Check out the animated show Bat out of Hell on Kickstarter!

Corporation Sole

fisher_king

The river that’s flowing before me now
Pretends to understand its lonely brother Styx.
It is October time, a time of myths
And stranger maths
Than summers know
Or passing springs can bring to sum.
The leaves surrender to a gathered text of sticks
Retailed for fuel and some

Forgotten task that lazes on the banks,
Awaiting frost’s soliloquy of spears and blades.
My whining spill of spooling line
Upsets a loon —
It glides and banks
A wake upon the distant shore.
Old grandsire Proteus appears at last, a blaze
Who builds his kindle, sure

Enough, from limb and branch of weeping pines.
The shivering fish that shake away my hook reform
Beneath the surface. Scaled with dusk,
They catch the disc
Of moon that spins and pines
For autumn’s tomb. A china plate
That shatters trees and stars, this lunar form
Resolves to hold the plait

Of Pitys’ hair the way that Pan had sighed
To grasp her battered body Boreas had thrown
In lust. So raw, his breath
Now fits its breadth
Along the side
Of evening’s flesh. Its chill now combs
My fire. I edge myself against this flaming throne
As ancient winter comes

To claim my blood as corporation sole.
The world’s collateral is not enough and preys
Upon my wasted groin.
(What god will groan
To claim my soul?)
With empty cup in hand, I wait
Between the river’s deep and castle keep. Each prays
To lift this golden weight.

What came in the mail

Scan 1

Another cold spring again this year…

 

John Barleycorn in Rags

john barleycorn

He is John, man in ragged overcoat
Long to withered knees
Manbeard made of clipped leaves and twigs

Man with face of rough bark
John who walks Saturday-night stupor
Through sibilant rings

Of maple, elm and linden leaves,
Swiftly satyr-dancing
Into crackling flower of fire

In peripatetic permutations, cough
Of dry staccato vespers, leaf to stone,
Each skeletal ballet whispers

He who is barrowed by mottled stile,
Stilled and waked in copper kettle,
Kegged and bunged for cooling cellar

In hoarse tones violent riots of autumn
Become seasonal rites trans-
Corporeal, quiet in slow burn

He is John of the demijohn
Bottle god of good folk,
Fanatic familiar of flagon, flask and firkin

His limber limbs are all consumed,
Sap-drunk as wasp and hornet
Dry and empty as cracked bobbin,

His spirit tumbles leaves down empty lanes
And empty well; he is spirit in wind,
He makes spirits from color, heat and motion

He is tall shoots and thick roots,
A shock of fruited stalks between
Breaks from his loamy scalp.

His anatomy taps boot heels,
Claps coarse palms. He, mate of dance,
Husband of hilarity, spouse of song.

Brittle brown leaves, fallen angels
Dancing down cold swift winds
Hymns that scrape, swirl and click

And always he must come along,
Always feed fire’s fermenting flower –
He empties nectar from his eye

He is John, and John must die.

Korrektiv goes to the Jesuits…

Unknown

Here.

A Valediction Against Eloquence

artillery

         We cannot know how much we learn
         From those who never will return,
         Until a flash of unforeseen
         Remembrance falls on what has been.
          – Edward Arlington Robinson

I find temerity an easy thing,
A second cousin to that bravery
Which soldiers, priests and changeless change
All seem to learn by heart, to hear and see
In each their several works – the deafening
     Of cannons, bells and clocks. Each counts. Each counts for me.

The almanac’s perennial report
Indicts the dates of E. A. Robinson,
Supposed locus for my own mortal tort –
A figure slated: 1869
To 1935. What years are mine?
     These sixty-six, a vectored fix to spec to span

Such integers? Let fire for mine commence
By azimuth with ticking, tolling tongue;
Arrange bouquets of fusillade, bomb blast
And dry percussion; rip a canyon mouth
From mountainside. What bombast can outlast
     Artillery’s timely canon of eloquence?

Drinking in Bed with You and Lucinda Williams

lucinda_williams

Our bed’s been drinking, spinning morning dry
As Lucinda pours her loud blood in song
From whiskey bottles, singing about why
Both love and coffee scald, both black and strong
As night – but sunlight lays its warning blade
Across your tapered thighs. There, spider veins
Put paid to what our nudity has made –
Now flush with alcohol – the blush that stains
My middle-aged desires. Your rounded hips
Are building flesh to slender curves; these rise
As, rolling on your side, you bring your lips
To mine and cut the lines that held my eyes.
The spirits, going sober, speak to bone:
We limp through love; you reconnect the phone.

