The memory holding us together

A beagle here is
A commissioner of the entire downtown night
In the culvert neighborhoods, and
River run communities
Barely lighted –
On a stormy day it can stretch
Its vanguard and territory
Out to the bristling sea
Barking brokenly at the depthless danger
Foaming and barging on
The desperate propensity of a harbor town.

You can’t capitulate in this environment.
You can’t go untutored through the
Remarkable and unfamiliar
Coatings of greylighted mist
On a sort of journeyman’s walk, or
Into the uncoloured meadow
And unconscious bleating of lambs;
Everything here rises on a distant peak, and dies.
So you should not think, Because you cannot see it that
It’s not there.

Lightening splits old oaks outside
And clears all forecasts of the morning.
The mundane goes out of its bough
That’s sanctuary for a moment until
The sun is up in its undamaged domain;
Handel’s opera plays out just now,
Though I can’t figure it out, why this one, why now?
Is it playing on radio, maybe.
It’s nothing compared to you,
Your tea long lost the early chimera
Of soaking heat; the bungled breakfast table
Was less, well, less animated
When you left it.

And now the sky’s outward graduation
Comes freighted with adrift colors,
Some identifiable cloud formations
Shifting to a grey autopsy, settling.
Can the truth be some inclement affair?

From the window perched on the hill,
The queen, rook, pawns,
Draw together in their plan
Palloring between the city’s grids, and
Blocks diffused and heavy beneath the sky, all
Immovable except for the upward low expanse bending down
Into the sunken valley
In the elements of divine strategy
Before us on the landscape.
I can contemplate how the ground’s fought over position
Skewers cityscape, and discovers
Weaknesses along the river, flanks
And strengthens behind every location
Running straight or in awiry conundrum
Through its electrified wires
And tunnels and unearthed troves and other
Fields of funerbra and sacrifices
Too old for the imagination.

There’s a sharp but salient buzz
In a secondary room
And it switches into the frequency of a channel
As the tide might zip and run;

The rain is pelting the surface of water nearby
And a darkening air predicts
A significant thunder shower, or was that the radio?
I listen to the broadcast trying to sort its
Iced melody and voice out. Still more voices
That seem further away with each
Punctuation of another talking voice
That each swap and flow back.

All this while you are bundling
The large Samsonite
Over the landing and hammering
The canticled balustrade
Like keys, taking the staircase through
A range of familiar notes –
Lo fa mi so la di do dah.
It’s sure that’s wrong. Of course.

This morning in shaped darkness,
Light grew in measurable stops
Questioning each object in the room
With a tender and curious blend
Of morning fatigue and the day’s
Inevitably bland and
Undulating curiosity, as if
Just entering an antique shop,
Where all things as old as yesterday
Had a value that is negotiable.
You start whistling , not whistling, the way you do sometimes.

The birdcall I remember. Was it larks?
Where was that now?
Hard to know and the window pane
Condensed and hardly immutable to
The song of birds we wavered,
Though there was more of an
Erratic volume to everything then
Outside in the “preternatural” world, and internally,
In the tacit body’s nerves,;
Nothing but the delirious silence
Of a love, and endurance, that traveled.

The delay in sleep gives in to untimely tiredness that comes
Because the night was last interrupted
And the sky had suddenly fell on the morning
After the night’s humid sterility.
This might have left us with more intact senses were
It not for the pair of nocturnal nightingales
That corroded our senses with their astral prayers.

Notice that
Birds have an unlikely tendency
To sing when lightning ends;
They sing this way
As if morning came disguised
In a the following brood of its bright bolt, though it is still dark.

What we say of old mythology is
So much taken with the birds.
The gramercy account of this place
Is like bowstring held taut
That flies perpendicular into a
The perpetual absence of a heaven.

Your grandmother was evidence
Enough that the old gods were corrupt
When she’d sit upright
At the foot of the bed praying
In her thunder-pleasing words,
Finishing up the storage
Of her beads, and intoning
The silent ends of mocked despair.
I would say nothing of it thereafter.
Nothing in her sacrificial breath
That wheezed as she climbed into bed
With the sated anonymity of body,
Of a being having meted
Life out in the measured strain
Of her own prayerful words,
Could understand this.

Parallel with her night go
Sounds that halt
And will never be heard again.
The ancients made Grecian lyres
Into new temples with sandstone colonnades –
Rising notes as fat as perspective goes.
In one stretch of our arms, time’s
Private tour of history sings well of
The parallel harmonies of this universe
Blending and quarreling as a set of
Furtive westward lights crowning
The horizon, and day having made
Peace with green laurels given solemnly
In remoter areas and still forests
Still not electrified.
This is all accepted reasonably well.

Outside, the opera is staged
On antique ruins
Brought to life in floodlight.
A conductor with his
Baton raises the magic of sound
And scatters it like wind into twin harmonies
Twinging like nerves caught up
In the barren and bold midnight trees.
Cicadas have become as silent
As spectators.
Zeus, one arm displaced is
No longer holding a fork, or spear.

You push aside into the contended light
Some foul play maybe
And are uneasy with this dichotomy,
This distention that somehow goes between light
And dark until all the defined elements
That matter, or take their form from the memory
Of the world fall suddenly apart.



