Solstice 2007 I. Nature reacts to Us TV sz Dead Sea elevation down 300 feet over next century:
Sinkholes 30 foot wide open without warning.
Breathless, a dispassionate observer observes: --Here’s a new one, absolutely new, on a line of sinkholes, you can see the line, you can see the bell shape, you can see, not so wide, not so wide, yea, quite new, not older than two weeks.
Big underground spaces . . . suddenly and without warning . . . the surface does not hold. Last year a woman was killed.
In this geography of cataclysm it is not unnatural that natural history would give birth to fear of a vengeful god
II. The Story of Lot
This is pretty much where HE WHO HAS NO NAME laid it on Sodom.
But the fire came not from the heavens, but from below, from Babette Draw.
There’s all that gas there, all it takes is a spark. The flames are not the natural orange of natural fire.
III. Lot’s Revenge
200 centimeters (depth, not cubic) of water pumped into ponds for salt
All fresh water pumped out for salt (no one could drink it anyway).
For then. While their Cityremained a marketplace until the commerce got diminished by an Eastern trade-route fromMyoshormustoCoptoson theNile.
UnderPax Romanathey lost their warlike nomadic habits became sober, acquisitive, orderly wholly intent on trade and agriculture and did OK for a while. Made it for that while as the bulwark separating The Romans from the wild desert and its wild inhabitants.
Might have done it longer except Trajanreduced the City, broke upNebatinenationality made the territory a short-lived Roman province they calledArabia Petraea.
In 300 CE the Nebatines stopped writingAramaic& switched to Greek & in 400 CE converted to Christianity.
Arabs pressed the Nebatine’s sense of place & turned them intopeasants. The City lay hidden to The West until discovered in 1812 by a guy named Burckhardt.
Try to imagine Nebatine civilization, ca.OCE. Narrow winding passages prefigure cinematic bazaars in the Tangier or Casablanca.
Heat absorbed in chasmed shadow, current-carved stone cooling the angry desert sun, heat further
moderated by prevalent breezes wafting off the not quite dead yet sea. Breezes that waft through shaded columnar passages
conditioning air as a mechanist could only hope to dream. A plausible place anyone with hope might think of for a way of life.
VI. The TV sz, again,
Without that awesome landscape of the Dead Sea and the religions it inspired history would not be the same.
VII. Medicinal Purposes
A cure lives in a dead sea salt and mud marketed at least as therapy for Psoriasis and its heartbreak.
A certain number of feet below sea level (and water), sunlight neither burns nor corrupts, but gawd almighty(not his real name) heals.
The TV sz, to repeat . . .
In this geography of cataclysm it is not unnatural that natural history would give birth to fear of a vengeful god.
And what the TV, and the analysts, and the Christians and all their related desert religionists don’t quite yet have a handle on in thought and deed is an imagination of a merciful god
making them more acute observers of the way things are than they let on,
IX. Analysts Predict
The war in the Middle Zone after this one ends will be about water, not oil.
X. You Can See
The Dead Sea vanishing. Udi sz --Y’hope everyone might be able to live without the urge to destroy it. Oh, my God, y’can see this wood is part of a coffin, Oh, my God, cigarette packets from last night . . .
Tomb robbers trade human bones . . . for what? TV does not make that WHAT particularly clear . . . Someone else sz
“Their arid country was their best safeguard, for the bottle-shaped cisterns for rain-water which they excavated in the rocky or clay rich soil were carefully concealed from invaders.”
Solstice (both of them actually in) 2007, San Francisco
On first peering into the collected poems of Philip Whalen
Astonishing that voice all
but 50 years distant (backward)
not much thought of
less even recognized
in some long time.
Although another sense that
it’s been there all along
conscious thought of a mind
Hits true on BART
in the tunnel right THERE.
Brain & Heart.
Primer for a Poet.
Snake River Blues
Anyone trying to jump
that chasm on anything
but Icarus wings
should have died right then
let alone hereafter. I
think sometimes about the kitten
you heard in the sage
wanted to take home, no
And I, sensibly,
said no. Said it
emphatically, so emphatically
the other pilgrims on the bridge
took your side as I routinely
oblivious marveled at the sight
of a golf course
on a spit of land
Way Down There.
Kitten no doubt dead by now too
let alone hereafter.
Dead like the marriage
of the friends we’d just
left somewhere back in
Idaho, dead like
that old Evel, who turns
out to be mighty dead
tonite, just now. So It Goes.
In the next life
I hope to see you again
even if as grievous angel &
that kitten as scorpion,
but high lifted high
high in her constellation, &
our friends in the scabbard
of The Hunter’s sheath, nebula
burning desiring something that
can’t be quantified
contained and in certain
even spoken of.
All that Said.
I love you.
baby, another cat from a universe
other than mine
in yr skeptical ear
and tell you it’s true.
Why I am Glad
I am a poet
not a football player.
Commentators who talk about football
almost always sound
stupid. And nobody covers poetry
on television anyway.
They test football players
for marijuana use.
