poems

Proem

 

You stepped into a dream this time

from which angels cannot nudge you back,

in this one they have backsides,

in this one they get kicked around.

You’ve slipped right through their awkward wings,

without a jerk or stutterstep,

junkball to the musclemen.

You travel smooth in guided strides

by iron hand in velvet glove.

What you see is furniture,

images you leave behind,

traces of the walls brought down

because you’re walking through them,

into my shifty house, abstract,

but coursing with

the bloodstream of the soul.

 

Cherublike mosquitoes give warnings to the ear,

snake in snake’s mouth rolling down the hall,

the house is itch and fidget –

a poem of a cat steps in a flowerpot,

the humming of the closer planets

pedals from a coffeepot.

In the oval mirror your image is

arriving late.

It will be clear

once it gets here.

 

You may wish to haul the furniture around,

put crickets in the spigots,

vedas on the tickets,

but if you planned to tiptoe through,

and breathe easy in the back,

news for you:

the outside is the inside too.

 

Dodecaphonic facts of life won’t get you far

in this one dream.

The transit time is up to you, but

the points are shot from guns.

That hirsute cherub is my face,

so is the mirror,

and the cat-tail tip

disappearing round the

corner.

 
Four little sonnets

 

I.

The poem of the earth is never still, but

It annoys the mind with its monogamy:

The grasses’ ratchets rasping, in their own beds every night,

Lovers in a crowd, chirruping words of love.

 

The poem of the mind is never still, but

It fixes the earth with its steady gaze,

And returning with the radiant earth, gazes at itself,

And in this exponential brightness, gazes at its voice.

 

Who writes or hears them, if they never rest,

Delighting in the loud immensity,

Or mirrors, ever wider, gazing at each other?

 

Coming back from school one day, I surprised them.

It was the lovely pythoness reclining

With the skinny giant in the sleepy dirt.

 

II. Respect

Look for yourself. Eyes from the underbrush

Blink at the shimmering early spring meadow.

The whole forest chorus in a thousand gleaming puddles shouts,

“Sly fox, come on out! We see you better than you see us.”

 

Or, when Mesmer holds his mirrors to the well-deep eyes of demoiselles

In darkened velveteen saloons -- like sunlight in a placid pond,

The images of trees and clouds, the mirror’s face does not dissolve

Or fade – though eyes, waters in a well, go bad.

 

Now you may say, whatever has eyes can see,

But only we shrink with anxious fear

Until we have blindness in sight.

 

But as for myself, I say: whoever made man made right,

Not as tall as a tree, or as small as a bee,

And wherever he gazes, gazes face back.

 

III. On reading Stevens in Bocskai út

 

A golden man with a silver hat in a golden boat on a golden stream,

Angling in the fluent gold. Overhead the sycamores

Folious with gold. Underneath suspicious sturgeon

Eyes the fly, but only sees a rainbow of intensities.

 

From my window, overhead, the city’s moon clicks signal red.

A multitude of anxious sleepers slip into their rumbling dreams.

Gold rococo portals rattle – lovers in the vestibule.

Something haunts the crowd. A woman haunts me, too.

 

The book says rest and roll, control your days,

Sit back among the affable waves of meditation

Lapping at the streets. For the days you’ll have with you

Always, like the poor, like the cunning streams,

And the circuits of your heavy dreams, honey on the coals,

The hues you wish to see, your rainbows of anxiety.

 

 

IV. Lytle Street (for Peggy Enrich)

 

Wait! There’s still some lesson

            To be learned by looking out,

Watching the last gratuitous fit

            Of those Norway spruces before they are

Utterly swallowed up by snow –

            So I watch myself on watch,

Up to my knees, freezing till dawn,

            The life of a white field.

 

A few cars on the street, I won’t exclude them,

            Asleep in their leveling weight.

A light from a kitchen: honey in the snow.

            Down the street latecomers burst into view.

These then are the stars of the earth,

            The steadfast, significant ones.

 

Let the images snow, the verbs and stars,

            Let concepts carouse and come down!

