INTRODUCTION Ygdraisil CONTENTS This We Believe At the Dawn of the World Crumbs from the Agape I once drove it Otto Bankhe Last Time/Otto Numssen Roy Al Ferrara The boy who saw the Esopus damned The Rich Man Buying Posterity On a Farmall Cub The old hand in Spring talking to himself The Farmer Finds His Grace Jimboo Patience "mom?" Laying up Stones Ether Don't need a Stone His first-born speaks The River Keeper's Dream Sailing from my Tower Crossed Shoes Mick, Son of Fire Frailin' Withershins Uncle Jerry Bob Standing up at Don's bier Albert Warriors What Poets Do A Photograph Song of the Railing Arlington Lament of the Cypress Joose Charge of the Scribe David's Mom Wengeance The Gargoyle's Lament Kwazuri's Spell A Slave Song Sandborne Cornshuck Chowder Trailing Story Superman Sir Great Black Fuzzy Mama Speak Footprints Genghis Jose Quaile the Quarryman Reds and Champagne What they did about Clarence Queen to King's Rook 6 Bereavement A Sacrifice The View From the Bench Channel Markers Crayon Marks Priorities POST SCRIPTUM How mote it be All Poems Copyright (c) 2001 Jack R. Wesdorp
Ygdraisil ~~~~~~~~~ Before anything, before thought, A seed is sown into the void. The Farmer's hand is fleeting, fraught With infinite fields of choice, buoyed On an ocean of furrowed Will. A shoot stalks forth, searching roots probe Deep into the stone, drink their fill Of sense and worth, assume the robe Of templed grace and self uplift, Rotating spiral wise through space And all of time, endless adrift On self-sown seas, each bolden face Raised up as gods, gold and graven.
This We Believe ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ When you lie your body down you don't die. All the mansions that God provides are yours, Enough for each, with milliards left over, Beckoning to be filled from your mind's eye. Experience does not stop, nor your thoughts, Nor the entity that you know is you. Only the chariot that you've ridden, Only that is cast aside. You will rise, You will be very fast, you will be strong, You cannot be hour-glassed, you will sing long And rejoice in the power that is yours, Peer into all of provenance and gift, All of time your office, all things your means, Nor is the casting off reason to fear, Nor cause for grief. It is your birthright.
At the Dawn of the World ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ That morning, whippoorwills sang in anthem, where the oil press dreams in hoary vestment; olive trees blooming forth in testament, where the cruel scene-set turned to phantom before the Unwilling, the Witness eyes burned at Golgotha. And there, from the haze, ONE cometh ghosting, and His form ablaze with luminous starwells; nor are the spies of the elders aware of His passage. Yet, of those who come to vigil the tomb, who find the stone rolled from its inner gloom, who follow the sacrament...they can judge the Truth that is shown beyond heresy; and from this sapling grows His legacy.
Crumbs from the Agape ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Fat girls get boys too, you know. Fat girls make the whirl go round. Fat girls are lovers boundless of old tapestry weft long, are mommies of the song-child, goddesses plunged in wild-stone, guardians of the crone-flame; conversant with the claim jump, know full well what a dump side looks like, and cannot hide their slander, loving us bare-souled without release, the burning witness in their yearning flesh to forever enmesh them with pity, or tears, gem pearls on their hearth-stone unfurling embers cast down from above - Ah, fat girls, how we love thee!
I once drove it ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Addie Decker burned his 'vette up and down past Postie's field, midnight-winter silhouette chrome bedecked and speed-slick wheeled. One lonely clock-tick second under deadman's trestle span, where the shadow beckoned him in a karmic wreck pavane. We, after the graveyard scene, sifted through his bedroom stuff wondering if his peregrine had been worth it and enough. In the catalogs we found hundred dollar bill bookmarks for his Chevy spelling-ground, big-ben teenage wheeling sparks chiseled in forever myth. Addie Decker: Corvette Smith.
Otto Bankhe ~~~~~~~~~~~ Old Otto passed away the other day. I see his clean-swept bench, his hands among the motley tool collection, each one hung in its appointed place. I see the play of his clever fingers taking apart some encrusted hunk of metal cogwheel, like he was praying to the God of Steel for salvation, getting down with Its heart... fixing an S.U. with blind-fold finesse... and somehow the torch got handed along, that same expertise still there, going strong... this, too, does seem right and fitting, and yes, well named for a mechanic. To his ghost!... thanks for showing us how, Otto, and...prost!
Last Time Otto Numssen ~~~~~~~~~~~~ Saw Otto in the Dairy Queen two months off his hospital pall, looking grizzled, bright-eye and lean, backed up against some heavy wall of God stuff, but ready for more. There's no whisper of doubt in me that he'd been out to touch the door that we all have to sesame before we get down with the facts; and I have to admit that's one of those mother-fast heaven acts that I'm no way ready to run. Still, seeing how he'd managed it, sitting there with his grand kids round despite the damaged body bit, I thought that just maybe he'd found his true calling, after a path spent crawling under old car hoods, (there's me, toting up Otto's math), that finally he understood what it was really all about, and silent I saluted him quiet, hand-fleet, private, devout. Then slowly, slowly saw him dim and fade unto a place that's booked for those who get their true desire, Paradise, yeh, that's how he looked, like he'd walked and talked with pure fire.
Roy ~~~ Once we damn near set the hood on fire (sand! quick!) making phosphorus trichloride, and spilled explosive spots of iodide on the floor - like snared the lab with wire. We used to joke about it: "What'd Roy say?" "Oh no!" And how he'd massacre our names in the classroom, yet somehow fan the flames of our want-to-know with his ricochets. So Fred played doc with his 'phoresis stuff while Dave snark'd sardonic comments around; and Roy'd be hovering in the background hoping that some of his wist would rub off on us young mad-scientist types cooking up our dreams - I can still see him looking for the spark....
