to you

Dear Visitor,

Using your computer’s ability to turn text into sound may help you to find an adequate voice for these poems. At least, I find that it helps. And, if it helps you to navigate the poem, you should not feel guilty about letting the machine take over for a moment.

Sincerely Yours,

Br. Tom


by the shallows over there

is an artist. like the wasp. its voice in this room. as voice. its body on the other side. inside the wall. puts through the wall. a sound.

is an artist. so what you’ll do when you get there. what anyone cares about out there. having told them it’s nothing. nothing at all.

is an artist. of never quite getting there.

this is the same language we use. to do anything in the world that needs language. let us be precious together. if not precise.

around the places you’ve never been. maine, for example, there’s a prophecy. in all your life you’ll never visit. exactly never there. precisely not there.

is an artist. as understanding a whole life has avoided itself. look away, please. nothing to see here. a whole life has done just that. and who let it.

as one who dislikes most inches and marks of itself. its face its voice and lies. the whole sky of a mind. without god. it is a silly one. with. who knows. a chance.

to have done this and that. without love but in its shadow. say you are for it or against it. this or that.

as an artist. or a person.


far as they know

It looks like the lake on a partly cloudy afternoon. White below blue, then a boat pulling a kid. Then, once the waves pass, gray. Then, you guess, some dusty green murk.

And the lake’s coming at me. But don’t worry. I’m safe inside.

You make a mistake to write from anywhere but … sure, the love may show up as anger or confusion or fear or determination … but love’s informing or mistaken … from the basement and below it.

Or in their beauty they turn away like cattle knowing or not knowing market day comes soon. Or heron-legs tap the lake surface and there’s a little fish. So they fly.


in which

what finds itself offensive. to what.

as far as such could be. or. such can be said. or. said by one who says it.

writing turns up. the underside for reading. or. repeats the well-lit. or shaded surface.

the shaded and the frightening. parts. unavailable to one state of life. one must be like this. not that. not that ever anymore.

stop your tongue. your tongue is stopped. fingertip taps. a way.


in the right circumstances

a line of story is what’s wanted if not needed. a line of light that rises like an imp and flips flag-like tentacles into our guts. from there we only want to ride somewhat at one with it. or like buddies on a short trip swapping lies for a moment. wait. not that. of course. not that. a line of story must conform to the light and the likely.

it has given itself to nurturing defeat. a line of story applauds its place in the body. where watery sprites viscous and misty fly out. given back to the world its mother. longing on the concrete step. hoping to the kids the bell calls. liquid line of story skips a stony spot. spills a vacant track.

since there’s no music in a flat wall, a line of story beats on it. beats on a wall. simply at first then. works to a doubly triply beaten line of story deep in the wall’s forgetfulness. and the dancing bends to a friend in ocean’s room like a radio. supposed to dance before the song that might never turn up. rainlike in which the drum thumps tales to any sky. of any man or woman in the story line. is not simple.


old critical column of stone

shy of
saying and sayings, stoops to

the clever
when anything dissolves memory

setting aside
this bright horizon, I’m on

an innocuous
precipice, existential and devout

I do
love greens, and naked blues tell me

this is
what God’s kind of about today, but I

am unformed
in a static, doubtful & credulous gaze

no matter
since the heroic catalogue’s expiration

I opt
for intransigent confusion, I can’t

unroll this
last piece of what he’s supposed to do

with all
this vacancy, with all this open sea

he’s only
been good for matching busy with busy

gull with
gull, castoff doll with new companion

his bright
armoire is stuffed with angelic eyes

‘be this
without your body old traveler’ look

the edge
between two clouds conjures tense arcs

of what
can’t be agreed upon, the cold or heat

of our
constricted age, of remarkable machines

holds up
the wriggling sky, holds up the coach of meat

holds up
our stateless mumbling for awhile


notes around the block or “every end is probably a rose”

“It is a symbol of our age. Concrete Reality.” (source forgotten)

an item - a habit
not even death-like since death or the thought of it -
if it doesn’t swamp you with dread -
can rock you to a waking state

concrete city
concrete idea
concrete determination
concrete abandonment
concrete wistfulness
concrete illumination
concrete bed
concrete builders
concrete example
concrete pediment
concrete step
concrete luck
concrete hope
concrete blessing
concrete river
concrete forest

drawn into the story … are you … drawn in … to the story … or

you can paint bodies (singly or in groups)
you can paint objects (those you can hold or those that hold you)
you can paint earth (of creatures, botanicals, geologies and horizons)


then there’s “the right of the river to flow”

