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PART 1


S T I L L L I F E 1


The straight handle of a steel spoon
Stands in a white mug
On a pine table next to a pink pot.

A tall girl in a green shift
Rests her head in one hand
And stares at a book--
Face-open on the table.

Spread on her lap with paws gone limp,
Lies her cat at rest, its bell silent.

The light from a paper globe is caught up
In the still luster of long tanned legs
She sits upon in a womb-like straw chair.

Her brownish-blonde hair sets
In wisps against her cheek and neck;
One hand extends over her knee,
Poised above the tufted floor.


A child lies in the next room, asleep--
Our child--
And the clock on the wall has stopped.






G A R A G E S A L E 2



Bits and pieces

Remainders, remnants

Junk and treasures--

TWENTY YEARS

of memories
souvenirs and
tokens--

ALL FOR SALE

For bargain prices or

“Your best offer.”

Everything must go

Before we leave--

our house
our home
our refuge

From the fray--

For another place

And another day.



G E N I E S I N T H E G A R B A G E 3



Ali Baba jars, large and round,
Line back-door alleys all over town:

Black ones and green ones with
Hinged-doors in hinged-lids

Harbor garbage, refuse, bottles and cans

With room left-over
For genies on-guard
To rise in vapors
Encircling in whirling winds

malodorously pungent and
sweetly rotten--

Those smells almost forgotten

Save for and
Saved by--
our genuine genies
WHO
over their thousand and one nights
Have collected in storied and stored-up vaults

Decaying pleasures and discarded delights
In desert places.




C R Y S T A L V I S I O N 4



For enchanted MERLIN
Overgrown with ancient ice--
He waits one darkened night:

Frozen tree-fingers snap noisily
In sub-zeroed winds as icicles
Drip into instant silvered daggers
Descending from the frozen tips
Of blackened bracken-branches
In bushes laden and packed hard
With sepulchral snow, silent as night,
Since Sunday last--

Unbeknownst to him, fast asleep,
Expecting MAGIC to come.

When, suddenly, winter storms
Flock his barren landscape in
Christmas strings of glowing blue ‘n white
Shadows that play upon him with lights
From setting suns set streaming
In their spiralizing horizons of ocean waves
That send him flowing in suspended scenes
Of iced crystal palaces formed in filigrees
Of frozen snowflaked-lace
Crocheted in cryptic encrustations of--

C H I V A L R Y.

Gawain dreams--on and on--
As his woods fill up with snow.





E D G E S 5



Hard-edged angles

Chisled out of precious metals

Micrometrically accurate

To one-thousandth of an inch

Fly about the sculptor’s studio

As he chips away at

His innards, heart and mind,

To form out of precisely hewn rock--

Statues of fire.


Or so

He would have it.







F I R E N Z E 6



A distinguished and elderly English gentleman
Matted down in rust-colored, nappy tweeds

Wended his way
Through labyrinthian alleys
Pensive and lost--
A tourist abroad, like myself.


He came upon
An intricately wrought iron gate
That opened into a courtyard.

Cautiously, I watched him
Step inside--


And there
Rising around him
Hung terraced gardens
Of secreted apartments

Each inhabited
By luxuriantly accented voices:
“BUON GIORNO, SIGNOR!”


He felt at home;
Would I ?






D A Y 7


Let us wake

Let us not lie abed.


The sun breaks to us now

If we will but wake.


Let us rise now

And go forth and fill ourselves

With the joys of this new day.


Let us walk and stretch

Let the light brush the sleep

From our eyes.


Let us live this infant morning

As if it were our first--and our last.


DAY--dawns to us, now!






DEATH IN THE O.R. 8



Strapped
to a hard, cold table
Covered
by a thin, green sheet

I lie naked
Staring up at lights
Listening to the click
Of instruments, cold and clean,
Ready to rip
My inner-body
Cut-and-clip
Broken parts
From my damaged flesh--

AGAIN.

Tubes and needles
Invade my veins as
Dripping drugs of M E R C Y
Close my eyes to
Buzzing silver-sounds where
Lights elide quickly
Rushing into dark.

And consciousness ebbs
As a bulb on a dimmer switch--

Fades to black.

SHALL I COME BACK?