I live and breathe in that lightweight world

            Which even in this morning stillness

Is festive like atoms in the void,

            Persuasive as Ulysses’ words.

 

But… how can I explain? I’m covered with snow.

            Great Demiurge! Buried by air!

While you, still glowing with coffee and sleep,

            Consider the eyes you must face today.

Nothing is rich on the human earth

            But the stars who see day by day.

 
Hopewell Songs

 

  1. Hsü (Waiting/Nourishment) (for Michael Bushnell)

 

After twenty-one rainless days
            The clouds drenched the hills in the night.
This morning the sunlight shines in the high blue sky
            And drops in the sparkling dirt, working up the winds –
Lords, what gusts! – roaring through the sycamore leaves
            And muting the grackles’ racket. In the house,
Beethoven stutters from Michael’s fingers.
            A stutter. He backtracks. It rings again.
David and John in the far grove chainsaw their cord wood fuel –
            A dragon babe squalls for her mother’s dugs.
Fat green sweet corn carouses in the breeze,
            And I sit under a cherry tree, above a rug of cherry pulp,
Under blue sky, in new sonata,
            But not as it was written – stutter, backtrack,
Ringing out again, creation still unfinished.
 
  2. Hsieh (Deliverance)
Late that day,
When the storm had dissolved
Three weeks of drought and drenched the hills,
The fields of eight-foot corn were blue,
Red mist passed through the terraced ridges,
The sky in patches, magenta and steel gray,
And fireflies drifted like green signal buoys
Untethered from the workaday earth.
Come on, Dizzy Cat! Out of the wet grass!
Slap your six-toed paws on the muddy path!
Let’s go home and towel down and have dinner.
They’ll be happy tonight in the city –
The clouds will deliver.
  3. Valley Winds
 
I’m told by second mind they’re not to be compared,
            The valley winds.
                        Each comes in its turn.
     1) The wind is hard as rock
      That breaks the tide,
         But rock and ego are worn down.
​     2) The wind is , the city-grid,
​Succulent thirty-foot poster
​Of tits and jean-jacked buns
​And pouting lips, and money numbers
​On receipt. You invented it.
​In the deep sea, no winds stir.
     3) The wind presages spinning wheels of wings, and
​In them faces. Countless is their number.
​Cool they are now, but soon they’ll burn
​Along the paths that lead to suns
​That are not stars,
​Just as those mountains aren’t the earth.
​    4) The wind blows through my eyes,
Rattling the spruce cones there.
Eyes beam out and tangle up,
And knot the breeze.
But here they sit together, on a hill,
Eyes and breeze,
Gazing full of love,
Their backs to their infinities.
      
   4. Tripping Again on MDMA, Love’s Amphetamine, Under the Waxing Moon
Didn’t the Master of Orange warn you enough,
Inscrutable soul, against filling yourself with easy vision?
​Cheap magic goes straight to cheap wisdom, and         
Cheap wisdom goes straight to cheap heart.
​Well, what has the Master said that he didn’t take back somewhere,
            Like those yellow cut flowers that say “I nourish you” by day,
​Then take the air from your mouth in the night.
            At night I’ll trust in the Moon, changeable and cold though she be.
​Dry and ruler of humors, closest to us of the outer gods,
            She holds us much better than she holds the sun.
​The sun is happy to be sober. So there you are. At night,          
I trip out, I wear black, and walk up the path with my black cat.
 
     
5. A Visit Home
 
Oh what a night!
            Mosquitoes suck me dry, and I sit
On an oak stump in half lotus,
​While my mother cooks chops in the kitchen.
​The scent of them fills the nearly still air.
            A dense chord of leaves, rustle of a June night,
​Flat rumbling from the parkway down below the woods.
Our neighbors’ houses are white in the moonlike streetlamps’ light,
​And perforating the summer night
            Fireflies, and the stars. 
         
