... mh1993
by Robert Hunter

1.  A Red Dog's Decoration Day.
2.  Opening Statement  
3.  Gingerbread Man
4.  Preserpie and Senti Yagoya
5.  Exact Birds
6.  Jaaz #3
7.  Selections from Idiot's Delight
8.  Poets on Poets             
9.  Trapping a Muse
10. Black Sunflower
11. Toad in Love
12. The Pool
13. Sentinel (2 3 4 5 6 Interlude 7)
14. Pride of Bone
15. Rain in a Courtyard
16. Sonnets in Stone
17. Seven Trials
18. Dew On the Daisy
19. Rimbaud at Twenty
20. How We Love
21. Salutation
22. Consultation
23. Omnia Praeclara Rara
24. Cocktails With Hindemith
25. Blue Moon Alley
26. The New Jungle
27. How It Really Goes
28. Growing
29. Yagritz
30. Sense of Impending
31. Nude Recumbent on Chair
32. Ration Your Cylinders
33. Power of Persuasion
34. One Day in July
35. An American Adventure (Chapter 1, 2cnd Movement, Act 3)
···········Sentinel Blockprint by Maureen Hunter·
(this book currently in print by Penguin)

A Red Dog's Decoration Day   A red dog trots down Divisidero longing for a new creation. He crosses Fillmore seeking a new logic and a new ends to meaning, rounds the curve of Starr King into Geary, stalking an unknown synthesis.   Between Turk and Hyde he envisions a new edifice, obliging to reason but uncluttered by context. A thing to be built in this our time before a lesser edifice defines tomorrow by default.   He pauses at the juncture of Post and O'Farrell, relieves himself against a sky blue building, then chases his tail till he blurs and dissolves down a whirling tunnel of time.   The quick red dog jumps over a crazy black derelict, seeking a new foundation beyond desperation, beyond supplication, beyond extrapolation. A new basis for significance. A place of covenant and exaltation, floating in the fantastical, grounded on pylons of absolute potential, spanning San Francisco with a largeness like song.   Ornamental cherries blossom South of Market as a red dog converges with Folsom on Decoration Day, chased by demons that he cannot comprehend until a silent tide of light befriends him and delivers him from clatter. The ghost of Coltrane blows an alleyway of sunshine through sophisticated chatter of ecstatic demi-monde, through a filter of foglight, earnest of a new dawning of concise freedom and incentive to surpass futile ends.   The red dog lies in a patch of articulate daylight inhabiting space and time with a certain sweet resolve, inclining an ear to the shape of sacrificial notes rising above context: syntax of a new creation, revealing new implications and new resources for resuscitation of the century from an order beyond repair.   Head over heels in love, the red dog catches his tail and rolls like a fiery wheel around the corner of 3rd & Howard, ducking a Greyhound poised in static flight amid clouds of diesel fume while a skid row ghost town, phantom pawnshop, flophouse and tavern beckons from the reconstructed avenue, glaring through new paint with a terrifying scream.   'Cross Market, up Powell he runs, intersects Grant, leaps Broadway and re-convenes with Grant where midnight sunglasses peer into feathered lights in search of an unsung paradigm.   A magnificent summer replies with a moment of clear luster, swinging between cataclysms to the speech of loud guitars, streaked gold by a setting sun.   Ancient logic and tarnished synthesis blend into the sky like twilight as a red dog stalks the Embarcadero by first glow of a rising moon, seeking a sweeter creation capable of returning tears to eyes who cried them, innocent of salt, transmuted into resurrection wine.     Opening Statement   Impromptus of the moment free but for paper's aqueous flame, unwilling to go back and undo what once is said but crash without explanation into the pool on enormous bubbles which pop and spew platitudes cloud high on a jet of hot steam trailing tropes and opinions, thanking the death of stars for the birth of the worlds.   Give me a hand, shaped round to the flat of the sky, none of it fixed, none of it firm, none of it numbered,   the sparrow that barks like a dog, the horned tusk on the cradle, the nice lady with pie inviting us into the glorious gasp of conception.   How can I say that I thought of you whom I've never met, cradled your head in the crook of a shining mechanical arm, stroked the smoke from your eyes with a violet linchpin, fattened you with clusters of grape and cherry, married you beneath a shower of tombstones and carried you off to honeymoon castle pinned to the lining of a vest of flame?   All you would want and less than you ever guessed: there are more of us than you dreamed, though not all in the same place at the same time, stretched, instead, in consecutive lines from first cry to the last grim rattle of doom, a million or two blessed by the hawk in the blue hat appointed to die by degrees into salt informing the limbs of Neptune, the hand which carries the waves and all who go forth upon toward home port safe in the eye of God. With the left hand reason with the right descry, speak the warm oil of tongues to charm the appearance of fire at the crest of the brow, a nimbus of sparkling sound.   There is nothing more perfect or pleasant than that we be here, ear to ear, later to walk away able to whistle the tune of it all, the feeling if not the words which duck into flame and are gone,   seed of smoke in the heart of the flower of the brain, a light scum of love which dissolves in the rain.       Gingerbread Man   Wading into the fray As though possessed Despite all odds Bloody but unbowed Caution to the wind Not to be nay said All banners flying Times without name Name without number Written on the wind in ballpoint I am the gingerbread man Knock kneed and trembling Yellow bellied and shit scared Jumpy as all get out Trembling like a leaf Whistling in the dark Nervous as ninepins One over the elbow A new way of talking A new way to talk A new way of cutting A new way of cutting through   Do you like it Do you love it Do you want it Do you need it Will you hug it Will you feed it, cut it into thin strips and eat it?   Flying in the face Flying in the face Flying in the face of danger   Heedless of harm Laughing at disaster Letting chips fall where they may Without a 'by your leave' Times without name Name without number Written on the sky in solvent I am the gingerbread man Jittery as all bejeezus Skittish as a squirrel Prudently cautious Breaking out in a cold sweat Scared of my own shadow One over the elbow A new way of talking A new way to talk A new way of cutting A new way of cutting through Do you fight it Do you fear it Do you taste it Do you hear it Do you walk up and rub noses or just turn the hose on it?   Flying in the face Flying in the face Flying in the face of danger   Reckless in abandon Sheer force of will Without regard to life or limb Nor any backward glance Dauntless, undeniable Indomitable strength of purpose Times without name Name without number on the sky in stars written on the skin in scars I am the gingerbread man Lacking intestinal fortitude Spineless, frightened out of my wits A yellow streak down my back Grinning like a shit eating dog Lily livered with tail between legs, cold feet Heart in my throat One over the elbow A new way of talking A new way to talk A new way of cutting A new way of cutting through   I am the gingerbread man Times without name Name without number This is a gingerbread angel From over the bright blue boom Flying down to feast on my Peppermint eyes and pluck The raisins from my smile.   Names worth dropping Names in vain Names to be reckoned with Forms of address for the formless Nomenclature Omenclature Womanclature Euphemism Newphemism Ephemerism Alias the Nameless   This name of mine This name of yours   I do not paint I do not dance I do not dream I do not think I do not take I do not give I do not light I do not burn I do not stare I do not blink I do not sleep I do not wake I do not live I do not perish   Flying into the teeth With feckless mettle Daring the Devil Lashed to the mast With full might and main I am my name   My name is the name that when you call it I come. My name and I answer to anything.       Preserpie & Senti Yagoya Preserpie & Senti Yagoya squander the fat purses of Dismus & Dythimus on a sordid assortment of pleasant peasant blouses   then sit by a bank of the roaring Oreo trimming a rowboat with flax & tallow under a Rolex moon.   Naked to the navel Ignio Yatayanga squats in the bushes wondering: if the gold screw in his belly were to be turned would his ass fall off?   The reason for thunder with no lightning or rain could only be blows of the hammers of elves says Preserpie to Senti Yagoya whose eyes are blue as the milk of wolves in the wild wood.   Dismus offers a stack of silver coins to a jukebox set in the trunk of a melon tree, containing only the Songs of Solomon set in three quarter time, played on steam organ and sung by the sisters of Immaculate Conception   while Dythimus touches a match to the thatch of his roof & sings by its light to the slight tones of a pocket guitar:   A thousand miles I came to hear a bear play violin. The bear played violin, not very well, but better than you expect from a bear.   Preserpie & Senti Yagoya return to the feast of fire with twelve silver whistles & a dozen tuned lips to play them--all which is not music is fed to the flame.       Exact Birds   Regarding (regarding) the touted possibilities of infinity, specifically: the statistical inevitability of Shakespeare, the New York phone directory & the Bible. . .   something in me says a hundred monkeys, given eternity, could not change a typewriter ribbon.   In service of a sense of shining, we dine at six sharp. Take on substance. Flesh out as they say.   Served moments after plucking, garnished only with appetite, we of the Ria Rialta top cabin crew, plunge knives in our lives to improve flavor, chefs unto death. Love knows no such hunger. We are imported.   Is that a tomcat rifling the trash or is it my death in the darkness rattling the cans?   Demons or the neighbor's dog?   --investigation not a fit response--   Birds make no milk, the exact birds as make no cream.       Jaaz #3   Stan Getz and Bill Evans got lost in a Moroccoan bazaar back in 1960. They were forced to live on goat flesh until both grew horns and small beards. This may not seem likely on the face of it nor is there any moral to be gleaned except that things are known to happen sometimes that never happened before.   Sonny Rollins on the other hand spent a good part of the sixties in the woodshed, forsaking stage and studio altogether, because someone happened to say there are only 32 viable notes on the saxophone and Sonny was perfectly sure there were 35 although two were elusive and the third required perfect serenity but tended to play itself without necessity for fingering if pursued with the whole heart, mind and soul. This he did and one may suppose discovered the note but, if so, he never played it in public because stepping outside those 32 viable notes something tended to emerge which was not exactly jazz and therefore not really his bag --   There was this dedicated trumpeter named Rudy who used to hang with the same crowd I did in the early '60's. He would not adhere to the changes of any impromptu band that gathered but commenced to blow just as the spirit moved him taking maybe 24 bars for a 16 bar solo and causing controversy amongst those who felt tight structure was prerequisite for proper taking of liberties. Let's just say he had his own internal clock and intonation was not his strong point . . . anyway Rudy sidled up to Miles between sets at the Blackhawk, blowing cold spit out of his valves and said "Man you want to do somethin' together?" and Miles said "Whatdya wanta do baby, fuck?"I think this may have been what broke the man because he disappeared to the East Coast and was last seen by Marty's brother Bobby around '69 in Central Park way late at night carrying a broken fishing pole.   