Wind Rain Stars and the Grass Growing

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780914061380
  • Publisher: Orchises Press
  • Publication date: 11/28/1993
  • Pages: 112

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

    The Head


The taste lingers, taste of you,
sweet wind. The night I had my mouth
wide open in astonishment, you went on in,
made flowers on my tongue. I'm thirsty,
and still not over you yet. Is there
nothing will make me forget?


Nose, how many questions do you keep
even after most of us has died? Are
you waiting, kind pooch, for something
to reproach me with? You have travelled
the globe, you have had the glove thrown
in your face, smelled the dark leather.
Is it death's yawn you require, the
absolute absence, the abscess?


Oh, I have smelled fine arms and long
gold hair, smelled the darkness coming
up from the lake with mud still
clinging to its boots, dead leaves,
bark of trees with fifty winters
on them. I have smelled the bad ends
of bones, yes, I have eaten the dark
wages. Nothing, nothing restrains the nose.


You are the cocked one, ear, the tricky
tunnel sliced in half, exposed along
the head, your coil works inward like a
worm. You're deaf to half of what
creates me, but how you burn, kind
guardian, defenseless one, another
avenue to crack my ego. They talk of
us, they really do. Keep nothing
from me, though it hurts.


Tongue, you are with me yet, though
the lies are legion. Tongue in the
groove, tongue you have toyed with
music, dreamed of yourself, the bald
soprano. I have heard your little
whispers to yourself, know how you
dream of poetry, that most decorous
of sorrows. But, oh, be silent for
a while, let us hear what company
you keep, let us hear the void.

    The Nine

Of the senses there are nine
the first is the sense of burden
which delivers its customers unto
their habits, in small places one
can turn around even without falling
and this is known as bearing one's
the second is misery and its closed
doors for misery is never aired
it must remain unimproved for fresh
air will suffocate it, for misery
seek shelter in dark places
the third is habit and it is
like habit to comfort burden
and to cohabit with misery although
it may seek nothing beyond itself
and give way to nothing
being one of the masters
fourth is death which sleeps
in us many years it is the slow
seepage of blood out of our veins
of sight out of our eyes broken on
dry rocks
of song out of our ears
working for peanuts in some crowded
factory of the unloved
and we need not die to know it
we need merely to live
and want to live longer
the fifth being joy and no fit
company for these and nearly the
other side of the coin from misery
although misery has no other side
it being a whole round thing and
joy in contrast a thin film
which one can put on having turned
up his face in the wilderness
or having come into some money
the sixth is longing and may frequent
the houses of joy, bringing the money
it would lavish there, and go away
unsatisfied, finding itself in the
mirror again, at home
many have lived off its scant bones
seven is vigor and its guises
kill us
eight is despair and is occasioned
by heavy dark swells in the traditional forms
although there are bright afternoons
sufficient to go around
and it is even visible in vast panoramas,
parades of balloons, young couples swinging
among the dense trees
in even the famous chase scenes where
among the bright-clad hunters the
fox turns at bay, at his moment of despair,
but it is nothing to that of the riders
who came down upon him
shrieking in their empty hearts
nine is conscience and the orchestra of
our many voices pulling in as many directions
its many sad musics in which everything
is wrong and we are lost and found again
turning backward to forgive and be
forgiven if only forgiveness were in us
and might come forth

    Peace, So That

every stinking son of a bitch
can come home
to his lawn mower and rice paddy,
every punished son of a bitch
can return to his father's bedside,
every child of every bastard
every child of every hero of peace
of war
can talk it over with the man he blames,
every woman, mother, wife, daughter,
will rise in our arms like the tide,
every bomb be water
every bullet be smashed into frying pans,
every knife sharpened again
to cut fruit in thin slices,
every word flung out like a bullet
in anger
come back to putrefy the tongue,
every man who has sat silent
beware of his silence,
every rising of the blood
make love to a woman, a man,
every killer have only mirrors
to shoot at,
every child a thumb to suck,
every house its chance
to sink to the earth's calling,
every dead shall have no good reasons.
And we be a long time at this.

