Smaller than a shut nut in its Candy can skin, The silken icecube melts, The compact cricket swells to distant hymns, And the tough grass suffers into seed. (It is a bantam birth.) Many of the big things in this world Can be described as Small. The delicate ballet of Mountains bowing low As bathtub waves between The popsickle peaks Is One example, But there are many others. Many many; ask the brilliant Corn-kernel sun, and he Will tell you. I myself will tell you and tell you Until finally, balled like a baby, I diminish into happiness.
Organized neatly between the divisive particles of air near the old scratched moss of some ending season grey beneath green as anxious among concrete park benches it spreads, the air, blue in imitation of the sloshing fountain water, the water not an expression of thought but rather in its deepening stance a mirror for angry clouds cherry-red with the long brittle atoms of a slashing sun, a few rough trees deport their skinny limbs into the jealous sky, naked to speak to us with their completely unhinging buds
'She who hesitates is lost," she declared.But what is there to lose?Only innocence in the small pale and not completely impartial turn and plod of her delicately dancing feet.Only notice the impartial fervor of that tilting lily-head against whose stone we (approximately may measure ourselves. Our faults lie open and are described in an amazing minutiae by those thin dim cracks between the feathered petals.They only serve to emphasize the fact with their apparently indifferent oblivious blooming
Creative as the curl of candles, When they burn, the going deeper Of winter shrews or summer friends Asleep and burrowing out their Blankets.That calmest of thinking trees, The dream, divides and redivides its sunken Cells; placenta tentacles lie down To the birth of buried baby Shrews, hatched in dreaming imagination; And the dreaming sleepers scuttle, crab- Like on their hands, lid-full eyes Dull as old spoons.Disordered bits Of life rise to fill their empty Minds as grey and pearl as parachutes.Star- Nosed moles furrow through their drowsy sight, And crab-like on their hands they dig And dig between the different darks Of night and sleep.Rooting for The peace of meals kept deep in dirt. Oh, turn the naked number down! the failing Sleepers cry --- flustered fingers still Half-dragging through the sheets.... And the red sled, snaky arm without fingers Ferries its bald insanities back To the cluttered basement of old dreams.Yet, Nothing sinks but clatters when it lands. And the long awaiting eyes, cool as a moist Mole's nose, wake at last and eat the day.
A Bar of Ivory Soap
Sitting Near the Faucet
Just manufactured.Its original skin has been thrown away.It is no
Longer needed, the pure self has emerged, Virginal and white.White
white white!Expansive plantations of snow or one dimensional
lilies.The souls of St. Francis of Assisi and Thomas a Beckett look
something like this, I have been told, Precise in its new rims it is
the magic castle from a distant story.In the high dark window there
is a tiny, elegant woman waving and waving.
I have thought of heaven, often, And of hell, Everyone is hurrying to get there, To be in the big rooms with the wide floors, And the carpeting up to your armpits, And the smooth marble corridors As empty as thought. There are no urns to clutter up Your mantelpiece, and to become, by dote, As big as a baboons chest And as blue as his anger. Everyone is hurrying to get there and see Just how big The windowpanes are.
Softly, The moon blues, Substanceless as any dead day. Like the loyal marsh at Baybridge who jingled And who I liked In the high August frosts and mists. It was like a large drunken friend waiting For me to find the misplaced knees and socketless stray arms And admire them.And wait. The ground there was soft As broken-in shoes. I used to Bank off those marshmallow shores, My father's shallow boat clipping neatly under me Under a cool noon.I would like to have my stomach launched into Me like that again. The grey-green water lies all around me. Two catfish leap But do not dazzle. They hover in the timorous mid-air. Their fins half blue from shadows. A fine detail of foam follows like a sketch Their fast bodies The shapes of moonhills. The white commas of their undersides pause silently Before me.I love to watch them in their Paradox.They are helpless In their joy. From behind one reed thin as a needle A blue fly's head pokes. Curious with eyes It is amazed at these otherworld avians As wet and smooth as washed stones. I landed home empty-handed.
Ralph, the man who saw with feathers spread, Leaned his bones over (they were golden in the dawn And said: 'I'm not an eagle am I?' “No, you're not.” Vertebrae, vertebrae In arch of back to circle rolling. The red rolled east.It was a perfect morning For flight.His beak was red in this bent light. His beak was red shaped And ready. “'Tis time for bed, my Ralph, 'tis time to sleep.” Ralph was gleaming golden in his forward shoes. 'Am I not an eagle?' His arms were lit like down In this light, The man put fingers spread And leapt.