This was all we heard and could mean a number of things. I mean I don't expect he's still there although the last you hear of somebody is where they live forever in your mind and that's a sadness we accumulate which has nothing to do with jazz per se.       IDIOT'S DELIGHT 1/3 (selections)   All roads lead to the tabletop, the long board of locking leaves, altar of appetite. Vital as it may sometimes seem to distinguish crêpe from flapjacks, remember: a menu is not a map.   Feed rather upon glass fruit, upon the shine, the shadow, or tint of the glittering pear, gloss of the mineral grape, flesh tone of amethyst apple with pits of pearl.   Is it by how white sun on fleck tide rehearses unfaceted diamonds yet to be found in critical snow fields of blank earth?   Is it by tying a loose loop 'round the neck of a stream & tugging firmly but gently until its tendency to meander gives way to a more linear flow?   If it is our lot to be ill, let us be ill with appetite, ill to the Blue Heart of God, from the gash between ourselves & eternity.   A place with numerous roses is not the place to speak of roses. Here alone, in barren soil of sand & thorn do they ghost into flawlessness without distraction of perfume.   Wm. James sat at table one night, long after supper, blessed by a mood of profound peace, culmination & utter satisfaction until he noticed something invisible & menacing in the corner of the room,   whereupon he fell into a state of abject depression in which he remained submerged for a period of two years. Satisfaction ruins appetite.   It seems we must learn to value the place of becoming; the almost but never quite-- the sense of impending as opposed to the consummation of any desire.   World? World is a way of looking, matrix for raw force of hunger. Grass grows regardless & sidewalks care little who walks them.   What of it? All seasons are Spring in some clime; not all water is blue but song bursts free of polarity & the one can indeed become the many.   An eagle circles the ceiling of this small room & her wings whisper as she brushes the four corners in a single sweep. My cup is unclouded-- I drink.       Poets On Poets   Poets on poets writing on black balloons in the dark with pencils of light Poets sweeping the stairs of syntax with red brooms and mops of human hair Poets in white face crashed in a birdcage awaiting the call of the catman Poets with poorboys burning a festive tire for heat near Town's End on Christmas Eve   To sink is to swim if to swim is to fly is to fly is to fly in the manner of Irving black poet of gloom who genuinely jumped the Golden Gate carrying roses in '65 in order to survive -- Fog horns tell his tale   Candles of the coronation Torch light of the Sun's corona grant us sweet song of passage   Poets sworn to the breath and genius of coincidence leaving lines as they lay Poets with word processors performing infinite revision approximating spontaneity Poets listing flat perceptics in concrete cadenzas eliciting the music of matter Poets performing subluxory transection upon the lungs and the liver of language   There is meat in the skin of the fleece of the sacrifice / shank, chop & a rack of rib but the portion consigned to smoke for the nostrils of God feeds only the worm at the root of the word   Blood of the coronation Torch light of the corona grant swift song in passing   Poets on poets become Catholic or High Anglican at the apex of agnostic careers Poets in Tantric ecstasy blowing blue steam out of the top of the skull Poets collecting trading cards of oriental deities, chewing the tough bubble gum of Dharmakaya Poets with ouija boards converting sub-text of the soul into apodictic synecdoche   All of this dies None of this dies, returns full blown as though never said before; as though controversy had little or nothing to say except why nobody cares much for poetry except poets and owners of offset presses   Blood of the coronation Flood light of the corona suffer kind songs of passage   Poets on poets obeying the dictum to make it new while finding no ideas but in things Poets become other than poets by assiduous application of structural linguistic theory Poets born less than poets becoming poets because a poet is something to be Poets who are only poets rising on wings of Ezra where weight of air cannot bear them   Once it was Heaven Once it was hot high sweaty joy and celebration in the English dep't well into Summer preceding redolent Fall till Winter came rescinding the free rent of the sun   Milk of the coronation Torch song of the corona lend us sweet light of passage   Poets exercising seven types of ambiguity in dog-feather beds on acid Poets notorious for public drunkenness on major career occasions Poets boiling water at 4 a.m. to sterilize pencils before writing the name of God Poets tanning skins of fresh butchered critics to write Fuck You in brush calligraphy   Paper is cheap The heart and pencil perform as well for you as another but consider what it portends to tell others whom you do not know the whimsies of your soul in a public fashion   Mud of the coronation Fell light of the corona give us a serious song   Poets who subtract all but the most pregnant words in quest of ultimate density Poets employing only lower case "i" as advertisement of humility Poets who refuse to use "I" at all yet speak of themselves alone Poets who salt their song with numerous "I's" yet seem to possess none   How can we help believe in our own, considering what we have been and conspire to be, full of a fine fury tempered by time and circumstance into exquisite anger weaponed with words?   Bonfires of the coronation Flares of the Sun's corona Rouse us to song in passage   Poets who lose change in the gutter and try to fish it out with gum on a string --complaining Poets who believe God speaks in dactyls and consider the practice of poetry prayer --&endash;complaining of Poets who serve it up by the pound admitting it's all a crock and so what? --complaining of Poets in bathrobes fencing with cardboard tubes Easter Sunday on the moon   Risen ... it is risen full on the face of Balboa's Pacific tugging the waves by neckties of froth twice reflected light lending sheen to candescent roar, throat of the sea wide open to the sky   Candles of the coronation Torch light of the Sun's corona grant us sweet song of passage and a tongue of swords to explode the pus sack of deep profanity     Trapping a Muse   Go for it go under make your way back recall what you went for first decided to get -- got, declined to keep woke up on a bus saw the place go by and kept riding.   Written in rope 'round the neck of the famine "this my own, my native land, this my own countree" men in overcoats bearing a pall in the rain, I and not I equally at ease within the shroud.   How a mild breeze can shut a door so that you look up wondering what she wants of you: nothing and everything. Look to your lines and ignore the source.   A ghost for all seasons, stroking the nape of the neck of the moon -- strawberries of Ganymede, the blood oranges of Gethsemane; the dates of Amon Ra.   Sparks of fluttering rings as she shows the shape of the smoke; the smooth sides of the flame.   Useless to imitate when the thing itself is far from outstanding. This is the Age of Understanding. Before it the Age of Marvels. Before it the Age of Belief, the flow of the hair on the scalp of the skull... the beach in the sun of sea salt winter -- rage with runes in the dark of the parking lot. Metanoia : fear of avenging angels.     Black Sunflower   Depression expression dangerous not to -- ink gives out as I start to write -- switch to pencil which fades from the page given time.   Date. Why date? It's the same time only later. Fade. The 4 o'clock pulls out about one minute to 3 due to daylight savings and a slow watch.   Didn't want to go anyway. Probably a sign. Yeah, why not?   Remember to number. What by how subtracted from why leaves a remainder of one. Bye.       Toad in Love   With nothing but quicksilver sand and salt of the marsh to tread upon, where to go when eagles, stuck by the wing tips to flypaper coils, remind you that clocks tell time in the abstract: the full body blow of the hours leaves blood on the lips of the soul bespoken under aegis of double dense hearts betrothed in corkscrew shadows, a far fall from the Seraphim genius for love everlasting.   What we have is what we may lose by valuing something we believe to be higher abjuring love in the dirt with a ham sandwich and a sackful of twins...   Easy for angels who are constructed of love, tapped into the Great Niagara with perfectly lovely eyes pouring perfectly lovely light across perfectly lovely skies, perfect arch of brow above strikingly chiseled chins.   We, graveward bound, have more need of love than those who have no bitch with the ultimately augmented tits of eternity.   Our demise, small as our love, brittle and flint flaked as Medusa's dandruff, is all the more for what it is not, biologic and brusque, wearing a snap brim hat, tight fisted and treacherous, contained under such impossible conditions that our sheer perversity in daring to love at all declares us worthy to stand toe to toe and slug it out with angels, trading singing commercials for hymns of the Empyrean, vision tuned to the faraway spark of stars more truly than any given leave to steep in holy fire or sing within.   Starlight come a trillion miles to sting us leaves instead a bile of years spread thin as salt upon black unleavened bread.   The lingua franca of the sun, strains of static rhapsody, cause all yet to be spoken to appear already said, yet nothing but inflection makes one statement to be so and another to arrive born dead.   Love begins to be uttered but cannot finally be told: escapes from the far stroke of an eyelid to become, in its own turn, flame, by which light we learn that to love is to burn, return to naked elements transparent as the ash of snow born on our own breath by our own true wind.     