Blind, Public School, 1963
They set the boy
In shirt sleeves
In a cold region
Like dead men
Child with telescope
He’s inside my coat
And walking by the sea
When no one is out
Winter came into the armored car
Stick men smoked in the dark
When an ancient dog heard wind she heard everything.
Anthropologists say dogs came to the human realm because we were throwing out the bones. But you can’t understand creatures just by appetites.
Dogs always understood air is enchanted. They know the telegraphy of swallows crossing and recrossing sunbeams between trees. They know the darkening tunnel inside the wind. They know who lives there. That’s what you hear when a dog dreams.
Shoes of Nostalgia
Of Hush Puppies I recall after you wore them for a day or two they tended to stink. I remember my father saying: “Your shoes smell like dead rats.” “How do you know what dead rats smell like?” I asked him. “I was in WWII,” he said.
Buddha said: “Resolve to be tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant with the weak and wrong. Sometime in your life, you will have been all of these.”
Oh Wallace Stevens I love you. You are a demi tasss cup with a chipped gold rim. You are the blind man’s imagined peacock, and by God I heard a real one once—it sounded like a human baby being torn apart, though I cannot confirm this sentiment.
Oh Muriel Rukeyser I love you. You pulled from ether Penelope’s unraveled loomings and you were funny. God yes.
Oh Ted Berrigan…
Oh Alice Notley…
Oh Herkimer Puccini (my father’s nickname for me, growing up…)
The rich have “panic rooms” which are like bank vaults. They go right in, like Hitler to his bunker.
The poor have “panic shoes” which are like those puffy red envelopes from bill collectors.
“Elämä on ihmiselle annettu,
jotta hän tarkoin harkitsisi,
missä asennossa tahtoo olla kuollut…”
Life was given to man
so he may consider
what position he’ll assume when dead…
Oh Elizabeth Bishop:
“Think of the long trip home.
Should we have stayed at home and thought of here?
Where should we be today?
Is it right to be watching strangers in a play
in this strangest of theatres?
What childishness is it that while there’s a breath of life
in our bodies, we are determined to rush
to see the sun the other way around?
The tiniest green hummingbird in the world?
To stare at some inexplicable old stonework,
inexplicable and impenetrable,
at any view,
instantly seen and always, always delightful?
Oh, must we dream our dreams
and have them, too?
And have we room
for one more folded sunset, still quite warm?”
Oh Plato, I went down to the Pereus. Walked among the yachts. Saw rich men drinking retsina. Even at twenty two I could see they didn’t have much in the way life.
Plato I loved you that year. And I loved you for this:
“The soul takes nothing with her to the next world but her education and her culture. At the beginning of the journey to the next world, one’s education and culture can either provide the greatest assistance, or else act as the greatest burden, to the person who has just died.”