Aug 272015
 

 

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By Gregg Glory

Copyright © 1990 Gregg G Brown

published by

BLAST PRESS

 









Unimagined Things

The world must change if we but imagine it.
Copernicus squinting traded in his lamps
For furious mysteries; galileo tossed Aristotle out
For a swinging stone, back to the turbulent sea of thought
Because his ghost had no bones. What new paradigm
Will rinse us shining from the misbegotten foam?
Unimagined things grow real, grow real.

Nietzsche knew pale Apollo well, that he
Must step lightly from red Dionysus' side;
Michelangelo's high man and God, that mirrored touch,
Poured the raging heavens into our daily cup.
What matter that before unimagined things grow real
They must first condense in thought? Man's a drunkard
With his dreams and will piss them to the sod.
Unimagined things grow real, grow real.

Aging wrong and aging right cannot
Endure our scorn or enhance our thought
(Morality's an old, old play, with curtains that must fall)
But new worlds imagined, that body in the breech.
Einstein knew that his equation unraveled no new sky
---That were indifferent--- but was a chant to change his mind.
Unimagined things grow real, grow real.

 

Supernatural

Say whatever turned round in Plato's skull
Or mounted Mary Magdalene's heart, St Teresa's chest,
Pours quickly away; chill vapors dispersed by day.
Say chance is in our substance and makes us free.
Say whatever terror that holds man by the throat
Is shed by accidental antidote. That St John in pan's cavern dwelt.
Vast plans that had Caesar's mind for habitation
Or in Hitler's bunker slept, and map by map were built,
Were map by map and town by town disintegrated.
Say chance whirls in what strength or thought threw out.
Who knows but that chance is projected indecision,
Petty habits of the mind grown great, great thoughts grown worse.
What do we know of history and fate? Did Venus,
Who knew Adonis' worth, imbibe his dead sperm for bitterness?
What in her belly purred? What from the great legs leapt?

 

Nativity

Was there carnage in that shot
World-leveling god begot?
Stubborn Christ born in an abandoned lot.
Old cross crows are drubbing in the dust.
Cracked heaven the dividing splinter teared,
All that riotous confusion heard
Before the roaring droplet seared.
    Old cross crows are drubbing in the dust.

Did that staring infant's head
Dimly unwrapped above the stiff bed
Know what it engendered?
Old cross crows are drubbing in the dust.
Pack-animals' musty blood
Flubbed responsive where they stood,
Deep in the passionless mystery.
    Old cross crows are drubbing in the dust.

And was that woman bleeding there
As in a tapestry, for the crawling god prepared?
All generation in a wound condoned.
Old cross crows are drubbing in the dust.
Did that penitential infant shriek
Climbing heaven's empty cheek
Draw ecstatic thunder down?
    Old cross crows are drubbing in the dust.

 

In The Cold Dawn

Before the geese upon the water have begun their day,
Before cold dawn could allay the winter's deep dream of May,
Or any symbolical host fly out of the dark, as it must,
The thoughtful song, drawn like yarn out of a beggar's breast,
And which had illuminated pride, so weak was the world's way,
Unseen ages, like the bird with the silver ball for a soul,
Died dreaming in that beggar's breast, before he could awake from the dust.     
  

 

Policy

 
       I
When Twyla Tharp begins again
Her own sweet body to command,
Charm of personality or face must vanish
Into the reality of pattern.
Soldiers lined up pidgeon-toed
At the mosque, shot out their enemies' heart.
What lies still beating in the cart?
Was there passion in that slaughter?

       II
There was a dream of feasting, and we fed on dreams.
Instinct in the sculptor's palsied hand
Creates where it divides, eating to the face of man
As if stone were so much rotten wood.
Although young, it seemed all dignity must be spent
On sinking love or suborned monument.
Where was the gamble if the loss lacked reality?
We were young and solemn and did what we would.