The Pool   a look into the pool shows the face has not formed enough to display features it will in time contain   your private life and your private thoughts all that stands between you and that face informing the pool without permission   the pool is real though in doubt; isn't particularly a metaphor though it plays like one   being modern you want to know what the text is hiding, what really informs it which is expected to be pretty basic and expectation is hard to confound   when a certain open-endedness seems the hallmark of authenticity, more a way of looking at things than a way of concluding them   the full cipher will not be written since new encoding is generated in the solving of it       Sentinel   First Watch   Black to the west, pearl at the edges, face full of eyes, red at the cuff, my tower of bones blooding the height crosswise to the sea invites the seed to a telling of dream:   milk of the musk ox curdled in brandy, coded and bound to coinage of fire struck in likeness of flesh,   mutations of waves chatter from the mouths of goblins biting off bits of wind and speaking them.   Indifferent rhetoric, proficiently uttered, nothing to challenge the rational -- this is their code and curse.   I observe them from my tower beside the sea, call each by name: the one called Many and the many called One. None stands beside me.   My charge lies in accepting the evidence of my eyes. I stand where I stand, speak as I speak, take nothing for granted,   all open to doubt, evidence of eyes notwithstanding -- yet I do not disbelieve that things are as they seem, though in another place they would seem otherwise. Not to seem to say yet to have said: this is the measure of saying--   to encompass without comprehension, obeisance made to the fact that words belong to the element of air, that is the art of hearing.   My report is chisled in rock; let not its weight in stone refute the lightness of its aim, which is that of music-- yet it will not be music.   Second Watch   A stem twists in my hand, seeking after its flower but the flower knows not the stem, acknowledges no kinship to the stalk of its arising.   I have a message: beware! The stem knows not the root and the flower presents no seed. Yet there is perfume in the air of a phantom blossom blooming.   This is not the Sentinel's doing; nor was it due to the council of the crow that it should be so. Strange things are brewing. They will need attending.   The Sentinel calls the tower to him. The tower is his song and enfolds him.   Mystery and reluctance form concentric rings, red to umber along the horizon of such music as is heard in troubled sleep.   I spy with my brass eye three stragglers keeping to the shadow of a cloud which seems to travel at their pace. My challenge to them is met with insolence. No reason to detain them. The only danger they offer is to one another. It is the quiet ones... those who respond to challenge and counter- challenge in all respects correctly -- who seek to pass unnoticed -- those meticulous ones, who must be detained and made to answer pointless questions till their logic fails them.   Crafting my report, words come with annoying fluency in images not necessarily of my choosing;   The gods in the apple tree hold court with the crow. A girl with a guitar sits beside the city gate mending a broken string with twined filiments of her own hair then strums a minor chord raising her voice in mild words forever stripped of innocence.   A stick snaps in the berry brush-- noted in my chronicle.   Three stragglers and a snapping stick -- things have been lively this watch.   What is seen matters less than what is said if it be precisely told.   Third Watch   There is a language which is spoken, and it has its use but one does not drive nails with the flat of the hand. There is a language by which stories are told and it has its use but one does not poke coals with the eye. There is a language suitable for song, its edges smooth as the face of a coin but one does not hone knives on the soft parts of the body.   There is a language of earth and sky that inhabits sleep, of emerald pearls and black rubies which seed the soil to put forth a transparent flower of whose loveliness no song may yet be sung. Invisibility is its essence; fragrance has it none.   There are grateful places where hearts tune to the resonance of the soul and healing streams but we have need of dangerous dreams.     Fourth Watch   The girl beside the gate has come again today. The song she plucks on the string of her hair disturbs the wind -- she sings of a still place where breezes are born dead.   Deeper than marrow, pain of the terminal wound risen to full flower of bruise after exhausting all potential for damage beneath the skin...   Out of her mouth blooms a rare transparent flower which flows like silk down the face of her body.   Only the most fluently adaptable scheme could hope to apply a layer of lyric without intruding on the sound, fuse the intent and collapse the structure into harmless song.   Forbidden entry into the phantom flower there's nothing to be lost in assuming it makes no difference.   If it is not so, it must be made to seem so and in seeming come to pass.   Fifth Watch   Jealousy -- that things appear to exist as objects while I am simply a subject.   Consternation -- that others should know what they know by right of birth while I struggle from conception to conclusion knowing less of what I seem to know than what I say.   Suspicion -- that my grief is not so noble as the grief of the deeply ensouled who face ruin without the comfort of delusion.   Fear -- that the pool of my sorrow is so shallow a moderate day's warmth will dissipate the flood tide of my sympathies.   I do not know if a tree remains a tree when I turn toward a cloud -- nor if my love is love or infatuation of the eye with the bright gilding of the heart's foundation by whose inexact light I happen to see another.   Sixth Watch   The blind heart I behold reaches across to me; the fabled lungfish whoring the stony beach unfolds a horizon inloaded with cargo, infiltrates the springs of the bed where children are conceived.   These children are born bouncing, fall to the floor like India rubber balls and roll as far from home as the spirit of the wind commands. Their cribs yawn wide producing sometimes a changeling, sometimes the wing of a moth or the feather of some unseasonable bird as token that the other mother claimed them.   No more cherries out of thin air -- the magus who produced them has vanished in the mirror leaving a dark wound in the glass from sudden absence of reflection.   Only in the body of another does the certainty of freedom digress into sheer ideal, bled white by leeches of light. Interlude   (words written in his journal while the Sentinel sleeps)   Rotten with confidence the Sentinel dozes in his shoddy cardboard tower dreaming of a seashore strewn with the shells of calcified redeemers -- hold one to your ear to hear prophecy in the voice of waves.   He fails, as all must fail, his self-appointed charge: to see what's before him, that alone, unclouded by desire or concept.   We three, who seem to him stragglers, are concept incarnate fueled by desire -- we three with angels in our pockets pulling a cloud by a kite string -- we whose powers of observation are focused by the purity of our intention to speak only to angels in prime numbers. Once inside the gates we will release them.   By the time he learns who passed beneath his nose unheeded, the angels will have done their damage, the snap of the stick in the brush being only the faint echo of the end of the world the Sentinel seeks to prolong.   The angels will do nothing but shine in the corners in radiant absence of action. By degrees perfect peace will descend upon the city until it will seem it has always been so.   This is the possibility the Sentinel selected himself to guard against: insufferable satisfaction, stagnating lack of contention.   Why do we bring such a treacherous gift? Are we devils? Far from it. We are agents of completion.   It is to strike flint to the consecrated fuel awaiting combustion; to ignite the first spark of all consuming light. Flame alone frees!   The Sentinel himself may keep his watch, confined to his wall by misunderstanding of the force he opposes; crafting reports destined to go unread but over which, knowing this, he will take more pain as evidence to himself of his purity of dedication. Did he but know his own utility to the angels whom he sets himself against, he would cast his spyglass into the sea in sorrow. Without him we could not ignite our holy fire. He is the sulfurous tip of our quicksilver match.   When our work is complete and peace settles in waves lapping his tower struts with monotonous precision, he will lift his clutching eyes to the shifting conformations of the sky in search of change; there will be nothing here to see.   The Last Watch   Trapped in my tower with no mission but to sound the bell tolling the hours of my captivity, I survey clouds and calculate the tide.   Stone axeman among petrified trees, I hear the seasons shout farewell in passing, returning before their echo is diminished, years revising the contours of hill and stream at astonishing speed.   Spyglass claimed by the sea, I spend my nights in naked eye astronomy; my days staring at the selfsame sky occluded by the twinkle of the sun.   I am the witness of minor variation: no two sighs of discontent are identical in cause.   Yet there is value in seeing things as they present themselves, assuming no more than what they appear most nakedly to be: stone lion in the sand with the face of a man a simple statue, grand, but devoid of mystery as any ring of standing stone erected to perpetrate the rites of some who feared the sun might fail to rise without them.   Beyond the voluptuous self consuming vortex that winnows out of space and returns along the track of its own edges, defying preposition -- beyond or aside from it, lies the point of rest I seek and of which I cannot be mistaken.   In seeming, it must be so, for seeming is the substance of apparency, its sole mode of being. There is no other measure.   Where is the place surrendered to mystery by innocent credulity? The still place, sterling bright; the place that must be so?   There I propose to go defended against night by a tender history of absolute futility.   The people of my city sit cross legged, absorbed in their idea of deity through which they dart point blank into the jaws of their natural enemy while I study the mold on the face of a sickly fruit or whatever comes to hand.   It is enough to see. What evades the ear and makes it blind is simple to the eye.   I have seen the writing of the three, addressed to me -- and recognize the hand in which the words were written: my own.   What witness can withstand impeachment by the light?   Since it is so, I do not see how it could be otherwise. It is no concern of mine in what manner I was self-slated to play the fool to my own Magus of Thebes.   It is as it must be, since I am as I am, a fact among facts, a figment of my own observation, like any other.   If Beauty is to be, it must root in what is less than beautiful; allow itself to sprout shabby foliage serving as a rough protective cover for its seed.   The seed has beauty to outshine the flower.   Let the seed be delivered intact, sound in husk and germ -- then all is accomplished which has been appointed.   This is my full report, respectfully submitted to the seed who knows those things implicitly which I suspect in part, my only business being to say what I have seen and then be silent.  
