Travels & Journeys

For Tourists & Armies

One way to draw France is in scallops:

Dunkirk to Brest,
Brest to Saint-Jean-de-Luz,

The imperceptible stone sag
of certain dolmens
over the Pyrenees between Saint-Jean

& Banyuls-sur-Mer

Then, to Nice

Nice, skirting the Alps to Lauterbourg

From Lauterbourg back
to where you began

For the meticulous,
the additions of Cherbourg, Toulon, &
even Le Havre,

Maybe Givet

Yours is a green diorama
It contains several kilowatts of sun,
a superabundance of flowers

The Persians by Archilochos

Someone said you were dead
it’ s not that I didn’ t care
You were not bacterial
You were not frozen water in winter
You were not a hairbrush broken by hair
You were a treasure of gold in the world-toilet
For you appraised the world of grains
And flung the earth to the earth
The good wine is mixed with the bad wine,
come to the wine jar’ s lips and let’ s unmix it
Poor people only have one soul
but you and I have two
let’ s go on vacation to Mexico or Rome
Everybody returns home

Greenland’s Icy Mountains

Greenland’ s icy mountains are fascinating and grand,
And wondrously created by the Almighty’ s command;
And the works of the Almighty there’ s few can understand:
Who knows but it might be a part of Fairyland?

Because there are churches of ice, and houses glittering like glass,
And for scenic grandeur there’ s nothing can it surpass,
Besides there’ s monuments and spires, also ruins,
Which serve for a safe retreat from the wild bruins.

Jottings of New York: A Descriptive Poem

Oh mighty City of New York! you are wonderful to behold,
Your buildings are magnificent, the truth be it told,
They were the only thing that seemed to arrest my eye,
Because many of them are thirteen storeys high.

And as for Central Park, it is lovely to be seen,
Especially in the summer season when its shrubberies and trees are green;
And the Burns’ statue is there to be seen,
Surrounded by trees, on the beautiful sward so green;
Also Shakespeare and Sir Walter Scott,
Which by Englishmen and Scotchmen will ne’ er be forgot.

The Measure

I continue in my gbariye.
All things along my path are clean and white.
I have set out on a flute’ s quiet wave
in search of my dark love.
Divination and division mark my road;
yet, if I turn from left to right,
I walk the same straight path.
I carry the wine of salt water in my bag
to the crossroads of honey and milk.
I am puffed up and charged with the thought
of my own separation. From light to light,
I continue while the light lasts.
The light rests on my walking pole.
I continue.

In Memoriam

Today is Sunday.
I fear the crowd of my fellows with such faces of stone.
From my glass tower filled with headaches and impatient Ancestors,
I contemplate the roofs and hilltops in the mist.
In the stillness — somber, naked chimneys.
Below them my dead are asleep and my dreams turn to ashes.
All my dreams, blood running freely down the streets
And mixing with blood from the butcher shops.
From this observatory like the outskirts of town
I contemplate my dreams lost along the streets,

[We wonder at our shifting capacities...]

We wonder at our shifting capacities, keep
adding and striking skills
from the bottoms of our résumés
under constant revision
like the inscriptions on tombs
shared for generations
unnervingly up
to date

Made nervous by our shift in capabilities, we write: