Mayor of Bozeman, Montana, USA
this - just this freedom
Of things in their being,
Which is not them
But their grace.
The sound of water is not liquid
But happiness happening, because, because...
wind is not force, but
Happiness moving, the branches
Hipping and bucking, swept by
Happiness, leaves mounting, the
Rusty piles of needles and dirt
Compounding, massing, making
Forms and consequences of joy
not, but just this,
The sound of water skimming
Over things, a tuning of
The vital instrument, unmade
Except in being, in just this tingling.
provenance nor coming
Nor going, just movement that
Is not, either, but
That it is felt, is close,
Is here and not, a flash,
A stone, a sense of clouds.
rises from the black
Like an eternal reference
For a world eternally dark.
in an illusion of disorder,
Rose blossoms tangle
Like whispery voices of night.
is sitting not far off
In a chair, with the only walls
Those he creates from air.
air is really his feelings
Made external; the tower
Is a god in deathly aspect.
not ask about the ground.
Enough that he should sit
Upon it, in a chair.
only walls are those which he creates from air.
dead in a living frame;
Everyone a poem of yellow leaves.
humming of the whole, the report from
Largeness behind the yellow scene.
living, yet informing, nor loving
Nor dying, but in all parts moving just the same.
poem in the yellow tree,
Yet a color that is like belief.
FACES THE APOCALYPSE
a problem with America
But it got solved. Used to be
When I wanted her, she'd run
To filth, a miracle for my frustration.
now I get it. She's too great
For puny folks to 'preciate.
That's why we've went to the dogs -
Cuz nobody can make us heel,
And a dog's no good unless it knows its place.
a man's not so great
As his desires and spending make him seem,
And he slits the throat of his own dream
From spite about God-knows-what.
Cuz there's too much wonder
I believe. We pile up crap,
Say profanity with God -
too much wonder.
A mountain of arsenic
And septic ground - who needs it ?
Nuthin tastes like food.
Ain't no river don't smell
ain't nobody bigger sayin'
That it's wrong. Nobody bigger's
To blame; no-one to look in
The eye and say The problem's
In your machine - it don't work.
a wonder, and man
Wants wonder for free. I know that's
Syrup-talk - but you tell me better!
Wonder pulls the evil from our sleeve.
we won't be able to live -
Not after what we're bound to do.
Ruin makes ruin, and death gets death.
You'll prob'ly say the recknin's just
The wreck in us, come out all the way.
credit evil to scheming people -
But I tell you: America's a wonder
Not a dog. I know you ain't amused.
Wonder is just hearts gussed up is what
Your eyes say - or I'm confused.
with it! I'm too old...the young folks
Is gonna have to face up, when time
Comes. I've had a part, I don't deny it,
But at least I come round to bein'
Humble. It took a whole life, but
It was worth it. God bless what's comin'.
FOR RECONSTITUTED SUNLIGHT
of faithful dog - an ear;
Of crow - indifference
rattle of wind
And bluntness of boot
gushing heart and
in a vase;
Put to flame.
bile of cow
And melody of window dust
by holy ghost
And stations of the cross
and discard all.
Beg the holy sublime world energy emanating
From placeless transcendence
for temporary deferment of inner darkness
Consider silence dwelling between grief spasms, the functional
Center within this dysfunctional
passionate, mutable, etc. etc.
Do not throw
Throw up but don't say you did.
FIND THE CENTER OF AN ONION
far out, into yourself;
The horizon is flat and quiet.
you, your house is burning.
Your children have all died.
onto the universe, formed
Out of silver, oblivion's breath.
rehearsed this moment, your sad excellence,
You know you did
art you can't get around,
This place where finesse ends, in a heap
burned candles, a personal sun
Wasted from its fire.
far out, into your silver God;
God understands, God controls your way,
hears your step on stage
Before you hear it
entrance, which is into yourself.
Walk far out there. The air is silver,
breath is a soundless cloud
Inside three walls. You are alone there,
Measureless, fearless, and still.
the percepts of reality
Is that every reality can see.
rule of realistic seeing:
To see a leaf is not to see a leaf.
When a leaf appears
Real seeing ends.
the wind blows always
And yet - always - the wind.
like saffron-colored daggers
Slash the pavement.
creep like scorpions
And sting the eyes that they descry.
