Wednesday, April 22, 2020
Hank Williams under my breath.
The stone of the sky opens.
The voice of Luke the Drifter
Intoned in thunder:
"Alabama, patron saint of car crashes.
Doomed traveler, all you car do is pray"
-Jason Baldinger, 'The Patron Saint of Car Crashes.'
Let only that little be left of me whereby I may never hide thee
-Rabindranath Tagore, GITANJALI, no. 34
What part of the courageous brain understands things?
Who figured it out from there?
Why were they luck--and presuming they were, why are we not?
Is safety a big part of love? Or is recklessness the important stuff?
Is there gold in the hills of being stupid?
Is there silver, at least?
Did America die with Grant Wood?
Did the requiem cease to be an option with Mozart?
One head of hair must have stuck out above the rest before now.
Otherwise we might not have known to keep going,
That we were right.
A kink of disastrousness must have been growing beneath the surface for us
To watch and pity,
And disregard in the moonlight we've admired.
Falls between us.
If you think it's like rain then it's like rain.
If you've been abused--I am sorry-- and you think its like cruel
Empires, then, that makes sense, too.
I am am trying to unconditionally talk you away from the edge of Everything.
But this is all new to me.
The world is simple. The safe and poisonous berries in our ordinance all look alike.
We gather them and consume them intuitively.
We know the seasons, and we hear our favorite songs sung in the air.
The world is on fire, and its backbeam is begging to give in.
And it came to pass that
Fools fell in love.
Obey the space between yourself and them now that they're gone.
Obey it like any other overemphasized warning you might read:
The expiration date is a week shy of what it need be,
The ultimatum is flexible. Your heart beats now.
But that's the flexibility of wisdom, not the potential of chance.
(The potential of chance is slight and wiry yellow, and almost never flies away.)
People pass right through it everyday, outliving their own life expectancies.
When they do they thank god. They look up.
The hooked leaf of love makes a green pass at their shoulders, begging, the fools,
And they thank god.
And they were obedient.
Tuesday, April 21, 2020
-Robert Louis Stevenson, from DR. JEKYLL & MR. HYDE
If you've ever dreamed of being dumb as grass
Now's your chance.
The time is right, too,
To read about all the classic monsters--
To gloat over the captive conservatory science
I may only know a little useless bit of right now
But I can draw a smooth, deductive line around
The cowcatchers of their trains and black bunches of jubilee clothing,
And the spiritual significance of their orchids.
If you've ever wanted to be dumb as grass and answer to no one
Look just ahead,
For the singing is here.
Are you blue, are you lonesome tonight?
Do you have a moment to ring like a bell.
The love I've lost has flowed beneath the buck-tooth parted ways in the fence
While I watched the dew raze the grass-fed beef of things.
I really thought if I was beautiful I might live through anything.
Each time, for what it's worth, my enemies beat me because they were small
And slipped through my fingers, while my arms
Rang bells and washed dirty clothes in the rain..
Now, look, the reddest thing anyone can see
It comes first and it pronounces itself like a lion--
Naive, and roundly roaring landscapes, and bronze hair.
Maybe the part of me that brushed up against you needed the impossibility of
Completeness, as much as the certainty of nothing,
I looked at you, or I would have,
Shivering in the green cotswold of my own two hundred page novel.
I know the grass is yellow at its stems, and gentle things die in fires. And Leontyne Price
Would sing til we reached the ledge of our flat earth and went over.
Tuesday, February 4, 2020
Wednesday, July 4, 2018
Saturday, April 28, 2018
When you finally fall in love with cars
You fall in love with the premature idea
Of your own mortality.
It gets a dash of style and spectacular value.
You and yours, the rain, the train behind
You are safe in the practice of departure.
Safe in the changing air.
Sunday, January 7, 2018
By now I'm almost gone.
Between the tan hair and ashen end
I was finely dealt with.
I could elevate the moment and say,
"But I rise",
But I don't rise.
So many of us committed suicide at the same time
That memory eased up a bit, used only first names--
Nicknames for the Johns .
Nicknames for the virgins.
I used to look up at night to the coin of sky above the well where
I wound up.