Hugeappletree appetite big enough to eat all your own fruit-- The sun circular on the leaves and echoed in the production-- the dangerous droplet An apple, it will suffice in one bite to dissuade you thinking of the sun
Above this town where I lay sleeping young happily birds convulse minutely one tremendously blown hilarious green leaf of wind (in ochres of eve it is dying) come suddenly finally up from compactly hysterical graves.Bliss fully mindless is of these faces on the pickets these sweatless heads in dole attire; these pink purple blades who are flying who are the dentings my footfalls have said along the edges of day and crisply space and down down dwindling once wells of when remit (for it is summer and pregnantly snowingly dusk)
One day, cloudless, Refined to a clarity, to one colour as with a wall, The famous international explorer, Saint Jacque, to escape the strictures of his race, Leapt (formally dressed) Off of three bridges, leaping With triple-reenforced rubber bands Celastics") Gripping his British African ankles. ‘I go to save all men,' indignant, jumping, 'After the manner of the Afriks.') His tux-tails catching the airs wings, he went. Be pulled up just short Of the water (or the rocks) whichever Was appropriate in whichever case. And after, when I proposed: Why why (the background sistrums sheathing Sounds with sounds) His teeth cried out (smiling): To feel as if alive.
NOTE: The ritual described here is taken from a reclusive tribe in the Congo where it is a rite of passage for young boys intended to make them independent of the shrewdness and courage of women, the story being that a woman ones, to escape from her husband into the arms of her lover tied vines to her ankles and jumped from a cliff; the husband was too scared to follow, thus making good her escape and happy her life. (Now a common sport in North America.)
the dogs were in the house and sniffing the last decayed amours of left lasagna; clack and tap the toes, fur stuck out between the friendly pads the entire summer, no other noise, everyone dead or gone, vacationing with cameras to return with a foreign inspiration; 'thank you,' and my thin lips vomit at the grace. To no other sound but the happy clacks and hanging, painted tongues I wrote; I even wrote: 'the flowers nod and peck like too many a sun.' Today: 'the day grows down in dismayed capitulation.'
An idol tall as three big men curving lines bridge of the great green nose to the still arches drawn without motion above the poignant half-sad lips with the same memory of decayed gardens princes lazy about the common grounds smiling at the women to the women the women only faintly portrayed by the best artists linens close about their bodies thin unfraying silks on them about them unconsciously as the air itself or breathing lightly the final descending lines of the chin raising the ogling eyes of visitors here gathered strangers to the courtly past lust back upwards thereby putting the whole face into focus assembled block by block
the amoeba squeeze and bulge their green and thinly syncopating bodies while, at their sides, there are (beating) the smoothly flagellant supplicants.They will suffice.
Their carriages are upright in a dry green.They stand at once passionate and familiar, His beak is respectful, level, rather than diffident in uptilt, his tail a downward sloping tube like a story.His face is bright and remembers everything, one formidable claw hangs, while flat the other holds him steady to the earth, hangs gloved in dust immeasurably.While she in straight grass stands Popped-up from an unexpected bush.
Here and now the kindly frost invites The snow.Ice along the large pond Buckles for breath in he thin season Over spacious spans of silence.The pipings are Hushed, the geese put to flight and quiet. Grass does not grow but waits With a small eternal presence, the mantle Warm and lightless.It is a white lid To a green furnace, waiting.Patience is long Along the meadow along the pond along the frozen, Drift-thick ice.The oaks with the sharp melting current Are patient, through their trunks, the tilted hills' Green soldiers, bent for the calling, the sea Straining its wide tides.All are patient all Are waiting.But shortly Their patience Will snap.
At the Theater Doors and Almost In
Again and again.The tickettaker's hands are Emphatic.Her shirt is red Above the useful elbows.In her small hands The last cries of startled paper Unger. The thin red tongues that dribbled out Of the faceless window Are shredded and shredded. Her careful fingerends Are red with little screams. And at my back a blank anonymous bear Reminds me of duty. Slowly, I offer up My tiny victim.In close air.At last, At last, I stumble towards the common dark Without a tongue.
The Timid Stars
It is among the stars that I stick my shaggy head. They sag and turn crimson, sag in a sky bruise blue because winter has struck straight across (negligently) the heavy blood-filled breasts in stretched cotton. Has struck as they shiver (appreciatively) has struck shining like a bronze cymbal.
The Seasonal Dead
Winter kills the cruelest of the deer, the ones that want to live, freezes their heart-stubble, runs them past the dawn grey fields and trips them up on the subtlety of a stream, solid with its fear.They lie down dying in the rising floe; the stag, the fawn, and the doe, collect their shivers severally and blanket their wet fur with the whitening glass.See Their dark long legs are so softly bent that they extremely seem to be too much alive to be an accurate model of death. They fly with sinking passion to he snow.
How We Die
Perhaps It is like walking straight upwards From a clear shore Until the wren's singing Is only water.And we float about freely, Completely under. Or, perhaps, Flying and stinging like wasps, We leave half of ourselves dragged out behind us, Beating and hurting.
Multifarious on the miniature screen the tiny greyish teardrops trickle out of sympathy; out of luck they land in a ponderous conflagration like butane-drenched strange paratroopers invading every eye. they only come to liberate the lusterless, glitterfy the gone, unwanted melodies curled uptight asleep in moldiest mind.Melodramatic the chromatic tube revivifies its display. All the misconceptions of real-life rant in flesh-tone undeniability.The biggest baritone saunters to his place, steps upwards at the Met, decked in best brightest tent array, to sing until his face dissolves to truth.
