Monday, January 31, 2005

The Interface


--for my father, Albert John Van der Leun

The empty rituals and dusty opulence
of the nightmare's obvious ending dwindle,
and the sounds of departing automobiles
fade into the humm beyond the cul-de-sac.
Inside the house my mother sits quietly,
surrounded by the plates of finger food
that everybody brought and no one ate,
and wonders if she should begin to take
clothes from the closet, call the Goodwill.
Some blocks away, the Methodist minister hangs
his vestments on a peg, and goes to lunch.

Later, I drive the Skyway to the town named Paradise,
park the car at the canyon's rim, and sit awhile
in the hot silence of the afternoon looking out
at the far mountains where, in June, the winter lingers.
On the seat beside me, a well-taped cardboard cube
contains what remains of my father. I climb out
and, taking the cube under my arm, begin to climb
down the canyon's lava wall to the stream below.
The going is slow, but we get to the bottom by and by
and sitting on some moss, we rest awhile, the cube and I,
beside the snow-chilled stream.

The place we have come to is where the pines lean out
from the boulders at the edge of the stream,
where what the stream carries builds up in the backwater,
making in the mounds of matter an inventory of the year:
rusted tins slumped under the fallen sighs of weeds,
diminishing echoes of the blackbird's gliding wings,
laughs buoyed in the hollow belly of stunted trees,
gears, tires, the bones of birds, brilliant pebbles,
the rasping windwish of leaf fall crushed to dust,
the thunk of bone on bark, of earth on wood, the silence
of ash on water.

And in such silence, he fades forever.

The stream, its waters revolving round
through river, ocean, clouds, and rain,
bears away the hands and eyes,
but still the memory remains,
answering in pantomime the questions never asked:

Are these reflections but the world without,
carried on but never borne, onward, westward,
towards sunlight glazed on sea's thigh?

Or are such frail forms shaped upon this water all
the things that are, and we, immersed above in air,
the forms that fade, mere mirrors of the stream?

Is this life all that is and, once lost,
the end of all that was, with nothing
left to be, with no pine wind to taste,
nor sun to dapple mind with dream?
Is all that is but ash dissolving,
our lives but rain in circles falling?

Or are we yet the center of such circles,
our fall the final fall of night because we are
contained within that single soul,
held within that heart of stars,
that place where sun and water meet,
that golden hand whose wounded palm,
once we have shimmered into sunlight,
remains forever open in the coldest light of day?

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At Lindbergh's Grave

Palapalo Ho'omau Church Cemetery, Kipahulu,Southeast Maui

That long green swell that sears my eyes
As I lie in this bed of black stone,
Is it the Irish coast rising in the dawn
Beyond the brushed silver of my blind cowling
Where, throughout the night, I trusted
Not in some desert God's directions,
But in the calibrated compasses of man?

That rushing sound, is it the hordes at Orly,
Swarming past the barriers and lights
To scavenge my Spirit, and lift me up
Into the air that only heroes breath?
Or is it the age-old sigh of sea on stones,
Known to those who pace the shingle
And the swirled black sands that seep
Up from the sea's loom to wrap
Impossible islands in a shawl of waves?

That painting daubed on the chapel's window -
Not the roselined mandala at Chartres
Where flame in glass misprisoned sings -
But a cruder Savior, bearded, browned and popular,
An icon obtainable to plain sight, a trim God
Flat upon the glass in dull gesso limned,
And, when light moves behind it, looking down....
Is this the sign in which, at last, we conquer?

Conquer? I'd laugh the laugh of stones
Had I but eyes to see and lips to breathe.
No, I am content here where man and apes
Together waltzing lie, having done at last
With all horizons, having done at last with sky.

If you would see me now pass by
The small green church where ancient
Banyans looming shade and guard
The tower and the bell which you
May toll for me, or you, or all those
Not yet delivered to the stars and sea.

And then, retreating, heed the trees
Whose tendrilled branches hold but air,
And shadow both the church and stones
Beneath which wait both apes and men,
Who, foolish with their hunger for the air,
Swung branch to branch up all the years
Until, letting go at last, they learned
Through me, at last, to rise.

Sea, stone, tree, ape and Savior.
These now my boon companions are.

Better here, I think, in this dank green
Cartoon of Paradise, this slight-of-hand Eden;

Better here beneath the pumiced stones
Where strangers drop a wreathe from time to time;

Better here than there, hovering over waves,
Alone between the new world and the old,

Trusting in a man-mad compass
To take me home along
The sharp cold blade of air.