D R A G O N F L Y 9



Circling P again
Diving-Down U
Soaring

Skimming the surface of a pond or pool

With cellophane-see-through wings

Whirling
Churning
Buzzing in blurred circles--

She flies hypodermically hunting for

Pink rosy flesh :

What daring airy ability to my earth-bound life--

This oversized fly (a caterpillar
canterlevered outward
not any dragon, then or now)

Hovers, hanging over water
Endlessly whirring on whorling turnings--

Stops, starts, startling those nearby
With threats of poisoned stings from
Nosey protruding needles.

“Thou art unseen,
Yet I hear thy shrill delight.”





10



E = M C²


The mathemetician ponders

R E L A T I V I T Y:


“Formulated abstractions

Attempt to reduce to fractions

Secrets locked in equations

Extrapolated from obfuscation

The ‘laws of nature’ for interpretation.


That ENERGY can be measured

By simply multiplying the MASS

Of the object-in-motion

By the SPEED OF LIGHT squared

Is a relatively valuable idea

For one interested in such things--

And I am.”






MR. GUPPY 11



A blanched fish-faced man
Of guppy eyes and guppy mouth
With a wisping lock lingering
Next to his smoothed forehead.


Speaks, always in arrears,
Venturing forth indirections
To find directions out.


An oily eel insinuating sinuously
Into the affairs of others
Vaulted above his grovelling station.


Yet a man of genuinely ingenuine
Sentiments; or so he would
Have people think.



Misunderstood,
Mistreated and
Misbegotten--

Dickens only knows.







J O U R N E Y 12



Sheets of ice
Collide and crash
Within my brain
And I cry out in
Silent seething pain.

Until the beam has bent
And broken
Into dreams

And winds relent
resume
subside once more

And the warmth
Returns to
Linger long.





S O U P 13



POST-OPERATIVE CONSIDERATIONS:

Primordial puss oozes and organizes
Inside scraped-out stomach hole
Behind abdominal walls that realize
Into newly-forming flesh unfolding.


Biological lava-like fluids of blood
And gristle and thread and goop of nerves
Knit themselves together in red-hot cud
Flowing in magma-motioned speeding curves
Around a lining alive with burning fire--
Screaming pain in my rising ire.


A new body-part is being born
In muscled, scar-tissued soup
Growing daily, deep and dark
Around my intestines--

As in and out it loops--
For now.





M O T O R C Y C L E C O P 14



Growling, growing thunder reverberates in the
Air around me
As a black leather-jacketed
Ivory-helmeted lone ranger of the law
Curves and careens in my rear-view mirror--

And I decelerate accordingly--

Faster approaching, gaining on me steadily
Until he pulls up, alongside, then passes
To my relief, leaving his rear
RED, BLUE and AMBER lights
Pulsating in speeding distance
Ahead and away
From my beating heart and anxious brain.


Who WAS that masked man?
And on what mighty horse-powered steed
Does he ride and rove and speed?



This lawless LAW, no less
Tied to the ground by a zooming machine--
Mustachioed, truly blessed--
And mean.





e. e. 15



what of a much of a which of a
MAN could lift your heart times-two
and sprinkle everywhere with
Spring-time balloons and yes and true?

un-til did you(and me and she and we)
would be-leaving him and his

games up mixed letters squriming with

(all ways re-ever-turning
to i plus you
is us in-love)

now
here then
there
everywhere
evermore?



What say you--

In plain English--

mr. c?





M O R P H I N E D R I P 16


“Hypodermic needles out ;
Nurses freed.”


He pushes the clip
to hear the blip:
then
waits for the drip
begin
to
rip...
He feels no pain
for the gain

Of masks made
for blocking brains

In drowsing drifts.


His heaving heart struggles
to be sane

And gasping lungs bend
to distraction

Before dripping drugs start

their coping

actions.

NOW, he sleeps--in peace.






Y E L L O W M O N S T E R S 17



Pre-eminent domain dominates the landscape

As growling, grinding yellow monsters

Cut into living earth

Squelching its soggy skin

Squealing as its flesh is ripped

AWAY--in chunks and cast aside.


While next to a newly sliced swath

Of muddy soil stands a pool of water

Reflecting sky above with

Mottled clouds blown by.


There’s always WYOMING !





-end PART I-







>top of page>

PART 2

S T R O N G H E A R T 18



One blistering Boston summer’s weekend,
I hitch-hiked to the CAPE,
Alone.

Once there,
I tramped up, over and down the dunes,
Cooling breezes in my face.


But the sun set
And the dark encroached.
The breezes turned to chilling winds
As I searched for the refuge of a slanted dune
To hide the night away in.

Unable to dream,
I rose, walked, stumbled
Towards the province of the town.

On the road
I met a woman
Who stopped me :

“Young strong-heart, where are you going?”

She did not invite me in ;
Rather, we parted ways,

Her “strong-hearted” words lingering in my ears--

And keeping me warm throughout that cold, cold
night.









U R G E S 19



Ambiguous desires

Accellerate unexpectedly

Upwards and outwards

Reaching and ramming


N-E-R-V-E C-E-N-T-E-R-S


Raw molten masses


E R U P T--


From within my heart’s core.







S O N N E T 20



Frigate birds fly floating far above
Earth-bound bodies in the burning sun
Where green-vermilion parrots preen like doves
Cleaning their flocking feathers straight and done.


Rocks fill fresh the heaping hills all stilled
With bouganvillas burgeoning, as pleading
Trees hold green coconuts, cream-filled,
And ivy-snakes lace winding tapestries.

Waves rise to smack the flat, dark, grainy sand
And rush back-out over tumbling, clacking shells
To line an imaginary band
Where future waters seek to swell and dwell.

I sit poolside in the evening shade
Quaffing drafts of pink lemonade.





























F I N G E R S 21


My fragile hands
Designed in digits
Separated and interlocked
With phalangeal bones
Held in place by muscled tissues

Run through with needled-nerves
Fed with coursing capillaries
Webbing out of blue-red veins

Wrapped in elastic flesh
Covered with rippled hairs
Knuckled at the joints

That grip down fast around
Mothers’ hands to hold tight
Before disengaging, unlocking,
letting loose
To roam, graspingly.


Age, spot, then, crease and crack
Riddled with arthritic spurs
Attacking cartilege and tendons
That, finally, tremble and tumble
Into earthy dust.

I crack my knuckles and
stretch my fingers tight--

To test my delicately connected

M O R T A L I T Y.









R A I N 24



My “words have forked no lightning”
Yet it rains from dark sheets of sky
Upon the ribboned boat basins below
Coating all by-ways in black-lighted
Ripples of smooth asphalted-like sheen.


Water-filled drops impinge upon the streets
And pop in staccato rhythms as they collide
With the captured waters of swimming pools
at rest.


Nature’s night-time show of

Flashing streaks and echoed rumbles
Caught up in the syncopated spatter of
Patterned rain--

As the Commodore sits warm and dry above it all
On his covered deck, safe from heavens about to fall.










A F F R O N T 23



A bent old lady with leathery skin

Her silver hair spiked by a ruby clip

Fingered the long-necked

Fluted bottle of LICORE DE STREGA.


The owner stared,

Smiling suspiciously

Down at her.


“How much?”


“For you, nothing.

A Christmas present.”


She straightened up--

And walked out the door.


Good for you, MADAM!


















B U T C H A R D G A R D E N S 22


One sunny summer’s day
In Butchard Gardens,
Manicured to rosy perfection,

My love and I did walk
Until we came upon
A reflecting crystal ball that--

Mirrored images made shiny to refract brokenly
In pools and in lakes and in watery gardens that
Mimic to imitate what they dare to stare back at
In lightness and darkness and days loomed
long.

Silvered globes and flashing strobes leave prints
That vibrate and bounce and shake and etch
Their outlines filled-in by pooling sketches
Forming, then fading, finally disappearing by tints.


“What did you see?” I asked.

“Us, I think. But more,” she replied.



S C R A T C H E R S 25



“Hearers of my words,” he said.

“MAY unlock my chimes

With symbiotic keys

And, once freed,

Fleshed-out figures

CAN walk out of their graven cells

To strut and charm

Upon the ready minds

That set them free--”


And rapidly drank a glass of water.

Maybe yes, maybe no.










R E N E W A L 26



Sealing silent-sounds and breaths

Buried beneath layers of his lethargic lists

Twist and bend in labored rituals.


A telephone call.


He passes through light one more time

To emerge renewed in stellar shapes.


She was bored, too.


So--let’s start again.








I N T E R N E T D I R E C T O R Y 27


MUSEE DES BEAUX ARTES

“masterful suffering”

D
R
I
P
P
I
N
G

with

Coprophagous colors,
brown and white

B O L D

I T A L I C I Z E D P R I N T

hawking--

CASH PRIZES
&
COLLEGE BOWL CONTEST

PLAY NOW !

