THE STRONG FORCE

Art

 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  

Islands

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
vertiginous
convoluted like the busman’s brain
a deep topography
tracing the devastation  


Escaped Pet

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


moves forward
incrementally


coiling
along its length
a painted caravan


sequins, scrawled colors
carnival lights


swirling with
drums and calliopes  


The Chill Of

 swimming in polar floes
cold-blooded


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  

Voodoo

 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


lifts 

from a flaming sea 

Speed of Time

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


lifts 

from a flaming sea 

Aerial View

  I 

soaring 

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


               II


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


           III


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 

black 

beneath the leaves


blossoms 

in barbarous gold


illusory fruit


wind 

cool and steady 

a sterner age


erotics of harvest


holding 

at the rim of frost 

October

 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  


Holidays

 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


journey-rejoining
to fill houses


with sound.  

Epiphany

 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?  

Coriolis…

 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
useless


there is some treachery in this
and I am lost  

It Looks Like Snow

 hours
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 


diaries
stones


letters
crushed flowers


ashes

 
and the wind
that swirls them away  

The Strong Force

Continued at MORE : The Strong Force, Page 2