Al Ferrara ~~~~~~~~~~ Al, our town wino, walked everywhere, Along back-woods roads, down into town And back up to his shack, solitaire And outcast, wearing the peoples' glare Of mistrust and fear as a surplice, As would a priest of the earth and cup; Seeking a silent place in his mind Where he would brim it over with sight, Seeing everything, knowing full well It'd never be shared until the last. Where his townspeople would gather round And cast their shortfall into marble, So that they'd be able to point out, "That's the way it was with him, my child"; And thereby a frame of reference By which to try the world, no mistake, No faking it, out there on the road With Al, who kept us all inside him. Walking his ways, looking at windows, Wearing outsider cloaked about him With the dignity of a churchman. I, who stood behind the glass I'd made For this purpose, saw him one last time Striding alonghe knew I was there Going down to town making his rounds. Just a quick glance my way, I flinched back, And then he walked behind the lilacs, Bootsteps fading, his form very bright. And there's no doubt at all about him.
The boy who saw the Esopus damned ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ After a while, the wagons needed More! the old fording place just wasn't enough for those heavy wheels - an' it was too tough in Spring with water sloshing the floor of wains laden with blue-slabs, glass, or sand, creaking up to the kilns 'n down to the docks, sometimes the horses up to their fetlocks with muck. So The-Man's-Plan: "There's a demand here that needs to be filled; let's build a dam and throw a bridge across the creek and build a power turbine and make us some gild; take the stone, burn the wood, get fat and ram some legislation through the court system... I saw it all go down an' I hissed 'em didn't do no good....
The Rich Man ~~~~~~~~~~~~ I was dicing onions when the phone rang. It was Austin Simmons twenty years dead. I couldn't believe it. Here's what he said, he said, "remember that night when we sang about love sitting around in my bar down there next to the three-car garage door? Humming about how we'd all like some more of the good things in life, how my stuff far outdistanced anything you might gather? How I had everything a man might crave? And I tell you now, from my lonely grave, that I had NOTHING, that I'd much rather, then where we were and now and in the end, have traded all of it for a true friend.
Buying Posterity ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Here's the world's richest man, come to my door, praying, will I write him a death sonnet, done so, with no compromise upon it, that he be well remembered ever more. I enchant him: "How did you gain your wealth?" "...by boardroom mergers, fancy accounting, large tax loopholes and doubtful amounting, industrial spying, computer stealth, some selective lying...something much worse; like magick, abstract greed waxes profane, done in some well obscured ledgerdomain... take heed, pen-mage , great wealth is much a curse..." "In me, Truth is sacred, and can't be sold; with all due respect, I refuse your gold."
On a Farmall Cub ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Henry Seyler's in a hospital bed, thinking about all the things that he's done; of Spring, timely rain, bountiful sun, while well-tilled visions run round his old head; dipping ornamental gourds in varnish, for to make a huge front-lawn Christmas tree; and I'm haunted by the same Theology, with a well-farmed-fields and a full-barn wish. Then there was me standing by the Farmall, hanging on its tow-hitch - furrow learning; always the farmer's life in me burning; two acolytes of Kore's protocol. Big words, huh? Our heads" IN with Mother Earth; we worship Her...and we know what it's worth.
The old hand in Spring talking to himself ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Well, now that I'm going blind I cain't plow a straight furrow; guess I'll rake up some hills an' plant melons or squash. Sure ain't allow this fine earth to lay fallow; an' if't kills me...so be it. Cain't think of a more just way to go than putting seed in the ground; kneeling down an' feeling 'round come August, keeling over with me nose in a mound, smelling the closeness of finely worked dirt, how the body of the world beckons me, cloaked in her flowering finest, begirt with the power that maketh farmers free forever in a field of blossomed fruit. Aye, that'd be the way for this blind ol' coot.
The Farmer Finds His Grace ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ John Snyder's gone to plant his field in a place only he can see, far away on the fringes, free from the hustle-men and the wheeled ways that were once farmsteads, and barns and...there he's got his seed-bin filled with the choicest pumpkin and corn, there a soft rain falls in the morn to sweeten his pasture goodwilled from his own vision, his chattel and fowl of fine prizewinning stock, and if he wants to, no mere clock can tell him it's feeding tattle time with the birds... aye, if he minds, his mill grinds whatever he's planting. And far off I can hear him chanting a church-in-the-field which he finds in a place that never was....
Jimboo ~~~~~~ We found Jim Buglione lying dead. "Yep, must of been a heart attack," they said, ignoring on purpose how back in 'Nam the orange defoliant left him damned with seizures, how they pensioned him off-track, shoved him through the cracks where there ain't no flak he could throw at 'em. So Jim lived quiet, drove no car an' always passerby'd it, volunteered some at the Woodstock hot-line and slowly sipped the cup of poisoned wine he'd drawn. Last I saw, he sat by himself at a new-year's party, like on the shelf in an urn, and I couldn't meet his eyes... guess he wasn't any good at good-byes. I sure wasn't....
Patience ~~~~~~~~ When we drive by the house of Grace Carey, I'm fraught with wonder at her circumstance, and I ponder on the singular dance of one who abides a solitary. Well named, for she carries herself with grace, daily walks down to the local food store, awaits the rare visitor at her door, saving up sweets for the kids, just in case one might come unexpectedly - and hoped for. It must be hot in her stifling front room, summer storm-shuttered, and there's creeping gloom when her power fails, that I can't ignore. What a perfect flower grows down our street, that knows sorrow...yet spurns snubs and defeat.
"mom?" ~~~~~~ You know that no one ever truly dies in this world, for souls are formed of star-stuff. Think of bodies as a paltry disguise that souls wear, and there's always just enough time in a life to make the experience worthwhile. Always. That's how we plan it out back (up?) where we scribe the circumference of our circle, each unique, set about with the skein and weft of our tapestry, each brilliant thread warped round from a spindle that spools into forever; each a key that fits a life. Its purpose: to kindle the star of our kindred and glorious, to quest the one source of things; which is Us.
Laying up Stones ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ This one's the last house that Tom Rooney built; a pristine empty place, its rooms still bare, where there's to be windows, a sinless stare; no laughter was heard here, nor tears were spilt. I think that I'm the only one who knows the work that was done to make this wynd real; daily trips for lumber; the quiet zeal; how far he came to finishing; how close. It was done for love, as a Builder would; and as stone was set on stone, I looked on, and learned from him as no book could have done, that it was rightly turned - and it was good. No words were spoken, no burning, no tears; be it known - this house stands a thousand years.