Beware the ‘lest it fill us all with dread.









B R O W N - O U T 28



The apartment closed in around him--

Lights faded, dimmed

Walls browned, beleaguring

His eyes tried to shut

Mind-tricks conjured panic:

QUICK--

He turned to

The faded PAINTING on the wall--


And the gleam returned again.









G A R B A G E T R U C K S 29

Man-made machines
Massively clanking, clawing behemoths
Prowl the city’s strewn streets
Searching for

Gobs of green-bagged globules
Lying mountainous and curb-lined
Ready for ravaging.

Green-suited handlers hopping
Off-and-onto their putrid perches
Stride one slow-gliding metal monster

That yawns and yaws and opens wide for
Daily allotment of ready refuse.

Ingested churningly
These tag-tied sacks collapse
Into chunks and bits and pieces
To pass through peristaltic, pulsating channels
to
End-up packed deeply into heavy holds
enfolded.


For their ravenous ride to fly-infested landfills
Where they shall lie-in-wait--

And rot into eternity.


While I busy myself
With making more.




E A R P L U G S 30



I sit down to write
But with the aid of--

Triple-tiered rubber plugs
Rubbing toadstool-like,
Inside insulators
Filters to stop

I N V A D I N G S O U N D S

That push and penetrate
to distract
and accentuate
Outside invasions
Of the waxed canal
With extraneous vibrations.


Removed,
The stems pop free--
Encrusted with resinating layers
Rubbed off to
Flake upon the page--


That held the words in abeyance
Imprinted in synthetic silence.











I M P R I N T 31



A mother and her daughter
Glowing
In gold and silver

Radiating

Stroll the congested mall,

Faces in a place
Passing to and fro--

Parade
In kaleidoscopic flashes
As I watch

The on-rushing crowds to and fro.



Our eyes meet and focus

For a moment

ETCHED INTO ETERNITY--



Never to meet again.







W E A T H E R 32A



Sky-bright sun slants down as
The blowing begins to shiver bitter cold
And my girl and I are off to
B R Y G G A--
The “harbored meeting place”
Just below the darkening sea.

Step-gabled facades of houses
Cling to each other and
Looming high gothic spires
Jut up into the cold grey sky
As we walk by.

We buffet into blustering wind
Muffler-scarfed and mittened mightily
Against the first spiralling
Flurries that begin to fall.

Into and out of public places
We hurry, bustle and bolt,
Passing by laces, mussels and saints.

At last the snow begins to stick,
Spins stingingly into our naked faces
And out come black ear-attaching patches
And head-covering terrorist masks
To make a dint into the glittering gale.

We make a last-ditch attempt
To bend a progress
Against the wall of wind.

32B



When--S U D D E N L Y--
Her umbrella blows inside-out and
Carries her off,
Aloft and floating
Over roof-top and tower
Like a winterized balloon
Popping in-and-out of
White-washed Belgian beauty.

And I wave as she glides by,
Out of view--

“ADIEU, ADIEU !”





>top of page>

PART 3

S M A L L W E E D 33



Carried around LONDON TOWN
Upon a litter, portered by lackeys
Like some kind of cut-throat pasha,
His dirty golden locks
Dribbling out from under
A stained and patterned cap.

Trumpeting his entrance
Into any establishment
With the decorum of a swan-in-heat :
“THERE’S MONEY ‘ERE !”

He duly orders his bearer
To “SHAKE ME UP”
Upon which command
Some man or boy or girl
Grabs him stoutly about his chest and
With arms encircled and locked
Does, indeed, SHAKE
The old bag of bones
Up and out--

To do his nasty work
In dark Victorian corners.











HELICOPTER FROG 34



“NEWS OF THE WORLD”
Flashes on the silver screen--

Like a floating toad

Its underbelly descending slowly

At an upturned angle

This bespeckled green

Camoflaged machine

Comes in for a soft landing

Among reed grasses

And bamboo shoots,

Opens its disgorging mouth

To take on fleeing human-cargo

In between

Machine-gun bullet-blasts

And exploding mortar shells.


The newsreel ended,
The audience leaves.










C O N F R O N T A T I O N 35



A stiff and virginal-looking matron
In startched brocaded jacket, tailored severely

Advances unafraid towards the bar
Inhaling her courage in rapid breaths.


