a terrible discipline
guards the doors

you are the furnace
white hot

fire every link
refine, refine

forge it in Vulcan’s cave
till the whole chain

is hammered
into a natural thing

hammered and hammered
into a natural thing  


of spotlight parrot fish 

hot orange 

trembling in pale blue

empress angels 

ruffling translucent gowns

of guitars on cool patios 

geckos, flamingos—NO!

let me not dream of islands

but in the silence of this 

ordinary winter night

drift the enfolding currents 

of your voice 

In Montserrat…

 black sand
streaked by volcanic dust
combed into force-fields
burns like lava under naked feet

the roads
wind up green mountains
ravel hairpin curves
convoluted like the busman’s brain
a deep topography
tracing the devastation  

Escaped Pet

six feet long
fat as a fire-hose
sunning on the dock

moves forward

along its length
a painted caravan

sequins, scrawled colors
carnival lights

swirling with
drums and calliopes  

The Chill Of

 swimming in polar floes

hard-edged, scaled
eyes clear as glass

snaking through sea grass
shadowing whales

sensing magnetic north
nor love nor hate

guided by
lines of force  


 Can you catch fire
in the hollow of your hand

dance like a flickering creature
in tangles of negative space

be liquid
seismic, centrifugal

flowering, flowering
in a cage of fingers?  

The planet turns…

another arc

twilight’s quiet footfall 

cool scent of oak

as under waltzing galaxies 

we dream alone

till dawn reverses 

dusk’s repentant glow

and sun 

as on a potter’s wheel 

by liquid layers


from a flaming sea 

Aerial View



over white walls 

clustered streets...

a seaside village 

sprawls in the clarity 

of full daylight

under the red-tiled roofs 

music of wind chimes

outside, a bright flag 

snapping on a pole


night dims the jagged peaks 

a crust of radiance 

awakes below

the twang of dobos and castanets 

quicken the dancers 

young men and women 

throng in the square

as night wears on, the dancers 

drift to wax 

intoxication leads descent 

to the memorial sea


dark whelms the island 

watch fires remain 

flags stir on the poles unseen 

wind chimes shimmer

all vision closed 

except the sea birds 

relentlessly weaving 

invisible baskets 

in the upper air 

At Summer’s End

transparent dazzle 


beneath the leaves


in barbarous gold

illusory fruit


cool and steady 

a sterner age

erotics of harvest


at the rim of frost 


 quicksilver slipper
western moon

sunset fluoresces 

under massed dark

the bay’s
fine herringbone 

of textured light

embers still glowing
in the east

dark reaches down

through leafy shadows 

lighting lamps  


 Winter dark... 

celebrates pumpkins

early rites over
a burnt avian

corpses of fir trees
decked in lights

cast beyond death
the family
from far and far

to fill houses

with sound.  


 waking each night
with wildly pounding heart

I know why people
pass away in sleep

frightened to death
by dreams  

Asphalt Preserves

 Are the red trolleys still running
to Tompkins Square
where I waited at midnight
near Deena’s house?

Are the subways
that carried me to Ellen’s
lower east side apartment
still crawling across the Williamsburg Bridge?

Does the Jerome Avenue local
still clatter deep into the Bronx
returning from Margot’s,
all the way to Brooklyn
with drunks and night-shifters
dozing into dawn?

And tonight
in those shaking carriages
does a young man ride
burning and lurching
toward a woman’s heart?  


 tilts the world against me

I cross, recross
my track

landmarks have shifted

lighthouses stalked
to other islands

reefs where none were

fragments of earlier expeditions

there is some treachery in this
and I am lost  

It Looks Like Snow

silent as nuns

figures in parkas
walk the winter night

clothes in their places
clean and dry

shelves of books
racked videos, CD’s

impressionist repros
fade into walls

the TV rock-like
its eye blank

the far end of my life
an empty room  

What We Have

 we have words
on bracelets 


crushed flowers


and the wind
that swirls them away  

Continued at MORE : The Strong Force, Page 2