Ether ~~~~~ My mom told me that Joe Webber died, retired down Sarasota way; and I got to thinking how our play is interwoven, so...satisfied, with all its shuttled strands neatly skeined onto a single spindled stagecraft; and how in time we'll be epitaphed with a passed on story long refrained in some younger colleague's memory. So, uncle Joe, here's what I recall: that you were always there when the fall of a patient's pressure set off key warning signals, so we'd get the space to save one more...always on the ball... and for THAT, doc, man, God grant you Grace.
Don't need a Stone ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ There goes Todd Galyon, fishing for sturgeon, where the wild wind howls over giant waves, pounding his planking and bending his staves, every ninth comber his prow submerging. And when he sees too much of scudding foam, some nights he lays to in Scammon's lagoons, watching grey whales at court from hidden dunes; or stays at Crusoe's South Atlantic home. Once I saw him on a far planet's sea, and once out on Merlin's enchanted lake; and of Mystery I saw him partake many times, on the Sea of Galilee. God's speed!, doc - you're the best I stood next to; I've prayed that Neptune's Trident protects you.
His first-born speaks ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Marinus Wesdorp shipped over sea, For that's where the streets are paved with gold; Past the Lady with the torch, and bold To take the land in its dignity, Questing after the mythic million, See his sons pilot a first-rate school, Never live in famine, fear, or fool, And build his own forthright pavilion. But the best that he did as he went Was houseparenting two dozen sons At a time; all their shenanigans Cast in pantomime. As a monument To his helmsman they dubbed him The Czar, Loved him as sons do. And That's the star He's followed.
The River Keeper's Dream ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Just before dawn, the keeper climbs his stair wentling where the light turns its faithful eye steady as the perilous shoal it guards, casting circles where long-armed kraken lair out on Henry's River, hooting his cry of ancient desolation, setting wards round-storied in the dawn mist of the earth, making of it a labyrinth precinct wynd, of meandering helix'd channels bold, wandering whaling pathways wave begirth with dreams of explorations-in-his-mind, tall sparr'd ship tales fire-eyed in his hold. And all the while his light burns unspoken Promises of succour, hearth, safe haven, Many-sworn. And none of them are broken.
Sailing from my Tower ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Now one brilliant bird-song morning old Daisy crept up her stair-well's gloom, all amidst rare panell'd burnish wentling spiral to her tower room. And there she spun a circle fair just as it's been done as of yore, cast about slight wicker dolls' chairs and set her sight a deeper shore. And as she poured a tea-cup wraith I tried her mutter'd falter-smile: "Would that now I chisel my lathe with sigils round, in Wilder-style as it was drawn down on the stone; and on my threshold endless keep the promise I here vow at home: No matter that the path be steep or water deep beyond my door. Let me, Lord, intersect Your sky, slake the longing of my torrent thirst amidst fountain'd firefly dragons timeless in velvet void. Leave me to this, my Lord, in life amidst the charnel of my breath and I shall be content, envoyed away on sail-swept wings, alive with panpipes, tambourines, and death." Now those who came late found the cups dried with opalescent residue, still cast about in covenant with wormwood alkaloidal brew. And I, who sit in shadow'd watch, can tell you of a sailing ship full-fledged on Henry's tidal glass, and on it floats a flower'd maid angel-ushered, yet solitaire and regal. As the vessel slips its helm, the last that I can glimpse is the yellow flare, of sun-waft gauze, brocade, and daisies in her hair.
Crossed Shoes ~~~~~~~~~~~~~ I was dead before the water touched me. I think the cold crept into us, swept us off the deck, each as much infinity as me, glittering flecks kept synchronous by some great mysterious hand, drifting lanterns each an utterance in velvet deep, seeing vivid into the shifting, into the swirling gather-spell, one foot extended in search of something divine. Two miles down, we fell to sleep, each posture unique on the mire; I lay back, supine arms cast aside, kind of a cross obscured by the black fire in me, leaving my shoes for you to scavenge after all that's left. I don't need them, having nothing to lose; covet thou my shoes in the endless weft? We who fell to heaven on this dark beach are far beyond your profane magpie reach.
Mick, Son of Fire ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ "Fessin' up" time; d'you know what I regret? It's all those gigs I didn't get to play... like with those Hippies out in Monterey on the beach; an' with those monks in Tibet; an' the thousand-odd budding garage bands that would have given almost their left nut to've played with a hotshot like me. My gut feelin's that I missed the best one night stands that're out there; an' all the studio work, an' stadium shows, an' movie sound tracks, all the stuff on my wall, platinum plaques an' records...was nothin' more than a jerk around by them spiff executive types; but then I guess I ain't got cause to bitch - it was sorta neat gettin' fat an' rich; mostly, Susy, I'm sorry for the hypes that surrounded us - rock-star-struck types get what they deserve. Next time, if you want to, I swear I'll make a better choice of it. No more spotlight prancin', an' all that shit; next time round we'll settle for well-to-do off on the fringes, maybe on a toft with sheep, my love...a proper Scottish croft.
Frailin' ~~~~~~~~ We saw Pete Seeger, strong voice of the Folk, cutting his swath across a classless field, working to the spot where Truth is revealed, and shining his light through official smoke. Banjo in hand, he's One, engraved in stone, for we've heard him Sing Out in far-off lands; lone troubadour, myriad one-night stands, become mighty and no longer alone; indelibly stamped on our lexicon. His torch-bearers come - I hear many lights, a world-wide Song to celebrate his rites, departed, yea unseen, but never gone. We'll miss you, Pete, you've done IT well - thank you; Lyric-of-the-People - none outrank you.
Withershins ~~~~~~~~~~~ Jimi was our first monster guitar, avatar of the one true fire, choir and rhythm all rolled in one, son of his electric lady wraith, faithful to his father daemon wight, brightest of all our Woodstock Nation, Immolation incarnate, fusion illusion amidst a vestured stage, mage and acolyte of our dreaming.
