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?