 

Son of God

If I were the son of God
And out of that grand house came
Tumbling with lions
On Heaven's bursting lawn,
At breakneck dawn I'd race
From grave to cradle again
Until to a moldy house I crept
And turn the last clod.

 

St Augustine

"A seed of knowing out of our ignorant fruit must drop.
My pear tree, not Sartre's, rises from the wrong ground,
blossoms and rots in God's green affections;
memorizing Cicero all afternoon, the lagging speeches,
a fist of pebbles in my mouth, shouting at the sea....
a carpet-bagging stumper after my sweet fee.
We threw the golden teardrops uneaten to the hogs---
all boys and wickedness leaping Huck Finn's fence
whitewashed in north Africa. The orchard door
yawned on darkness as we exited, loaded down
and laughing: reality in the act, not the scenery.
A tentacle of happiness, not nausea, gripped me then
coiling my black heart in light like an extra aorta,
fibrous and alive and dangling from God's omnipresence."

 

Sweet Dancer

The world enlarged from a shell
Is stripped and standing bare,
A grinding dancer on a stage,
Violent with despair
And sweet to look upon.

Is not every lovely thing,
All gauzy prettiness and hidden force veiled
And held from revelation as destruction
By gyring chance
By delicate strings?

 

The Blind Man

Because I am blind and walk agape
And beat out rough rhythm with my stick
Like the fascination of the sea
I can create, as in Yeats' dream,
Man in the soul of God
And batter out a place 
Among twilit immensities
To dwell in that contempt,
Giving bitterness a face.
    Stick, stick, stick, stick.

Because I am a blind old man
And came blindly howling hence
To fumble with a stick, I demand,
Passion of my decrepitude unsung,
A gallery where bright heroes hung
Stand each for that passion
That pitched them to their deaths;
And I demand it built
Behind the eye and in the heart
Of God and his burning son;
All glory in the uneaten bud.
    Stick, stick, stick, stick.

I have heard on the walks and ways
That give my confession to a stone
That some with bitter inward breaths
And some in necessity of fashion
Live slave to what words have wrung
Out of man's contemptible mash
And nail to each star each part,
As if misery made flesh were all.
    Stick, stick, stick, stick.

I can see because I am blind
How each tiresome human vine
In eyeless arrogance of its kind
Sprouts like a worm in its own food,
Divine soul all lumped with mud.
Each blind root heaves its back to the sun
In perilous ignorance of its own blood.
    Stick, stick, stick, stick.

Although I am blind and cannot see
Bleak wreckage of the dark tide,
Rank human ecstasies and defeats,
I know what mysteries abide
And carve these rude words upon my stick:
We must feed what we beget;
Imagination shall provide
Some unsought froth as yet, rank spillage
Of the glittering sublime.
    Stick, stick, stick, stick.

 

A Bitten Rind

Because I am old and refuse my death
I have been bitter and I've been kind;
Skeletal bitterness my enmities shook,
Kindness flowed from head to foot.
But of all those wind-gaunt faces
I have worn as if strapped in the traces
I most adore the look
Of an old withered apple, its withdrawn glance,
All sweetness concentrated
To an unrelenting taste:
    An old bitten rind, bitten rind.

But because I am bitter
And dislike the taste
Of joys overblown in any wind
I have come to sing in the waste
Of an old bitten rind:
"Bitten rind, bitten time,
Under stars or under sky
The right emotion of a dirty crook
Has nobleness to bless or curse,
Confirm or rescind the pledge
Made by our bodies as they lie
Under this dirty hedge."
    An old bitten rind, bitten rind.

Having tasted thus
The fruit of an obscure look
Or the sharp meaning of a song
Under dull words in a book
I laugh at all awhile
And I myself forsake;
For nothing's worth the riddle
And no man's worth his wake,
I stole a blind man's fiddle
And sing what I forsake.
    An old bitten rind, bitten rind.

