'All our French poets can turn an inspired line;
who has written six passable in sequence?’
said Valéry. That was a happy day for Satan….
I want words meat-hooked from the living steer,
but a cold flame of tinfoil licks the metal log,
beautiful unchanging fire of childhood
betraying a monotony of vision….
Life by definition breeds on change,
each season we scrap new cars and wars and women.
But sometimes when I am ill or delicate,
the pinched flame of my match turns unchanging green,
a cornstalk in green tails and seeded tassel….
A nihilist wants to live in the world as is,
and yet gaze the everlasting hills to rubble.
After the event the rockslide
in a still diversity of completion,
grain and fissure,
force of upheaval,
whether rain slippage,
ice crawl, root
stream erosive undercut:
well I said it is a pity:
one swath of sight will never
be the same: nonetheless,
relieved a bind, a taut of twist,
revealing streaks &
scores of knowledge
now obvious and quiet.
Yes, great love God knows why…. Even me…. But I found a better…. As I hope you heard…. Preferable in all respects…. Kinder…. Stronger…. More intelligent…. Better looking…. Cleaner…. Truthful…. Faithful…. Sane…. Yes…. I did all right.
I sit a moment
by the fire, in the rain, speak
a few words into its warmth— stonesaintsmooth stone—and sing
one of the songs I used to croak
to my daughter, in her nightmares.
Somewhere out ahead of me
a black bear sits alone
on his hillside, nodding from side
to side. He sniffs
the blossom-smells, the rained earth,
finally he gets up,
eats a few flowers, trudges away,
his fur glistening
in the rain.
The singed grease streams
out of the words, the one
twisting under my tongue, like the coyote’s bark,
curving off, into a
Yes, those were the days, quick to night and well beguiled with the search for warmth and reasonably edible scraps. And you imagine it will be so till the end. But suddenly all begins to rage and roar again, you are lost in forests of high threshing ferns or whirled far out on the face of wind-swept wastes, till you begin to wonder if you have not died without knowing and gone to hell or been born again into an even worse place than before.
In the middle of the night they all get up in unison like Dracula and his sisters and walk straight out into the night. They climb into their sleek super duper F-one-elevens and take off. They fly straight for a little island just south of Miami whereupon they land and await further instructions.
The park is dirty at night, all sorts of horrible people, men hiding behind trees and women with terrible voices, they scream at you as you go past, and people come out suddenly from behind trees and bushes and there are shadows everywhere and there are policemen, and you’ll have a horrible walk, and you’ll see all the traffic and the noise of the traffic and you’ll see all the hotels, and you know you hate looking through all those swing doors, you hate it, to see all that, all those people in the lights in the lobbies all talking and moving… and all the chandeliers…
Over, over, there is a soft place in my heart for all that is over, no, for the being over, I love the word, words have been my only loves, not many. Often all day long as I went along I have said it, and sometimes I would be saying vero, oh vero.
In all this time the judge had spoke hardly a word. So at dawn we were on the edge of a vast malpais and his honor takes up a position on some lava rocks there and he commences to give us a address. It was like a sermon but it was no such sermon as any man of us had ever heard before. Beyond the malpais was a volcanic peak and in the sunrise it was many colors and there was dark little birds crossin down the wind and the wind was flappin the judge’s old benjamin about him and he pointed to that stark and solitary mountain and delivered himself of an oration to what end I know not, then or now, and he concluded with the tellin us that our mother the earth as he said was round like an egg and contained all good things within her. Then he turned and led the horse he had been ridin across that terrain of black and glassy slag, treacherous to man and beast alike, and us behind him like the disciples of a new faith.