Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Fantasy Nature Assemblage

Leaves of grass map dry mudflats,
openings for worms to take chances
to grow like grass, waiting for rain
to return them swimmingly
and fishing girls to pick them
from thin puddles and lay them
twisting in plastic tubs.
Who would ask the girls about
the glamorous aura of worms
or list the shapes of haloes
once documenting stone faces?

To love the earth from the depths of its thinginess
entails not just hunger but humor:
as the hungry cows moo to the girls
in late summer fields
the Dachshund moos to us.
So we lead each other to go see
jets mirrored to sluice willy-nilly cloudbursts
dropping home in parables of love
and dropping darkness and lightning at destinations.

Blackouts pass in intervals.
Transportation is at a premium.
Clouds give way to rain and grain,
grain is compacted, steer hooves
clamoring out of the closing bullet
a ballet, for which we are always late
as in the alliance of pollywogs
pointing cutely to true north.

(October 2012)

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Remembrances of Our Place

Like the god lying down in the mountain
hand rising at the watery horizon
and the baritone gaining control
of several operatic languages
I want to drive, no longer driven
as a lost boy not to stray, under cover, borrowed cover
calling like sin to throttle my hippocampus
so busy not to sort the chaff and coincidence.

Faraway, nature has a field day with reverse psychology--
fertile entanglements fill a matrix
at closing time no longer welcome to go home
without coats and tails unraveling
and always longer half-lives
set out to test one's mettle to love the land,
to put up and leave handles for branded vandals,
or shut up, pissing on sand castles.

Friday, 19 October 2012

Military Industry: A Child Can Make Mustard Gas

As boys we did our best
to live up to the president’s
idea of going to the moon,
pooling our chemistry sets
and toolkits, borrowing
the kitchen helmet
and books from aunts
with drafted brothers
while the West Coast
learned to get high
in horned-rimmed glasses
and the rest of the country
waited for California
to slide into the Pacific.

So many Greek syllables on the way to the stars,
calculus ifs spinning out escape velocities
prone to variable entangled radiance, quanta
in elongated shadows for every action
a shadow action, the gist always close at hand

in the Bunsen burner’s feeble, steady hope
we took our cue to fold equal parts
sulfur and iron filings over a rising blue glow
enveloping so that it separated into stages,
pellets to stash away in test tubes
while we concentrated hydrochloric acid
following the formula for century gases
in the World Book Encyclopedia.

(Tacoma 2000)

Tuesday, 16 October 2012


Here on the peninsula letting one’s hair down
has its own apotheosis,

part of a communal unconsciousness bridging Parmenides and Jung
with Rosa Luxemburg’s fashionable visit to escape commodity fetishism

and beat one’s own laundry on stones again—
time slows long enough to dry and to try to find time to dawdle

naked in shallows, as the sight in a movie
of a dugout canoe filled with red feathers.

Just rattling on about it will do the trick, staging more
with candles and incense, honoring not one or a few gods,

but anything that holds a tune,
even in pentatonic scales that seem to have holes in them.

dimes sent spinning undermine conversation. Word of mouth
does not alleviate the gaps, will not reinvent history,

a process—yes, a oneness—no. As if it were more sincere
to keep noses to grindstones found with us one day,

like the comfortable queen-sized bed
your friends have always dreamed you of having,

more impetus to work, go west or east
to seed in the open air of the internet,

planting roots, flashing lights in the landscape
of all the rules attuned to and invented

as we go along watching the turning of leaves,
trespassing forward from fuzzy beginnings.

(Tacoma 2003)