Pride of Bone
A sackful of sighs--
Places the Soul
felt her beginnings 
then was forced 
to forsake in her
steady refusal to
linger, however
chaste or blessed
the temperature
of desire, however
innocent the light.
Soul is the
Pride of Bone.
It has no other.
except to say 
something of it,
how it seemed;
what it could 
seem to become 
by being seen 
in a different light.
The past alone changes.
Said time is 
time unsaid 
is dying.
Soul is the
Pride of Bone.
It has no other.
We cannot learn 
from the past;
we are the past.
Have we lost 
our magic?
Another magic
is unfolding.
In this hand
in that hand
a seed!
Soul is the
Pride of Bone.
It has no other.
 Rain in a Courtyard
mood struck
fog flowers, 
wind sculpt
flatland of
comet rock,
lesser jewels,
& slag with
no end rhyme
waking into
bright rooms
yawning with
morning sun
in blue rain
fed on recipes
& schooled
on symbol 
for its own
striking sake,
all the old
gathered in
a tight fist
to shake at
the mindless
song of stars,
cloud fleece,
smiling sun &
wistful waves
the gods of
this world
as recompense 
for sloppy skies
they also silence
whom they love,
knowing how
there's no
percentage in it;
how none of 
it's worth
breaking a heart for.
Not that 
this was
always so.
In the tree
a half pecked
     in the
 Sonnets In Stone
Man on a marble lawn looks up at
singing of sorts shading into murmur,
wind folded back on itself exhausted,
bridges spanning broad breasted water
with regular swells something like song.
City of stone: stone streets, stone houses, 
stone dogs barking stone warning at stone 
cats in lava trees climbing the sky like 
a leprous mother cobbled in darkness, 
pit of the earth sprung sulfurous wind.
Curl and retract, thistledown returning 
to the bud of its birth, to the groin of earth 
descended to the crucible where dozing
eddies of whirlwind sculpt the lava into
eyes sunk in sockets of coal dreaming
things as small as moons gleaned from
rivers of silky black magma, the throat 
of every star. Listen, it said, suppose I
began as not more than a slight sighing,
would you like to try to learn to love it? 
Listen, she said, suppose a winter of nursing 
a child on fire and lye while storms spew 
out of volcanos, a portion of the foundation
erupting to revive the deflated wind, 
its groaning in caverns mournfully shrill,
primitive with punctuation, grieving for 
long lost loves of the future, restless and 
ill amused, a bearded crone shattering 
hearts yet to be born, sucking the elements 
out of the stones, snatching sparks between 
sharp fingers and squeezing them into stars,
sounding the cry, the fire song, the clatter
of hell through the veins of basalt and iron, 
rage become stone become ice become voice 
become light become rain become wind,
listen she said, sleek, sudden and gowned,
stepping from the craterous mound chaste
as bituminous clay: if I let it begin slowly
and we wind our way there by degrees, 
how unwilling can you be to come with me?
 Seven Trials
lips shaped to the
curve of the cup
suddenly awake 
running like hell 
but it's gone
seems dangerous 
to begin again
but what have you?
after a few weeks
it's like starting over
first things first
don't have time
don't have patience
don't have nerve
hard not to make 
more of it than it is
whatever it is
the difference shown
in an inclination 
of the head -- slight
disdain -- desire
You have to find 
something else to want,
against all inclination
trespass at leisure
love has better things 
to do than beware
 Dew On the Daisy
Well, it's been swell and
the dew is on the daisy--
or is the daisy on the dew?
A cat's meow hangs
on the bark of a dogwood
where thistles glisten.
All day to write it down
but long about eve it
didn't need to be said.
I said it anyway out
of desperation,
self centered and blue,
a rude departure 
from an old
line of attack,
but who can keep
that up without
alerting the clouds?
Could make what
isn't needed into
what is cared for
because odds are
it's necessary to
care for something
more than it may
ever care for you
if only to get even
with whatever 
forces one into
such a posiition.
 Rimbaud At Twenty
Clearing dead ash 
from the iron grate
with a penpoint so 
the stove can breathe, 
make quick tinder 
of vision to heat the
room if not my heart.
Tomorrow I leave 
France and the
unwanted love 
of idiots I can 
no longer tolerate.
I saw as I spoke
and speak no more; 
wish only to see 
as other men see 
who find little to say.
Embracing flame 
with flesh, I am 
the son of bone 
who has no mother.
There's bone in beauty 
but no beauty in bone.
Only steadfast utility.
I was never mad.
never insane, 
unless at long last, 
but this I know:
There is no
in high Hell 
or the Angels --
Pursuit is all.
After a night's 
chase I woke
with testimony
in hand -- no idea 
how it got there.
My own and
not my own,
a stranger's notes
in my very hand.
The part that
clung catlike
to dry dock in
drunken seas--
writing rather 
than allowing 
me to drown 
in raw glory of
vision's blood--
argues my sanity;
the bitch of a poet
who bartered my,
lucid & perfectly
transparent death 
for delicate domes
and angular words
     is no more! 
I killed her with
my own hands
and now I am
one alone, 
without content.
Brother of an 
only child
born an orphan.
Now I follow
a slender, less 
austere death 
to a tropic with 
no relation to this 
world where I
failed my doom, 
pleasured myself
as it bleached my
blood to a thin
white milky sap.
Now others 
attempt to 
become what
I discard like
a leprous ear.
The pitch of 
their fever
is the illness
of an hour.
Seeking strange
hybrids of glory 
where there is 
only humiliation,
they covet the
tongue I pulled 
from my throat 
tossed in the alley 
for dogs to contest.
The choice to be
as I have been 
was never mine; 
a colloquy of spirits 
cast lots for the 
stinking rag 
that was my soul.
My corpse walks
lighter without it. 
I seek climes with 
gods whose names 
I shall not study 
to learn; where 
my old familiars 
no longer infest--
neither the demons of
Heaven nor those of Hell.
 How We Love
Because we love 
  what we love
 in the way we love,
   not as we 
should love
we love completely 
  or not at all 
  --other than that
   we study Spanish
    in night school
and learn to forgive those 
who seem to be in love
  when we are not  
and do not beg our pardon.
When first you
came to me
I thought your 
hat was part 
of your head.
Only when you
removed it did
I realize that
the love in 
my heart was 
the only polite
form of address.
Swell to see you
between lives
face to face with
so little to say,
you in your
red blouse,
waving from
a red window
set against
a red sky
with scant
red clouds.
Your thoughts 
are thinner;
you must be
thinking less.
How do they
light fires in
a world with
no wood--
how do they
quench thirst
in a world
without wine?
