Tuesday, March 31, 2015

HEART THREAD 287 & 288


When it caught me I was the meadow
but we all have a right to that green place
where every flower is a telephone to hell
because the colors we see so variously are the mind of somewhen else
far away right beneath our feet
or did you Lady beneath our skin
where the shining trumpets blaze drums dare to touch
is it there or is it there
of course the land I mean is someone else
right here if only I’d stop talking
if only you would speak
saddest of all songs white-throated sparrows’.


Coming to feeling
no one knows what a word means in the mouth of the other
this is axiomatic not even the skin knows
who touched me? for I felt the power reaching out from me
touch heals but who or whom
what does the skin know of touch
intention or accident love or scorn the earth is blue
that’s all we knew
enough to be a pirate in a sea of talk
stand by your word until it falls
bury it not on the fertile prairie
bury it in language that café
full cup the church most godly.

Monday, March 30, 2015

HEART THREAD 285 & 286


Life stops at any moment but the story goes on
that’s what’s wrong with it, this imaginary present tense
weirder than any future hold me in your hands
because I was war and got over it or praised the seen
read the original clay of Gilgamesh with your fingers
there is no scholarship but the waking heart
for saying is all and thinking is few
those dim magistrates dismiss all evidence
if you believe your eyes you’d believe anything
I’m an agnostic when it comes to me
I speak to the simplest things because they answer me
the question I really meant for you. 


Smash the tablets at the gate
to speak in the tongues of all of you
I need to answer what you do not ask
isn’t that what polis is for
the heads to hang crowns on and laurel wreaths
rhapsodic recitation of the obvious
smooth as religion
but it’s hard in summer when the gods are far
we linger in our bodies no more sense than the day’s news
now I put on my father’s green coat
and speak another language taught by the mirror
seen through tears as he went away.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

HEART THREAD 283 & 284


But what if it’s all  wrong
every few minutes a boy comes by and takes an apple
you  never know when he’s coming
you’ll never know how many apples you have
it turns out the sea really is made of ink
and we are the scripture that it wrote
are you ready for me yet to read and leap
the bull calf sprinkled with wine and daisies
offered living to the Place he stands in
grazes and lifts to gore the trembling light
live forever is what he says it says
a sutra that has soared up then fallen from our whys.


Get your work done before the sun comes up
how the day curls up at your feet
time changes and you stay the same
for once your skin fits you
suddenly there are flowers in the rose of Sharon
you start remembering all manner of pink things
the day wakes up again and bites your ankle
memory is the thief of time
rub your lantern bright and go down the cave
lick the pretty pictures off the wall
that’s what eyes are for you think
those bottomless wells where the light gets lost.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

HEART THREAD 280 & 281


Flute in the nineteenth century the phone is ringing
yes I am guilty of everything
all I did all I do was this
birds walking on the roof just like the French poem
but the sea is very far
one arm of it though strikes through the land
the River North into a different skin
as far as a ship can sail against the grain
for this is a wooden world and I am wooden too
no one hears the suffering of trees
so caught up with using them leaf shade and timber
and these are my leaves I leave for you. 

Under the tunic the wound begins to bleed
losing the city was worth it we get to find it again
we had to set the image free
with blood I mark crisscross on this stone
nearby an altar chiseled by no iron
defiled only by a word it speaks
through my palms the rock talks up my arms
this was the first stone in the world
jihad against the unbelieving emptiness
fight for the vibrant hollow of the spacious mind
blood was meant to be the secret ink
writing the sutra of reality deep inside your frame.

Friday, March 27, 2015

HEART THREAD 278 & 279


So that everything fits into one thing
the voice of that one thing is heard
the grace you give me let me tell you everything
the slow highway to Toronto roadhouse on the lake
the crowded yellow bed in Montreal
the waterfall in Assam
all of these could be my name
but comedy is finished the epic begins
my cousin’s will in probate lyric as a lotus
my grandfather looked like Wallace Stevens but he could smile
haven’t I followed Dante step by step
if your ears are clean you will hear my Tuscan lisp.

It scares me when I get personal
like those dreams you’re half naked
we are never fully undone though
even death is only half the dance
so I can tell you everything
till I have nothing left
and your skin will still be cool on the coverlet
and sleep will tell me some more lies
the kind I can live with
there is no socialist remedy for this situation
except do everything for the other guy
if you can ever find anybody really different.  

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

HEART THREAD 276 & 277


There is a cello at the bottom of the spine
that is how Europe got here so deep
why Tiepolo painted the actual sky above an ordinary me
we are embedded in what we thought we knew
people greeking language under my hands
I’m not talking culture I’m talking neurology
the complex music of our simple meat
lift up the manhole covers see who we are
cables and sewers information overflow
I am the conduit of the impersonal
can’t forget Nora splashing in the surf at Rockaway
so much the worse for me.

