«Edward Locke Harlequinade Press Grateful acknowledgment is made to the following journals where these poems (many now revised) appeared: ANT ON THE ...»
Grateful acknowledgment is made to the following journals where
these poems (many now revised) appeared:
ANT ON THE WALL in BLACK BUZZARD REVIEW
ASSEMBLAGE and DISTINGUISHED VISION and SHE in
BABEUF in SALON ARTS
BIRTHDAY in MOJO RISIN’
CITADEL and WAKING in LYRIC
CITIES and NUEVA YORK in SMALL POND
COLOR COORDINATES in PEGASUS
CONCENTRATION in PUDDING
COUNTRY ROAD in NEW LAUREL REVIEW
DAYBREAK and TERMINATION AND
INDETERMINATION in POTPOURRIDOMINO in HIDDEN OAK
DOUBTFUL THERAPY in VOICES
DYLAN THOMAS in CHATTAHOOCHEE REVIEW
FISH MUSIC and LAST AND FIRST DAY in WEST WIND
FROM MICHAEL STRAIGHT’S AUTOBIOGRAPHY in
BELOIT POETRY JOURNAL
GALILEO TO MILTON in APOSTROPHE
GAP and PAINE TO BLAKE in CAROLINA QUARTERLY
GRADUATION in GALLEY SAIL REVIEW
HERR YOUNG PROFESSOR in INTERNATIONAL POETRY
I HATE RINGS and TO DESERT SPACES in PIEDMONT
LAKE PLACID AND MIRROR LAKE in
NEOVICTORIAN/COCHLEALETTER TO ONE PERHAPS STILL LIVING (1977) in
LONG JOURNEY’S NIGHT in PLAINS POETRY JOURNAL
LOOKING LIKE PUCCINI and SILENT IN CHARITY inPHASE & CYCLE LOSS in POST POEMS MAKING UP in ANEMONE
MARSYAS IN ITALY in SOUNDS OF POETRYMOTHER’S GREETING in BLIND MAN’S RAINBOW
NAPPING IN WINTER in WEST CROOK
ON THE IDEA THAT ANTI-SEMITISM IS SOLUBLE IN ARTin CAFE REVIEW
REPERCUSSIONS in POETALK
TIME OUT in APALACHEE QUARTERLY
THE ION THAT TURNS THE QUEST INTO A QUESTION in
TO AN UNADOPTABLE CHILD in SKYLARK
TO ST. CECILIA in PRAIRIE WINDS
VANISHING POINT in NORTH ESSEX REVIEWWE in POETRY BONE © 2009 Edward Locke ISBN 1-930116-12-8 Harlequinade Press 12 Flagstaff Hill Terrace Canton, MA 02021 www.edwardlocke.com Cover design by David Sand
FOR ELISABETH AND JANET
TABLE OF CONTENTSPoem on Sunday 1 Napping in Winter 2 Food for Janet 4 Displacement 5 Entering Another Year 6 Last and First Day 7 Weekend 8 I Kid You Not 9 Forever at Six A. M. 11 Pursuing the Contract 12 Else-Things 14 Green Bank 16 Lake Placid and Mirror Lake 26 Brave Bolton 28 Country Road 29 Repercussions 30 Graduation 31 Ant on the Wall 32 The Book of Retirement 33 I Hate Rings 35 Fulfilling the New Year 36 To an Unadoptable Child 38 Mother’s Greeting 39 Silent in
My second wife, though a different person, Is really the first. I never let her know.
Sometimes I discern the samenesses, And as for the differences, What does it matter, since I do not let love go?
My first son, who is also my only, Has already forged his own way to grow.
Sometimes I discern our samenesses, But as for the differences, What does it matter, since I did not let love go?
My first life, since I am only a person, May well be the last. If it should not be so, Sometimes I may discern the samenesses, And as for the differences, What will it matter, since I will not let love go?
Snow dozes And the brain tumbles into the new year.
Flakes slumber into the city like a great weight, The push of irrecoverable memory.
Everything gestates, even forgetfulness.