Better, much better, here
Where the sound of the waves enfolds
That fire they could never snare.

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Victims of the Plague

(for Thom Gunn 1929-2004)

Perhaps our dances, in a thousand years,
will tattooed be as drums,
And our bright minds, forged by fate,
will in the musk of eons drown.

Our souls will all rise glorified
as a pod of whales weaves waves.
Our flesh, once firm, relaxed as stones
that serve to mark our graves.

Our pleasures seen as ancient rites
describable as dreams;
Our voices, in a million years,
insubstantial as starbeams.

Perhaps our minuets, in a billion years,
will as steel stiffened be.
Our arabesques as smooth and gestural
as drowned paintings of the sea.

Our nods but inclinations
of the folds beneath the eyes.
Our plans but vague intentions
of the wind beneath the skies.

Our breath, a transpiration
of dust immured in dust.
Our lives, a visitation
of a rush light drowned in musk.

All these, our words and scattered songs,
May come, in time, to less than naught,
As Mayan blocks of hard hacked stone
Embalm the skin we once sloughed off.

But now, like rattles kept within
A jeweled bone box, our hollowed skin
Is shaken in the rambles of the park
To frighten schoolgirls after dark.

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The Beasts Which We Keep

If we held the intent of the beasts which we keep
In far fields and dark valleys, in the pale light of sleep,
In marked shards of clay, in papyrus and parchment,
Beneath the brick hearth, in the marks on old bones,
In the marrow of bones, hitched to the plow of stones
Parting the furrows where our dreams are pale sparks
In the roots of our nerves, sprouting to thoughts,
To the tee-shirt philosophies of cheap magazines,
From the afternoon shows of electronic dreams,
That reveal our blank selves dredged up from sleep.

If we knew the intent of the beasts that we keep,
We would surely sit senseless, and hide from the sun,
And turn on ourselves the unregistered gun.
If we held the intent of the beasts that we keep.

If we knew the intent of the beasts that we feed
From couches confessional, in the stone barns of God
Where the soul's soundings echo the light in the sod
To our penitent minds; which illumines our stark
Hearts from within, that dazzles our dark
With His fierce pyrotechnics, with His animate spark
That glows in that womb where all yearning starts,
And yearns for the flare at the top of the arc,
But burns like dead screams flung down in the dark,
Like torches cast deep where drowned Incas decay.

We would know then this life takes place in one day,
That the beasts which we keep are the beasts of our deeds,
Created from dust in the long dusk of God,
That we know the intent of the beasts which we feed.

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The Missing

Their silence keeps me sleepless for I know
Within the smoke their ash revolves as snow,
To settle on our skin as fading stars
Dissolve into pure dust at break of day.

At dawn a distant shudder in the earth
Disclosed the fold of fire into steel,
The rumbles not of crossings underground
But screams from out of flowers built from flame.

We stood upon the Heights like men of straw
Transfixed by flames that started in the sky,
And watched them plunging down in death's ballet
To land among those dying deep below.

By noon the band of smoke leaned low
Upon the harbor's skin like some dark shawl,
A pall of smoke that in its curdled crawl
Kept reaching to extend its fatal fall.

The harp strung bridge held up ten thousand souls
Who'd screaming run beneath the paws of death,
As dusted ghosts that lived but were not sure
They lived in light or only in reprieve.

They'd writhed and spun within a storm of smoke
And stumbled out to light and clearer air,
To find upon the river's further shore
That sanctuary is not savored but secured.

The sirens scraped the sky and jets carved arcs
Within a heaven empty of all hope,
And marked its epicenter with one streak
Of black on polished bone where silver stood.

By evening all their ash had settled so
That on the leaves outside my window glowed
Their souls in small bright stars until the rain
Cleaned all that could not be clean again.

We breathed the smoke that bent and crept and crawled.
We learned to hate the smoke that lingered so.
We knew that blood could only answer blood,
And so we yearned to go and not to go.

That last, lost summer faded into ash
Their faces faded as endless autumn flowed
Through chill and heat into the winter sea
Where warships prowled in search of stones.

Within the city, shrines were our resolve.
We placed them where we stood or where they lay.
Upon our bricks and stones their faces loomed
To gaze at us from times beyond repeal.

In time, their ash and smoke became the shapes
Of stories told at dinner, found in books,
Or in the comments made by magazines
For whom the larger issues were of worth.

