6 x 36 Nocturnes, series five
6 x 36 Nocturnes
i. for Leni, 4:30 a.m.
The night gives no hint toward
coming daylight, all sleeps, or
cowers, or prowls. I ready in my
small room to sleep, to dream
of you in your many guises. You
are smiling figure met on a
descending yellow bus, my companion
down flight after flight, my smile
returned for the lilies I give you.
A thousand miles away, really,
& I hope long since asleep. Blonde &
pretty & with me always inside
invisible poems, nearing daylight, brushing my heart.
Eyes shutting near dawn, carrying
nets of extinguishing night into
dream, nocturnal figures briefly
tapped, a claw of words, shards
Nights among outlaws & jackals,
the moon revealed a freak if
one runs the whole way with her,
& she too carried along the stream
of trembling wreckage into dream—
Dream-shore nearly reached as
daylight's ordered craft begins
its humming & clicking. Dream an
island, a beast, now both & a
mansion too, a pretty girl, loss,
The air is emptying from the
chamber, & night has fled
No answers in book or bed.
All is loneliness, the crushing grip,
two mocking hands dull this heart's living bell.
iv. For someone. Anyone.
Embrace it all, or watch it thud,
or flutter. The nightlong mist,
wet music for arrival, continuous
arrival, dawn's memory of arrival,
tell me true, colorless moon, love me too?
Let it go, let the living bell within
its cage squeak & groan & roar,
let my breath tumble to daylight
& my blood sizzle with love,
dance, drink, thrash, scratch the
colorless moon from desire's paper sky.
Night crumbles into shadows, stumbles,
flees, not even a decent sun today,
more a colorless indifferent light, power
with neither danger nor laughter—
Here watch a wild colt shake wild of damp,
there watch freighters deliver today's news,
today's human feed, today decaying already
in this peaceless dawn—
Who are we? Few among us outlaws or
seekers, trippin' scriptures—
Mostly slaves to loins & guts, herded by fear,
quieted by law—
Who are we? Watching each other, tangled
blindly inside colorless indifferent light—
Night will come again, seep & crawl
& tickle into pockets & alleys, touch
shadow to shadow, deepen a leaf
here, broaden a laugh there, it will come—
The freighters will roar roads sparked
above & before them, the colt will
lick & whinny & commence to dream
simple wanting dreams—
Dreams will flame here & there in
barn & chamber, mansion & shelter,
dreams will wild, gangs of outlaws &
seekers, building, building note by note,
image by image, mystery by mystery,
land which floats, legs which fly, leaves
which talk, earth which dances, world
which shimmies, hopes for free,
agonies which warn, loneliness which
instructs, freedom a grail, love a
pointing finger, memories for the conflagration,
polity for the amateur's stage, anger
the salt, regret the sugar, life the addiction,
childhood the preacher, kindness the guru,
heed night, its sand beneath you, its
ocean caterwauling, its stars pressing,
your heart clawing toward its truths. Change. Release.
Nameless runs of weeds line nameless streets,
fear the sunny claws atwist a stranger's
fingers, observe the law of locked doors &
clutched secrets, hug close to named
streets, sung flowers, stray only with strong
winds. Pock & pattern the holy emptiness within.
Grow wild with tankard, neon rhythm,
with the elixir that hurries, the meal which
thickens, but elude the dangers found too
deeply within, drums of heat, jungles of smoke,
heart revealed, shared rawly. Strums of
starlight, moon several now & sparking
notes, cluster of pink blooms, wilder dance
sans mask, ten thousand songs thrusting
from she-beasts & he-beasts, fingers flaring
glints of sunshine, night expanded & reduced
to a field, no longer a thing of shinelessness,
now a greater magick, & dreams reinvention
of the world, & the threat of numbers broken,
& the old loneliness docile in the dampness.
The water clear, rapidly healthy, fertile
with making & dissipation, & the beasts
drink & feed in the dawn's dreamest
blush, no claws, only murmuring
breezes, tribal communion, no claws,
no doors, no streets. Each weed tapped
with a flick of holiness. Games of
prayer. Flurries of laughter. A birth
for instruction. A death for remembrance.
A band of kisses prepares the music, the rage
of night summoned, unending at last.
Rage of night, she twists between
fingers’ dark power & lips’ healing
press, she watches shadows coalesce
in her empty bedchamber, her belly
loins feel the rage everywhere, pulse
hard for connection, another’s need, or song.
Love a rupture & gestation, she knows
this too well lying in her naked bed,
hungry dreams with teeth, diminishing
days of deceiving scents, two paws
of need, then claws for –letting or lament.
Dream twined to dream in a chamber,
in a home, in a building, not
the TV, nor electric space, rarely
epiphany in slap of thigh on thigh
but come the weaker hours, the clearer
minutes, come the sink within, spectral chorus rises.
A spiny dream one night, a tangle
of stars’ heat & Daddy’s cancer, she
moans, she twists, her fingers clutch
an ice cream, slam a wriggling mouth,
a scream, a whimper . . . an echo as
another near her remembers too, a mourning, a shift.