Uncle Jerry ~~~~~~~~~~~ Uncle Jerry went to bed, snuffed out his wax, played to the end of his thread, hung up his axe. An' what we got left is gold, magick carpet, alchemist alembic-told fragile harp-writ, glowing in our jointed wist; acid dream-time, Never Land church-wind mill-grist, shared Ripple-rhyme.... I guess what I really dug was his transience, his sense of communal drug circumference, how the tribe trod on one path illuminant, dosed with Owsley aftermath and minstrel haunt; aye, echoing head-space crisp faultless fire, ring-cast sorcel-wrought want-whisp from his lyre. I dug his non-ending riff abyss-driven, how the song-never-end glyph is stone-scriven. That's what I hear star-wending spiral story, dark-star devil-befriending guitar-glory. Time marches old in the way Saint Stephen rose, yearning spirit, feet of clay, pantomime froze. An' now that he's burned and free, sprite an' merry, glasses high now, drink with me... uncle Jerry!
Bob ~~~ And now the Hippies mourn for all our voice lies dead, the spindle of our song is woven-out and fled. Jimi so long ago, Janis, of drugs and booze, eternal gypsy acts all paying heavy dues. John shot down by a fool, Abbie, champagne and reds, forever clowning free in our collective heads. Uncle Jerry's dark star and merry prankster Ken, freed from the wheel at last... you will not come again. Spaced kindly doctor Tim, yea, all the priesthood scene; and now this day gone by, man, mister Tambourine. Let the child bear our torch to far meadows and halls; fair wind to thee, pilgrim. Write it on temple walls, in roadside water holes, out among shifting sands, amidst galactic swirl, and burning neverlands.
Standing up at Don's bier ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ We rarely know when it's the last time round Until the other's dead, in our head sound Whisper songs echoing of the real thing That we shared for just a moment, and cling To that most precious act as brothers must When our sand is run out. Ashes to dust And yet the song turns forth, the band plays tight, You are there honking in the ranks, alight With your own soaring tune. Sir, if you want to, I shall burn a candle to our haunting, Whence two may well play as one, on one horn, Plugged in with Gabriel's section, spell-born So that again, for just a moment, we May scale a tune and wing it out there for free.
Albert ~~~~~~ Ever wonder what Einstein thought of it? You know, about war and the atom bomb, how his math made it happen; and all from the sacred E equals eM Cee squared bit. Seven weeks ago he came to see me, and asked about the state of things; he said: "Is it true that the God of Peace is dead, and that in Heaven the Angels flee me?" And I could only answer, "sir, it's so. Your work's undone, has become perverted; High Science Herself has been subverted, so that war is Art,"...and I watched him go. Last I heard he was squatting in the sun, mumbling, "what have I done, what have I done."
Warriors ~~~~~~~~ I feel a thousand flags a'waving down a corridor of bloodrage time. on the podium a madman's raving in holy shrieking pantomime. In the audience sheepface bleating the fodder looks up with awe at hobnail ironfist pageant beating drumboom singing this-is-the-law. Out on the fringes a poet weeps knowing fullwell his church is doomed, and then kneels to his garret whence sleeps the glitter genius he has bloomed. Takes he now his quill of Art and scribes a circle fair complete; and in this doth he pierce the heart of ranting, dreadful glave, and fell deceit.
What Poets Do ~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Look, they've thrown Albrecht into a cell chained hand and foot to a dungeon stone; in the background, the muttering drone of airplane engines; the noonday bell for his dish of soup calls him awake; a few words with a vacant warden; the certainty of death to harden his resolve that they shall never break his spirit; and then the endless writ of his thought put into deathless verse, from his cell ranging the universe, seeking God, touching the infinite face of the Deep, clutching to his breast the singing manuscript of his quest.
A Photograph ~~~~~~~~~~~~ In Zarajevo A child lies shot dead In Zarajevo He was seven years Seven years alive Filled with bright promise Amidst the rubble Fixed in the crosshairs Of a sniper scope Forever centered In a photograph Published in Newsweek Forever mirrored With his head at rest In a pool of blood Spreading burgundy On the paving stones Of Zarajevo I cannot forget The twisted sneaker The purple parka The hand caressing The liquid splendor Of his life seeping Far to distant stars I cannot forget How much he looks like A child of my own How hard by to home His still form moveth On the world's conscience I cannot forget And now you know too
Song of the Railing ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ This one is freshly dead. The vibrancy of life still clings to his form. His blood is scarlet, unclotted, fine with promise. He was proud of his jeans. His brown boat shoes gave him bounce and carriage. The belt bespeaks a magician's presence. He was clean and athletic; see the white socks? The T-shirt is still tucked in; no old-man's flab there. He refused to fall, reached for support, bent over me looking at death, full-knowing, clairvoyant, and closed his eyes forever. We are the lesser for his departure and I am honored by his embrace.
Arlington ~~~~~~~~~ Thrice eleven it was: "Wars' End," they said the number of sacrifice-self-chosen. "They're gone," and thus the moment was frozen for guilt they laid him in an unknown's bed. But I saw who was buried there with pomp, whom natty soldier-types parade with pride. Men-with-guns repay warfare as suicides, as endless lines of marching booted tromp, each face bent low in horror at what's done; no face looks up to point out who's head-priest; fated to be slaves, all neatly policed, never once realizing that they're all One. "All embodied in that one guy," they said his face blown off by shrapnel to his head.
Lament of the Cypress ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ I've contemplated you all these years, from the first that was cast into clay to the last just now laid nigh his peers; for three centuries in night and day. In the morning they'll come and fell me and you shall have none to witness you; and so I want you to tell me now why I should, in my trial, pity you. For I have, and you not, kept my vow.
Joose ~~~~~ That son of a bitch has his own logo. It's flashed every night on my TV screen while all the lawyer courtroom prance and preen their dollar dance to the bank, syrup slow, real palatable foh you sheep-faces. How come he's always smiling at yoh head, I mean, the mother of his kids is dead, ain't he mourning her? I asked some space-case on Washington Square what he thought. "My man," he go, "this here snuff-flick clean 'n naked is foh you ashholes who wanna fake it an' cain't get it up. According to plan, stan, like script; that Bronco chase? - pure cowboy. An' he grin Holly-wow ' cause you his toy."