As if counting out along with me I would with Them catch the feathers that fell where
Individual ribs should have been.
And with each I would remind myself that I to it--not it to I
Was close to a captive mercy,
Tuesday, October 3, 2017
Because when the sun rose it did so in the color of my mistakes.
The ray tore the yard, and the tree bled poison
--while the robin skipped the song.
Spring extended the frost because the line to see the frozen bodies
circled the block.
In the mirror I waited for evening to fall,
For, I don't know, a shadow or a shape,
An itchy rag to wear, a lovely loop,
The sun fell and everybody's clothes appeared to match.
But my eyes were undiscovered planets.
Sunday, September 24, 2017
Creature sanctuary to which they can punch out and flee.
Whether a cat, or an ape, or a human,
Bothered inside by a problem drawing in all three.
It must have an owner, no matter what.
A master to change the litter, shoo
The western poacher, or indoctrinate
It must do nothing else, necessarily--
Least of all for me:
A blood hose feeds the navy river by sunset
Bankside grass and
A vos souhaits...
Saturday, September 16, 2017
Time slot was available.
You could part the waters of a party, asking
Which came first,
The chicken or the egg
Or feeling tired.
It was before the allegory of the cave and
People believed faithfully
What they saw in windows.
A kid's marble dinosaur was propped up
On the ledge of a Shoney's
And either dusk or the doppler steeple traffic
Filled the old inside with
The light of damnable earnest nausea.
And that, and not magic,
Is how we got home at night.
Wednesday, August 30, 2017
Never pass inspection. Never be
To duck beneath the eaves
Meant to cower from the world, from its
Bucklings of rain, its unlucky droppings, And whatever other lazy debris.
To look up
At all involved the fuss of protection--Sunglasses,
A helmet, a will. Pathetic.
Among the rest, where do we put the birds? Is there a dormant theatre, called. Themselves, where
The unprepresented things can be kept midflight, and
Dried, and managed?
It's tedious to think about, but what quick Scaffold design to erect-- where will they Eat, or mate? After all they must.
All of this, of course, surrounds the Exception.
We have always locked arms in
We can relax in that unmusical air, and talk about the things we are sure we do Not understand.
And refuses to budge.
Skidding in place, hogging the
Grass in the pit of its hostile
Not an inch to either side, nor farther
Away will it go.
But draw it closer and it glides on a wave
Of sweetest humidity,
So quickly as to be misremembered,
Greeting you in an unfamiliar tongue.
It's now only a matter of time--we used to
Parse the time we had left in negotiable abstractions--months, full seasons.
Parts of your body fell from heaven
In the form of rain.
is so worn away, to the point that features--and
for that matter, the corners of the letters
Are nearly all lost. Pocks and lichens
In between the important stuff
Have taken over, and
If you get close enough you can follow
A tableau--the past, the near future,
A grist of nudity, sleep, and forgiving mist.
Dust is where dust is
Albeit forceful in lording light and
Thin staffed for the disaster of dying.
One sculpted youngster stands atop an ash-color pedestal,
Lit by what fire he must have seen--
The sun or the neighborhood, after dark,
Til an adherent finally takes him up in his curatorial
You will be our King Tut, he says to the boy. And I will make sure you never
Have to remember any of this why you yourself and others are remembered.
Wednesday, August 23, 2017
And so it is a world of unending disagreement. Petty eyes
Study petty fingers, flipping through
Stacks of stuff.
So, you want to be a collector.
Start with a cottage in the woods--
How many trees did it take, and which way
Does it face?
Is it shy to the light?
Or is it devoted to the sleepboat
It was important to someone, once.
Does it wait in a predicament of beauty,
Now you count it out. The building blocks
And orphaned stumps, the yard made of what is near in flattened lumps.
The bottom line seems to not matter as it is
On its foundation, in its original
Habitat. But when you carry it on your back
The oldest ounces of nowhere gain weight, and tend to matter.
Wednesday, July 26, 2017
NASA to use "Here Comes the Sun", by
The Beatles. It would have been one in
A variety of sound documents--
HELLO in an array of languages, and Chucky Berry--a
Muslim call to prayer.
The vessel went into space without it.