The morning cracks through the night,
grimacing & talking, a low howl,
pressing, lifting, she gives her dream-sweat
body to fresh water, to noise & krinkly
cotton, she moves swiftly til the comfort
& the terror let go, let her fucking go.
Rage of night becomes rant of day,
the wizard who made butterflies from
fire now an ordered street, a hustled meal,
a banged elbow, a missed lunch,
a pressure within, building, & building,
she smiles, she glows, the child within clenches dark fists.
Warm breath flows over me from
a universe strange, growling, curious.
Young, like sunshine. Powerful, open kegs
of moonlight. Starlight fierce, tapping. Joy fires
through me, shredding, hurting. I
want to eat her, & her, & you.
A mourning, a shift. Someone green-eyed
thinks of me, mumbles a riddle, an
incantation, wiggles fingers in the northern
rain. A beaver notices. A damp bush
wavers. The wind talks of empty plains.
Two workmen argue with chess pieces. A growl.
Joy fires through me, flaring everywhere,
an unraveling of gold’s innocence &
the clock’s many lies. Inns favoring outlaws
post news daily, pipes & hookahs now
lit for morning & midnight prayers. Someone
green-eyed embodies the new dance, the ancient
magick, holier music, strums of
starlight, she moves among tribes
hardly cohered, scattering her words
with the fineness of dust. Becoming a
different range of rhythms, higher
colors. Watch her. Becoming the word love.
A mourning, a shift. Days of greater
war, nights of spectral ecstasy.
Someone green-eyed fires through me
as I help build the burning scriptures,
compose the dance to begin the new
dancing, weep, limp, learn how to love & cry.
I want to eat you, & you, & you. Teach
you to teach me of love’s mutual gifting,
learn how to give, to receive, to know
your green eyes in both fancy & fright,
serve you at dawn, mugs of fierce starlight,
plates of glowing fruit. Prayers shaped like kisses.
ix. "Meditation on the Sea," Artist Unknown, oil on canvas, 1860s.
A beach strewn with rocks, strewn with men,
strewn with memories. The sea strewn with
none. Lone bench where a man sits thinking,
watching the sea. Watching himself come
to an end. New love. Hurts like always.
Another moment. A red pebble, A blue pebble.
He nods. His suitcoat is blue, his hat canary.
She'd worn a pink gown, a red bonnet.
His heart twists. His memories long for
drowning. Something flares, joy, another diminishes,
a note, diminishing always, a rock, a flame,
no time. No time where the sea is concerned.
Stones scattered on the sand form an
unmade language, untapped tenderness &
brutality. He thinks of her clean skin,
frivolous & carnal her breath while they danced.
A smoke. A steam. A flu. To love one steps back
from the sea. Takes his pebbles, yearns for his note,
back into the world of men & memories, & love's happy abyss.
x. for Lisa Marie
What burns in you in beauty,
blue rose in suspended time,
tinkling necklace impossible
because it lifts sadness, fury
in the tips of quiet fingers. Beauty,
suspended time, pending love, twisting cries.
To love one steps into the sea,
blind wisdom aflame, grey sky new
with direction, hustle, renewed
hustle, into the sea, into the
dream, one loves with every door
open, near lingual tingling,
into the sea, one loves, moments
heated jewels, divinity of anguish & electricity.
A buzz of energy as we converge,
clash of blue rose against its
mate, beauty burning, lingual tingling,
fell endless stream tide forehead
face warm & named, your many
trails of light, small pine, full moon crescendo,
All is water, perfect, unknowable,
your eyes stain my heart &
night, every door open, broad buzzing
beauty, freaks of starfall,
water, perfect, unknowable,
buzz of energy til a corrosive
hunger, a roar through the vacuum
of solitude, your eyes, perfect, unknowable,
pulse, pulses, all that is,
pulses, your eyes, dream’s crown
& flute, many trails of light,
fullmoon crescendo, a long dress,
a pink cheek, green eyes flavored
by the sun, a bite, a bonding.
You occupy everything, you occupy
everything. My words become
stained with your love, dream’s
crown & randy news, dream’s
funky beat & delicious solo,
your burning beauty, sky’s dream
of blue roses, suspended time
while new love raises war with a cry.
To build the burning scriptures offer
your several hands, your jungle
of eyes, the brightest steam of your soul;
to burn the burning scriptures use tongue
& thigh, fuel raised from colored dreams
& things lingering more wisp than earth.
Build the burning scriptures with
your love’s crown & flute, with ripe
oranges & empty magnum cartridges,
parade the many nights with
Jesus clowns & Buddha slaves, commit
hourly acts of resurrection, pitchers
of laughter. A new dream. A bigger
dream. No longer a dream at all.
All is Family. All is Beauty. Put down
your hands & begin to believe this.
Higher the scriptures burn, the less
of the lie that is You & I, You & I.
Festival now to compose the dance to
begin the new dancing, festival
in desert wind, among low-hung
panting stars, festival to deliver
You from You & I from I, festival of the
burning scriptures, scorched cities, charred pain.
Once meaning glinted from texts of water,
clouds the storybook, sunshine for
thirst, colors everywhere the candies of
playful eyes, clasping hands. Once,
perhaps, a crooked puppy of a day,
but no more. Love now smells
of rising smoke. A new dance, new fire.
Our best words dry, taut, sober,
revealing. Our way now beyond the
known path, into the crackling, into
the murk. Creatures mark us from
every tree, bush, bless, praise, but do not deter.
xii. Holiness Rant, part one
Holy something in each moment,
holy step to step, word to word,
the blaze on the turnpike, thrummings
in the woods, every gesture,
every tumble, holy something, whatever
what, a tap, a bomb, a kiss, lights,
shadows on a walkway, holy confusion,
holy bliss, holy silence, the bastards
in numbers, their demons, their fears,
holiness in consumed cities, swishing
meadows, in the brush’s gesture of her
smile, greed, goodness, new blood, old bones,
holiness in fingers & claws & fins,
in speeding light & careening heat,
in simple entropy, simple resurrection,
dreams with power beyond armies,
beyond time & wee-leaf conceptions of
reality, of love, holiness into the crackling,
into the murk, this universe a river
of light, infinite currents of music,
& what flows from nowhere to beyond,
when a hand might beg for just another
hand, a simple dance, a quartet of
comforts, something funny, something safe,
holiness unbounded & untaught, unheld,
unhad, unknown, the shine of things
hints, what coalesces, what disperses,
the hints from birds & weeds, from
creatures that pause & sniff to know,
the predator, the pursued, holiness
on the starship, within the flesh, what
polity fears, & thus controls, coronas
of want, secret burning cities of bliss,
the veil crushed, her night revealed,
holiness in the taste & in the suck,
renting the fist, slicing it raw,
because holy something in each moment,
every inch, soil & concrete, roots & missiles,
every inch, every inch, Godd is green,
grows from the ground, every inch,
holiness sprouts or will again soon,
growing the native impulse, only scripture,
serve that which grows & thus prosper,
serve that which creates, that
which inspires, the night, its dreams,
what persists, unnamed, serve the
dance & its dancers, the music &
its creators, alight with love,
aloft with restlessness, holiness, holiness,
all holiness along the trail, call it years
or seasons, eggs or twilights, in every step &
every moment, the wisdom found
in stroking an oak tree, remembrancing
a lost face, a mourn, a smile,
some other place to be gotten to, here
to hereon, then to never, & the day
says ‘no direction but home,’ & the night
chants ‘no direction but home,’ & dreams &
ducks say it too, listen to the secret, the
key, the living word, the holiness flushed out, & revealed.
xiii. Holiness Rant, part two
All alone, all suffering, yes. Holiness a blank
burst in a plain blue sky, an exception,
a bite leaving neither mark nor advice.
Not a roof nor cooked flesh, not a damp thigh
nor laughing touch, water, gunpowder’s warning
to the bandit’s trespass, not a king nor a judge.
All alone, all suffering, yes, & holiness stamps
the earth & nods, scorches the flags,
points to the mountain, the woods, the sea.
Holiness etches the cactus as model, flocks
of geese as example, the paintbrush hung
dripping with red oil, the dance in hungry flight.
All alone, all suffering, yes. Fuck yes &
shit yes & bullet yes & hate yes.
Camps of smoke. Rooms of moaning darkness.
A world fat with miracle & woe. Violation
of the tender, resurrection of the crushed.
Holiness nods, winks, licks your sugar, limps on.
All alone, all suffering, yes, & holiness
declaims ‘no direction but home,’ & holiness
barks ‘no direction but home,’ & hands
you basket of feathers & shells, oak leaves
& photos of insisting beauty, lyre & flicker
of old dream, gourd of water, starshine, snowflake.
All alone, all suffering, yes, til some
things you surrender & others you forgive.
Holiness with the flattened ears &
laidback fur, further along the path.
Offering you the least beginnings of a
joined scripture. A test, a dusk, a study, a star.
All alone, all suffering, yes. Holiness
in a flash of blonde hair, a hum of
green eyes. Obscure endings in the jungle,
ideas twisted open & freed in occasional
desert rages. Surrender some things,
forgive others. Give a fuck. Give two.
xiv. Brotherhood of the Fire
Brotherhood of fire, of the leaf, of the molecule,
bee-sting of mortality, sting of identity, sting
of empty hands, dreamless days, press a freak
for news of another & three more appear
with silence, smiles, this way to the communal
burn, the embedded soup, accelerated laughter.
Sparks of dragonfly, glints of a forgotten beast,
moss for the star-skinned bare foot, the day
a bee-sting of rules fled now, watch. Hurry,
now, through the dead trunks, smoldering
pine needles. Molecule & leaf summon
passing vehicles through ether & spirit. Hurry.
Surrender some things, forgive others.
