Maybe this is a late addition to the stream of American "confessional" poetry? Yet the voice of Bluejay still interrupts now & then.
Old panes blur the light, the budding limbs.
Open the window – spring air blows in,
scent of earth and scent of ocean
salt. Moist precipitation. Dreams.
Spring is a rewinding, like the wheel turning.
The pottery wheel. Your feet spin,
hands toss whatever comes to hand.
Minnesota clay, remembering
earth. Your breath thrusting into your lungs,
the air, the wind like a wedge
toward your heart – savage
wilderness, or just a forest full of wings
– hidden, warbling in the cedars.
And everything gathering momentum
under the near sun now – thrum
of bees, flies, mosquitoes. . .
these particular syllables only a tendency
toward an inexpressible
memories. Ineradicable pastness,
forgettable, but indestructible, because past –
anchor for these most tentative and moist
exploratory buds (pussy willow. . . birdnest).
Buried deep in a northern dark blue-green forest.
Memory Point (node or bud of rewound
iron ore) springs out of snow and
frozen icebergs (greenblack. . . with rust).
A point or trivial notch of branches, whorled.
Cedar – iron spring's myrrh-box, scented –
borne on a mirror lake pointed
toward the circumference (gnarled
hands). A pottery wheel like the bicycle
I fell off on purpose once for you
back there by the greenhouse, Coatlicue.
Buried back there, in the teeming receptacle,
in the tomb of eternal springs, edged
with endless banks of bright roses, azaleas,
bumblebees hovering all around us.
Or like a seashell, salvaged
from all that droning blue curvature
like a Viennese liner over a grain elevator,
or the two gunwales of a birch canoe, or
the shadowy concave at the bottom of a crater.
Or like the old pain of a lie broken open suddenly
shattering the fIxed order of a routine world;
into the rotten hollow of an oak tree poured
your heartbeat, everything sullenly
leaden, dropping fast; breathing slowly,
the full weight of it coming on only gradually,
the black stone held at arm's length barely
visible–an arm, lifting you carefully
back onto the desolate sand at Horseneck Beach.
Or like the sound of your husband's poetry
becoming more implausible and petty
like shells crushed underfoot, a moldy peach.
Every grain of sand. . . one grain of sand.
One drop of water. . . on the deep blue sea.
One grain of sand. One little you, one little me.
And nothing went as planned, understand,
because nothing was planned. The line
wavered along the shore as the waves came in,
woven with too many soggy threads, unraveling,
unrelieved. Hear them, still roaring, sighing.
The waves keep moving toward shore,
blown by the wind, but steady like these thoughts.
Rounding Cape of Good Hope, rats
in stowage, pulsing (old poison, old fever).
They found the dead blue whale at Sakonnet Point
(bird sanctuary). Buried him in sand
with a backhoe, until the bones are picked
clean–pretty soon he'll be hoisted
in a museum. Look through the glass, children –
there's where his heart was, in that crib
like a houseboat of giant ribs
132 feet long or so, I reckon!
Square tail could crush a cathedral!
The heart was fibrillated – fuzzy logic – it's
a problem for every submerged marine biologist!
Flotation? – no question about that, pal –
some sink, some float, but this guy was buoyant
long after he was dead. That's how they found him.
Sort of a Huck Finn and Jim
situation, except this whale was redundant!
So why'd he die? Heartbroken, I guess –
he floated ashore, and that's it.
They'll make a lifesize clay model on site,
you bet – Leviathan Quest
at Mystic Aquarium, or some such thing.
But what he thought about while he was singing
those lonesome whale-tunes – ringing and booming
across the arctic stretches – sleeping,
dreaming, all 200 tons of him – that's a good question.
A whale comes on shore, at the end of winter.
Only 16 years old or so, remember –
dreaming of – hoping for – blue whale resurrection?
Transit was the borderline for Cape Verdeans.
On one side, a triangle of po masonic Gees;
on the other waspy aristocats and kitties.
Transit of Venus was the etymology (Ben Franklin's
visit, to set up his lubber's quadrant, make
his calculations). Lend you my blurred arithmetic?
My hand, I hold it toward you. Some trick,
Bluejay – crafty, illegible, ledgerdemaniac. It's magic.
My main book. A Janusface janitor, or bibulous
nowhere manx. Pushkin? Peter's puss –
nightmare tale, twirling, afloat – Oedipus
horsing around at flood-tide – he is US!
Felix the Cat! Falls through his tall black
Dr. Zeus hat – a white Bull (caesarean) in heaven
with a heavy black hole for coracle – eleven
doubloons shining continuously where the slack
line wavers across a sleepy Mexican hat trick!
Bedded down among basketry. The sun,
all murked. The harness was broken.
The bull was loose among quick
bees, the frayed rope wavered in the cosmic wind.
When we were young still, and young Henry
gravitated downward, toward the clovery
sheepshank, his gardener's bullpen, his lucky-found
fylfot. Twirled the stalk between thumb and forefinger.