I have nothing but am a queen:
Monstrosities sworn must heel
Forced by a hand unseen
As dog to its master's whistle wheels.
And although I am a great queen
With stars on my fingers for rings
And although I dance like a drunk
And with the seen and unseen wink
I am driven by passion to sing:
    An old bitten rind, bitten rind.

 

Matter Of State

We have many problems,
Both violence and drouth;
Plagues upon our people,
Plagues stuffed in our mouths.
Democracy abandons men
That lack remembrance;
Behind us another mountain
Crowds a fresh sky.
Day in, day out,
All the businessmen are stout.

Politicians of utopia
From every gutter shout:
'Join hands against the common slope
A better world will out.'
The strong man has his answer
To the dream of a perfect state:
'Strike him without swerving,
Lay him out upon the slates!'
Day in, day out,
All the businessmen are stout.

Arjuna on the streetcorner
Sipping at his smoke
Knows the daily death of friends,
Knows it for no hoax.
What of all that rant and hiss
Will strike him as sense?
What blue Krishna whisper
He died before for this?
Day in, day out,
All the business men are stout.

 

Dark Voice

We've been shooting strangers
Over waters and the wild;
But conscience is forgotten
In the tearing wind.
We stood up in battlements of dust
To cut down what would live:
"Worms and tyrants all must die---"
Nothing was as pleasure is.
    Said a dark voice hid in the bush.

The mob is filled with insane joy,
The banners in the street
Hang from pole and lamppost
Hang ripe like butchered meat.
What happiness or bliss is there
In conversing with a face
Uncle Sam has painted blank
For every circumstance?
    Said a dark voice hid in the bush.

In a folded tent there's room
For filching treachery;
Standing near, the slaughter's done
We'll collect an oiled fee.
Dead men lie face down in bed,
A hole in every spine;
How goes the empire's rate
When we to cowardice decline?
    Said a dark voice hid in the bush.

What if great washington lived,
That stern face breathing near,
What thoughtless sentence then
Transform to pleas our cheers?
Nothing was as pleasure is,
And God's a neglected child;
We've been shooting strangers
Over waters in the wild.
    Said a dark voice hid in the bush.

 

Lee Atwater, RNC

"Wheeled cradled, blank-faced and blue-brained
to the hospital chapel, I watch the ivory pastor's hands
trace shadow rabbits in the air under the florescent cross
and list my sins in silence as he drones redemption;
maybe St. Peter will greet me in heaven with a new guitar.
Something babbles into static as my stroked-out arm relaxes...
A tumor dripping ink now fills my mind, a black bud
swelling to blood-blossom, ready to costume me in blood---
Stalking back from the guillotine like a 50s zombie
blitzed on my first part in the Bs, I wake
socketed in the nMR chamber like a bullet
waiting for the green light to flit my diagnosis
on the big screen, the chart a map of Europe.
I lay enlarged; drugged and irradiated like a fallen fruit.
I still laugh when I hear a democrat's ill.
I was worse: my perennial, emboldened
humor ramping like a bull, I crooned Dukakis is bald
from my black marshall stacks for the innocent fetuses
at the Republican convention, dating Miss America still....
I'm sorry I kicked his Greek hynee. Sorry for all that."

 

Statement

Not the politician in his coterie
Surmounting an elaborate chair---
A simple, elegant glass
Choked in his unconscious fist,
Nor revolutionary lunatic
Standing tip-toe on the quay
To out-face the beating sea
(And has not the courage
To stand half at ease)
Has a fanatic eye
Or golden stomach enough
To sweat out the divine
Night after night, or lick
From all this tragic human stuff
Some shrinking taste
Of the glittering sublime.

 

After the War

The cardinal his scarlet vigil keeps
That had no sin but singing;
How much more should we march in grief
That have said and done such things?

The azalea extends its wild branch
Against a wild sky; nearby
Some libertarian pamphlet flaps
Ignored by some more sodden door.

