Monday, November 29, 2010

After reading two similar poems.

For Edna St. Vincent Millay

On the one page there is a poem for Jesus Christ. Opposite it a poem for Beethoven. For Christ pathetic love, for Beethoven rapture. It is salvageable--from the disguise of commitment in the former, disappointment.

From the opposite, the latter, an ecstasy owing to bluest sound, and no commitment at all.

Sunday, November 28, 2010


Speak less and softly.

I have accumulated my inches
By shoving the rest further from me.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

The wonder of the canting hour.

Be a list of light like an accountant,
That I might count you.

I am in the shadows showing in an orchard's bars,

Going on where the mechanics of brilliance and humidity stews

From their natural weight and sugary


What we predict
Resists detection.

What copes with what we do predict
Scabs and sores

As if infected by the crack
Of what we accept.


We ought to have a strigel in the place of the sword.
Each word would be scraped along the skin
Rather than severing its crooks and all its lovely pits.

The pronunciation would be slick when spoken.
The word would produce sweat.

The word would produce it.


The promise of tears
Would not stop me--

The birth of red eyes nor,
The mottle of battered skin.

Is it a chronic condition?
Might I go back to this

May I beg on my knees for it?!

Is a moment in the eyes strong enough to grip this bitter wall?


Sometimes our breath fails to exceed the
Constancy of a stone stair--

But rarely, and in poor memory.

Our stair, after all, rivaled the ethereal pitch of
the sun, one time.

You could have said, "I love a cloud"


"I love the sun you pretended to ignore."

But you didn't.

You looked--the brim of
Your mistreated guarantee had been overcome.

Someone mentioned stars, and you gave in.


The only thing to which vanity responds so quickly is accusation.

The fly, alighting, and given the option, prefers flesh.

The rugged interior.

All genuine substance is fated to dissolve
In the bark of discord.

See ahead, the blossom extends
Well between unswayed hands.

What will grow tomorrow knew itself between gray land
And clenched fingers today.

Friday, November 26, 2010

And rejoice.

In the marches of our labor
Lie not us
But our bagged and stowed hearts, set aside.

It is only in the luxury of moment-length pauses
That we regain them, open them,
And rejoice in love.

The ocean, early evening.

Why does the ocean insist on this coal-colored wish?
Why with hands so able, silver multitudes and
Skies stable

Does a bellyful of sharks and shipwrecks insist upon
Using one of those hands

To hold you?

Their feast

(A caprice)

When I finally arrived at their feast
A man erupting in sweat spit, gravy,
A ruby cranberry among pearls of barley.

He muttered about the weight of the world
Discorrespondent as it was with

The gale it had suffered.

I served the teens breakfast eggs and left.

Thursday, November 25, 2010


The words are flawless--
See them climb all over me.

In a kind of kindness they
Refuse the ruse in my rude misshapenness.

They refute the contoured subsidies I offer them

When I confess.

The light I remember.

You have so much emotional investment in praising people that when you have to pan the same people a few years later, it tears your spirits apart.
-Pauline Kael to Francis Davis, Afterglow: A Last Conversation With Pauline Kael, Da Capo Press 2002

Dimension is ignorant to the light I remember,
And yet

They compete.

The measure of dearest contentment.

The loyalty of a wish demonstrates two basic things:

Its improbability and
The measure of dearest contentment.

You owe nothing to the eyes who see you.

"Extremely close to Lycaeides, in the falx, furca and valve, and considered here retaining an ancestral aspect of that genus."
-from Vladimir Nabokov's notes on lepidoptera, (Paralycaeides n.g., 1945; Nabokov's Butterflies, Beacon 2000. Dedidacted to, among others, Vera. )

You owe nothing to the eyes who see you.

And you are a threat to meaning all the same.

I want the thread of
Silken letters dissolving

In my throat.

I want, in part, less
Than this accommodation

To clearheadedness.
I could say,
"Please belong to my senselessness,
As a mussel to the profanity of pacific


With the best of stability I say--
--and again, I say.

The throat of a girl.

Each speech goes back to
The quaver of songs--

To the throat from which a half-sung thing
Stung and in gentlest tuning


Each runs wild.

In saying so I have no problem in saying that each is new:
Each is new.