It's too chilly
to stand here
facing away
from the sun,
would it help to
walk around or
is this coolness
a characteristic?
So you're
out with 
dead men?
What other
 kind are there? 
Don't recede,
 I'm only joking.
Is it true you
wipe your
butts with
Or that nothing 
worth saying has 
ever been said?
I'm not ready
to be dead if
this is what
it amounts to --
but it's nice
to see you in
hopeful colors
all the same.
Like music, you give
every appearance 
of significance while
saying nothing.
 Omnia Praeclara Rara
It does no harm to
add the water hot
It does no harm at all
Excellence being rare, 
one stands for many, 
declining to beg 
among flame for cinders,
and though the world 
be starved for song,
renounce  melody to
inspect the heart of words
It does some harm
to add the water cold --
but less than adding none
Seed of the sapling
pale and believing
listen to the thorn
put forth singing,
bough and branch of
flowering aspidistra
going dong ding in
a sky tinted frieze of
gasping silver fishes
The tiresome young and
the tiresome old . . . 
we are tiresome people
who go upright on two legs
Nothing more tiresome
than our words unless
our music -- tiresome
for a tiresome age --
tired born and tired 
to employ the grave
Let me climb, Rapunzel,
see oh see you wear your 
apron low below the knees
and 20 feet of golden braid
How may rack of lamb
be mated in a sequel
to the bone of dream?
Add the water
hot or cold, it
does no harm
to broth of stone
Storm enshrined mountain
darker than feeling,
the blistering horn,
the blood bell ringing,
sundown's swallow
sings in the branch
muted by rain from
clouds crushed to fit
her quick lowering sky
 Cocktails With Hindemith
Broken by dogs
Arrested in form
The fast flying ball,
the ball in the wall,
caught and returned
with a flick of the heart,
claims against one 
claims against all
claims against one and all
because wanting it done
Wanting it done now
Most sparkable flow
Sense of amazement
Breath of the breath
Flame of the flame
filed in ivory fiddles
roused out of early slumber
Response of the law 
to a part of the body 
reserved for carrying coins
The word is a loose flame
The sense must be
put into it like a peach
shoved into a peach pit; 
anything can be added
to disguise the center 
but the fact of the tilt
can be construed from
the angle of the axis
What may be seen to be climbing
is less than an ivy but more than
a naked trellis -- 
You never needed it
You never needed it to carry
You never needed it to carry on
You never needed it to play
touch tackle in the back yard
with Kaufman's Neitzche for
your own golden football
You never did --You never did
You never will
and there's an end to it
It's growing now
into a full sense of the
form of its shadow,
fulfilling its format,
assuming its stance,
already the trellis
appears more modest
The word is a loose flame;
the heat of it must be
pried out like a pearl 
containing an oyster 
containing a shell,
like a bird containing
a nest containing a tree,
like an eye containing a cloud
containing a sky
What we have is intelligence
What we want is simplicity
What we have is a theme in C
What we want is the key of E flat minor
What we have is the voice of reason
What we want is a silent prayer
What we have is a square sun
in square sky with square clouds
because we were not content with
circles, ellipses and spheres . . .
You could say it was aimless,
this refusal to let said be said,
this rebel lightning, 
this charmed circle,
this Abba, this Ahba
this Abba Ahbarabaca
and other Aberacadaberas
this Sator, Arepo, Tenet, Opera, Rotas
this absolution without revelation
which is tyranny,
this tarpaper block with
the glass dome reflecting
cocktails by starlight,
Hindemith on player piano,
lips in the dewdrop shadows,
you could say it was aimless,
first, last and always -- you
could say so and consider it said. 
Something is lengthening.
Something is long. Is it
a sunset or a song? If a sunset,
why does it not sink and if
a song, why is there no melody?
Maybe it's whatever it could be
to serve some purpose which
is less than communication
but more than a vow of silence.
Something is lengthening.
Something is long. Is it
fact or a fiction concerns us
or merely a motion where motion
was not thought possible?
Something is lengthening.
Something is long -- could
it be love charring a cinder
through the heart of the candle wick?
Blue is to blue as to spin is to spin
in identical orbits 'round one and
the same sun, rising and falling
in vino veritas over the glad hum
of the hearth of incandescent earth,
swathed in bright aluminum, sworn
into testimony this morning at six a.m. 
with the full force and power of song
in the court of cantata, the antechamber
of saints, spirits and souls seen in the
mirror behind the stairs along with
a full dress moon in a folding chair.
The word is a loose flame;
we are lanterns with legs
chasing it 'round the lexicon,
seeking reflections of our
inner hearts in mutatis mundi,
finding the glaciers of Venus
hiding beneath the porch at dawn
guarded by a dog with a broken leg.
Why do I think
I remember you
by another name 
I either heard 
or somehow knew
which may not 
be memory at all
but some trick 
of association,
summoned by 
the grave shading
turning into dense
purple brooding in
this darkened room
opening on waves,
where the two of us,
out of a limited 
number of possible 
combinations, were
gifted to be born
by circumstance
or coincidence 
more collusive
than chance
or probability.
We read & talk 
as stars fail & 
gravity traps 
the beams of 
collapsing suns. 
Anonymously kindled,
this bleak uneven light 
is sufficient to read
the small inscriptions
of joy that sustain us.
 The New Jungle
A good day is
a day nobody 
stayed away
but nobody came
The New Jungle,
present & perfect, 
no memory of 
being otherwise,
invincibly green
Terra Cognita
before love was
given a word to
isolate it from
a flight of birds 
turning flock left  
in rarified light
as of one mind
New Jungle,
the Old Earth
water of separation 
corrective press
of regarding waves
throat and heart
desiring touch
mouth of the water
lips of the sea
grant it the
thing you are
to enable the
thing you'll be
salt rapture
passion seeks
what is likely
to consume it
or it would be
less than love
A good day is
a day someone
was born and
nobody died
 How It Really Goes
Having never been
killed before, to my
knowledge, I didn't
know what to expect.
The pain not being
excessive, I was
able to think as they
wheeled me to X-ray
and what I thought
was 'this might be it'
and it seemed like
it would be OK, not
as big a deal as I'd
been led to believe.
Possibility of dying
seemed acceptable,
palpably imminent.
What became clear
was that it was not
time -- too much
undone -- a family,
a new child to raise
and books to write.
So I knew I wouldn't.
Die that is. Not now.
Opportunity passed.
The heart attack was 
not one after all, just 
my chest kicking back 
after cracking a rib
falling off a low roof.
Presented, considered
and rejected: death
as a proposition with
no component of fear.
How else would it be?
One night with 
falling stars
the other man 
in the moon
Recognition of
a flavor out of
seventh summer
only to forget
everything we're
made of
  Stars, baby
Who made common
cause with the elements?
Called iron his neighbor;
could say of gold: 
I knew her as a child.
He is risen!
Holding his breath, 
standing quickly
without blacking out,
he glides through
the playground gate
at twilight looking for
empty bottles 
he can cash for deposit.
As might a light sleeper
attack autonomous 
daylight with blinds
so might Midas
speak his mind
without metaphor
scheming to deny
any substantial song
to the flat horizon
in thought balloons
proud as a pillow
doing soft time 
caught out hiding 
meats in the attic
bedded in union
divided by twins
stacking black syllabics
point counterpoint to 
the crystalline substrate 
epitaxic as no other lingo
climbing a laddered seam
in a short shift intent
on southern exposure
Georgia inclusive
Florida moreover
Veronica redux
thumbing the leaves of
the Mind's Eye Revue
hewing to no creed
saw Jesus in blender
and fainted
Has this transom 
been thank you 
more often than 
not so much
  or been shaken till 
prophecy settled in 
fleck foam attesting
to the less than so, 
the more than 
merely nothing 
axis of no axis
forever an organ
unclear as to origin 
set    set    set   Collide
Pretty red bird
Pretty red bird winging
Pretty red bird winging west
Midas with justice might
break into be continued
thanking you dead in 
equatorial ink and resign  
By the might of what moon
hauling tide to the Urals 
by Estonian Steppes
might Midas 
lay claim as the 
man of loss foretold
Hosanna Forsythia
multiply multiply
incubate ratify
amen to the stars 
where no one 
is anyone's equal
torn from the end 
of the book and
pasted into the preface
laundered in semaphore
corrected in vanishing ink
Not over there
Over here
Voice to voice
Dead center align 
Total description
by detailed process
of omission
freighted in index
larded with lightning
One stroke from
absolute precision
it was silence 
undeceived them:
the Dickinson daisies
the small boats
the wedding shore
immortal as ice 
at the top of the world
mens aeterna est
quatenus res sub
specie aeternitatis
This is to follow
what went before
Let it be given
to the night and
see what thrives
Pretty red bird
Pretty red bird winging
Pretty red bird winging west
Away to the west
Away to the west
The translation
least like a lie 
is the clearest 
for the moment
neither invention
nor equivocation but
a gift handed down 
to the last born by
the child of a child 
  who hopes
you might see 
that the use of it 
is ornamental 
and cease mistaking Father 
for Olson in Berkeley
hanging on a cross
with a 5th of Scotch
where ears have wings
and the wings have flown
Sense of Impending
Something rejoices.
