Sunday, October 29, 2006

Friday, July 07, 2006

Wonderful History

I watch history forever. I calm it. I pursue it.
I am an envelope for historical chance
and the exceptions mirror the rules so help me.

Clean the air not the words of long time ago
make it an umbrella that catches that rigor
the unkempt wind and the broken irregular
stampede of Bison that in its organization
has the hold on dust, and the kicking up heels
and the rest of the dirt that history has broken
down with out any memory, none. No one's left
to keep track of the variations and exceptions --
history drifts with a plain song and dark eye

I cannot find my hands in this quarrel.
The rules of the dance are not an orderly wave.
I am not the best anchor for truth in this masque.
I can unroll events and breech them out of sequence.
I destroy time in that dark, very dangerous,
unpredictable lesson. I do not mark down error.
Do you feel that death is calling from outside
the margin? Do you expect the real world or some
fabrication, some virtual dirge, and then the music
in largo, as a dangerous dance becomes deadly.

How can I measure life in this orderly way when
what I imagine has no center, no rigor, nothing
but the colors shifting in water color puddles
clouds on the white sky are green then golden,
nothing predicts what splendor revises. I am fool
you know as I trample the paths to shape another
vision, one without my death, an end to my line
and when I count forward I find the broken shells
where I never lived and truth becomes a lie.

No one is sacred today. No energy for cleanliness
or the transmission of pain by steps or slaps or
sex on the margin of alive. I am so alive. I am fire
on the inside of the mouth where the tremble, twitch
and the twanger settle in place where we arrange
one masterpiece of great dimension, a passion
for April to welcome daffodils and azaleas --
the fragrance of pollen and insects reaches
down and backward to the dirty, unkempt sky
with a caress like no disorder before or after.
We are the revolution in the spirit, and desire
is permitted in the grass, beach and waves.
We are assembled as spirit and skin,
eyes and lips, where the line of one meets the other
waiting oh circus, beloved clown for that luscious kiss --
that astounding festival where we walked on the moon.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Jack’s Mountain Road

Fairfield, Pennsylvania

I walk the sundown Jack’s Road
to a covered bridgewhere the beasts pass

In circles ever-shorter
Birds in scarlet clouds
flame the water

At the place
where mountains cross
the glow starts
purple brush strokes
cloth covered sundown
So much lightI cannot watch it all.
Each noisy birdhears night close.

Two hundred feet from the bridge
I pick honeysuckle;
my shirt is white,I am huge

Shall I slip into its throat—count the
wooded rings?

Do I run?

A high wire artistpumping my armsup and down
along the yellow line.

Inside the bridge
I heard the dream
of the bridge sleeping
the mask slid off its wrinkled skin.

I am outside,
remembering my eyes as they hunt for my face;
car lights reflect off inside wood.

Cross-legged I sat in the center of the tunnel
listening to fragments of my tongue—
how it was when the wood rained,
and the night broke out into hail—
its secrets writ in bold flat letters

You are demon and saint;
no one will laugh
here are the keys to the brook.
Let it flow each night
when the bed shakes
and you are sleepy.

I am extinguished!
The cows bellow, I pass home.
The water will not stop
though I entered and cursed it.

Inside the bridge I write until the sky is black --
lights from the cars silhouette each word
until I hide all the figures with my cupped hands.

In these last years
when the sun cracked brown
and the motion you felt
when the earth shook
was a worm
crawling inside your coffin?

The sunset is colder,
yellows more fragile—
The Bridge has risen three times,
three layers of sweat,
faces that sleep in the bridge are not forgotten.

5.The sun has finished,
haven’t you heard its whimpers?

Its motor and secrets locked,
the bridge just stands there
I am at the beginning
the sunset is missing
that bridge that I follow is perfect,
no one watches
while I sleep on its roof

Above the moon is half-cold --
damp purple has left Jack’s Mountain.
The bridge, a long shadow even by car lights.
My image a long second behind:
silver fish on the underbellies of power lines

I have no lips;
no cleft chin;
my birth just happened.

In Jack’s place
I walk one step
a year backward.

Before the bridge
I dreamt of the bridge as it was—
Its young cut ancient rocks
400 million years past,
there was a warm sea,
brachiopods, trilobites

The geotectonics of mountains
are more than a sunset.
The creek within
fat from three days of rain
reaches up the stepped stones.
Each rock face bent
by the warp of the crust.

God, she moves beautifully
400 million years
or ten billion reduced to dust,
helium compressed—
its memorylike mine
is yesterday or last year.

My dream contracts
like an aging star.
Car lights stop all motion,
my outline pulls inside my belly.
My face is that dense neutron star
(Ten-thousand light years distant)
A remnant, a fabricated bridge,
my self made of its rays.

My Grandfather's Crocus

"Spring is the rebellion of the
crocus wrestling with the ground;
the forsythia and the child sweat
and the earth bangs a drum"

Terra unlocks life with power dragged
from the roots of floral ascent; we pass
any street, none ours, and we fail to notice
that powerful bloom ascend to propagate itself
with slight glare on its brief green leaves.

"It is a mighty fortress of our God"

We sing that Spring when renewal crumbles rocks,
frozen dirt and the most fragile of stems bend
the ground, wrestling, never standing back, forced
towards salvation; -- one isolated purple flower
lives just weeks, before it falls down
to the garden at the abyss, vital again as our sun
stores collected light in tubers; so much armor, so
calm when we touch that bulb, carefully splitting it,
so it will grow stronger, more resolute, even more
ferocious than mankind. Imagine if we had that power,
resisting frost, not dividing, and on those frozen nights,
then we could face silence as we fear eternity.

Do not whisper the word death in our presence.

Art by Sean Farragher

Friday, June 30, 2006


One winter
my wife and I
built a snowman
of ice and string.

The melting snow
bled into the Hudson;
the roots of thin
steel beasts watched us
from their berth.

The haze in a yellow arc
shivered with glass eyes—
the red wail of sirens
bit into our clasped hands.

That night in our bed
her fingers with their
many silvered rings
sought my hair;
then my tongue
grew into her bristle,
into slipping teeth.

Our baby's hand
reached through the womb,
and that winter ended.

Five years after,
I write this letter
to her old voice
in my skin.

I tie her plaid scarf
to my wrist,
I watch smoke
spring between red/blue gables.
That Hudson,
that old oak shakes
the hung dead from arms and canyons
of snow belting ice in my hair.

I remember black stones
in the Snowman's face;
a scarf and a crooked hat
we set between the twigs.

We hugged snow in our shirts,
wrestled with our wet skin until
the ice kiss rubbed us
to a silent stare,
as blood blew my tongue
to her blood;
our hair shone in crisp pentangles,
cut jewels glistened in skin.

I remember those
dry hands that leapt out
from my hair.

I crawl to the Hudson,
to stare at ice sheets,
and I play with the photo
of her face, that haunts my wall.

In my window
a woodsman
bangs his shovel
hard into ice
to cut steps home,
to pack the snow
into ruts for boots
and sleighs,
to gray and melt
with cinders and mud—
then to drift
to that Hudson.

At my desk,
I search inside the wooden box
where I keep silk and string;
pearl buttons from the Snowman's coat.

I remember
the holes her red boots cut
in clean snow.

I speak for
an ancient snow beast
I can no longer
rub into magic.

One winter
my wife and I
built a snowman
of ice and string,
from patches of talk
and often lies.


Art By Sean Farragher