Tear off the coverlet, the lime--it would've kept you from stinking...
Stinks of rain and


Each runs wild,
Less sun,
Less mobility of distinction. The hand
You draped from the exposed side
(in the fashion of the artist you'd been.)

Joyous rotten.

Dew ferments
Before it has a chance to grow its mealy globes.

Grass expedient,

Did you know the knuckles of worship swung from the


Such a kiss.

I was list-- speechless
By the Mother
of a L-- that
was Left in the
Mottle of a

Each digit she had pressed expecting the
Wise likeness

That our l--- could never get.


No long words,
No one in a dust-colored suit paid to flesh it out.

Beheaded G*ds and books taking place on shipwrecks,
Wait for the cue--

The pink indented lip is responsible for more than the merest of shipwrecks.


"The first thrill of joy to my awakened soul let it come from his glance. And let my return to myself be immediate return to him."
-Rabindranath Tagore, Gitangali, Poem # 47, Scribner Publ., 1941

When I threw my father's wallet in the trash it
looked as useworn and natural
As the tongue of a grumpy tortoise.

I have looked at all the right monuments to perfection
And arrived poorly prepared with

Softest questions.

Sunset, November.

The tympani shudders before the echo of war.
But a sound hand disturbs the mallet.

And a fearful tug prepares to silence it, begging,

"Guide me Luck, for Thunder and the
Burnished cheeks of your G*ds turn

Dumb bird.

a face will
change under
-F.A. Nettelbeck, Bug Death (Alcatraz, 1979)

The origins of dreams are filled with obliterated cans and easily downed game animals
By normal people.

Each glance marbles the skin of what is seen.

When he thought about cremation, particularly cremation hurriedly carried out before the body's cells had fully decomposed, anger stiffened his own living body.
-Kenzaburo Oe, "The Day He Himself Shall Wipe Away my Tears, Teach Us To Outgrow Our Madness, Grove Press 1977)

Each glance marbles the skin of what is seen.
See each feature,
See the shuddering eyelashes.

One could be all to the glance,
Which is a mind made up
Before apprehension.

As if one, traveler and road.

The Sun does arise
And make happy the skies.
The merry bells ring
To welcome the Spring.
The Sky-lark and thrush,
The birds of the bush,
Sing louder around.
To the bells cheerful sound.
While our sports shall be seen
On the Ecchoing Green.

-William Blake, "The Ecchoing Green"; Songs of Innocence And Of Experience; Shewing the Two Contrary States of the Human Soul

Whole and breeching wide!
Taste what I salted and give to you:

(Dry off, first.)

Cake crumbs, warm brandy!

The heartbeat and hearth
Of a mismatched custodianship

Between profane things (
whole; wild).

----a hew of mucus blood birthing against the roughest sum of probability.


Each bench we share belongs to the
Afternoon we share.

Each sun--just a bit of it known, in fact
Maybe too.

A profanity.

Blue is the color of an empty sky.

Black is the bolt threatening
Too close to your
Soft softest hair.

The iron age.

Each against a corroded wall,
And the fortress distant,

How peacefully, fulfilling,
Each would have felt,
Surrounded by the other

A moment sooner,
The rust distressing each less,
And a moment sooner,
less still.

Its beloved dawn.

In the bright and first

A silence.

In the grace

Another grace,
But safe in realized aspect.

In the bright and first

An echo, too,
Where sound infatuation clung to the last meager notes
Of its beloved dawn.


I am sleepy from speaking at the same tone for so long.

Must whisper, must shout.
The wealth of intention is

Must whisper, must whisper.

A thanksgiving toast.

May the creatures bred of habit,
And those so wildly of the wilderness
find the glow of the table's wood--
None harmed,
All stray from the welfare common but undestined.

May the buckle of joy snap, and the warm water rush against the bounty.

May it in that improbable bounty rise to meet you in
The fullest of its mercy, and the flushest of its girth.

The town and field.

Beyond this crop of a town lies a field
Resting against a down sun.

Each stalk is bare,
And sings faintly in the sky.

The crows adore it.

A lamp.

A lamp surprising the wilderness!
A living room from your past--

In the middle of nowhere and
Surprising the wilderness!

Imagine the mark we leave when we leave--
The conversations you had with
Your Father about

The simplest song as it grazed
The summer grass

He'd cut.

