Monday, August 14, 2006

The Greatest

The music is endless image
of an immeasurably
waterfall, I
always want to walk there,
enter the wild throe of the band
of water, never to hear another
wrench or shriek, but the whir
become roar of cascading the
tumbling, enveloping

Alternately, it is the dream
then the waking from dream that
sullies the heart, one cannot forswear
discovered clouds,
not sit a realistic instant
in any fold or furrow
no matter how delightful.

The wind, then, to move the stagnant depression-

times, however, there is not a whisper of breeze
and the trees in duress limp to horrible stone-
the earth sits heavy unto itself.

None can lift the body to ease the grief
hand that would mend
widespread damages
hurt itself.

What humiliation
to lessen the burden,
weight of greatness
acrid, awkward delusion,

that will not bring the body lower than the
ground from which it began to climb
but show an elliptical manner possible
one horizontal,
as in
benignly, to cross the room not to
rake shoulders of the others
with the cleats of boots
nor to uproot the ambitious
saplings crowding, aspiring

but to enter the throes
enter the ragged breaking down,
circumstance in which all
are twofold
swimming, grace incarnate and
a submerged worm drowning.

"Help me down" like she said,
never any better anywhere
but closer to where dirt is made of dirt
to look around from there
around there
the stars, small lights not
swirls aflame that dizzy the charlatan’s eyes
among them without shine or any way to streak
across the sky where one
happily gently
is not a fixture.

(in Vermont)


Round cap silos
complete the picture
of cows in a swamp.
roads made lanes by
trim of elms and pines.

Whole lots of grass for sale,
bare opportunity for corn
or a bunch of old trucks
and scrapwood.

Endless facets for looking
or to not even care.

The pitch in Sugar Maples
isn't syrup until it's boiled.
Other trees are not unprepared
firewood. Nor the classic
red barns. They are not image.
They contain hay. In bails.
Stacked. If you entered one
through the massive doors
you'd want to sneeze the
July sun has so dried further
the bundles of thatch.

Finally, who the hell
would want to go to the
gazebo in downtown
Rutland who wasn’t
there already, on the
shady grass of the time-honored
town commons having whatever
rural fun with ice cream and music,
someone's grandparents, paying
attention to fiddles and washboards, not
really wanting anything, some pancakes
for breakfast, with proverbial syrup, at the
table, in the house beside the red barn that
as they watched caved in on itself, was empty
of hay, or anything at all...


Her death
is not confusing .
We’ve all a road
allotted, and much
to hit in deviating.
It was here, her. Her.
The coldness nears a
little more. We who
knew her know she is
purely fine, wherever
and still want again to
see her.

At her funeral
on Lake Champlain
her grandmother's
lush estate of a small
white brick cottage with
plots of flowers throughout
there were more than 100
mourning, part of the ceremony
that changes no fact of her going
but the mind for which it exists
irreparable. The "Native American"
style service prompted we all bundle
tobacco in pieces of cloth, imbue our
specific blessings, remembrances, to
at last burn the gathered bundles
watch the smoke as ghost of
what we had to say. I was somehow
picked to collect the objects into a large
basket, walking around the half-circle,
accepting the somewhat "last word" of
Bailey’s family, friends, people from her
town. We all knew what to do? Say? This
is what happens? Has happened.

Remembering her bizarre mendacity
a sense of melodrama she wouldn’t shake,
talking about skiing or drugs, it was hard
to believe, though her voice tried audibly
I now recognize simply to be accepted. I
shared with her a stupid passion for anything
that ultimately embarrassed but, even slightly older
has tempered, slows to be vague propulsion
for inevitable focuses. I hadn’t seen her in years
and if I saw her in downtown Boston instead of
as a concept of a person, cremated, physically no where
on the entire earth, I’d have said hello. Talked a minute.
And that would have been that. And still would be.
No chance. The common is sacred-all is common
the sacred is the common, while it’s possible.

