Monthly Archives: May 2014

“The Eye”


“The Eye”

The eye that spies the ends is blind to all beginnings. Behold the interim goal
Of travellers en route to respective vanishing points. Oh, the distant stations.
Occupied, souls espoused to the indicative,
to common motive, patrimony, emanations
Of the suns of their peculiar blessings in demise
mouth creation’s inner and outer wholes,
Divide the daily spoils, weights and ballasts
with blessings to them who bear it all:
“Tis a consummation” in fortitude “‘devoutly to be wished” *
at every turn about the stage with radiant acquiescence;
Seeing ten’s and multiples in terms of one’s and nothing’s, natural dissidents
For marking time with mercurial devotion,
schemes and schedules, all attend the call
Of Tiresias in the mornings of a hoary age that worships moonlight’s
Witnesses to lighting embers, they who are but never where they’re going.
Yes of course the hammer falls,
nocturnal sparks provide an impetus to groaning.
Who will ask for more? Burdens roam the night, the midnight rites
For teeth and tongue and pallet that rarely speak
but yield to winds that lift the veil
Of utterance in wondrous tongues
of worlds that must evolve and cannot fail.

* The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, Act 3 Scene 1, by William Shakespeare [1586-1616]. First Folio 162

“I Cannot Tell You Otherwise”

“I Cannot Tell You Otherwise”

I cannot tell you otherwise but what I know:
There is no love, no lasting show beyond the tickle
Of the feet, the off-hand movement toward the fickle
Minute hand, the whisper of aurora borealis in a fortnight’s cosmic show.
What subtleties in remission can there be with suns that fall
And rise so rapidly that days and weeks I no longer feel or see;
The reaches of the dawn and dusk provide what cannot fatten or appease
The instincts, terrors in the mortal coil  that shriek beyond the call
Of mental awe and spiritual endurance?  Their rising and their falling
Force a torpor, a revulsion, an inertia born of galling
Impediments, weights and  incremental ravages of stalling
Seasons  steeped in  fecund light and deadly calling—
Rigid yet? pernicious, yes!—as hungers carved in something even stones
Cannot recall: a stroke of fate, a rolling of the dice, another casting of the bones.

“Pacific Vision”

“Pacific Vision”

Pacific vision; a single cigarette, a candle
In a valley, the briefest transfer from so little matter
To some causal spark seen perhaps for miles, the latter
End of someone’s missing afterthought, and this, the mantle
Of exchange thus expressed is moot before an audience of sand
So far from its former station, progeny of mountains, so utterly lonely
Yet brilliant in insignificance because their present star is the only
Periodic indication seen of its kind. This fogbound hope is contraband
Of just another dawn.  A natural barrier, then, between the two
Of us ignites the enigma of a natural force, twice the paradox,
Thrice the witchs’ warning, the latest news from deep within the box.
I rest beside a celestial screaming stream, a protégé of simple views
And even simpler decisions. Dilemmas offered to the least in rhyme
Retain their energies but sacrifice their matter to the woof and warp of time.

“Elemental Feelings”

“Elemental Feelings”

Elemental feelings;
It’s small talk, yes, but meaningful and always there.
The slightest gesture, private confidence, but momentary flare,
But solids, frog to frog, the profusion of birds and things
That should come as no surprise in such a setting. These hidden
In the undergrowth we speak to one another
Here, and as it happens always one beside the other
In that singular common way, both so self-satisfied, bidden
By particular amenities, at home both here and on the street.
Yet I once found anger in conversation atop the Empire State,
And in that brief exchange my soul took note that at that rate,
The place made not the slightest difference in the heat
And meaning of the thing. I thought as much when I got home,
And from that day determined, actors not the stage apprise the tone.

Be fit for more than the thing you are now doing. Let everyone know that you have a reserve in yourself; that you have more power than you are now using. If you are not too large for the place you occupy, you are too small for it.