Tractatus at a Benedictine Monastery Near Huttledorf: A Propositional Sonnet with Phenomenal Lemma

brother rabbit duck

         But primordial life, wild life striving to erupt into the open – that is lacking.

The world is everything that is the case.
    So garden shears will comprehend the axe.
    I bend at first, then kneel to ask this rose
What case exists as mere atomic facts.
    I feel the soil. The sun is kind to beat
    Upon my backside – meaning what it meant:
The logical picture of facts is thought,
And thought’s proposition, significant.
    Do roots thus know the bloom? Does eye thus see
    Itself? Does work thus play like rose with worm ?
All basic functions of veracity
Can pattern truth to serve the general form:
        Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must
        Be silent: worm to rose and light from dust.

Snowman

snowman poem pioc

TO ANASTASIA

…the nothing that is.

The head’s the first to go, defaced
In image, mind…. The sloping sphere
Of snow will melt away and, traced
Like shade, remark when now and here
Will shift like future winds that turn
Against themselves. The fastening
Of household objects will suborn
A child’s emotions, meant to sting
Like death. Unmittened hands will grip
The snow like icicles against
The spine – a patient morphine drip.
The future tense, the coming sensed,
Deployed in perfect case and form:
So death will come – and sun will warm.

Rotund pectoral planetoid of snow,
This middle section sculpted by hands
That lend you their formal warmth, do you know
At present what of time your image lends
To winter’s metaphysics? Only now
Exists for you, the beating heart you have,
Or seem to have, can only live and grow
More frigid. Tell us what it’s like to cleave
These moments undefined, escaping, lost
Yet not, the snow that falls the same that fell
Or waits to fall. So winter goes…. You trust
Each falling flake of snow is there to tell
That what you find is all you see here: scraps
And fragments buttoned down with beer caps.

At bottom, earth and other elements have mixed
To bring this work of art to light of day, the end
Of every poet’s work: to show the past, perplexed,
Untested, strange as snow that falls before the blind:
And so you stood, as fixed as history or news
That lasts a day, but either way, a monument
To words, a selfish cenotaph to time. The clues
You left behind were numerous and adamant
With meaning; numinous and adequate to speak
For tiny hands from whom you took your purposed shape –
To signal life on earth, to breathe, behind the break
Of mind and body, sentience. With no escape
From knowing, man leaves his prints everywhere to know,
Like a snowman who stands in snow despite the snow.

Marsh Pennywort*

marsh pennywort

Marsh pennywort repays in dividends
As it multiplies interest, its coin-
Rounded leaves, dangling thin purse-strings for fronds,
Supports inflation of its foreign green –
Hard currency in wetland’s liquid time,
Precious specie preponderating pond-
Economies with toad-spawned tadpole slime,
Necessarily blessed because so fecund.

Now too, the marsh will pay what seasons played,
Yet holds interest in soil across the board
While reed and rush enriched by fluid coins
Of marshy realms devalue winter’s trade.
Resplendence sees pennywort well-prepared
To issue species: nature’s greener groynes.

*Thus begins an overhauling of my Carlos Linnaeus sonnet cycle, this time in the quatrain, alas, changing out the meditations on Genesis, which ended the old versions, for a more rounded, satisfying poem. In the revision here I attempt to stay true to the poem’s own interior logic, rather than attempting to impose an arbitrary logic on the poem based on a meditations which organically has nothing to do with the plant involved. At any rate, it continues to be a work in progress…

A few things to know about the Marsh Pennywort – while mildly invasive, it also does a good job of preserving marshlands by strengthening the soil with its root systems. Also, a groyne, as you may or mayn’t know, is a man-made jetty-like structure used to control shore erosion. Suffice it to say that the pun on the word proved irresistible.

Maidenhair Tree

gingko print

Fühlst Du nicht an meinen Liedern,
Daß ich eins und doppelt bin? – Goethe

Maidenhair tree, you living fossil (also “Ginkgo”) –
Around tomorrow’s roots you grow from ancient days
Implying leaves evolved from petals each time they blow,
Dynastic in brilliant hues. In fan shapes you praise
Early autumn’s fanfare – flower house fandango
Neglecting neither flesh nor mind. You hide to show
High courtship with seasoned arts learned in woman’s ways –
As blushing bush will show to hide what loosened stays….
Informed by loneliness, your autumn-baring limbs
Release your leaves upon the cold-creek mountain air.
This plants you – orphaned phylum, species, class – and limns
Relevance to love as organic Yiji love:
Each fall you play the courtesan and let your hair
Enlighten Kingdom Earth through the pleasure that you give.