Wanderer

eisberg fr felt mod 3

Nis nu cwicra nan
þe ic him modsefan
minne durre
sweotule asecgan.

you’re seeing

something out there
springing up: a waterspout
its listing shimmy far away
from windows deeply shuttered
like the ones you hid behind
when storms came or trouble
you always knew that things
that can’t be seen are only sound

places you go into with nothing much
in mind, so necessary to have
nothing in mind, to have a mind
with nothing in it when lightning comes
the hardest thing to do

pushed first this way then that
this boat is going over

the pleasure of
things without words
water running over a rock
or that day you stepped out
into that rigid cold
and shrugged in your clothes
something like a skin you
could move around in, some
shape you entered into then
discovered as your own

the first time you heard
the baby laugh, the only thing
in the world always like
the first time

you never imagined you’d die
the way you did
it teased you first
knocked you around a bit or a lot
let you sleep it off while it
cooled off in a close café
or in another hemisphere
got on a bus headed your way
no matter where you were

in the end, it would invite you
into a little room
not as cramped as a
confessional, not as luxe as the
ladies’ room you peeked into
in that hotel in Havana
warmth coming from somewhere
inside those marble surfaces
the stuffed tight couch and chairs
the deep mirror where
women leaned into their own
reflections, that look in the eye to eye
like someone distracted by
a thought not enough
to hang onto

watching them

feeling the things you felt

you stepped out for, say
a pack of smokes or idly
followed something that swayed
you were already falling
when it came, one small
searing point inside you
suddenly big as the world

even if you could have made a sound
even if you could have screamed
like a tornado,
you could not have matched
its everything, it had no other side

my friend, this is as far as I can go
from this world that’s not
the one you’re in, the one
where you arrived when you
were on your way to someplace else
with your tired luggage
happy, sad, trying
to find a place where
someone would be glad to see you

if hope can have an object
in the past, I hope that in the end
you weren’t alone, that some hand
touched you with kindness, hope
that if you had yearned for someone
it never crossed your mind
hope you didn’t think you’d lost
the things you couldn’t have
hope you knew you always had
all the things you had to leave behind

epigraph from the Old English poem “The Wanderer”
modified image; original at U of Washington Freshwater and Marine Image Bank http://content.lib.washington.edu/cdm4/item_viewer.php?CISOROOT=/fishimages&CISOPTR=53714&CISOBOX=1&REC=14

Back Down

That tunnel inside
the air we cannot
see is not invisible.
It slides beneath
our measure,
as if it knows we
do not see things
where we think
they cannot be.

To find what
escapes you
must go back
down to places
where you have
long not been.
You must inhabit
places where you
cannot breathe
and shelter there
where lightning
empties out.

Further down,
you must abandon
hopes you cannot
yet conceive,
they are so small
and so precise.
You must let go
your edges then
to sympathize with
bloodless things.
You must go back
down until it gets
too hot to stay
inside your
carbon cage.

The dead don’t
clamor as the
living do to know.
When they estimate
the universe,
matter doesn’t
really matter,
even though
our love,
perhaps,
holds them
to it far
too long.

Close Enough

The nudibranch family two blocks away
answers a mighty summons from the past,
desire for love like a roof overhead, light like

light from stars long dead, like the afterlife
of your feelings now you know. There is
no god of creatures, only rocks and rain,

no thought of you in any mind, just static
and a random cat escaped from physics,
rolling in sunshine, close enough to joy.

County Line

Like mist the county
rises, or maybe more like
the undulations
heat makes in time.

At a bend in
county line road,
in the shade of a mimosa:
policemen. One lounging
on an idling hood,
another tossing pebbles
at an innocent tire.

Anything come up out
that swamp they say
gonna pass through here.
The future is happening.
We got time.


Beside Inside

Always there is that one beside you
no matter the gray evening with its
piercing stars or the silent road, an
invitation to abide or go,
it is what’s made for you that’s not you,
the thing past you in looking glasses,
unseen quests and all unspoken poems,
parent of the street’s cacophony
the mess of executed thought, one
with your inside face, mysterious
to you still as collapsing stars or
water bears or even the water
that washes you or fills your cup, as
promising as all forgotten things.

Salvage

the wild man, the recluse, the rustic
edgeling, hermit, housebound, hidebound
when magic is so somewhere not here
even when here is not a muddled blunder
like low clouds distant mountains
or the hole in the series where
the lock was, where I was, and all
the other places you never look
the heart a little animal
running and running on the flat when
the next thermonuclear hijack
makes everything an over thing
the loners’ club, how it happens
no place in our underfoot is not
towered down creatures before us
abandoned places, all their giving up
how we survive such vast undoing

 

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

we alight

we alight
a branch, a pencil
someone’s hand
imagined home

our submarine, our coast
our delight, our new skin
our body bag

our moon, our outer space
our buddy the robot
roved out of orbit
equipment
left behind
is reprimand

the power hand
a lie, a command
a storied put-together
duct tape, spite
spit, static

our mystery scene
our screen seen
our camera that
shaky trope
disappeared
our all again

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.

 

 

 

In the far away

In the far away, something close,
the electrified matter of touch,
how it runs from skin to bone
and sits in your being,
what love there is in human hands.

The cool of the screened porch,
outside inside, bowls in our laps,
peas still warm from the garden
so many to shell, so much light
in that sinking time of day.

The mockingbird’s back–
who shall I be for you
any everything, even not bird,
and who shall you be–
for me? All I am is sound.

 

 

 

This is the part where no one

This is the part where no one stands up or
someone does but can’t think of what to say,
tongueless bell—see, like that: all the words
already used up. We leave, who knows where
we go or where we’ve been when we return.

Who will stand up for us? No one at those
impromptu concerts of the past where the
things we thought we knew approximate just
about anything else–stars, lace, something
that flew out of someone’s breezy red car.

That’s what you get for listing off to the
side, it taking forever to get out
of bed or creep down the block . Nonetheless,
If you were here for an eternity,
you could wear this old slow rock away.

This is the part, isn’t it, where you call
your own bluff and don’t confess to the
particular things you had in mind, the
part where you discover someone’s
silence wasn’t the reserve of deep thought.

The god who strolls in this garden we tend,
has some bad news about the weather plus
a few things we’d forgot we’d done or not.
No use in that was then—it runs down
into the earth for ages, this stacked ruin.

What did anyone feel in any new
place with all the dead underfoot, living
much as we do except for their patience
and obdurate good cheer, except that we
love them as we do not love each other.

Even in this late limning of our hearts,
the abandonment procedures require
amnesia about the part where we were
staking listless roadside trash and our
future—already aflame—barreled past.

 

 

 

The part where hearts get broken

This is the part where hearts get broken
though not all at the same time
or in the same way–there’s still time.
The terror team might come to town
with some slight expanding in their
minds till all that’s left is undoing.
Or perhaps a movie crew, inspiring
awe and hospitality just because
they have the charm of somewhere else.
But I digress. After all, it takes
only one of two to think the other
feels the same–something uneven up
ahead, but any flutter in the
universe will do for explanation.
That won’t last. This is the part in which
all other parts are forgotten, more or
less, in favor of the chemistry of
hope, the feeling someone’s always with you
when they’re not, the embellished fetish
of absence. In that imaginary land
in which time together is too short and
time apart is endless, time collapses–
you jerk awake at an alarming
border, on a bus in someone else’s
screwy dream, those guards, if they don’t
like the looks of you, they’ll shoot.