Public Library

The dead are a library
In which you are told
"Unfold pages"
"Unbend the raveged corners,"
Placeholders of unwrapped
Bodies, untombed.

We erase carbon marks
As if their lives
Were once tracings,
Maps written on the back
Of mummies until exposed,
Becomming the singular dream
Of the Clairvoyant Brotherhood.


October stillness, pitch at three in the morning but your restless. Kettle on, you bundle yourself in flannel and boots before making tea in the red clay mug, before stepping out under the vast black-moss dome of the world. Star-fields sing at this time of year in a way which takes an accustomed mind not to reject the voices out of hand as tinnitus or the hallucinogenic effect of tea. Deneb, stolen from the tail of the swan Cygnus cries like a fox , quivering your vertibra and the small bones of your hands; the cry invokes harmonics within tea within clay. A slight breeze rustles the leaves of the closest maple as the first meteorite flashes the atmosphere.


Echoes from the rod and gun club make me look up from the white pages that blow in the wind as I loose them. Fingers are the key to holding the weight. Each finger squeezes steel on the other side of the woods on the other side of the apple farm which is where each butt wears cammo, each foot in work boots. The reverberations of the phonocamptics don’t seem to disturb the vultures on the roof of the diserted house or the gulls whose white underwings capture the virgin nature of the pages before the text and the fingerprints.


The space between the cries of the Screech Owl is larger than the space between mid-October breakers, crash upon crash upon stone. The voice leaves you thinking, someone has left you alone, not for a moment but in the background noise that implies the impossibility of silence. Owl cry is more a sonorous trace than a sound; sound delimits a thing where the trace is a sketch of life already erased, ringlets in the August morning lake where the pebble splunked, a split second before. Erasure, ringlets, the Owl’s cries remind of you of a time when you were both there.


          -- for Hilary S.
It's less about the painting 
And more about the pineapple

It's less about taste
And more about the taste of the succulant

It's less about representation
And more about being present

Holding a dripping wedge
To slick lips
Gulls on the updraft

Advice from an Old Vagrant

An old man that I met in '92, told me 
"you should meditate in burial grounds." 
Then he added "In Tibet! Cemetaries in America 
are parks. In Tibet there are half decayed bodies 
or half-eaten bodies left from animals. 
In America, maybe meditate in airports." 
I meditate during root canal.

"You, YOU have to be aware of dying. 
You know about death, everybody writes about death 
and the bardo, but dying is ANOTHER thing all together." 
"Success is false. You cannot be drugged by it. You will die, 
you will suffer in dying, this is inescapable. 
You think you can cheat death, but you cannot cheat dying." 
He died in 2013. 

My old-man was a robust, post WWII guy. 
"Don't let the environment beat ya!" 
You recognize the past tense. 

Dad died twelve days ago, was not into meditation. "THINK!", 
he would say, "THINK!"

Dad taught me analysis, thinking, 
and caring about family as the only way. 
In the end, he had dimentia, visions of women on the ceiling. 
Not sexual visions, confusing & mind twisting visions. 
He also saw some horror he never told me about; I saw it 
In his eyes.

There are visions that creep within us. 
My old man, ow gone, mouth agape, eyes open. 
This is my current haunt. 

How do you shake a ghost 
when you love him? 
You never escape the visage 
of your dead hero, 
the decay of his body, 
his catheter, 
his spindly legs. 

You don't want to forget 
What else is left but this trace?

He told me he wanted to go, 
but that was before his mind withered. 
Even that, he was aware of now and again. 

Once when I was twelve 
I dropped my jack-knife down a sewer drain.

trying to unsee

It's an odd thing, to be handed a tote bag, 
as if one had contributed 
to the local public radio station; 
tote bags are "gifts" for contributing, 
but having the tote bag contain a wooden box 
containing a plastic bag 
containing the ashes of your father, 
is this all that there is? 
In the time of covid there is no ceremony, 
no casket, no family, 
only a tote bag and a wooden box.
eyes open, your gape mouth::
road kill possum on the way home


It never arose 
In my prefrontal cortex
That the days after you
Passed on, would be
Filled with an amalgum
Of salt-water
And downloaded PDFs
Printed so as to provide
Data and attached
Documents about your life
Its end, and of course the
Official John Handcocks.