A child is singing in the bright march air
Some tune his father sung---
Abstracted with the politics
Of that disastrous, forgotten war.

"The soldier will soon be waking
That fed on dreams before;
A man kills a man that killed;
All happens as before."

 

Bee and Cup

An azalea climbed up
Into a silver cup,
And blossoming died
While the bee had sup.

 

Blacksmith

Toiling in dawn's orange forge
I hammer at the gorge
Of silent kings and laughless queens.
They come to me for pretty things,
Pretty things;
I have imagination's means.

But the farther that I thrust
That art I cannot trust
Into the aching spirit's pyre
The more my hand is burnt and hurt
By earthly fires.

 

Contemporaries

They study at a school
Where waves are crest on crest,
The fish half in the air
As if the highest were the best.

But every brooding oyster knows
And every whale that spouts
That although their high heaven glows
Its because the water has run out.

 

Solomon in Confusion

Virtuous beggars into cold dawn swarm
To chill their heated flanks.
How do I know that they were warm?
They had no stitch of clothing on.

 

So I Might Suffer

  So I might suffer without fail the vengeance of leaves
Crumbling, vein by vein, to the docks of autumn's dust
               And burn again in a rasping year
                          My fled blood
                      Both woke and broke
              Flood and voice over the sea-turning town.
So that the wail of the crickets might knock and enter
              Each sad shadow passage of the pulse
                              I woke
  Burning in the shining rivers that skip out of sight.

In the helping hurt of the one-armed weather
              Flinging hailstones and adders
         Down the ocean-thieving tunnel of the sky
                       Against this head
                  I swore all summer dumb
While the ministering crickets in the booming grass
   Chanted phylums of my blood about to be said
               And I stood in the summer's drum
                         Surrounded
               By the roaring going of the year.

Ignorant of thistlery we walked in our mystery
         Arm in arm like the burning boughs
Friends against death in the summer's long breath,
          And like the sun we sauntered
                 Drunk and wandered
      Through the closed book of the heart;
And I was sky and sunlight in the chapters of the grass.
                 And understanding
                      I sang:
   Oceans in acorns my strumming mermaids are.

 

Dead

What has life's bitter disappointment brought
Laid in a narrow, breathless bed?
Shall we curse all our drunken, muddy lot
Lain with long bones of the dead?

At the end of a rifle or parting stream
Pursued by a pursuing dream
Man wakes up to find his enemies again,
The end of dreams, and all friends dead.

What stays hid in the marrow there,
Thrust deep underground?
Things purposed in the unpurposed air
Die when those men are dead.

Whether father or brother still pursue
Their work, or others' work, I do not know;
I read it on a narrow, upright stone
Cast by the long bones of the dead.

Fathers sacrifice long-loving sons
To a nameless, breathless bed;
Stand we under an island sun
Or lie with long bones of the dead?

 

Crisis

I desire to cast desire away,
Having all that blamed respect
Due my old age, hurled burning away
Until I into the naked grass have crept.

I recall how some sage hermit spoke,
Under his mountain drift lodged alone,
Of how all changing waters must
Whirl up to the stone.

But I am wrecked by discourse
Of the sacred and profane;
All love draws back to its source,
Dry enmities remain.

 

Those Images

Stand again at the old well-lip
As one half-sleeping might
And drop a stone among those images
That lay hid in the night.
When still a boy at the water's edge
Cold with terror at the dark,
The light was like a fish's hide
That floated back to me.

And drop a stone among those images
That lay hid in the night.
What has escaped the breath
In hated words or curses, now rescind
And let an older beneficence begin;
Call that harshness in.
When driven to that edge of speech
The tongue half out of the head
Recall what purpose pleased you best
When time had not yet begun.
And drop a stone among those images
That lay hid in the night.

