Cell Damage (1)
Fury injustice abyss ashes
All the animals
Wild horses wild water
Splash flesh tackle
I drag land
Terrible beings from below
Get rid of the bones
Pests is what our worth is
Weight and curses
Such are the birth tales
as we rose, we changed — birthslug, toddler,
kiddo, preteen brainiac out through serious
awkwardness, bootielateral-liciously present
into some normatively developed willfullness
termed “transom,” “conduit” — symbols for such
flowering forms transversing to any seedy end.
the who we were and are will swell, seek, range,
swim within the scale our mature notions permit
wading through them conducting translucent lives.
Slap My Eyes (3)
i know you are supposed to say you thought it would be easier than this (given all strived and labored for), and where is the sweet leisured payoff. (it is still “in the mail” and “the sun will come out tomorrow/ tomorrow/bet your bottom dollar...come what may”).
that's life: when you come up for air you find you are underwater.
there's no retreating back up the birth canal.
amid all the plod ’n grovel there has to be a secret santa.
well enough soon enough then enough. enough?
the where’s and the when’s keep turning.
we are like that teenager in the gulf of aden clinging to the airbuss wreckage.
hang in there, help is on the way. or maybe sometimes help is in the way.
keep the hope light on.
love is what the clouds send your way
living today yesterday.
Valleys of Departure (4)
As in November when we plant
tulip, hyacinth and daffodil
(pointing as old bonds grown dull
like those meiotic moments
in dreamed carts of hay)
those things remembered
The torpor brought
from the soft thocking
has gone and left us only us.
It is time and nothing waits.
It is soon and nothing waits.
It is late and nothing waits.
The Great Wave (5)
This is bitter
Life is brief
Time’s the thief
Life is bitter
This is brief
Surpassed by grief
Time is liquid
Each sun sets
Our floating leaf
Mood Is (6)
mood is a mind-map as if the mind covered
the whole body and its feeling and emotions. the state of the world
and our u.s.a. contribution
of messing it up has me brooding.
those wasp galls sometimes
ping pong ball size
(and sometimes more tiny than a pea)
on numerous kinds of oak trees
mirror me to myself the way that
“power of ten” idea of out-of-the-body
visualizations re-imagines me to me.
zooming in/out from insignificance
and responsibility to not even
the painted face of a clown.
Knowledge of a Single Rose (7)
The five-petaled regular corolla rose
has sorghum fingers that play with your nose
from the inner envelope. This is not
the Rose of Sharon: that spindling hollyhock
is as near to a rose as a hemlock.The rosary is a Roman Catholic devotion
that has five sacred “mysteries” and five
sets of ten “decades” of Ave Maria prayers
and each begins with an Our Father prayer,
and each decade ends with the Glory Be one.
It’s all repeated like the rose, like some
magical-mystical charm or enchantment “OM.”
It’s meant as more a path than a pastime:
each rose a single step pilgrimage, window,
colored hope, and compass pleasingly rote. I know you now, rose; I know you not, rose.
We Remember Magnolia (8)
Trip down memory lane.
In deed. Last year’s magnolia.
Time machines march on.
View the past. Only.
Scanning for answers.
If any are disclosed or uncovered.
The machine never talks “future.”
Only scans backward.
Without any updates.
And the time machine memory
only blurs the velvet picture
in any future re-scan backward
because the most recent past
is the foggiest of what was
(having no historical certainty
validated by memory because
those mists seem more real
than today’s blindered confusions
we stumble in right now).
Magnolia once white darkens.
But we remember how it was.
Yesterdreams—Star Light (9)
— bronzed pair of booties holding down a sagging telephone line,
— picture from a gone time but one that is still just out my window
here on fulton and octavia streets next to olive trees with plastic bags caught in them
— “witches cowls” — filled with passing breezes amid caws of crows & occasions when sea birds escape east from ocean storms & west
to California from the Sierras when calmer, settling in our parking lots deciding maybe east or west again, birds moving, passing,
pausing; only flitting hummingbirds silent so far
bronzed booties imaged there from pairs of tennis shoes often caught on
lines where drug runners marked territories;
my San Francisco mind marked with long densely-textured decades written, cared-for, polished, discarded, & somehow are written again
because the mind wasn't finished with them & i was unable to find a step-down program
to get free from voices, visions. where when i’m
dead will those booties go? will there be telephone lines & poles?
will it all sink as sediment under risen shores scraped, lathered by
empowered tides with only birds on their ways in their days that alone continue while
below fish swim above our yesterday silt
in fogs, rain, wind & sun without anyone until “time” arrives as
earth itself fractures into “space” that collides beyond my deeming.