Charge of the Scribe ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ "Go Thou! Keep Thou His scroll; and keep it well!" Thus am I given the mandate on earth, to follow His thread wherever it leads; out from the Void, cast down from Bliss to Hell, where His office shall be to seek rebirth, forever caught upon His Wheel; His deeds to be reviled among men, but sanctioned by its priesthood - yet never understood; His solitary purpose, to subvert those sordid fallen ones He would have shunned were He back in Bliss. But those of the blood must have their Nemesis, must have the dirt to get their noses soiled, their hands with mire. So that the struggle shall make them Bliss-bound; so that they'll have a frame of reference, that they might choose well between Ice and Fire. And this is why I tell His spindle wound with purest silver, gall, and frankincense.
David's Mom ~~~~~~~~~~~ When I saw it happening on T.V., I couldn't believe they'd really done it. I thought maybe they'd shake their guns a bit, you know, like gorilla hostility, and do some name calling in the scandals; but then they're lined up, just like those cop shows, complete with cameras and studios. And on sunday morning I lit candles, when I was sure they weren't coming out; and after that it was like a film scene, where everything moves so slow on the screen... and then suddenly I hear someone shout: "Fire! Oh, God, they're burning it; come look!" And now...now they want me to write a book.
Wengeance ~~~~~~~~~ Jef's gonna get a new trial, what do ya think about that? Gonna escape his last mile; up to me, I'd drown the rat. Damniano the Demon, got "sieg heil" eyes in his face, got arrogant stars gleamin' in his private "kill 'em" place. Got no idea of remorse, case hardened behind them bars, is lookin' from punk to worse, waging T.V. cop-show wars. Think he remembers Karen? Or the heft of that bluestone? Nah, I think he's just rarin' to make somebody else moan. And 'Dame Justice' hafts a sword, clairvoyant blind-eyed sees him, waits for the court's lenient word, and then forever frees him... ...go far, Jeff, hide far away. We will hunt you dog-like-down. No place is far enough, nay no fortress will serve you 'round. We'll see to it that you'll pay: count on it...
The Gargoyle's Lament ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ In the narthex broods a chest, ancient bound with bands of brass; and its contents all unguessed by the brethren come to mass. But I, I can tell you well what is hidden there from thee, of the cursed olden spell and the shackled soul of me. If you only would look up and spy me crouched in my place, stone-winged staring in my cup of eternal steeplechase, would you see a feldspar tear coursing silent down my breast, and perhaps then you would hear my heart beating in that chest.
Kwazuri's Spell ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The trader brought us bright blankets and knives. We were the best of friends round his barrel and dropped our normal cautious apparel to drink his wine while trading him our lives. Sometime during the nightmare we were caged, fitted with iron collars and staggered into chain gangs, my wife looking haggard like she'd been raped when the white men rampaged, quiet cradling our daughter in her sling, beseeching me with silent eyes "what now?" Then we're marched three weeks, stacked into a scow below-decks like cordwood; that's when I sing the spell of release on my child and die the death of a prince, leaping overboard; with my last breath give her the gift of words so that she may write our song, gratify her captors, live in silent lonely dread with her father's dream whirling round her head.
A Slave Song ~~~~~~~~~~~~ As a child I was sold as a slave to a man who was cruel in the night He used to lock me up in his cave make me shake just for fun, out of spite 'cause he hate black-face kids like what's me But I fix him real good one sunday I got bane from my friend, witch am she In his gin, and he dead next monday
Sandborne ~~~~~~~~~ It's raining, a steady grey drizzle down. Two men in black came to carry my lord, who in silence severed his silver cord. I followed them out to the edge of town, where many stones stand in bleak remem'bring; where sometimes I dream in my feral lust, of succulent bones all crumbled to dust, cleft by moonlight, whence we fellow dogs sing. No one took notice and I stood apart; loped home to an empty, tail curled up close, dank cemetery smell swirling my nose. No man knows me and my dog's broken heart; he was my friend, my master and brother, and I fear that I shall have no other.
Cornshuck Chowder ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Radio fella told us "they's around!" and I figgered, uhuh, they's gettin' close when Het sees them blacknwhites do bloodhound snoop things down by the fencerow. Grandiose bastids, I think, with yoh tommygun rot lookin' to make a buck foh them govmint banker bums. Had muh way I'd wipe the lot of yez off muh field. Way off there's a glint; bluesteel, echo yelps down in the quarry, covey flush of quail at the other end. I grins, "in the wrong place boys. Ain't sorry to see ya miss'm." Over at the bend the critters' mighty quiet... "Dinner time!" Hettie calls; potato wafting downwind yearoldcornshuck chowder flavored with thyme... Damn if he ain't a softfoot moccasin suddenly there at the window: "please folks, I ain't looking for no trouble with y'all, but I gotta eat an' I sure ain't broke..." Clean lookin' kid with a Tennessee drawl. "All I want is some chow an your old truck?" "That jalopey ain't run these four years since. Looks like we'ns just like you, down on the luck hatinhand; we know, don't need to convince us you're OK. Come in an eat a spell an we'll do what we can..." So lissen good, you reader out there; this is what befell three of us at our table brotherhood. First it's quiet like there's no tomorrow. Faraway we can hear yappin louder. "S'pose y'all ain't got some time I kin borrow?" Silent shakes. "Well, ma'am, thanks for the chowder, 'n I do believe that was the best one I ever et. Tastes like some paradise beyond savoring..." A well-bred young man, I think, come to naught, come to pay the price... 'N he hands me a folded scrap of news with some letters circled. "Keep a good score, don't let'm get it, hear?" An then the screws come up the drive while he's out the back door. ... We don't breathe until we hear the rattle out there among the stubble of my corn. The news called it a glorious battle and a victory against crime. They warn us 'bout aidin' an' abettin'. Damn fools never looked under my plate. So we wait for the hulla' to die down. Then I tools into Chicago on the local freight an' find the combination locker cash. Eeenough to buy back our farm from the banks with a nice little pile leftover stash, an now the field's plowed, the barn's got new planks. But I never furrow over the place where the cross waits. It's planted with Floyd's grace.