At gasping dawn a boy again
Swears all breaking light's a game
And climbs before the mounting sky
To catch a dreaming fish
While the water's high.
So sound out the plummet-depth
With some stray rock or cocked ear do it
Or hearth-stone out of pocket;
But drop a stone among those images
That lay hid in the night.

 

The Secret Rose

Deep dew fallen on the secret rose;
Closed eyes open that cry again.
Nothing here to bind the heart close;
No bloom can I cut for the mist of pain.

Cushioned grass beneath me, the pine my cloak,
The wind a whispering skirt;
The water waits emptily for an empty boat,
The naked road for a coach as a shirt.

A little girl is singing
In the waiting evening:
"I ride a grand coach
With red lacquered sides;

Without shoe or broach
My love on a dark horse sighs.
"Where are true lovers' hearts
Bound and wound?

Beneath the cypress, on West Mound,
Beneath the brooding ground."
Cold blue a candle flames,
Straining its frail light;
On the West Mound, rain
Forced by the wind in the night. 

Deep dew fallen on the secret rose;
Closed eyes open that cry again.
Nothing here to bind the heart close;
No bloom can I cut for the mist of pain.

 

Causation

What ache first calls us from rest,
Bids us rise and dress
As if all were solemn consequence?
The mind that ages in its fears,
Grows tired, rants and tears,
As if every thought were sense?

Until heart and soul and all
Are beaten out of gold,
No dying triumph's made.
Until eye and mind first sprout
Golden tenderness, there is nothing out
That cannot fade.

 

No Longer Young

Now that she is no longer young
There is less of her
In the measures of the birds;
The partridges give voice
Less sweetly, and the rose
Grips more blackly the earth
Now that she is no longer young.

Now that she is no longer young
Do new ships and unfinished men walk lost,
The crippled dog mew at its wounds,
And the sun go sick to bed each night?
Does her pleading face fade away
From its passion like this age
Now that she is no longer young?

I do not know because I am blind
To crudities of the compass point
Or the minor perihelions of the sun.
Enzymes of their medicines cannot chart
The chemic regions of her skies;
The needle on the encephalograph
Shakes no glory from her eye.

 

In Zero Air

In zero air
By the jaguars caged in their griefs
And landrovers digging up bones in the park,
Dirt salts the dime-hole of her going.

By liquid cats,
Emptied of minutes and prayers in the waking zoo,
Both half animal and man in my shambling frame
I pace to praise the honored hour of her death.

Her grave grows hair
And gravel marks the shadow where I walk,
Freezing among moonbeams, while the icicles' stalks
Rise from eye to eye in the blizzard's blast.

Now how unsound
By the gold-honoured straws of dawn unbound
And looped from the walking category of sorrow
By a drake's water-shilled beak do I stand and cry?

 

He Fears Growing Old

When my voice is a troubled cup
Who'll know my face?
My wounds then sew up
My scolding done?

What lover listen
To what I say?
Clean bones glisten
Under rank decay. 

 

He Grows Old

I've watched the swan withdraw
To the sky's timid zone;
And out of that sweet ether
Fashion a dying call.

I know not whether,
My time being sprung,
I shall endure together
To sing that last song.

 

The Gifts’ Attendance

These gifts' attendance now allay
And renew these broken eyes with day.
What picture in the mind can make me rail,
Now so out of love to overwhelm?
Can one so old still declaim and rage,
Let passion's mask drop or burn a stage?

 

Without Benefit Of Virgil

There, amid the wrong middle of this wood,
Where God himself must stand and choose
Or find himself unable, caught between good and good,
Sweet songs that rise from the geese in the dawn
And travel without a quaver in the air
Until they alight on some rich man's crowded lawn
Or empty lot abandoned by all but the wind's stir
Some ancient, contemptuous king or passionate
Poverty-stricken man cries out his heart
And lays his head bare in the miserable dust
In eternal revelation of his time-bound character
Before the bawdy wind can close the gate.