On the glass face of the device the window birds reflected
pass over the house so short is music
music is an accident happened to the air
ergo bird bassoon the bells of Judson Church
but mostly this little mirror in my hand
shows the arcane image of each sound
what we look like when we hear the cardinal chirp
what the crow means in soaring without sound
over my poor house! personal again
the complicated negotiations in a dream
a wise old Jewish man without a word
pointed to fried chicken that’s the piece for you.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

HEART THREAD 274 & 275


I want to tell you all the ones I need doctor
because in your glass-wall cabinet you display
one of each essence that pursues my day
dreams are worse when you know who they are
give them to me or make them go away
homeopathic relationships a kiss heals all desire
this is me flouncing out of your office crying on the daybed
this is the cabin boy on a steamer that sank
this is the girl with the paper flower in her hair
resemblances are terrible isn’t it enough to have one of a thing
must her shadow pass through every door
can’t I make you stop looking at me that way. 

I lost the word at dawn I knew in sleep
poor me a hundred thousand other words around but that one gone
agrestic agnostic arthritic aesthetic
but still the mercy monument went up
trapezoidal in outline a frustrated pyramid
built of all the shadows I have ever tried to reify
a junk heap halfway to the moon yet shapely withal
experiences change from other eyes
long after only by its cover can you tell a book
I will take a net and go down to the little stream
and let the shadow of its meshwork float on quick water
and no one will be wounded then by my music.  

Monday, March 23, 2015

HEART THREAD 271 & 272

271 .

If you carry the dream through the day
a smoky donkey will start to bray
you follow the road to La Borne
those cliffs up to the left we walked it only once
at every house a peaceful dog
signboards modest boast on every villa
we lived in Les Mouflons ten years apart
I didn’t understand bird talk in those days
you hadn’t taught me the language of bells
and all I knew was bread I clutched it tight
the way a dying man clutches his nurse’s thigh
this I know this won’t let me go. 

I never saw you as you are
you know ‘you’ means everybody ‘I’ means nobody
language has a bigger heart than any man
no house but now
a woman at the washing machine
she is the secret ruler of the world
unclad into the changes
fish too plentiful aquarium
always another waiting
the sun came sluggish to this table
a game out there someone else is playing
me too though I sit close-eyed inside.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

HEART THREAD 269 & 270


So much I’d say to you if you were here
but far away I just keep talking
who knows how much the wind will carry
just don’t get married the dark words need you for their own
sweet child of so many mothers
know me as your elder sister
sistrums in our hands and coronets above
we are the only licensed worshippers
adoring shadows of the gods we are
size is a true story and pace is beauty
density of thought a thick saliva sweetish
wets your lips so you can speak the secret word.


Roads reeds spines dawn wind lives inside us
I speak for all of us since I speak alone
you laughed at me across the laundry room
what more does a story need to be
green patterned dress folded on the floor
everything we do together is therapy
use me use me we’ll both be clean
how real does it have to be before it is
the pattern was small white flowers
as if spring could take off its clothes still not be naked
it was all about sorting the wash by hand
it was all about waking up at last.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

HEART THREAD 267 & 268


Where things grow by themselves
that’s the scripture for our pilpul
con each leaf and comprehend
this is the Heavenly Academy of what happens
gardens are colonial agribusiness
obliterating the mind’s first Text
the uncontrived happenstance of suchness
big words for the tiny weeds between the tiles
I too hurry to obliterate
as if it were a message from the mind before the mind
leave it till you remember what it’s saying
a language even the rain speaks just be wet.


Hark to your habit leman
pain is sham as a country is
when countryside is real
so many did to you I mean
as many as sparrows strouthoi of her sly chariot
birds are molecules of something very big
isn’t that what Empedocles did
you talk all the time about Pythagoras
looking in the mirror is close shave enough
girls taught men poetry by skipping rope
giving hope leaving forever with a lingering smile
naked on tigerback biting the moon.  

Friday, March 20, 2015


                                        against timid cosmologists

It doesn’t matter how matter
got here, we’ve got to hear
what it has to say.
Loathsome binary: alive or lifeless—
all is animate
objects are subjects.
This world so intricately
tenderly personed,
statues strolling through the park.

 Poetry is the science of hearing things speak.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

HEART THREAD 265 & 266


Till we have said everything using the same words
music won’t leave us alone
children blur the colors in their books
they know that nothing has a line around it
careful signals of a girl at peace
let me read my book to the center of the earth
plum trees of Afalon truth of the dragon
a castle in the cool core of the sun
a place previous to transformation
before the legal chemistry begins
a joyous anarch in skimpy clothes
as if it all could finally begin again.


