The Ant-Lion

 [Poetry], Assembling the Earth, Sonnets  Comments Off on The Ant-Lion
Aug 282011
His dusty body goes backwards to be dust.
On dust more frictionless than ice
A frantic slipping ant will make us wince
To see a crucible mind no more than claw;
A mind that harbors no dark thought to appall
But shapes his perpetual falling wall.
He does not jump for justice or to be just.

Summer's first rain-drop rolls in dust a world
Whose wet invites all wetness hints of growth
(Such a world may we recognize in drought).
Silent and dry, he emerges like a roar
And makes the molten tension burst,
And drowns himself with water, nothing more.
And a something unrepeatable is learned.

John Muir’s August Head

 [Poetry], Prose Poems, Sipping Beer in the Shadow of God  Comments Off on John Muir’s August Head
Aug 172011

John Muir’s queer and sundry quotations and exclamations shine through pane after pane of Yosemite Valley’s buildings. Less a ghost and more of a sacred mascot, his bearded visage seems to hang down from every shaggy tree and to impose itself in the crinkled cliff-shadows on every side of this immense religious fosse into which tourists pour as amply as blood or wine. “How glorious a greeting the sun gives the mountain!” “I never saw a discontented tree.” “The mountains are calling, and I must go.”

Miles to Go

 [Poetry], The Falcon Waiting  Comments Off on Miles to Go
Aug 112011
This poem has no details
If you won't carry water
100 miles in your hands.

Break through the skim of ice 
In December, right behind that silent glass factory
All one tall shadow on the Raritan.

Watch your hands shiver.
Feel your wet cuffs the first 20 miles
Until the sky is a shard in your palms,

And you fret about cutting your wrists

Lighting Rockets in the Back Yard, July the Fourth, 1969

 [Poetry], The Falcon Waiting  Comments Off on Lighting Rockets in the Back Yard, July the Fourth, 1969
Aug 112011
Kneel down in darkness
Beside my dark.
Flow your free hand
Into the rolling stack.

Each breath anticipates the next.

Excited, we lean
Nearer than the night.
Nearer than the spur
Of sparks about to start.

Hold my hand.  Hold this match with me.

Climbing Mt. Tabor

 [Poetry], The Falcon Waiting  Comments Off on Climbing Mt. Tabor
Aug 112011
I don't belong here, in this creation.
The clear air flies around me,
One frenzied blue wing escaping.

The path up is all grey wrecked stones
Made naked where the runoff comes bursting in Spring.
They hint at the uppermost, topless spot
All bald flat bold long rocks
Veined with autumn-leaved vines and dry ivies.
Now I can see what 
I have been pushing for until
My head and shoulders are slick with afterbirth.

Over the cliff, the landscape patches itself together.

A bare, thin
Cigarette smoke of veiled haze
Puts a varnish finish to the valley.
The Delaware lays like a wet, crooked stick
Abandoned in a ditch.

From up here,
At the brownish prow of lookout rock,
I can almost see my whole stupid life.
Clouds assemble, whispering frigid things against me.
I have no idea why nobody's here with me,
Why I have no lovers at my age,
Or why I'm tearing my loafers out on a mountainside,
Scoring water off of strangers
And trying to forget my face
With my back 
Against this cliff.


 [Poetry], The Falcon Waiting  Comments Off on Deliberately
Aug 112011
I drove until
The only thing I was
Was lost.  Scrub pines hunched
Like dwarf men under the lowering roof
Of eggshell heaven, each man bent into his own
Posture of Dantescan agony.  I kicked uncomfortably
Against the sterile pinecones large as a fist
Or dud handgrenade until they rolled into the shadows
Full of needles, with a sound like crumpled paper.
The patient preoccupation that had bade me lose my way
Loosened like pneumonia phlegm with every cracking kick.
Now, at last, quite lost, I laughed!
Not even my own troubles could find me here,
Shadow-mottled as a forgotten fawn.
Under a wing of vines, beside some swirl of wet,
I sat contemplative in my self-forget.
The vine-leaves' yellow eyes, all rimmed with red,
Offered inedible tears of berries cheerily,
Which, if I ate as offered, would let the sick inside
Slide up slick as a roar.  I smiled aside
My wry temptation to see
Just what it was was in me,
And pulled my fingers from the vines like a half-plucked harp.
I put away my need to know
Just what had gotten lost when I had gotten so,
To see it sized and sorted on some obscene plate
Curiously served up
For I and eyes to eat.

Low above, on a white dry pine bough overhead,
The sinuous weight of a great black snake
Waits in its hisses.

If Anything

 [Poetry], The Falcon Waiting  Comments Off on If Anything
Aug 112011
There's something crappy in the sand along Belmar's shore.
The grains are too big, or there's too much weird junk
To run it
Smoothly between your palms.
Tar from the pier pilings sticks
In your dungarees.
And the Shark River inlet, no longer busy
With chaotic traffic or crab traps
Keeps spitting at you.
Even the dying flounder
From some old drunkard's afternoon haul
Stares up at you to go.

But you stay,
Stuck on your perch and your thoughts--
A little helplessly.

And when the oil rig lights twinkle on like an evening dress
All along the bottom of the sky's deepening scythe of green,
It's hard to know what to call it.
If anything.

Combing the Long Branch Beach, I Lose My life in the Debris

 [Poetry], The Falcon Waiting  Comments Off on Combing the Long Branch Beach, I Lose My life in the Debris
Aug 112011
I feel trapped in my old life
Like a hermit crab that won't abandon its shell
It is so intensely curled
Into its stiffened whorl of habits.

The seashore wails and wails
Its single, filial demand--
Repetitious as a herd of commodities brokers
Shouting in their calico patchwork of blazers
Until the final bell.

How can I change if the sea won't?
My yearning stands straight out like a flag, same as ever.

Seaweed everywhere,
Beaten brown and soft as a drenched felt hat,
Fits itself alluringly
To the suavities of the rocks,
Adapting crash by crash by crash.

Whispers on the Cot

 [Poetry], The Falcon Waiting  Comments Off on Whispers on the Cot
Aug 112011
Nervous and warm as mice
The skinny cot at Camp O
Squeals with our comingling.

Wet nose to nose, past midnight
We whisper the dawn awake.

How can we talk about love when everything's wrong?

We touch through frayed fingerless gloves
It is so cold.

It is so cold,
Our breath wets the cinderblocks
And almost freezes.

Our shoulders get sore,
Facing each other in the dark.

Light comes into the room
Like a page turning out of its shadow.

Before I could see your eyes,
--Before I met you even,--

I would cry remembering them.