At first their faces faded with the rains,
The little altars thick with wax were scraped,
But now beneath clear plastic they endure
To remind those passing that we've not escaped.

Their silence keeps me sleepless for I know.

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Monday, October 25, 2004

Into the Silence

The last sound heard before the silence
Settled on my flesh in wisps,
Was the shriek of frozen ambulances
Wrapped in sharp, revolving red.
Then the holes in my skull sealed shut,
And on my tongue I heard the tang of brass.

At first a ringing whine rose high and faded far,
Then bells began, each dim and laced with smoke,
And merged with walls of wind upon crisp water,
Blooming high in white, white only, drifts
Of softly falling snow falling softly
Until they blurred the shapes of sound and speech.

The memory remained awhile, and moving lips
Became the shapes of sound I could not see
To read, and all my mind filled not with silence
But with dark brushed on deeper dark
Within which all stars died, and dying gave
A single bloom of sound beyond all song.

It moaned and chittered, groaned and sighed.
It grinned as one at me, inscrutable and blank,
As shells evicted by the sea are spurned
By waves and parch above the dampened sands,
To be polished first by dust, then honed by rain,
Into a whitened replica of stone.

Made new, I loved large gestures,
Marking furrowed face and curl of lip.
I memorized the signing hands that stripped
My half-guessed comprehension bare,
And learned at last to wait upon a glance,
Upon small words quickly scratched on slate.

As days to years enlarged their rule,
All records writ within my skull were smudged,
And songs and music drifted off to send
Pale emblems of their realms as tribute
To the stone that once had formed a throne
Strung with unsensed pleasures shrugged.

All that treasure spent, all gems corroded now,
All metals melded into dust, all trace of walls
Where once the filigreed firebird sang,
And drums of heroes' skins were stunned,
Were but shadows strewn as features faint
As lines of light on planets seen from space.

And then with time all that too -- erased,
And sands and seas swarmed over all,
And ruled at last alone a world of frost,
Of ice, of snow, of sheaves of glass,
Until along the farthest strip of polished shore
One distant crystal glinted, gleamed and chimed.

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Pure Mathematics


Titanium skaters on lakes of metallic hydrogen
Strew constant curves of crystalline
Isotopes of orange uranium
All about the vacant house.

Enigmas of equations
Slide lattices to rest
In beds of powdered strontium,
Molding energy as form suggests.

In the place of flux we find new forms,
For flux-formed spaces enfold
The charms of magnet's fever
Which conduct the core from pole to pole.


The whiteness of Earth's silence
Is an eye that stares on space.
Orbits chart it ceaselessly,
Etching paradigms of lace.

The inner of Earth's outer
Is a torus twisted twice.
Balloons ascend within it
Painting shadows in the room.


What can the mind of silence hear
Other than a whiteness past recall?
It evolves from our epicenters,
Stretches measureless as sound,
Or is seen as the floor of the void
Where the whine of protons stills
In the drifts of chromium snow,
and gazes on the bones of matter bare.
At times, men in aluminum cloaks
Descend the neutron ladder,
And move in a sleet of particles
Too scintillating for instruments to record.
At times, men in groups descend
Through the smoke of the universe,
To tend the embers, imprison flame.
Their cascading dance sparkles.
We taste the afterimage of events.
Below us, pale and infinitely silent,
The plutonium leaves arabesque
Through radiant silences of solid helium.


Sometimes it seems I had a dream, and, as a dreamer woke immersed in mineral baths
closed within a cool, dark chamber fed by streams flowing in from the center of nowhere.
Hanging from the granite ceiling a kerosene lantern cast shards of light through the pale steam rising
from the surface of the pools.

Ripples radiated outwards from the edges of my body and, tapping faintly on the rock,
revealed the edges of the chamber.

Outside I could hear the wind slide across the spine of the mountains,
speaking in a language that I remembered but could no longer understand.
Steam filled my nostrils and heat penetrated my bones until, after a time,
I had no body, only a sense of silence and distance and calm,
as if I had just woken from all water into dream.

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Tuesday, September 07, 2004

The Sentinals


With woven steel hands
Cupped around clear cadenced tones,
Our servants of the infinite
Herald the skein of the sky,
Repeating one announcement,
Sans ornament and instantaneous,
To be etched on eternity's orbit
In a tattoo of silences.
Like torches tossed down
Into unexplored caverns
They dwindle and fade
Till the darkness dissolves them.
"We have arrived at the limits of Earth.
We stand on the edge of Forever.
We are here. We are here.
Are we alone?" In numbers and bits
These messages rise up,
Clambering the ladder out of the pit
Of ignorance and gravity
To float like amber dreams
Along the spine of light.

