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OLD AND NEW POEMS

CUTTING GRASS AFTER RAIN (2006)
Even after all these years everything I write still seems a lie. Nothing on the earth appears convincing to my tired eyes. Nothing I can summarize fulfills my need to speak. I would have chosen silence if I had not been weak. The new cut lawn sings in the sun. Gunmetal wasps settle in to fan their wings. Ten thousand things adjust themselves on every side to make use of the One, yet I cannot fathom the smallest face of anything. She has a favored way of thinking. Her lovely eyes turn up and right for just a moment and holding brightness there they smile, then she declines to speak. My thoughts rush up demanding air, spending wildly as if there is no death. From week to week, regular as the moon she makes investments in her face, banking thoughts to feed some future race. We make no headway here. Mind chatter has no claim to make. The sweetness of the yard can mend the heart or tune the mind more truly than the art of thought.

© 2011 The Village Philosopher

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OLD AND NEW POEMS
ETERNAL RETURN (1980)
Stories we once loved Are stories we love now. And all we love Is what we have loved, And our inner eyes tie us To other times. This means that somewhere Not easy to locate We recline in the screening rooms Of our particular fate And barely say “Ah! Um hm…” or some such, But have never imagined A higher darkness than this, Or that we are delivered By ideas of deliverance Vast sets of them In sympathetic resonation, All finally ripped out And thrown away, Unneeded.

Gift after gift, Falling into place As an ordinary world.

© 2011 The Village Philosopher

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OLD AND NEW POEMS
THE FIERY THUMBS (1986?)
Oh, dark soft and deep I shall fly straight and wild into your sweet treasury, crooning my fears up your sleeve: no walls, no walls! The bliss falls everywhere, killing us (in dreams). This is your terror, your blessing, your ancient devise: If I see You, I see all things conjoining, all meanings pierce my heart to breaking. If I yearn, run down the hall slavering on all fours, burning, begging, singing I see all things are mad with mindless partnership. This is what You offer, this piercing clarity, that no one knows anything, that the world is only to adore.

© 2011 The Village Philosopher

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OLD AND NEW POEMS
BASIC BOOKS
Mostly we are daydreams and deeper down, words ravenously linking up. This native chatter marks an edge past which nothing shows. We tour this region as a group of words. I move deaf and eyeless by the cellular hearth littering the purity with voices.

SUNYATA
Put away each thing; Let it be over. Around the next hill Guernseys graze on the void As if it were clover And they could get their fill.

© 2011 The Village Philosopher

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OLD AND NEW POEMS
THE ALCHEMIST
Gold, save this darkening mixture. This heat has burned for days, and the rude lump boils and dries, flakes and melts again, endlessly. They say this lore is filled with anagrams; the search set me back a day: I started, threw the book aside– No fire glow glinted on the vitrine bowl, the lapis huddled like a shrunken toad. The maker of this art knew this peace of heart would hold me like a manacle.

FOR WALLACE STEVENS
His third eye was a poem. All objects scanned as lines of it, that is he was a man possessed, needing a touch of the most outspoken page for cure. A swaggering abstract, the mere style of belief referred to, any cartoon of relief proved the poem, that eye, intact in the heart of things. That eye loved; the Hartford Company, the ocean, anything.

© 2011 The Village Philosopher

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OLD AND NEW POEMS
TULPEHOCKEN PORTENT
Some poems pass, Resisting invocation.

LOVE'S TOPOLOGY
His gift is to tell us how the worlds are one skin peeled from his heart, and that we are his own, formed from the flayed, curling tissue of his light, his tears. He gives himself all beings, that deepest ache of his limitless anatomy, and the power of memory. Then he stands with heartbreaking patience, stands in place great refuge.

© 2011 The Village Philosopher

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OLD AND NEW POEMS
LAPIDARY HYMN
All rocks have green cores. They beat in silence, hearing the worm turn, the thunder of woodsmen armies or the roar of burning. Fire breaks them and they go blind. But in that split second, they see the wild body of the universe.

