01 Mar

The plastic fern. 

The portable telephone. 

The woman asking for support. 

The affordable baby back ribs.  

Driving home, I see 

a cloud, a thought, a comparison 

a spasmodic equation of the cloud  

and the dolphin it resembles 

engineered by an impetus  

to keep seeing  

keep reappraising  

if such an observation 

has any value, any truth 

that prospers if appreciated 

and where it may, sustains  

the wonder that keeps us from dying 

like a thought that appears 

in an opening cloud.  

Who will help you interpret the moment? 

Choose. Do not be frightened. 

There is nothing more wet 

than rain that will fall 

when the cloud cannot hold. 

Where is your image then 

but in a pool of oiled H2O 

gathering reflections  in pollutions.   

Confusion baby confusion. 

If you don’t see it 

you must have bad vision. 

You must need a blood transfusion  

in a Thunderbird. 

You must wonder 

even after your decision 

if you can help me find the next dimension 

and determine if it counts 

more than one note two notes, three 

of Dexter Gordon Don’t Explain

wording questions wordlessly 

as the cloud changes 

and the questions drift  

namely Does it matter 

to be understood? 

or to pretend you have the right view  

of understanding 

or that Cleopatra sings  

You think you know understanding?

or as the cloud gains wings 

everyone knows what you’re saying 

and that’s why they ignore you  

or if anyone cares and hey, No, not really 

comes back the answer-- 

must even such a dismal No

matter to a mind that opens once  

or twice upon a time. 

For how long should I be understood 

before my breath  

annoys you and my limitations  

suffocate the future?  

The clouds will always question 

those who care to ask  

How am I being? What am I doing? 

discovered, rediscovered, left alone 

replaced, advanced, bypassed 

(dinged up like an El Camino 

cruise lights in the sunset amusementlight) 

this cloud is not a dolphin any longer! 

It is a windblown mess 

counting backward from the time it was 

a dolphin:  

Washington 2021 

Anchorage 1964 

Wilmington 1898  

Gettysburg 1863 

Houston 1981 

New Orleans 1880 

Philadelphia 1783 

New York 2001 

Clear Lake 1850 

Honolulu 1945 

Los Angeles 1978 

Atlanta 1848 

Jerusalem 1831 

Boston 1769 

San Francisco 1965 

Panhandle 1932 

St. Augustine 1837 

White Sands 1941 

Baltimore 1968 

Chicago 1964 

Jamestown 1609 

Anywhere 2018  

The dates remind us.  

Things are dangerous.  

Time has piled that fat on heavy. 

The arteries are hard. 

I may be the last  

who writes about impermanence. 

Yet the cloud remains  

whatever i want it to be 


I know it matters. But look 

and everywhere this terrible world 

terrible suffering 

even in the wealthiest of nations 

rolling down the apex 

does not stop the spirit 

from continuing to move  

out of generations of cockroaches  

and birds of paradise 

and into me-- 

a spirit thirsty for life 

for spiritual extension 

for the justice we find endangered 

as a fat turtle or a dirty wolf 

gifted ape or lost auk 

killer bacteria, tasty dove 

and fat aristocrat 

legal-engineering skills intact 

so shut up or I'll ruin you.   

I say, Sweet Earth  

your spirit continues to move us 

and when it has left me 

I shall lay down with Lucretius 

and friends who mean me no slaughter 

and I will serve them food and laughter. 

I won't sweat evolution.  

I won't sweat polonium 

morphing out among histrionic days 

freighted down by oil bills 

and hot hot  

hot hot August rain 

the blues and beauty  

your slash of creation 

repairs with longing  

and shame for fascinated tears 

instinctively submissive 

beneath a ziggurat of fear.  

A new cloud blooms 

over the streets. 

It has no shape. 

The Earth continues 

to move us. The naturalist 

can see the evolution. 

In the skies across the city's bloodletting-- 

the real cruel totality wise men 

find a way to avoid 

and drunks drink to forget. 

I see in the clouds 

a new thing forming.  

I see rain that never fails 

to fall as rain  

just as we are true to ourselves 

and the gasoline. 

I take another gulp  

of what I know is not clean air 

and change regret  

for sympathy the honest father feels 

in his correspondence  

of cloud and lover 

of lover and beloved 

self and descendant 

Gordon and a listener 

the moment and its disappearance  

the correspondence, intrinsic 

beyond language 

a fingerprint of time, a cloud  

I remember, a memory 

so noted.  


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