The disconcerting occurrence
Encountered at the terminus
Of all the mind's parabolas
Is that nothing occurs at all.
Pinwheels of luminous plasma,
Glowing reefs of matter,
Spatter the crests of the darkness
And descend like lamenting specters
Caught in the eddies of shoreless seas.
Their lights, creeping up along
The curve of the continuum, gleam
No more than the two-franc candles
Cupped in crippled, translucent palms
In the grotto of Our Lady at Lourdes.
And thus they too only serve
To dapple, quite briefly, the dark edge
Of that shoreless ocean that consumes
What little light they lend,
And, like some pitch-drenched Pharaoh,
Are damned down to oblivion
By their own command to wait
Sealed in stone for a distant dawn.
All these thoughts and messages
Noted for a nanosecond, memorized
In some splinter of a second,
In tombs of luminous instruments,
Relayed, incorporated, and sent on:
A telegram with no fixed address
Woven out of frozen starlight,
And then to the darkness delivered.

Fantasied fears spun in the circles of flickering campfires.
Mythologies winnowed out of unusual stones, or bone, or bits of bark.
Cosmologies concocted from rats' skulls, corn, and Titanium atoms.
Theologies tortured from the blind, wrung from hints in high cumulus.
All the perceived and imagined stockades raised against Zero:
The face of hoarfrost that blooms in the mirror, the last god,
He who is, the Pure Noun for which there is no adjective,
An orb of vacuum which sees itself as Cosmos, a tendril of unseen smoke,
A word which can never be spoken, the footprints of extinguished stars,
The visage mathematics cannot freeze.

Our handsome proportions and crafted ornaments evaporate.
All our most comforting music and meters dissolve.
The clapping of frostbitten hands in Antarctic tents continues.
Above us the rictus of universal harmonies lingers.
The new landscape appears: desolate, arid, airless, uninhabitable.
The tendrils of the desert of the senses invade its frontiers,
Guided by hands of ice that caress the belly of the stratosphere,
As far above the chill ionic winds erase the footprints pressed
Into the dust of the moon's untenanted tranquillity.

The waterless waves on that sea without ships
Go outward, roll onward in search of horizons.
The faces in stone keep their futile appointments
With wind and with water, which also have schedules,
That return them to silence in a melding of stars
Here where the tree's roots grope into the air,
Here on the banks of tomorrow as the mind's searching message,
Laden with numbers, with dates, and with data,
Rises up and flies out past the sun to the birth of the stars.

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Thursday, August 05, 2004

Terra Cognita: A Meditation in Ten Parts



Of Rwanda, April to July, 1994,
and all that went before and will come after.

Gerard Van der Leun
December, 1995 -- June 2004 | New York City | California |

This rusted field, these shattered skulls, this stained and ancient road
that runs beside the bleached river where carp fatten on brown dugs
and shoals of human offal until, sated, they drowse above the slime.
The place of iron dust expands, and downstream shallows roil
choked with the crocs' warm morning meals -- the flesh-flecked bones
glued with rags and gristle, caught between the pointed teeth
like some vile floss of torn tendons, all breathing flesh consumed.
Upstream our evening's dinner entertainment continues....
Unspeakable acts involving children and machetes
unfold repeatedly until the thin hacking arms cramp,
and fingers are flung into the stream like feathers plucked from birds.
In the still and baking heat, the ears of women, dry and crisp,
whirl in the disinterested wind...and so one turns to go, but still...

They all drift down, they all drift down
            (not leaves in an autumn breeze,
            not in some lyric poem of windblown lace,
            nor Japanese trifle of dank moss and leaves)
drift down like chunks of poaching pork,

until the brain is singed, burnt bare,
flayed open and exhausted of all care,
all sense of rage -- until the phrase
Can you imagine? is answerable
only with one word, No,
and the single image that might impinge
on drowsy lurkers in plush cave chairs
is a jet of blood erupting in a syringe
plunged into an eye, that the seeing beast
blind itself at last with sleep,
and away, turn away, turn away.

