Updated: Jan 15
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He decided to swim past Point No Point
in a dark fixed wake, water moving through water,
leaving behind a note with an apt quote from Meriwether Lewis.
an empty place where sand blows
Waves: Doormen dragging people to their clubs.
Ecstatic cascades of poets, hod carriers and Elpenors.
Earwickers climbing ladders leaned against the moon.
waves: broken necks at the unfixed points of the turning world
Horizon straight as a plumb-line along a shaggy hedgerow of spaced cedars.
Ruffles and puckers of sundials, sunken pediments and remote homesteads
rippled and stippled by the occasional baying of dogs or laughter of drinkers.
what was the sea whose tide swept him through here?
Waves swaying and pliant in hooped crinoline beneath parasols.
Modulated, pagan, broken, recoupled, redefined, funereal,
riding up over low hills and down into jewelled and overlapping traverses.
he felt himself drowning in the drumming ploughland
As he rounded the buoy, the waves were looking for another door to try.
Came down the stairs at night and stood perplexed.
The faintest restless rusting ran all through them.
their blood is in me, their lusts my waves
What if it tempt you toward the flood, my lord?
Or to the dreadful summit of the cliff
that beetles o’er his base into the sea?
empty plows standing in furrows down the far field
His own spent body had not ceased to jerk and twitch.
The ocean would already be asleep.
Woman. As easy to stop as the sea.
it was not death for i stood up; yes, let’s go
along the fence where our shadows were
Waves sliding along the wall of night.
Every pace shuffles a million feet.
The stream’s sudden mirror in cantilevered swoops
bears her from the delicate foam
on blue magic rugs with Arabian designs.
The water is wide. I can’t cross over
an old man’s vacuous black.
the ghosts of horses battering through the wind
Blue shocks of bioluminescent algae course through breaking waves,
trailing off, starting, stopping, mumbling, yelling, staggering left and right,
stumbling, falling, slipping and arm-flailing like chimney sweeps.
finally fading out like skywriting, hissing and spiculed with rain
Earrings and beads clashing, jingling like little trace chains
in a radically decentred choreography chasing flies by the dirty window,
then blotted by the strolling and unhurried passage of Sunday shoes.
sounds of laughter, glasswork, multilingual chitchat
Waves crossing the junctureless backloop of time’s trepan
— a river between her thighs, light leaping at the ends of fingers and toes
and water dripping off the blue bills of ducks with green heads
glittering drift among the shock waves of one another’s passage
O fates, come, come, cut the thread and thrum
tugged by the slipstream, hanged by the neck,
only to lie still again in a few tarnished sequins of wake.
the sea creaking like a rusted catwalk under the weight of crossing solipsisms
Waves: Mickey Rooney with his elbows on the railing, watching the retreat of the surf before a tidal wave.
A sulking Lana Turner throws her slippers on the floor.
the two patterns create a third: a moiré of interferences, cusps and nodes
Waves: Lemmings pushing past the elephant graveyard.
Mathematical kisses … singularities.
Ellipses of uncertainty. Weaponized multiplication tables.
inside outsides, outside insides, shuffling pointlessly over the white scrim
Waves: Cathedral spires and holy minarets.
The dance along our arteries.
Arc figured in the drift of stars.
a kaleidoscopic maelstrom of long teeth and wild eyes and slashing feet
Waves: Drunk poets racing up Yellow Grass Hill to hang their harps on willow trees,
tomcatting in and out of their neighbours’ back windows
with gold-skeined wings affixed under strips of semitransparent paper.
can’t you do all that without pulling the covers loose?
jerking pencil of light
Waves: The commonplace sweep of a bride’s ectoplasmic veil.
Vermiculated effects on the bright glitter of water.
Palm fonds clashing with their wild dry bitter sound.
peace, be still
Here is God’s plenty.
Show me that I’m here.
The flashlight’s beam lancing
down the brown-stained stairwell and into the cosmic vacuum
Something recognizable roils into view
from beneath stagnant and opaque water.
Something chilly and grown old, something damp to the touch.
it may have been a water rat I spear’d but ugh! it sounded like a baby’s shriek
Wave: An intersection of two inaccurate maps.
A coalescence of reverie and syncopated scatting.
Contortion by contortion, the limp animal builds its spiral staircase.
cracks in the ceiling, blisters in the walls, charting undiscovered continents
Impossible to say how many there are.
I, too, move in circles and those circles move.
Space withdraws before my advance
with fallen shoulders and huge hands
My days are enclosed like chambers in a nautilus.
I am discovering secret doors behind a waterfall.
Am only one of millions, mostly silent.
if you do nothing, the system will log out automatically
The exit door reads: “everywhere else.”
The long day wanes; the slow moon climbs.
The deep moans round with many voices.
show me that I’m everywhere and get me home for tea
to a fit audience though few
Waves: She, pale-thighed, above him, taking longer strides than he
three steep steps behind, wandering and confused, lost to himself,
ill-assorted, contradictory, pausing, gazing, bending and stopping.
moving in another time, another afternoon without time or name
It happened so long ago in a deserted house
in some small town, one indifferent summer.