I imagine a place where there are rooms,
But not so many as you could not count them.
The rooms are not held together, as in this isn’t a house or building.
It’s rather to be imagined as waves of light have been explained.
Particles moving in a direction,
But at the same time indistinguishable from every direction.
A sort of invisibility has hold on them.
They are extinct from memory.
I might even invent words for their appearance,
Like panish, a word that describes
The temporal reflections of the sun on a pool of water,
Or any light for that matter,
Half faltering under the surface.


There are images, recollections
Severed by the sun
And pooled in caves
Like dreams:

I am uncertain, but
They have no eyes
The cavefish there
No blood, capillary, flesh;
Just a bulge, sac
Brooding on gases

Bats sometime before
A tunnel fell
Left droppings
Or some rodent skeleton
Having lost its way
Dissolved in the cold vat
Of hard waters

But the caveflow shifts
Through a narrow passage
Through a draft
Or its lighter gases dispute
The abstract hierarchy
Of their chemistry

Movement, like waking
Stirs the firewood of
An ancestral morning
The cold embedded rocks
And the sound of birds again


Motion, dimension, darkness
Hold her in place in a photograph, inset and
Stilled by the stalking instant
Of the camera’s perpetuating click –
An unkinked and paralyzed
Trauma seizing her muscle’s tissue right then,
Her central nervous system
Shaped persuasively in
The perceiving light,
Emitting the image seen in her eyes.
Only the photographer’s dull frame bends
The corner of refraction
Radiating the image for bone,
A head’s bone-density and
Sanguine holes where her eyes
Had meant to look out and examine man’s
Occult flesh, the peripheral
Soul of the caretaker.


In the illiterate dark core
A clear colder water fills
A cavern of silk-smooth rock.
This vein, mineral rich, pumps
On the season’s chartered weather,
Regulates the weight of its desire
By fissuring harder elements
And runs where its path lies,
In open ground if it must, or breaks
From submerged life and
Roars from a cavemouth or
A portal of rocky wood to stream
Aimlessly for a sudden while
In limeless landscapes scraped
Of sky, where green untoward layers
Of moss on moss and the fern’s
Splendor splayed and liminal are,
On precipices, edged nooks
Before an open country’s overture.


The sun on twenty thousand cracks
Withers like a stalk
In fields jettisoned to age
And acres tamed by machinery,

By the road verge
An unnatural irk of engine burrs
Morning, with steel and iron –
Two races of a similar kind
Relaying clanged battles
Under the fierce long
Ahistorical heat
That never perishes during
Sun-up and midday hours:

The ungodly sun brought
Through winter’s ascetic grip
All coming with its low sky
And lament for a cold harvest.

If it happens over

A whole night tracks into a sky,
Every illuminated shard piece of it
Disappearing from lead-dense
Pencil blackness, longtail comets;
A moon’s logic waning in a sun
Gone to sink, all its knowledge
Irreversible. And the binary engine
Of universe bungled for a brief
Instant and crying a first cry,
Or crawling into life, a sort of amphibious
I wake near you in the morning;
Uninhibited memories of survival
In my every crevice of sensation –
Sound, shape, and others.
Insight again finding a pathway
Familiar to life, and you.

NHK, Chiba

for Oe

I remember his father who said
News is a state of infrequency.
I think of it when I’m among the
Trepid heat and summer throng
Of whinging insect life, rust-colored
Cicadas driving their sandblasting
Burned bursts into scabious trees and
Unnerving their planted roots where
Life is more particularly alive
And winces in a granulated stasis at
Rock juncture or a motioning
Worm, other life, or other roots.
And here on forked radios the news
Cured in a voice remotely shorn
From its limbs lifts pain out
As resurrecting a deadweight body,
Remodeling it as a paralyzed
Fact that’s a trenchant warning
Breaking from the normal
Pitch and cowl of uterine sound.
A fragile birth come to fruition.
An apple in the womb.


This, where you might start
To divulge a trove dug from underneath soil,
Though long welded there
With roots and derogation;
A beagle truffled its damp snout
To disseminate ground, hard and punic
To find an allegorical and shapeless
Effigy and sundry passing points
Of bones and dirt/charred leather
That like degrading errors go on
Unfolded on men, women, fields and
Free-falling to erratic territories;
Some simply/only erstwhile or
With unplugged short threads
Weaving a pull into a dead cave’s
Cold, dark and mute severance,
Running down deaf vertical walls.

Noon to night

for mother

There’s sun clamming on the wall
Fevered as a body’s irredeemable
End-mass of bone, muscle wrested
From the blood’s covert ecstasy
Though hands maul at it, bring it back
From cold derogatory death to
An exulting shade of fidgeting leaves
That green in suddenness, and pall
Into brown autumn despondency
When the moon is hit by tides,
Shifts on its axis, blinks into a new phase.

The full breadth of a moon-tide’s pull
With a bright exclaiming doctrine
Carried you into night stubbornly shorn
Of all this meaningful gravity.
Bless you and your maker.
You feed now on the pup of
Milked-up stars and coroneted
Suns – and moons too far apart
To matter.