Chill penetrates, Temperature translates Maine into its cold echoes, Degrees undermine, The moose on the frontier face downdrafts of Artic mist, Yet folded under the thin gray photomaps of the cortex And its whirls (An atmosphere of a billion gates and flurries), Animal remembrances perk like morning coffee.
Wit drains up its lonely childhood:
A phylogenetic slowness sow-nosed, Platypus-billed, lemur-tailed.
A mole of comprehension creeps below Our past Decembers, evolves Alongside the primate thalamus, Below slopes that glisten Atop our medulla's instinctual valleys, Alongside the skidding inner clock, Below pons whorls hiccupping onto the terraced fields.
Midnight designs the solstice into witness.
I lean across. The current is my guide.
The Charles is what I cross without a sail.
I'm in a rowboat and we're splinter-frail;
The crosswinds scold my stray attempt to glide.
The Charles is what I cross without a sail, No motor and no throttle open wide.
The crosswinds scold my stray attempt to glide – My boat's a Lancelot whose questings flail.
No motor and no throttle open wide, The boat seeks some swerved penchant as its Grail, But slowly, for my eyes deal with blackmail Where misadventure beckons at low tide.
The boat seeks some swerved waiting as its Grail;
My bearing and the errant waves collide;
Though misadventure threatens from each side, Deep bays are worth my every chance to fail.
Green Bank is a landscape within a grounded thought. It beckons – Many ideas are scenes for personal exaction and joy – And perseveres as an intemperate quaver Charting the sky’s scales, And as an equity of motion Like the moon's schedule calling people and sea waves Forward, to trap gravity into time And catch the balance of time.
That we might unearth why we do from what we do, Green Bank narrates first what our surroundings average, Filling partialities of our breathlessness, so we may listen.
Green Bank is also the electron making the full atom The shape of something. It is a conception of our mind, Nevertheless indulging its astro-silviculture of wind and poplars (It knows we braid it in brainwork, Yet what a gracious prisoner, to behave like merely a rugged vale) – A stream, a pebbled galaxy to walk on, arrangements of frogs Soloing like minute green comets across the grass.
This saddleback is itself Green Bank, and it holds To the sweeping dishes white within the sun And the shadowy dishes white against the moon, And dittos what we think – And so, the inside tale of a star Falls into our biographies.
These cross-reverberations of peaks and near-stillness,
Composing all Green Bank, quiver out to the universe:
It is a mutual hearing, a friendship by detection.
There is a moonscape of sleep to our waking;
There is an earthscape of ancientness correcting the course Of our love-making; we have brought something nearer From the furthest farness that exists, farther than we ever hearkened to, Like the distance from one man to himself.
Bolt in, Green Bank – and wake in the lives We are writing for each other.
Green Bank. The Ultima Thule of radio waves Is an easy drive from Monticello.
Can it by surprise attend on Jefferson in death?
Will that be its special quality, To pick up the extraliminal pieces of Jefferson’s tones – A jam of ramming frictions miles away Exclaiming, "I was Thomas Jefferson, farmer.
I burned within the young idea of democracy;
I was smoke-dried into it."
Is that its ivory-network sine qua non, To focus the lips of the past, the lips Of the fathers of America in the replicating chambers of their graves?
Then, screening from present breezes Every witticism elders like Adams denounced and every subtlety He murmured, Green Bank will soundwave into our eardrums Only those who float like dreaming cellos And join in the unseen chorus desiring their significance be re-called.
As this meshwork tunes into them, will they engage The meanings they meant between the lines?
For not only can Green Bank's dishes pry and aggrandize, But dissociate and select. Their tapes record what they face Though the attitudes differ.
Let them also post Paine, Melville, Whitman, Hawthorne, Each emitting currents of uninterrupted individuality, though linked;
These are not the gods’ celestial messages (Which are of indifference coterminous with infamous passion, Or despair parallel to their energetic laughter), But each American’s vibrant re-telling of a similar-peopled
Their buffetings into the curio of Just Around the Corner.
