Embryonic Gesture The homunculus floats in a sweet, salty sea. In the darkness its first gesture is a translucent finger gently outstretched as if pointing to a future in a distance. Then a canted head or the wiggle of a mole’s toe. Perhaps a twist of the torso or a bent knee follows. Thus the embryo collects information in a galactic night while walking on water for only a short time until the future arrives with a blinding light and never ending noise. Falmouth, Maine 1-20
DOG TAGS To the soldiers whose suns have set over the beaches of Iwo Jima, the glacial ice of the Bulge, the fire storm of Dresden, the gangrenous limbs of Bull Run and the red mud of Da Nang, we try to remember but time obscures the agonies. Now part of the spectral universe you float above, boneless, muscle-less, mindless and weary of the search for resurrection while we below finger dog tags and conjure images of innocence, the browned skin at the beach, the football game, the prom, the suit, the flowers and the girl. Falmouth, Maine
Harley A lung full of Milwaukee muscle Pushing as far as it can go Down the blunt law of the asphalt, Iron pumping oil and fuel Through bellowing valves, The outlaw predator of the Badlands. Atop, a lord of America’s history, A lone Brandoesque heartbreaker Booted and leathered as the gunslinger Searching down the road For a Madonna, a muse of his poetic Where the bellicose stanzas of his song Barrenly echo in the clear space Of the purple canyon or the scorpion’s desert. The rider is a mystic of rebellion, His legs welded to an iron renegade Galloping uninhibited under a Dionysian sun Toward the freedom Of the intelligible revolt of sweet youth. Falmouth, Maine 3-20
EXAMINING A NUN Through the cloth I hear a heart, a saintly chanting heart. It has no reflection in the mirror. It’s an atmosphere, a vapor. It’s faith, blind and supplicating. I hear that the self has departed long ago to a land of ash, grey like a sin. There are no sins to hear through this cloth. They have been washed away to white, the pure nullish white of God, her god with no blemishes. Falmouth, Maine 08-20
BLUES In the languid months without my shadow I see that space even with its astral glow has so much darkness. A blue river runs through my heart with windy arms that hold me. I become Lorca’s dead orange tree that bears no fruit. I too ask the woodcutter to cut me down returning me to earth where gray flowers lay trampled by the feet of a dancing woman with flaxen hair. In her, innocent branches sway in a summer breeze. The sun is golden. It casts iron shadows. She was mine. Falmouth, Maine 08-20
NUCLEAR BLUE In the smoky sorrow, after the fall of the mourning curtain all has been burned to cinders leaving the ashy debris of our moments, The Towers – Columbine – Newtown and black mouths awkwardly singing a song of violent blues and massacre red. Yet, it is in our lullabies to our children that the colors of our future are brushed onto the canvas of human unity as small lives swell to the opening of life riding the current of innocence outward toward a landscape persevering despite the ultimate threat of a nuclear blue rain, not just another moment of deranged sanity but rather a collective application of a Jekylled science in the face of the collapse of human language, the very skin of our planet. Falmouth, Maine 3-20
Boardwalk A grey wind lashes off the channel. The tents are down, the Ferris Wheel dormant. Pennants flutter. Few straggle the boardwalk, some lonely, Wishing to be near the sea, the brooding parent. As we walk, you are coiled into me. Ours is the warmth of solitude shared, The intimate instant of anti-ecstasy, A reflection on primary reason hidden from the thievery of words. Now only the murmurs of quiet interiors, Cages where the canaries sleep Hooded from the torments of shadows Falmouth, Maine
You are asleep now. Your chest moves sweetly in and out. Syllables are quiet on your tongue and your head rests on the chest of the pillow like an exhausted lover. Our son sleeps in the next room, gently whimpering with the first dream, the astral bullet carrying the mystery of half sleep where the moon is a honeyed cream, the ichor of the gods themselves.
The house is quiet. The noises of the furniture, books and mice are gone. The clock ticks mutely. I am aware of time. I will never have this moment with them again. Minutes are bleeding away. There is no styptic. You and my son are voices in the snow, merely words falling and melting away.
And what of me lying here beside you? What am I but the blond son of Heraclitus standing on the bank of his river? I am merely an abbreviation of what I’m becoming. Neither of you will be with me in the estuary when I am subsumed by the sea, the vast and eternally amnestic nothing. I will not remember you.
Our home holds us together tonight. Its walls block the caprice of living a life on a revolving planet, spinning through the universe past wretch and glory toward its disappearance. Our encampment inside these walls is a safe district where we can sleep, dream and love sheltered from the weather of the seasons that revolve in a circle always returning until they stop.
The steely fingers of a winter evening, a heart wandering the landscape of love, the volume of the sea hurled against granite in spumy vanguards and in the wind from the north, a regiment of pine trees bent at the waist. The silent hour. The tall clocks have stopped. In time’s dark closet we drop our clothes and stand, flesh and bone. Enamored with our shadows we reach for the other half tone. The absent mirror shows no countenance. We are vaporous, lustful carbons, as we coil in our embrace. From it I dream of white apices, the room, the ladder to there, the mountain top. The visions come in the lonely haunting hours of morning when I smell a wood fire in the distance that is not mine. I smell the fragrance of day when I will shoulder curves of coincidence and chance as a stooping burden on a soul facing the arduous ravine of yesterday’s tomorrow. It is a sour weight, a mass of daily entanglements that fill the auricles with a serrated anxiety.
I wish to stay in the embered, iron warmth of this room where hands advance ten abreast into the shadows that please us, the shadows that live while dying in the absolute tangle of us. I want to stay hidden here in this room with you and my overcoat hooked in the corner uttering not a word of urgent dissent while the snow professes its nutritive silence.
Leather bag, red high heels, thick glasses for the eyes. Embrace of an old love remembered in the valley with the whistle of the train traveling toward an end that passes, too. Remembered as strong and agile. Remembered as innocent, emotionally myopic until the mocking bird, high on a wire, began to sing. Remembered then were his hands. His desire recalled as urgent. Tears of joy stained both young souls in an end that also passed.
Yellow taxi with slapping windshield wipers. Slush falling from the sky. Leather bag, red high heels, frosted thick glass for the eyes. Aloneness. The pond had lost the water. Dry. Remembered as an apartment high above the city, art, caviar. Dry. The pond with the sunfish was a thick wide mud caked with the rays of time, molecules in movement forever, an end she’ll never see pass.
Remembered as a lesson learned late while she looked out the window at the passing countryside and listened to the plaintiff whistle of an iron horse.
Fair children, white innocence, hearts of tenderness, shadows now on a brick wall at dusk. The mothers have called them home from the falling sky of night. Fish and potatoes, knives and forks, buttermilk, and the lies like mustard, smooth and bitter, warmly seductive. Purple mountain majesty stretched sea to sea, a land under God, a life for that land, a medal for an empty chest, a flag for a silver coffin, the futureless future of the eternal evermore.