RAP ( / Glendale, Arizona, USA)

Passage III

cold birds
still sing

a bright sun
chill air

snow entombing
precocious crocuses

by a spring


cherry trees ...
Good Friday ...
—treatise: on the use of trees

a flyblown carcass
in the underbrush below
the cypress in the cemetery
: the dead above
: the dead below

like a Fantin-Latour
the clutch of flowers
in your hand
and apple frothing the air

the life you're not leading
the blood you're not bleeding
the knot you're not kneading
the mouth you're not feeding
the earth you're not seeding

they're grooming the lawns
for the graduates
and the proud parents
and meanwhile the yellowthroat sings
cherries just gone by their faded blossoms
thick against the
insurgent leaves
offer the very figure
of spring melancholy
o I missed
when they were fully in bloom
& the season
& the time for the
perfect spring
to hail another winter

where among the redbud blooms exploding
along the thin branches
is my death written

earth conspiring
against me
have a child
to load
the earth
with vines
with lives
with signs songs & cries

insistent crow
cardinal whoop
peepers booming open the night
stabbing life into your heart
the odious air

that was no song
but an alarm call

the rhythmic thunk of the basketball
thwacking the tarmac
at the little park a
block over
. . . boys . . . calls . . .
and the rain holding off—
a May nor'easter
deferring the fullest spring
we might have had but leaving
the lilacs to extend
their delicate
into the air
the boys birds and blossoms share

say that a heron perched
alert the head

the weather is far more violent
here and present
or so it seems days
one's attention is open
to the cloudthrottled air
lit by a near-equinoctial
sun—the nights
too extend to a farther
horizon the stars legible
in this particular sky
to those able and wishing
to scry, too many years
looking inward thinning
the lexicon of the visible
world its oracular
reality sounding
itself all along

these maples
that stone
that garden fountain
the mists rolling in
over the mountains
disguising the sky
the world
gone slate
its greens drained
as that fountain
before the first frost
the rain is passing
and the lilacs
the thunder
the day but what
have you held
beheld beset
as you are
by yourself

my best
itself the key
an extra e
lone vowel
tiny howl
I did not do
what my hands did

wavelap and lakeslap lick
the ear; the air carries
stripes in the
low precincts of sky—
a mower blares somewhere
above A and
shuts off a
shock of
into which the wave-
slaps surge

to enter the water
in Mayan
to die

over there the gray
sheath meant
but our private sun
continues to sign-
post a clear day at least
for us.
an earthquake
in China
precisely what
to me
wondered Adam Smith—
the world disappearing
the instant my tooth aches: Sartre

my skin some days
as wide as the sea
and the waves of the world
roll through, equable
but I am living this narrow
life and no other
except yours I imagine
some days we're graced
or grazed by a shared bullet

today no thrush silvered the air
in the woods
the wind blowing hard
against the bike
passing a stretch of field
where tractors for miles around
come to die
the iron congregation rusting
faithful as the grass,
the cows at Saywards Farm seemed
too confined
why aren't they grazing in the field and why
are their calves
wired in—
late last night
after the sunset
I did not see
the lake took on that babyish blue
I so love and I saw
a sole balloon aloft lifting over Vergennes
puffing by Camel's Hump
and heading east—
we have harnessed the air
for our pleasure
our leisure a rhyme
with the weather
clearing as if the
skies cared
or could

radios and weathervanes
conduct the air
disperse manes

mountains deforested
by distance
Hokusai shapes cut
against the
sky the clouds
address just
and through the same air
the radio pours
its usual brew of cheer & death
what wonder little schizo
you reel so
in the fractured world
the sky bends to my way
and to yours and to home
sweet home

my soul marching through
the open fifths of its salvation
shapenotes shaping
me home

not the sun but the sun
in the river
not the moon
but the lake-swallowed moon
the stars cracking open the black paved road
where immortals strode

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Comments (1)

Are you the Becky that worked for AHCO in Austin, I really need to find my friend. Hope your her, I'll come visit.