Tuesday, March 31, 2009


I am three thousand words into my new novel and it has taken a strange turn. A Swedish volunteer in the Nordland Division is killed in the Battle of Berlin and taken to Valhalla by Birgit Oiseau, Jacques Oiseau's dead wife. Thus begins the sequel to "Okeanus."

Rose + Snail

the quotidian
is today
and tomorrow
until the end

the end
is no concern
of the snail's
or mine

our task
is to struggle
to the center
of the rose
or breath
at the end
of the line

signal signatures

only then
will done
and words

Monday, March 30, 2009

Die Vergangenheit

I enjoy bonitas
dancing the tango
but when I think
about the petit pendant
I know the après durée
is the proper place to play

Chows Bark Primal Words

to the two Ws-Walt and Wallace

they sing the lyric of the lower man

as black-tongued chows they bark
primordial words like familial hounds

their harried language howls to the languid
lovers of the lower level and like
puritans in their log cabins they pray
for the patriarch's provision of profit

owls observe their shadowed orbs
beneath the New England woods
and doves huddle in their hutch
cooing to the sweet squabs
that squeak tomorrow's sun

their fresh feathers fray
throughout the night's somber
embrace and the moon's frigid light

at dawn a pigeon carries a message
to the sun-knitted in angelic sun-threads

the primal word images god
through the lower ones
and incarnates the quotidian
on parchment

receiving the message on winged tongues
the pilgrims pray for transcendence
but the elect find their wealth
in the moldering soil of the worms

the worms wiggle on hooks of desire
the chow tongues once blackened catch fire

Thursday, March 26, 2009


to Anschel

my role was ordained

I dig stones
they cement

they are masons
and their measures
are exact

they build

each rock
to another

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Stone Measures

poetry sleeps within the stone
while the stone measures the line

the act on board is made
and the doing
done and now alone

like a castaway
the line moves on
as does the raft
as does the bottle
all three bobbing
up and down, then sink
as the horizon shrinks
and seagulls squeal

we remember it
but we cannot recall it

Red Rook Review

I just launched a new blog to house my reviews of "slipstream" literature. The advance copy of the first book to be reviewed has arrived and I hope to have my review up within the next few weeks. My goal is to write substantial reviews of between 1500 to 2000 words.

Monday, March 23, 2009

My Stylistic Choice

drone in a gallery

hushed whispers
buzz about without adjectives
and then a laugh

a canvas
seasoned gray
with a violent
of red
on a wall

a dour Dutch
of a bowl
of brown eggs
two dead fowl
a tumbled glass
of ruby port

and a Burgermeister's
daughter shedding
a gelid tear
on her blue-green

Friday, March 20, 2009


silent spring-snow gifts
grass sprinkled with pear petals
and doves in silk drifts

Thursday, March 19, 2009

GI Home 1968

to Harold and Gene

at first light
fog fragments woods
as three men
find the green clearing

they survey
the square
and stake
into sallow

they twist
around pine
as a preamble

they shovel
with sharpened

flat feet
with fours
and twos

in this rite
they found
with first

and slay
with Parsifal's

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

White Bears Red Snakes

white bears on white
snow and blue ice
hunger for black
seals with black eyes
on green ice
and white snow
ice melts
islands appear
and floes
down streams
between the rifts
of the archipelago
south toward ship
lanes where steam
bellows and screws
torque toward green
land and brown land
in the west
green-blue parrots
shriek in dark jungles
where snakes
between black
as they shed
red skin


he writes a poem
she reads his poem
it is not his poem
it is another thing
her poem

she writes a poem
he reads her poem
it is not her poem
it is a new thing
his poem

they write
they read
the message is not their message
the bottle is not their bottle
it is a found thing
a new thing
the lost thing
the bottle

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Northwest Passage

to Ms O'Leary

Doctor John Dee
read four thousand books
and spoke
to Annael
in tongues.

She was his muse
and Spenser's virgin queen.

Together they scryed
a darkened way
to a manifest

Through chartered
and bartered ships
they struggled
beneath sea-green
and beached
one fateful day
as castaways
in auriferous

Monday, March 16, 2009

Liminal State

The other Oyle is prest out
of the dried Cocus, which is called Copra

Deep down
on the lower level,
beneath the sea-green
breakers, we walk on our head.

At night we dream
of parakeets in palms;
brown-bronze women
dance on yellow sand.

Yesterday we piloted
a silver schooner
through the archipelago
and traded Gaugins
for copra.

We serve the sea-spider;
we breathe through gills.

Tomorrow we hide
in a coral niche
and count starfish
with tattooed eyes.

Friday, March 13, 2009


I in-dwell within the sea-spider's niche.
Black and spindly, she spreads eight legs
into the nether reach of our aquatic strangeness.
Together we fall toward the star's reach
and embrace beneath the comet's tail.
Together we shuffle on our heads;
our feet slide against the surface's tide.
Anemone and starfish shape our single scar;
the remnant of saturnalian incrustation.

Chasing Images

John Skelton wrote in 1522: That he wolde than make The devyls to quake Lyke a fyerdrake.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

August 13, 1961

I see it now: the dappled light
twining through the leaves
of the sweet gum tree,
where Gerald hammered the yellow pine
with nails stolen from homes
purchased on the GI Bill.
I supply our house with apple crates
filled with pulp fiction and comics,
as we retreat from glassy-eyed blonds,
wearing white blouses and pink poodle skirts;
their pony-tails bounce with each Elvis
skitter and roll. We huckleberry our way
through the summer riding the wind surf;
the limbs, lissome and frothy with green sap,
roll and pitch like a raft on the Mississippi.
Wasps buzz past onion-ed ears and skinned knees,
while ants savage the rough bark, sucking nectar
from the bleeding nodes of the sweet gum.
It's a portal, glassed as oblique
as Alice's mirror, and as porous.
Through this gate we walk on our heads
and hide when the hobos pass
under us and the jets stream overhead.
A crisis is brewing in Berlin
and everyone is on alert, except us.
We wait in our silenced space
for the call of the mothers at dusk.

Part of Chapter Three of Vogel #5

Löwe was sitting at his writing table in front of two French windows overlooking the garden and the swimming pool. He held a Cartier fountain pen in his left hand. In front of him was a short stack of white paper made in Italy, which Löwe specially ordered from a shop in Venice. The top page was half covered by his strange, tiny handwriting. To the right was a copy of Plato’s Theaetetus in Greek and further to the right, a stack of blue index cards. Drago took no notice of the books or the writing; he simply placed the tray in front of Löwe, who had pushed his papers further to the right to make room. “It was always like this,” thought Drago. “He is like a baby bird waiting for me to bring his food. When it arrives, he pushes everything away to snap up every morsel. It is like he is starving. What an appetite for such an old man.”

Löwe was hungry as he always was in the morning. He fantasized that his dreams burned up a lot of calories throughout the night. He had been thinking about his dreams when Drago knocked on the door. Last night he had had a strange one. He was fighting in a medieval city against a large foreign army, equipped with war elephants. In the midst of battle, Löwe stood upon an elevated podium and called out to the elephants to come to him until they heard and came, one from the right, one from the left, and one from the center.

What did it mean?” he asked. An elementary component of dream interpretation was to say the elephants represented a part of him. He suspected they represented three primal sources of power, which he could not control. At the beginning of the dream, they were out of control, destroying men and material, but upon his command, they came to him and stopped.

“Why were there three?” He asked as his mind wondered over the number three. He knew the images had at least two components: meaning, which could be deciphered intellectually; and emotion, which would have to be investigated from the standpoint of its feeling-value.

In other words, to fully comprehend the images he would need to meditate upon the image of the elephant from several viewpoints, a task, which, once begun, seemed quite daunting in its complexity. He rubbed his head, an act which was unconscious, and which signaled he was deep in thought as he let his mind wonder over the image of the elephant, he felt its great size, its color, the stiff hairs of its body protruding from its leathery skin, its smell, its sound as it shifted from right to left on its ponderous legs, larger than tree trunks. He examined the metal and leather harness, which held the platforms onto the three great elephants’ backs and he could see the armored bodies of the archers perched on top of the elephants. He saw the legs of the men sitting on the necks of the large beasts, the wooden handles of the hook in their hands, which they used to turn and guide the great beasts. He imagined the elephants’ pink mouths and their swinging trunk. He asked himself how he felt about the elephant and his first reaction was a feeling of awe at their great size and strength. So how did he control them? What power did he possess to call them?

The dream reminded him of Ganesha; the elephant-headed God of the Hindus, and the first god worshipped at every ceremony, which had the head of an elephant and the body of a round, rotund, overweight man. Accompanying Ganesha are the hooded snakes wrapped around his waist, the lotus, which Ganesha holds in one of its two left hands, an ax, which symbolizes Genesha’s ability to destroy evil, a noose, which emphasizes mankind’s connection to human desire, and the mouse, which provides him with a mode of transportation.