Brief love poem.

The way the rain disrupts the evening lawn
The way seeing it disrupts it disrupts it so much more--

Disrupts it with human fever
We salvage who we are in the filament-wide
Particles of gulping sight.


A question fetched from the absurdity
Of simplest ambition.

How past reaches of oxygen and travelers' voices
Do we go on?


"But even more does the ocean dominate the air."
-Rachel Carson, "The Global Thermostat, Man and the Sea Around Him, (Oxford UP 1951)"

Even the swollenest beast

It is a challenge to see the wound of daylight from beyond the hill.

The meditating above.

Each walk is comprised of a series
Of graces.

I am met with the silhouettes,
And their cause;

I see the auburn on the ridges of the city early,
And meditating above


The ravine and the river.

The ravine carries the scars of the river,
Retreating at once into the wild

And into the evening.

In the absence of insight trickles
Your blood river of time

As we knew it.


The first moment of a day is kept to the jealous heart of the day;
You were asleep, unaware.

A good heart is strong and wise and looks vigilantly on the land
Of the day.

It says mine and disregards the complaints piled at the brittle blue

Amid drenched roses given, now dry.

Be not discountenanced if the knowing know
We rose from rapture but an hour ago.
-Edna St. Vincent Millay, Sonnet no. XXVIII, Collected Sonnets Perennial 1970

The aching ear bends to silence.
And the eye waters to see more.

How dutifully I bled my senses of their ease,
Their years of water.

My instinct with nominal things is to claim them
As memory.

Manifestations of evil.

I could cup the breath
Breathing inside your lungs.

I could cup your breath,
Aware of demons,
Foreign languages,

Heard more frequently as we grow wiser with age,

And as yet a mess,

I might be reading you upside down,
But I'm too close to know.

From a beach.

If we could choose what to corrupt knowing
None can go clean our beds would be made differently.
The marvel in memory would be unusual.

Each stitch of our fading picture would cling as one

Servitude would be a kind of vacation.
On the left the infinite would light the beach sand,
On the right you would lie--

Your expectations and the hours bereft of all I have done
In the distress of tranquility.

Bare wrists.

Arrogance and need fetch the small things.


We sit indoors and talk of the cold outside.
And Every gust that gathers and heaves
Is a threat to the house. But the house has long been tried.
We think of the tree. If it never again has leaves,
We'll know, we say, that this was the night it died.
-Robert Frost, from 'There Are Roughly Zones', The Poetry of Robert Frost (Holt 1969)

Each shingle crooks to the deficit of the builder.
Each window boasts a warp.

The moderate room in which you sew

And sing,

Is at an irregular angle.

The hallway, too, is longer than the keenest foot steps remember.

The new title.

The new epistle
Appears in moveable print
With an unsteady hand readjusting the letters:

First, a clue, then a coy article.

Before long there is a line salivating to
Her rapturously apt title.

The disappearances.

When I was young I worried that the surf was stronger than
anyone could imagine, that their hairs turned white instantly and they were gone.

Ornaments built sturdy for the most distant of stars.

Eyes aloft, over dangerous places
The children follow where Psyche flies
And, in the sweat of their upturned faces,
Slash with a net at the empty skies.
-Rudyard Kipling, Wireless, Kaspar's Song in 'Varda'; Traffics And Discoveries Penguin 1904

Ornaments built sturdy for the most distant of stars
Will collide in time.

Every bout with joy must ferment in its own
Where greenest eyes may see and go and learn.

About a woman, recently.

Scope owes less to loss
As to loss its burden significantly diminishes.
What were youthful breasts in sight

Are flecks of light.

How to design a constellation.

None of these classifications is satisfactory by itself. In practice, every library is started from a combination of these modes of classification, whose relative weighting, resistance to change, obsolescence and persistence give every library a unique personality.
-Georges Perec, "2.1, Ways of Arranging Books" Penser/Classer, Editions Galilee 1974

In heaven your elbows will fall tighter,
Rougher to the last edge of me.

To each, since I'm already there,
Beg you now,

Fall as falling was asked lastly and
By scraps from scraps of you.

Configure, dear wishes,
As if sailors' spoils, and their raw delivery, counted on
The count of inches.

New arrangement.