They don’t know enough
poets to test us
for much of anything and
since they don’t pay us anyway
there’s no point to our
unless we pose a severe
threat to the state. Which
is what we wish we
really could do.
We have nothing to lose.
. . . freedom’s just another word . . .
Poetry is much less
hard on the human body
than football, although it does
untold damage to the human brain.
Keeps it alive, & so,
ready to see,
although no more than any
able to survive, the
holocaust. In unrequited
resistance, we will speak
about how it happens for as long as
we can & until it is done.
for my brother Tom De Vries
One of the best pass receivers on the team
was a black track star named Willis Ward.
He and I were close friends –
we roomed together on trips out of town –
and our friendship grew
even closer during our senior year.
Our next game was against Georgia Tech
an all-white school whose coach threatened to
forfeit the contest if Willis played.
Michigan tried to work out a compromise
whereby both Willis and some Georgia Tech star
would stay on the bench.
Because I felt this was morally wrong,
I called my stepfather
and asked what I should do.
“I think you ought to do whatever
the coaching staff
decides is right,” he said.
Still unsatisfied, I went
to Willis himself. He urged
me to play. “Look,” he said,
“the team’s having a bad year. We’ve
lost two games already and
we probably won’t win
any more. You’ve got
to play Saturday. You owe
it to the team.”
I decided he was right.
That Saturday afternoon we
hit like never before . . .
(From the memoirs of Gerald R. Ford,
complicit in the Warren Whitewash
of the JFK assassination.)
for Bubba Michel
This is your brain on music
The reviews are pretty good but the future uncertain
Altitude sickness mild, alcohol enhances
Some of the best lines come falling asleep
Be still my beating brain
The earth yields to its own its own
I. Tractive effort – as it relates to Adult Attention Deficit Disorder
Steam’s a lot stronger than diesel
Passengers are lading trailing tons
Adhesion is the rail & wheel joined without slipping
“In most cases especially for steam locomotives
this figure is a calculated not measured one.”
When adhesion is insufficient
power through pistons and rods
will slip the wheels
No useful effect will result
Cohesion another matter entirely
although critical to brain function
Weight needing to be
five or six times piston power
so the brain can do its work with
less annoyance from slipping
than would be
the case with less weight
II. The brake test has three categories:
1. terminal, 100% brakes in opposition
2. road test, count of cars, put ‘em together, do it from the rear
3. running test, engineer feels the weight
Look at your smoke, tells you how all the rest is doing.
Black, you’re adding some coal, heading uphill, looking for power.
Grey, on cruise control, got it right, for now.
White, need more, fuel, juice, power . . .
The wheel is the handbrake
Guys running on top of the cars
make sure the engineer has his air
lose yr air yr shit out’a’luck
III. Each aspen grove is a single plant
Some scientists believe they may
be the largest living organisms on the planet
Each has its own DNA, lives and dies as one
Others argue for all the redwood trees
in North America, say they are
a single plant, who knows, not me, but
I do keep listening
Leaves come tumbling down & through the car
Max Pacheco sure put his name on a lot of trees
or maybe only one or two
At some point, don’t even want to know
what the name is, just want
to be in it, “the moment”
the moment of the country
the moment of the country
IV. The White People
in the restaurant object to
the too enthusiastic rendition
of “Let’s get drunk and screw”
Lightning cracks and thunder booms &
Washboard Hank sz
“I’m going there” & does
in his steel hat, rain pouring from the sky
& channeling through some freeway
architect’s escape mechanism, leads
the way to New Mexican Cantina where
water covers the floor & plastic buckets get only some,
We all sing Dead Skunk in the Middle of the Road &
Don’t let the rain come down.
What do you expect from someone who
hits himself in the head for a living?
V. Mesa Verde
People lived on this planet
lived on this earth, this
place: 1st village, 2nd village,
3rd village, now under aluminum shed
Majestic long house, great palace,
balcony house, house of blue spruce
cut deep and sacred into
mesa cliff, which to see
these days you gotta
get out and walk, cut
a footprint or two into
that mesa-top clay, scramble
time to time on scree and granite
confront the real! Deal
with it, hombre, gringo, rhinestone
cowboy & the horse you
could never ride in on. All
things to be pondered in the sky
high bar, watching the playoffs,
talking to other fans there & the
Jamaican bartender just
doing his job. Pretty
well, all considered.
VII. A Film About the Napoleon of the Woods
Pop! Bang! The machine blew
a hole in your film. What else
can go wrong or you do, get back to
ground level, watch the Jaguars
get beat by the Patriots. The Patriots
win more times than not, even
in Jacksonville, FL, named
after the $20 a throw Yankee President
the French in those days called
Napoleon of the Woods.
VIII. Author’s note
In the late 1990s
& early 2000s a series
of serious fires swept Mesa Verde National Park
revealing architectural treasures hitherto unknown.
In Oct ’07 a similar series
of fires engulfed
San Diego County & northern Baja CA.
Revelation not expected anytime real soon.