The abyss in the iris Darkens. The lilac's cones shrivel, Impotent nubs. And the waterfall wings Of grackles gnash, Impatient as teeth For something to eat. Blossoms or buds hang Lazy as puppets In their nets, or masses of colored balloons Tied to vulnerability. Rubbing their silk heads to static and still can't think! Everyone breathes beneath Wide woven hats, -- Lying, breathing, Lame as shot seals on the lawn furniture. And everything is hot. The garden is is still and hot. And the conservative gardener buzzes about planning, planning For next spring's eruption. A uniformity resides In all this damp lessening, inexorable and Irretrievable As ants or gold lice, tiny and metallic, Ticking past the plastic petals. The entire arrangement Walls and withers, Tribally. The folded flowers scream. White as live eyes, the trees Scream, steaming. The magnolia's Fists sweats.
The one cop cracks his beat, tuesdays, thursdays... the tapped cracks blurr into the blue, days join years, rim to rim a used pile of hubcaps rise to topple the sky. He lowers his eyes. He frets the shiny lower buttons off his coat, in the off hours, in a silver-tinged sort of maternal sublimation. For him the end of labor, and the quench of thirst, lie bound-- a single note-tone-- in a fist-sized, pawable golden glob of pocketwatch. We wait for the crinkled, the time-worsted, the failing cusp of a summer's end, expiring in teacups.Your mother's handstitched, colorful, orange and yellow, gingham quilt wilts with August. Nearby, some butterflies, a handful, hover over the midtown intersection parking lot of our pin-sized Pepperell village, watching the sky-dark cop endlessly circle himself, wishing that they had stings. Contents
Slate Steps Descend the Hill
The blue stones drop away from the self like ash dumped from an open freight car going a hundred miles an hour easily
Aside to a Crying Child
Do not fear. The globe in your room Has no place to be going. Its greens are gold, properly arranged; Its browns Mountains of dried sugar.
Thinking About a Dead Man
I Wonder Why the Fireplace
Looks Emptier than it Ought to
Have you ever seen The dark trolleys Transport the ashes Of a leaf Into a hole in the valleys of the moon? I have. It is a small hole waiting On the moon's Reverse side.
Pissing in the Snow
In the tympany of the shattering glass there
is this: there is this photographic effect, It
occurs when, dimmed and fugitive, I see my own raw
face new as a pound of freshly ground beef in one
of the shaken raindrop particles faltering. (They
falter because they have forgotten the balance of
air.They are senile as snowflakes.) It is this
effect that makes me measure and measure the
millimeters of my pupils’ shufting. (They are black
as a circus seal’s fur, and wet as sweat.) It is
a little like what I think it would be like to find
a mirror at the bottom of the lake in which I am
drowning, The window bleeds its little glitters
down.They shine like pennies out of a shotgun….
The Holly Tree
The holly tree as a figure not of dance (since that is too gross-- too many arms like tentacles hanging their appeals straight out) instead as, each leaf green against the sharp frost equally an equation it is conceived perfectly divisible by that love which makes the berries hard small and almost exactly round grow red
There, sidewise from the breasting prow, between the hushed and vertical bob and weave of the whitest icebergs, there is the winter sea beneath it all still green.
A trumpet whistles and the slow, paced doily-work of discovery begins. Soft, snow-petalled dogs descend from higher ground to astound the dell with the multitude of their white bodies' shuffle; So many crowd into the little hollow that the hand-held sky, time's mirror, leaks a salty supplication to their lust. They ground the dying grasses down to dust. The ascending, coal-soft noses tender towards the pay; the fox works well their mouths of blackness into foam. Abundance will reward most laborious chase. Living feet stamp and paw the fertile ground.
The Gardener’s Lot
This blade of land engendered by the sun dances round and around like everything-- like you I exact and supercilious of all forms, even flowers, for christ's sake, bluebells hollyhock, clover goldenrod, sprints of purple something and, of course, the wild carrot, even the wild carrot, how do you manage it'.? Were not all things in some measure constructed (with welds of cells in this case, perhaps) you could not overbear them so with your tweedling eyebrows -- agh! how can you stand yourself! mirrorwise-- look at it! looking at you.Wont you splash, red-handed, into it?Won't you break a cracker and make it flesh? Turn the pool to wine! The way it stares! Well, then, stand there (ox/ ox/ pool) dirty and locally misshaven you ugly cuss! --and get stabbed by the rust-colored sun increasing on the hill's edge. Contents
On my knees I deeply kneel to all you who are wailing and wallowing before the fallen wall and in it Oh there is someone trapped in those clouds there purely serene As (lithely) I kneel to kiss the mute stranger he explodes
What the Mountain Saw
Embryo of blossom is dissected and without shame-- removed to a further Light one where guts and stuff is not displeased by the eye not made to squirm or plead against the logic of sight, with their only velvetvoiced argument, which is that they were always here always cupping their premature round faces-- to heaven or storm without regard until like tissue they let their countenance fold into dimness down to spring.
Do Not Know
We do not know what to do anymore--- the high, evening voices of the crickets silver again to grass.Grass and time. A small, humped frog is croaking above the circle of his swimming.Everything-- everything is left undone, The small, red, perfectly predicted perfectly in place, red line of thought still ties the 12 fat apples to a bending limb. 3 dogs at a hollow distance bay to shake the leaves.