Fern & moss, pattern & smoke of a
language needed, nearing. Past midnight
a beat. A beat. Now many. Ideas twisted
open & freed in nightly forest ecstasies
of squeak & crunch. Spark. Glint. Sting.
Brotherhood of fire, of the leaf, of the molecule,
hands broach hands, breach of an old, hard
wall, bring the water next morning,
bring the pipe, bring the words. Wounds.
Laughter. Stream of souls passing through.
Give a fuck. Give two.
A language needed, nearing. A night scratched,
stressed, brotherhood welded by the flame,
the leaf, the molecule, a beat, a beat,
now many. Sting of the next dream, new day.
Surrender some things, forgive others. Ash
covers the world, a blanket, sleep, oblivion.
What covers the world, a wish to learn,
shapes & patterns, bones, buzz, flesh,
a word. Observing, aloft, starship buckled
by stones of air, a fever to know, what
manner of thrummings make the song? What
feast of music sings the world?
Cities & villages, speckles of reflection, busily
asleep by day, half-lit, freakish at night.
A wish to learn quarrels a wish for safety.
Observing, aloft, knowing any man’s midnight
equation can be bludgeoned by another who
drinks the molecule, smokes the leaf.
Trees cover the earth, blood-heavy, green
the power of living earth. Wishing to learn,
to reckon leaf & bud, to understand the
mountains below: you do not understand
the mountains below. Observing, aloft,
now obscured by smoke of freedom. Floating dew.
Snow, hurricanoe, sleep. Monument,
bonfire, dust. Festival, swamp, blueberry.
Decay, dawn. Entropy. Resurrection. A wish
to learn how to learn, to reckon rightly
what one knows, reckon the shadows
within, reckon the shadows below.
Surrender some things, forgive others.
Observing, aloft, a wish to learn,
what manner of thrummings make the song?
What feast of music sings the world?
What remains up here as this starship
descends? Which ties to preserve?
Which ties to unclasp? A wish to learn
quarrels bliss’s unnamed splatter. You do
not need to understand bliss. Just surrender
some things, forgive others. The starship
passes your wish to learn into the approaching
blind eye of water. Thrummings. A kiss. Lights.
Holiness. Descending. Step in.
xvi. Burning Man 2001, Black Rock City, NV (first of five)
Beyond men, the mountains. Beyond mountains,
dream, music, wings without body, nothing
named or divided. The fierce, faded blue sky
by day, spangle & spectacle of stars by
night. The high beyond fingers & words.
The high beyond mountains & men.
High beyond meaning. Where the power raised
arrives, breathes slower, roars to rest. Delight
in the stain of the last pink bloom. Pulsing
lawn, where the castles of history will
lastly tumble. High beyond path, beyond gleam,
beyond way. Sum of two pine & a shell revealed.
xvii. Burning Man 2001,
Black Rock City, NV
(second of five)
Observe what emerges, what disappears:
The road behind us, railed & roofed—
Our hearts encased in music, now bludgeoned, now free—
The fear in holding hands, in letting go, in grasping
One hungry ecstatic matter to the next:
I fell from the bridge. You followed.
I danced & made music. You quietly called it Art.
My river tightened & shattered. You stayed near. You sang.
No direction but home:
By memory, by turning leaf, by tingling wound.
By the thousand notes of flail, the thousand freaks of hope.
A gardened soul. Call it omniana. Call it chance. Call
it intent. Call it love.
Trust the universe not because it is safe
but because it is home:
Home. High, low. Death, life. Love, silence.
Home. Breed. Suffer. Name a star. Bleed.
Home. In the swamps of the cities. Brood. Decay.
Holiness unbound & untaught, holiness
hangs in juicy gourds from trees.
Holiness pounds & presses. I love you.
Holiness flakes & flames. We can never be too high.
Holiness is mine. You are mine. We belong to everything.
What emerges. What disappears.
Hand stroking hand, fiercest thing in the world.
Heart unveiling to heart. Laughter. Scorching.
Be wild. Be the world. Release. Jump!
xviii. Burning Man 2001,
Black Rock City, NV
(third of five)
How to live, how to live, how to live,
& why. You ache & need soup.
How to build a home, build a heart,
build a man. Build faster than tears.
How to say yes to everything, every last
thing. Yes. Yes. Yes to you?
Begin in the mystery of what you
are. Your heavy emptiness. The forests,
the mountains, the does & vermin within
this heaviness. Begin with your hidden
dreams, your unconfessed sun & stars.
You are as primal as fire. Language of the peak.
A different path. A different way.
Dreams many & priceless as dandelions.
Howl. Howl! You wish to be clean as
the earth, steep as the ocean, like
the flames a baby watches dance in
the palms of her hands. Howl!
Love. Only love. There is only love.
Force of the cosmos, thrust of
the stars, energy eating energy eating
energy, love. Only love. There is only
love. You know this in your dreamless
fright. Say it. Love. There is only love.