Trailing Story ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Heard some good amidst the sacred utter. 'Bout some Brooklyn piano rebuilders who rescued a spinet from the gutter. Seems that they found a whole stack of guilders in the guise of Uncle Sam's savings bonds. Sixty-two of 'em suckers all lined neat down there in the action, owners long gone so they's finders keepers, right? On the street any swellhead woulda kept 'em hisself, bought six grand wortha stuff, made a bundle dealin' 't off to kids 'n be the weft in a loomin' overcoat of plunder. But not these guys. They spent time scoutin' out the owners' rightful heirs 'n pass the stash back to where it was meant to be. Devout piano tuner dudes lookin' to smash the "mefirst' 'n "fuck you" mentality. Make some Real outta unreality.
Superman ~~~~~~~~ I never doubted I would fix his wreck and make him walk away from his wheelchair. I could see the connections in his neck and feel the supplication in his stare. So one day I took the trek to his bed and bid him, "Aye, they need you. Now's the time. Swear that you will wave no flag, that your thread is weft of all the colors, that your rhyme is sung for all creature splendid or plain." In his ears a billion roaring voices; in his eye a brilliant embroidered skein of Eternal Now deep-fathom choices. Then he fell into a sleep, a dreaming, whence knitted all his bankrupt neural link into the galactic whirlwind streaming where stars are human, yea, unto the brink of the abyss. And whenceforth he awoke I was gone yet he was whole and gliding. And all our moment-want is frozen smoke mid castaway accident stirrup haunt spent in timeless steeplechase and riding.
Sir ~~~ Ali, this is what I saw: no pretense; No false Hollywood face; that was all you. In a brilliant clearing in a forest. Sir, you are the Heart of the Warrior. The essence of struggle; a perfect act; The ring, a sacred stage where gods cast forth The legends and scripture of our heroes. I was listening real close for the truth When the man went, "You going to Nam, boy." You said, "I'm a fighter; not a killer." And it was decisive then who was who In the public politic arena. That basalt wall in Washington is short For what you said. We all were much heartened when you took up vows, embraced church, started a family; you were flawless as the champ jogging Mugger Central Park at midnight; you are now of the priesthood and we beholden Ali lighting the Olympic Games cauldron Wherein burns high our tribal hope and faith. I saw Ali pass that selfsame torch to some kids Knowing full well his time with us fleeting. Oh so much yet to do. And last, I see Ali shadowboxing across a field Ablaze with the colors of his passage.
Great Black Fuzzy Mama Speak ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Stevie Hawking comes trundling to my door, a banshee trembling glint off his eyeballs; plows right past me, throws himself on the floor, drags out a stub of purple chalk and scrawls brilliant circles about his lolling form. Once, twice, three times he struggles round my court. Then rises young and virile, upthrust arm entwined in the Worm's ourobouros heart, his right hand surging with starstuff and night. And in my mind his pictures and meaning: "Got it!" (things), and "Ma'am?" (me), and "Holy shit!" (that'd be the rest of It). All while leaning rather negligently on infinite space and time. Then he turns to me and spins some cosmic starcocktail prospects by me, immaculate math with impossible things, crazy scrolled numbers to codify me and define the glory of stone in time, images in flowstone as dawn-skirling, a calculus set into arcane rhyme, spellbound on the altar, worked to whirling a spark from the void. By this am I moved, and indeed all else follows Hawking-wise, every-when at once and all; like we grooved behind him for a loooooong ride on his eyes. And finally back into the black point that is me. All in One. And for this, Steve, for this great questing by which we are joined, I grant thee thy wish and bestow thee leave=85. "Anyone and when and where?" The god stirred inside his purple scoring, cast a gate of obsidian fire, was a bird winging high above the abyss as straight as a mason's plumb line to his own place flying very fast, and I know not where. As for the ash left in his temple-grace, I have destroyed the ring and swept it bare.
Footprints ~~~~~~~~~~ Neil Armstrong leaving scars at Tranquility Base; strewing footprints on a windless plain swept by Time. All that technological garbage left in place, to become enshrined in a hallowed pantomime. Yea, they will fence it in, and raise above a dome; and young tour guides will spiel that, yes, this is the spot and make lasting casts with black impervious foam, to be sold in shops to some little city snot, so that he can brag about it and take it home. And on the moon, Neil Armstrong's ghost is sore beset; I bet he never thought about it - how his feet would someday be a talisman, an amulet; become men's trading things and objects of conceit.
Genghis ~~~~~~~ Temujin is buried on a plain: endless horizon, glass-perfect flat, circled, no marker, no temple wat memory, all the witnesses slain, yea, unto the last-man suicide; nor shall his grave be found by the hand, for his horses trampled out the land with vengeance. But you can see him ride midnights, when storm-scud scours his moon-lost empire, raging cavalry lances sweeping all before them; dust dances for hours in their wake, fire hooves glossed with silent black iron, gone, hell-bent where only cold wind moans its lament.
Jose ~~~~ "I'm sparing the school." Those are the last vows of air coach captain Jose Moreno as he skids his bird in a volcano of flaming roaring jetplane fuel and plows it into a residential quarter. Now the school's crowded with a thousand kids, he knows he's dead, so he veersCCinvalids it off to one side. He has to barter a thousand kids for a hundred unknown, for a moment know how being god feels, never loses his cool, dumps fuel, and wheels into history, myth carved on a stone. Name that school after him; hey, y'all hear me? Strike that guy's name on a memory wall.
Quaile the Quarryman ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Up on the cliff where the Red-tail gyres, among the huckle and olden birch-white, I cleave me slabs with star drill an' hammer; an' at night tend to me watchful fires that far down below they'll know all's aright... an' in the mornin' there's horsemen's clamor strainin' at cable to send the slabs down 'long ancient glacial skidways scored with age, down-valley homeward and the river docks where tall sloops wait. An' there, in that old town, 's where I left me heart in shatter'd rage; an' that's why I spend me, chippin' at rocks, an' each hammer blow is a strangle noose an' each night's sour fermented huckle juice.
Reds and Champagne ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ There's Abbie, who took his train out with downs, because he thought all the Hippies were dead; once jester-faced, become sad in the head, to be remembered - a prince among clowns. Who, with no money, captured the T.V.: "The whole world's watching!" - most brilliant of Time; Steal This Book - I did, as a sacred crime, and we were filled with wild-eyed children's glee. We're still out here, watching the world go mad. I tell you, there is no need for sorrow; we Hippies are like priests for tomorrow, staying hid and seeing when times turn bad. I declare: "Thanks Abbie, we love your stuff - and plainly we didn't love you enough."