In this sunset I am alone among many trees, the day a light stonygrey.
They don’t sway, but like a thousand notes of music they seem too deliberately
articulate their leaves in a mass, visible green chorus. Each leaf at its base
diverges to return in a point, the many pinnacles loping to their purpose;
they slouch down so low that a few of them almost touch the ground. The dark,
firm springs of wet pines straighten their voices like efficient women.
And in a steady glowing small, face-like leaves burst softly forward in slowly
growing fountains.The roundness of some of them sings to me like fishmouths,
silently and purely their praises go upward.
Darkness is not a going of light but a coming of light only it is too solemn for us to see
The Stone in Water
It is the round beauty of all things immaculate immobile immute- able to the last syrupy drop of that fine liquid which we drink into drunkenness on those lovely shaded nights of the black curtains hanging down like stars' beards whiskery to infinity The truth
My Blue Period
"I sti11 live inside an icon of despair, abuse the abutment for my failing hands that once would gesture music; I grow into my age, see icecubes marching by like icebergs and notice theirflat shadows spinning to diminishment in the exaggerated weaflness of my mind, my lights lefting out like twin pack dogs lost to snow.There is no settlement of objects, half-arraigned and now abandoned to decay.There is no happiness here of the clean straight line. My abstract mind falters into particulars ... it's the light that turns the lampshade round."
In Living Rooms
The piano glassy the clock From a time of grandmothers And widows grayly done dancing Are clicking round sonorous moments.
Lying up In a hayloft my dreams fill the owl rafters with thin loops of gold. A few float down.
The mourning does are lying in leaves For summer bleats and funeral ash. Somewhere shipwrights are planning for ghosts.
II. Aftereffects of Silence
Singing, I thought there was a second Voice behind me. Only one dove was bowing.
In a forest strung with lanterns Night was slowly staring in after me. It stirred with a flutter of gigantic wings.
The mourning doves in thousands septembered Themselves to my yard and never departed. The sun rained all that day.
The best notes are musical And exact; two doves On a dogwood at sunset.
VI. Post Christi
Twelve silent doves are sifting in the snow And wishing they were white-- With their feet crossed.
The bald and aging Socrates Was last seen sleeping among mourning doves. Their slipperless feet were cool,
VIII.An Eye at the Window
The extra room provoked much controversy Until, in the stifled minute it takes lilies To be imagined, the dove moved in.
IX. Intimations of Salmon
I knelt my mind behind a thin steeple And embroidered the sky with memories of sea. They are even here.
X. Image of Transparency
The moons settled themselves in a red cradle. The woman settled herself along with them, they In her arms.It was snowing doves all that evening. Contents
'Who told them to swallow down their sorrow? This year as much as last the rain will dig New gullies near the roadside- even without Their help.So what's the use of holding back A g ief?They don't moan, but they still shuffle. What's a man to do with relations That won't cry?Beg it out with salt? I won't pity them.Pity's too mean a thing For living creatures, and, besides, its a sham Emotion: it only makes the hawthorn wither. And they themselves wouldn't even see.--- Damn it, I myself have lost a son. You remember that year, in late declining Summer; we took down that small net Of trash trees hemming in the garden. Just their shadow would have killed off half The crop that demanded al I the sun. He left the sticky tree-stumps alone to stare, A little like some human faces, And then clomped off into a rain of maples. Who could put out the details of his last Living day?Do they think they own disaster7 Yet how anxiously they horde it!As if Their slack jaws and ground-geared eyes could feed On such distresses.It has been a year already. I wish that they would just cut out the show.'
Once, walking in the garden by the wood-- so close Under leaves, the ponderous weight of unlighted leaves On trees, I overturned the mandrake root and found It'd grown in two; remember now, remember7 One for Me, for you? 0 my daughter My daughter I have no boat to build. Zodiacs must come, they go, I yield. There are the seas-- no, no longer. Only time to slaughter 0 my daughter Hold my dry hand, lean lean, as the dandelion bloom Of skeleton inflates; all is withered, each vine strangling, Dangling, collapsed within.All is late; Hold my dry hand Ice uncovers Icicles and cold lays on to cold. Spices of the Orient in my mind take hold. I remember now I remember how; Surgeon, scalpel, suction tube, then a pill for ease... 0 my daughter 0 You have bit the mandrake root, does April stir and Start in fits?Is twice too much for prayer? Layer on by layer, each thought uncovers brain; There is no pill for ease of pain. The mandrake is an ancient root Wearing none butwrinkled suit. And now and now and now I shall hold your dry hand now For I have not held have not held it long. Zero may be warmed to naught, my daughter, Zero may be warmed My daughter
II. The Gardens
In the shadowed garden, dim Remembered strains Played among the acorn shells, and left Dampened hands on the plastered grain. Jonquils died in torrents That summer, how I regret Time's contingency, and Death's. We had letdown the curtains That sheltered away the sun, And shelved it, Long ago.The house had tinkled like the rickets With the wind, long and orange Out of the west Our shadows Grew into the trees like years, that summer. Our blue hands turning blue, until They were the trees and the trees Were still. All the days were beautiful, And all the children sang. And all around the widening block The gossips snickered in; And all their blathering, chattering talk Could not Prove the littlest sin. A box is a box is a box. Not even the littlest sin. I might go back outside, given Satisfactory incentives towards that move.I might Reverse one summer's indiscretions, dear, If the picketfence of autumn Had not come.And only come to show How round the circuit of our fears Is expressed in every apple.I might Have dressed the dolls with leaves again And set upon a stage Their small white forms in the white sun's Glare.
