Saturday, June 9, 2012

The Sculptor

This poem is in response to a framer who asked me,
"What would Michelangelo say to all the short cuts taken today?"
A hat in the gutter rolls by. It is the hat of free speech.
Michelangelo acclimates to the new, throw away age. 
Irreducible units of image crystallize. 
The sculptor removes channel by channel. 
     His chisel slows the dance
of the gods and ciphers the weight of time. 
Channels are erased out of the parchment back into the stone. 
He scrambles to be conspicuous in the ambient light. 
The men of a priceless puzzle, drawn urgently,
land somewhere in rooms. 
Hours, difficult in staying on task, replace mindless minutes. 
The conditioned response, examined every second,
yields portrayal of pattern and possible shape.
Athena waves a bowl of fruit from a crate of fruit.
In method, meet requirements. Accept no completion. 
Then all rules are complete. In a world of construction,
     carry only what you keep. 

East of Love

The one snowflake I gave to you hours ago has melted.
I am as restless as the bluebird the town is in search of
     reaching out over the churches.
The moon is no character, only something Christ sees double.
I plead my case in both the dark, old fashioned hemisphere
and the light, new age hemisphere.
Your sayings withstand my life.
My suitcase has become too narrow to travel in,
too light to live in.
You traveled everywhere, but you forgot to look in the tire swing.
Tom Joad is shadow in the wine.
Way back when, I called this poem The Preacher.
The wind machine blows a smile onto Al's face.
We are the clerks who spin Odetta out of obedient yarn.
Be a local, rung linked writer, a soluble ghost in the mirror
of names and amounts.
Erosion is a line in the dirt. Faith is a secondary shadow.
We are in the depth of field between surface and the promised side.
Advertisements of islands are stamped in the sunset.
(This is my wisdom.)
The only landscape is east of love.
The words I hang to dry on branches are dying like leaves.
I crumble their remains above the cauldron and stir them into soup.
(This is my wisdom.)
Restless essays twirl in oak leaves.
A house grapples on the threshold of renewal.
A luminary has an impact on the fettered confluence
where exaggeration meets truth branching.
(This is my wisdom.)
My best words fail to enlighten.
A flock of geese is in the rings of an oak   
The spokes of a bicycle wheel are twisted in the tree stump. 
A deer stands a step behind a fallen tree. 
The calm of the lake is in the jaws of a hawk. 
An orange dog walks a little white man. 
The thunder in the forest preserve
moves once more the strings on this marionette. 
It is a private matter as I turn away from you to continue my flight.
There is completeness in shouldering what the storm leaves.
All the knowledge of how to operate this square of land
is in the stamp of feet on the front steps.
A formation of geese flies across the sky followed by a lone goose. 
     My heart jumps to him. 

Thursday, June 7, 2012

A Few Revelations

Have any of you ever worn three pairs of shoes
at the same time? Are you sure?
The distant traveler walks barefoot in the inner world.
I am only happy when the dark planet of process
exerts its tug on me. The metaphysical raven perched on my door
is tapping a pin into the door hinge with a small brass hammer.
I am the dark horse in the first pew. My patience is unique.
I'm sitting next to you whispering in your ear.
     Lift my stripes for words of gold.
I want to be soluble on a moonlit night.
The mighty are not deceived. Do not interrupt their loafing.
The decorations of summer are a lonely creature. 
The world will not sleep.  It might wake up. 
I am in the target like any archer. I see this movie in a cobblestone.
I've read westerns on Iron Mountain.
I've listened to owls in the Blue Palisades.
I've lost a marathon in Canada.
I am a boy hemmed in by persistence.
Dreaming these dreams of you, it's easy to forget
that I'm the fool of a few revelations.
I found this fame in the infinitive lee of Penguin's black tie. 
The pathway to the bookstore is paved with brick. 
The pathway away from the bookstore is covered with straw. 
I glue my moccasins to my feet. 
The traffic drifting by on the left is stranger
than the march on the right.
The minotaur at the center of the salt shaker
has been unvanquished for eons. 
A rug collector is living underneath his last Persian carpet. 
The world's smallest rabbit leaves his cage and travels
in miniature jumps to historic downtown. 
The computer that survives invention is eating and being merry.
One button pressed will release all the bards,
but buttons are always being pressed.
Heavier than a katydid fossil, I'm on the loose. 
Three brickles west of your scene, I'm thatching your roof,
washing your kettle, folding your ladders, listening to you howl.  


