Monday, November 30, 2015

Invincible Summer

You can still see Vega
over the garage roof,
even in early December,

when the Winter King
is laboring up the eastern sky,
leaning on his stick,

and cursing the housetops;
and though Orion shakes
his shaggy wondering head,

after his long summer blindness.
She's still there, and the writ of her blessing still runs.
And beyond, beyond,

is the white lob of the Moon,
drawing kiltered squares
through all the blanched windows of the world:

here and across the mountains,
where the road outruns its colors,
and a pale face is turned to the pale sky.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015


Come to the window,
where one orange leaf
sobs against the pane;
where chrome diamond insets
lift the light and throw it down.

The extra fabric of your collar is there
to fill my hand and splinter the news
of your warm neck through my fingertips:
ten thousand messengers
all running different ways,
bearing the same message
to the same end, while
the the rippling radiant cold of the glass
meets your breath halfway.

The fool
has said in his heart there is no God:
but he has never kissed you.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Standing With France

Well, sure, I stand with France, no more or less
than I did yesterday: I meanFrance
that sent the fleet to Yorktown, Comte de Grasse

kissing Washington on both cheeks, you remember, hein?
and ladies of Paris, who tickled Ben Franklin's 
ambassadorial toes of a morning

we go way back, France and us. Way back.
But as the dawn rolls across the uplands, gray and sad,
my finger traces my river's long descent, 

a shallow groove as of a Gallic beaver 
dragging its tail in the New World sand.
Let alone, say, all the hats and pipes,

and the voluble suspect chatter of men
who slyly learned the Iroquois, and 
taught our English Wordsworth how to sin:

no more or less than we did yesterday. 
Listen: it is not heroic to suffer
it is simply how the chain breaks, here and here.

L'héroïsme, it is 
in what we bother to repair,
and what we leave alone.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Five Paragraph Essay

There are moments when you crowd close to the computer screen like a moth to a scorching light bulb: surely the end of the uncertainty is here, there, somewhere; the moment when the runners and the tracks will line up, and the door will open smooth and sweet to

Summer, remember summer? She stuck her tongue out just as you were trying to kiss her, rude sun and cold water and the trees seesawing in the wind. You could get through if you just remembered the password,

But the problem is not that you don't remember the password, it's that you remember scores of them, maybe hundreds of them, and your fingers remember more. Ease back, ease back, you poor tired old pack horse. After a life a of carrying, what is one more fall and winter? For every weakness

There is an equal and opposite strength in your swift fingers. You know more than you know you know, lad, and the arc traced even by a winter sun can drag you skyward before you know it. Give it up now. Line up these talismans: sun agate, penny of a cowrie shell, missing turquoise sea glass, plastic "I love you" valentine (drowning in a crystal sea.) Each of them taught you something you had to know, something that even now you tell over when

The blood begins to make too much noise in your head, late at night. There is a place of rest; there is turn; there is a landing, however rough. Don't try to see too far ahead. Take an easy breath, and peel the shell away from your aching head: it will be tender, like all new things, and sensitive to sunlight, but what did you expect?

Sunday, November 08, 2015


Sleeping and waking, "Being for the Benefit of Mr Kite" has been running through my mind: And lastly through a hogshead of real fire...

I dreamed of struggling up an earthy cliff to a turf plateau, roofed over a couple feet above the grass. There were women laughing happily up there, in that narrow space.

Steady rain at last, yesterday all day: never a window for running. I'll have to get the clothes to run in the rain, I suppose. Jeans will not do. More rain this morning, and crows calling to each other.

In his way 
Mr K 
will challenge the world!

Heaped clothes and bangles and stockings on the sofa, like the boudoir scene of 1980s movie, and I the the old magus figure, I suppose. The windows look out only onto the hedge. I wanted to out walking in the rain. Sometimes you're just waiting, as Arlo Guthrie put it, waiting for the song to come around again. In the meantime, I put my gnarled old hands on those young shoulders and called on the rain gods. It's enough: even when the world is a little shrill and uncalibrated. He works his work, I mine.

And the other tune from long ago: John Sebastian singing but darling come home soon --