All's astir.The slick, sick heat of vegetating August lights the leaves with growth.The upright quizzical, Fire-white picketfence rails at its own perfection.Even the starved copper cock twirls and reflects he sun. Even the big red barn is actively bleeding cheap red paint in gallons to stain the soil. All day the cockleburrs sway and crack with misery, there are too many in their school; their sheer, high numbers the barnyard green. The fur-thick, dark-eyed groundhogs graze and waddle in the fields like cows now; free from shotgun-blaze anxiety, they lower their square heads to sup on farmers bones. Once, the dolled-up, rickety barn was gorged on spoon-fed hay.Its golden maw glittered edible riches, pure as a tat, fat duchess and all decked-out. The heavy hay would creak and rustle in the barn, and the land was gold.The torn mouth stands and stutters emptily, its innards whittled hollow by poverty and rot. The penny-colored weathervane crows and crows in the whistling wind. The saw-tooth boundary of the picketfence is lost in a sizzling sea of weeds.
Unscreened weatherworn the doorjamb melts into what I remember was our private yard: The flowers on the trees (once red, some white, all green) have blossomed into leaves sung at noon drooped by four. The chickadees twitch among trunks for pebbles. The young birds eat them up and eat whatever else they find which pleases them. By some hidden wind they ruffle to wails in the usual hollows together with a few early leaves. Yellow and sun-white predominate. These are the colors of fullness and wait.But somehow my shrill eyes are missing you among all August sways on the stem because it is warm as flowers go.
The one cop cracks his beat, tuesdays, thursdays... the tapped cracks blurr into the blue, days join years, rim to rim a used pile of hubcaps rise to topple the sky. He lowers his eyes. He frets the shiny lower buttons off of his coat, in the off hours, in a silver-tinged sort of maternal sublimation. He sees his patriarchal, moon-sick mom in every overripe, mindless bag lady creeping by like a bee, down the antique, tinselly street the shower blossomed blacker.His mom still hones the compact, lunar silverware every day at three.Nothing changes. One woman runs and ages.The black and yellow bags balloon around her like a raft.His mother's older. The traffic-light mud-dauber dabbles in adobe. The sweet air stares and stales. Nothing blossoms. His hands tick and scuttle like stop-motion wasps looking for the honey-drop watch.At noon the unprofessional, octagonal sunday school lets out like a pregnant cat. The bleating bells tell. The tooth-smooth legs and necks of children nod, pollen-heavy and thin as goldenrod.He cannot remember the ridiculous number of years anymore.The vernal season's shorter. Nearby some butterflies, a handful, hover over the midtown intersection parking lot of this pin-sized Pepperill village, watching the sky-dark cop endlessly circle himself, blinking their still-wet wings like wings.
“Hey... shush!Rattle of the half-starved bird, beak-bone clatter and snap of the throatless young, cry of the crow, the grossest crow, subtle after-echo in the back-wash; stilted king-fisher breaks glass, again shatter of the placid silver shingle of the pond, level, flat, beaten down with completion as up he comes!The air complex with industry, the shrill sound of the jay, oriole, blackbird, cricket-call singed feathers in the after-light, the pocked, pregnant moon in stately decline.'Just quiet down and get to work.”
Jade-smooth the green Head a mallards defines itself its limits against the frayed edge of a faded paper sky as together with her he climbs upon her blue wing foot to feather foot to feather to escape with their bodies from a scattering of just exploded cattails
Black and yellow the segmented stalks show the winds to be against them as frozen they beat on to turn the page
Roses huff out of the afternoon train. They cry At the dye Of the blue blue sky: 'Come, And we shall fuse you Into our red red selves Like Shot diamonds Into water. We are dead plain As in an empty room the strange Echoes Of Painted tin cans clapped Together.' Winnowingly, the terrible eddies Utter Themselves, seductive, Against the listening skin White As a rabid rose.
The stars revolve on darkness. A green moon thaws the black sea. And the beautiful regular young women pat and pat their hair In anticipation of the spring. But none of this interests him. He drops his eyes.He has 'Already read about all that.'