The rest falls away. Still you ask:
How to live? How to live? How to live
& why? Build a house? Build a heart?
Build a man. Perhaps tomorrow. Perhaps
never. Perhaps you are the catalyst you
seek. Perhaps tonight you will sleep. Dandelion dreams.
xix. Burning Man 2001,
Black Rock City, NV
(fourth of five)
I hang from this sky of darkness,
feeding inside my globe of light,
waiting for your approach, your hand,
your claw, your beauteous thrust, thunder—
Perhaps this is your fate, your mission,
the meaning you need, approaching me,
what you do for your godd & your grub,
approach me, fueled by tumbles & chance—
And I approach you too though I do not
move. I approach you through butterflies of
sunshine though I do not move. I approach
you while waiting for how you will dream me next.
How you will dream me next beyond thought.
Beyond fame & delight. You dream my better
juice is finally high. Bang! A new name.
Bang! A clear song. Bang! Drums & luck.
We make Art because we have forgotten
how to tell the truth. We make Art
because the night’s starry cool tells
us little we wish to know. We make Art cuz there’s little else left.
Now you are finally here, your accelerating
light, drown me, flood me, make me anew.
Teach me again to make Art, to tell the truth.
Teach me again the one true note, the collision, the way, the end.
xx. Burning Man 2001,
Black Rock City, NV
(fifth of five)
Here a staying music. Here a shimmering
permanence. But I do not stay.
I leap along, water, consciousness,
& dreams. I hurry sometimes like I
have somewhere to go. Something to do
with blood, tribe, necessity. Danger.
There is neither necessity nor danger.
I know because I hear laughter.
Some of it mine, some the bumps &
whorls of bush & soil as I land,
nearly stay, careen again, open-fingered, close-fisted,
thrust forward. Propel my godd. Electricity. Fear. Love me.
Staying music. Shimmering permanence.
My heart is spacious within, I feel
its news in waves of color, its phalanx
of spirits, its governance I receive as
song in the silence of my flights.
What am I? Am I bigger than the world?
There is no world. My flights in
their zenith show me this. From a
thousand clouds high I am nearly ready
to release possession of what I can no
longer see, what never is or was. Nearly
ready, I feel the descent again. Love me always.
Staying music, shimmering permanence, will
I need to tumble bloody into my coming
arrival? Will my arrival taste of soil
or sky? There is no world. Touch me.
There is no world. My breast & bones cry out.
There is no world. Yet I am wet & raw
with something. Wet & raw & nothing
can love me like my own touch,
my own breath, my own dreams.
Staying music. Shimmering permanence.
There is no world. I will learn to wield
it better by century, by flame. Bursting, arriving, I will learn.
xxi. Rainy World (for Lisa Marie)
Pulsing from the stain of the last pink bloom,
a step forward, a dozen, a hundred,
& will there ever be another? She looks
at me, blazing spikes of youth, looks at me,
in one hand a cup of fur, in the other
a lightless quest. She wiggles. Expects.
Are you the stain? Am I the bloom? Who pulses
whom? Hold your eyes holding mine, teach
me again, the one true note, the collision,
the way, the end. Butterflies from fire
alight your dress, teach me. Praise me.
The sky has washed the world again tonight.
I am the stain. You are the bloom. We
cruise toward wetter, pinker places.
We scream & collide. We laugh. Sometimes
you are my muse, sometimes you
are my girl. Teach me the true note,
the broken harness, the moaning sea,
the end achieved in each pink bloom,
seed, gestation, maturity, stain.
Ecstasy & grief, you bite my thigh.
You push me down. You have me,
then something more. My breast & bones
cry out. All which ever was, you are.
We are the bloom, become the stain,
a carnal thrust, then something more.
Bones burned for healing. Breast crushed
to punish time. The smack & soot
of hands on skin, words grunted, the
whispers of the nearly lost, barely won.
A step forward, a dozen, a hundred
more. She sleeps again, sans wiggle,
sans fear. I sang her to dream with
my feather on her chest. Black ink,
rough blood. A butterfly traced on each breast,
alive, aflame, breathing. A stain. Abloom.
xxii. Hunger (for Lisa Marie)
I think past your throbbing mouth
into the skulls & clouds of your
many past nights, the pain &
its echoes & what remains still
within your clear young skin, touch
along blindly, a manless forest, a bulleted
dream, within you, within’s within,
that I may know the crinkles in your
breath, your tremors, your toes.
Kisses of light, kisses of water, kisses of sound,
a glee in the way you stroke your damp
morning hair, a tremble as the hunger
in your voice thickens bluntly, a mystery
that I know you at all, a nod that I
barely do, a laugh as you squirm in
grass, bubblegum, flaring dirty ditties,
learning when to wear eyeglasses, & when
to take them off, snarl with heavy love.
You’ve known none like me. I’ll be your first
& last. We know each other already in
dreams & silence. We met first in the
bulleted dream, fucked without names
midst angels & coyotes, each bite, each
scratch, a presentiment of some canyon
to come, some cactus tavern barstool,
some moony yowling night when
we shatter & seal, fall, pierce & release.
