The road grader lies idle by its chaos. the cloud strewn
winter afternoon. barren sidewalks of a small town sunday.
gas stations and laundromats. pay day snarl outside the liquor mart.
walk on by it stalks. run and it is no task to catch up.
the river and its flow. gasoline tanks in the hot sun. an
empty bird cage swinging in an empty cottage. two lovers dancing
beside the vows they made where the mountains watch. the whale cow
and her solitary moaning. 5th Avenue dust blowing in a canyon
of steel and glass. a deep forest tree waiting its turn to be
felled by the ax of an insatiable woodsman. old clothes hugging the body
of a beggar. bald and aging harry stands at the front door of
his barber shop silently beckoning. two heavy glass doors of
the bank each bearing the word push. a priest and his ministry watching
as the local parishioners steal the polish off the rectory door.
A patrol car is seen turning a corner at sunset.
the night does not seem to stop its reconnaissance. two old men
in the park accost each other with their chess pieces. one lonely
candle burns in the temple. on the desert a gun is raised
and yet another viewpoint is extinguished. a man and his lady,
their shadows jerk and spin and an empty bottle of gin. factory smoke.
in harlem glass is pushed out of windows in preparation for summer.
a sprawling restless suburb spewing out
its traffic towards metropolis. megalopolis.
space and stars and the cosmic wind eyed by poets and
admirers of faraway things.
The woman child discharging babies into the vertigo of the human world,
and taxicabs jam the hospitals and surgeons rush their scalpels
to white rooms where nurses plan their spread eagle dreams.
rushing wind of tree light amber.
Transfigured dawn islands behind the volcano and
vulcan keeping tight and belligerent hold upon his tribesmen.
capricious captains of wayward sails and blind wood bearers
worshiping the idle voluptuous dawn. it’s a common place amusement.
Two guitarists at the window by the night.
the moon rides gingerly over the space where jungle meets swamp.
the air is filled with morning and we awaken to it like gypsies.
blood and violence both rushing over sanguine dreams.
the hypnotist and his magician hand in hand in the alley.
the highway motions and the sea distorts and the
heart empties its vessels and brick upon
brick and the worn patterns of the ancients and the brooding whispers
of the virgins of the clotheslines.
Sunday morning, the rustling sound of priestly garments.
newspaper gatherers and the hock shops. yellow denver and
hippies on bicycles.
the morning stretches across the household trash and an
old crumpled newspaper on the porch. it is winter and the
snow being familiar with all certainly knows its place.
The dew on your eyes. the spider its fly in web near stone.
there is a plane overhead and the thoughts from it descend.
three billion antennas below are all hooked in. the messages are
ensnared and processed to no known benefit to anyone. on a lonely mountain
in California astronomers from the college are trying to capture
the sun in a mirror. it is waiting in the fiber of every cell and the
stalk of the brain.
The film in the camera whirs as fleeting image on eye to brain
is somehow frozen for later viewing. local mountain potters meet
at their convention in nashville. scientists are busy constructing the
gene that will plague them the most with notoriety. the days
of the witchdoctor and the tribal elder are lastly diminishing.
dope has been uprooted from its plant and the various colored capsules
are running amok in tender toothed bodies and the most delicate minds.
the feminist, the jingoist, the conman, the adulterer, the faithless, the
fleabag and the lawyer are all waiting on the same line at the bank,
are all dividing their assets by the time that is spent. they too
The street cleaner with his cracked lips and parchment visage with
his cigarette and his private thoughts. the bus stop. the
gas station. the doors of stores and restaurants unlocked letting
in their morning patch of sky. morning coffee waits patiently
in kitchens for the men stumbling out of their night time daydreams.
the women and their silent bravado, the town lies in its contradictions
a candle and mirror to the bewildering age. nearby the mountains
cradle their momentous glaciers silently catching stray planes
whose pilots could not measure the proper respect, who lie
buried and whose bones have been polished in the snow.
the islands of humans with their thinking and planning and chaos
remain solemnly in their shelters as the wind marks its way across the
plains. the cows and cattle graze, and the sun finds it’s way to the
mountains where it plummets and ignites the clouds to a final
The world is a place of cycles and unfinished remembrances.
churches are built and once a year christ climbs back on
the cross and once a year the pilgrims seek their admonition.
