Still, we lie still,
amidst all imagined grandeur
we’ve had no hand in.

Rife with finest needs —
to ponder, to practice, and to play — ripe
to the bursting;
struck beneath ungovernable ceilings
of life’s desires, of freedoms to choose.

For us, choice is now, and forever,
and partly mine.
      I whisper, utter abandon:
Clasp me close, then clasp me close —
my speech in embraces,
my lips on her soul.

Between the palpitations of two lives,
just now, now:

I long for a love like family.
I long for a peace like soliloquy.

From a mound of mown hayfield
electrified by fireflies —
the firing, dreaming synapses of the sleeping world —
we watch milk stirred with dark smoke
spread across the deep life of the sky:
the pale, exposed, enfolding breast
of the mother of what is.

Her movements and unfoldings so slow
they seem suspension, hushed
by the silent roar of all things
held in one complete embrace.
Body of light
whose cells are suns
whose sinews are streams of interstellar dust —
some dark with spent matter,
some glorified by new worlds of fire —
whose birthings are illumination,
whose deaths cataclysmic,
whose gravity enormous:
peace and beauty and dramas unfathomable.

Relentless mind of science,
probing deep into her secret anatomy,
seeking answers and first causes in
her utmost core — stunned to discover there
an emblem of creation, and power, and love:
from the awesome furnace of her center bursts
an exultant stream of pure, particulate light —
fired like a cannon
from the heart.

Hounds left behind
prowl the cold alleys.

The Island Theatre.
The Ritz Café.
Boarded, no shows, no
dark beers with winter fishermen.

The hotels and homes are shuttered:
Mrs. Lucille, Mrs. Doughty
have nothing for me tonight.
I pass one chance for break-in.

I walk the wharf a long time, my steps
echo over miles of water,
echo off the boards of the town, a
hollow sound.

The rows of houses are too elaborate
to be this deserted.
Their ornaments in wood compete with the gazebo
on Ocean Drive, empty itself,
and a cold place to sleep,
as fog drips over the island
and blurs the moon.

Down the road
a thin dog cries for hours at the
only street lamp left burning.

There are dogs afield
among fog:
they have the morning.

Set out at twilight,
you will find them by dawn.

Listen —
no chains rattling, but
laughter from these long mouths. And what are
these words?

Ask, ask...

but you must learn to run,
and dance a happier dance
with your two legs
and two arms.

Before you tire,
they will leave you.

You cannot follow.
These are not house pets.

Life offers few displays that seem more wrong
To watchful hearts, than sudden separation
Of beings from their elements, that strong
and true would grow from long continuation.

The sleight magician, from his silent, magic crowds;
The bravest general, from his lone glory, strife;
The smoky condor, from his world of crags and clouds;
This man, from this loved woman’s life.

But what is this that whispers to affirm
That sadness must not always needs be poor?
The growing of a sharp-edged joy confirms
The loser gains by learning to endure
A stirring boon that comes with the steep cost:
The benefit of loving what is lost.

— Kuthai, Austria, 1976


Of heaven and earth you are the King,
And Baptism is a wondrous thing!
But I cannot, O great Life-giver,
Step with you into that river.


As for extremes, he gets the nod
As one of such evolved compunction
That, learning of the death of God,
Would call a priest for Extreme Unction.

Somewhere above a terrible crane
lifts north pole to south.

Vibration accelerates, fluorescence
sharpens, into
tracings of magnetic fields.
The room fills:
pulses of an oscilloscope chaotic,
distant infinity of siren sounds.

He reaches but does not
touch me,
sparks gap outstretched fingers.

Then —
galaxies eating galaxies,
time a rubber glove snapped inside out so hard it
somewhere solid neutrons collapse with
resounding whisper,
somewhere a hole in space, a
permanent shudder, re-echoing
thud, the
heaviest footsteps.

My stomach enters my intestines.

I look up to horror in eyebrows,
through open mouth his heart
oozing up between tonsils, eyes
standing on end,
something beyond his pupils.

He buries that face,
screaming sorrow, stumbling on chairs
through the door, he rips
a shin, cries
into the street, and
runs, looking back only once:

A foreigner in my land.