 
6. The Clouds Come from the South
What a change! Today, the clouds
            Come from the south, over the steaming ridges.
This is brand new weather. They fly so low
            The sparrowhawks seem to duck to the treetops.
In one breath, the Great Mother makes her
            Armada, along with the wind that drives it,
The lazy keels hanging down, gliding
            Toward their shores, the higher ridges.
 
7. Ta Yu (Possession in Great Measure)
I have nothing to say these days.
Heaven fills the sun and the clouds.
And the words that do come, drift
through our conversations like the mist
In the cedars.
No breezes fly today. The still West extends
From the distant ridges, and my stillness
Extends from my perch on this fence.
Swallows carouse awhile, then fly to their nests.
No breezes tip their balance.
No breeze. Balance.
 
This moment
Forty seven years in this moment, the look
Most fully focused fixed
What my eyes never could see straight.
 
Everything rested in its place,
Without desire or stress,
Voluptuous shadows with lives of equal value.
The stoned articles I had drenched with life,
Stories I told as categories,
Once intimated, sovereign in their own right now.
I’ve tried to live as sharp as that,
Keeping my eyes pried open,
Cleaning my windows using death for a rag.
 
I was a cat, cool and aware,
Who ambled on the alien streets,
poised without expectation.
 
But no life is as sharp as that.
Gravity gives the cat no wings.
Words come out and come to rest.
Another City

 

I know another city, more solitary and composed,
Where the sky is far above where birds can fly,
Whose buildings wear a far more human trace than ours, but
Whose air cannot be breathed, whose lights cannot be faced.
 
I’ve drifted through its streets, eyes level with the ground,
I’ve moved around its pools and parks, up steps, and past its clocks,
From its avenues’ crowded trees I’ve heard its birds’ antiphonies,
While from its houses drummed the box sonatas of the earth.
 
They weren’t words or prosody, though that’s what I must write.
Painters painted shutters green, green-blue waters painted them.
An insect world burst into life when open doors invited them.
It was a city, but a sea as well, and every movement was a wave.
 
The distant things that are so strange among us here,
And willfully confused, move there to a familiar rhythm.
A bee assumed my hand, then bloom, then cloud.
From their gestures in the flow I recognized my own.
 
But, let me say, though great, it isn’t paradise,
Its solitude, immense, is plain to see.
But if this city, this being human, is our only worth,
It’s there we see with our own eyes what we must measure with.
Underground

 

Deep underground, at Strasbourg-St. Denis,
The crowd awaiting peacocks dims,
But real walls do shine.
 
From the tiles your almond eyes,
Heavy like a house,
Pick me from the jocose dust,
 
So sweeping by, the sweeper grins,
Pointing to his pile of wings,
And winks his understanding –
 
Meanwhile, bathers in the stream,
Promiscuous as people in the light,
Dance down the catacombs,
 
Jigging on the gleaming rails,
Hand in hand,
HÉ! EVOÉ! ATTENTION AU PAN!
 
In these dreams
I almost touch the people with their hands
As if our differences were undiscovered.
 
Their thoughts run underground
Like the intermittent window-frames,
Aromatic with infant sparks,
 
Where even the foul clochard must work,
Ferrying the mob from quay to quay,
All equal in his sizzling spit. –
 
In a tunnel I awake each night
Frictious, my hair in sparks,
And I’m afraid you won’t be close at hand,
 
Wrapped in the cool and sleeping shadows,
Your breath as calm and quiet
As the sleeping trains,
 
Your hair across your mouth,
Your own limbs in the wind,
To the calyx of your breath.
 
I dreamed you dreamed this in your life:
The moon in a cool pond,
Amused fishes hushed beneath.
The Cool Blades

 

In all their seeming harmless flatness
words come dangerously close
to slicing us up.
As with schizos, each attempt at self-protection is shaky
and uncertain.
Yesterday the maple was suffused with gold,
inclining slightly to saxophones.
Today it can't shudder off its stark black edge.
The photograph struggles with its negative still.
 
In the realm of abstractions
the circle is serene, but split.
Solitude amassed in phi (∅), the empty set;
twin Janus hemispheres disregard each other,
a brittle little tao that cracks like an egg.
You gossip about yourself at the backyard fence,
clanking out your double-talk,
like Paradox naming names.
 