At a certain point stop looking
at the trees start to read them
the self-planted and the other kind
human implants immigrants our fancies
jade exotics in exurban gardens
three hundred years and still speak foreign
rose of Sharon smokebush lilac
self-taught espontaneos who choose to land
and choose to stay tall and shady and teaching
hue saturation and chroma in their differences
distances between nature and the actual
my father’s pine trees on the road to Callicoon.  

Wednesday, March 18, 2015



Eloquent darkness of what I didn’t bother to think
the things we make up were there already
stories waiting to be believed
amber and lightning waiting to be analyzed
they were all waiting and here we are
the next thing you think will be the truth
the next person you meet will tell it
how easy things are when you say them
a woman in a white robe walking on the sea
believe nothing trust no one revere everyone
that way you fall in love without the fall
that way the apple leaps back to the tree.  

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

HEART THREAD 262 & 263

                                                                    (comment lire ce livre)
Each line wants to go off somewhere far away
sit there thinking about itself
but we all have noisy neighbors
we lean on one another for the touch
take strength take weakness from each other
even feebleness is reassurance
touch is contagion
but we are here together
tangency is defilement
one line bleeds onto another
you belong to the next thing you say
and to the thing that came before you
then you’ll belong to what they finally hear. 


Wait for the sun to pry the rose open
then petal by petal take it in the mouth
so delicate it is you have to chew a while
chew to let the taste come in
for these are dark times in personland
animals cull the flowers in the night
animals leave us only the names of things
only things like color shape texture size
things like reason things like belief
that are not things at all only you are
and I am we are the last of the flowers
we grew up before the end of things.

Monday, March 16, 2015

HEART THREAD 258 & 259


The other place than where it is
a gleeful mistake like a dog running away
penny in a pocket sun behind cloud
everything is allowed
when you were a tree I held your leaves for you
when you were ocean I was your waves
the flight attendant listens to the sky
the word is out there just below the plane
when you were a city I did not know how to earn
glamorous ignorance of well-fed tourists
animals are different inside rocks are the same
their brown eyes open in amazement at the snow.


So much to remember and no need to
quiet wise men correct the weather
witchcraft is too natural she said too much about fertility                                   
being fertile is not the point being now is
no one ever did that in my dream before
cloud lift sun back mad at me up there
for I have sought the gods beneath the hill
the little gods who promised nothing but to be
nature is the part of me that’s someone else
birdsongs inking lines through trees
always coming back as usual to some flower
I climbed the stairs to where you almost were. 


A sad people
who never will know
what this world is —
taught by religion
to look away. 
To be joyous
we must look through.
Put that in your ragged gospel
music, reverend,
rush out of the church, rush
through the trees. 
Through the tree.

Friday, March 13, 2015

HEART THREAD 255, 256, & 257


Protect this fading image from all the angry images
this image I made as me
I am the one who thinks myself to be
bad think bad god
to make this double little world of me and it
make the other be one with me
or one of me or I am none
and where are you in all these trees
leafier this year than ever I’ve known
after the locust trees blossomed all spring
the basswoods our lindens blossomed high summer
their fragrance fills the house all night when the wind moves. 


Once I wanted what would walk through the door
because the guest is god I am an atheist
some pollen fallen from another’s tree
grows an absolutely different kind of grain
go inside time to its relenting
suppose I were rain along your spine
would your mind turn rain into someone else
the way not even the weather is personal
smoky breath of an old friend
the taste in someone else’s mouth a word is
once you have seen the picture you’ll never stop
we have to keep talking to the world to make it go?

The snail shells move in the night like ship
who knows where the copper is that breathes the blood
scratch of a pen on an ancient map
here are the islands of the ancestors
listen and you’ll hear your fathers calling
they are praying for the clouds to let them through
they have a name for you a permission
survival of the fastest
dark dark the word gouged in wet sand
they were here before you they’re the fathers
you think at first it is the traffic or the birds
but deep in your belly you know better.  

Thursday, March 12, 2015

HEART THREAD 253 & 254


No one can read it all the way through
even a single sentence is infinite
a verb is an abyss
he talked about language till it silenced him
humidity abolishes conversation
it is the sea come back to claim us escapees
our local habitation golden trowel round the town
hedges of Donegal all gorse and fuchsia
map the country where my body lives
wherever cold is comfort
half the folk you meet aren’t really there
vanish into that lush green hill. 

The home I never had is you
the god of communication is the god of secrets kept
power of the hermetic axe with two blades
wings on his heels he shows and hides
wherefore set we down words on paper
hoping substance hides what meaning says
every language foreign to a thing
we live in darkness with skins of light
where Hermes is heaven is a letter you can’t yet read
spend all your nights deciphering this touch
brutal answer of a cloudless day
it must mean something if it is.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

HEART THREAD 251 & 252


Let’s do it yesterday
for music’s sake the angel facing backwards
there is something of sulfur in the rose
a petal fallen laid along the skin
no other fact can slip past it
natural affinity of rose with flesh
of thorn with mind
the prick of thinking
trickle of blood along the flesh
break the sentence open it will bleed
Scriabin saw his word in color in the sky
a fatal rose that knows so many. 