New England

Rhythm of breath
blood happening through
and into and away from
the heart. Old place
I always am, always
leaving, it's here to
meet in coming, fabric
on the back. Fits. I fit it.


Way of sun
upon forest crests
towns within, spike
gently, with slants
joined to slants
roads throughout make
moveable circumstance
signs define the way to go
a way to get around.


Hold with no holding
to the line that's there—
hold to it, tack the sail
in wind—

or a marsh
to the perimeters, scrub
trees, snags,
to live in.

Love You

for what else do
alone? Face life
indifferently, be
afraid of pain, or
at last suffer the
lack of company
thins the air by the day
more and toward harder
form. One can always
"get by," but why
with something possible
otherwise, someone with
whom to talk about talking
or how best make breath of air.


Sketch: Virginia Marsh

is eye
presence of
looking not
grace or might
sturdy middle.

but less darkly
some measure of eagle

(talons become wind edge
breadth to scale gills or cleave
density, Virginia humidity)

richened thereby
richer, or
saturated reed
in the water

slow to flying
masterful knowing the marsh
and living
amid oblong


The bleak or
raven-cold, beam of iron
endurable underneath-
how apply
ponderous human concept
of the ominous
or numinous
to simply the
weird presence
of eyes looking
manifest as body.


Some old ditched house
with framed picture
of a gone person
on the mantle inside

it’s Nana Jo is in my mind
not looking at me or anything
always old wife to Bill
she sat in that chair, now

concerted to a stick upright in the marsh
into flying a
beard going gray or
a chest breathing sleep


does not find it funny
prefers the bog to
brown river, exposed to sun,
until blanched and molasses
the snakes are there.

cannot return to that previously happier time
before early afternoons were all
brick smokestacks
covered completely with ivy
in hot, hot,

not a corner or the room but a turning
away from that isolation.

whose body is hardly even there
but lovely manners of blue that
gladden the senses without shame
in front of all the people a quietness
that will move the entire frame into
absence if one of us asked about anything.

a memory from nowhere of a tire rolling maniacally
down the paved hill and into someone’s fence

or back to the river where we went fishing with bread on hooks
for useless sunfish, there was a heron there,

and a few other times, for sure.

possibly if I looked I could recall each one ever seen,
could still turn the head away unnerved but
leave the eyes not fixed following the leaving

there was little to say

Ritual Unhappiness

Stay until
it is day
let us walk
until evening
it is late
let us talk

Parting Words

for Kathy Godfrey

were not once one thing
but many interactions
lashed under mud over rock
at the river, or
furrowed shale of oak bark
ribbon of May ivy.

...walking away from me
the pastoral comforts are
piss to the nose? Although
the natural facts of which you are
reflection could fan your fearful leaving
with breeze that lifts ash seed
from dandelion
shuttles dust
toward new fire.

You are going to Spain.
I am not going to Spain.
The time is improper. More
I don't have a ticket for the ship.
It's sad? It is then that I am leaving
since I am not leaving.

Shapes will not glut
memory, but the odor
of oranges we ate that
afternoon with no
sentimentality as distance
has created, swells, and colorfully
oranges elicit a sense of health,
when peeled the pocks of the rind
spray the joy that groves allow
and inside, cells of fruit
have such fresh wetness
that moistens the dry mind.

I am brushing back the rind
of my hair, and taking a wedge
of memory from the sectioned globe
I see your face's presence and
eating the odor of your laughter
remembered is not sour.

Jared and Duncan Dancing

The radical act
is showing the facts
of oneself when
there are others optional
repressive or else
transparently truly
a wish to be free a
circumspect finesse
in the flesh
on one's own bones


your ears are
going all over the place,

can you hear that we're
feeling generally better
not unfettered but
as nothing enough
can be held in
that hated way
we’d fallen to.

my dear me
soft and frightened
we can always and
anywhere again begin