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(A Recollection of Egress)


The street lights droop
Like loveless arms
Along the avenue;

And you are walking in a rage,

As you have cause to do

Your form is like
A blade of ice that
Cuts into the night

And splits the frigid heart of Earth

Like some unholy rite

Your steps fly out into the void
But groan beneath your feet,

And some flakes fly
About your face

And mock your sad retreat;

Your bitter, silent egress goes
Without a reason known,  

Yet in this tragic rout of love,
Your heart remains your own!

Oh, slight, dear boy,
Young walker sad,

Your spirit God will keep

Beyond the reach of loveless arms,
Where you have come to sleep.
(To Virginia in Paradise)


I did not know if you could hear
The words I muttered in your ear,
As you were turning toward a light
That rose above the tears of night

I only know that things were said
That gave you leave to join the dead,
Where all are kept behind a door
With good and ill forevermore

But I am lost, as I have aged
And cannot find the missing page
That I would read again for you
If you could hear and I could do.

I know I spoke as if I stood
Upon a stump of almond wood;
In fear and resolution queer
I poured myself into your ear

I think I said that you were free
To be with God and not with me;
I think I said that I would stay
Until my book is put away

I did not know if you could hear
The words I muttered in your ear;
I only know that things were said
That dwell forever with the dead.
Written in Admiration of Edgar Allan Poe
Who Heroically Explored the “Unknown Land”


You raged against an iron gate
Until through it, you slipped,
A disembodied page of love
That from life’s book

Was clipped

You tasted tears the angels wept;
You muttered with the mimes,

Who fretted in their helplessness,
And bled in perfect rhymes

You writhed within the worm that ate,
But still the curtain closed;

You were the hero of our play
And this the poet knows.
(Or, The Me Most Like a Book)


When I would look to know myself,
There is the part

I see

And what is stark or obvious,

I designate as "me”

It is a "me" most like a book
That I can understand

Or like a movie in my head
That runs without command

But I have other parts

So deep

That only God can see,

And they are parts unknowable,
For they are yet to be.
A Qualified Tribute to a Silly, But Enviable, Buffoon
Who Seems to Have Existed at an Earlier Time in My Life


My long adolescence was
The most difficult period of my life.

I transitioned from the ideals
And wondrous visions of make-believe

To the ugly reality of learning
What grown-ups really think of each other.


Worse, I had a rebellious new body
That demanded my attention

And always had ambitions of its own.


What I learned at home
Became the subject of scorn
For malicious half-wits who may
Have been only a bit smarter
Or “cooler” than I was.

And what I had come to revere was degraded
By the prurient repartee of my overseers
At Henry’s De Luxe Hamburgers

And many other adults who
Were supposed to be role models

For a working-class kid.

I was on my own, and everything was up to me,
Even though I lacked the resources
And particularly the will

To make reasonable decisions.


Many made a fool of me,
But many more were made happy
To see me make a fool of myself.

Yet, I had something that the world envied
To the point of pitiable jealousy and
Blatant existential madness -

The ability to live from moment to moment,
Oblivious to my mortality or anyone else’s.

I could jump over fences and run gauntlets
With an astounding indifference
To my would-be tormentors.

I could fall in love several times
During any given week,

And I could sleep through a tornado

I was an ignorant nincompoop,
But I could do anything faster, better,
And more joyously than I can today -

I was me when I liked being me
More than I presently do.
Or, The First Great Outrage – A Poem That Speaks to
How a Garden Poet Learned of the Demiurge,
While Alone in Childhood & Lacking
Religious Instruction


When I was very young,
I was for a few seconds,

Taken from others,
Profoundly by surprise:

My shirt became tangled in a tree,
And I was left hanging there


Oh, then my darkest fears
Became my best ambitions.
The ease
In any lie,
The smirk
In any sigh,

The smile that does not last,
The trick in any eye

The ego
In the goal,

The rat
Inside the hole,

The smile that does not last,
The cancer in the mole

The touch that
Does not soothe,

The word that
Does not move,

The smile that does not last,
The love we cannot prove.
(Making the Best of Romanticism)

So, I grabbed my camera
And headed to the riverfront
Where all the cherry trees
Grow along Water Street
But it dawned on me
That I had no idea

If the cherry trees
Were still blossoming

They were yesterday,
So why not today!


I was acting on the arrogance
Of scarcely considered desire,

Which I think is characteristic
Of the pathologically romantic

I believe that God loves me
In an absurdly special way,

And since I am so loved,
I arm occasionally exempted
From abiding by the laws of nature.
And may presume a divine preoccupation
With my needs and peculiar impulses
Because I regularly confuse faith
With hope, and reality with
Self-serving delusion.

But that day,
The blossoms
Had already fallen,

And I ended up chatting
With an angry tour boat captain

Who was tired of “hauling dopes”
Around Bannerman Island for nickels

And had no interest
In the cherry trees

Or the thoughts of another.

He was a very bitter guy
Who seemed on the verge
Of giving up on things,


Forever -

And I think he was tempted
To slug me in the mouth
Just for being there

He also hated his lazy,
“****-eyed partner,”

Which I took as a sign
And the inspiration
For a poem called,

“After the Blossoms Fall.”
Having Experienced the Terrible Beauty of Autumn,
I Began to Bargain with the Powers That Be


I ask no more than this spare autumn day –
But let this day endure all days to come!

For in my true love’s eyes,
I see again the gleam

That signifies the coming of a wind
And best of all Your blessings -

That pungent unction in the wasting leaves,
Bleeding from the knotty arms of trees,
And spreading like a painted cloak
About a spent and naked form!

Oh, show me, show me now
Your fresh unfinished work,

That I may know the life I forfeit

Is not lost in vain,

But brings about a good all eyes can see

Oh, give to me this autumn day,
And let my heart be yours again!
When I assumed the rights of airy spring,

I did not see the gift
Within the gain,

As I was lost in wonder

With a gleam

And did not seek
A meaning

In the main

For I was like a daydream in the hills,
When tickled by the eyelash of my love;
I swooned in every ecstasy of Earth,

To the cause
Of things above

And that is why
The beauty of my life
Shows little more than
Speckles on a wing;
For I have come

To envy what I see

Within the one
That lives

The rites of spring.

I Am but a Dazzling Day

Remembering How the Last Days of My Innocence
Were Lived Out, Sleeping and Dreaming Freely
In the Foothills Near San Francisco, California

Remembering, Too, How the Age of Aquarius
Was a Momentarily Wholesome State of Mind

That Could Not Last Very Long
Because It Was Too Beautiful
And Not of the Physical World


A cable car clangs in the wharf, and there, all men are free
To scatter in the gold of day and gather all they see

I am the boy who spreads the news, God's newborn amity;
I am a giver of the gold, the reason men are free

The year is nineteen sixty-nine; the sun is loud and bright;
And I am but a dazzling day that knows not of the night.
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