Fergus, the poet, lone in his cell,
hunched over his little deal table, intent
on creating his song, what he alone knew.
At one horny hand stood Seamus, the skull,
with quills in his noseholes, watching as ink
blotches and grace notes pied parchment sheets.
Fergus’ huck robe was stiff with the reek
of dried-up excretions—nosedrips and sweat—
old pain and raptures from stanzas long past.
A bright bone-white sunglare came through the window slit;
fumes of high-holiness rose to the rafters‹
gathered and hung in the cold upper air.
He and the sun considered the vapors,
watched color and form curl and float through the gloom.
Billows and shapes swirled bright in the moment,
floating above them, with soft feathered edges:
roses and raspberries, cherries and grapes,
rubies, geraniums, scarlet balloons.
Round luscious girleens, golden-haired, laughing;
tumbled in cartwheels, flushed with delight;
floating around him, pink and inviting.
round luscious girleens, roses, geraniums,
loose and delirious, cherries, tomatoes;
luscious round bottoms and rosy round breasts;
trilling mad music, enfolding him sweetly;
vaulting and springing and singing and shrill‹
laughing and singing and louder — and shrieks.
Blotches and scribbles of bright blood on sweet flesh;
pink girleens pinned in the dark thorny thickets
sprouting from sleeves of smelly brown huck.
for one timeless moment the cell soared and hung there;
eyes of cold flint scattered nacreous sparks.
Then something shuddered, the dripping pen fell.
Seamus the skull, through a thicket of quills,
watched Fergus, the flame, stir and squirm on his stool,
shift pages, sigh gently, and turn to his song.
Fergus picked up his quill; bent over his page.
The truth of cold truth pervaded the cell.
A cooling sun flickered, faded, went out.
Note: Alan Watts called the orgasm "the sneeze in the loins."
Also note: One can encourage a slow-developing sneeze by staring into bright
Poetry is the mysterious associate
I introduce to a few
friends and acquaintances.
Poetry wears an ascot to hide
the throat hole, the source of the song
since the operation.
Poetry is the enigmatic emissary,
Poetry is my comforter,
wrapping a motley mantle
about my swiveling ears.
Poetry is my lover —
mine only —
though nothing is ever declared.
Poetry is my silent advisor,
pointing with trembling excitement
to the flowering moon,
to the green streaks in old granite.
Poetry is my inscrutable opponent
putting tigers in my path,
disturbing my earthly devotions.
Poetry is a courier of insight
the journey often oblique,
the message artful in its simplicity.
Poetry delivers its truth
just as the oracle does,
long after I have passed by.
13 WAYS (more or less)
After Wallace Stevens
The poet seeks the desert
for its rare oasis;
seeks the company
of the bushman
for his water knowledge.
The poet’s soul
is an old, slow camera.
is a liver-shaped organ;
The poet’s song
is a song-shaped essence.
The planet implodes at zero hour;
The poet’s eyes close — open.
The poet, like the bishop,
Is a courier of insight
Always moving obliquely
On the road to Damascus,
the wrathful believer
meets the poet
and becomes him.
Reaching into the wretch’s gut,
the poet pulls out rubies.
A saint and a scoundrel are one;
a saint and a scoundrel and a poet
In the bog’s brown dark,
the poet sees a thousand colors.
The poet is a company of actors
all in one costume.
The poet, like truth,
is a vagrant entity —
a mutable subject.
The sage rides by,
whipping his camel;
the poet savors the attendant stinks.
The poet approaches me
with my face in his eyes.
The guests are assembled
in the library;
only the poet
knows who done it.
at a vacant sky,
the poet points to the bird —
marvels at its subtle markings.
All other options exhausted,
the poet releases
a shrapnel of songbirds.