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        Terra Cognita Part 2

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        Terra Cognita Part 3

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        Terra Cognita Part 4

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        Terra Cognita Part 5

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        Terra Cognita Part 6

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        Terra Cognita Part 7

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        Terra Cognita Part 8

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        Terra Cognita Part 9

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        Terra Cognita Part 10

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Last Light Above the Seine

How, when my emerald voices pray
In the crystal heart, and the bright chimes
Sound along the shoals of day,
Shall I not search the among the stones
For your mist-shadowed silent lips,
And listen in my vaults of bone
For those wave-shattered psalms of seas
That promise soon , O my bright shade!,
The flame that bends my soul to thee?

For is not thought the trace of flame,
That sign seen once in silhouette
Between the edge of stars and earth,
That place where winds on water step?
And if I read in heaven pale
These ancient signs, these lines on slate
That in translation, told our tale
As if our tale was marked on bone
Banked in halls of bronze and stone,
Would you believe these faded marks
No man can read or waking see?
Would you emerge from stone to say
Our history begins today?

I speak, I know, I know, at slant,
And seldom cleave the circle straight,
But your geometries enchant,
And I stand frozen at your gate.
Yet still I sense our centers touch,
As deep as senses hope to know,
In that rose room that hovers high
Above all memory of snow.

And so above the ocean I,
Released from arms and earth entire,
Relive within this room of steel
The ashen memory of your fire,
That in such mansions once I slept,
Most fortunate of all blessed men,
And breathed your breath,
Embraced your heart,
That my stilled heart might beat again.

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The unquiet urge to ascend persists
And fills these parched stone seats.
Below the gold pool in the center,
Where once the altar stood,
Is revealed as pure still water.
Again tonight the son will slay,
Offstage, his father's killer,
And carry out his mother's corpse,
Now draped in twine and rags,
And lay it out, an offering, before us,
As the chorus, marching slowly,
Chants the moral of the play.
The daughter, drenched in ebony, screams
Words we hear but do not know.
Above these shadows on the stage
Bats through a maze of light pursue
Gnats within the smoke of speech.

                        -- At Epidaurus

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Caught In Traffic

We'd strapped him to his bed for over a year,
Paid a fat, black woman to wear a white dress
Change his bed pan, and sit with him at night,
But when the bone white pigeon banked
Between the buildings in a pale twilight
The old man's brain liquefied.

Foam, whose tiny bubbles reflected my face,
Bloomed on his lips as he swallowed his tongue.
It said 5:47 on the red crystal clock by the wet bar,
As his breath rattled in the room like some
Tired exhaust fan from the Roaring Twenties.

His wife was out shopping at Woolworths,
Or trying to sell something at Cartiers.
The black nurse was downstairs flirting
With Desi the tap dancing doorman.
Prince the chauffeur buffed the black Lincoln
And wondered what he do when the old lady died.
My wife was teasing our toddler in the living room.
Everyone else was trying to get home from work.

Somewhere inside his bleached skull sore nerves
Kept sending signals down the spine to his heart.
I blotted his lips in that wheezing orange room
As his arms flapped like a beached fish before
The fisherman brings down the club.
I turned from the bed, pulled up the beige blinds,
And gazed out the window wondering
Where the bone white pigeon had gone.

Then I called the Doctor's number listening
To his breath until the call was answered.
"He's dying," I said to the man I'd never met.
"You should send an ambulance and a team
Of medics right now. He's going. Going fast."

The voice echoed back from far across town,
"He's home. He's been dead for a year, you know.
We just change the sheets and pay the nurses.
I can keep his body going as long -- as long --
As long as necessary. Now you need to tell me.
Look outside. How heavy's the traffic on Fifth?"

I looked down on a solid ribbon of oozing steel.
"Wedged," I said. "Hardly moving at all.
"Look at his eyes," the voice said. I looked
Down into his eyes and they had no bottom.
"Who's there?" the voice asked on the phone.
"No one I know," I said. "No one at all."

I held the phone and waited looking over the park.
"I'll send an ambulance when you tell me," he said.
The bone white pigeon came sweeping out of the light
And settled on the sill as quiet as the room.
"Send them when you can," I said.
"No hurry. They'll just be caught in traffic."

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Sirens remove
     the soul from its vessel,
failing to slake
     the thirst or the ocean.
billowing under Gemini and Scorpio, mute
oarsmen -- doubloons nailed to the mast
     retain it, retain. What we learn
from literature will not avail us.

Music, ocean, ear, all
     swell the tides of our bones,
     gathering us
     down into the undertow,
     bearing us onward, outwards,
     far from the place we would remain.