Something true about defilement
wrong tool for the right job
or dawn full of feathers fallen
from some legendary bird you never saw
but these things fly their kind is to come
close and touch you while you sleep
you say O my dream but it eats you
disdains your sorry meat
touch defiles
that’s why we need it
we come into this dance so pure
no one can remember his father.  

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

HEART THREAD 249 & 250


Where there should be a road
I write with what I gave you gave me back
all exchanges spiral into one
this is the point the start the target the soul
will you get to the point I am the point
there is no other a minute is my mother
trees look away today don’t dry on me
I need your perfect beauty in every line
some people get no older it is a play
retrieve the rain that washes the rose
cistus or labdanum brings the dying back to life
offer this resin in the temple and see what god appears. 


To Venus Virgin Mother of the world he wrote
shaky Latin his mind on something else
because nothing is born it all is here forever
love makes us turn our notice to each thing
though things appear to enter the world they were here all along
I like you will you like me back the only song a child knows
I will lick your back of course of course
each of us is apt for every need just find the way
if you believe that you’ll believe anything
I believe everything because I know
but what he knows he wouldn’t say
leaves it to you to find the right word.

Monday, March 9, 2015

HEART THREAD 247 & 248


Walk in the shade disprove the sun
everything has been said before so now we’re free
the blue flower is a never-spoken word
the color she bent down to touch became her sky
culture is a long contagion
what can you do with a thought you can’t think
the empty parable Satan’s answer
if I give you the desert will you give me my emptiness again
all the jewels of the mountain red gravel of the Irrawaddy
I had three homes none of them mine
my wife was mad at me and turned away
for me there was no deeper pit than this. 


As if our business is to make our way to hell
only that way is the road to paradise again
who made up all these stories even if they’re true
everything that’s told is true is true enough
how much is there to know about you
look into my life to find you
a crack in the windshield makes the sky belong to someone else
you found your way into my arteries I breathe you in
cleansing of the blood miracle of simple prose
grammar of the heart nakedness of any window
we forget the important things so they can happen
an image worn smooth by too much looking.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

HEART THREAD 245 & 246


Where is this up I asked you to use me to
a seashell in the sky a grammatical awkwardness
Bruno’s cavatina in music someone’s bound to die
we all are victims of perceiving
but what image lingers in the dying mind
that is the real question about death
what do we go out with
wearing our curious inherited garments
what symbol nestled in the socket of the throat
so many things to remember only one to carry with me
what is the mind before perceiving
the deep and simple well in which no star shines.


Day of knife angry dreams the crowded train
never any clear way to get home
leaning on the woman till he fell a statue
live in slo-mo with your eyes on fire
Schlomo, the king with a wife for every night
but only one wife for all his days
married to wisdom with a golden lariat
fine-tailed doves fly up into green fronds
all this happens only because you’re watching
if we didn’t see it wouldn’t be
language is the alley of dead kings
lets you speak without opening your mouth.  

Saturday, March 7, 2015

HEART THREAD 243 & 244


All the definitions are now in place
revise the animal feed it from your lap
a bee knows by
the is the center of the maze
woodpecker gospelling a dead tree
bird bath tepid on the lawn
be quiet we are someone here
try to be as quiet as it is
we are not meant to live together
each human is alone with the earth
the earth my only wife
touch me if you can.


Don’t worry about the numbers
John Muir told Emerson they keep house by themselves
I teach the interpretation of mirrors
the calculus of skin
how many contacts in a sleeping life
don’t wake up for me
for I am sleeping too my music snores
gnats bother the porches of mine ears
how dreadful is the natural
give me the word that flees its thing
let me go to the country music goes to when it fades away
let me live on the ashes of what someone sang.

Friday, March 6, 2015

HEART THREAD 241 & 242


And so gave up Jerusalem
want the trees before the clearing
no temple’s worth a living tree
let alone fifty acres of English oak
culled to craft one warship then
days you could still see the goddess in the trees
before the parsons bored all life away
in windowless senacles clustered round guilt
grrr I will wolf this land anew and lie on it
I thought you said you had no enemies
no I have no war my enemies are friends
I do what you tell me who else is there. 

242 .

A lyric absence though birds mute trees
lyric means doing something to the air
lyric means the right to be wrong
keep company with dumb ideas
sailing paper metaphors around the room
lyric means knocking on a wall and crying Open
lyric means being baffled by an open door
lyric love is not like other kinds
flowers bought in the supermarket
the old mast of the Ernestina lying on the dock
heartwood still fresh after a hundred years
lyric means the heartwood of a living tree.