Something rejects.
Something ignores.
With no regard
to legality
Life legislates
against Death.
has that purpose.
Death is what
happens to
someone else.
Then you get
nostalgic for it.
Good Old Death
the way it
sweeps away
the sun & stars.
Been party to
the likes before.
Strumpets in
bumping cars,
strip Bingo
at the bazaar,
vertigo without
the luxury of
suitable heights.
No one expects you
to jump over your
elbow for this but
what of the night
you finally understood
your own intentions
were not good
and didn't bother
to warn the others?
Nude Recumbent on Chair
myself as the type
nor was she inclined
that we first became
who were only mildly
at whatever cost
taken at face value
while others dwell
laughingly over it
sensible compromise
total unlessyou mean
could not account for
or accept with regret
denying she ever had
not making allowance
less than scrupulous
or alarmed in retrospect
inaudible reticence
swiftly slammed shut 
to hope without trust
otherwise no reaction
flat of a hand to the
slip of a tepid sigh
downside the upshot
declined with regards
stolen in broad sun
wild to the waist in
forcible recognition
slow inch by quick mile
salted strawberries
four to the platter
splashed down with
apple wine & wind
 Ration Your Cylinders
Consciousness is a stolen car
Relax into absolute tension
No lights No smile No trial run
Clutch when you shift
It affects the whole 
train of transmission
Up is to down as
float is to sink
Ration your cylinders
This is big action
It flows into gear
The wheel turns
of its own volition
The sacred smile
accepts a sandwich
Lack of theme is
the master theme;
absence of item
an item itself 
We do not go
so we cannot return
Once we made as if
to go but could not
Once we tried to
return without leaving,
found a message
nailed to our feet:
"Now you know
all about nothing"
O dog of the dump,
the lips are the 
heart of the face
What do we have 
we did not have before
	other than perspective?
 Power of Persuasion
How crazy are the crocodiles
in Anna Nealy's cotton crib.
Born Summer to be thus
trading in night skin
suffering solid sense of
corded catastrophe,
braided table leaves and
something about a golden rake
winnowed by force in whose hand?
I don't care. It has been done.
The adventure is ominous
but the hint of freedom
is too fair to behold distant.
All force of reasons concur
that what's to be done
is to be done differently
since what's been done
demands only a sequel.
The original is impressive,
not less so than the copy
scripted in fair hand but
mistakes are a form of creation
and size argues the stakes of inflation.
Fate holds the lease.
Death could intervene.
Understanding that,
the options are easy:
throw crows to the wind
and swallow your trail
one footprint at a time
beginning with the last.
 One Day in July
I elect to do nothing but 
bask in the symmetry of
one jewel of a day in July,
exalt and cajole it to become 
more nearly human, though     
human it never was, past
all that though not beyond.
I'll do this until
the bell rings nine then 
climb hand over hand
the ladder prepared
westward into night.
Clotilde, it is sunny.
Flowers nod 
on skinny vines,
a door of cloud
swings on
hinges of breeze.
So far from harm,
the promise of the 
kind of a day it is,
insinuating no sort
of reminder it was
ever otherwise.
I sat here, Sunday as
ever it is, unable to 
consolidate the day,
so I thought I'd
speak of it and try
to pry my thought
from its wistful clutches.
Day as day, lengthened
into mid&endash;late afternoon,
attempts to enchant but
I'll be no party to spells.
All spells are spells
of vanishment but one,
the song of the blue elves.
No attempt to use the day,
only to press my will
up and against the perfection 
that all too easily baffles
my soul into acquiescence
shrouded in calendars.
Alone for two weeks,
I've tended to gaze
at days slipping by,
making little or no effort
to catch up with them.
Finally, today appears
slowed to my own pace.
I am, after all, Man--
time is my invention.
Days are as may be
under the signet
of eternity. I am 
going nowhere else.
What are days to me?
Could it be roses
are calling me?
I will feed them
October wine,
clusters of crickets.
I am not the sort
of person flowers
ordinarily speak to,
but in extremity
they are not proud 
who tends them.
Should the day deliver
full weight of promise
I won't breakfast till
twilight, full of what
needs to be said about 
this particular day
to distinguish it 
from a chalk mark 
on the wall of a cell,
time served insteade
of time serving --
freedom no longer
potential but present,
this and never another.
	Wind picks up, 
swirls the tops of trees
rousing venom from
flowers that enflame.
I would there were
an Autumn country
where leaves were
ever red and brown,
nearer to Summer
than the Winter edge
of Fall-- enduring.
A place between 
September and 
mid October cast 
in a cool, rational 
light reflecting dreads
of Winterfall from 
a distance, if at all,
pleasantly ominous
phantoms of the air.
Enough of that.
Circle around
and make of it 
something said.
Rise and carry 
what song is left
in the afternoon.
A little past six,
the phone pole shadow
has entered the ivy
at an acute angle
to the east window,
more solid to sight
than the sun splintered
stick which casts it.
In this clime dark		
will not come 
till well after nine.
The day dawdles with
the length of seven
squeezing the juice 
of the hour leaving 
only the rind.
I think a day like this
is not counted against
accumulated time  --
no sense of it passing
but only persisting
through changing light.
A song could be found
here already written --
caught, caged and carted 
away to a day far distant
but the inclination is
to let it remain and feed
on the afternoon shadow,
slip away unsung into
some oblique angle of sun.
How much true time
does anyone need
to perform deeds
we feel within us?
A few days suffice
to shape essentials.
But, having time,
a way is found 
to spend it:
by defining, 
losing sight, 
regaining it,
reworking it into
one or another
borrowed conclusion.
There's no moral
proposition here.
Time, like flowing
shanks of lava, is 
anything but moral. 
Evening voices settle
in low ranks against
high banked clouds.
Fairness deteriorates
into serviceable gray. 
Differing threads 
of lateness gather.
Switch on the light
and heat up a can
of soup for supper,
Cream of July with
a sprinkle of pepper.
After my meal,
an unexpected trace
of the song of the day
remains in my bowl 
minus its hours.
A pleasant thing to do,
bring this day to you, 
Clotilde, like water
in cupped hands,
spilling a few drops.
But now I will end
because it is done.
The last of the light
untangles from sight 
like a squashed glove 
on the horizon
and now it is night.
An American Adventure
Chapter One: Novus Ordo Seclorum  
There was no time like the time we
thought something was happening
which was not what we thought it was 
but might as well have been considering 
how little it was anything else. 
If what was seen is to be spoken of,
   it must be said all in a breath or 
it becomes something else: a glyph, 
a gloss, a reflection of a vase bearing 
an artificial flower on a living stem. 
If what's said in a breath isn't
heard in a breath, it was never said
to begin with. . . and if it takes a walk 
on the coals to convince you that faith 
is more than a metaphor, you've achieved 
the most you can expect from a hot foot.
To go back to the beginning,
what did we think it was
leaked out of the sea dream 
of our age to swallow us whole
and later spit us up on the very spot 
we'd have chosen for ourselves 
had we known it existed? 
Behold a city half visible along 
the cloudline, studded with
faraway spires, domes, turrets 
and other paraphernalia with 
which deep-seated yearning 
tends to outfit a horizon.
A beckoning beam glimmers
across furlongs of pale grain 
waving between us and what seems 
our individual and collective destiny. 
In retrospect it's fruitless to try to determine 
if it was simply arrogance compounded 
with sensory overload ...or if we really saw 
something else besides, in its true and 
difficult form, not always at a distance; 
something not generally given to standing still 
in the same spot in an attitude of welcoming.
As for entering the cloudline city,
indistinct memories tell us we
we did so, although snapshots 
from the era indicate that it 
might have been otherwise.
 The inch thick layer of immaculate 
shamrock glass which coated the 
pavement is shown, in the photo, 
to be only unadorned city concrete 
and not all that clean.
There is no evidence of spires 
and the pack of gangling gawkers 
posturing in the foreground --
could that be us? 
Time is the great counterfeiter--
it was not like that. I know. 
I was there. I remember.
There must have been a particular day 
when it became common knowledge
that the dream was over--God knows
the songs were suddenly full of it, 
though it was not clear where the
messengers got their information. 
