The Hordes

I understand very little but the hordes coming behind me know so much   I admire them and fear them perhaps a few have kinship to me are baffled as I was, as I am   I count myself fortunate to see the light that I see, to see by my own lights   The illusion of ownership barely lingers in me, I belong to my body, not the reverse   There is tenderness for what is and can be easily abolished. The dark of violence frightens me   The hordes coming behind me know so much, but do not yet know how little it is, we...

You – Point Reyes, April 2015

This April we have brought you along with us hiking these headlands you never knew   you have been with us each step of the way, sometimes light, sometimes heavy, sometimes   a dance of variegated shapes in the fog’s sheen, sometimes transparent, sometimes a suggestion;   you have been here and you have been not here, both at once, so I have tried with each footfall   to reconcile the two, failing as I knew I would the wildflowers are out celebrating the first spring   after you and so many tule elk have gone to join you in this great drought and beauty   is everywhere all around including the black hawks that dot the fog and also my joy in each breath   we’ll walk some more, then more and then no more, but, while we walk, we’ll bring, sing you with...

Beyond Passport

Once long ago I rewrote a book in a week.I don’t know if it was better once I was donebut that week there were words everywherelike swarms of gnats or of buzzing bees It was on St. John in March the year a hurricane whose name I’ve forgottenripped off many roofs which were replacedby plastic tarps as blue as the sea I sat still at the center of all those wordswithout asking what had possessed meor why I had to do this or what was comingout of me onto the screen of the laptop I didn’t write all the time, but spent hourson the reefs and among the many millionsof silvery minnows that gave way to meas I swam among them – it was different to be in the water and to be rocked gentlyand to feel the winterless sun on my back, to be horizontal not vertical, to watch the fishin tropical tailored clothing as they passed by While this salty second immersion went on, the first continued, too, not writing but what writing is before it can be known as writing, prospecting in dark mind’s phosphorescence For the book I rewrote in that one island weekI found words as many as I needed, but for me,for what was happening in me that week, none,save that I traveled far beyond passport’s...

Sunset Allusion At Port Clyde, 1990

The tide brimming full,two pines on a tiny rock-pocked island,the sun setting behind them,become Notre Dame’s twin towerswrinkled on rippling violet water. Myself, a gargoyle seeking speech,sorrow cascading out my mouthlike rain collected off a vastinvisible circumflex steep roof,salt added, salt added, salt...

In The Matter Of Proust, Milton, Cervantes, Dante et al

The petty affairs of everyday lifeNow so confound me from morning to nightI’ve lost touch with the impossible ones,Proust, Milton, Cervantes, Dante et al. I picture their names inscribed on a doorIn gilt on sober seeming frosted glassIn a random bland office corridor,Some place of Business which is nothing more. Walking whether in my sleep or just out,I knock unsuspecting at mid-morning.“An odd coincidence,” I am thinking,“Peculiar names with awkward redolence For a list of lawyers or accountantsOr surveyors, designers, purveyors,Or any other such bustlers about.”A woman of indeterminate years, Not quite cold but just a bit aloof,Favors me with a smile from where she sitsWell-dressed behind her old fashioned desk.“Why have you come? What can we do for you?” We are thirty stories above the streetBut with a view out a single windowOf the traffic down below, what flows there.I look and I see characters in ink. Letters and words and brightly colored birds.Question marks with canes, dapper periodsClimbing into shining stretch limousines.A moment’s vertigo. I look away. Can things be so utterly differentFrom what I thought? What am I doing here?Was I not just now down there on that street?Are my hopes, too, no better than letters? How shall I ever answer this lady’s Unpresuming smile, unassuming style?Why have I come? What can they do for me?“I look lost only because I am lost.” “Ah, yes,” she says, “Perhaps Mr. Dante…”“Or Mr. Milton as far as that goes.As I’m sure you know, he has been much vexedWith his eyes. Or even old Cervantes…” I can’t be sure. I thought her face brightenedWith something like relief, as if...