Ordained by necessity --- the necessity of mathematics--- the blossoming sweet pea plants lie red pink white in rows orderly by a neat man well placed and spaced but not overly so the sex fused in them in the modest veiny petals center of the display there are those tall short and ones round and wrinkled the peas themselves encased the ovum grown fat with potential the seeds dangling cocooned in green from the stalks the stems the sepals dried up out of the attracting juices a withering revealing the fruit near these over a few feet a simple step bending ready at hand to put in the seed in his quiet black suit white collar strapping his neck hiked up to the jaw to put the seed to bed the man a cleric who named the traits himself dominant and recessive
Magnolias in New Jersey
Deep between the conifers dark as deacons, And near the thawp and clump and utter of new-born grackles, And back round the minarets of foxglove like a picket fence They slacken their buddings to stars. But somehow it is vain, with the bloom of universe surrounding, And my feet cold and sunk in growth, And the spiritual white and pink-white leaves in bulbs fermenting, Somehow to lie and breathe into the upwards evening is vain.
Illness is a Calumny
I want you to know Every day, twice a day, My heart turns blue. The shell of my skull Blackens to fragments. There is nothing not left. The tulip tree begins to talk, And I begin To listen. There is nothing anymore to keep The pearly ears of crickets from hearing What I think of you: The frozen shapes of tadpoles quicken In the edges of the ice. Soon enough, ' Their long black minds will turn Green with growth. And cats will quicken to eat them. My body lies to me, sometimes Three times a day.
Seeing It Is Evening I Watch the Mill Men
Being Let Out from Work
He breaks the wind with his shoulder. He ducks into apples for home. Or hunger, He threads a blackeyed bluejay Through his skin. He is out of luck.His heels have thinned. His long, lonely face Sags, the color of a chipmunk's rib. His once dark hair is trying to lighten Into heaven. The effort fails. His strong, shy chest will blink Into the hard, open slit of the waters, Or the sky, He tries and tries To begin to breathe, But, The lake is as heavy as buffalos. There is nothing left here. He starts along the orange fields and matted grasses For apples.
Cranes in the Back-Yard
Suddenly-- in the middle of what was the only green and subtle meadow that I knew, a dozen cranes or so with jagged wings settled their legs in beads of old snow. A dozen heads or so with accentuated necks, are staring me again, down twenty-four years like eyes, and I begin to see;-- they are stained so white that I think their wingtips cannot be as black as they are. Then, and slowly, their wide arms begin to beat until legs like straws let their linkages down above the lush wave that presses my throat so I cannot think except to gaze at their feet not touching the earth the least.
I. Entant with Needlepoints
Twice I stitched and watched her Sewing.The images of the horse and man and curling trees were imperfect.
II.Prelude in December
When the snowball diminished beyond The circle of my eye I was diminished.
The sun was a long slow line running through Rows of willows shaking their leaves in rows. A single green light transfixed the time.
IV.Minuet Under Glass
The myriad black-headed chickadees flocked Through whiles and whiles of a white sky. Still this was not enough.
V. Tablecloth quartet and Mints
The dining room was a room of space Holding four minds like circles in squares. The meal was vivid with a sauce.
VI. The Through Nine Panes Bridge
The upright piano commonly lent notes To the couch.At once we found That the azaleas were blooming.Were red.
VII.Fugue In Green
Pacasandra on the lawn exchange colors Of themselves between themselves, shrewdly. Their bodies In multiples are expanding.
VIII.Wine at the Cotillion
The woman is softly, at night in the Dark in the stars, waving her veins at me. The quilt is a quilt that is warm.
IX. Jazz Dance of August
Now the snowballs are falling And like moons are falling.And I am increasing Beyond my own eye like winter.
I once have seen the quiet energies Of a world building with the littlest hands One thread on a web in the comer.
“Oh, is he a persian? They have a tendency towards deafness.He's alright yet? That's good. He's beautiful.I suppose you've had him fixed; that makes them grow.It's like a plant that's all circusy and wide in the extent and circumstance of its foliage. Ever seen an elephant-ear?Have no roots at all.Half my first husband's breath would find such a one crunched over, in green and disarray. Al 1 headstrong and hurrying to out-race their limitations. I know them.Oh, you have water here!Is it a reservoir? And dammed up to the south?Yes, we caught sight of that on coming here.What an out-bound view!All slow anger turned to slow froth....” >
Tete da Femme
This lady is dead, I think, her marble eye set straight into the eye of the viewer like a target.Her high nose will bridge the concept of her forehead like an arrow! Her ear is round, and hangs as perfect as a cracker. Her mulberry lips are barely there and are not touching the tightly limed forward cut of her face.Here the brightness, which is too much for the checkerboard scores of her scored face to contain, meets with the absolute black of India ink that corners the edge of the page. Definition.Outline of darkness.The light enclosing like oxygen the rigidly formal cardboard grains of the symbolized female features of her face, in profile, in detail, in the profoundly crooked rivers of her darkly commaed hair. Just who is she?Tapped by some large hand into the tiny alleyways of the gopherwood... Squinting for a close-up, one guesses that perhaps she was a prophetess.And one sees that, at the center of the heart-shaped bulge in her head, there is a blankness, a clarity, a moment of resolution--- I Ike on the flat back of the served cure of a Moses-pill.Or in the carved hollowness of a period at the end of a sentence put on a rock, There is also, in this portraiture you will notice, a deep scar running below her eye and above it.