The lights across the bay were coming on.
portages of light, lakes of darkness
Waves wander all night in their vision,
stepping with light feet, swiftly and noiselessly stepping,
hanging batlike and head-down about the dead corridors.
double integral is also the shape of lovers curled in sleep
Waves: A drunken night shift negotiates the causeway.
Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs.
The moonbeam, bobbing, snags the undertow.
i am haunted by water
The cool, cool river sweeps the wild, white ocean.
Give me a boat that can carry two and both shall row, my love and I.
Bubbles drifting from the noses of the cowed, compliant fish.
don’t rock the boat, baby
only horses waiting in stables hitched at taverns
Here the stone images, standing at dawn.
Unsmoking chimneys against the stars.
The supplication of a dead man’s hand
between your rocking thighs
Sea-girls wreathed with seaweed red and brown.
Dangling feet swung rhythmically from rungs.
Unlaced sneakers flapping about ankles.
a semblance of motion by fecund women in the dust
Waves: A warped and roiling arras-veil.
A loose gown falling from invalid shoulders.
Dear heart, how do you like this?
sonorous waves of massed voices from the church
Waves: Whitewashed minimalist adobe walls.
Peat and smoke and distorted mirrors.
The unshaven face of a man just waking up from fentanyl.
shadows of forms projected by a campfire onto a cave wall
Waves: The sea stretching out from my feet.
The hell of unsatisfied desires, resolutions determined forever,
repented a minute later in a garden of forking paths.
why should anyone give chase to that hated fish
Waves: A heavy silver watch chain dangling against a vest.
Promissory notes signed on mirrors in toothpaste.
Indentations of knees in some intangible substance.
the girls on the beach are all within reach
grandfather sits with his feet on the veranda railing
Waves: The scattered clothes of peasant girls bathing in the shallows.
A cloud of dust raised on a country road into the azure afternoon.
The cosmological emptiness in which we wander and weep.
a brief rapid thunder of hoofs on wooden planking
Steel hooves, teeth, some whistling sweep of quills across her spine.
Waves out screwing under the culverts with grey shirttails hoisted.
Suspenders dangling in twin loops below the coats.
kyrgyz peasants scattering at the sound of hooves
Then sound draining like the retreat of the surf before a tidal wave.
The horses whickering in the rustling grass.
Mules asleep in the harness and the soporific motion.
waves sailing in pillioned armadas in shapes of archaic alphabets
For years I was smart.
I recommend pleasant.
You may quote me.
but I am done with apple-picking now
All right, friends.
You have seen the heavy groups.
Now you will see morning maniac music.
slapping like bare hands against the flat rocks
a lace garment, pale and textureless, cascading from a trunk
Waves: A somewhat soiled and crumpled evening gown
and a pair of scuffled silver slippers
with brilliants set in their heels.
my arms grow thin
Waves: The sagging roof whose shingles they did not replace.
Pans and buckets under the leaks, a convoy of black seahorses
conceived from the facial expressions of Mary Tyler Moore.
the wild eyes of juncos and sparrows in the hedge at dawn
Froth salutes me with a touch of the sacristan’s skull cap.
Some animals still, the sheep like granite outcrops,
a horse I hadn’t seen standing motionless.
if anyone wants me they’ll find me looking at fish
Waves: The embossed leather lining of the compartment walls.
Their polished panels, inset mirrors.
The unshaded light swinging on a single cord from the centre of the ceiling.
stretch me no longer on this rough world
Waves unfold in the songs of poets, in sailor’s rocks thrown at sirens
and on ivory caskets, mosaic floors, misericords, an earthen jar (inmost recesses),
feet kicking empty wine-skins from inside, synesthetic chords of runway lights at night.
stone pharaohs with their hands on their knees
I am the foam that sweeps and fills the uttermost rims of the rocks with whiteness.
I am rooted but I flow, open and close punkahs of moon glow on the Salish Sea.
I am folded into tissue paper and laid away forever with wishbones of wild geese.
love and a cough cannot be concealed
waves: a game played by girls in small pale dresses
Gnats whirling above a stream.
Dusty sparrows along a window ledge.
Newspapermen eating candy
the rusting skeleton of an old, abandoned ford
Chicks and ducks and geese better scurry
when I take you out in the surrey.
The fourth person singular on a path of pathlessness in spots of time.
dust motes in a still room
Waves: A shuffling of cards.
A new deck with girls on the back.
Whisky and girls and dice.
the abrupt and unplumbed tantrum of a president
We may sink and settle on the waves. The sea will drum in my ears. The white petals will be darkened with sea water. They will float for a moment and then sink. Rolling over the waves will shoulder me under. Everything falls in a tremendous shower, dissolving me.
a pale windless drift above bluish bogs; a milky mist over a vanishing station platform
A woman standing in the doorway in the sun.
Last human tenant of these ruined walls.
A pantomime of undulant geese.
their wings feathered with twilight and with silence