Accept the numerous anatomy shuffling
through micro and macro backyards. 
     Puzzle at their many feet and few shoes. 
Listen to their rambling breath and few mouths. 
An untold number of guides are seeking my improvement. 
Every breeze stirs with the leaf of the character
out there who has a name. 
He washes the windows in the back of my imagination. 
He bathes the west room with his smile. 
The buttery light of the afternoon sun slices me in half. 
I am properous with two more arms and two more legs. 
I love the soil which gives rise to shapes of light, dark, and breeze. 

A dark emperor absorbs the shapes through which I swim. 
My four reflections kick at the corners of his crown. 
My four hands hold the brushes of his gallery.
My two minds design the ground of his robes.
I sit in peace before the layers of his heart.
     A safe place echoes within him. 
The single dusk of my king dances in my imagination.
Each blade of grass begins in my heart to be thankful.   
Warmth, a division of love, keeps the play of light and dark.
The contrast will bring my essay into order. 

The reds and blues are given us in complicity. 
The reds always run out first while the blues go into shades. 
I have learned to float with my depression as a touchstone of brevity. 
     The fade away leaves me halfway up the hill. 
     I hear my name backwards on the incline. 
I breathe the summer of incomprehension into my Jodi. 
She laughs at my battle with the blind wheels of the afternoon. 
I'll give the dream of Lodi another go. 
It will bring me closer to accepting trickery. 
There is a steeper and more treacherous climb in the books of Grail. 
I feel your music today on that third ascent with James.

He turns on the radio while I guess the names of the songs. 
The announcer's voice catches the still parts of the afternoon. 
We vow to learn his words in the scrape for meditation. 
We place stones on the bank of eternity. 
We go out on the balcony to climb the mountain we can see. 
James is in the next room writing madly.

Cob of the Moon

Winnie tears Starry Night from its frame,
hurls it around him like a waistcoat, and jogs hollering
into the night. The cypress night of fishtail shoulders his day.
A branch less certain, he follows the goblin into the void.
The white fuse of words is within the curve concealed
by night's beckoning porch. The shine of furniture surfaces
in his mind. The fishtail scrapes the owl through which
his body churns. His feet have turned into cafes below his knees.
He spins a pocket watch around the cob of the moon.    

Four Honest Men

The four honest men who are the pillars of the world
have written in their resignation.
Job seekers are coming from coast to coast. 
Bells are ringing from office to office. 
A confident young man deduces
that only four positions are available. 
Four homecomings are drawing the tide of the meek
from both sides of the ocean. 
Their actions are soothing the insecurity of nations. 
When they say canvas, you know they are talking
about the possibility of each day. 
Later canvases may even wait until tomorrow. 

I'm running back now to the occasional twig. 
Recent mark making is appreciated for what it is. 
The slow dance of honesty and attention is shining
on a powerful god. 
You pleasurably truthful are struggling with ready made ideas. 
We need to compose an ego behind a screen.
Give the painters daylight that will expose the depth
of our convictions. 
Japan is still something Vincent van Gogh said. 
He composes the four squares of our human condition,
tinted with yellow welfare. 
The overhanging branch is central to the sower
in the bottom third of his existence. 
We need luminaries who will put the pressure on the humanists. 
We need faith that will force the undecided to extremes.

The Personified Road

There is a paper that wants to cover memory as if it was a building. 
No, it is more like a mountain. No, it is less than a mountain. 
It is only a string. It is a string always winding. 
It wanders toward desks that are not anymore in a building
where blotters have been left to fade but for some reason didn't.

My identity is stretched between wisdom and a warning. 
The distance to the coast is an eyelash pulled into my vision. 
The personified road keeps crawling, relieving my fears. 
I stretch the dotted line around my waist. 
I confess the acceleration of my speech. 

The multitask listeners are no longer patient.
They suggest we use fewer words. 
They suggest we write the horizon into our pauses.
Twist into place a gathering of complexity reversed. 
     Fool the sharp corners out of edifices. 
     Bring them to a felicity of curves. 
Grant me the second wind of pattern recognition. 
The hapless couple, knowledge and terror, has grown
too separate to be apart.
We trust that our folly has subjugated the earth. 
We flash by backyards of factories while praying to paperless altars.

