Travels & Journeys

from The Bridge: Southern Cross

I wanted you, nameless Woman of the South,
No wraith, but utterly — as still more alone
The Southern Cross takes night
And lifts her girdles from her, one by one —
High, cool,
wide from the slowly smoldering fire
Of lower heavens, —
vaporous scars!

Eve! Magdalene!
or Mary, you?

Autobiography: New York


It is not to be bought for a penny
in the candy store, nor picked
from the bushes in the park. It may be found, perhaps,
in the ashes on the distant lots,
among the rusting cans and Jimpson weeds.
If you wish to eat fish freely,
cucumbers and melons,
you should have stayed in Egypt.


Lines to Mr. Hodgson Written on Board the Lisbon Packet

Huzza! Hodgson, we are going,
Our embargo's off at last;
Favourable breezes blowing
Bend the canvass o'er the mast.
From aloft the signal's streaming,
Hark! the farewell gun is fir'd;
Women screeching, tars blaspheming,
Tell us that our time's expir'd.
Here's a rascal
Come to task all,
Prying from the custom-house;

So We'll Go No More a Roving

So, we'll go no more a roving
So late into the night,
Though the heart be still as loving,
And the moon be still as bright.

For the sword outwears its sheath,
And the soul wears out the breast,
And the heart must pause to breathe,
And love itself have rest.

Saint Stephen’s Day with the Griffins

Half-eagle, half-lion, the fabulous
animal struts, saber-clawed but saintly,
a candlewicked ornament dangling
from our rickety sugar pine. Butternut

pudding in our bellies. His reindeer
and sleigh hurried here and gone — thank God
for us childless folks. Almost: the lovelocked
Griffins on the sofa, sockfooted, hearing

En Route to Bangladesh, Another Crisis of Faith

Because I must walk
through the eye-shaped
shadows cast by these
curved gold leaves thick
atop each constructed
palm tree, past displays
of silk scarves, lit
silhouettes of blue-bottled
perfume — because
I grip, as though for the first
time, a paper bag
of french fries from McDonald's,
and lick, from each fingertip,

His Carpets Flowered

— how we’ re carpet-making
by the river
a long dream to unroll
and somehow time to pole
a boat

I designed a carpet today —
dogtooth violets
and spoke to a full hall
now that the gall
of our society’ s

corruption stains throughout
Dear Janey I am tossed
by many things
If the change would bring
better art

but if it would not?
O to be home to sail the flood
I’ m possessed
and do possess

Linnaeus in Lapland

Nothing worth noting
except an Andromeda
with quadrangular shoots —
the boots
of the people

wet inside: they must swim
to church thru the floods
or be taxed — the blossoms
from the bosoms
of the leaves


Fog-thick morning —
I see only
where I now walk. I carry
my clarity
with me.


where her snow-grave is
the You
ah you
of mourning doves

Handwritten Preface to Reverse the Book

1 Reverse the book in duration. What does that mean? I am writing to you. These notes now when it’ s too late.
2 If the cyborg you read about in bookstores is an immigrant from Mexico crossing into the U. S. beneath a floodlit court, then mine is a Punjabi-British hitchhiker on a JI visa. This is tunneling as seen from a satellite — sort of concave warp in the dirt of the line.