 

The Scolding Moon

He cried to the sun to be no more
A part of his burning misery.
He cried to the brooding owl "No more
Shake down your bony glance, your fingering looks
That alter my heart's procession and my blood's course."
And he cried to the moon, the scolding moon,
"No more the tripwire of my conscience be
Threading your silver circuit through eternity;
Climb down, climb down from your bald perch:
Come taste the blood shreds on the ground."

 

Stone Muse

Now I am old
In body and bone
My stone muse sings
Proud and alone.

But when I was young
My muses stood
Medusa-struck
And drained of blood.

Neither face nor body danced
On the barren grass
Of the white seashore,
All their stony terror glued in a glance.

All that I had planned
And placed apart
In the sacred mysteries of the heart
Sunk like a stone in the lost sea.

All the beautiful pride of her speech
That had seemed, so far above death was it flung,
The haughty original of chance
Closed in dark colloquy and muddied breath.

 

Daedalus

Patched out of forgotten things
Old clothes and old stories and old grey rugs
I have sewn my sable wings
And soar where solemn things are bugs.
But perhaps where blood falls
From the human heart
And wall gives on to wall
Is the right altitude for art.

 

The Climbing Rose

The climbing rose upon the tree
Is symbol enough for me;
That chaliced eye weeping blood,
Proponent of diviner love.
All the glory my old age needs
A fisher-girl provides.

What care I if angels, angels shove?
Love's a lump of sodden clay.
I am content with what I can catch
And let the others pass.
Old hearts and broken kettles sigh,
Love's a sodden lump of clay.

What care I for the spite of time
That makes the humble bite their tongues
Or loftier spirits trudge
Through burning lime?
The climbing rose upon the tree
Is symbol enough for me.

 

His Heart

And there was one
Had taken up a song
Could not put it down again,
His heart had been harrowed
So deeply and so long.

And there was one
Had a fine frenzy in his eye
And leapt from blazing hillock to hillock
In his mind, his imagination striding
Dionysian, above the plains.

And was there one
Renewed all anguish in a thought
Or with his burning blood made all the causes stop?
His heart had meditated silence
So deeply and so long.

 

The Silence

On undemanding ground
Shot through with hollow sounds
Bird or bullet make
Or some other keen cry, I take
This man for model, though in truth
A small man of the town; and although
His grandfather was a thief
And his father worse than that,
I respect his grief, for what else can I
That wander in the clay?

There was a man had died
Frozen to the mountainside
And, nothing in his climbing pack
And less upon his withered back,
He ascended the wintry peak
Sang a rich bar tune and died.
It was out of pride
The old man had died.
He gripped a flute, knew God's great lie,
And had a clarity in the eye.

And at the last, a damned wretched gaiety
Suffused his frame.
Mountain echo upon echo
Hollowed out his fame;
Dying, trying once again
To empty himself of troubles by the score--
"This joy of death
Stops the breath."
In the trees, excited laughter;
And after, the silence.

 

Henry James

"Capacious imagination's faces fete my famishing,
take tea from a voice, a ghostly pour of steam
rising and soliloquizing, misting the thirsty features
drowned in their own pool of too-deep selfknowing.
Unhandsome Hawthorne, with a vibrant lie
and victorian necktie, I guess my susurrations linger
over trashed vowels, marked harmonies giving
my fine Irene her double edge of softness;
how, sometimes, the right face can mean salvation!
Howled down at the Imperial for my tea-tragedy last night,
too cinnamon-delicate for the masses' meat,
I know how our bodies will meld before our minds vanish....
Driving like a marathoner out of London into the foggy future,
the lifted Dover cliffs swelling the meridian
and loving my new auto's purring reach into the nebulous,
I watch for constellations past the turning wheel while
the shaky rearview mirror gives an intruding look."

 

In All This Abiding Blue

The sky is blue.
The blue man in the blue sky is blue.
There will never be a stop to the monotony
In all this abiding blue.