A coming stumble into the night, with
open hands, a wider sky, deeper magick,
festival of movement, all creation
in motion, we will attend & study,
but not rule, wiggle within the
music, within’s within, hunger,
hunger’s hunger, butterflies from
starlight, stay near me, girl, goddess,
stay, sing. Howl. Hurt. Heal.
Tonight I twist, & sit alone & think
of you. The wild blooms-to-be in your
hair. The laughing bloodfucks to come.
In the canyon & naked we’ll scream
of the past, count its echoes, bury
what remains. Bury the bulleted dream,
fill our water bottles. Sleep soundless &
twined, til morning accelerates to hunger,
& evening evolves to a medicine called love.
xxiii. Clouds & Trees (for Lisa Marie)
Teach me to look elsewhere, beloved,
through clouds, between trees, into &
through & beyond, the beauty of water-sliced
rock, the balance of weightless things
that buzz & float. Teach me to see
feelingfully into the world’s skein of hope & decay.
What feast of music sings the world?
Its hungers tremble up leaf to leaf toward
the puffy blue sky, wet watching sky, &
I wish to watch you watching, see you
trace an oak leaf’s tips, what music douses
your skin? What roots, what tendrils, drip from your reply?
Teach me. Teach me. Conjure between us
a kiss, an art, a way. Conjure a meaning
raw with beauty, a lash against every
pressing hide of control. Dream of the sunshine
you will suck from me in later nights.
The howl of angels & coyotes you’ve already known.
A lightless quest, beloved, a tide ever
higher, a tree of rivers the blazing
blood of the world, the pink clouds
of want, the golden ones of power,
the white ones of mystery, the black
ones of freedom. Teach me, beloved.
Between us ever a brave book of
blank pages, between us a thrust
& beat you are teaching me. Between
us corrosion, invention, hustle from
the past, grunts five thousand miles
loud. Lick & listen.
To look elsewhere, through crown &
cosmos, look newly, with branches
for eyes, leaves for words, roots for
memory. What floats, what shines, what
passes, what falls. A kiss, an art, a way.
Teach me til I learn how to learn. Feel the world & know.
xxiv. Fervor & Fuel (for Lisa Marie)
Trailing memories into the moony
desert, emptying into the swept
wooden shrine, tall candles, a slow
pilgrim, his dream wagging with feathers
at the heart of the world, I ask him
where She is, he says “you know nothing
but love. pray. don’t run.” I walk on,
now, still memories, always, he calls “She
is teaching you to look elsewhere, find her!”
I say “to reinvent the world you must begin
everywhere & nowhere” but he does not hear
me. Nothing left now but fuel & fervor. Nothing left but love.
xxv. Bright Pink Lights (for Lisa Marie)
To reinvent the world you must begin
everywhere & nowhere, pursue into
alleys, into bright furies, pursue
faith, trust, & passion. Admire a
woman’s leg & think: Art. Challenge the gun
& the bully, think for yourself, question
crown & cosmos, accept lash & praise with
balance & deflection, think ever of a
loved one beneath her covers, growling
with want & love, pitch bravely into
doubt’s strong, mad face, understand
the hustle of both sugar & maya:
No direction but home. No direction but home.
To reinvent the world you must begin
now. Never. Always. Look elsewhere,
count your fingers, begin. Beyond the waters
without, beyond the smoke within.
Beyond wastes & gardens both burning bright
with beauty. Somewhere the bright pink lights
absolutely sing with your beloved’s dreams.
To reinvent the world you must
imagine no world at all, total
absence of this life’s grease & goo,
no moan for the newly born nor
tremble for who & what passes on,
nor wordless breath that anything,
anywhere exists at all. Midst the wars
for nothing & the raw days of
suffering, a glimmer. A moment of
green clarity. Not a song, not even
a strum, but still listen to the air
as she passes by. A hum. Confess it:
a hunger among the irony & the fear.
Somewhere the bright pink lights
absolutely sing with your beloved’s dreams,
dreams not of crown nor cosmos,
dreams of twist & twining, of kissing
& finally having her own, tongueless pebbles
in the sky, no longer chasing or falling.
xxvi. Wastes & Gardens (for Lisa Marie)
Wastes & gardens, tumble into the silence,
hunger for a pressing warmth, hungry now,
pink leaves & sour berries, a pipeful distilled
& puffed at sea’s edge, smoke, shadows,
wastes & gardens, fingers hooked among fingers,
“I miss you,” she said. “I love you more every
day, in the twistingmost freaks of my dreams,
the old ones I’ve told you many times about.”
Wastes & gardens, swarming flames across
the mind, daylight’s bastards smile too, smile
pretty, warn, hug, preach. The moon is an
always new ribbon between us, my love, azure,
indigo, scarlet. Nothing changes today.
Azure, indigo, scarlet. Harder steam. Climbing.
Wonder & love are faiths, not facts.