Girding herself,
She exhales into the den

To find--
Men, rough and unrepentant,
Drinking, swearing, laughing loudly.


She approaches one
Directly, decisively, desperately.


“Are you William Finch?”

“Who wants to know?”

“I do, you bastard.”



And with that--

The play began.









S C I S S O R S 36


for slick-slicing
and quick-cutting

these twin-triangulated blades
riveted at their fluid-fulcrum
connected to flexible finger-grips

direct straightly-lined incisions
across
paper
and
fleshy parts

needing separating into sections
with precision and pre-vision
where a single slicer won’t do--at all.


so, someone’s solution set
TWO BLADES singularly side-by-side
and by sliding past each other
this now double-edged instrument

--in a surgeon’s hand--

enfolds and inflicts the “unkindest cut of all” :

discriminatingly
segregating

one part from another, et al.

SLICE CAREFULLY !









H O T - E N - T O T 37


hot, hot, hot--

tot, tot, tot--

hop, hop, hop--

up, down, around--

shallow, deep, abound.


SO--hot, hot, hot--en

tot, tot, tot.



SO WHAT?









N O T R E D A M E 38



High gray gothic spires soar
Up and out
Flying buttressed to
Spiraling, reaching towers
Dripping with ornamental
Encrustations of
Griffins and gargoyles
That gaze and pout
Demon-like
Above the milling crowds
That swarm and gather
In the square below
With visions of
Legends still
Ringing in their heads--

As Quasimodo swings
On thun’drous echoing sounds
To rescue Esmeralda.


G I A N T--
For his love
Of bells.







W H I T E F I R E 39



I awaken with--


Gliding wind of billowing white sheets

Gauzed free

Undulating, flapping up and over

At once covered by AND creating

The design of a puffing tent--


Rope wraps itself within its ivory folds

And snapping flashes of mind-arcing sparks

IGNITE IN FLAMES--


As I dream

Alive, in bed.







D I C K T R A C Y 40



Palm-sized silvered slivers

Flip-top folding-hinged

Razored-thin black plastic--


ACTUAL PORTABLE TELEPHONES--


Sans wires or pod-like bases

Protrude and proliferate

Our newly wireless landscape

And fill our audio channels

With Beethoven rings

And lavaliere mics

For hands-free talking-sqwaking.



Who would have thought it--

A reality?







G I R L S A N D B U O Y S 41


Bobbing multi-colored corks

In the YMCA swimming pool

Octogenarians adrift in

RED YELLOW
BLUE
GREEN

Splash, paddle and stretch

With floats and caterpilar tubes.



The smells of stale chlorine

Rise from off calcified white tiles and

Waft among rusted lockers--

As I run and seek for air.







D E A T H 42A



A little, fat old man hurries
Across a lawn of green,
Trembling, nervous.

I meet him and his eyes
Quickly tell me what he has to say:

“My wife--she died last night--
Suddenly, she just fell.
I called the fire station, but...”

And that awful sickness
Dirty, black
Rises in my throat
And I am powerless.

I say some words and,
Stunned, hurry on.

It was a glorious day--
Sun, green, warmth, sweetness;
But now, all has changed
And earth takes on the sickly smell.

All day long I hesitate
As my actions seem to mock me.

A siren shrieks on a street nearby
And I wish to flee--
Away into trees and rock
And silence.

42B



A little, fat, old lonely man
Has lost half his life--or more.

And, for a moment, so have I.







S P R I N G S 43



“Sorrow’s springs are the same,”

The priestly poet wrote, knowingly.

“Y E S, Margaret

All those springs are ONE--

LOSS
after

another.”

As the seas roll on,
curl white and
crash back
to smack the flat black sands

And pebbles ring in the currents of the
Holy Stream--

He continues to pray for Lordly mercy.


As Margaret, by and by,

Unleaves her golden grove

And learns that

It is--Margaret--that she grieves for.







PIED-PIPER 44

A tall man
An elderly man
bent over with
Grizzled beard greying-out on black skin

Whimsically whistles his happy way
Up-and-Down
In-and-Around
Streets lined with schools and playful parks--

And his long
wed-in-wood
filled-with-air

FLUTE lures with magic (or so it seems)
those mesmerized
Lemming-dwarfs
all-in-a-row
lined-up-to follow

This lightsome merry musician
To-and-Fro their summertime classes
And-back-again to their harboring homes

ALL for a chance of
a promised smile

Played upon a F L U T E .