A waft of unfathomable atoms - these are leaves.
not seek the leaves -
They have found you out already.
sun stoops, sits and bares its wits;
Tall trees convert dark light, dark light.
Things dissolve, though the mass increase:
Toward difference things move, don't cease.
Singleness, sole sovereign of night,
Stoops, sits, considers - then forgets.
in, the violet-velvet fist...
Come in, the blood-lusty, marching madness...
Come in, the monsters of profoundest murk...
silence is really music;
The hardest bricks are softest dreams.
It's all music of things with space between,
And space withinall the same, at the end,
Which no one sees, where he sits beneath a willow,
Solid in a sixth sense, sniffing an idea of Earth,
Touching the dialogue of leaves that sweep and sigh,
That lick the tock of timesibilant, surly, loving leaves.
is always growing out of nothing,
As if the air opened a window on itself
And beheld itself and embraced
A sense by growing into shape
Which we feel, which we perceive, and are.
orphan tears laugh like fire
That only more tears drown
We are room of infinite tears, and more;
A fish never finds the end of the sea,
A bird never thuds at the edge of sky.
is room for everything.
The white motes buzzing in spring air
Only wash it clean of everything, but themselves
And you, love. Before you ever lived, you lived long enough,
Absorbed in eyes that call you, seeing and seen at once,
Wandering eyes like willow branches
That uphold the very airair's own arms
And leaves your hair, in this, arboreal form.
Everything leads back here from there,
Permanently here at the bottom of the bottomless well,
Where you reach out and shake your hand.
SOFT, SWEET CALAMITY
can never be as graceful
As the graceful sense that summer inspires
The interloping starlings and stealing voices
Of weighted blooms, the pregnant sun smiling
effort brings us forth, and brings
Some essence of an absent mind
--Which we find, by thinking into being
The white clover heads that bob
backyard kelp beds;
--Which we engender, by realizing the sea-sky
Underneath our beds, support of air,
Our myth of oxygenous origin:
a brown cow belched
In a ruminant dream,
And Dad appeared, mystery-faced,
And Dad appeared, full of grace.
is on the move over watery sky,
All things are moving as one.
It doesn't matter which of many things
Is true, in the multitudinous hubbub,
common dream, common day,
Because the realized forms are swarming around
As prodigal magic, as rose-colored women,
Imagined or real, as pauses of puffed-up air,
passion pushing through the velvet envelope.
And all of us are midwives to our births,
All bodiless, pools of shadows, imagined love
Growing eyes of leafy stars of perpetual summer day...
SURRENDERING SKY, INDESTRUCTIBLE
more than sky, a pinioned soul
On the rack of eternity, sweet alien mother?
I hear Walt Whitman
I believe my face and the sky's are his,
And every part of everything effuses the whole
Of a poetic force that is-it is!
The scud and lace and jag of him,
The white wake and churning heathis compressing hand
The gentleness nor male nor female;
I touch tips of the white grass
Of his flowing beardUncle Walt,
Prophet of serenity, most welcome now as ever.
my morning fog, my brown shell curving
From the touch of finger-painted clouds like pink daffodils,
Soon rubbed off the blue grass as if by scruffing dogs,
Replaced by gaps loud as cities, tumultuous blue space
Bawling, caterwauling such that one sees,
One understands, a necessity of magpies.
active world, spilling out its molten life
In innumerable forms, ghostly molds that make us;
Always, a backward glance before the forward step.
The clouds do not speak but to negate themselves.
Perhaps they were artists once but, jilted, lapsed into critique.
Or is their melting final affirmation
Of this quicksand-life, into which
The passion for identity throws a tiny thread of hope?
the barren landscapes of my home.
They shiver in a permanent frost of isolation
And let me believe in what is lost.
The wind, transparent sheet, carries strange freight
Across the land, of the after-lives of gods
Who can't stop caring for us, though they know they should.
Matter is victory over boredom, and death
Proves everything's required when we say, I love.
What is brought to life cannot out-live the loving breath
That urged it. And that part which breathes life, then breathes
Until a form comes, and it freezes, and speaks
A wordlessness that you, and only you, will understand...