Tuesday, July 3, 2018

The Rover


i’m a rover
i roam the sides
of the city rivers
concrete gullies
gushing water
i must not touch

I sleep beneath
the underpass
in a suit of silk
and dreams
and i walk
among the cars
queued up to alight
upon the highway with
its monstrous heights
and slow belching lows
each coin each bill
and each kind word
I collect is
currency i carry
To the 7-11
to trade for peanuts
and cigarettes

i’m a rover
i cut across
the boulevards
and lanes of traffic
into the bramble
And disappear
like winding mist
nobody finds me
unless i want them to

i’m a rover
plucking the string
of a yo-yo
i sing to the line
of sparrows
that descend upon
the desolate park
at sunset



sometimes a moon

sometimes a moon
hovering between blackbirds
on a telephone wire
and a group
of low-hanging clouds,
thin and layered
like craggy cliff stones,
looms so close
that it leaves
the panorama
glimpsed out the back
bedroom window
looking south
onto the alley
with its line of
mechanics’ garages,
the new orchard
planted in the vacant lot
and becomes its own scene
a solo actor
suspended in the celestial


Friday, June 1, 2018

view from north & howard


was a rainy morning
and from
the street corner
the bridge ran
out of sight
a gray gothic
steeple rose
above the trees
that sprouted up
from the train tracks
running beneath the bridge
a red brick building
once a factory
now a warren
of art school studios
stood beneath hovering
slate colored puff clouds
blanketing the sky
coalescing and dissolving
listless and shaky
in the maryland dawn
i sought the grace
of the white light
that opened in ovals
within the glowering sky
the grace of the spectacular
vectors of light
that appeared
in the belfry
of the church steeple

Saturday, May 5, 2018

The Spectacle, the Margins & the Sublime - Music to a Sparse Crowd

One of the most poignant things in the world is sublime music presented to a sparse crowd. A Eugene Chadbourne cassette drove this home for me. On it, he sings Elton John's "Daniel" in his twangy, imperfect voice to a barroom crowd whose chatter and glass clinking is practically as loud as his performance. Chadbourne's earnest singing meeting the indifferent sounds of the bar crowd is heartbreaking and beautiful, telling us so much about the journey of the artist and her relationship to society.
In this clip of the elusive Pell Mell live, the crowd is not indifferent -- they are very present and appreciative– but there is still the poignancy of a few people in a record store seeing/hearing music of this caliber. So often, what is not spectacle In this society remains marginal. But its meaning Is not diminished by this; perhaps it is even strengthened by it.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r9VK4x-KFL4
Music starts at the two minute mark.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

read today / read tonight


read today about
the boto
pink river dolphin
holdover from the miocene
toothed whale cousin
approaches your canoe
in moonlight 
says “hello” with
a sly rising head
breaking through
the river mirror
and then descends
back into the blackness

read tonight about
the mati ke language
of the northwestern australian coast
only one man left
to really speak it now –
he hears it in his dreams
and has elided conversations
in mati ke with his
grandchildren, waves rolling in
beneath a vast sky bearing
a white sun

there are 10 classes of nouns
into which the items
of the world can be grouped:
Weapons & lightning together
places & time together

and now i must go to bed.
in my dreams, will the boto
leave the amazon at belém
and swim southwest to
australia to find the
last speaker of mati ke
and greet him with
a playful leap?
will i dream in mati ke
and find place & time
overlapping swirling together
to lift me away from
these rooms in baltimore
and heal my weary mind?

***

The two books I reference are Spoken Here: Travels Among Threatened Languages by Mark Ablely & Journey of the Pink Dolphins by Sy Montgomery.

Monday, March 19, 2018

what i know about baltimore


what i know about
baltimore
is that it’s hard to know
baltimore
it’s like mercury spilled -
wheelies that last
for blocks
uphill
in twilight,
trap music synthetic
hi hat hits
out car windows,
a hawk hauls
away a large snake
in its talons
in a city park,
open the door to see
a butterfly hover
in the breeze
after just thinking
of a butterfly,
how can i know
anything
about a city
that shifts like a
shadow bending
at mid day and
then disappearing?


Friday, March 9, 2018

The Photo Grapher


The Photo Grapher
for Helen Levitt

The lens
Draws back
The eye
Awaits
The move
The step
The form

She rolls
The hoop
In light
Apart
A plane
Glides high
The game
Winds down

The lens
Draws in
The crouch
The gaze
The time
The click
The wind