Tree, woods, cave, wheel

The jump tree to tree
or the rupture there where you
were, here where you are.

Backwater, deep woods–
something human crops up in
the sift, bronze or bone.

In the cave things feel
larger than they are, every
dark thing but exit.

This little wheel we
drive drives us while all the while
wonder awaits us.

 

 

 

Where the pen went

Where the pen went,
the mind had flown
where the mind flew
it paced the air, waiting
for a clear runway,
running out of fuel
above the spinning
earth atilt, askew,
a manuscript of crossings
and erasures to the west,
below, the glassy eyes
of lakes and rivulets
the mirrored sun
flashing up, flashing
into that mind that was
all engine roar and
perturbation, knocks
and sudden drops
and sudden altitude.

Paddycake

met terra cotta woman mirror crop 1 mod

paddycake paddycake
make us a man
make him run
fast as he can
send him to the city
send him to the town
give him a hand can
knock walls down
set him in a sliver
set him in a comb
send him to the country
send him out to roam
make him amuse us
make him fight our wars
give him a shadow
give him claws
adam cadmon
earth and sand
paddycake paddycake
make us a man
give him a word
no one can hear
give him a prayer
no one can say
send him to the airport
put him in the ground
make him tell us
where he’s found
send him with the spirits
send him with the waves
give him the keys
to every rock and cave
put him in a tumbler
put him in a boat
give him a beard
like a billy goat
give him all our kisses
give him all our clothes
let him know things
nobody knows
make him fearsome
make him wise
give him sticks and
stars for eyes
make him bad and
make him good
an army of banners
a tower of wood

________________________
image: Metropolitan Museum of Art http://www.metmuseum.org/collections/search-the-collections/248689

My History of Knitting

All did and none committed still
some escutcheons translate the past
other artifacts fill everything
a bright blue sky with silver blimps
and miscellaneous persons
asking where the rockets are
where where where
idling at the light, binoculars
the dead giveaway of the damned
such misfortunes plagued us
left us wanting at the throwaway
such small things they were, too
just a little killing and the like
later on a mountain and a slough
and words, lots of them, so many
even the vandals called for a truce
the going, in short, was rough
they were still darting into the shadows
the minions were out laying blame
the rest of us under the shade tree
so many were calling out, and that
would be my history of knitting.

 

 

Words like fences or dams

Words like fences or dams,
something you can’t see through,
something to keep things in check until
you’re alone with yourself–
there’s just no escaping genre.

That thing not recognizably you,
things you’ve taken on for no good,
where the surprise came from–
what, were you not looking?

Better a hand to keep from harm–
shoot well the hart says to the hunter–
the field’s still wide open
but the world’s compressed into
the worst possible place.

How love makes difference, then
how there’s no sorting what’s asunder
when you didn’t know it was.

willow

willow willow willow
our darling singing at the well,
and up and down our road
sweet as longing that song but
the singing of it’s dying, it’s
the dying that’s all wrong, yes
the world’s a huge thing
but not much for worn pockets
or a bodice with a heart in it
or a closet full of stones
what is it that they do
when they change us for others?
oh my dear, you must know
they think to change themselves
willow willow willow
where they want, they will
where they will, they go

 

 

 

italicized lines from Othello

Whose Cat Is That Oh Frank O’Hara

whose cat is that
oh Frank O’Hara
the sound of your typewriter
like a voice-over traveling down
fifty years
all your everything
should have been
in that message we sent
into outer space
at least the address
of your voice
saying in everything you said
I’m alive I’m alive I’m alive
and that’s not all: here you are
on film with a friend
you’re reading what you’ve written
then writing on that typewriter
and still talking to the friend
and the phone rings
and you keep typing and now
you’re also talking with
the friend on the phone
being filmed for educational TV
Alfred Leslie is holding my hand
and another cutaway to the cat
are you also communing with it
has it escaped alive from
the black box to arrive
like an emissary in your apartment?
I bet even your cat
could type and talk and think
and write big and live big life
everything every moment
all at once other people
only think they can
What is happening to me
goes into my poems

yeah that but also how that looks
from here outside—
you were the happening, man
nobody had to tell you
or your cat
to be here now
what wonder in a world
with your mind inside it
your wild mind
your love mind
your New York state of mind

Where we rested

Where we rested in green shade,
graveyard crickets like alien visitations,
now thunderstorms, rain marching slant
across a broad tin roof, drumming
in your head—no one stays to listen
now, always only passing through
not to pass the time. That smooth
water you bend down to—things
mysterious from a former life appear,
it feels suddenly as if we’ve forgotten
the use of simple tools or discovered
we have tails and wonder what to do
with them or with that instinct to
climb and hide instead of run. Alarm
thrills through you to think perhaps
that memory may be anticipation.
There’s that flat sky bearing down—
there we are out in the wide day
striding about upright like creatures
with no natural predators, or squat
on some beach idly drawing galaxies,
our first implements, sticks in sand.

 

 

where is where

rising sea levels, marine radiation
approaches the float where it is always
Tuesday no matter where you look like
many mental excursions my love has
no place to go, I still expect to see you
in the dark box the dark side, we see your
shore lights back of the house our love is
despair, our despair a piercing light
where we started there begins a road that
always ends with you, the malaise still here
with its cautious sad buddy we cruise your
coastline, come to this place for you, vast
days open up, nowhere is where you were