That particular news sailed clear 
over our heads, immersed in the 
so-called dream as we were--
or perhaps it was intercepted at 
office level and stuck in a dry file, 
labeled something misleading like: endive-- 
Intending to leave the world
a better place than we found it, 
a misleadingly innocent trope,
we were eventually forced to 
conclude that it had a logic 
of its own having only so much 
and no more to do with us--
although we still harbored
designs on what we refused
to believe it no longer was. 
Now is the future past, 
the appearance without
the apparatus of power,
the peacable kingdom of
wide eyed glaring beasts
frozen into immobility
by a vision too extreme
to fit behind closed lids.
We assess it as though it were
beyond our control but in our hearts 
cannot quite manage to believe that.
It seems there's something 
we could have done other than 
hope for the best and trust that 
somebody more responsible would         
come along and put it all right.  
 But nobody came and  in the space 
of a mere decade, the fabulous city 
lay smoking and desolate, the rags 
of its ruin unfit for restitching.
It was then that we understood
we were dead... but it made
no difference. The object of our
faith still showed its beacon light
despite the condition of the city.
Or was that only the neon sign 
of an all night carwash
flashing through solid
sheets of unremitting rain?
Whatever it was began 
to cut off altogether for 
a  day or two at a time, 
growing to weeks and months. 
It wasn't sudden. There was 
time to get accustomed. 
There was time to wonder just 
how brightly it ever shined at all.
After awhile imagination began
to substitute lights of its own.
But nothing seemed to possess the 
steady, mysterious beckoning quality
of the beacon of earlier days,
with its promise of untellable things
soon to be revealed to the joy of all. 
Cut to a rat trap stumbled upon
in a trip to the wine rack where
bottles of Thunderbird age in
temperature controlled darkness,
wine of the stone eyed goddess
of scrofulus grace; high priestess
of the grass that pushes its way
through ithe shamrock glass
to reduce it to seedy sidewalks. . .
a trap expanding in size
to the dimensions of fear,
baited with the guts of a weasal
and chained to the cellar floor.
Never mind that the trap is 
only apparent and the bite of its 
imaginary steel on an imaginary 
leg yields only imaginary pain, 
for which imaginary medicine
and an imaginary vacation will 
generally deal an imaginary cure. 
It still can deal imaginary death, 
which, as the son of any respectable 
Denver bum can tell you is a
fair substitute for the real thing.
Meanwhile, stuffing ourselves 
with snapshots of steak while 
thrumming and nictating over
a salad of stringent mitosis,
open to charges of pandering 
with the flat of the hand held 
parallel to the sky as though 
seeking moisture independent 
of the provided cloud system, 
offending an angel or two to be 
wrestled later, in the privacy 
of the skull, the question arises: 
Was the faith we had worth saving?  
Consider the alternative. . .
searching the skies, the cards,
the gizzards of rats, random
images, modern pop prophecy or
the latest simulacrum of the psyche 
for any potency willing to present. 
Spellbound in a bubble of glass, 
warm flesh believes. Garroted, 
gelded and clapped in cold irons 
or left to compost in some carefully 
calculated public perception, one 
breath without hesitation suffices
to declare that flesh believes 
to the roots of its teeth or dies.
A glyph. A gloss. A post-midnight 
resuscitation beneath a weatherbeaten 
leatherneck of a moon. New Atlantis 
rising from a duckpond in the year 
of the dogs in red bandanas chasing 
frisbee in the park.
Summing up what it meant but
no longer means to a disenchanted 
generation without many illusions 
about illusions, proper discretion 
lies in not noticing the severed 
dog head in the instant pudding. 
We need three ears to hear 
the belated truth: an extra one 
for what was never said. 
What is said all in a breath must
be received in a similar way. 
What is not heard  in one
quick snatch of the earball,
the content of a single breath,
however elongated, is not
heard at all. Reasoned out
 or possibly divined, but not heard.
To hear is to forget, for a moment, 
all but what is being said. 
To forget precedents and 
probable antecedents. To 
forget who is saying and 
who receiving. To listen 
is to change places with 
an idea, an idiocy, a saxophone
a prophecy or a proposition.
Search for certainty destroys
any sense of proportion. Kid
starts out eating crayons and
ends up engineering a hostile 
takeover of Gerber's. 
And meanwhile, there is music. . .
Music is not a substitute for 
meaning. . .it is a replacement!  
Is this dangerous? It would be 
if it were not, you know, music. 
Sometimes it sounds like 
bubbling syllables rising
from the scud and garnish 
of the deep. A new thought to 
be set beside a known one. . . 
the unknown always adjacent 
to something known. 
When what is unknown is set 
beside another unknown, any 
sensible carnivore becomes wary. 
Which is when, out of fear 
or  simple prudence, we tend 
to freeze it, put it on a stick 
and call it a popsicle. 
It differs from a bicycle in that 
it comes in flavors but, naturally, 
makes poor transportation. 
Really tragically poor.  
Lick it if you like but don't 
try to drive it to Los Angeles
in under six hours. 
 Second Movement: Annuit Cptis
Besides hogging most of the 
mayonnaise, the Beagal Boys
demand the lettuce be cut 
into bite size chunks, assign 
unforgiving deadlines and
stick us with promotion
designed to wilt the parsley, 
all the time laughing up 
their cardigans humming: 
I did it my way with yours.
When the contract comes up
for renewal we wonder:
why not cut loose from 
the whole avoirdupois, and 
open up a salad bar of our own 
with only ourselves to answer to?
Hire our own tomato growers,
import avocados from the moon
...take bids on the chives...
It might work. It should work. 
It will work. Spruce up the
environment by arranging for 
some blues with progressions 
modeled on the tesseract to play 
over the sound system, feed
rabbits the salad scraps and
teach 'em to lay hardboiled eggs.
All we need to do is mortgage 
our hats and coats which we
don't need anyway because
the summer is endless
and so is the promise of song.  
Suddenly the times change 
tripping our g-g-g-generation 
in mid-stride. The bottom drops 
out of Caesar Salad forthwith
as alfalfa sprouts are discovered 
to cause mental retardation and
probable damnation in fruit flies.
They'd kick us out of the tossed 
green game if they had the option 
but are unable to do so because 
we can rent out the lettuce shredder 
and live off our own endive.
How High the Moon? 
High as we can reach on 
tiptoe to secure the far end 
of a clothesline and hang 
our hearts out wet in the rain.
The weather may change, 
but who entirely believes that
the wrinkles fall out on their own?
The fact that no one disbelieves 
suffices. Repetitive death on the 
racks becomes a fact of life but
there seems to be a market for
endive and hard boiled rabbit eggs
out in the provinces --so we
hook a caboose to the salad train,
restring our noseflutes and practise
making noises like a carrot
to attract what rabbits remain.
There are things we need to know
and that we know we need to know.
Did Hannibal cross the Alps on an
alligator and if so how many brass 
coots in a brass coot tree? Answers 
to these and other critical questions 
seem to depend, ultimately, on cranking 
it out until (or unless) physically restrained.
Uncompromising ridicule from the press
is resolved by forgetting how to read. 
Not only what was said but what 
wasn't gradually assembles an
audience as confused as we are.
Avenues plainly marked dead 
end  are taken at breakneck speed 
without  appreciable brakes 
although the perception is of 
glacially slow movement. One day
it appears we've been here forever. 
A glyph. A gloss.  A random 
motion of microscopic particles 
suspended in gas or liquid 
caused by impact with molecules 
of the surrounding fluid. 
Brownian Movement and no mistake.
Parry, thrust & kick off the body 
and lick the blade. Stick it, kick it
and lick it.This could be fun were it 
not in such deadly earnest. A sense 
of adventure infuses failure which 
later success can only approximate.
How many glass cats in a glass cat stew? 
Six if you dine at five. Eight if at Nine 
abiding in cause and consequence by exercise 
of free will, or some convincing variation, 
making a virtue of necessity...
which turns out to be the 
combination to the safe!
How you got it is immaterial 
to the contents of the strongbox 
which are variously edible 
or negotiable for chattels 
foreign and domestic, such as 
Hegelian head cheese, 
Tasmanian rope money, 
or the rare blue endive 
which grows only on 
the dark side of the moon.
Approaching the frontiers of the ocean,
non-swimmers are lashed together 
to make a living raft with promise
of being resuscitated with kisses 
if they only keep swimming until 
they black out. In deeper than we 
had no idea and the plain fact was 
we'd forgotten how to drown, or, 
more to the point, never knew how.
Among things the late 70's has 
had it with is shit like the ideals
we are assumed to represent. Our 
actual values were probably too 
diffuse for reductive consideration, 
could even be said to co-opt 
certain powers reserved for Church, 
State and the Networks, such as 
infathomable vagueness and 
promiscuous fondness for 
gathering large numbers of people 
together for purposes not altogether 
unrelated to mutual gratification.