What they did about Clarence ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Now in his house he plugged Christmas-tree lights strung out and bunched up in colander bowls like galaxies and Alice-rabbit-holes, wrought with his God-damn-ye-all artist wight. Outside, his trees were wrapped in tin-foil bark and all about the castoffs of our aeld, mute witness to how I'll-Be-Moved had failed in its throw-away mien; leaving his mark on the sere countryside of our yearning. And then the town fathers in their wisdom pronounced his place a nuisance, an eyesore... whenceforth, one cold night, there was a burning ("electrical" they called it); he went numb with grief after that, and builded no more. And last I saw, he's leaning on the porch of a Kingston nursing home looking grim, white beard flowering, and I thought of him as a latter day Santa-Saint, his torch guttered dim in the face of a power he couldn't grasp (Godspeed, Clarence) nor hour- glass in our eyes....
Queen to King's Rook 6 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ I saw Gunda Mager with her man, Hans, walking hand in hand through a deep green wood, where ancient pines and spruce have always stood, talking. I hailed them, but got no response, as if they were in a lost-love dream state, traveling through worlds of their own making - for the very forest was partaking of their communion; their protectorate, a Paradise of their choosing - Their Way. I followed unseen and long unknowing, till we came to where their song was growing on a stone-circled avenue in grey, and they became mist, fading from my sight, left lonely, bereft, kissed by pale moon-light.
Bereavement ~~~~~~~~~~~ We met Heywood Broun walking, and talking wild to himself. "Working off his grief," I thought, that came a thief in the night and robbed him of his flowers; acting lost and walking fast... and now he's in the power of his own daemon selfhood, like some Helfman priest typecast, that cannot be understood, howso his mind has been bent; but for to respectful watch in our awe and wonderment.
A Sacrifice ~~~~~~~~~~~ Every day Robert enters unto his shop, on bended knee lays his hands upon the wood, and patiently practices his livelihood; humming as he hones a chisel on its strop, looking wistful over a choice piece of burl, and wonders: "There now, are you destined to be heard at Symphony Hall, and at Carnegie, or Tully?" - all the while admiring the curl that is the heart blood of his Dryad lover, as She gives up Her promise to human art, forsaking the forest, forever apart from the rain in Spring...only to discover that true love comes forth from artisan desire, and well in hand Her soul sings as earthly fire.
The View From the Bench ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Hey, Bruce, I marked you on the bench and you'd been dead these several years. Sure took me a turn, a real wrench to the head-space; made me change gears back to the old Borderline times, me in number two, you in three, swilling rum cokes 'n smoking dimes. Sure was a real good time to be off in the ozone, lotsa trips 'n music drumming in our heads. Back then we could ignore the rips just getting down. Guess being dead's kinda like that, huh? Endless dreams interlaced with sometime bench-wakes, watching the parade. How it gleams in the night, how it surges, breaks on an infinite beach, crowd-pooled alight with promise and desire. Each shuffling mote a soul, jeweled in its orbit spun, each afire with the temptation and the grace, each striving for that source we know as God. Ah, spinning into space unto the place we always go, from a public bench on the green to the farthest shore. I hear pipes, skirling in the wind, tambourine man jingle-jangle guttersnipes angel-winged glowing eyed striding, striding... And then...I'm back, bereft, looking at empty, subsiding into sparkling gossamer weft.
Channel Markers ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Where Jim Mulligan's got two hands drawing, and Harvey Fite's Master of Stone Setters; Robbie Turner bestows 'cello letters; and Robert Helfman's hoo!-ing and hah!-ing. Where Albert's drinking from a paper bag, glad to be out of it and free at last; Beryl Goss painting pictures in her past; and Ancil Chasteen is a great horned stag. For Bruce Gibson there's a bench of bluestone, underneath, upside down, chiseled name and dates. Standing talking to himself with his fates, Billy Faier, plucking banjo off alone. And Brian's on a soapbox preaching peace; up in the meadow, drums booming thunder, down in the valley, ears turned in wonder, eyes burning moonbright, flying high with geese. And each is a lonely channel marker charting a soul on endless burnished waves; the whole of it set with these artists' graves, each a Shining, some lighter, some darker. Each according to Fate, seen as Carvings; ships under sail, drawn home to fair wharvings.
Crayon Marks ~~~~~~~~~~~~ Yeah, so then the house needed paint real bad. I worked my way around to the stair treads and found me eye-level straight with the threads of our long wedded life: a doorpost glad with worn lines and labels, each a touchstone of three growing kids so eager to meet the changes, and, well, I could hear their feet on the steps, young phoenix wings, all three flown. So those peeling patches of eggshell flake are still there; I, I couldn't just paintbrush the spirit of those yardsticks. And in the rush of my elder days I savor the ache of their scratches and their wax crayon dates, and mark each voyaging to unknown fates.
Priorities ~~~~~~~~~~ All our lives we've made do with other folk's castoff junk; cable spool tables and concrete block book shelves, arm chair things from the dump with their stuffing spilling out, prayer rugs that we found at a yard sale; for the kids, some bunk beds that I made from pallets and scrounge off the burn pile down at our local lumber yard; for cooking, a used camp stove that someone discarded - scarred, but not abused; kind of living the fringe life in good ol' Hippie style. So we've gone our way, collecting as old fogeys do; the house filled up - a rather eclectic bunch of stuff, if I say so myself - hey, there's treasure in the rough amidst these rooms; so what if we weren't well-to-do, and didn't make our place keep up with the neighborhood. When it came to things like love and grace...we had it good.
How mote it be ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Gypsies get theirs by the side of the road; Mozart got dumped, a shovel full of lime; for that Inca kid it was ice an' rime; Napoleon got his marble abode. Adolf an' Eva - poison, gasoline; Uganda - they didn't take the trouble; an' in Bosnia it's under rubble; for them Thresher guys, it's a submarine. How Christ did it is a true mystery; an' I suppose Pilate got his done right. But the best way, it seems to me, is bright an' early, without pomp or liturgy, somewhere high up, during a hurricane. For me...I'd like it to be, Wind and Rain.