Once was the coast now
Its marsh trembles
Awash to drums of

Hula algae
And orange fishes
In languid nibbling crushes.

See to it; once was the coast
Awash to drums, and
Owed debts to swimmers' chokes across freedom

And their pounding fleshes.

In a mullion of light, ever boasting.

In a mullion of light,
Ever boasting,

Moves a waltz
Undistressed by age or
Vagrancy to caress--

In a mullion of light,
Ever boasting

Gleams the picture
Of an earnest story,
Its crumbleworn voice--

In a mullion of light
Ever boasting.

Might less pride come and dim the glare?
Might harsher proof upon the silent coat

Change their song--

Even a note?

Sunday, November 21, 2010


My G*d, I'm tired.
I do not say it vainly.

Every bit of wisdom I ever had is clenched in
The wringing hands

You gave me.

With leaves lying about.

Need provokes substance

With leaves lying about.

A broken code.

In a heart lies a loss
And inside a loss
Blooms another loss.

Direct fall, I can carry you to the next place.

A vulgarity.

Help me understand why my love bucks, and is an estranged bit of action,
Why the warm stable horseradish doesn't appeal to me.


Thursday, November 18, 2010

Cold air.

Every time I speak I speak to the wisdom I once abandoned.
Every time I come back to the bald air and spindly earth
It is with that clarion:

Go be humble, distrust the cold air visiting those waters
No longer urgent, never once more.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

At home with heartbroken winds.

A credible silence goes to where it's going
In rags of moonlight--

In a black skein.

This spares us the nausea of judging what could not,
Emboldened by deficit of insight,
Match the thrill of our urges.

Heartbroken winds, you are home.
Heartbroken silence, you are still going,

But you too are home.


Mystery harbors in a sense of completeness.
The viewer must recapture his breath,
Picture himself before the fact

To be where, once--

To regain that infant serenity of
Watching a thing in motion

On the verge of sleep.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The series of our youth.

Once every last birch has been childishly counted
We will live between them,
And the rustling of snow that accompanies them.

So much like a piano one wants to be in expression,
So direct and punched in the force of sound.

I hear you.

Monday, November 15, 2010

November (III).

An open window frames the last of the geese.
Instantly the window loses its purpose

Or instantly embraces the hue of the
Cloud's scull, distant beyond the trail.

Friday, November 12, 2010

November (II).

When I was young the weather was always cold
And cheery.

The irrational in me expected a specific kind of fruit
From it.

The suspension of disbelief.

What harm befalls the world knows
Somebody said so, and in saying so
Sides with us.

It is in that image and in less than no other that
We fashion a face upon our shields, breath

Cast on the skittish dawn.

The bilge of the swell.

The only way to stay safely aground is to watch
The waves for disturbances.
Rhythms flush whitely over
Cobalt barrels and dead fishes. What is lost is lost.

Keep your eyes open,
dirty feathers fill the low sky.

Mists curse in the applauding thunders:

The envoy supports the bilge of the swell.


I am waiting for these words to be filled,
like opened slices of bread.
They are blank, and such as they are nearly inedible.

Once they were warmed by the bodies of those who loved them.

In their grasp
They tore, but only so as to
Embolden them against the

Threat of incompleteness.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

The roots of evil.

My arms are open--if only
The teetering mention of you would fall.

I would resist all other urges.

In an orchard, nearby.

The leaves lift the wind.

And a skipping aspect of the radiance
Flies in the bare wood.

Friday, November 5, 2010


A pale droplet falls, then another, raw on
The autumn field;

The moon has taken the place of a
milk sun.

Everyone is home.

I am resting my hands on the table
After today.
Piles have moved across the lot,
Now everyone is home.

The late sun relaxes in a copper bowl.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

I count the ways.

In those streets of light are
Each and every hello to a gray dress washing the rugs, and body;

If light has a memory then everyone
Is warmed for comfort
Doomed and
Light has a memory.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Is there any guiding mystery?

I've been left wondering in the way of a clock
At times
With half a moon showing
And a girl readying indulgent lines
Beneath it,

Is there any guiding mystery?

Could I help my parents by selling my hands for
Their stowed yield?

Is this cobweb refrain written on the others as
A sign of age,
Or are they saying thank you

In the tack of their bales?