VISIT THE HEART, SEE THE TRUTH
Darling, your excess of mind caught me out of love again. Never consign me to the dust of speech. The coil of your heart's my armature. In that sweet cradle of attention down where the names are born no one says lover or lovelorn; the current streams uncovered. You may not know — all lovers freely rise there like the air in chimneys, unhindered, born of light.

© 2011 The Village Philosopher

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OLD AND NEW POEMS
CABALISTIC THEOREM
"Each point in superspace stands for an entire three-dimensional geometry." John A. Wheeler in American Scientist, Spring, 1968. Everything refers to everything else, in the best books, the best worlds. Really, she too knows all the worlds turn back on themselves. This is the fundamental theory of romance, the old one, the soap-opera fate in which we each become speechless darlings, shining in bliss, and losing our edges. So that these mere events, and these verbal forceps always graze each other but unawares, by mirrors endlessly facing into clearer and clearer — like the glass pores of space, Indra's bubbling vacancy, the space around you, in you of you.

© 2011 The Village Philosopher

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OLD AND NEW POEMS
THE LOCAL GROUP
Our hearts are like that hulk buried in Australia waiting for neutrinos— indescribably battered, by ancient, invisible news. Hard against the membrane of belief, through sheer remembrance, they clock the pulses, and await the rain of final adoration.

THE MECHANISM
The determination to be born formed in the vaguest turn of thought as warm breeze that keeps blowing in the same direction minute to minute, year to year feeding the fires of discourse through each disconnection, until the thin flame inside fear bends, and directs me to the source.

© 2011 The Village Philosopher

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OLD AND NEW POEMS
OLD MAN ECHO
Side by side on the limestone stair two grackles peck at lichen. It tears silently like antique leather, green dust on the snow. It is December. The sun burns cold. Few thoughts. Straw whistles in the crosswind. Wyomissing Creek has shifted twice since I was twelve. Icy rain falls on crabgrass now, where crayfish hung suspended under ice. Once, during June flood days deep under the borough, breathing fog we peered out, sun-blinded, through an iron screen: the sun rode trembling, mirror slick and green on the roaring cataract.

© 2011 The Village Philosopher

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OLD AND NEW POEMS
LET'S SAY WE COULD TALK ABOUT IT
This slice of time is fat with puissance when I start; I can’t sneak up before the forms are all laid out for questioning. Lay back and rest. I’m already seeing everything that shows. The parts hold all the parts; the seeing knows what can be seen right at the heart of things, before I ever mention witnessing.

HOW WE SEE
Language is the ocean, My head swims. Verbs, adjectives, gerundives School, feed, mate And dart away into Abstraction. Great white concepts Roam for the lost and bleeding.

© 2011 The Village Philosopher

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OLD AND NEW POEMS
FAR INTO THE NIGHT
This poem was written in the 1980’s and shoved into a desk drawer. On 12/30/2006 I had a fear-filled dream about other world spaces; in it there was a hand holding up a pane of glass (near a rail fence beside a dark field) that was melted/bent, and through which was visible a bloody scene and some other unknown and indescribable weird business—remarkably similar to the image from the dream recounted in this poem. A few other things have happened today (including finding this old poem) that seem intended to help me reflect on this image, or its meaning. I write this down, knowing evanescence all too well: later I will never understand this Dalinian confusion. [FB 1-4-07]

I remember how In that dream of sleeping The glass curled back Beside my head and streamed blood And hands of dead children Reached in for help Crowding the opening; But on the roof, No bodies, only Normal roofwinds, blue air, clouds, Momentarily a world Without dread losses, portents.

