Ho|ma|ge to קֹ֖ול דְּמָמָ֥ה דַקָּֽה, image by Daniel Y. Harris
The Composite Stone
Toeprints in sand. Pages | driven by
the call of the common eider | wear-
ing eclipse plumage, whispering
through strong dives for salt mussels |
no need to forge them furiously o-
pen when swallowing whole will do.
And then there are the protective evasions.
Rabbi | what does that mean? The sky is
not at the moment a pastel wonder. The
sky is an endless blue. And the sparks
weeping off my fingertips are breath
and life: caustic chortle of moth liaisons.
Image-clusters pelting out as the voice
says choose, says make a judgement.
While crushing the coiled serpent’s head
one ploddingly bruises one’s heel. Deep
verst and shallow | not receiving light
from the firmest fountain above | he said.
The book as a portal, as a frame for
the word | open it now. Out of it a
sap lacquer oozes. And a composite
stone leached together turns up later
to glare in glamorous fields, while bolt
knuckles ghost scar shadows | in air
When words stand up as if a tree tall
in the ear and expected meanings
(are they meanings?) crinkle away
through peripheries and the bolt jog of
my line dartles bright waters. When
there is no learning | no recollection.
Wit, he said, is educated insolence. But
might it not also be | the lover’s tussle?
the tongue’s lingering to savor the flavor-
ful? the hand’s deft working of bee smok-
er bellows? | drowsing the natural instinct to-
ward defensive action, | rewarding the thief.
Brick by brick these bricks are manna.
Tell me, as I read | where is the kink?
how was the former maker neglectful?
Or | what has fallen into ill use? ill re-
pair? that I may be a maker too, | twilled
by a burnished boat of flowering dogwood.
These are the unself-governed repeti-
tions | of air, the boneless structures of
water | opening | into groaning branches
spread high above small bright green
leaves; these are eyes | hands | in a foy-
er; a context uncontrolled and coherent.
Of Twigs and Twine
From the corner of an eye, at the
terminus of Swedenborg’s nose, you
concede my ellipses as law. What is
the name of that sprig I love, touched
in patterned fashion by buds | Ouro-
boros with nothing outside himself, before
word and breath, himself his own sus-
tenance | transmutatively tangled in kind
Cleopatra’s alembic tresses. What can be
said for you, as your sieve hands grope
after the nothing you are by possession?
Enochian as icicles | whose name in-
cludes the fourth letter? And what
language did he extrapolate? Thus was
the world created. Thus is my heel
sore in my shoe. Light tossed from the
linnet’s wings for now glitters upon
breakers. Humankind standing, walking,
sitting, lying down, between earth and
sky, between the hellish and the heav-
enly | while in the backyard, on the roof
of the pig shed, clay figures blind-bake.
From the altered space language leaps
the rim. | Tetragrammaton letters tumbling
Genesis two four on. Sentimentally I
would like to believe in historical prog-
ress; however the lamplight thrust before
my eyes dazzles my vision. Cloud, leaf
and pebble (despite appearances) proclaim
a greater otherness. And you, human hiero-
glyph, consider your gematria. Take this
handful of ashes that wormwood and gall
be your lamentations, your violent oblivion |