Lieu would never marry a human wife
And so nine kinds of flowers came together
And lovely Bledeuwedd was made.
(a celtic tale)
I lit a cigarette and stepped outside the bar.
There were a couple of people I knew loitering
Around the front of the place. Their features
Kept changing as I looked at them. I thought
They might be a dream. I had forgotten their names
But they knew me and were talking about a place where
We used to swim, where the mud was soft on the feet
And the current moved outside the eddy, then made
For the river without bothering this place.
She approached me and asked me if I had a cigarette.
I could smell the flowers. I knew she had been delivered
To me to break a curse. Something swirled around her
That reminded me of drowning but without the water,
It was furtive and silent. Her face began to bloom.
When life begins to sing like this, there is little
One can do. The old stories begin to come
True. The goddesses walk once again upon the earth.
It does not matter to them if we believe in them or not.
They too are the soft mud at the bottom of the slough,
The holy light of the flowers. The idea of grace envelopes
Us completely. We forget that we have ever hated anything.
The clouds had affected
Our ability to walk
Or tell time beyond
“It is the time of crows.”
“It is the time of knives.”
“It is the time of nothingness.”
“It is the time of colored sounds.”
There did not seem to be
Anyplace or anywhere.
We struggled to determine
If we were awake.
Someone picked up a rock.
Someone else, a pretty piece
Of clay that turned out
To be a rather pretty girl
Who cooked for us for a week.
Our riders were coming back
In bunches of three or four.
Some of them had been horribly
Mangled. They whispered like bells.
One of them told us the mad men
Had been going into the schools
Almost daily and killing people.
Anyone would do.
Lord, we thought they were lying.
We found ourselves kneeling.
This was some overworld
We had stumbled into.
Ramon had built a temple
He could carry in his pocket.
Today he took it out and crushed
It beneath his heel.
By the time the wounded arrived
Others were also arriving to collect
They disappeared back into the forest
Like a fresh lemon meringue pie at supper.
Now, please, tell me something
Of your own town. We have heard
It was old and that that there were
No armies stationed anywhere near it?
A bird preens just beyond the fence.
It is red, the color of blood.
A groundless sadness
Flew into the landscape.
I was hard-up to get the expression
She sounded like she
Was selling guns,
When all she wanted
Was an apology.
They used to deliver karma
In little boxes like the kind that
Wooden, strike-anywhere matches
Used to be packaged in. Eventually
They replaced the karma
And only sold the matches.
We would go to the movies
On Saturdays to see the karma.
I recall "The Crimson Ghost",
The "clay people" leaving the walls
To pursue Flash Gordon and Doctor Zarkov.
We had our own stories, to be sure.
Burning water, rocks with eyes
In them, glass hands that
Slipped over our bodies.
For awhile I thought all the animals
Were mine—at least the ones
Who were golden and looked
At me so nakedly. The trees
Would watch me and laugh.
I was this dreaming thing
For a long time but turned
Into a beautiful creature.
People began taking shots at
Trying to tell me the mouth of God
Was a bloody hole rather than
The great quiet that it was.
Everyday was important then.
Everyday we churned through the blood.
Now we just watch our children
And madmen walk into the schools
And open fire on everything.
All of music weeping. Everyone
Waiting for a tomorrow in the heat,
For some long gray rain that we
Would listen to again and again
As if it were the seasons.
THE WIND WATCHERS: THE NAMERS
Out on the edge of the dunes,
Just back from the white-lipped
Waves of the shoreline,
They are holding sheets of light
High against particular winds,
The Leung of the China coast,
Lost in the changing of the season.
It touches the Seistan of Iran,
Drops the wind of the Pampas
Into the mix, the Zonda. The Waff
Lowers by with the lovely Flauwewind
And they try to trick the light bearers.
But they will not be tricked. They hold
All the winds of the world in their sheets,
From the black Haboob to the gale, Kohala,
Up from Hawaii for a try at the sheets.
We stand in awe of these bearers of sheets
Of light and use the passing Thalwind from the German
Valleys to curry favor for our small boat bobbing
Just inside the harbor. We will return with each
Breath the planet pushes through the air.
We know the winds and all their names
And they know that we are there.
WALKING WITH TALIESEN
She walks down the air.
No dear heart, do not sing.
This is only shadow boxing.
These are paths left by the flight
Of birds that passed hours ago.
Also, do not look into the sun.
Rather, look to the horses that rise
From the sea like poetry
From the mouth of Taliesin,
From the reality where lies are
Vanquished. They shall bear you up,
Could you catch them between
Such a sun and the mansions of the
Moon. They have names they could
Speak to you.
Still, you want to say something
As she moves the air around her,
Nothing’s child. It is wind, dear one.
“What am I that the cold moon
Fosters and the ardour of the sun.”
It is wind, dear one. It will never
Need you. It whitens the sea.
It pierces the forest. She will never
Be flesh. Nothing’s child.
It is the wind.
Today's LittleNips (first pub. in Meatball Poetry Magazine, 1969):
WHAT I TOLD MY DAUGHTER ABOUT CAR DOORS
What happens is:
When you close the door
it pushes in a little button
that puts the light out.
And when you open the door
the button comes out
and the light comes on.
When you're riding inside
with the light, there is
a switch that lets you turn
the light off and on as you will.
You can't drive
with the door open but
whenever you do open
the door the light will
come on, just like that.
Except, of course, if the bulb is burned out.
JUST LIKE TOM THUMB'S BOOZE
I said hello to you
because I didn't see
you leave the room
and here you are
coming back again.
When god was 25 years old he looked a lot like you.