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9     New Horizons

When the cornermen arrive

beyond any reasonable ledge,

there is always a return

to the scaffolding of the mind,

guided by a single silken thread.


The world is then imagined;

from the confusing spin begins

the order of the web,

in a spidery quoining of reality.


She drops

into the endless,

floating just below

the lintel-between

what is and is not yet-

she waits…


From the stillness

comes a breeze, and

from the spider springs a thousand things


she begins her circles

from the outer edge,

insuring, in the end,

after revolution upon revolution,

her returning to the center

of this purposeful design.


She begins as if an artist,

growing more and more concerned

with the trappings of perspective,

soon appearing an exquisite engineer,

moving on a well proportioned map,

she becomes a bold musician,

composing tensile melodies

in a frozen mosaic of

blood colored bug-stained glass.


With a squint,

the web grows,

like roads from common paths,

the wrinkles in her face

cast in place

the tendencies she has.

Sometimes the map

coincides with the edge

of the mountain,

but mostly its figure

is an attribute of the mind;


From the temple on the hill,

space is plotted and divided,

into an edge that draws no nearer,

a future that never arrives,

as a single point of view

radiates into nine.


She tells a truth,

in the angle of a storm

that collects the hillside

and its people,

beneath a common broken roof.


She also tells a lie,

in the making of this town-

in its temples, towers, domes,

and leaky steeples.


She entangles

knowledge with belief,

and in the individual mapping

of a universal mind,

she contrives a bridge between

the statue and relief,

and with a savage symmetry,

she reminds me

of me.



in the cellars of civility,

where the tornado whirls

about the widow,



where the child walked between the lions,

in the gestures of nobility,


High above the ocean, now broken

into streams of subtlety,


So foreign is the water

with no teeth,

the portent of the sea,

So distant

is the initial idea

from the mezzanine

of the bourgeoisie.



the pigeons gather

on an empty hand,

just the same as the problem

posture settles on this old,

imperfect man,

who ponders in the colonnade,

swatting flies away.




But then,

there comes a clearing,

from the mountain

of her womb,

when the spider is the species,

and the one moving in my mind-

when the oblique reveals

and inherent frontality-

from this infinite orientation,

comes the mood of meaning,


When the world and world

of words,

fall into a rhyme;


From this life

that she has woven,

and confided in me,

from this desire

to understand

a desire,


between these points

of wonder and arrival,

All is just

as before;

continually restored

in the many verses

of the universe.




The City



The city rose up in a moment,

but as I approached

the idea of it

was losing stones.


With every landing I staired onto,

another tower fell.


I could feel the floor beneath me

giving way,

the beams growing thinner

and thinner,

spanning further and further

from their material into splinters of meaning;


The columns,

no longer able to support

the image of a portico,

rolling out of their flutes

as they twisted to the ground;


The walls too,

providing no resistance,

breaching their foundations—

leaving their old footings

for new directions;


The facades peeling away

from what they once had signified;


the statues sliding off their bases

into the crowd

of unrecognizable pieces

that now surround me,


Flags unfurling worlds

flapping their last life,

each joint in my hand

tightening into ash gray mortar

fingers chiseled white—


sifting finely through the rubble

for what I could use,

something that will hold—


steel, concrete

brick, tile,

Identity and bone.


The infinite Corridor


Who will inherit this life

that trails behind,

that lingers in the corners

with the souvenirs,

dressed in their conservative attire,

reading crumpled pigeons by the window,

that flutter weakly to the floor,

This life that passes at an arm’s length

in dim relief,

This constant calm restored?


Who gazes on this folded invitation

and gathers in the crease of wasted time,

Whose final contemplation falls

well inside the thought:

will a jacket be required? Will I?


Who leaps, and who remains,

Who is restless-who resigned,

Who moves politely through

in whispers of agreement

in well-conditioned rooms, and

Who will raise their voice

high above these names, and

Who will never try?


Who will inherit this life



lost in walks defined

by streets; in signs

only of familiar things,

lost in dreams

too easy to believe?


This life that lives and breathes,

but both indifferently,

this forsaken time, this lullaby

that soothes the hours into years,

This long extended afternoon

spent watching sunlit patches

moving slowly across the floor,

until, folding into walls,

they are seen no more.


Who will inherit this life

that dies inside,

This infinite corridor?


The Youth of Ruin


Because we have come so far

to begin again,


under these same stars

that lead us to the place

of our inception and

our end,


I can see the pattern

in the mudbricked streets;


through the columns

and the smoke

that rise above

all creative things.


I have found a bowl

with inscriptions from another

time, and place,


that circle towards the center

and begin again,


although I do not know the words,

I recognize the movements

of the hand that

carved them.


I can see a glimmer in the distance

of an aged carcass, but cannot tell,

if it is the first man,

or the last citizen.


Before I begin

among the castings

already in progress,


let me not persuade you

or deny you, but rather

let me lend a contour,


I can only lead you through example,

to the place I have replaced

with another version,


and you can only follow

in the sound of incantations

of long ago communions


from the tribe that we replaced

with another form, but still

we are no closer to its shape;


still we do not feel comfortable

here, and not yet ourselves,

but once removed,


in these halls that we have


but not yet fulfilled.