But the Sky is magnetic. And so what gets
A yes as it rises will always get a yes.
But--and here's the thing, what gets a no
Eventually gets a yes, too. It must rise Longer.
So when permission was denied, the stars Swelled as the sash of the brooding Peacefulness that, yes, is;
And that, no, cannot yet be imagined.
Voyager went as far as the hashmark
Where the sun routinely cracks. Not the
Beatles, lifted up, but some forebear, some
Beating Mozart took-
From his numb, feline
Fingers, to the windows that shook with the
Saturday, July 22, 2017
And pretty small.
Listeners came in ignorant of what it meant in translation, knotted shoelaces at the length of simple expression...
They could distinguish the simplicity of their own slang language
From distant counterpoints--But even then they left the currency exchange math to chance. And the disquietude it produced made them visibly uneasy. The water was free.
One, or maybe a few stripped the cone of the dusty fuzz
One of them got too drunk to stand up straight, saying,"Now, let's fill the slate to Heaven--and cook every dish we know for the Sun King."
Monday, July 10, 2017
God's Dad didn't hover because he didn't really care. But once, he said, what is that. What is that supposed to be??
The son sat hunched on a piece of graph paper, whose adornment was a Twomblyesque starbuck that were it any other occasion, it could be identified like that, and just that.
How's that supposed to work?
The son bunched irritably at the shoulders, as if about to rote recite Latin for an ignorant parent who might know he hadn't studied, but all the same couldn't read Ovid for himself.
The flower, he said, finally, Dendranthema, pictured being led into the western world, by way of Russia, disguised as forlorn moppets, their faces hidden,
Sun in their hair--and eventually a new world.
But the dad just grumbled. When I first saw one I--and have no other reason but this to remember--caught sight at a roadside stop on the turnpike. I was pretty young. Everybody else was eating or helping with the oil change on the long vacation drive. I went to pick it when it vanished. And with it everything vanished.
We drove across Dauphin County and I could smell the bracing choir of things. I was carried into a local hospital where my parents were eventually told it was just an unexplainable accident, which even then seemed flimsy to take science out while resolving the greater innocence.
In the room where I woke up a pastor from a nearby church had heard, and left me a tiny potted cactus as a gift. And a few comic books slouched in the window sill like an old broom. One, I remember was a Spiderman. While the other followed a superhero who had no face. But it wasn't really that he had no face. It was simply that, in his tact, and plied by his ardor, he made it so that no one could remember him.
The dad said, making a grand connection, Do you remember when you we young--almost too young to remember, I'm afraid, and we sat by the window listening to music. I do. I remember. Ernest Chausson's garden of lilacs? Moonglow, the son said, with the picture eventually taking shape beneath his hand. By Artie Shaw.
Wednesday, September 9, 2015
Nothing seems to want to fly in by...
One morning, I saw a truck, and some guys binding and gutting a deer.
And the generosity of sharing--no
One was doing that.
They were, like,
Eat if you have. Enjoy if you can.
Love follows the trickle of love.
The dearth fits neatly in its own shadow.
If I wave away the fumes, with my hand, the smoke will unfold in its place--
A cleansed revision of the flawed first draft.
It's like a record of everything I anticipate for myself.
Tell me your name again.
Thursday, August 13, 2015
Saturday, July 4, 2015
How does this happen?
I mean, I look to each place--each, as I nodded off, and I let it know,
You are beautiful.
And each disappeared.
I was swimming in a neighborhood pool.
The shadow of the ladder scowled on the green wall.
When I woke up I was on a marble baker's slab, and
Someone picked me up, coughing up flour, on a soft mattress. I had no idea where I was.
It meant nothing.
People seem to think I just make things up.
But I remember everything.
The pink veneer on the steel opposite this glass partition
Is exactly like one in a dream
(I woke up, and something carried me.)
Saturday, April 18, 2015
Not because they're not meaningful,
Not because they are falsely representative of
Threatened by extinction.
Words deserve to be rare.
And they should even die.
I think it is practical that when a young person needs a word,
Meadow or cupola
He should have to borrow it from another universe.
This language we speak should be seen as a river
Bending out of sight.
The very course of things seems to say,
I don't know where I am going.
I don't know where I'm taking you.
He should, at a sound, and when asked, say the two words
As if he had never been born.
Wednesday, January 7, 2015
Saturday, December 27, 2014
I get lonely thinking of a few of them, sole and
shriveled, by the basement door.
It is something to endure the worst elements,
And to be so gifted in death,
predicting the future.
Friday, December 19, 2014
Whispering table in the window.
Knives down, forks,
No chewing, no replenishment--
But an untoward whirr
Low in the warm air-something like a slow-moving fog,
Purple and dirty.
Leigh explained that, especially in the small towns
Where it was polite, people whose eyes met
Said, "Buen provecho."
It means: Hey, dig in. But more broadly, and
It means, It's yours now--and I have seen you, and we share this.
Rescued together from less, but separated, in a kind of fenced in sky.
No later than now, all these things I love--and they're gone.
I had spent a part of the morning thinking of a Gustav Klimt
Picture, the fur-collared model standing black against the
Somber gold of the evening snow.
I couldn't get that snow out of my head--
How ephemeral and fixed it fell,
As if bleating clouds, leaping the fence,
Each being counted on its drowsy way.
Tuesday, November 18, 2014
Sunday, November 2, 2014
I remember this--but it's not like a normal thing
You would remember.
Not in me do I remember, not in my sympathetic state--
I'm seeing everything for the first time. It feels that way.
The grass on the hill may very well have been
And the prime apples will never stop growing--they are growing everywhere,
Drooping from green crooked arms in the sky.
I no longer see my reflection in other people.
Thursday, August 21, 2014
--frosts the wall, and corrodes the flanging curve.
Sumerians--or some other intelligent society must have seen,
The shape needs to hurry and precede the sound,
And so, swiftly, was it conceived to plunge from the hoist, at a swerve,
Then scatter by the skirting ground.
Who could foster a better or more cracked idea than a bell:
I have a certain kind of abuse I like to touch,
And when I'm lost my ears
Near the unoccupied bourse, the broke foretell,
Which might just as easily be the bell of the bell.
Thursday, July 3, 2014
Or for that matter a kind of non-noctural blooming plum--
A soapy-skin eggplant, and a daylight dead-eyed pea--
There must be a prescription for those beady reading glasses--
What if, keenly being so, as it passes,
The day has--too-- some kind
And glowing tune?
Friday, June 27, 2014
No one seems any closer today than they were
Arousing the light.
The tilting lids are as they were when the
Trashmen creeped along just before dawn emptying the cans.
I think there is a message in sloppiness--
It says, "I have made a studied effort at
Imperfection so you may never mistake it as it is
For as it was
Before I got here."
Yes, indeed, we are falling ever constantly further away from that gravitational
Custody of the moon.
Thursday, May 22, 2014
Scale of it, as though it were simply a crowded girl you cared for
But couldn't reach any way you tried.
In bed children often form this basic understanding by looking
At the cheeks on the Moon, satisfied to see
A far off face, no more distressed by what might be
A smile than by what might not.
There must be some kind of dereliction taking places when we admire a picture. Children have
No sense of a classic. Nothing ever came before,
So everything is happening, only somehow richer.
There, now. Look at the braids growing around the little picture
Like a maternal python. The glossy curl frames
The expectation protectively.
You know, were an expectation simply a jawline.
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
Tuesday, November 26, 2013
The soul of infinite floating birds and things is there...
But it drops.
Every book's dust jacket you look in, every watercolor of a bird you look at--
They're unified by their constancy.
It is a word for a thing.
And the hammock of a shoulder carried it as a baby.
And the brow consternated to bear it.
And I remember you when your twin and sugar slept.
And the soul of purpose is there.
Monday, November 11, 2013
Friday, August 9, 2013
Tuesday, July 30, 2013
Or, less delicately still--if.
Friday, July 5, 2013
Each field and streaked window has to be taught on its own
How to be drenched--
The downpour comically
Mimicked by some crickets and
Stiff sabers of grass.
I know, I eat from your wet hands--
even dirt. And
When I lay my ear alongside it, the city stands back,
as if expecting to learn