Ganesha was a good sign, thought Löwe, and the appearance of the elephants in his dream was also a strong vision, a message from his unconscious.

Löwe also recognized Ganesha’s duality. He found, or least suspected, a difference between those creatures that bore the head of an animal, such as Ganesha and the Minotaur, and those creatures like fauns and centaurs, which had human heads and animal bodies. He felt that mythological creatures with animal heads were controlled by their natural or animal instincts while those like the centaur and the faun had their human nature controlled by their lower body, which was more basic in its demands and desires. He had not worked out all of the associations and differences, but he suspected a difference. Ganesha, of course, was nothing like the Minotaur, who was rapacious and sadistic.

He immediately thought of a series of dry points, which he had seen in Picasso’s atelier during the war in Paris. He remembered they were called the Vollard Suite and the one, which he remembered vividly almost fifty years after he had seen it, was #68, the Minotaur Caressing a Sleeping Woman. He remembered the day he had visited the atelier. He appeared along with several others for drinks with the Spanish painter. Although he was a German, a soldier, an occupier of Paris, he was on good terms with many of the artists. After all, he was a cultural attaché and his good will allowed many artists in the city to continue their work, to enjoy the patronage of the Third Reich, to sell their art, to receive ample food, and to enjoy their life. Picasso was a Spaniard and Spain was friendly toward Germany. Although Picasso was no friend of Franco and the existing Spanish government, he was willing to meet with Germans who were interested in art in 1941. There were many young, well-educated German officers who were appreciated surrealistic art, even degenerate art, as the Nazi regime called it. Löwe thought the Nazi propaganda against the expressionists and surrealists was ridiculous and he was very interested in Picasso, as well as several others. He was a personal friend of Cocteau and Brasillach and he tried to court as many of the French artists as he could. He had read Breton on surrealism and he obtained a copy of the magazine Minotaure from a friend in Paris, who provided it to him while he was training in Russia in 1934, the year he had met Sartre and Raya. Consequently, when he arrived in Paris as a cultural attaché, one of the first things he did was attempt to see Picasso. It was no problem to find out where the Spaniard lived and he could have easily entered the atelier, but he did not want to use the power at his disposal; instead, he decided to court the Spaniard and play to his ego. When he finally met him, he asked about the Vollard Suite, about the series of dry points, which spanned many years. When Picasso showed him the works, he was immediately attracted to the mythic character, which Picasso was obviously using as an alter ego. Löwe realized immediately that Picasso’s Minotaure was connected to the Dionysian spirit and he began to identify with the lusty representation of the Minotaur. As a result of the strong feeling tone he associated with the creature, Löwe began to investigate the source and quality of his feelings. He now believed that the appearance of Ganesha was similar to those earlier associations with the Minotaur and that his identification with the Minotaur and the appearance of Ganesha were signaling some significant change in his psychic life.

Löwe believed in both physical and spiritual evolution. The spiritual evolution was always a movement toward wholeness and this progression manifested itself to consciousness through images, images sometimes in the form of mandalas. With the appearance of the elephant, he felt his unconscious was trying to signal something to his conscious mind; therefore, he had to use various psychological techniques to learn the meaning of the images. This process was tedious and long in duration. He knew that now the elephant had appeared to his conscious mind it would stay with him for some time. It would stay until he understood its meaning.

“Shall I put this down, sir?” asked Drago, reminding the old man of the present and his hunger.

“Of course. I am sorry, I was lost in thought.”

Drago had the coffee pot in his right hand and a cup and saucer in the left.

“Your food is getting cold.”

“What time is it?”

“It is 8:25.”

“I must hurry. There is so much to do before the journalists arrive.” Löwe said absently, as he began to eat the now cold oatmeal.

Drago poured him a cup of coffee and then put the silver coffee pot down and retired from the room, leaving the man to his thoughts.

As Löwe slowly chewed the oatmeal, he imagined the Minotaur lying on a bed with a woman sprawled across his lap, while the sculptor, another character of the Minotaur saga of Picasso, lay on the other side of the woman, holding a champagne flute in one hand and a swooning woman in his left. The Dionysian atmosphere was so obvious that one had to start from there in the analysis of the sketch. The image of the Minotaur touched a psychological cord and reminded him of his years in Paris before the war, a time of great emotional and intellectual activity for him. Now, another mythical creature had entered the stage, Ganesha, a mixed being as well, full of strength, exuberance, and life. Löwe, though old in body, felt ripeness in his mind and a stirring somewhere in his loins. He was not dead yet.