With the words

that beat the form

like a drum


repeats the sound

that beats

the shape,


with only words

we have worded

a new tribe,


and here, in this pitiful gathering

of voices still unable to express themselves,

we have come here merely to regret


the progress of our gestures

and the stillness of our company,

but still we rehearse the ancient rhyme;


will we not unmake

what we know suggest—

is this not the habit of all civilized men?


And is it reasonable to hope

our forms will evolve

the shape,


will the mask reveal the source,

or just lead us

to an unfamiliar place?


If there is a frontier, it is a circle,

and we, the necessary traveler,

seem round.


We move within a place within

itself; with words that speak

only of themselves,


towards an ending

that more and more

resembles the beginning.


I have pulled from the mouth

that still recovers, with great pain,

from our wording and our ways,


from the beast we

save ourselves from

the beast we made ourselves,


and I worried for myself

before the teeth, and

I worried for the animal as well,


and ask, how far can we reach

before the jaws close forever

upon a necessary place,


and we move still further,

but with more difficulty,

until we can no longer recognize


the color,

and we can no longer feel

the shape?


I can only offer example

in the hope I will open you

to another shade of blue,


to what end I cannot say, except,

I have looked back and died a thousand times,

I have looked ahead and planned a thousand deaths,


I have held the armless child

and mouthed the words I thought would help,

but now regret.


On Climbing Brooklyn Bridge


We set out

for a freedom of sorts,

something to resist,


needing somewhere

to begin,


We climbed high

above the city’s

crowd of windows;


The thousands of

machine-edged eyes,

holed in the colossal

stone upheaval,



with the metal

mountain curled

beneath our fingers,


We left the edifice,

and stepped into


The star-pricked silence

of a slowly bending sky.

Rome is

where the buttressed


vault above the


      el,            oh


the necklace


into the valley

of the cross


of the frilly

cotton border

where church bells

in the morning


from  knee

to               knee;


when the






a smile



that drape

the hillside




spread           apart-

you can see all

the way to Paris-


(this is how)


all the world



in her eyes.


Avenue C



A water droplet

swells into itself,

each barb in the wire

beading to a tiny crisis,

clinging for a moment

and then—

your exile.



mouthsfull spill from gutters,

and kiss against the curb;

an open fist of flowers

huddles against stained walls

in another word for wind;

vials puddling into

smaller worlds,

wasted at the drain.


A muddy hiss wheels by

in lonely witness:

a yellow cab

finding its way out.


Away from

the trickling crowd,

a gentle mist down on the street,

turns into a storm before the lamps.


10 Easy Steps to Younger Looking Skin!




Do not hesitate

for it grows late

below the sagging branches

where little feeted tails scurry by

and sniff and nibble

at decaying limbs

all graying, limp and dry,




Avoid the shallow graves

reserved for death,

where the wind reveals

the empty holes for eyes,

and boney fingers crossed

upon a bed of folded ties,




Come, lie deeper than the mind,

join the undead

and you will not die,

put your trust in the credo

of our survival:




And you will live again

and revive, always,

you are young again

and forever,




Go to sleep

and do not worry of the seasons

you will meet,

rest your eyes

from the scars of pointy feet

of crows with sagging beaks

that pull the skin from bone

unto a heap

and leave you to expose

among the meager carvings

left in stone,




And you will wake always

and forever,

before the dawn,

before the birds

that keep the fire;

that circle upon weakened wings

that never tire,

and fan the fading embers

just enough to keep the spotted flesh





Do not try to speak,

you will only grow more

tired and more weak,

as the day turns even later

and wraps you in its ribbons

of discolored wrinkled paper,




Come into the room

for anything besides,

and I will tell you what you need,

and then provide,




Let the snakes move smoothly through

and squeeze against your spine,

closer to your throat

each time you breathe,




Accept the shiny skin as if your own

and feel yourself press into the mask;

the tightening of the steel to brittle bone,

and you are one of us,

at last.


You will live again

and revive always,

you are young again

and forever,




Be wary of gentle slogans,

anything cannot happen here,

this is not a world-

these are not things to be imagined.


There is nothing real here,

no thought behind the pose,

just the air of circumstance,

here behind the drapes

that seldom close.


This is the world of borrowings,

the image of external things

by which we live,

save, the wine and stick of butter,

this is a cold an empty fridge.


The season is of the river,

not of flooding or dry famine,

but the murky sneaking stream

of floating eyebrows over armchairs

hiding stains in antique rugs,


We are the pale lipstick

on the glass;

this is merely an instance

that will pass.


It grows late…

now I must retire to my bed,

with a drink to help me keep,

although I am so tired

I cannot sleep…


then the creaking of the door,

and more dirt upon the coffin…

the slow turning of the head,

and then the empty silent stillness

that pretends

to be something of the mind,

but all the dreams are dead.

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