All poems copyright (c) Jack R. Wesdorp Eulogies by Jack R. Wesdorp (c) 2001
Welcome to Newsgroup alt.centipede. Established just for writers, poets, artists, and anyone who is creative. A place for anyone to participate in, to share their poems, and learn from all. A place to share *your* dreams, and philosophies. Even a chance to be published in a magazine. The original Centipede Network was created on May 16, 1993. Created because there were no other networks dedicated to such an audience, and with the help of Klaus Gerken, Centipede soon started to grow, and become active on many world-wide Bulletin Board Systems. We consider Centipede to be a Public Network; however, its a specialized network, dealing with any type of creative thinking. Therefore, that makes us something quite exotic, since most nets are very general and have various topics, not of interest to a writer--which is where Centipede steps in! No more fuss. A writer can now access, without phasing out any more conferences, since the whole net pertains to the writer's interests. This means that Centipede has all the active topics that any creative user seeks. And if we don't, then one shall be created. Feel free to drop by and take a look at newsgroup alt.centipede
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. REMEMBERY: EPYLLION IN ANAMNESIS (1996), poems by Michael R. Collings . DYNASTY (1968), Poems by Klaus J. Gerken . THE WIZARD EXPLODED SONGBOOK (1969), songs by KJ Gerken . STREETS (1971), Poems by Klaus J. Gerken . BLOODLETTING (1972) poems by Klaus J. Gerken . ACTS (1972) a novel by Klaus J. Gerken . RITES (1974), a novel by Klaus J. Gerken . FULL BLACK Q (1975), a poem by KJ Gerken . ONE NEW FLASH OF LIGHT (1976), a play by KJ Gerken . THE BLACKED-OUT MIRROR (1979), a poem by Klaus J. Gerken . JOURNEY (1981), a poem by Klaus J. Gerken . LADIES (1983), a poem by Klaus J. Gerken . FRAGMENTS OF A BRIEF ENCOUNTER (1984), poems by KJ Gerken . THE BREAKING OF DESIRE (1986), poems by KJ Gerken . FURTHER SONGS (1986), songs by KJ Gerken . POEMS OF DESTRUCTION (1988), poems by KJ Gerken . THE AFFLICTED (1991), a poem by KJ Gerken . DIAMOND DOGS (1992), poems by KJ Gerken . KILLING FIELD (1992), a poem by KJ Gerken . BARDO (1994-1995), a poem by Klaus J. Gerken . FURTHER EVIDENCES (1995-1996) Poems by Klaus J. Gerken . CALIBAN'S ESCAPE AND OTHER POEMS (1996), by Klaus J. Gerken . CALIBAN'S DREAM (1996-1997), a poem by Klaus J. Gerken . THE LAST OLD MAN (1997), a novel by Klaus J. Gerken . WILL I EVER REMEMBER YOU? (1997), poems by Klaus J. Gerken . SONGS FOR THE LEGION (1998), song-poems by Klaus J. Gerken . REALITY OR DREAM? (1998), poems by Klaus J. Gerken . APRIL VIOLATIONS (1998), poems by Klaus J. Gerken . THE VOICE OF HUNGER (1998), a poem by Klaus J. Gerken . SHACKLED TO THE STONE, by Albrecht Haushofer - translated by JR Wesdorp . MZ-DMZ (1988), ramblings by Igal Koshevoy . DARK SIDE (1991), ramblings by Igal Koshevoy . STEEL REIGNS & STILL RAINS (1993), ramblings by Igal Koshevoy . BLATANT VANITY (1993), ramblings by Igal Koshevoy . ALIENATION OF AFFECTION (1993), ramblings by Igal Koshevoy . LIVING LIFE AT FACE VALUE (1993), ramblings by Igal Koshevoy . HATRED BLURRED (1993), ramblings by Igal Koshevoy . CHOKING ON THE ASHES OF A RUNAWAY (1993), ramblings by I. Koshevoy . BORROWED FEELINGS BUYING TIME (1993), ramblings by Igal Koshevoy . HARD ACT TO SWALLOW (1994), ramblings by Igal Koshevoy . HALL OF MIRRORS (1994), ramblings by Igal Koshevoy . ARTIFICIAL BUOYANCY (1994), ramblings by Igal Koshevoy . THE POETRY OF PEDRO SENA, poems by Pedro Sena . THE FILM REVIEWS, by Pedro Sena . THE SHORT STORIES, by Pedro Sena . INCANTATIONS, by Pedro Sena . POEMS (1970), poems by Franz Zorn All books are on disk and cost $10.00 each. Checks should be made out to the respective authors and orders will be forwarded by Ygdrasil Press. YGDRASIL MAGAZINE may also be ordered from the same address: $5.00 an issue to cover disk and mailing costs, also specify computer type (IBM or Mac), as well as disk size and density. Allow 2 weeks for delivery. Note that YGDRASIL MAGAZINE is free when downloaded from Ygdrasil's World-Wide Web site at http://users.synapse.net/~kgerken.
All poems copyrighted by their respective authors. Any reproduction of these poems, without the express written permission of the authors, is prohibited. YGDRASIL: A Journal of the Poetic Arts - Copyright (c) 1993 - 2001 by Klaus J. Gerken. The official version of this magazine is available on Ygdrasil's World-Wide Web site http://users.synapse.net/~kgerken. No other version shall be deemed "authorized" unless downloaded from there. Distribution is allowed and encouraged as long as the issue is unchanged. All checks should be made out to: YGDRASIL PRESS COMMENTS * Klaus Gerken, Chief Editor - for general messages and ASCII text submissions. Use Klaus' address for commentary on Ygdrasil and its contents: firstname.lastname@example.org * Pedro Sena, Production Editor - for submissions of anything that's not plain ASCII text (ie. archives, GIFs, wordprocessored files, etc) in any standard DOS, Mac or Unix format, commentary on Ygdrasil's format, distribution, usability and access: email@example.com We'd love to hear from you! Or mailed with a self addressed stamped envelope, to: