A Modern Parable

In a desert valley a man is given a small cupful of water and a crust of bread and told this is all he requires in order to exist. Human nature is such that he grows habituated to the meager diet – his desire conforms to what he has been shown and he becomes ‘happy’ through this small satisfaction. Because the food is small, over the course of generations, his descendants grow smaller and smaller as well, degenerating over the years into a pygmy race that mirrors in stature the object of their desire. Next to this valley there is a high mountain chain. Beyond these mountains there is a paradise of the sweetest fruits that grow in the spaces of the universe. In this paradise there is a never-ending river of clear, cool, translucent water, there are silver vats overflowing with honey and there is a spiritual wine that, once drunk, causes the form of man to grow until his hair intermingles with the tides of the stars. The increase in size likewise brings with it an increase in the experience of happiness: as the objects of desire become monumental, so to does joy in the gratification of desire become something incredible. This is a story of what the earth is and what it could be.

Each Day an Icarus

Each day an Icarus,
unfiltered sunlight on naked skin,
vistas of earth beyond mortal eyes’ scope,
the thronging of a thousand angels
bathing in first light, alive.

Each day an Icarus
soaring over machines,
the architecture of reason raised up
in countless brains -
Souls sunk beneath a Babylonian pavement.

Each day an Icarus,
one giant arrow of joy, drawn
deep, loosed wild, quick
lightning from roots,
pierce beyond clouds’ dome.

Each day an Icarus -
but in the wheels of stars,
the orders of gods and men,
the cosmic arrangement of all things,
Hubris bequeaths Nemesis.

Each day an Icarus,
in angels’ eyes choirs of stars,
harmony of spheres, a drop of honey
melts wholly a waxed dream,
plunged and plummeting
down through cracked pavement, aflame,
down far below first layers -
down where the bleak river drains
and ash falls on Lethe like an unheard rain.

Two Tides

Nothing but joy in the wings,
holy flight over all earth.
It comes quickly:
wrapped in roots, twisted,
soil’s tendrils, one giant hydra swallows -
the shattering shaft!
Apollo, Venus, something Christian,
what gods are with me now?
Gottfried Benn!
the two tides in primeval flowing.
Above clouds glimmering gemstones,
a city of diamonds,
wheeling over time’s distortions,
civilizations rise and fall far beneath
the spiritual talons of my toes.


Hooves in dirt raise clouds,
dust hovers in the wheeling world.
when earth gallops rains fall,
in evening’s turning distant stars,
white crystals burning, thrown.
in the eyes of a horse one will
driving out wild. beautiful. uncontrollable
from the center of the universe itself.

20 Antique Love Sonnets


If I could but possess your smallest toe,
For just one instant, know this little you,
I’d be more blest than he who in whose throes
Possesses every woman that earth grew.
I sing this song in fashion very old,
This love of mine the modern songs can’t chime,
This ancient love can’t fit the current mold -
Its strength gives proof to growth from distant times.
Ah, who could know the way your image burns,
The merest shade of you within my soul
Awakens all my being – makes it yearn
As life itself in earth that blooms and grows:
What causes all the grasses to ascend,
The fruit of every tree, you in me bend.


The moon above, the sun and all the stars
Are dimly burning embers, only ash,
When they are viewed, compared from their afar,
With you on earth whose light makes their light crash.
The cosmos in its vast entirety,
The universe with all its many things
Are not one cent of value when I see
The merest portion of yourself, you bring
Into my heart from your resplendent being
The finest joys that ever fluxed in matter;
The heavens ancient prophets once were seeing
Are in your very soul – the earth is scattered.
I live a god forever in your glance,
A Buddha toils eons for this trance.


Your joy surpasses all the joys of heaven
When I see happiness gleam in your eye
My heart is lighter than an angel leavened
In spirits purely clear as bright blue skies.
The merest shade of sorrow on your form
Turns light to darkness, breaks my very being;
I’d rather lose all things I own in storm
Than see one troubled thought afflict your seeing.
Your eyes hold more of paradise than books
That dream of Edens held right after death -
Ye, all religions, every heaven shook
From out a human brain to you are less.
I’d turn my own eyes blind, forget all sight
To save you from one single, troubled night.


Your eyelash is a heaven in itself,
The merest breath your blessed mouth exudes
Has more of sweetness than ambrosial wealth
Bedewing mount Olympus; attitudes –
The smallest movement of the soul within you,
Each thought that ripples in your very being
Have more of merit than all human truth,
Are more of value than all human seeing.
Your glance could drive the world itself to madness
Your very look could crack the world apart,
All those who see, they break and break in sadness:
The arrows of your eyes wound every heart.
Your curling toe is more than galaxies
Insensate stones grow hearts if they but see.


This wound is past all healing, medicine,
Though from Asclepius is futile, still
Within me sticks this arrow shot by him
Who wings his being, works his loving will.
No beast, no lion, not one prodigy
Of power nature from her womb brings forth
Can guard their heart against this painful sting:
His bow’d make Zeus himself relinquish court.
Ah wounded, wounded, past all healing drops,
A wound that gives a life and not a death -
Though pierced in that most center, nothing stops
But grows intensely in a wild yes.
Your batting eyes could bring a corpse to dance,
And I die wholly with your slightest glance.


I never knew a happy day on earth,
My lexicon was wrong when I applied
That word to things until my eyes gave birth
To you in me, the one that word defines.
The earth itself was barren as the roots
Of trees that suffer in a desert clime,
All being languished waterless, no fruit
Was here until the fates decreed your time.
What is the wealth of man, what human power?
When viewed next to your sight, when seen compared
But empty bones, a corpse that crows devour -
The world itself unworth a single hair.
Ah, you hold all the brightness that dreams mock,
Imagining brings but devalued stock.


The brightest star that ever torched the night
Is just an empty stone next to your presence;
Though it could brighten, bloom a massive light
It is a weed when viewed next to your essence.
If all the gods that work the waves and air,
If all the powers driving in the sun,
Arrayed against me, I’d not give a care,
I’d stake my spear against their starry guns;
For just to be around you, in your spell,
That emanates such aura round your being,
I’d pay the cost, eternity in hell -
The sulfur torture worth one moment seeing.
Angelic mercy lives within your face,
Not all the years of Time can touch your grace.


How can I tell this heart that can’t be told?
This love exists within the very trees.
How can I speak the language of the stones?
How can I translate holy mysteries?
No light is brighter than your light on earth,
No form that dreams have dreamed or earth composed
Not any of the things, no matter’s birth
Can touch your high ascent, a god’s own rose;
But yet the image of a flower droops -
Such things cannot express what can’t be said:
A poet with a sea of words can’t scoop
Enough of all the oceans – no words wed.
Id die tomorrow and not have concern,
I’ve tasted sweetest fire, blessed burns.


If dreams could mirror but one ounce of you,
I’d never wake again from living sleep,
For such the truth, such sleeping would imbue
The stuff of life that waking couldn’t keep.
Oh, if those dreams could bring me but your glance,
The sound your voice made when your soul made speak
Those lips that blessed each word that passed in trance -
Made brighter than the sun when nooned at peak -
I’d turn ascetic to the woken world,
Deny my eyes the cosmic gifts of earth,
Spend fortunes on narcotics to unfurl
A never ending night – such is your worth;
And this unmoving rest would far excel
The glories of the earth – without you hell.


What song could measure in sweet harmony
The stuff of which you are, your very being?
Though humans mock the light electrically,
What lamp can match the sun’s far brightest seeing?
What word can hold one single touch of you?
What note could chime with your transcendent heart?
I’d waste the ink of every pen earth knew
And still not capture e’en the smallest part.
Such is the weakness of all artful trying,
Such is the beauty gleaming in your eyes,
A voice that speaks, in speaking, only lying -
In word or music you can’t be comprised.
Only your self, in your self being presence
Can match your self, no essence speaks your essence.


If all the dreams that ever dreamed the earth
Were gathered all together and selection
Drew from each one what was its highest worth,
Yes, even if this brightest of collections
Were cast and formed by mighty angels singing,
Yet still this dream of dreams would pale and be
But feeble substitute, this greatest bringing,
Would bring not but the slightest part of thee.
Your form transcends the hopes of all the race,
All gods that ever walked from human brains
Don’t hold within them any single trace
Of life’s pure beauty in your form unstained.
A book of holy reason’s in your self
Of more than godly dreams, your beauty’s wealth.


If god above tends lovingly the world
And all this life proceeds from out his will,
If ancient dreams, dreamed right the cosmic swirl,
Yet still the earth without you means god’s killed.
For what is this bright dream, this total meaning -
This harmony of things in one great good,
If you, your presence, aren’t around me gleaming -
All heaven’s light’s extinguished in a flood.
No ark could capture me from out your absence,
No work of man can steal this emptiness,
No host of golden light can mock your essence,
No god exists, without your godly kiss.
Such is the metaphysics of my soul:
From you the broken universe grows whole.


No dream that from an angel tends my night
And brings me sweet relief from all the days
Of bearing earthly burden, earthly blight
Can match the merest of your merest ways.
A smile on your face, more worth than stars,
A vacant look that strays from out your eyes,
A movement of your leg does more by far
Than any dream of god or dreamed of prize.
The way a brightness covers all your being,
The way from out your will a brightness breathes
The way all graces find in you agreeing
It’s like Beauty herself has been unsheathed,
Oh what a weapon she has forged in you,
A two edged sword: Heaven but Hell too.


To save your lips from tasting just one drop
Of pain, I’d drink an ocean, swallow all
The waters wrapping continents – not stop
Until I turned all earth a desert’s pall -
Then take the sorrows twisted out in dust,
The many banes that beat on human time -
I’d take them all, if only but to just
Ensure that not a mote of pain is thine.
Like Atlas holding all the world on shoulders,
I’d bear the burden of all suffering,
I’d take whatever cares afflict and smolder
In you, from you, therefore for cherishing.
I’d take your cross and hammer it to mine -
Your lightness lightens doubleness of pine.


What shrine could shine the essence of your soul?
What church could hold the power of your heart?
What work of man could praise your perfect whole?
What house of worship worship but one part?
These words but seek to build a temple here,
To speak one element that in you stays,
The stones are futile for you don’t appear:
The hammer strikes in vain to mock your ways.
Around my soul your image bends its light,
An absent presence, memories emerge -
I’m like a prophet with a second sight,
An ear that hears because your beauty purged:
A waking pain, a blessedness of sorrow
To have god yesterday but not tomorrow.


And all the dreams that dreaming ever knew
Are empty effigies, the merest shades,
Thin images without a spark imbued,
They mock your being but they but degrade
And dream other than dream made real in you,
What if a dream, could wander out of mind
And form itself in matter, be made true
Yet not yourself, it’s just an empty rind.
Such is the beauty blessing all your substance
No dream this dreaming mind of mine can dream
Can touch in any the way the godly sense
That spent itself in forming all your gleams
Not all the diamonds trundled deep in earth -
They’re like burnt copper pennies to your worth.


This opened vein exposed within the heart,
These pangs that sound in all the living nerves,
This brokenness that breaks in every part,
This howling soul that not a soul has heard.
I don’t think any of the balms of earth,
Not light in morning lingering trees,
Not dew that gleams on grasses, not the birth
Of heavenly light in heavenly mystery -
Not any of these graces that adorn
The passing hours shedding magic time,
Not any of the stars, the brightest forms
Can heal this suffering of soul and mind.
The arrow when I saw you was shot true,
It wounded deeply for he deeply drew.