Reclining (perpendicular) on the community loam.
Mountain of an Aristaeus solar plexus – groom
for soiled wormdemocracy. Dead ringer
for a rolling stone – pure fatherly Gould. Your harvest,
caesarean. Only the scar remain.
A line, a line, a lyin' lion line. From
purebred, streamfed vitality – one broken nest.
The sextons slowly passed, pierced with strange pud-
dingstone astronomy, petrified in a bottom-
less pit. Life, unwoven golden poncho – condom,
harpoon – played out and queued up,
gnarled at the summit – a bus stop.
They've closed off the Point Street Bridge –
have to go around for two years. Edge
become cloverleaf – a fruitless end-stop.
Pots and pans, potted plans, talk talk
and walk walk down to Wickenden. . . ended.
Why then I'll fit you for it (unmended,
unmanned). Fate lifted the forking stalk
for you, and for many, for the remission
of sins, handed on through the Venetian
Blind King. Quaternion. Equestrian,
bronzen – a charnel corporation.
The bull, unleashed, rushed for Siberia,
entranced. White nights, metallic,
streaming (milky) toward – Mexique.
Wolf shamans in sheepish paraphernalia
haruspicating trivial constellations,
entrails full of liveried air.
one, always, again. Nations'
patients, springing toward delivery room.
Midwifery – severe, umbilical –
deep tonnage of emptied black hole –
ribcage, heavenly irises, rolled into the gloom. . .
Babylon, King Starlight. Daniel's
lyin in the den, by the fireplace, over the black
sheepskin, tickley, tacky. Hasten back
to Hackensack, well-done quixotic spaniel!
Jealously the jalopie jolted back headwards
toward Governor Street. Henry
came back to me –
frozen, in a petrified forest.
And oh, the blue gardener in the tall cedars, sighing!
This wind, wounded, winding down, out of yeast
of yesteryear! Those days were the beast
of our lies, cried Blackstone – hiding, bullish, dying!
The wind blows through the tops of the pine trees.
Cedar-scented, salted, from the delta –
the fir trees, masted for London – a welter
of chained (triangulated, strangled) memories.
Bottomland. Dark splinters, drifting.
Where Pushkin fell, into the song.
One grain of sand. . . prong
of eddies. . . in the greenhouse. . . burning.
Your cathetureen on a wheel of photogramus memory
– molto freddo. Frozen wires, veins in the desert.
Your charred, fIled, floating, ghettoed yurt.
Your gippered Geppetto. Your Roman V
in the snow. The dyed crystals and
negatingle twine of the darkroom
– your L-shaped V-room.
Your dead groom (horseshoe'd) saddles
his rude hoss (animated heartbeat) –
hollow O.K.-corralled holy May-King-Ed
shotgun wed can-o-pea'd
avid Indian sweat
logistic – I eva ketch yup-aroun-my-dhou–
remember (O Sire) issue pappy Rus
done loon dis Puss. . . – thus
charity purse Sinai-o-nary a one-two. . .
Three squared twice again as many days looking.
Out, out from the triple plaid Indian terrycloth
Terrace – where the retread threads lapsed off a moth-
eaten granite statuette – a Mrs. sipping a
gulf-white caddyfull of a cargo of gold-rimmed toilets.
Roll on, Muddy! Roll on easy! – how can I roll
when the wheel don't go? Stucco in a telephone poll,
petered out again, twain some Adamsize duets.
Roger on the horsedrawn carousel exhales another
marriage-go-round, with a canker in the anchor
and a sea-worm in the planetarium – your neighbor
boring, his weight hidden under your coracle. . .
looped around an elopement with unraveling rope.
Creepin, gropin, the inchworm struggled along,
the holetown turned out for Lanford-Highway-Strong
the Firewheeler and his Army Jeepers spilled out – Hope.
Ruling along in a monetiferous alarmbox
like a loco armtwistocrat or filibusterstein,
the crusty old rustlers addled their twine
dealer trunks on the housebusted fox
furnished louseholdupleft mortregurgitato
misterfry pandempedimental prezerfurbishing
rehancementissue landlardial relocato
process of urban renewal. While Henry nursed
his floss, his thinness, into the gummed-up works
and limping down the badly half-lit Turk's
Head building, sideways, he cursed
his fleet. Row, row, row your butt!
he hollowed out of his own scull toward
the goose-fed brownian twitchcraft – hard,
a star, aboard the pyre, amidships. . . some nut
in dire duds, in need! Third legs rolled up
like an Ahab rehab repropertied forever to some
veridical spermicidical spirelease conixdom-
estical horde of unwashed-for dim-sum gypsum
collidal undercollagic. . . pups!
Dark horde-it auld-rich Aldrich underturfed
everything – with his folderol resurfetid
forever rock-a-bye-bye prestidigisenatorial one-ups
– he was doubloon white sellerboy if there ever!
Pellifluous, chaffeureed raucousfeeler was he!
Gildered his Power-Lip – mit Goldencalf und we!