HOW TO LIVE, WHAT TO DO
We live best by consenting To eternal spaces. Find how the heart rests In other places. Evolve by love, And burn all blessings there, Saluting God

© 2011 The Village Philosopher

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OLD AND NEW POEMS
FARTHER INLAND STANDS THE OAR
These days I reflect upon the pains The demigods have taken to hide beyond the worlds, All of which exist to exhaust our human wishes. If we can stay awake and creep beneath the layers, Lay open the birthing place of the sayable forms, The ontic crucible parades its metataxonomic shocks, Knots inexplicable, too fast or too reluctant to be resolved, A continuous mummery held in place to mask the disconnecting forces And the horrors of disturbance lying just beyond the gate All to allow our shallow little world To lodge in semblances of slow wholeness Timed to the plodding of our reconnoiterings. There is a falseness by the door of this world Where all our visions and intentions are thwarted by design. Looking out, in the usual way, moving to understand No eye survives the legerdemain, the distracting thuggery.

© 2011 The Village Philosopher

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OLD AND NEW POEMS
BIRTHDAY POEM I 1945
I left the womb behind, but I am not done growing. I remember how the red walls were closer every day, pressing softly round me— I couldn't know it was me swelling with food from hidden sources. And in that mistake I grew my fear. Out here now, too, I’m fed, and extend my touching more invisibly. Where's the snake who feeds me now? Coiled and sleeping in the cellar, stirring with light and magnitude.

© 2011 The Village Philosopher

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OLD AND NEW POEMS
BIRTHDAY POEM II My Entry into Matter
In the land of light, I, moving as a shapeless lamp fell laughing into red swamp blissful as a newt and loving. This was the core intoxication of my waking life. Mark this: "once you were rapturously enclosed and swallowed. This is the map and boundary of your universe." Now, even in the morning I move in fear of the outside world and the judging Father. My skin says avoid this world. But some ideas drive out old images, Some are good ones to die inside of.

© 2011 The Village Philosopher

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OLD AND NEW POEMS
LEHMAN HALL
In this dim space Lit by distant crystal chandeliers The light is scarred And vague in places As the language of it is, But intimate, Warm as this soup du jour, Soft as the alphabets Overlaying clarity.

MOYER’S HILL
A dark, thin line crosses the brazen wheat, sun and air complying with geometry. The stepped fields bristle like gold wire, then bow towards the fire trail. Wind passes into the next valley, lifting Paula’s chickens, dimming the creek by bending the young beeches. Where I lie pollen drifts down the rock face without touching

© 2011 The Village Philosopher

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OLD AND NEW POEMS
ELM STREET, READING
Above the flint-soled, wing-tipped shoes, ponderously crunching street grit into flour, swings the olive golf-sweatered bulk of the old, vertical Negro gentleman, one of those with hands like paddles, slowly threshing air, lips frozen into grim 20’s elegance under the carefully considered hat: caramel straw threaded with black leather, forever headed toward the station and the Pullman car.

HOW IT GETS DESCRIBED
Bayberries shake, so partridges of thought fly up, knocking, turning. Seagulls tack eastward over dunes. Look, Hopkins, hindquarters of a cloud darken, and rain slows drifting sand. Waves closing on the beach feed mental fires, mine, and presumably the girl’s down the shore where black grit and broken shells form a crescent beside her.

© 2011 The Village Philosopher

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OLD AND NEW POEMS
FROM MAGRITTE’S PORCH
Circles only seem to meet; Poems are always over. Afterwards in the momentary looseness, the conjured lack of order rushes into print, baiting memory the way sparrows fleeing murder spread, and mimic the shot that follows them. The poem is always on, wasting voltage like an old hotel. When the poem is calm, finally couched in dead velvet, the soil is restless underneath with the movement of famous men turning over; we are their upturned glances.

© 2011 The Village Philosopher

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OLD AND NEW POEMS
FRAGMENT
Very long ago, I drifted on unerring light Through the slit of dreams In search of my true earth. Nothing less, nothing more. Now doors open on another season, But we choose to remain here Locked in a fading year.

AT CIBONI’S
You can’t sit down and don’t touch the cheeses: Salmonella. We use this halberd for the mammoth gouda. They say our cheese killed King Farouk. The blond barrels are of some thin Near Eastern wood, waxed, sweet and stringy. They bulge between the staples when rolled, trailing cedar sawdust in red arcs. You are very close to goats when you lift the long, cold braids up and out into the light of Boston’s Oldest Cheese House.