The undulations in Uruguay
Affect the meditations
Of Mrs Rhinoceros
Eating her ferina in highest fashion.

Macabre puppets of Anaxamander
Hanging lank in the spindled air
Interrupt the impecunious questionings
Of Peter asleep among the dorm's susurrations.

Dripping dreams of doubters on the rocks,
Their drub drub drub in blackest drams,
Falling among rocks
Scatters cats in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

And never in Atlantic city
O Never in Atlantic city
Will there ever be a stop to the monotony
In all this abiding blue.

 

Thief of Glory

Jefferson and washington, and all those famous men
That out of obscurity came, and were on enlightenment bent
As on some perfect woman's face, and had such holy measures
In their drums, out of what dark hole began?
Where had all that purposeless glory come?
O, man's a thief of glory, and steals it from himself.

Past turbulent lands and frenzied watercourse
Man finds but broken solitude, finds his own soul hidden there,
Gasps at his luck, summons all his wayward heart to swear
To keep it sacred; and then, lonely with his own audacity,
Perjures himself in the first company he meets.
O, man's a thief of glory, and steals it from himself.

Caravaggio's painted flank that struck God in a horse
Shimmering, floating there, radiant sky made flesh
Above the tumbled saint who crawled in dust away
And in that abject departure made his prayer.
What besides his human hand had put it there?
O, man's a thief of glory, and steals it from himself.

 

Four Paradigms

Perfumed Lavosier sniffed
A new world in, sighed a new one out.

Caravaggio's rearing horse proclaimed
Modern divinity.

Peter Seller's gardener lost
Compounded man and holy host.

The Giant in the cradle
Some sweet sanctity retains.

 

Fine Things

Some with horse-gestures and spiritual breath,
A fine noble neck that will not bend;
A fiery eye; talk that did not fade.
Alteration upon alteration given
No approving stamp, but in the house fine things 
Are kept. All is done as was done before.

Those few by right of rank
By every right that nature knows,
That contain such ancestry and grace,
Noble pause in speech and haughty face
That in manor-house or tenement the tradition's kept;
All remembered gaiety and high shows.

Enmities mended that would wreck the worst;
Beautiful things; beautiful books among the plates;
A bell that calls the spirit home.
All words a ritual word or look, or some
Action presaged in story or high song.
All is done as was done before.

 

In the Night

Some say heaven is a rest,
Bright clouds can close out light;
But I differ with that crowd
And contend my midnight's best.
All men are dust and must pluck their theme
From passing circumstance---
All that agony but a dying dream
Unless it make a farmhand dance.

The dervish and his spinning lash,
His tongue twisted in trance,
Repeats his antic rant before
God's whirling face.
Loveliness unbridled bore
No such look as that;
When heaven claps its bony wings
Individuation is forgot.

But unpopulated heaven,
Bare sky among blank fronds,
Floods my rebel keel from even---
Sudden with intemperate blood.
Robbed of vision I can feel
No palpable delight,
But stark hands that catch at escaping heels
Clasping in the night.

 

Once Manservant and Now No King

Once manservant and now no king
Since she the served and sweeping blast
Has hurdled death's ribbed gates again, slipped past
The soft portals opening and entered
The severed countries of the twanging grass.

All ants and minotaurs, and each graved thing
Is of its wicked pulse ice emperor
Under green stars flying backwards and the foreshortened blast
Of horse-headed winds that neigh each eye shut
Loping its crooked trot to dark.

Once queen in the skyey seconds of my breath
With no pale maids attending, and now
A girl with a hollow where her breasts had been
I crawl into the hours of my grief, and lie
In the rose lacquer of her lying-down breath.

Once haunted god by the ramshackle barn
Caved in centuries of twilight and worsted rust
I rummage the windings of this moment's moss
Bite the sands of our last hidden kiss
And breathe all ways at once your lost breath.