Travels & Journeys


In through our bedroom window, the full dawn-scape concusses.
Difficult to sustain sleep's equilibrium of wordlessness.
Naming anything, like stepping barefoot in wet sand up to my ankles.
Name after name, sinking me farther beneath waking's buoyancy.

House, this morning, is pale with the rush of what night siphoned off.
Objects, still emptied of resemblance, hum their chord-less cantos.
Bloodless, my knuckles knock on walls without echo, testing singularities.

The King and Seer

The King asks, “Tell me, what is the highest meaning of the holiest truths?”
The Seer answers, “Emptiness, without holiness.”

The King is a restless seeker.
The Seer is a ruler and thief.

I am seriously watching how trees are always missing some leaves.
They sweep the air looking for them. Nothing distracts them. Nothing.
Where leaves are missing between the branches, beautiful sun porches,
which disappear when the tree reaches them.

“Who are you?” the King asks.
“It is not like that,” the Seer says.


From the false summit, coxcomb-cum-arête,
cool thermals underscore our frailties,
past edges where our wingless feet are set
and the long look down dilutes the evergreens.
As sandstone ends, the world of ghosts begins —
they sometimes rise up still in dreams, my love.
With one hand firm, I step onto the skin
of the abyss, embracing what’ s above
and severing spent ties to the scree below.
The filtered light turns lichen eerie green,
ushering in a world we hardly know,

The Men

I'm Ramón González Barbagelata from anywhere,
from Cucuy, from Paraná, from Rio Turbio, from Oruro,
from Maracaibo, from Parral, from Ovalle, from Loconmilla,
I'm the poor devil from the poor Third World,
I'm the third-class passenger installed, good God!
in the lavish whiteness of snow-covered mountains,

The Unthinkable

A huge purple door washed up in the bay overnight,
its paintwork blistered and peeled from weeks at sea.
The town storyteller wasted no time in getting to work:
the beguiling, eldest girl of a proud, bankrupt farmer
had slammed that door in the face of a Freemason’ s son,
who in turn had bulldozed both farm and family
over the cliff, except for the girl, who lived now
by the light and heat of a driftwood fire on a beach.

“Gymnopédies No. 3”

This sunlight on snow.

This decrescendo
of covered stumps & brush —
stop for it.

Stop before the sled end-
over-ends down
the chin of the hill —

the way it always will
at the rock ⅔ of the way down.

Stop & shiver in it: the ring
of snow inside gloves,
the cusp of red forehead

like a sun just waiting to top
the hill. Every ill-built

Pulling Over to Inspect a Pillbox with a North American Tourist

It lists beneath a sycamore
swashing in high summer leaf,
and takes a hit from underneath:
a root knuckle bulges along the floor.

Its eight loopholes have fissures, sprouting
thistles; through each the wheat is fattening.
“What’ s this thing   for?” A starling sings
its wind-up song. The sun slides out.

And this taste of piss, that Fetherlite
slumped in the corner, those Holsten cans,
the markered slogan
do not try to answer. Might.