© 2011 The Village Philosopher

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OLD AND NEW POEMS
SUMMING UP
So this is the little self. Is it any wonder, dearest, That we keep talking here? If, out of fondness, I rejoice In all your mindless foibles, Who’s left to give a true account That sings and dances over time Above my poor and sheltered views, That tells with joy the little choices I could never ascertain, That held at bay the proof of everything?

© 2011 The Village Philosopher

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OLD AND NEW POEMS
I WANT TO THINK ABOUT THE PECULIAR HONESTY OF THE RISHIS
I’d hoped that I’d be thinking useful thoughts By the time I was to go. Some part of me clings on to this, reluctant Although the answer’s no. She’s trim and breathtaking In her Chinese silk shorts Wedged upright upon her zazen barley pillow Taking in the inner sights Just as she was told on Friday. People yearn for pictures Of themselves in meditation As proof they’re making progress In the spiritual realm. People want to see reflections As they vote for other races, And wear the purest clothes As proof they’ve made real progress In the virtuous realm. They never want to know There is no progress and no realm, No proof through some external check, Or that the checking kills the virtue and the spirit in one blow.

© 2011 The Village Philosopher

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OLD AND NEW POEMS
AFTER THE SATISFACTION OF THE WINE
Someone has now assembled A portion of the world, but I am not persuaded By my mind’s cartography. When each convincing frame Has been paraded, And in turn each has faded, And you stand within this lantern self A-burning in the frail glow Of your brief autography, Nevertheless you note How irresistibly Stage rear a single trumpet Yearns romantically in D, And you must ask Who chose the valved glory of that key?

© 2011 The Village Philosopher

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OLD AND NEW POEMS
SIMPLE MEN
We're simple men. We all like things to do each day. Unlike the ape we yearn to finish them. We think of urgent ways to spin Somethings out of nothing, And fabricate the ins and outs Of cheesecloth, or tests for whether Spring’s Unfolding like it did last year. We have penetrated naught And rest content to polish our veneer Or merely pop the toast in perfect time. All this is not sublime, but hey.

© 2011 The Village Philosopher

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OLD AND NEW POEMS
THE AIR IN THIS HOUSE
Things are as they are (ah me, that godly state) and summer light continues to approach the shade where sun projects the Forms for children's eyes but also in this house I feel the currents pull along the closing door and picture how they tour the space finding paths in need of freshening and though one breath breathes it all like an old friend approaching known by his August breathing in the halls the fronts admix invisibly —they slam the bathroom door upstairs, and creak the cellar door— pass through my knuckle hairs and draw bread dust into the table crack pushing, pulling on the fennel leaf these sundry tiny waves that swell to cool my windward side to merely sit and feel the winds at play can enforce my sleepy happiness connecting me to spaces everywhere and so the larger portions of the house

© 2011 The Village Philosopher

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OLD AND NEW POEMS
OUR PLACE IN THINGS
Our little band of self-sustaining sensors making little villages and art– simple meaty darlings doing our part endorsing recursivity. With deep infatuation for the tricksome space we say we live in, we take our readings, make our findings to the deep command, assert our play, surround ourselves with storytelling, kings, and death, the look of joy, bowers of hope, beguiling artifacts and axioms and lies we love believing for a time—tales much like this— thinking all that there must be is where we are, and looks this way, and things are what we say, until the blue syncope. Is there a full report, the full disclosure of what we're calling purposes, what was enshrined beyond our scrannel compass, beside our verbal envelope, beneath our rapturous decline?

© 2011 The Village Philosopher

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OLD AND NEW POEMS
LATE JULY
All morning the big flat-bottomed clouds slide east along the Appalachian chain while down below in their slanted shadows damselflies flash red or blue among the spatterdock landing for a second or two No need to knock— no patter mars the open space above this collar, just the bubbling of the doves.

© 2011 The Village Philosopher

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