These family-history particles, caught peeking In half-nooks of constellations off the solar prominences, Fold continuously below Into who knows what plethora of impulses, What arrays of scintillating strophes – yet, As in poetry readings, the audience must be one person only.
What if the premises of Green Bank’s induction Were a theater coiled with echo, and the further we enter, The more a bold malevolence throbbing in the plenum Threatens our fate? Let us suppose our system Of financial subservience and ruler-servant farce and drama of impoverishment, The tooth-and-nail membranes scratching at a living, The unclimbable gaps in any honest chaos, Thundered to thrust itself into each person’s chest on this planet,
Into all black garbage holes and all sunny cornfields:
Green Bank conducts each call, meets every volume – Wouldn’t we stumble on glottals and grunts, grapple with lisps and lacunae, Every whisper a screech?
And would our vowel-type telescopes hint those yells Secretive in their implosive O’s, and menacing Off-key in a time-space warp hurtling toward us?
Suppose nothing impedes that stressful act;
No ineluctable transference sparks warning.
Suppose Green Bank locates that nebulous terror But does not confess it even as the discrete rattle Sinks into Green Bank’s amperes and haywires its measures.
What could we conclude But there was no such ecliptic connection, no attentive collective force – Unless and until we concede That we who have minted each armature Shaped a circuit to fail purposely And resist our governance, that in reality We have insulated ourselves from the oracular myths of the universe.
Where, then, do encompassing astronauts wind up, Who were once upon a hullabaloo for forever-and-a-day?
It may be everything is or will be known, except how we know And to what end.
Imagine how, to what end, twisting around each other
In the way of sequencing consequences:
Along the intricate estuaries of the Milky Way, The hows and to what ends bob in multiple inlets Like marsh gases clinging to fulgent matter.
Those helixes advance even if they turn pterodactyls – Or maybe where other biologies rule, a bird-cloned people Weaving through pods of gorging Crabs!
But Green Bank engages in no separate instrument and flight;
Both are unified, both contacts are already present, The eeks are grasped and eager to greet The patchworks of smiles of welcoming persons Courageous in the tears of expectancy.
Alert in the heeding of Green Bank, the people of green earth Embark in airships for a visit, cousin-like, Along arcades our metal interferometer reflects, And on the lambent tracks marked by how? and to what end?
they search Even in sleep for those unimaginable values The cosmos, like a child, has hidden under the pillow it rests on.
Now, in what is efficacious though not effacing, Green Bank decides What is sacred is what is admitted. The sanctity Of cliqueless, classless children, in no way infinite except in dignity, Amplifies their small presence As they switch from the frequencies of dying stars To those near-silences, Those trembling states Where they may audition at the thresholds.
“Satyajit,” calls the sun, “Wake up.
Follow the obsessed Hindu lawyer, the Mahatma, As he emerges from a million caves Where mixed ideals, contradictory portraits, preach to reel Buddahood Away from fissures of benightedness, and he enters the cottages of Muslims, Though knives thread the kitchen drawers – Then, tramps to temples where the slap-happy Krishna Saved from rancid milk the sculptors setting out To drink from hollows an image of the merciful.
So completes our filmic journey through difference and indifference, Sweetness and inebriation, greed and sacrifice, All resounding with the flaws of gods and awesomes Whose vanity requests a close-up Still closer to earth’s center.
In such a spirit that quack doctor and ducking husband, Gandhi, Eagles over the muck of Delhi; the wings of his flock Focus and reverberate through the opening credits Of tomorrow’s quiet dawn that will urge us to speak.
In India the sprockets of Ray’s light are pulled through skies, Illuminating the chess games of both older and newer days.
There music and orchards cross a film’s boundaries To seize famine, bringing glimpses of children – There tracking shots, although Apu’s wife’s death Ushered in the ignorance of feeling unwanted And shook learning to its knees, Shall steer us into other mornings.
Satyajit, source of resources, your movements Take my stillness where it wants to go.” Green Bank displays itself as a receiver of each intimate recital Of an invitation, translated into: Whatever you hear, touch – An offer shouted through childhood and hoarse with poets' similes.