A card hidden up every player’s sleeve—

that is the wind.  You are my croupier,

I am the house.  They lose to me

because their eyes are fixed upon your Form

while your spirit does its tricks.  Anima

wandering far every chance she gets

into all the babylons of dream

blandula, vagula, but she does come home.

Every day I come back to life!  I hate gambling

— that’s my secret.  That, and blue flowers,

that and the secret sonnets the heart hears

when other people hear the bus go by

verbaling up Crescent St. beneath a peach-pit sun

far over our heads in a greasy sky, I love it.



Hermetic habits — wearing live fish, birds

squawk on your epaulettes — reveal the Operator

at his best:  in disguise, vesti, all imposture

and tweed cloaks, silk-lined assistants,

wings.  Some of us have wings.  The sonnet

of course is the ideal hermetic form, twos

and sevens and eights and sixes, threes,

a sleekit timorous Babbage’s Machine

to think our way through Feelings to the Will.

A gizmo to think with!  After a lot of heat

you get an animal that thinks like you,

that crawls out of the oven exhausted from love

soon wakes to new life, yours, till you can’t

tell it from a looking-glass, except it smells.

(But by that point you smell too.)




But I couldn’t understand it just as it was

the elm tree still alive and full of mocking birds

the Buddha statue –touch earth bear witness—

with little birds dithering around it, sunshine

everywhere, squirrels bitching, flowers and

a voice like mine coming out of the sky

saying stuff I couldn’t possibly have known,

rapture and agency and who loves you in dream—

then I was saying it too and you were listening

you looked at me as if I were me but I wasn’t

or not yet, but who is it who keeps this doctrine?

Where is Wisdom lodged now we have burned

down Her temple and set up a law book instead?

Could it be that the sky is just part of our heads?

poetryBarzakh Mag