Steer your life’s course by the page or
by the flicker.
Wastes & gardens, nothing left but a forge
& a memory. How hope rolls on through
darkness, through worse. A field of butterflies
& brambles. Naked, hurt, hurrying, keep
choosing, keep turning leaf to leaf, flake to flake,
kiss by kiss. Leap & stumble. Plain & golden.
xxvii. Holiness Rant, part three [fugue]
Wage Beauty. Watch her from afar, an arched
torso in a lit vault, a memory, a dream,
call a word to her of what’s to come:
Wage Beauty. Strum your silence, listen, is it restless,
does it smolder? Who is holy if not you?
What is holy if not all?
Wage Beauty. Between the bricks, among the lights,
a something. A song. A something. Hurry along
to catch your companions. Or don’t. Think:
Wage Beauty. Not in the glimmer of a shoulder,
something else. The stillness & power of a trunk.
The leaves that vibrate. The mysteries which persist.
Wage Beauty. Midst vengeance & jihad, money & mania,
a throb in your wrist. A hum behind your eyes.
A holiness in your veins. What is holy if not all?
Wage Beauty. Wage Music. Wage Yourself.
Wage Hunger & its filling. Wage Family & its teeth.
Wage Love. Strip raw tonight. Wage Something.
xxviii. Holiness Rant, part four
New blood hurries old bones along, in leaf
& man, storm & art, every field east
& west liquid with movement, squeak unknowing
of the wrinkle, spasm become suckle,
hurrying leaf, dragging grief, a cane,
a softball, a veil, a tremble, a shriek.
The bitching gnaw. The holiness of need.
New blood. Old bones. A dead brother recalled
in a dream, soft again, deaf, blunt. Beauty
without the bruise of grief. Hurrying together
in a new world, his blood still new, my bones
still older. Hurrying without history’s scrape.
We conclude in a park where old men sleep
& piss. Tepid bones, dead blood. I lose him
again, & always, but for the claw of knotted sand,
but for the name, but for the magick. What is
holy if not all? Some sleep with needles.
Some sleep in trash. No blood. No bones.
In leaf & man, storm & art, some frenzy,
some jitter, perhaps a wall of steel windows,
perhaps a dance, a jug, a garnished thigh,
perhaps a curtain of gold, a muffled
byway, she rattles my blood, rocks my bones,
a flourish of curves, riddles & upset,
A greater magick, anguish & electricity,
a power visible in my dreams, among
my prayers, the city become a carriage,
become a hearse, become a woman
I’ll wed, become a pen, a song, immolation,
a finger the child I was waved at stars,
new blood, new bones. Always. New blood,
new bones. Flourishes of war & agony
no preacher may sum & nod. Quiet dissolution
while the kings clutch maps, while everything
silently burns. Despair the expanding mold
midst crowds of clutching flags, pairs of crushing thighs.
xxix. Homesickness (for Lisa Marie)
A passion for you. A carwreck ending my
Are you an instrument or are you a hand?
Are you a mind or are you a salute?
Are you discrimination or are you capitulation?
Think for yourself. Question all. Be prepared
for the next day, & its probing night.
Wage Beauty. Wage Art. Wage Yourself. Wage Yourself
Wage Yourself. Wage Yourself.
Homesickness, my love. Fields passed in a car,
perhaps corn, perhaps tobacco.
What are you afraid to smoke?
What are you afraid to say?
What do you fear is to come?
When the world opens, anew, sheds its tickings
& its kings, what will you see?
Give both hands. Shed a life’s worth of books &
memories, but a few. Hurry. With care.
A passion for you. Beyond babies, beyond
dreams. A howling in an empty canyon.
This is my mate. She is far. She is mine.
Homesickness, my love. For a barn of toys,
a father’s lap. Hide-and-seek. Faces.
What persists from your dreams, shapes them?
What of you is not tired nor beaten?
Can you mark the last day a thrill occurred?
Can you sniff the air & sense coming of
A passion for you. An old car, a soft radio,
a book on mushrooms. A girl’s teasing laugh.
What hopes continue to broaden outward?
What old memories stay, begin to make a life?
What years in your company shall be lengthless
What melody you hum I’ve always heard,
Homesickness, my love. For a world to come, still a
dream, still a babe.
For a world fanged for survival,
soft for enduring love.
For a world among trees & buzzing,
a world awled in muddy rock.
For a world in the shadow of your
shoulders, slant of your gaze.
For a world, tonight, still growling
for birth, pressed on by homesickness,
by the hand I wish to be, the instrument I love to wield.
To believe nothing. To believe everything.
Eventually devolve to a seed, a hook,
a melody. A staying touch. To an afternoon shine
along a stretch of earth. A voice that
keeps talking—please!—keep talking.
A good enough called God.
If lucky, a god that opens wide in flames.
xxxi. War (for Lisa Marie)
A howl opens to sunshine, muddy sky
split, fade into the fierce, music
unending, through the night, the killing
kind, the king's pattern for sparks
& blood, for a crimson vengeance, a building
pry into the guts of stars & earth.