Wild Azalea Blooming
Only the test monotone pattern Can touch your still cry. Rival little red necks, little white lips. You are unstoppable!Yet constrained in a place From a pure prism hefted and chopped To a block of a wheel. A wheel wounding itself outwards. Blooming to death. Little red sticks stabbing the eye, proceeding Away from the eye as well.At once. Your bodies, Disposable, Are clear in memory To December. Brightly you travel Under a small grey wood. Each thin skinny Clarion is color of dolor too.
The furry neck of the bull is black, the sky a grey in this black and white of a color lithograph, Avant la Pique, the point of which in a blunted splinter does not advance or pretend to be the concentrated nozzle of any future or sequence of events, unpredictable and true as above the nail-shaped head of the matador it tilts in a sequestered white- ness like the bands of his arms the v in his chest and the downturned paintbrush ends of his feet. There is besides this a knuckle in the center of the leg of a horse the picador has with careful aim chosen for the day's events and which is tall and solemn and sure of its place in the scheme overall.There is as well a cape poised black above the well-dark bull like avoid somewhat sheltering the sight of the first blow (which is tied by custom and thought, to the last) from his, In this picture grey, eye.
Grey, dead-grey & black are the requisite composites of this composition; sad Durer had looked too long in mirrors, seen too many vicious invocations of the holy hand upon the plainest blades of grainy growing grass.Poor Durer he has seen too many hollow olive eyes; has stared too much at the imported monotone African masks filled brimming and still ringing with authentic bellowing sighs and horror-filled innocent tears from behind the widening whites of the eyes. Pitying Durer in the savage dark of accustomed thought saw the red in black.
Delicately she bends to readjust the rose its stem too thick the petals about to fly off and shout but, having initially advanced, she fails at everything the frail limbs disposed as before exactly everything unchanged she smiles they are too beautiful
When (singing to the silent wide of your eyes) I find that small almost innocuous birds have dealt with the thunderous evening increments by shedding their shells (into your eyes) orange speckled crying (for to breathe is to die) will you my most sweetly taut unstrummable note (placid in pride of your calm) will you (I want to know) take my new unfolding hands spread for a dismal uncommon febuary sun, sky dancing in the light of forever, breezed with original ironicless laughter, cackling dawn, and sew them up with a seamless surgary meticulous, as a rose locked away in its leaves eternally fruitless unbudded disaster or what?
When Into the Mouth the Death Cry Comes
When into the mouth the death cry comes Unamazed and odorless, Crammed by the ticking fingers of perpetual crime Down the rattling throat to sound An agony of conscience in the unshelled ear Of too much unlived living Then will the eyes start up blind And hair sprout hands for the head Then the unmuffled will of the stilling heart will damn activity, haul up dock to decision, Bless the unpaid mind with rest, tell toes to grow into feet, Knuckles reverse to blunt, loved palms, Shoulderblades dwindle to wings, Red ribs uncage to drop dead lust, And lagging heart kick all away To fall to a faraway sky, And all of these be mine.
These Atlantic Letters
The clematis in my window winds the wounded birch, and hangs heavy with rain, this day of days- Your glad letter come back to me in the flat black crystal of your luxurious ten-dollar ink (bought in Brussels, shipped by clinking caseloads home somehow through evenings, the fat Atlantic waters hissing twice as dark.Will these waters burn?The glowing ocean oil thickens like a welt.Who can haul your miles, vainglorious spout and womb of history?Who, who, who?) These electric letters fly to reach me like a shock; they try but cannot read my white eyes boiled up like eggs, And you, in sympathy, writing: ‘The silence today again has made me see.’
“Statues rise like specters out of the blank sand and bang the nose with their black batteries of dark pollution-dirt and rot, Oh, it's not like living was when we were young!Its not the same at all.My two beach feet flatten-out to overfill our honeymoon shoes, I look down this alleyway, past the piazza place I stay, and reckon up the centuries.What dewy crime or ruby mind cracks this asphalt like a face? 0 Milan, Milan, your buildings fumble into plots like popes shot down by time—you are dying; but you still breathe.... All the rest is gravy.”
The ragging rantings reach me, from your hand like a fleshy kiss, lovers in the park so much disillusioned they clam their eyelids shut and think of Wagner's autumnal, crashing ocean music sandblasting out their inner ears. Its nerves.The paper that you use, dear, is tan and perfect as a Florida dawn; it shows to disadvantage the snow-white spiders of my hands --- webbing, webbing through your thin script; let me link it closer to the leaf-work of my veins, bleating only to themselves it seems, of late appallingly as sheep, I flat-down the third creased valley of the New Mexico plains, and read:
4. The Postcard
The congenital hoarfrost moonlight makes this 3x5 of paradise a jail. Its edges catch, and ruddy people shine along the sunny beach, the sunny Florentine, fragrent with smiles.... Dear heart, dear life, you glare and goggle before my eyes with the faint flash and upward fade of fireflies: I miss you.And you dance on toes with skull-crossed death against eternity.... You bow & plead that your poor dress is stained, and then stand off to stare and lounge through crowds, the dying match.The vacationists are primed and primped for ecstasy, they drop hot hands to a warm salt sea.