ALL watched by one
who would also pipe his words
upon young playful minds.







L ‘ I N F E R N O 45


A horn-rimmed bespeckled stationery salesman
High-browed, Valentino-jacketed

Entered the salon;
Exited Armani-armed
To prowl Italian ways.


Seated at a cafe
In LA PIAZZA MAGGIORE

He sipped his frothy cappucino,
A soupcon of cream upon his upper lip.


Bella ragazzae ambled on,

Swarthy Lotharios peacocked by,

Camera-clad tourists wandered lost.


Not enough
To quench his penciled thirst,

He opened his book
And turned to--

CANTO XXXIV--

Briefly,

And ordered again.







T O M M Y ‘ S S N O W 46



White-washed dust of snows

Up on brown-blackened branches

Fell from heaven last night

Enwrapping, clinging to

Enchanted forest sights.


What wonders of delight

Shall we two encounter

In day’s light?


And we go forth, together,

Expectantly.






D U S K 47



Gray-golden shafts of sun shift tight

As my light clicks down from day to night.


Looming rays refract reflectively

From green fields

A few minute moments ago, no bigger

Than a gnat’s eye sparkling up

From within its flower’s blinding cup.


My eyelids close

No longer lit by day’s flaming fire

Now subdued in evening shade.


Twilight streaks across the orange-azure sky

And night grows large to swallow all

In blue-black shrouds of dusty pall--


Before I sleep and fall--
One last time: candle out.







C R U D D Y C R U S T S 48


Miasmal mists of daily dross

Settle down

Up on my middling mind;

Dark-curtained shrouds

Halt my daily motions.

They grow round my sparking synapses

And petrify into encrusted barnacles

Attaching in enervating layers of ennui

That STOP the ebb and flow

Of excited currents

To dead, stand-stills--

Caught and stuck in my flight.



B E W A R E

The weights upon my mind--

Can kill

With most subtle skill.







END OF PART III



>top of page>

PART 4

B I G C I T Y S U M M E R 49


A young boy in torn and faded jeans
A worn baseball cap aslant his brownish locks

Walked the streets
Humid-hot with summer’s heat.

Vacation in East Midtown Manhattan
Was long
And vacant
For ten-year-old boys in those days,
Games and amusements limited to--

Museum of Natural History in Central Park
A haven for eternal Indians and
towering Dinosaurs And for
wandering
wondering minds.

Playing throw-and-catch
With pink “High-Bouncer”
Spalding rubber ball
Against smooth, sand-blasted facades
Of elegant apartment houses
Where uniformed doormen,
Officiously,
Chased
LITTLE BOYS--

A W A Y B A C K

Into their brownstone houses
To color in books and
Carve models in soft balsa wood.







G O I N G T O T H E S U N 50



Mountains grow
As the car curves around each bend
And the shoulder falls away
To shifting silver-grey
Shines off Lake McDonald far below.

Sun fades, winking inside
Grey-white clouds
And cool rains sprinkle the windshield.

Lightening forks flash
In distant thunder-thuds
As Sibelius’s SECOND sounds
By chance or
By design.

Light crashes--

And it climbs and climbs

Towards the summit

But detours near the peak--

Stalled and stopped.







M E M O I R E S 51



“Ou sont les neiges d’hier?”


“Dans les plaisirs d’aujourd’hui.”


“Mais quest-ce que c’est laisse ici?”


“Les bons gouts d’hiver.”







T H A L Y S 52



This high-speed, streaming

French super-train

Flies by in rushing window frames--


STICKS

of looming dying trees

Left quaking up

On white and brown-patched

HILLS

stretching
rolling
down
in
lichened carpets

G R E E N

Between iron-flowing streams--


Flashing on the inside screens

Of my focused mind.







J A N I S I N J O Y 53



A live wire
Arcing high-voltage sparks
Ribbons into rainbows
Of revolt, regret, fear.
Jumping in ranges
High and long,
Rarely heard before or since--
Silenced by a silver needle’s fatal song.


A misfit in garlands
Out of Texas’ blue-jeaned dust
Into a spotlight’s star-shined glare--
An exploding red giant too bright to burn,
Too dangerously loud to lay to rest.