An ankle not adorned with some dull cloth
Is more than diamonds miners have exposed
Through toiling, sweat and blood and working froth-
This smallest nakedness more worth than those.
And what if light could pry up to the knee -
No Afric enterprise, no Swiss bank’s stores
Could equal to that trove of ecstasy,
Though all the drills of industry have bored.
If they could tear the whole earth to the roots,
Find every carbon atom formed to brightness,
Find every diamond in the soil’s soot,
Yet on the scales your weight exceeds their lightness.
There is no currency that man has dreamed
All values wither next to your esteem.


Not Buddha sitting high beneath a tree,
Nirvana recollected in a smile,
Not these, not these are joys as when I see
Your love bestowing face, the beauty’s miles.
The spaces of your beauty span the stars,
The universe itself could only hold
Within its edges from the far to the far,
This love that glows more brightly than god’s gold.
There’s no explaining how this heart is doomed,
There is no reason born to crack this kernel:
A mystery within the mystic blooms
Of every form existent and supernal.
There’s not one thing that is that isn’t blest,
But you above them all, God’s highest Yes.


In madness now my being dwindles out,
The love of you consumes my soul entire:
As earth itself will live its whole life out
And do so from the sweet unburning fire.
You are the life of life, the love in things,
The hidden soul in rivers and trees,
This love lives in the ocean and it brings
All stars, all lights, the holy mystery.
The cup of life has passed upon my lips,
A dream beyond a dream, beyond all hope,
The old world now can’t help but being flipped
And upside down made right side up, what scope:
This love is farther than the love of me,
It breaks this soul and grows to galaxies.


the brains are in the blender,
the guts are in the washer,
spin cycle,
electrified carnage,
distant generators undulate,
gasp, disgorge gulfs of smog,
intoxicate white clouds,
soft lambs on a blue field,
puke comes pouring out:
I have been very drunk in life.

A Special Evening

Let no joy go unspoken in your heart tonight
for God is awake in all things;
we shall defeat all evils
before the final sounding of Time’s bell.

Let no joy go unspoken in your heart tonight
for a red sun set in the west,
in red light I saw ten-thousand angels -
a sky rippled with flight.

Let no joy go unspoken in your heart tonight
for a tyrant lives in every breast;
let us raise rebellion tonight,
beneath all of these stars.

Let no joy go unspoken in your heart tonight
for I have seen a world of ceaseless liberty,
I have seen children with stars in their hair,
I have heard echoes from a distant time.

Let no joy go unspoken in your heart tonight
for there is only one worship,
there is only one prayer,
Let no joy go unspoken in your heart tonight.

John of the Cross

I can’t explain this phenomenon,
how after merely reading John of the Cross,
there is nothing but calm water and soft lights -
gentle wind, quiet tranquility; how the turbulent passions,
the ineluctable arsenal of memories
that batter the psyche in unending bombardment
is stilled,
how the war of life in human personality:
the desires of self, the contradictions of world,
the pain of painful longing, the many things
that afflict -
how all of this is quieted;
I can’t explain these calm waters, this light,
from merely reading, not practicing,
what his soul provided, what is in his books.


the leaves’ faces,
the green ecstasies,
the magic light like a sprinkled charm,
the nerve tingling joy of a tree.

a sunny day like the embrace of a lover,
the roots curl in joy,
the trunk stiffens in happiness:
everything ascends.

in the twinkling green eyes,
Cupid can be seen
joyfully playing a harp;

the music causes the bright sap
to become a fruit.

Spider and Fly

all acts aggregate in ineluctable conscious present;
the fly’s anguish contorts in thick webs

memories metamorphose in formulations of conscience;
the spider’s mouth is huge and hideous

interpretations in correlation with metaphysical systems;
no ear hears an ocean break and scream

society functions through collective inculcation;
the spider’s taste buds sing choirs

moral paradigms manifest in personality formations;
hangs gracefully on silk twine digesting

in the eternity of stars and matter, human minds;
70 winters of acidic disintegration