And then, there is the night
that recoils from the edges of light --
And the lies we tell each other
in uninterrupted moments only.
And then the truth of day --
the news comes on, enlightenment.
To remember the lies we turn away
to promises made to future lives
not to forget the pain,
oaths of anxiety kept better than curses,
festive as locusts in the grain.
 
A language of my own, these troubled times.
But as good as anyone's, my artful dodge.
I'll give you good advice, the simplest kind:
watch yourself writ terribly small,
but stronger than the blades of grass,
like beetles clambering in the mowed-through thatch,
inheriting the earth.

Little wind

 

Here comes the little wind

That wiped out the honest Socrates

And raised the shifty one back up,

 

The one who, coming down the street,

Upends the lonely secretary’s skirt,

And whispers on her silky leg

Directly to the trouble spot,

Before her fingers work it out,

 

Then by the roadside

Who sets free the dazed policeman’s ticket book,

So leaves and carbon leaves can sweep the street on

benevolent wings,

 

who at the bus stop

stirs the trash and poison gas

across the honest burghers’ faces

that turn together like weathercocks

and wait as only they can wait

for solider, upstanding days,

 

who through the heaps of chattering leaves,

and from the still-green trees,

and in the rust,

just as the alto plays the changes

little wind

plays the same:

“up, end!

“be little, wings!

Let it rain, let it rain!”

White Hot

 

The page is hot.

But you and I will coax some cool from it.

 

Begin with the sun –

No, begin with the moon,

The moon’s sweet Earth dawn,

The blue sphere gliding between two desolations,

Flooding the tiny white horizon of tranquility,

And swimming in the fathomless dry black sea –

 

Now take the sun,

that frizzled man,

yellow, but not mellow with his wheels,

those indifferents and sycophants, recluses on tethers,

but curious about the moderate one,

oasis in the vacuous sands,

he peers into it,

up and down, day after day,

 

Today, for instance,

squinting through the spaces of the maple leaves’ umbrella

at the gardener dozing in his hammock,

whose cat rocks with him in the breeze,

through fragrances of new mown grass and pruned back hedges,

the outskirts of the butterfly’s float.

A swallowtail swims into light –

 

a hot sun spies it,

as on the sleeper’s lap

the cat’s eyes, nonchalant,

eclipse.

Bear Mountain (for Stephen Sandy)

 

The poet has sold his old home

For cash, which is strange,

Both for the thing lost and the thing gained.

 

The centennial chests and disassembled

Beds are arranged in the grass.

The house has been strangely turned inside out.

 

The land has also been sold,

And now smacks of privilege.

It is jealous of control, I know it is jealous,

 

Though they keep saying that menace is human,

And I keep saying that angels can murder,

And can be appointed to murder,

 

And when they take bodies to act

They protect their transparence

In hardness: barks and stones.

 

“You even come to love granite and blight,”

I imagine his apology

To the broker.

 

The poet is an obedient man.

He is not afraid of telephones

And refrigerators,

 

Or of driving to Bear Mountain

In a Volkswagen. But he doesn’t divide

Angels from stones.

 

So he may be safe,

Though he has driven them out of his home.

The Fences (for János Pilinszky)

 

The void is infinite.

Both of us have seen it.

 

Yours in black.

Mine is violet.

 

You’re afraid of the dark stars,

The nimble ones,

The undulating ins and outs

Of the wormhole, spacetime.

 

I’m afraid of the light,

The blind speck world.

Dumb bellows and

Gigantic letters.

 

We stood there.

Maybe we’re standing still,

 

You in your time,

Me in mine.

 

Many others at the fences.

Silent poets

 

Silence is a red macaw that

Deigns to preen its master’s lashes --

Proud in the rebuff.

 

Silence flies the capsule,

Third joint of the middle finger,

Like the mudra says.

 

Silence is the keyhole

Among the ivories nonchalant,

“non serviam, you dig?”

 

All of Gotham hears the poet.

Busses’ doors accordion.

Did it stutter or did it didn’t?

 

Silence knows its sister,

Knows its father,

Knows it mother,

Knows two languages.

 

Silence grows like summer grass,

Holds fast to its lover,

Delighting in her fingerprints.

 

Silence wrote the invitation,

Declaims it on the radio,

Non serviam, it says.

Last Days

 

The empire state will set like the sun.

The sun puffs now, but it will set.

A smile will linger like a Cheshire Cat,

But Concupiscent Cat will be done in.

 

The meadows, the airwaves, the god with a flute,

Mantua, Attica, saloon and the woods,

Will creep to the house and abscond with the goods,

Disappear, reappear, go blank, and reboot.

 

And desperadoes with their ragged fans,

Silenus in the barrens, the Cant, the Flash,

Desdichadoes of the underhand

By Juice – like Semele – will be zapped to ash.

 

The light in your hair will jabber, apprised.

The light of the mole will spring from the dirt.

The bee that lips your tongue will feint and flirt,

And then stagger back, all its eyes amazed.

 

And the bee-wolf that lies in wait by the rose

To chase the hive back from the bower,

As changeless honey turns sharp and sour,

Will cash it all in – it knows it knows.

 

I’m closing up shop against my will,

Out of the city and into the clear.

He lies who says “we’ll meet on a green hill,”

But lies too will twist and disappear.

 

The light in your hair will burst into rain,

But the grass, in the end, will protect your face.

You won’t pull a subway, you’ll pull a train.

Shakti, you’ll be a girl again.

Tell Me (for George Pitts)

 

I.

Don’t believe a word they say.

The words of the world (which are the world)

Are not transparent.

 

Once, the birds sang less timidly

On the weekends, and

The cars roared down the street

More joyfully –

But all that,

And the small lunges of the clover,

How the gardener parked his mower

In the afternoon

To make the most of his small recollections,

How the climacteric bloomed into a heady flower,

Is overwith,

Anyway.

 

Now and then

Some pre-apple innocence

Astonishes someone,

Not like the summer sun

Refusing to leave,

But like the lightning of a gathering storm,

Severe and disproportionate reprisal

For things not yet haywire,

Someone sees the car coming down the street,

At first distant enough to be

Just somewhere,

But picking up speed running

straight at him,

Trashing future

And possibility until

The almost split-second of the

Truly real, staged and lit as if

the movie had rampaged berserk

off the screen and into the audience,

he narrowly escapes to the opposite curb.

Whew! That was close!

Let’s forget it.

 

When the words do come

They come like a cool stream,

And we crawl on the surface,

Natural swimmers we are,

While the depths’ repose,

When we let it be,

Holds us up intact.

When the poet’s face comes up

For breath, the chirring air will fill it

Like it fills itself.

 

Some never get tired.

But since even they must be aware

Despite the coolness

And indifference of the stream,

Most climb out.

Still dripping, they escort

Each other away from the banks

With waves and signs,

Their laughing voices fade

Into the chattering din,

One straggler always trotting

Up the path,

His hair disheveled

And shirt badly buttoned,

While behind him the words

Can’t break their unattaining rhythm,

And the crowd on the beach,

Who should know something about water,

Calls them tears.

 

II.

So where are the busy people?

“There is something in the prose, the abstraction I think,

That begins to make us feel uneasy – “

Characters loiter on the page --

Like a sparrow’s nervous throat

They waver visibly in the field,

A sly amusement seems to grip them

From the outside,

I feel it grip them

Like pieces

In an anxious collection.

 

Still,

Doesn’t it have to be abstract

If it’s to resist at all?

And if it’s not resistance

It disperses like the sand,

And the leaves,

And the mallards that just now flew off in fear

From the breathless landscape

I drew in a dream.

Resistance is the plot we share with gods,

The bone of contention.

For patience, too, of course, there are

Abstract precedents:

Half-moon in the nighttime sky,

Election Day,

Adonics, alcaics.