Our island with its' charmed forest.
Our lagoons, each with their Circe.
Their perilous enchantments. This habitation
     entered on all our maps --
     the place, the forest, the guardians
of that path, this dank lair, the gate of shadows,
and all that which, revealed, enmeshes and presents
the cup which we would drink from,
     dead or elsewhere. This
vision we are almost certain of.
    It does not avail us.

Only the moon prevails,
     solely la lune seule
         because of the light in the forest
         because we are the light, unknowing,
     and the leaves which it illumines, knowing.

The words of which
The sound of which
     it could be breakers
removes us, removes

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This must be the golden river
Of the hidden valley of Chang
I can tell by the shape of their arrowheads

As the dance changes the violet bird
Flashes in his orange forest

The commandments are written
In Sanskrit on the teacups
And the still trees moving

We wait under a bloom of stars
set in geometric display

We do not talk much
Until the birds cease

Someone wanders
In through the window

Standing stock still
Munching a piece of cheese

My shoes are red
I must complain

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Wednesday, August 04, 2004

In the Town Hall Graveyard

In the hayed field thick in dusted mist,
as the noon whistle of the village hissed,
we noted how the dead were neatly placed
within their plots, how all were given space.

We remarked the craft of marble wreath,
and supposed that those who lay beneath
were clad, like us, in the fashion of their day,
garments fit to meet eternities of clay.

We admired the fruits of Arbor Day and said,
"How lovely are these trees; how well kept and fed."
The trees ignored our admiration, as was their right,
and spawned a host of shadows, imitating night.

The town's hill, round and mirrored as a globe
climbed once in spring, above us hovered
high in wind smoothed walls of slate
on which trees' naked branches scraped

an etching of themselves reflected in the sky.
It grew late until the blind hawk's cry
made us see the gray and shaken sheets of storm
that sheathed us soon and drove us down

Into the brambles where the ancient Indians lay
separated by the soil from the weather of our day,
and resolved at last to, sightless, calmly wait
upon the last night's opening of the gateless gate.

The slashing brambles took our eyes away.
The rain in sheaves removed our clay.
Our dried skin, in husks, remains asleep.
To awaken us, you must dig deep --

Beneath the earth of whittled leaves,
beneath the grief that no longer grieves.
To awaken us you need a careful touch,
for you must dig, but never dig too much.

We turned from the field and its flickering birds,
where sunlight played on summer words,
playing now to carven, standing stones,
to the sullen silence of abandoned bones.

Stillness slashed the grass with blades of wind
and made us wish we could a thousand acts rescind,
but we knew our wishes were for naught
for what is easily sold is dearly bought.

Instead, we startled life in a flash of wings,
and in that moment came to present things.
We walked home, made tea and sat together,
held hands at evening, and talked about the weather.

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Beneath the Aegean

When all Earth's seas shall levitate,
Draped dark within the skies,
Upon our eyes shall starfish dance
Their waltz of blind surprise.

The sun will rise within wine dark
As argonauts imbibed,
Whose drunken arms embrace that sleep
Where Phaeton's horses stride.

Upon all Earth's wind-sanded shores,
As dolphins learn to soar,
All we were upon the land
Will be locked behind the doors

Of ivory and chastened gold,
That the mystery solved complete
Shall never til the seas' long fall
Wake mariners from their sleep.

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Quitting Time

They seek a dedication
No passion prints on stone,
Their reverie -- of clouds.
Their benedictions -- moans.
Not one can name their masters,
Nor indenture's date reveal,
Doomed to ride the animal
That runs within the wheel.

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Getting There

Aluminum blades
peeling the sky
from the cloud tops.

Sliding down into Denver
from mid-heaven.
Below, the old road
scratches the sand.

Swifts dwelling
under red rock ledges.
The plash of the boatman's oar.
Look! The waterfall
fills with blue smoke.

Slate chips in the round holes
Ground into the rock.
New blooms and corn husks
Eaten by the Anasazi.

Clouds of smoke
Slipping down the valley.
We drink bitter tea at dawn.

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Dark Matter

for Tom Mandel

Love must see all things that are
But not with any eye.
The thought must rise from darkling waters,
and still gloss clear and dry.

The heart must mimic life lived large
in it's sentences and fate;
accepting time without an end,
and enter at the gateless gate.

The body, all it's time undone,
must yield itself to air.
The soul, a dream no longer dreamed,
must freeze upon the spiral stairs,

That lead up to an arc of light
which circles in that storm
where no eye sees all things that are,
where that which is, is born.

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