She shrieked her gin-soaked rants
Across scales etched
In tracks of pain,
Marking spots in loss of life’s blood--
Spilled along mileposts of fame.


A flower, a boa, a bottle of booze--
Born to sing,
Born to lose.







T H E I S L A N D 54



EARTH contaminated itself into

A conditioned biosphere

Where all life heretofore

Went on--disturbed.



They ran out

Into the feeling world ;

Were caught,

Brought back to--
the SHADOW LAND.


The film flickered out,
And so did I.







V I S I T A T I O N S 55



My old ghosts gleam and glimmer on
The dry walls of my brain
Draining its dying sparks
Across gaps that
Ignite with memories
Of moments held in check--

Ones vindicated,
Ones banished.


Only to return
Uninvited,
Ineluctably, unintelligibly
Save for tiny blips
On the radar of my mind.







H E A R E R S 56



An audience of three lost souls

Gathered to hear him speak:

His words spun forth

Astounding sounds

Into their ears,

His phrases scattered rays

And his pauses--hung fire.


He emptied his mouth and,

Drained of magical spirits,

Spent and exhausted,

He left the table

To sip at the springs of life--


A light draft at his local bar,

Next door.








T H E S A C 57



We all gathered in the SAC,
Played at flipping trading cards
To build our collections of famed Yankees

And learned our Latin responses
By pure rote-sounded memory :

“Introbio ad altere Dei”

(Or something like that
For that was as far as I ever got).

We learned more about the streets
In this, our refuge from the streets,
Than in all our Catechism lessons
Injected by stern-faced nuns.


The sacristy was our home away from home--

Where the Lord rented rooms.






C A L L I O P E 58



Inside his sounding mind

There lived a chiming machine

Of multi-faceted notes

A colorful muse

Of smoothest euphonies

Of clanging cacophonies

Conjuring up tones

Of eliding shapes and hues

Up and down on scales

Of sliding bells and rings

All colliding

Clicking into slots

Creating in his world--


Unheard music.






A V I E W F R O M A B A L C O N Y 59



In the black night sky

Planes alight with white

And red-tail lights blinking to

Push by smoothly, steadily


As beneath


Upon the near distant

Parking lot

Empty but for

One long, white stretch-limousine--

Also white and red tail-lighted--

Rolls its way across the black

Asphalted tarmack of its

Earth-bound corridor--


And sparks the lonely landscape

That reflects my singular mind.






FRAGMENTED PHRASES 60


Obscure outlines

Follow into patterns

Positioned into

Juxtapositions of

Paradoxical propositions


U N T I L--


Words alone will have happened


I N T O P O E M S--



If they do.








R E D I C E 61


Stare into the sun.

Then, close your eyes

Real tight--and behold :


Bright jagged-edged red cubes

Or green holes with blue dots

Crystallize in your inner eye

Before yellowing hues

Appear to divide squares

Into honey-combed hives

Waxed with luminous lines

To settle into

Black-circled pulsations

Pixalating on your retinal

Curves without cessation.


I rise and walk in--

Out of the sun.








MR. KROOK 62



A foul-looking
foul-smelling
foul-mouthed

HUSK of a man

Imbibed in spirits
To the flash-point
Of spontaneous combustion.

He lets rooms
To lost souls
With pasts to forget
And presents to hide
Cloaked in mysteries and living hells.

A growling
barking
slurring
V O I C E
Of a gravelly throated villain
Parched for his next bibulous bout.

Who upon his last breath
Discovered that he COULD
Actually read his cryptic
Treasured-letters--

Before he went up in smoke
In old London Town.







B I G S I R 63


Sea meets cliff
In waves of blue-greened and
spindrifted foam,

As I careen around each treacherous turn

Rocks fracture and carve
Into bent and broken fragments
For birds and seals and otters--

And beleagured drivers--

To light upon in refuge from
The relentless rhythms of the
Sea-escape below.


And circling, far above,
In spins and whorls
One “hurt hawk”
With wounded wing
Drifts on wind, rises and falls,
Cries out in mawkish notes--

“Oh, sir, big, big sir,
Won’t you come and glide with me
For awhile--

Before we each decide
To death-spiral
Into the amoral arms
Of the grave sea below?”