And while the world protects them,

They filter down to the rest of us –

 

The precise anthropological term

Escapes me,

But I have an intuition

Of how a house protects its dwellers,

And how a plot protects its readers,

From dispersion.

Outside, once again,

The true is always true:

In the grasses’ suspirations,

In their world-surpassing axes,

In the green they wear on their shanks

Like a flag.

 

Stupendous clouds

impede the sun,

monomaniac daubers

putter at the pane,

a Lazarus spider herks and jerks her way

through a wet thawed log.

Like Japanese beetles

In a storm-drenched rose,

We flick at the englobing drops.

We all survive so ungratefully,

We and those things, we stick in the gold dewdrop,

Quivering in its stupid splendor.

 

Let me try to be more precise.

In its unextraordinary cool,

The cool autumn on its way,

Gathering you back to your flickering self

Like leaves dried up in heaps of aspiration,

Brittle like the stars,

I wish I had fledged wings and shot away

When the ordinary light undid the meadow,

Even if the flight were fear.

I wish I had been spoken to.

I wish that I had seen what must be seen

Before it disappeared into its

Disgruntled articulation.

István to Istár

 

I heard the news when someone made a point of your flirtations,

How you appeared, how the summer night came down,

Too palpable not to have been staged or interfered with.

I was writing at the time about how crowds converge in busses,

Homeboys at the curb, how blossoms jam the branch,

How three laughing men prod the dusty herd along,

Long steps ahead of the thin shadow line.

 

So what is it about this afternoon, this quiet violence

That rings through us now

Like a tree’s age rings,

Or the eyes’ rings of ingrained asseveration,

Like the gong’s rings of waking vibration

That drifts out like bees

For the ready honey?

 

I’m pretty sure it wasn’t about me,

Who’d look to me, stutterer, eyes squeezed tight,

For emotional outlets on such a scale?

I’m prose, my goddess.

I know it was because I happened to be by and saw it all,

Me, little djinn, salaaming fragile pot.

It was you standing barefoot on the porch,

Leaning against the rail,

When the breeze ruffled out your dress,

And sunlight glared from your hair and eyes

As from the cars parked in the lot,

And every man who passed you by was stunned

By momentary fire.

 

Everywhere the same mistake I see.

Goddess, you give up too much

To spread stories about admirable women.

We go to them like wasps you guide to the peach,

We all want its sweet exhalation, the dewdrop, the gold,

But soon we surprise the pit,

Even more, perhaps, surprised by it.

Like that we cruise into a goddess’ life

By accident, amazed.

 

Once, though, admit it, I was coils around you.

Didn’t I change your ways?

On Tuesday May, the avenues were strafed by light

And passersby, awestruck, said -- no, they

Commended me – “she never was so beautiful,

She never was so incorrect, or wore her dress

So tight. Blasé Isis never was so bright.”

And when I pressed my lips to yours,

What a fine indentation did remain on that

Glistering Sybilline mouth of yours, the atoms of my lips

On the atoms of your rose.

 

Abruptly the leaf burns up and flies.

Let it fly, let it. But I can talk.

There – I’ve said it.

Archimedean Songs

 

1.

Silence in the four corners.

You hide beneath the blankets,

peering out.

 

It’s silent inside -- no wings flap.

You put your heavy angel-net down,

and listen at the window.

 

Well... there’s uproar outdoors!

The noon sun drums on the lumbering petals,

A buckeye slurps the juice.

 

It’s silent upstairs.

Of yore stepped your subjects on stairs

up and down: Seraphim Cataracts,

 

but there’s no stepping now.

What's left behind?

crowds of hares race down the corridor.

 

 

2.

Spring is here

the saws are grinning

young green leaves zigzag away

ivy tendrils intertwine

back in gear

the saws are laughing

 

and they do sing

such wondrous things,

like Hebrew harps they sing:

 

voices in the empty streets,

eyes are being watched,

tears of rage in tombstone eyes,

shards of rage in junkies' hides,

sting of sweat in golden rings,

moths of fear in vested suits,

incendiary wheels on legal tender,

pounds of splinters in our

great garden of civility.

