraits , New York, 1913.
Sept. 20, 1999

3.91  Taurine

So the King took counsel, and made two calves of gold. And he said to the people, “You have gone up to Jerusalem long enough. Behold your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt.
- I Kings 12:28

In the tauromachia of Goya (Spanish
Painter, 1746-1828), lost in black and white
hachure, the audience, invisible, gazes
on the god Dionysus, dying and reborn,
as the matador, arches his poised foot
and whirls his goading cape, fearless,
careful, silhouetted, full of adverbs : obedient,
perhaps, to Carthage, turns, or to the Cretan
Zeus, which bull is nowise immortal.
Aye, from the Labyrinth to the bullring
what thread of History guides the
daughter (of she, named for Europe
who had coupled with the Divine Zeus)
whelping the Minotaur to feed or tear
the twice seven sacrificial virgins of Athens
until the guided swain, the first bull-slayer,
Theseus, snapped the thread of terror
to grasp the thread of love.

Sept. 23, 1999

Chapter 4

4.1  The Celtic Guy

the toper staggers down the staircase,
falls flat on his face, turns his head
and says, ``Where is Ireland, now?''
exultantly the poet reaches for a full plate
of adverbs! gulps them down in one swallow
garnished with a sauce of fonts!
he rises up on his legs to emit a bellow,
as words come out from his tongue
which cleaves to the roof of his mouth,
his tongue is thick and swollen,
his words clot like glue! Ah! For
he occasion, since he cannot speak,
he has written his word on a paper.

May 5, 2000

4.2  Gene Autry

sometimes I think Gene Autry is God.
It pleases me to think an idea so outré
and fanciful and outrageous.
Gene God, I say, where or what
be your other self, your alter ego,
if you are God?

``God'' is ``dog'' spelled backwards, or,
a big ego up there, maybe, somewhere,
beyond the stars: Joyce (remember
Joyce?) said, paring His fingernails.

Such without pair or peer, some
say, compares to art. Art?
Art, who? sd. Andy, another artist.

Gene, you're somebody else again.

Poetry, as I think of you, other-wise,
you are a kind of beautiful language,
as insubstantial as the clouds,
as invisible as the wind.

The wind... you feel its effect,
you do not see it.

do words refer to things
or to the effects of things?
to the wind, which is felt but not seen,
to clouds which do not keep their shape,

to shadows? of things cast
or, cast down by time or the wind,

to persons (things in time full of wind),
to tOm, for example,

Saint Thomas or doubting Thomas
or Tom Thumb:

what about...?
what about faith...?
what about faith...? in God...
(dog spelled backwards in English)
(the English spell everything backwards)
(a sly dig for Hamlet)?

about faith...
in phantasmagoria...?

fan tOm ma gore u,
sd. Jarry, striking
the jarring note on the tom-tom.

May 5, 2000

4.3  May 6, 2000

the sun sets
a veil is drawn over the earth
then someone takes pinking shears
to cut the paper darkness:
the sun returns in the dawn.

(the world is sheet plated with gold
bits and pieces of metals abut
the continents)


May 6, 2000 

4.4  Philip Roth

(The New Yorker, week of May 5, 2000)

I think God is an author in the pages
of Astounding Science-Fiction.
It's a tall tale, not to be believed:
the existence of humanity become a set
of Jewish jokes told by a Catskill comedian.

The real joke is to make existence
a matter of telling jokes: in this
the Jews excel. How did existence,
a natural fact, become a moral issue?

Ah, my friends, I have just got a pair
of English riding boots. In England,
existence is pigeon feed. Pigeon
feed and bad cooking, sirs!

May 7, 2000

4.5  Cashman

Attired in fishing vest and Clark's shoes
I get a letter from a man in a rowboat
on the shores of Lake Superior.

He praises my poems and offers me his story
of an Upper Peninsula doctor who likes
to cut off the fingers of little boys.

I shuffle my feet, thinking of the sail-
boats on the Bay, a scene out of Dufy.
The radio reports the murder-suicide
of a married couple hereabouts.

A computer virus causes concern.
At the restaurant (``Original Joe's'')
a loud fat black middle-aged man
informs me of Darwin's Theory of Relativity.

I eat my vegetables. I do not bother
to correct him. In my diminished age,
in this diminished age, I am happy
if I can manage to board the omnibus

without slipping and cursing.

May 8, 2000

4.6  The Wind Sock

time resembles bits of sand that energetically
endeavor to paste themselves together with a glue
they are pleased to call history. Time
is voracious; as the voracious animals tear
at the edible glue which resembles honey
and which they now assert to be food.
we give them a glance as we pass though the door
of the hangar. the airmen don their jackets
for the flight outward.

May 10, 2000

4.7  The Grassy Path

there is a new bug seen in town
called clostridia perambulator
(which is a funny name I made up
to confuse you). It wanders about
seeking the acquaintance of the ill
to whom it offers to read short stories
of the ``rendezvous with destiny'' type.
it treads the same path as you or I.

May 10, 2000

4.8  Hinges

hinges are things doors hang from
in the clouds of the sky. They
conceal trap doors from which emerge
colored balloons and odd metaphors.

May 10, 2000

4.9  The Scientist

he ate facts for breakfast: but,
straining at gnats he swallowed
tacks. They punished him
by stringing him up by his thumbs
(of which he had many).

June 5, 2000

4.10  The Poet

he writes nilpotent poetry
straight from his Adams' apple.
``The apple of my eye,''
he says, ``did not he, Isaac
Newton, see time itself
flowing equably in all directions
like a sheet held down by ninepins?''
The poet has such freedom to compare
apples to oranges without appeal.

June 5, 2000

4.11  Time Must Have A Stop

they saw time falling apart in chunks
which they attacked with shovels
(as they played music in quick time
so they could get the job over
and done with: music resembling
a waterfall tumbling over itself).

June 6, 2000

4.12  Our Foreign Policy

Starting out his Ambasset
the fresh Ambassador
sustains an ambuscade;
turning the corner,
the aquebusiers advance,
emitting a horrid yodeling.

June 6, 2000

4.13  Sutter's Mill

above a ground bass of enduring stone
runs a descant of eager fretted and broken
notes, touches of humor and grotesquerie.
Look on the mill-race: short lines, eager
and jerky, swiftly racing on, or brought up
short, water coursing with little nuggets
of abraded gold

1999; June 6, 2000

4.14  Dust

I looked at the dust in my room.
It looked back at me, quizzically.
It handed me a box of gummed labels.

June 8, 2000

4.15  Ants

We are ants crawling on the ground.
The thought dawns: maybe the part
resembles the whole. If we guess
right, we get to crawl around
some more and make more guesses.

June 8, 2000

4.16  The Poet (bis)

He dwells in shadows under a translucent canopy
of extended leaves which color themselves green
which shelter him from the heavy rains
under branches of clauses and prepositions
of erasures like abundant false analogies
which function like umbrellas.

He gazes at the misty rainbow
which emits a splinty, silvery, light
which shatters abruptly like glass;
he walks amidst the shards saying
something indistinct and repetitious.

June 8, 2000

4.17  Apollinaire, The Banquet Years

(To remember Gregory Corso , 1930-2001, r.i.p.)

esoteric heresies, fraudulent miracles, miraculous
incidents are ordinary happenings: unsolved crimes,
papal infallibility, the art of the moving picture, inspire
equally the mythic-manic sensibility: Murs et merveilles .
``Her eyes were humid like the velvet skin of an otter swimming....''
``Regrets, like cold, blue glints of steel....'' ``Elle était brune....''
His theme was freedom - cubed - of an Italic-Slavic sensibility
quarreling of Order and Adventure. He wrote without punctuation
poems, calligraphic combinations of the alexandrine, anomalous
octosyllables, style disdaining subordination, shaped like a flower.
Yes, he was a poet among painters (e.g., ..., B., ..., D., E., F., ....).
``The visible image... is... ideographic logic..., an order of spatial
disposition... opposed to discursive juxtaposition (Soirées ).''
Art in a place where nothing happens - a stillness - an arrest:
Exercises and definitions - of freedom, cubed. Why, what
a belle époque is this?

January 26, 2001

4.18  Pontormo (1494-1556)

uncertainties and retreats reduce reason and grandiloquence
to inconsequence. Universal truth is untenable. We defend
against anguish in the search for personal compensation. Haunted
withdrawn and inaccessible: such is our art and our personalty.
One does not exist outside the other. Eccentric near insanity,
relinquishing pleasures and rewards, a spiritual struggle leads
to a type of immortality. Shy, introspective, solitary, puzzling,
ambiguity, sophistication, exaggeration fill the relations of anguish
where, returned to his bedroom, he pulls up the ladder by a pulley.
Even his nudes deny physical actuality: the pure draftsman
describes the arm, the leg, the torso. He kept a diary. He expressed
the poignant revelations of ten ounces of bread. Minutiae of existence...
how isolating! He died aged sixty-two.

June 13, 2001

4.19  The Tubules of the Future

for Susan Dente
wound up the gramophone
poured out its melodies to the aerodrome where
the travellers awaited pass control with eager
contorted faces. Once upon a time, it was
like that from Cork to Stamboul. Now,
we make comments in a low tone (so no one
can hear, who would not hear otherwise anyway)
wearing goggles and eating thin soup. It is
the Auschwitz of the human imagination.

Ah, my friend, I prophesy
what is to befall you: a life among carnivorous
plants who will greet you in the mornings
reciting T S Eliot from poised tubular petals
whose lips quiver rhythmically.
August 15, 2001

4.20  Essay in Criticism

for George the Scrivener
I met a man and his pet armadillo.
He offered his fist to strike me.
I fled in terror in heavy rain
which fell in sheets of relative clauses
which covered me like an umbrella
whose tense ribs were of knotted
cords..., such as,... which...what....
Thus we triumph over adversity.
We endow space in the power of time.

Language we thought was a mat or net
on which we clambered bare-toed but sure-footed:
truth is, it is like a pit or trap constructed
by cunning cannibals with pointed sticks, alliteration
which frightens the novice, seduces the poetaster
and insults the connoisseur. The fellow said it,
``Things are tough,'' as he brought his portable
cloud, jagged lightning creasing his dewy ears,
with visage of commotion which perplexes nations
and empires that were full of glory and vain-
glory down the road apace. The horizon draws
nigh, the linguistic horizon, where you say
and do not say the same thing or anything
at all (otherwise elsewhere the sign or metonomy
or allusion or exaggeration), an art
, Boileau, for that twentieth century
that fast passed away before even concluding.
Such Essay in Criticism , Alexander Pope
or Pope Breton, we leave unfinished (balancing
our periods with cadenced parentheses...)....

Ah, the moth we hid in the closet observes us.
Its iridescent wings intricately folded shimmer
with intense incandescent illumination. ``Impossible,''
we cry, ``there is no light inside there.'' Insulted,
interrogated, it replies, ``What do you think? We
are invisible stinging bees?'' So prompt comes
the reply. As I open the door the Ambassador enters
who proffers red tape to hold up a gelatinous
something I recognize as the Idea....

August 16, 2001

4.21  The Beachcomber

for Charles Wehrenberg
Fifteen minutes of immortality added to fifteen minutes
more produces a bigger chunk. The plaintiff in error
throws up his brief, repining at his all too brief
existence. God is seen on the beach, lifting weights
and muttering under his breath. Maybe He has run out
of imagery, preferring the balder statement. The palmy
argument for the Existence of Deity is simply that
things are. This is known to philosophers and to poets
who exploit the fact in numerous verses which take time
to read. Catholic and Aristotelian I say so, too.
God owns a pop up toaster which he powers from his hand
alone, placing the cord there and it sparks plenty good.
His hocus pocus wins the applause of the masses
who invite Him to judge beauty pageants; the winning
contestants recite Aristotle's Metaphysics, sincerely,
which I almost spelled (this is a true story), meat
. God is generous and distributes little shovels
which are used to build sand castles which resemble,
curiously, the inviting mazes of Dante's Inferno.
These are inspected by the Vice President who arrives
in an armored rowboat and is greeted by the Vice Movie
Maker who points out the reigning matinee idol
hanging by a noose made of box office tickets.
You can see what the tide has done with the sand
castles. God had departed, his friends waving gaily.
Freedom of the will, granular and oozing away,
has now appeared: we say to those who look to sea,
to those old salts out there by the gimcrack light-
house, the old submarine capsizing at the cape,
St. Elmo's fire abaft the mast: ``To the régime
of the ocean spray fare forward, mariners! Godspeed!''

August 19, 2001

4.22  Greece

We hear the buzz and churr about our ears:
these are the bees of Apelles summoning us
to the Apollonian life. Blissful, the repose
of clear outlines....

August 23, 2001

4.23  Air

...[thus] it would be well to place in the picture
the face of the wind, Zephyrus who blows from the clouds....
Alberti On Painting, 1436

The mouthings of ghosts, sentinels of the air,
are like the fog which gathers up a nothing
which covers and covers up an everything.
Rattling chains around, for example, tires,
these punctures emit a hissing. Attend, sirs,
to the air pressure, the invisible bounding...

August 24, 2001

4.24  Solar Panels

for Sally Larsen
I am frightened by the pieces of painted
cardboard that I turn over in my phosphorescent
hands and which catch fire in the rays of the sun.
It is a matter, I tell myself, of vowels.
One, in a way, avows the vowels for the widow
and orphan metaphors which go smilingly
to perdition because they are lost. Christian
poetry is romantic and chivalric and it deals
supremely with loss and tragedy. Beauty
is a kind of loss; at last one possess of it
only its thorns. Now I propose to put myself
in the sunlight, esteeming sobriety above beauty.
I set fire to the paper board as I do
to the paper I write on. Its flames seek
the sun from which we draw our origin.
The sun - unreal - it is etched in the sky
by a master craftsman: Who uses gold leaf
which glows even in the setting of the sun.
August 25, 2001

4.25  The Lent Butcher

after Braudel, Capitalism and Material Life
for The Dead in New York, September 11, 2001

in the Spanish presidios where the alembic distils sea water
the intrepid butcher hies his way to the house of the invalid
where the doctors order a decoction of burnt wine and the nuns
proffer hot chocolate to wash down the Lenten meats. Colic,
dropsy, ague and plague, the sovereign remedy, the specific,
the School of Salerno with beaked noses quote Galen (in Latin)
as the senescent old men break wind ashore of the Pillars
of Hercules.

He rises from his bed, one old one; with a cry
from the heart he annexes the appetite of Rabelais: he calls
for heron, egret, wild swan, bittern, crane, partridge, francolin,
quail, wood pigeon, turtledove, pheasant, blackbird, lark,
flamingo, plover, teal...

The word ``araki'' in Persian denotes the soul...
the souls of them, prepotent like winds, churning, stirring,
which rise, spurt up, like wild birds, from the pages of Averrhoes,
which ripple of their own accord in their own gusts from the Book
to the heavens above where the Finger of Him tickles
the moisture of the clouds, where the Mouth of Him
bites and bites off the edges of the sky...!

September 5-9, 2001
rewritten and rededicated, September 11, 2001

4.26  Ewes' Cheese

They bring it me from Lombardy, here in Paris
where their servants deafen with their cries
of ``Portugal! Portugal!'' when they mean to say
``oranges.'' In Leipzig, sirs, I satisfy myself
with asparagus from the suburbs. Count Kessler
has dined with André Gide who has returned
from Moscow, as he, exiled from Berlin, rejoices
in the good offices of the Ambassador, his friend.
I turn the pages of his diaries, absentmindedly,
in a book shop on the quay in Paris, in a coffee shop
in an alley in San Francisco, gazing at the buffalo
paddock in Golden Gate Park, at the fog under
the bridge.... My mind wanders like the wind,
free of burdens, reading a biography of a fellow
poet, Robert Creeley, who lived in Majorca
(my father's birth place), at City Lights,
a land mark for fifty years now hereabouts. Ah!
my friends, the siren call of Europe...!
For the New Year...! For 2020...!

San Francisco,
January 1, 2002

4.27  Saturnine

You sit under leaded mullioned windows
devouring your children: poems, ideas,
expressions, revery, intentio auctoritas;
from the panelled library you gaze out
to see Goya in a shed printing his lithos
on a Didot screw press concealed under an elm
on the green sward. You will devour in rage
consonants between the teeth and the lips,
consuming the mythic in banal gustation.
Bloody Greece, how you shudder with alarm
approaching the white icy pages of the modernist
Mallarme! The disjecta membra of the great
gods themselves lie twitching on the calm shores
of the lake, as the disdainful swan circles, paddling
silently, commemorating the fallen dieties
with its silent call.

January 3, 2002

4.28  The Awning

In the morning I hid under the awning of a greengrocer.
I looked up to see my dopplegänger coming. ``Good morning,''
I said lifting my hat. ``Good evening,'' he replied as he strode
off into the twilight of the setting sun.

I told my mother I wanted to grow up to be a double ganger.
``Son,'' she said, ``why don't you grow up to do something useful
like being a gigolo or a career remunerative like grave robbery
or even commonplace like terrorism?''

``Mom,'' I replied, looking her straight in the eye, insistent,
``I want a metaphysical career, I want to stride the world
like a giraffe, to see from on high like an owl.''
``My boy, you stride like a lame buffalo and quack like a mallard.
Your live a life that befits a buffoon.''

When I was born I remember the greengrocer where the stork brought me.
He was kindly man. He set me under the awning, and called my mother.
``I'm not supposed to do this. God does this; it's His job.''
``So, where is He?'' I asked in a querulous babyish voice.
``Aren't you His dopplegänger?'' And I had hoped he was.
``Well, I represent God but he's on vacation. Actually,''
correcting himself, ``He is seeing a shrink. He suffers
delusions of grandeur. He thinks he's a spy.''

I brightened up at this. There is hope after all.

January 5, 2002

4.29  Paysage Moralisé

At Laurie Cahn's, New Year's Eve

The skittering arpeggios dance naked on the sidewalk,
leap up to the clouds, hurl volleys of diphthongs
to the set of those movie makers below: as vowels
offer their avowals to the rainbows which glimmer
esthetic promises that are never kept. Film decays
in situ, they point out, addressing that inconsequence
with material science. They wrap their gold chains
around the rain bow to keep it from gliding away.
Their unsuccessful efforts leave a thin film of dew
on their moistened hands. The cyclorama is lit
and a painted landscape shows: replete with painted
rainbows and clouds and streaks of rain.

January 7, 2002


........................................ since 1995