droughts come and go and calves fall like timber in heavy spring
blizzards. the romans came and left a highways and a certain yearning
for architecture. flowers and flies and tumbleweeds all have their
seasons. civilizations secretly worship the time they so boldly
Bells in their stolid churches. odd people walking upright
like the old reeds they are keep the memories of their children
in the air about them as they go about their morning business.
if the day is not too cold nor the air too hot, they will gather
themselves on benches and exchange both rude and pleasant things.
children are so much like their parents and parents so much
like their kin that there are always jealousies and petty crimes.
and to every family are born upstarts who hold up mirrors mockingly.
but in all the shops and hospitals, drugstores and restaurants
there is laughter. old kingdoms fall stubbornly and death is usually
premature. delight and tragedy mingle at the borders, all good
soldiers and policemen patrol fantasies and help preserve the public
fear. but there is laughter. when god created the human he
created laughter and fools are those devoid of it.
The child comes out, he moans and he sways in the shadowy
world about him. he tests the air and smothers the cares of the
ancients who guide and cajole caress and complain about the ways
of the land and the wind, he piles up the
scream in his belly and holds on with the power of mirth to
innocence that will only be missed when its gone,
the marvels of the world and the shadows and the air embrace him.
The child plummets into the excesses of time but time never
goes and never rests but stays behind burrowed in some crevice
of the terrain in the mind of the man with his personality
engaged in its ritual of masks.
It stalks the infant, the child and the man, the baby together with
his adolescent and adult. death stalks and consumes them all.
And the child comes out to repossess himself and
demands his innocence finding instead
dead rituals complacent words and an elaborate structure of evasion.
what price to pull it down and start again from the
air and the earth and the trees. what labor to dig up the
spirit and refashion the place of its home.
in the catacombs where these questions flounder, death waits by the
whisper of the rushing ages.
Kings of their various courts and their respective conclusions, no one in
the realm immune, every body engineered to succumb.
The summer air above the prairie
the plant inside its living room
the telephone that sits within the air of its ring
the beer can at the corner store waiting,
the great artists traveling about the world squeezing color out of
the rocks for canvas,
the minks idle in summer storage.
baby seals and the aging ideals of a rootless youth.
And who will catch a bullet for a shapeless idea making it’s rounds
in legend and backroom cadres. bombs construct themselves
in the basement.
Cleopatra catches her lord between two legs at the drive-in movie
on saturday night with a bag of popcorn stationed on the dashboard
and a bottle of gin on the floor.
The silver screens of the make believe empire
barter death and make life uncertain, risky and subject to the
unswerving contempt of the law.
Three wide-eyed impetuous children extract an entire
world from one wrought iron fence. find delight and cause for celebration
from the cracks in the sidewalk. dance to the great beating drum of
the heart. the light of the day is the oasis. great powers hide
beneath them. ready. always needy. the magic time unfolds.
The all white maharaja divine light mission band gathers
at the doorway to their church. the backpacked-longskirted-downjacketed-
mountainbooted- all white middle class divine light mission band is
having its reunion and invitational sun dance competition. the whitefrocked-
fulllotus-evermeditative-always gay and humble divine light mission band
is having its biweekly conference on the road to realization. the
magic bus is ready. the staff is well equipped. the
leader is on the wire to india and temporarily indisposed.
across 17 avenue three drunks confer and exchange their regrets.
a police car waits in the shadows.
Beneath the shadows
beneath the wild uncertainty
beneath the breath of culture,
love waits, longs to be fulfilled, demands to be satisfied.
childhood’s urge to be embraced and swallowed whole,
to be loved with abandon by the open succulent and
abiding arms of mother eternal is not diminished with age, but
simply hewn into desire. love makes children of us all.
the need to be rooted in love binds all of humanity and can make or
break the human spirit. love is the lyre on which we play, and
the fire in which conscious life is forged.
living unfolds around the relentless breath of time, and
we have no recourse but to dance our singular dance
though plagued by gravity’s severe disposition.
all players on earth’s platform carrying with us the
accumulated baggage of our journey. universe is enfolded within our eyes,
yet we have but meager vision.
our intellect can grasp the subtleties of motion,
yet we learn almost nothing.
we fear both the intimacy of living and our final destination.
we are but a mass of amazing contradictions.