She speaks: ‘One dark night, unjust soul's repose sunk in a midnight past my midday's cure, I rattled blind down corridors, stuffed my loud bright watch beneath a pillow to keep the silence out (the between ticks tick). I danced with mirrors, slept in blinks, threaded whiskey like a life-line to my glass. I spun our wedding ring to gold globe and waited the balance out; how it rang against the stone! I cannot think; the one world whirls.... The world's pink ears are crammed with speech; I, I, I, I, becomes a hollow sound, you infect my eye, enlarge to a troll.... My bruised head floats in a goldfish bowl.’
The palisades are golden in this light; a washed bowl shines, bending heaven to its single-serving size.All the green leaves have rainbowed out to sea.It is September. The worst cold stays forecasted by the grass looking over, bending back from its view of the bottom of the cliff; one's attention's held, these days, by some old whittler's shavings as they pass and darken in the dew.Everywhere the clouds meditate shrunk foreheads into snow; well, it is almost snow.... Now it is an eye, this bowl, staring like a clock, knowing nothing not its own. Little comfort stays here, little goes. Contents
Where are you going? Where are you going? Velveteen hills are rusting to silver. They grow old.Sweet dews gather and drop Numberless, Then brighten to burn, little caustic stars. The rickshaw mantis' kneel and rust. Sadly, they are singing Without voices. Their stiff attached wings, the colors of oil, Vibrate, Machete late lawns leap and shudder, Taut as an eardrum against you, You answer. You answer. Green knees bend and bury themselves, Clean in dirt, New at an acid altar.
Green, the pure prismatic color left its little stalling footprints in the edges of the leaves.
Behind a square stucco church (where daily there is praying) a buttercup lifts crookedly its crown announcing by its nature the fall.Little singing sacraments droop and drop down leaf by leaf drawn to the ground by a force one opposite that which pulled the petals upward yellow to heaven
Mouth open red as a hawk's the pout of sleep limed around the small wide eyes all almostall gone as she lifts the smooth head seen in no carving at last II. at my shirtbutton blue as a sky it nods my red carnation nods almost in sleep equal to her vastly silent roar
Cross over, cross over Without Utility or art. Nothing is of any use anymore. I tell you. I saw three grasshoppers Sifting on a leaf Until, until Until They had eaten it up, I dreamed I was the king of the world And rode the seas for horses. I dreamed I was the king of the world And rebuilt all the churches. I saw three grasshoppers Living in a dream. They sat on a leaf, They ate it up.
The Saturday cold rattles like a candy wrapper. The thin air Weights my lungs with honey.A blue stew. The old ford mourns skyward, Heaving its wheels in circles. We halt so slowly It is almost flying.We fall out Sideways; our petals drop and blanche. I am so heavy My feet Almost touch the floor.The familiar Fears near. We are almost there. The dirty mausoleum squats on the hill Like a birthday.It's so big It's obscene.Green Laurels hunch in the corners like shadowy dwarves Awaiting the signal to push.... The starched arch, snow-simple, bent Floats above our silly heads. Counting: Two-hundred ten, eleven, twelve And my father's father arrives. We glide in ghost-clothes about the grave. This is a family day.The inherited rings Click and skim As loves the shapes of hands pass over The deep, square-edged name. They rub and rub, An eternity.Quiet. They are finally clean. When everyone else has gone blindly, Over the blunt edge of the curved world, Striding like heroes Why am I left, weightless and colorless, To stop The flat slat light the tossed urn burns?
Behind 12 Bowie
Canadians lap and settle here through the equinox Pond rough or pond white, they ruffle Skinny shanks in lank air.Indian memories Follow the goldfinch.Old mole brown and Groundhog grey the arrowheads.Webs find The old leaves soft below the Rowan red And Oak not.Coincidence labors in the clay, Turning red green and green red, at home Along the plough's length of idle irony.Poor White boring of the dove, And the dogwood Its white echo.The placid confusion of evening Is on, white on the spread webs, the Soft furled soil cooling.Again.
Not until the September is past And the grave dead all lie, unshakled, unburied, Alone in the frost's mouth (All dying done, all berthing begun) And every crooked, ear-marked child is led, By the dimming blood of a failing hand, To play away from the clock's haunts And stars are incited to shrink again The cragging moon's corruptible sphere To less than a pinnacle’s pinched inch of sky (Not until the September is past) And every weed grows down to die Up where the miracle dead were tossed In a frozen field gone over to snow And the cold wind in a cold throat like glue, Dying of wanting; and the blossomless trees Lift their skirts to let me fondle The bark-notched knees of autumn's parts, Sold old home of my father's wants, Will I catch cure in the cuckold wind For inextricable laughter and hate.
A Mosquito’s Wing Along the Rail
It silvered where it had fallen where the wind played it back and forth and the top of the lake considered it bluely, and the man rustled his feet on the porch As if they were leaves.Every moment separately considered the veiny object and drew the object in comparison with itself; the rail paint peeled and flapped In those places where it could flap, the wind and the lake crusted themselves with silver, the wing replied from where neglect had lain it And the man rustled his feet in repetition.