The internalization of a suburb yields the realization
that you are low on gas. 
The castle is concealed in conductors convened at a station. 
Green highway of easy previews, we need the rain. 
It is only the wolves who consume. We are taught proper hunger. 
It is only the mechanics who understand. We are sent roses. 
They manufacture paradise where there is fruit. 
The title stares at me. 
I pop the tape in and groove.
The last river pilot on the Amazon collects no more dues. 
An angel saves his imagination. 
     An ounce of sunrise is in his shopping cart.
He fulfills the last orders with visions of Zion and peace trains.

Penmanship is the requirement to gain admission to the fort.
Remove the dashboard from the car.  Dress the bus in fables. 
Arrive at the moral by evening. 
Sleep in the shade of a snake's last breath. 
Awake in the pasture of a cow's only bluebell.
The blackbirds barely move crossing the curtain of the road. 
The grasshopper puts on sunglasses and understands the fable. 
     He darkens the dream where there is a cloud. 
     He muddies the definition when it gets too thin. 
I am poor and dreamy, weak and resilient. 
No more than a pup moves through this paradise. 
We bend ribbons only the willow would know.

Dawn Of Color

I sit at a desk that is not a desk. It is a park bench
     with an abridged heart. 
With a ladder I reach for the top branch. 
The painter and I are seated at the back of a coffee shop. 
We intently discuss the life around us. We are invisible
except for our hot beverages. 
We build the wall frown by frown. We throw the sky piece by piece. 
We grow on the vine between thirst and heaven.

The Other makes fun of us in his shadow play. 
He offers us cups of overflowing wine. 
The coffee shop is now in a cornfield. The cornfield is now in the air. 
The air is passing over backyards. Our guiding light glows
in the dawn of color. 
The painter gestures sunset into my shadow. I add sky to his wall. 
The Other tunes in our vision like a spoonful of fresh glaze. 

The golden hour is connecting with the twilight. 
The groom is reading a book on birds. 
The wedding is out in the waves
far from the evening's domain. The bride is dressed in starlight
close to the shore. The night is married to the surface of the deep. 

The telephone appears strange and wonderful
next to my Smokey Joe.
It rings.  No one speaks. I turn the telephone to the smoke
rising from the coals. 
The party on the other end of the line will hear the smoke. 
I tell them to listen. I tell them to listen intently. 
They are calling from across the street. 
I go to bed aware that I am close to two people.

A Tennis Exchange

In about the space of a tennis exchange,
I grow to see the fall face of the clown. 
We precipitate out of peals of thespian laughter. 
We are veteran actors in fields of plenty. 
My awareness engages the incipient world thorn. 
Its blossom is masked with a grin. 
An ember, indicative of softly spoken indifference,
dies on the forest floor.  A piece of fallen fruit flickers in the night. 
A moonbeam chases my speech.  I wave the inner child
through the alchemy of the hide.

I ride in a carriage canopied by coarse starlight. 
It is drawn by sorrel horses who speak like the surf. 
My island belongs to a tree named White. 
Like Leo, he anoints his first subject with his tongue. 
     I holler out of the screen of constellations,
crying as a completely different animal. 
My shout fulfills the law of man tasting his humanness.   

Approximations, disclosed only to us,
     draw us closer together
     on a crutch that belongs nowhere, decodes nothing. 
My youthfulness plays with the danger of living in the sky. 
I need a big, fat rat of a complimentary philosophy. 
We fly into the radio of the world's stage. 
The announcer gets in my brain,
pierced by the arrow of consciousness.

His authority frequents my playful mind.
The disparity of a name and its owner is your first abstraction.
I share this with you on the certainty
that you have not heard what I just said.
If you are friends with the announcer,
then you will tell him or her that I said hello.     

Earth Movers

Intellectual machines sit at my doorstep
while I walk into the defiance of my past. 
Horror stricken earth movers,
what have you uncovered?
What part of my past have you broken into?
Do you read the list of attendance I keep
of visits from crude intelligence?
Here is the template I use to cure your machines
of memory loss.
You question my resolve to heal Gaia's wounds
with mermaid songs.
View the descent of a feather as the time between
a string of letters and the wish for completeness.
     I am already dancing with your machines.
Apart from having left the earth, they show no defect
of the tireless programs you built into their design.