 

3.

Soon the summer will sizzle,

rioting on after midnight.

"Solid citizen may not slumber!

"No one may have dreams tonight!

"Babylon is up for grabs!"

 

Crickets crowd the noonday sun,

feet talk back to the street,

the sun is a slob,

no one will comb him,

your finger-smeared glass slams

bang on the table,

a dwarf star guffaws.

 

4.

My friends, we live in strange times.

In the old days the body protected itself

against the alien cells --

now the cells fall back on themselves

and it’s the body that is alien.

The body is dry,

its brain makes sparks

that brighten the streets

with factitious light,

hurrying us home

to dream up the night,

water for thirsty people,

while poets turn, and turn,

and turn the phrase,

their words are caves,

traces of traces of rays.

 

5.

The gardener stood on the portico.

The rose had congealed with azaleas,

Peace had congealed on his sweaty face.

 

So that the rose should not melt away,

So that the leaves should not melt in fire,

The gardener planted our garden on

precipices and arroyo walls.

 

Azaleas burn through the full green leaves,

a fire in place, cool to the touch,

ideal solution in the shade of trees.

 

So that the branch of Nothingness might be pruned away

The suffering past passes on with the time

but is not exhausted in time.

                                                                       

6.  Archimedes’ Point

 

Of two fevers

one that burns sudden and candent and fast

and one that burns cool and unassuageable

the cool one burns in me

a long fuse from my mind to my fingertips

my vision its long detonation.

 

I have heard of love for the cold sweat

I have heard that steel lauds ice

and I have heard of unaccountable races

overrunning the earth with gifts of fire

 

but I only see what my body sees

cool Archimedes and slow to melt

who freezes the eyes looking into me

capturing stars for a frozen sea.

that sun

 

that sun

they say shines

equally on rich and poor

is too strong and dry for me.

I watch it

cross the sky

until it sets

down the street

across the river.

Then I turn to the

cool suns: e.g.,

Grapefruit – Potentate of Juices,

sliced straight in hemispheres,

bursting to the spoon,

and sunhaired women,

radiant in the night,

cornsilk that a

blooded man must spoon

juices from,

and overhead:

the lotus of a thousand petals --

underneath:

a planet of a thousand metals,

filling the heart with honey light,

filling the fish

whose gills drink light.

Oh, Susanna

 

Your last batch of half-assed suitors, Susanna,

Were trying to eat your sweet milk with a fork.

Why were they content just to lap at the traces

Of rich drops they never let get to their lips?

 

What were those tight fools thinking about

When they felt themselves coming home to you?

Had their cats slipped out of the bag,

Or had they found better uses for juices?

 

I drank with my lips, I lapped like a cat,

I wasn’t afraid to tip your cup up

In our long lovely feasts of the true food of love

When even my spoon had its proper allure.

 

The body furnishes unsuspected nourishment,

This I found, when I lived in your house,

And live to this moment on what you provided:

Pap for the child, juice for the lover,

And secretions for all our creations.

El Zorro

 

Save your breath, my sweet,

For when Capital comes down,

And the bloodhounds of the State go stone nose blind,

Let not only blossoms breathe.

Then you’ll need reciprocal wind.

 

Long time, long time, I do not doubt,

We’ll shit bricks for the pyramids,

And when we do sit with the lion,

At last in cool of ground and mind,

Both cool and lion will be changed.

 

Till then we suffer rule of law,

And talk with the law instead of the earth.

I don’t go praising currents of space

Just because they give me bricks.

I sing two demons: Zig and Zag.

 

El Zorro, black fox, freed the chicks.

Can you believe, jaws did not bite?

And when words came, he freed them, too --

His last advice: “you do not need to live like this,

‘cause where you are, there you are not.”

Chi’en (Modesty)

 

I asked the book:

Can a drifting man reach home?

The book said: Modesty.

Even if he’s lying in the light,

The true man reaches home.