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.

 

 

Tend

flagstaff protected night sky nasa fin tend 2 cmpr

Nothing much has changed since you’ve been gone.

We’ve still been unable to locate the source of that relentless banging and drilling noise. Current theories in the Moonlight Bar, the place from whence all theories emanate, are that it’s a collective hallucination or a broadcast from some ubiquitous and invisible truck or car from out of town or outer space.

As usual the move from one speculation to another causes some kind of spooky resonance that makes all prior speculation seem true so by the time speculation begins to look like explanation what prompted the speculation in the first place is so far removed as to be unrecognizable.

Tourists still come ashore and shuffle glumly to the mounds where they think the temples were. They complain about the heat as if we created it and they want to chastise us for poor climate design, or, more like, for living in a place where they think it’s too hot for better sorts of persons such as themselves to live.

Still, sometimes some one of them will flourish in our climate and will stay behind, belonging here as we do because they don’t belong anywhere else–like you did when you loved us, if you ever really loved us. If you did.

Shortly after you left, the factory shut down, the company’s buildings and our fields were still smoldering as they sailed away. Perhaps they feared we’d somehow fashion ourselves into rivals with the sticks and broken rakes they left behind. Now we tend weeds and water stones, so even though the baas is gone, the baas is still here.

Last week the bishop manifested in our little town to tell us that we bring our troubles on ourselves, that our current sad state is some kind of delayed aftermath of original sin and a multitude of subsequent transgressions and maybe even more recent transgressions yet to be brought to light.

Late at night when everyone’s asleep so deep you cannot even see them in their beds, I wander the beach. Out there alone, I am my own continent, I lie down on the sand and look up, and imagine I am some amorphous massless creature wandering forever through cold space, yearning for another lonely creature, maybe a mate.

We looked for you everywhere, how could you leave us everyone said, surely you’d never leave us, you must have drowned in the sea, you must have been snatched up and carried away by some fearsome beast from the forest, you must have been abducted by the aliens. I’m the only one who knows you took your clothes and my cash.

Don’t think even for a minute that I can’t sleep without you or that I still wonder where you are or that I wonder if wherever you are you look up at night and see the same stars I see.

I don’t.

_________________________
image: small detail from Astronomy Photo of the Day 06 April 2008: http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap080416.html.

Where is the clear land

Where is the clear land whose outposts we pen and
crops raise with wishes though some are all edge.
You follow the lines wherever they go, then
your muse snaps the long leash tight when
sufficient’s not enough. But stick around and see
the four-o’clocks you grew with offhand seed
bearing without tending such vigorous bloom
to weep what can’t bear the weather or renew.

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

 

 

 

 

Untied

Reluctant happiness is
not to bear, is not
to pen
that spirit scrimmage.
Wind from nowhere,
open the door.
The cut that tears,
the trap of momentary
fickle good.
The universe so in
the head’s voice-over:
polyphonic
despite its fix,
unhinged
despite attachment.

Tied

O if there were knots
could tie the shining day
to its shininess,
migrate
ghosts loathe to leave their
home. Afterthoughts like
automatic writing–
waiting, waiting, waiting,
not to confuse
the memory of it with
the regret one later feels.
What happens that
cuts you back
attaches itself,
renovates the far mind,
arrives before you do.
Such tiredness not
to resist fortune
or where you hid in your
things–
some garbled message
from the darkling empire of
the rotary telephone.

the series ends

the series ends we ride off into
another life where none of the
scenes of our formerness or our
former faultfulness remain we
still have our little knives and
all our little dreams with their
fences and sluices we have
carnival rides and erudition so
the same same same in the
end end end O but this new life
after all that tar and pilfering
those vendettas and innuendoes
whence money now that other
life is done now that we’ve been
freed from our a cappellas and
contracts in what green room do
we now wait to tell our captive tale?