    The Coming

She did not argue his penis be substantiated
his penis was there but unsubstantiated
and though it did nothing but itself
and he was hungry for her
what joined with her was air, a cloud,
a voice in the window
then they set out
he leading the donkey
the donkey substantiated
by the weight it laid against the earth
and everywhere the donkey went
there was no room
no room at this Inn the innkeeper said
and returned to his chores
another was busily hiding his money
another showed them where to lie
down with beasts
star in the East
men turning back to their dreams
some already set out who would not
hear the news for centuries
the cow chewing its cud the
woman piecing the parts together
the child, up, grown, a bafflement
astride the water, a stain on
the hill, the march to the cross
the falling of the sky
wind rain and stars and
the grass growing

    When We Dead Awaken

My father was a blacksmith without a forge.
He died without a forge,
but having made everything in his life
with his own hands,
the earth he went into was like a brother to him,
although he was much afraid.
Someday when the dead awaken
he will rise with them
and they will all come forth
to sit at all the chairs and tables
they have abandoned,
so strong was their pain
that they had got up from our tables
and gone off searching for the end of it.
Oh there is a day
(and I feel it may be soon)
when we the few stragglers left
must go down to the ground
never to walk across the yard again
in the afternoon
never to dress for the party
admire ourselves in the mirror
never to kiss the sweet mouths
of our children
in the mornings, Sundays,
with no work to go to.
It is said that the dead will awaken
and the living with them
all those among us and including even
who have lived our lives as if asleep
and all of our eyes will open
on the world
and we will gasp at pleasure at the sight
and the breath from our lips
will nearly extinguish the sun
and all life's vanities
will come to an end
but I do not believe it.


Love, they are killing each other in Chicago
and they are serving each other cheesecake and
coffee in Chicago and there is a small fire
in a corner store and bandits are running out
the back door and in Chicago there is a heavy set
mayor who sits firm and looks into the TV camera
and moves his mouth but scarcely moves his
chin or his face and today, today there is sunshine
in Chicago and the lake looks blue
And you are in Chicago and you like it you have
a small place a room actually near a busy street
and much of the day you are down there as part
of the business and now and then you write me
how you miss me and I say that's fine OK I like
your having gone to Chicago and for making it
a place for me it will always be important to me
now that you have gone there
And now one road that leaves off in front of
my house has come all the way from Chicago and
this day it has brought you and another day
you have not come, this road that before
lead nowhere and which I used to take around
the block and home again
So that this is my prayer now that Chicago keep
you well that its bandits leave you alone that
its air not kill you that you go happy there
under its sky and in its bad air not die
and on its lonely streets create itself anew
for you each day but that you someday soon
grow tired of it awhile and come on back to me

    The Day the War Ended

They wept
the day the War ended
some of them
some of them wept for joy
some for bitterness
there was dancing in the street
there were poems written
people drank glasses of whiskey
walked around in the rain
some were too old when the War ended
some shook with joy in the ground
some bones were new they had not
even crept from their clothes
some were too young
some had not seen enough
others too much
someone was embarrassed he had hoped
it would end later
those who had given everything
for it to end were rich again
those who had not cared
one way or the other
found their pockets empty
checking the lists of the victims
they were surprised at how many
they are reading them now on the
steps of the church
they have just read my name
some returning showed us the holes
in their skin
some returning brought the darkness with them
some were completely frozen and would not
over them all the face of the President loomed
like a gray balloon
and yet it all meant spring had come
the day the War ended we would all be kind to dogs
we would remember holidays like this
with flowers to our mothers
on the highway drunks careened into trees into
other drunks
there were canyons at work in the hearts of
so many but somehow trails appeared across
I wrote a longish letter to another man
and told him how I did not like his work
we had chicken for supper
down the hill the city park was snow
and no one came there
no one walked past the pool
which was full of snow
strange monument to something only perhaps
the season
the farmers were bringing their grain to
the hill their trucks backed up five
my cat spent the day in a cage at the
Animal Clinic
her eye swollen shut from some blow
she cannot tell me
she is sick it is too early yet to
know if she'll survive how much
she's cost me whether she lives
or dies

    The Gross National Product

Though you know nothing and should have no
reason to I must dictate this letter from myself
unto some noble personage of far descent.
Signed what's his name. You write the rest.
Hot day at the office, everybody
stripped down, split to cool like corn
out of its husks.
Big contract from the Letter I.
Another phone call through the mini track.
I hear Miss Blooper's bloopers
scintillate the air.
I watch her bloopers popping by
beneath her blouse.
Ah five o'clock,
hour of pizza and pizzazz.
My father's house was Ivy League,
my father's father's too.
I used to know your dad himself,
but what am I to you?
Hey can you crack a joke?
Oh the big buildings of STEEL
to house the racks of girlie mags
below me at the corner hack.
I peer down from out of my office cubby booth,
I notch the Rolls Royce of one Albert Black.
On his way up, perhaps a heart attack.
The digs of business never botched
a real he man who eats and sleeps.
Pipes, we got 'em.
Tankers rolling belly full of gold.
They're yours out in the harbor there.
Tonight Tangiers, tomorrow Santa Claus.
I smell the liquor of my penthouse flat
on one Miss Mary Sunshine in her black cravat.


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