Sunday, December 31, 2006

New Year

It's time to flush this one down the toilet
and not a second too soon.

"Wonder how is she feeling in that region. Shame all put on before third person. More put out about a hole in her stocking. Molly, her underjaw stuck out head back, about the farmer in the ridingboots and spurs at the horse show. And when the painters were in Lombard street west. Fine ..."
-- Joyce, ULYSSES (487)

Last night I crawled under the deck.
I found a Monarch
frigid from fall.

She's sitting on my watch now,
waiting for time to go by,
and like me
she's unconcerned about the number
where the three should be.

It's just another day.


Go get a mirror.

Stare into your eyes --
be they blue,
or brown
while making sure you're good
and close to the surface.

Catch the orange-peeling,
liquid-marbles osculating,
like an eddy current
and blink.

Smirk a smug smile
on seeing yourself,
and wonder where exactly you are.

Are you only that orb?

Does that define you?

Are you the circular sunrise,
or are you the blood red cirrus
seeking sundown?

Are you tendrils working like keratin
through questions
or are you unknowable?

No, you're not.

You're what's beneath the whirlpool --
beneath the cornucopia forming ribs on rainbows.
You're under the conch.
You're the Sharp-Shin's talons piercing the sparrow

like a reflection. Broken --
trying to read this poem
without a speaker,
but it's allRAHYT,
everything works out in the end.

Friday, December 29, 2006

The State of The Republic

The speaker is a downtown bartender
in a pub tagged by a bad dream --

walls adorned with terms of union like
"margarine shall not be sent or shipped"

mocking Tippsy McStagger's approach path.
They slink through the green and pink

door, pale-white as put-down rebels --
busy leaning bees talking tough at the taps

as the stout settles and the speaker
listens to the buzz all the while.

He locks the door as the hour grows late.
The bar is a state of affairs.

The patrons are a nation stripped of title
and leadership but that of the tender,

the only sober head in the room,
watching the slack-jaws jabbering.

He pours the drink and can't help but think
the Republic is a farce to sell booze to muppets.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

... as night falling Winter it comes without a star.


The waxing of the sun
and waining of the moon
when crickets hesitate,
magpie alight
and dragonflys patter ponds.

It's Sri Lanka --
could be dawn or dusk.
I'm at a camp in a dense jungle
down South.

Through the window of my tent
an elephant moves across Venus.
I hear her ear flap
or the rippling canvas door.

Friday, December 22, 2006

More lasting than bronze by gold

We are wooden elves --
dusky elves watching woods --
almost amber,
backlashed orange
crossing a bow.

But we've forgotten
what we came to watch.

We are city elves --
black and white --
almost Victorian,
our hair under wigs
full of bows.

But we've forgotten
to care for our fellow.

We are concrete monkeys --
jabbering flea bitten fallacy --
under the Tower of Babel,
unable to help ourselves
or the earth.

What elves can we now become?

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Instead of alone

It's hard now to write without feeling like I have a reader. Somehow that's made the subject more obscure, lacking direction, lacking voice, a systemic breakdown. Grudgingly there is a story to be salvaged, but the will to tell it is more like a gasp for air, anxious. Do you now, reader, know who you are, who I write for? Is it obvious?

Late at night I craft these symbols like a prayer -- a pagan prayer to words -- instead of alone.

One night when ...

One night when I was young
I saw a thousand shooting stars.
I wondered, where did they all go.
I was alone,
went looking for them --
my world too wee to find one.

When I grew up
I searched for the diamonds of the sky.
From sea to sea,
over every horizon
they had fallen,
and I found none.

Now I'm old
I see
the brightest star
fell through
my hands
while I looked.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Croagh Patrick Pilgrimage

Everyone likes pictures right. What's a story without pictures. This is me in a tent in West country Ireland. This trip was part of a pilgrimage that climbed Croagh Patrick, the highest mountain on the island on the last Sunday in July, locally known as Reek Sunday. Another pilgrimage to this site takes place on the summer solstice and the tradition has roots in pre-Christian Ireland. The solstice pilgrimage doesn't attract close to the numbers of the Christian pilgrimage. Croagh Patrick is in County Mayo, only a few klicks from Westport where I was camping. We hitchiked to the mountain in the mid morning. It was really more of a large hill made of granite shale. It takes about six hours to get up and back down to the town below. It wasn't the time it took that was arduous however, it was the slippery footing. Everybody on the pilgramage fell at least once. The most devout of the lot actually hiked up barefoot. Many of them were bleeding quite bad by the time we got to the top.
The kids from the town at the foot of the mountain had a good business going selling walking sticks to pilgrims, and some were so resourceful as to claim their sticks were blessed or dipped in holy water. There were also little shops in the town selling supposed artifacts and pieces of cloth that belonged to St. Patrick himself. The whole story about the snakes being banished from Ireland is tied up in this pilgrimage. Something like when the barefooted Patrick reached the top he shouted at them, or threw a bell at them, and they all fled into the sea. Something like that. Like I said, people were doing this pilgrimage long before Patrick, and most probably there never were any snakes in Ireland to begin with. But what do I know?
I know that I made fun of the size of the hill -- it is nothing compared to the Rockies (or even downtown St. John's), but the shale and loose footing made it trecherous. And when you fell, it was inevitably on sharp pointy rocks. I'm pretty nimble and I think I fell only two or three times. Some of the people travelling with me fell all the time and were bruised and filthy. There were adults, kids and the very elderly, people from all nations around the world, in this strange common hardship that everyone gladly endured and with a smile at that. At the summit was this very humble chaple. There were no seats or gold or paintings. Just one cross centered in a fresco on the front wall. Outside were faucets where the pilgrims washed away their blood and grime.

I'm not especially religous, and the Catholicism from my youth seems now more like a wierd dream, but I got something from that trip. I went along to sort of observe these spiritual people and maybe get to know what they're all about. When I was on the way back down I noticed how much more open people were with one another, helping the elderly and the young, walking beside the old man with no shoes, everyone talking, sharing their stories. And they didn't want to talk about god or Roman politics, and they probably didn't even notice that they were compelled to speak -- compelled to speak by a new shared identity, a new kinship. Compelled to words that even though they were not prayers were a homage to the miracle of the sun bursting forth as we descended to reveal Patrick's snakes, fleeing into the sea.

Thursday, December 7, 2006

Another on Eliot

A Game Of Chess

The King's Indian.
Overly aggressive.
A car bomb in Belfast.
The sense of light and dark
as the phosphorous falls,
faintly falls on the scene
like confetti
at a wedding.