S A F E 64A


Underground in a sealed-off room

The young man wrote--

Without sound, without disturbance,

With only enough light and air

To sustain thoughts

Spun out of himself

Like a patient spider’s silken thread

That coalesced

To form a web of words

To hold a novel’s thread--

And a captured thought--

From the fires

That flamed below him

Igniting scenes of

Desperate characters burnished into

Hidden lines of haunting memory.

64B



For a time

He felt safe

Behind his vaulted door--

Inside his safe-like room.






B R A K E M A N I N S T E A M 65


Billowy white puffs of large hot steam
Clear to reveal--
a FIGURE
Looming, spread-legged on gray-white tiles
Hunched over, he sits--squat, silent, sweating:

A boulder of a black man outlines himself--
Big, bald-headed,
Spilling flesh and muscle in floppy folds
Over six feet of gristle and bone
With stomach swelling over thunder thighs

H E S I T S

Wiping his slick dome
With fat, swollen knuckled-hands.

The steam room at the local YMCA
Holds this angry giant
Ex-brakeman
Late of the UNION PACIFIC RAILROAD
For twenty-seven years
Now disabled
after a fall one windy night
from a wobbly, fault-welded
train-car ladder:

“When train rolls ‘round the curve
Canna’ tell whas a-movin’--
Train on rails, ladda’ or you.”

He whistles through tight teeth and
Sheets of hot white steam.






LONG ISLAND RAILROAD 66A



From NEW YORK CITY streets
Sleet-wet and black ash-faulted,
I mix my way through pushing throngs
To find PENN STATION; then
Down, descending moving-stairs
That funnel-out onto running platforms
Compressed with crushing crowds
Who separate out--
Like the silver spheres
In pinball machines
That find their ways
Past bumper-guards and
Pulsating toadstools of flashing lights
To fall into their proper exit gates:
These garlands of holiday and silver-belled travellers
Slide down multi-channeled tracks
To their waiting, breathing trains below.


Trains in darkened halls of
Labyrinthian lines of
Straight, curved and switching
Series of iron-rails that
Ease forth each set of
Coupled cars until they
Squeeze out like snakes from
Their shriveled, shed tunnel-skins
To find their singular routes
Rushing due E A S T--
due to arrive at their
duely appointed times.

Gliding past refracted 66B
Scenes of freshly frosted snows,
Snows in puffing swirls
Of sunlit flakes,
Blowing, blinding with
Sparkling speed as
Our iron-horse
Gallups along this L O N G
Long Island Railroad route
Elongated steadily, making its way
Toward that Island’s tip,
Past Islip to Montauk Point
At land’s end
Where sounding sea meets
Long Island’s singing SOUND.

We S T O P; and S T A R T again--
On rails reverberating repeated syllables
Of spinning wheels, bearing
Steel on steel
As slick and smooth as
Click-clack clicking ice
Cicling over singing slippery slopes
On rolling leveled land.

On either side of shifting train-car
Slanting through sun-blinding
Shafts of silver-slivered light and
Beaded drops on dripping wild glass--
I see the sea
Stretching dark-blue plains
Etched-off at the horizon line
Where light-blue lighted sky
Meets and blends
With motion and with time--
S T O P P E D.







S I R E N S 67A


I sit
Chained at my desk
Lit by halogen halos
And watch
Through slanted slats
My window view
Of old-man lamp posts,
Foregrounding spotted lights,
Roll back into backgrounds of black.

When,
In Doppler distance
The sirens’
Silvered voices
Pulsing closer, closer,
Sing seductively.

Their haunting sounds
Focus into streaks
Red-flashing
Going by my window
Receding into shrinking bleats:
OUT.

I then return to pitched-black, silent
Echoes off the
Inner linings of my mind:

QUIET NOW--
Except for bumping rubber-tired tones
Cruising headlamps
Along the empty
Still streets below.
67B



Now, the danger past,
I relent, relax
Undo my bindings
Raise up my blinds.

Yet still
I hear the piercing music
As the sirens now sing softly--
In the fissures of my mind.






R O O M 68



Sliding panels of reconstructed sections

Fall into place

As more structures are ripped up and open

Leaving exposed areas of pipes and wires

Gaping and dangling

Caked with crumbling debris

Of plaster and paint.



My room is being rebuilt

From the inside out

As my mind struggles

To reattach its dangling ganglia

That also gap and snap

Between the spaces

Where the sparks catch hold.


My mind’s space needs a new addition.






END OF PART IV



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