And yet “the symbol of our age” … cannot be a word

lost in the screen - revved up

by a color

“the symbol of our age” supposes

a well-established condition

of losslessness -

all these kingdoms I give to you -

are given & will not be withdrawn


or


I put the commas in to convince you of my sincerity

and yet

you are not as convinced as a stone of its peril

are you


as for the body

then i don’t let death explain it all —

don’t make it easy to imagine myself as

something else while i’m somewhere else


disintegration just means coming apart — going toward ever smaller bits —

that reminds me of an old poem called The Fish


The Fish

you ate swims now
in ever smaller pieces
through you to your blood

towards a dark room
where silver hooks
wait like dangerous thoughts


so i wouldn’t imagine myself something like a fish or pretend to be the fish

and talk to you like a fish as if i were a godforsodden fish i am something else —

one who thinks of fish and catches himself—an ambush actually—becoming less

himself but more necessarily some unfishy self where death burps off pretentions —

methane explanations of what joy what terror what deafness and blindness

what silly pride what lust what confusion what confusion what ordinary success

what sight what poses what loneliness what obedience what — you know —

love there was.

 

to such a spot comes a fish-free dream of birds and gentle cattle —

of big old trees and good friends and no one poor or sore or broken —

not one bit unhappy or ill-used. and a river.


hence the defenses

Well, panes

stripped away the civil version

I’m left

plainly abducted by a savage version

to chart

energies of a sullen youthful parable

to light

paths I forgot I might have undertaken

I mean

loves that could have resisted civilities

or, maybe,

ramped up some foggy, savage religion


mode: authorized confession, unhappiness

My flawed brain led me to kill all kinds of things.

So. Fixed in place. Fixed to place. Fixed of place.

I killed a public library for starters. I killed bugs

and bunnies. And still needed fixing. Intersecting

imaginarily a life while killing a street a path a

lane. My addiction to this savagery finally brought

me to stage some rather well-known people as killers

of linen paper poetry and more insects small mammal-

lives. Ended. My flaw hit the world in uncoordinated

ways that left most of us ajar askew off-kilter and

nervously expectant. Clunky. Petty. Wasted as oxygen.


use a yellow brush

Attention portraits. Attention poets. Your pages here.

Parked by the dollars. Parked by the door. For good.

April comes out wearing trousers. Nothing superfluous.

Good American pants. The kind we think we’re wearing.

Join us for poems and drop the metaphors at the door.


Always within this context. Polyhedral spinning. In sunlight.

Lines like old trees in older forests. Engaged. Espoused.

Feed me. Feed me. Mama Papa Bird. In a single. Single word.


particles for pentecost

A fabrication. You made it up. Some number of souls.

A quantification. Spirits enfleshed. Flesh enspirited.

A misdirected generosity. Then. To save a number.

A light grief. So what. So white.

A perception. Listen to the weepers. Not a conception.

A  true failure. I counted the hell out of them. These souls.

A knowledge. Lifted by the ears. Thank you thank you.


after scatology

“Poets should get back to saying crazy shit / All of the time” —Dorothea Lasky

 

1)
You can like or not like the end. Excluding

the bright and inconsiderate consequences of

Liking colors camera-like synaptic & cohesive.


2)
Look here’s the resolution you’ve been seeking all week!

These are not smart people. Not even kind. They are ours.


3)
A portion will be donated. To an act of faith. Obedient.

You can assume the fiction. All that heaviness allows.

Will be allocated. Upon receipt of your declarations.

Our good will. A defiant temper. Coming here in roses.


4)
Reading poems but not Poetry has been good for your skin.

When water implies a pasture. Then a crazy barking my love.

A perennial inability there announces Me in grimy glory.


As old maniacs pronounced it. Jedermann. Sein. Eigner.

You get it. A stumble near the goal. An urgent heave-ho.

To the line. Concussive. Blasted infrastructure. A bruise.


5)
Lightly. As usual. Silent. In it. Silent. As usual. In light.


in which without a need love sees you


Sure, water is persistent, direct, as the sky

asks for another chance, a day say of granite.

This illusion that your handsome particles

will suffice. Death so far. Death so far off.

This illusion vast in the oaks the pines comes

off like our beautiful interest in things, not

a Problem but a Pause.


                                                Finally to have said

we don’t know you and we can’t wait to know you.

We figure you’re good for another hundred miles.

We will invite you and your shadow tonight. To

do without your comfortable archaisms we’d just

have to forgive ourselves. To make a living.


likely first lines on a miserable theme

- shackled for hours & days to a little mirror

- displaced and downhearted in a uselessness

- then you’ll need some things to say about it

- silence is not normally their optimal choice

-

- he takes it for the silence in which it occurs

- then sometimes nothing likes anything et cetera

- soon an accumulation of ordinaries comes about

- them strangers again at the edge of cardboard

- chapters boxed & communicated to the patients

- put him in a room that had not yet been cleaned

- abandoned herself then to any other’s decisions

- light sprouts light rain & dim morning sounds

- these bells during the whole of a dull dark &