Everything Is Bending (10)
Paths lead up, down. Day’s not east. All’s traffic.
In these necessary hours, a man lifts his arms,
stretching a ready, signaling crimson. A long
shadow adds you. The you adds with. And all
night, love. Bending everything. So, if numbers
inquire, tell them we are the ones, they are ones,
I am one: awe-filled not a turned-brain knob.
If the numbers inquire, tell me you are a one, I
am your one, we truckle, burnished, roan now, in
submarine confusion, swollen, last guest, happy
proclaiming life is the insult. Even when it’s not.
If the numbers inquire, you can say how differing
drummers relive, repeat lessons of pilgrimage,
malaise, the hungering decline of allegiances,
how to fill a numb center, to reshape the line.
Night is a dream and I am dreamt by trees. Trees
are like words. Words are veils. In the forests,
the stones are moss-covered. The trees sign to the stones.
Between two there are lichens. Between things, words.
Words are the things. But we don’t grow wise. Last
night, trees dreampt me, you took me into your arms.
The chill on the night is a path. We don’t grow wise.
Hold me. Night is a dream. Permission varies, a person
changes, no fiction’s real. The lovers, joined, were
separable. Indistinguishable. Not to themselves: so
neither could extirpate the memory? How could they
be true to their natures? It made them like numbers.
In the jail of San Francisco a gardener’s more beautiful
than his roses. That odor of decay in tender flesh.
In the Johnny Neptune Bar where the Sunset guys shout
“lemme have a Bud, I need a bud” a man is fucked.
“Queer” is a family where since they spoke the same
language all the people understood each other as they
wandered looking for a land to like. When they found
it, they began to change it into a great decorated city.
With decorated walls, courtyards and a tower to make
them famous as Babel because that beckons a proud
people who although overweened and confounded with
a curse of voices were one family of bending numbers.
Here cross-dressing is transpersonal. The drag’s hero.
Here the mix and match malebox is full. Check it out
You can’t order tools for living. Cross-dressing for
counterfeiters, ersatz, fake, actors, novices, postulants.
Pass. Received, recommended. Each an encore. Awe-
some is not the word. Try another body, try clone, truly
because here has been the songs of transformations
“over beyond my aunt’s where the deep waters flow” *
yours, try genetic position, try engineering (impotent
mission) try to change anything. Change your whistle!
Divent, divest, invent, invest, enter the second journey
moving through to dis-embody, trans-body, cross over.
Try to change your lord: memory. Go to another planet.
Drag-queen’s hero, transpersonal. Check it out. Try.
We Leave Nothing Behind (11)
What we experience we are
Much passes through us
But we leave nothing behind
What we are we are
What we have been is us
What is left is nothing
We leave nothing behind
An earthworm caught in time
Much passes through us
What we have been we were
What is left is nothing
We leave nothing behind
CODA: Lost In The last rites before surgery (12)
Oaf – use your loaf (your head) – Volumes:
Is it foggy – can you see the top of Lone Mountain
It's about time, Little boy Eddie hasn't been seen in years
Is it elegant, should it need to be to be remembered
When the fog covers your mountain no reshaping a line
Rhythm and Rhyme weaving on, winding a dicey return
From white through green to black – sunrises, sunsets
A rose poem of orange and blue, green, yellow and red
Poem, not philosophy nor instruction, or points of view
Something observed, not asserted, but wondered at.
- from A Song Of Transformations that begins Katharine Butler Hathaway’s 1942, 1943 THE LITTLE LOCKSMITH (Coward-McCann, Inc., New York)(simultaneously in the Dominion of Canada by Longmans, Green & Company, Toronto) and having been published in parts serially in the Atlantic Monthly.