Elegy

I

This was supposed to be—

—this was supposed—

    —this—

And when I hear an echo

    Through but your voice—

When I hear you hear yourself

Through the words that we find together

    Across this poem, that poem, my

Line, your

Rhyme, your

Return of my words back and better than

When they left me—this was

Supposed to be—

II

A lone feather in the wind

Becomes

Like the last condor in a sky;

It becomes the soft flutter

And cry and echo

Of the shadow sky empire

Of condors now past—

The skies were once so full

Of distant majesty, of promise

But promise now somehow

—broken—

As though God himself gave up and

Took all his condors back, and went home.

III

This was supposed to be

My elegy for you.

This was supposed to be

About you, and us.

The future was supposed to be

About you, and an elegy for me

Written by your son.

The future was supposed

To be mourning the forgetting

Of me.

This was supposed to be an elegy about me,

Written by your son, ten or twenty

Years from now.

IV

This was supposed to be the poem

I would never write

—an elegy for my son—

Lord, I am not worthy—

Poems like feathers

Collected from the beach sands and

If you didn’t stitch the feathers

And left your son only wax, then

—I am sorry—

—I am sorry—

—I am—

This wasn’t supposed to have to be

My elegy for you.

Utah Gothic

(for June Alice Thedell)

Silence—the shutter—chill and still

Across grave stones in a graveyard

In Smithfield, Utah, its

Claim in the dirt—Sacred Soil for

Souls—Radical Souls, Soul Revolutionaries, Souls who lifted Themselves up—translated themselves

Into Americans, citizens in and of Utah.

Utah Gothic.

Smithfield, Logan, Roy: northern cities

In Logan, Grandmother Alice’s house

Was across the street from the Mormon

Church there. It was a short Summer walk,

For me, to the Logan Temple:

God as immediate as a trip to the grocery.

Slightly more distant was a campus

For Utah State University, the Aggies.

Cache County was seat of North Utah;

This Mormon Empire—citizens from

Norway, Sweden, England, France

Were here for a new God, a new country.

Utah Gothic.

Retired by the time I visited Summers,

Grandpa Garnel kept his

Watering equipment left over from the

Farm: canvas hoses, tin and wood

Fittings and boxes, to use for irrigation with

The Spring rain mountain runoff from city

Gutters. He’d water the lawn, bushes,

Trees on the front side facing the church, watered the backyard garden, its raspberry, blackberry bushes.

You could walk to downtown from my grandparents’ house, to the

Town library, to storefronts there since the 1940s, 1950s: the Bluebird restaurant, the Beauty College, the ice cream factory outlet. 20 minutes drive brought Gossner Dairy: cheeses, bulk curds, milk in sealed sterilized boxes and guaranteed for ten years from purchase, produced with equipment from a manufacturer in Sweden.

On a distant edge of

Logan was a petting zoo; opposite that was the giant grocery outlet.

Drive past the outlet and you’d arrive at what used to be Grandpa Garnel’s farm.

Utah Gothic.

You, Whom I Saught

(for Daniel)

No matter where you are–

I still hear you when you

–dream–

You sing out so very far

Your voice so bright

–like a star–

and–we–are

All of our tomorrows

rushing up–

Every tomorrow:

spark, kindle, sparkle

BURN–I–

spark myself up

Just for you

Light my heart ablaze and

through every torched moment

I pray

to God

that you see it

that you feel me

burning beneath your bed

sintering under your feet.

Love–let my heartbeat

form a marriage pyer

for when you say “I might”

for when you might hope to hear me

“Do, I–do, I–love you do–“

Love, my every heartbeat

bears God’s name–BUT–

he has them on loan

–from you–

Can God make a heart he cannot win?

I can never be certain–except I know

already you–my Lord–hold the title

and the deed and the name and word.

Whatever contract or arrangement you

and God

may have found yourselves making

–beyond me–

God now would never dare

–I know! I dared him!–

to claim title to my soul or heart

–Iron Lord of my Soul–

Governor of my Person and

Priest of my manhood.

Lord of my Soul–

I, your Poet–

Me, a Priest of Nothing–

Beg–

Wait still–

for you, My Lord–

to finally begin–

to make us–

to make me your–

   Legend.

Battleship 1976

Everyone has bled, but only women and poets

need to bleed.

Everyone fears and prepares, but only sailors and poets

train to hold a knife-blade to civilizations’ throat.

Everyone envisions the past, its future, but only presidents and poets

preside over free souls as commander-in-chief.

I am Battleship 1976.

I am ultimate scion to the first Iron-clad warship;

My engines run on terror and pride that drove Vikings

to America.

See me in conflict and it’s already too late–

an armada you yet cannot see has you in range and awaits

only my signal to fire on your position.

I am Battleship 1976.

In the age of intergalactic travel,

my sister-ship is the NCC-1707 Enterprise.

God served as admiral upon a ship of my design when he

won the war in Heaven against Lucifer.

Ancient poet Lao Tzu drowned in a drunken midnight swim,

believing he could cross the Yang Tze river to board me.

I am Battleship 1976.

I am the vessel that every child with Lego bricks tries to build.

I am the ship that mothers pray their sons serve on,

whenever their country has a draft for war.

Mine is the name on God’s own lips, the name that

God whispered before he first spoke his own name.

I am Battleship 1976.

MONSTER

Me, on Street Ever Righteous

Moon, now Saint Erasure Rules

Mother, Stained End Run

–MONSTER–

My Southern Dog: Mon S. Terrier

The better blues: Mo’non-Stop’Er-where

After a car accident: mmm…on Star, State Your Emergency?

–MONSTER–

We, we all know we’re all monsters–

we, these humans; the dogs in the world

forgive us, even though they know

how cruel, cruel we humans can be.

Maybe dogs, they just figure–wolves still have it worse

all alone, out in wilderness.

I hope the dogs are right.

His Majesty’s Praetorian Word Wonder

Phantom Phantasm and

Phantom within phantom

–the Rolls Royce Grey Ghost

and his Grey Great Grand Damn Damme–

Wonder wander word wand wild world

–the barren Swedish snow is still a desert

as sure as any in Asia or Africa.

I don’t just better work–I

work better under high contrast and

excellent excitations.

Window sill and liquor still and bestill

my betraying heartbeat–I swear! I remain

indifferent to my expanding fascination.

Still I go on to go on

…and on and on and on…

Let me follow you–riding–into your

Black Cherry Forrest

Mr. Wolf Majesty–

I read the sealed communique from his

majesty’s chihuahua envoy.

We can joust

–I’m no kind of Faust!–

I am the Something More! Word-wise, then,

hit me with your best shot:

I’m every Duke, and

this is my apatizer to my white tiger’s powering

deep into my poetry.

Come find me! and chase me once more!

…from station to station.