Too late to say sorry.  Sorry only 
cuts it with the motherhood crew.
Without apologies, we keep trying to 
stick our pig vomit in the ears of the
public just as if nothing has happened, 
disregarding the tempo of young America 
at work and play and other febrile notions 
of progress in the field of demotics.
Problems to do with trust accrue 
like spiders behind a dart board. 
Wrath of reluctant realization: 
where it all comes from 
comes from somewhere else 
and that somewhere is not here. 
After a bout of threatened retirement,
we brush the cobwebs from the pane 
of a studio window believed to open 
on nightmares, only to find a friendly 
gathering of concerned faces pleased 
to find everybody isn't dead in there.
And then the light dawns: the
whole implausible coda is not only 
strictly necessary but ultimately 
capable of withstanding dense 
critical scrutiny. It is what it is 
and there is nothing else like it. 
And it's ours, all ours, hahahahaha...
Some kind of test has been passed 
with no one knowing exactly what 
or why. Certain mistakes will not 
be made again; fresh mistakes 
beckon with perfumed eyes.
Back alive and bleeding from
numerous non-fatal slights, 
exponentially increasing throngs 
of salad lovers gather to the sound
of the lettuce shredder in full fury, 
operating outside its assigned time 
slot and into the untended present, 
causing a hole in the fabric of continuity 
big enough to drive a truck through.
The spires of another day are
finally visible again, still set 
firmly on the horizon, though 
the beckoning beam no longer 
seems to operate...
could it be that we've arrived?
Then why are the spires still
at a distance? Because that's
what they are--they're the 
faraway spires. That's all.
All of this happens flying 
by the seam of your jeans 
thinking someone else is dying 
when the roses are for you. 
Found picking pepper when the 
hurricane hit the pepper tree 
we suddenly found ourselves
with a whole load of pepper; 
more pepper than anyone 
might have thought. Enough to 
make a pepper pie and then some.
Something needed to be said
about it and still does --or 
they rip out your gums and
bill you for individual extractions.
To say anything at all, out of the
countless ways things could 
be said, it's necessary to say 
it as it occurs to you, whether
it's worth expressing or not.
If it's a thought of your own 
and the urge to speak it is strong,
it makes it's own reasons 
and provides its own context--
so long as it's said in a breath it 
will at least have a chance to 
get said, from which follows that 
it just naturally becomes history, 
official or otherwise. 
Whether it finally reflects what 
you intended to express must 
remain a mystery. The context 
itself is mute, but it probably 
makes little difference what 
the exact intent, so long as 
the initial thrust sufficed 
to compensate for a fuel tank 
later discovered to be entirely 
empty since somewhere shortly 
after takeoff time. Thank God no 
one thought to check the gauges or
we'd still be back on those alligators
climbing every mountain in search 
of a comfortable swamp to decamp. 
Meanwhile, a horse, a cow and
3 blind mice are discovered down
in the cornfield shooting high dice 
with the corporate kitty... merely 
strategic problems are miniscule 
compared to the weight of this one. 
Trust itself has been violated.
Act Three: Debts Public and Private
If it is to be said it had better 
be said all in a breath--the 
thing we think we know so
well, yet can rarely remember
to say aloud--believing it's only 
because we forget to remember 
to say it that it's so rarely articulated. . . 
rather than adducing the fact of the matter, 
which is that it only exists when 
formulated by living breath.
It has to be said before someone
changes the subject forever-- and
affirmed with the tacit understanding 
that sometimes it's good to be wrong-- 
not just about details--but--you know
. . . about everything.  
To be precisely useless has its uses, 
reciprocity being what it is and 
depending as it damn well does 
upon the ability to rip off
a piece of territory and spend
the rest of your life defining it.
Are we talking Rock? Or just 
some species of the Roll? 
In deference to the non-presenting 
metaphor, it becomes wonderfully 
apparent that when you have 
nothing to add to what you've 
already said you shut up or
suffer the consequences.
Seven years of silence drives
inarticulation to a new high
but the breath is not abused
in the utterance of endless
artifacts with no reason
to be spoken beyond the
disturbing of a doubtful peace.   
It is within the catalogue 
of permissible things to be 
dead wrong and even to derive 
moderate pleasure practicing 
intransigence for its own sake. 
When time comes to resume 
speaking, say what you have
to say, all at once, letting it be
the lover who speaks, the one who
will most rarely say you wrong; 
let the rest be meat for crows. 
If no one tried to live this way 
no one would discover it can't be done.
These are the things you do
trying to be true whether or
not you know you do. In the
meantime, something's always
creeping up with a good deal 
of stealth, usually undetected 
until its moment of denouement, 
generally after it's perpetrated
some activity so off the wall it 
could never have been predicted--
such as installing a bidet in the 
birdbath... or detailing how both
what we did and did not do either 
was or was not more or less 
than it appeared in light of a
value we had never considered.
Who we were meanwhile was
a gaggle of collateral witnesses 
providing unnecessary alibis 
for a failure we were no longer
perceived as having. Now it was
time to start denying responsibility 
for being so disproportionately
large, plead innocence and try to 
lay the blame on the times. . . 
the old Aw Shucks approach, 
valid to a degree but more of 
a smokescreen than an outright 
explanation. The fact is 
we no longer fit anywhere 
and there's not a great
deal to be said about it that
hasn't been said before though
there's always a chance that
something can be blurted in
a breath that couldn't be
thought out in a thousand years.
Transformation happens when 
the old rules don't apply the 
way they used to and the new
rules are still being written.
Perception was a creation of the 
'60's. There's nothing intelligent 
to say about it because intelligence 
wasn't invented until the '70's. 
Discrimination was the brainchild 
of the '80's, the ability to tell a 
louse from a Lifesaver. Meanwhile 
here in the '90's we seem to be 
chewing on the notion of synthesis,
which is probably a good thing
because it provides a new context
that'll fit just about anything that
the tides of the times wash up 
on the gut infested shore and
decline to wash back out again.
Grab a quick nap approaching 
extinction out of a great gray 
steel faced shutter to awake with
the time almost entirely gone, 
sliced into slivers thinner than 
seconds and served between 
draughts of black brew from a
cornucopia connected to the 
sludge at the floor of the sea
where Monkey Face sinks to 
shine between ambiguities. 
No chance to enclose anything 
in the shaft of an oversize arrow 
except for this ridiculous rose 
carved from a ruby as large as 
a fist, odorless and semi-eternal, 
while upon the strongbox the 
new Queen of Hearts stares 
straight ahead at the horizon, 
remembering when it stretched 
forever, perfectly straight and 
endlessly distant, where ships 
fell off the edge of the world.
Attempts to rephrase the
old equations for balance 
and proportion dissolve like 
slugs in salt for reasons 
no one cares to consider.
That would be looking back 
and we know better, how it 
tends to devour whatever 
small personal space remains; 
how the Trope of Eternity 
surfaces at odd junctures
to bathe in the soup without 
so much as phoning ahead,
tells you it was at your own
invitation and proves it.
Whoever said life is a bowl
of fruit of any kind never
understood the intricacies 
of angling for a fish as big 
as New Jersey without bait.
Someone else has to care 
as much for your unspoken 
promise as you do if hope 
is to be regulated in any 
deeply satisfying way-- 
things don't tend to work 
like that so you learn to
cling to the diminishing
number of artifacts that
testify to the truth that 
you stumbled on this without
planning or wanting it,
found it ambiguous and
tried to make the best of it.
The facts, if there are any, 
will be reassessed at each 
change of context; the score 
is never exactly tallied and
consequently never settled.
I say we or it is the wind who speaks 
with loose lips to a mango moon 
spilling fermented fragrance over 
the woman with amber eyes 
gazing into a sine wave generator
saying: "Go on and hypnotize me. 
Prove to me there is such a thing. 
"Bend me to your will if you can. 
Make me demand that you 
lay down your life for me. 
Make me believe. Without details. 
Above all do not trouble me with details!"
Permanence is in such short 
supply one understandably 
wonders what today looks like 
twenty five years down the line or
if the flies get to the rye before
the frost or whether east of the
sun logically becomes west of 
the moon in curvaceous space 
without the necessity for doing 
much more than hanging in there
long enough for it to come around 
in its own good time, sweet and 
shimmering as love wearing a long 
blue cloud in a sweet and spotless sky.
Mama said there'd be days 
like this but never how many, 
how long and how emphatic.
Which about covers it except 
to stress that should the thing 
that wants saying not be said 
in a breath, so that it steps forth 
and stays said, accepting the 
possibility of being irrevocably wrong, 
it might just as well never be said at all.