poems as hand- and foot-holds on a glass mountain

Spacing the Alphabet


we fish the muddy creeks of ordinaries
to see if what we think we’re hungry for
attests or churns our current formulary

if perch or trout with salt and huckleberries
will satisfy but not begin to cure
what drives the need we seek in ordinaries

a moment’s want obtained it soon will bury
yet deeper rumblings waste what can recur
and test, provoke our current formulary

some hungers cycle, some aren’t temporaries
want clear water’s show rated obscure
by those who fish the creeks of ordinaries

they know no ends and crave exploratories
where paths fade out and hope is premature
where hunger snubs our current formulary

the Seine, the Arno and the wild Snoqualmie
flow into the great sea of post-desire
where fishers of delusive ordinaries
see their mistake, abandon formularies


lying on beach chairs in afternoon sun
waiting for the sand to say

what’s on its mind
having decided not to argue

‘seen up close
everything gets smaller,’

it says into a long pause
warming under the wind

‘it’s not degradation;
it’s specialization of vision

when you pick out only what you like
the rest abandons you

a jumble of random letters
without organizing pauses

but spacing on spacing
lets us regroup

when we were a mountain
you couldn’t get enough of us

we rose together
left the clouds below

then as now we are all there is
of moment and its mutual eye

we’ve settled now
rise on your own’


Mayday! We’ve leaped the alphabet, got clear
the hatch-doors wave at us as we pretend
we aren’t afraid; we have no time for fear

a rush of winds extinguishes our ear
the twosome sky and earth astonish blend
Mayday! We’ve leaped the alphabet, got clear

no letters words no images occur
our timer spins but since we hopped its fence
we aren’t afraid; we have no time for fear

we’re outside time’s too cloying atmosphere
a nameless largeness swallows our ‘Amens’
Maydays! regret no alphabets they’ve cleared

a timeless gap recovers its veneer
the chutes will open as their cords intend
we aren’t afraid; a timely thing is fear

from body-rush to floating not quite here
death’s not the game with take it for and tempt
Mayday’s the call but not our choice of ends
we aren’t afraid; the times all come with fear

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