In fifteen minutes of walking
I’ve discovered purple loosestrife,
Virginia creepers, hemp agrimony,
Blue vervain, horseweed, goldenrod,
Giant ragweed, Queen Anne’s lace,
Water hyssop, and clematis…
If I keep walking down this path
I’ll discover all the names of the earth.
As at the beginning of life
As at the end of death,
I’ll take root in the sun,
I’ll turn green and grow wild.
“Hell is truth seen too late.”
The war of all against all, will it ever end?
Where does it come from, heaven or hell?
Everyone has some fear of the unknown
And the poverty of sense it promises,
We face it at the end of every day
And that’s no doubt the reason why.
Pity the living, or else a glutton be.
To shed blood makes us feel immortal,
It’s our revenge for being defenseless.
Waiting moves through time like a room
You can’t remember entering or leaving.
In hospitals we meet our human family
But don’t recognize each other on the street.
Waiting is an evenly dispersed weight
Across furniture that never asked for pain.
Car trips were like waiting in motion
Between dreams of being somewhere else,
Waiting for parents to visit, for rain to end,
For school bells to sound, for church to be over.
The shadows of birds, like fish shadows,
Move smoothly on the surface of waiting
While undertows compensate for presence
Drawing time further out into timelessness.
Those children are reborn,
Their spirits can’t be killed.
It springs from their bodies
Like dolphins born of waves.
They enter the schoolhouse
Of the multiverse.
From sheets of magic paper
They cut out shining stars
And paste them into place.
Along sidewalks of shady oaks
Hand in hand they walk.
No harms can touch them.
Angels ring the school bells
That call them into class
And not a one will fail
Or be left behind by us again.
I remember he dropped a new motor
In dad’s old car that paid the bills.
Don’t believe there was a vehicle
My brother didn’t have on the road again.
He’d make the parts that make the part
Or the tool required for unforeseen jobs.
He could add horsepower to the hour
And make day and night both hum.
Watching him work, sometimes helping,
The engine in its dimension whirring,
Time idled like a dream rolling forward.
No repair was beyond my brother’s repair.
Shameful to carve a falcon in granite,
To cage swallows in starless stone,
To mummify crocodile and Nile perch
And bury them in the desert, sacrilege,
To imprison lions in mineral,
Predators trapped in pictographs,
Prey powerless to escape pursuit.
The cobra has no spit in sandstone,
The bee has neither sting nor honey,
The sacred ibis sinks into sediment
And vultures weigh a ton a piece.
Scavengers face their own erosion.
Baboons gaze at stonework sunrises.
Sparrows eat the last grains of light.
Figures of famine begin to fracture.
Cartoons of war crack at the core.
All this weighs humankind’s entelechy
Against the weight of a feather.
The time in Egypt is like a dream,
Cairo appears at the edge of chaos
And yet serene steps of moonlight
Climb pyramids like Egyptian princes.
Sunset on the Nile is like the dreaming eye
Of a crocodile sinking into the deep,
And desert winds at Abu Simbel
Obliterate the landscape over and over.
Buried under all the sands of the Sahara
My dreams merged with the dreams
Of those who travelled through sleep
To wake in the land of the Pharaohs.
Traffic jam in the desert
Empty apartment caves
The adhan’s resonant heaven
Crescent moon felucca
The Nile’s green fringes
And reed boat missives
Atmosphere of essential oils
Palm tree hoopoes
And jingling sugarcanes
Sleep travels miles
Footprints through tombs
Sphinx bearing the likeness of time
Spice market hibiscus
And rababa of rabble
Man-made lake of wind
Temples rising out of water
Lions emerging from stone
Stone-cutters turning to dust
Dream of a crocodile
Swallowed by sand
Camel cavalries on the march
The sun god’s sandstorm face
I looked a long time at this praying mantis
She seemed to draw my gaze
Into the five eyes of her alien head
Into the slender shivering of her reeds
Having lived invisible to presence
She now presents her miracle as visible
Of course there’s atmosphere
Preheating and melting points
Rolling and necking
Rods and reamers
Nippers and honeycombs
Balls and blowing
Frigging and forking
Grinding and humpen
Edging and drilling
Wrythen and tooling
Flaring and soaking
Hot fingers and imploding
Some annealing at the bench
Even paddles and punti
For people of that kiln