Smoothacious and trueblood, screwtimberme jiver
The door ever open, the green islands
anchored. The freeway troubled by children –
tear, tearing it down, slyly – undone
by seasalt catacombers–slow, steady sands,
flags, reeds. And that striver on the hillside –
where the wind flows over his bent palm –
motionless – grows dizzy – his dream
afloat, untethered, circling by itself. . . we'd
done our best, some were calling up to him –
without a line, without an anchor –
voices adrift now too, on the air
currents – slim
draft sketch ultralight – while
the heavy civic gondola began to rotate
aimlessly (circling in black velvet
around the pockmarked campanile)
carry me back to ol Virginie
Love is Strong as Death
po sho have strong breath
an b.o. afloat plenty heavy now,
a festive scent of springtime, heaven-sent
lost in the midmost everglide, the boat
spins hypnotized mote by mote
(and the arctic spell will not relent)
as (sea-worms calling) he
plows the American
Dream – one
o. . .
A warm spring day. Another sketch at the Terrace.
Henry's divided by a perpendicular from the civic spiel.
Drones with his incoherence though – a ferrous wheel
where Roger steps off his canoe shooting over the cliff-face.
His lines tied in the knot of himself, what goes on
in the urban breeze below no longer breaks through
his metal grid – the whaling, wailing, wheeling, J-
whirling canoe's empty whorls. Wheeeeee! Fun!
Meanwhile the three of them – Cesca, Alex, Phoebe–
circle Mount David, gradually . A last trip
to the summit. A spiralling thread of purple
wool, a line stretched out slowly upward, maybe
continuing down again, another way. . . Henry
won't know. He's divided from the apple orchard
(except in his mind). Absurd
the sad waste before, after these dreary
regrets. Thinly, thinner, the black line, snarled.
Wrought iron grates between them all – all below.
An eagle eye M–inverted hand-trick – W?
– or Q-notched O? The lock, the key? World
compacted, then – in a dismal V – divided
from itself? Or is that the focus – figured
in a splintered box of myrrh,
a crumbled madeleine – eroded
rood? Henry sighed, and sighed, immovable.
Absconded Blackstone. Holed up in his heart,
disabled. Suddenly the heavy clay began to start
revolving – Coatlicue, torn calendar, a sable
sheepskinned wolf, began to turn.
Not yours, not mine, she was
a subway gravity. Draws
your studied sketchbook down.
A frisbee drifted down the stream.
Fylfot. Freefloating broken glass, bloodstained.
B1938 + 666 on the radio map. . . do you read
me, Jodrell? Maybe Jodrell is off the curving
beam of light, the ring around the warping
the broken thread bulled-up in Manchester
the missing Manman (hubbled babbler) ,
the crystallized bad luck, the warbling
yellow-black oriole (golden now, ballooning
guardian in the back of his head)
or levitating oscillating obsolete red
roses tubbed on high, rolling
along now on a tellurian diurnal tell-all
trajectory toward major harmony
on the cusp of the cloverleafy
[why did they have to build that wall
across the harbor?] freeway – sunny
enough for a LaFarge barge or a Berkeley
barque or the piercing call-regularity
of a rhody canoe, this glossy money
marker nailed to the mast at the equator. . . or. . .
floats off humming toward Mendelssohn, an earlier
day. Floats off, shadowed. On foot. Before,
always. And Voronezh caws. Nevermore.
Gone. Like those spousal geese, too far overhead
in the high blue. Smile, after mile, after mile. . .
wings put behind. Invisible strings or catgut guile.
Woven, this pattern of returning. Forever, Ed!
You're naked! In the Coffee Exchange!
An enterprise, lost in space!
Lost the whole race,
humanovoid! Odd bull, always – on the range!
Stalled for the branding iron – a perfect zero!
A triple-played-out by-passed gummed-up crown-
bridge decayed fan ghoul-struck down-and
outsider – swish! No leg – no go!
If you lean sideways at the very edge of the picture
you can see where the double Ds of the jawline
meet in a double embankment of dried bone
to form the venerable smile of a skull [factor
in your parallax and Einstein rings].
It's only Henry, between his velveteen
ambassadors – these two times thirteen
unlucky characters. . .lined up for a killing.
Over his circular sawn circumference,
his coffeestained pale scrawl sheet. The
geese have flown. . . seems almost complete
now. Divide by six you get double eleven
hexed agons, rewound forever from here
to Jerusalem and back to eternity, under
providential skies – riven now, flown asunder
like the V across his templed fore-
head – notch of sugarcane.
His city flown, his artifice is gone,
his wife is none. He's in the hollow spine.
He's Edgar in the masquerade, insane–
he's in the poetry. He's in
the earth. His number's up
(a threesome). Drop
through a wormhole, you lyin'
lion – de day's yo own.
Pussue yo Ali bye-byes,
lies, yo phantom size –
an fool yo self alone.
4.1.98 (April Fool's Day)
"Venus Beats All" #2
Under the bridge (near Point St.)