Douse the burning scriptures. Where
the sparrows flap & bathe, toss in
the crown & its sparks & its plans.
We belong to the world, it may yet
heal us as a father tows his screaming
child from a broken toy, a rabid pet.
Surrender some things, forgive others.
There is no world. There is only love.
The king's conflagration need not burn
the air. Warriors may stow their flags
& puff thoughtfully together. There is no world.
There is only love. Prove it otherwise.
Reckon the myths of lost gardens &
pending wastes. Reckon the preachers
who speak all of melting worlds but nothing
of glowing moments. Reckon the butterfly
in repose, slice of buzz, now awing through
a pair of blonde girls posing as oaks.
Reckon the breast which once fed you &
the cosmos which feeds all. Reckon
the blind day when you will feed the cosmos
in return. Yet today you are still hungrier
than the world. Today your hands still
sway with music. You still love with strange glee.
The howl is yours, today, to release
with wrath or ecstasy. Your choice
to join the world's making or submit to
the king's frigid rage. To fill the cup
deeper, pass it wider around. To summon
aches & griefs toward new plantings & pulsing starflight.
xxxii. Holiness Rant, part five
Tonight there seems little left,
hardly worth dividing between
two friends, lovers fading, the gentle
tremble of obscurity, little left
but to wield a pen & remember some
old song, some gone bed, some other day’s
stiff flag, holy something in every
moment, o yes, the jitter of belief,
the parade of fierce, the curve
that mattered, the pink more than
a thought or its girl, no, she dreamed
reinvention of the world & I listened,
a rampage, a gleam, a way. I listened.
I still wish to listen, to tangle tails
with the flecks & hungry gold of who
that boy was, as he listened, he watched,
he saw her approach music, heard
her sing from texts of water.
He listened. All alone, all suffering,
yes. I listened. When the bombs
neared, I learned to dance. When she
lit off into life’s long flight, I learned
to groove. When came time to kiss &
burn my gurus, I grieved. All is grief.
So one grieves. Now tonight I wonder:
what can be left? I wonder.
I listen. Holy something in every moment.
New blood still hurries my old bones
along. I know not why. We freaks
will never own the world.
Too busy chasing grooves into rabbit
holes, I suppose. Too busy scratching
at bombs of beauty, maybe. Too busy
bringing the forests & arroyos the news
that there is no news. The heartbeat of
king & coyote reverberate equally in this trembling night.
Smile. Wake up. Happiness.
(smile.) (wake up.) (happiness.)
Language is neither the alpha
At one end, silence.
At the other, laughter.
In between: laughter.
xxxv. Penultimate (for Lisa Marie)
Smile. = E Major 7th = blue
Wake up! = A Minor = green
Happiness = C Major 6th = pink
xxxvi. Holiness Rant, part six (for Lisa Marie)
“Transformation can only take place immediately;
the revolution is now, not tomorrow.”
Smile. This moment is trembling with the
thrum of thine hands, the quick of
thine beat. Release thine anguish &
electricity as the jay releases the air
& the bush releases its fruit. This moment
contains a blush & a war. Many blushes,
but only one war. Smile. This moment a god,
breaking wide in flames; a man, hands
of ash which cover the world; a dream’s
crown & flute, pale, knowing music of dawn,
raw take & flee of noon, arching harmonies
of midnight & deeper; a beast, fragrant
hunger to sleep & gestate; a buzz, a wave,
a pulse. A mystery, a medicine, a holiness
which tramps & makes & crushes.
Smile. Let’s save the world. It’s easy.
Forgive. Surrender. We make the world
with another’s clay. A dance. A deepening.
Wake up! Trust the universe not because it is
safe but because it is home, secret burning
cities of bliss, the living bells of child,
cricket, a mind’s unleashing molecule, trust.
Spit back the false dream herb of polity
& scripture. Wake up! Beyond path,
beyond gleam, beyond way. Wage Beauty &
call it thine governance. Weep until you
are ready to begin. Culminate in emptiness,
a shell by an oak, a corpse by a stream,
a book of instructions in the language of
ash. A fever where once strode a man,
a glow evanescing where once a woman
laughed & leaned closer. Wake up!
A scent. A leaving. Holiness sucked
in, a sweet living poison. Holiness in
goblets drunk by artisans, preachers, &
kings. Hidden & studied & bred.
Happiness. A maiden in her dreaming bed.
Her love impels my hand. She is my
singer & my song. Let’s save the world,
with whispers & wood, water & smoke,
doubts, dancing, drink the elixir now.
What is holy if not all? Drink the elixir
now! Happiness. There is no world.
There is only a moment, trembling.
There is only this moment, beating.
Weep & begin. Many blushes, but only
one war. A happiness, an emptiness,
a collision with no sound.
I seek the singer to become her song,
become the pen she wields, become the clay
I breathe me out slowly, until I am gone,
until I am berries ripened & flown,
a blush to new eyes, a war without hands.