He felt the images of the elephant signified a feeling of strength, a solidity of mind and concentration. He reached for the stack of blue index cards and wrote the words: Ganesha, Dionysus, Minotaure, Picasso, and Elephant. He would have to explore each name and meditate upon them. He had had a long experience with dreams and dream analysis and he knew the dream was the via regia to his unconscious mind and that once this passageway was opened, unlimited images would force their way into his conscious mind, just as water would flow from the earth to the surface at a spring. He imagined himself dipping a gourd into a spring.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Freedom is Between the Notes

poetry blooms on the paths of faery

Mr. and Mrs. Stevens select a black Steinway
for their sun room in anticipation of summer.
Like a black bird it awaits the sirens
that sing operettas on the west side
between the ice-cream vendor from Venice
and the jeweler from Charleville.
After the thaw, silent summer arrives
and Mrs. Stevens takes a steam train alone
to the Poconos and Mr. Stevens remains
in the city to advocate for the insureds
and play the piano. For seven hours straight
the first night he scratches the ivory keys
like a snowcat against Orpheus' tree.
And so proceeds the solstice quotidian;
the infinitesimal gesture of their separation:
Mrs. Stevens golfs and Mr. Stevens plays.
Once, however, he pauses to erase a moist circle
left by his highball glass and Mrs. Stevens writes
requesting more money. He begrudgingly wires
her five dollars. On another day, he puzzles
out the latest Schoenberg and she buys
a dress. In August rain falls on Manhattan
island and the water drains into the sea.
Most days though, Mr. Stevens pilots
a skiff between the keys of half-notes
that litter the green waters of the archipelago.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


Islands of ice.
Electrical veins at night
silhouette brave borders
and slender shores. Stages
of yellow boards to play
the jester or the king,
while leviathans patrol
gulf streams and Catalinas
painted midnight-blue
hunt the darkness for Shelley's
monster preserved on a floe.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Anecdote of the Psyche

No continents exist in the summer islands.
Instead the islands in-dwell in the castaway's gray iris,
where white sharks circle beneath a beached raft
that lists left in a lissome jolt with each azure wave
and parakeets with blue and green wings pinion a tattoo
at retreat toward a swiss-ed psyche. Landfall
stretches the comet's tail and a maitre'd arrives
and recites French, while the barefoot castaway stands
on warm sand beside a chaise longue marked reserved.
In that internal archipelago a snowcat purrs
in an apple-barreled rum in the castaway's daiquiri,
informing him that the first island begats the second
and the second births the third, and the fourth
mirrors the first and the first awakens a fifth
and there is no end nor order outside the rhythm
of the islands and no sound except the drone of a Hellcat,
scouting off the mid-way, and the pilot's hand vibrating on the stick
as icebergs calve from green glaciers in the north.


The castaway sails between the northern islands
and mines a frozen continent with his art
like the earthworm mulls mold in Darwin's garden.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Anecdote of the Garden

Krazy Kat's fur is black
like the bruised wing of a crow.

Firecat is red
like the speckled eye
of a peacock's feather.

Krazy Kat appeared first,
like Abel, in the world.

Firecat will arrive later,
the last one before the end.

Firecat and Krazy Kat share
the silky sand of his garden.

Krazy Kat slumbers in the shrubs
in the doomed darkness of dusk,
while Firecat doozes on the grate.

Another mediates the in-between;
Snowcat purrs under the red rushes
beyond the bed of purple irises.

Snowcat loves Krazy Kat and Firecat.

Snowcat exists in perpetual winter;
she is the queen of snow
that blows from ether.

Snowcat cannot purr; her throat
is blocked; the glottal stop
is wrecked. Instead, she listens
while Firecat and Krazy Kat sing
a stone-song
trending toward harmony.

Thursday, March 05, 2009


The poem sags
from definition.
It is invisible
to all but the unseen,
who are only seen
by the invisible;
heard only
winged tongues
sometimes scratch
then erase
inked messages.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009


this experience constitutes a world

The crystal sand in the stained
dwells within the snail's memory
of the castaway
who walked on his head.

yet again in the space
between the quietude of play
and the quotidian
worm mold, he scribbles
on Egyptian papyrus
an anecdote of a black
that fetches an artifact
of glued feathers
and glittering leviathan bones.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Pete's Dead

flies on blue
and green
from the chair
to the couch.
I shoot
a wooden arrow
with a rubber
and strike
it dead.
as we bury it
in a red
and black
in the brown yard
behind the white