President James A. Garfield
[November 19, 1831 – September 19, 1881]

“Why write the book?”


“Why write the book?”

“Why write the book?” again she asks. Why resign or redesign
The box? Had she created how she spells
Herself, she might not raise the spectre of ephemera across the line
With all the others―no one here more the guest than she, herself―
Addressing: Who? or What? What for?
“Who was it did this thing?” she asks
As Aristotle turns another page for her she knows―a turn
Of phrase, all fine philosophy aside―and she’ll negotiate the door
That is not there or sit right down where she is. She’ll read or write or worse,
She’ll believe and leave another Orpheus on the floor. She’ll break
Her water, claim it’s all so sudden much too late
To ponder what it is she says within a second second verse,
“But, where’s the point of vanishing, and what the cue to reappear?”
She’s here, if nothing else with nothing less and nothing more to fear.

…painting by Valerie Hardy…

“Dissent Amongst the Cows”

“Dissent Amongst the Cows”

“Dissent amongst the cows is what it is.
We’re lost out here, my friend, and if we take a step
Back a day or two or perhaps an hour to what we stepped in when we swept
Aside the bull we ask at last where he got his ribbons. This
Last first deep silence in the shallows is the reply that gives us clout,
That margin’s full of error, just a scratch that leads to blood and niggling feelings
Sending all who contemplate the Market and the Mayan Calendar reeling
Sideways to something more than beef and less than doubt.
We’ve asked the magic question and here in time receive
The latest wounds and bulletins in brain disease: “We oppose what
Isn’t there or what’s expressed in mass superlatives, and seconds cut
To save the scions of denial not so hidden in the artificial hay, conceive
Freely and at the ready for an oddly specious fact
Expressed upon the cud, at best inured because
we form the chorus to delight Jocasta caught smiling in the act!”

I also had a brother who was like me a musician and a composer. A man of great talent, far more gifted than I. He died very young
… he killed himself in the prime of his life.

Gustav Mahler
[7 July 1860 – 18 May 1911]

Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired,
signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.

President Dwight David Eisenhower
[October 14, 1890 – March 28, 1969]

“Settle It in Yourself”

Christopher Zhang

“Settle It in Yourself”

Settle it in yourself who I am
And who I’ll always be, whether in the present
Mist that veils your eyes or at some future bridge, a resident
Of residue and exigency, a necessity for the nonce, only.  The man
I am abides the evident and final verdict.
You’ll turn the page, perhaps,
And probably discard the volume on your lap
For tomes of better binding, fresher leaves, a sweeter sap
And staple than maple or hemlock; a shot of déjà vu within a wider cap.
Still, it falls to me to rest within the afterglow,  abide
The whole, and to these ends both of us were born.
Forgetfulness is sound advice; while in the cage a single page is torn
From some eternal book and words enough remain to satisfy
The need to let it be a test between us, firmly stated, fully formed:
We face the same eternity and once created cannot be outworn.

…painting by Christopher Zhang…

“One Further Yesterday”

“One Further Yesterday”

One further yesterday, the cinders linger still, the greeting on the lips
Of flocks of fine bovine acquaintances and many-frenzied friends
Who must now fall and from whom all consequences flow, the bliss of ends
And obscure sins were deemed a Holy Rapture  but not so long ago. The icy tips
Became but sirens to the boys whose tongues were frozen, locked on fences built
To keep the snow bank from the doors and tempt us all as something to explore,
Some infantile rule to contemplate. So much for  winters knocking at the doors
Of childhood’s reason; adieu the stuff of puerile goals and purposes. Some quilts
Sewn from plenteous philosophies that never made it to the couch or if they had
Were gathered with no need to make the bed nor turn the covers down.
He sleeps alone tonight as he did then; no need to frown
On frosts on feral days and nights when as it happened he was glad
To be his own best friend and knew whose kin and friendship nearer
Came to roost when before each sleep he gazed once again into the mirror.