evening on brant point

brant_pointBetter a blacknecked goose
takes flight — one, startled —
then another — better
they wrest their nightgray
bodies from the dark marshpool
as the tired sun
sighs out red gold
into the dimming sky.
Better the still air
suddenly fills with
frantic wings, beaks
calling confusion, alarm
across the outstretched bay.
Others answer — hear it —
brants, honking too –
whitecheeked buffleheads pipe in —
all running, splashing up
the black surface,
desperate for flight,
not knowing why —
Better a flowerburst of chaos,
wild honking,
clattering beaks,
reedy voices deep —
calling the marsh,
the upreaching reeds
and tidebared shore
to rise, too —
to take wing,
and for that instant —
Oh, throw yourself open —
an instant, but only just —
before the voices find harmony,
wings — rhythm,
and evening
gently settles
on the bay.

any way that the sky (notebook poem)

IMG_0824Any way that the sky
bruised and tired
as the sun slips into slumber,
leaving the dark bay
to care for itself —
only then, blacknecked geese,
brants — heads straining forward,
wings going steady and calm
against the anxious calling —
any way that it could all make
some kind of sense — the magnificence
of evening, the turn of day
to night.
It can’t be bothered, really.
Think of it as that one
who never turned to look at you
twice, if that makes it
any better. But better yet,
see how the clouds slowly
steadily darken through gold
red purple to black,
how the sun
swells as it darkens and falls
toward the water, its blaze spilling
across the bay.
Off in the reeds, the trees beyond,
birds gather, sing,
and the geese, the brants
their reedy voices
low and urgent.

Watch and listen,
smell the bay,
the life in the muck–
feel the chill come on.
Just that.
It will be dark soon enough,
soon enough.

careless as life (notebook poem)

Toss it aside, beauty —
a sweater soaked in rain,
the scent of sheep, grass,
earth — life there loosened —
roused — stretching — as clouds
break and sun, dazzled, opens his eyes.
Toss it aside, careless —
you don’t need it — the scent
is caught in your hair,
glows in your eyes —
and while at the window, snow clings,
the carpet flowers under your feet
and songbirds scatter
— careless as life — from your lips.

from a fragment of Pasternak

It’s midday of the world. Where
are your eyes — reedbrown, lit
without sun, with clouds, with snow
white caught in the blond —
O how can the world be so quiet
so alive, yet still — what? waiting?
But for what, when clouds whisper,
when waves barely lap the shore,
when white-cheeked ducks dive
in the brutal black water as though
it were sky, blue, sunfilled, joy —
where are your eyes? It’s the midday
of the world — and everything is waiting.

brants (notebook poem)

Brants fly in low
over the flat gray bay
watching for where to spread
dark wings, webbed feet
to catch air and water and come
to rest as the winter morning
warms — their webbed feet
thrust out under arched wings
tear furrows in the tender waves,
white froth sprays from the gash.
I never thought
whether you, like the waves,
would regain calm, wounds close,
after I came to rest in you, then flew away.

february (notebook poem)

Just a hint of sun, February,
pale disk cutting sharp round
whisper through high clouds — oh
no more than that, yet anxious
eager — encouraging, petals burst
from quickborn buds, hurried blooms
like disciples, arms spread, rush
in promises of embrace — to greet
the unexpected spring. Clouds slip
away, and unveiled, the naked
sun pours its warmth, its gold
emboldening the blooms below, buds
burst one after another, calling spring
to wake with their fierce futile blaze.

another notebook poem

img_0483(Summer dawn, Brant Point)

Oh the songs —
Cut sharp from tiny lungs,
straining throats,
batted featherlight
to chase the blackvault
night, shimmersongs
in stillness — breathless
gembeats speckling silence
and teasing up the sun
The last of you,
The highest — yes,
but too timid
to come unbidden —
peeks now, peeks —
So take flight
oh you fragile bold wings —
Catch these rays
Tug them, entwine them
in flickering wings,
a night already alight.

notebook poem

img_0404(St. Petersburg, Puskinskaya 10)

Out of the blue, clouds
dark, gray to black, and downpour
not just sudden, unexpected —
No — as if blue sky,
laughing, let loose its joke,
soaking streets, buildings, the sun
itself — soaking it all — downpour.
But we — under the arch, in the gallery,
with poets, samizdat, Aronzon
on the bed, looking up, with his own
selfportrait, the bearded poet —
And then — the rain poured out,
clouds could no longer hold back
sun — low, lighting rainbows
in yellow, green, pink, blue —
the houses, trees, shining streets
and everywhere guitars playing,
boys longhaired and girls
singing — singing back the rainbow.
The rain had seemed to be
everything — but look —
It’s not gone, not passed —
a downpour still in each one
who’ll let it soak in, and now in sun
not wilt — but burst into bloom.

(another poem from the novel)

Toss your whitecaps in the air
let wind rip them to shreds
But no fear —
lift your head again
you’ll get new ones
just as white —
lace of snow and clouds
Toss them
toss them too
Let the wind howl
a madman raging
while you dance —
rising and falling
rolling in sunlight
Let the wind howl.
Don’t listen
Toss your whitecaps and dance.


it’s a lie they tell
about eve’s eyeing the apple.
no snake at all
but the singing in her ear
a jay’s shriek from the tree
ripping the curtain
of dull selfsatisfied paradise.
and her plucking the apple
tasting the juicy white flesh
hidden within the red skin
juice running down her chin —
that was all adam would need
to truly see her — revelation —
not the perfect surface
the harmony of limbs,
chaste milkless breasts,
but the juice within,
the mystery, unknowable,
hunger, unleashed,
calling like the jay
still high in the tree,
a steelblue knifecut bird
shredding the curtain of dull paradise.

and when he sees her then,
her once placidly flowing hair
now restless curls gone bloodred,
her milkwhite skin clouded
in a fog of earthy freckles,
geese floating between them,
like her, ready to take flight
at any incautious approach,
her seagreen eyes tell him
you know nothing of me,
i am the forest and the sea
i am the haunt of beasts,
my skies are crossed by longwinged owls
whose talons, whose curved beaks,
glisten in the bloodred setting sun,
menacing and alluring,
and in my nights
wolves howl a raucous music
that if you listen,
if you let it in
will unleash the wild in your heavy limbs,
starting you to run.
let it in,
and your bounding feet,
no ground underneath them,
will kick up the cold snow of certainty
into clouds
never seen in eden,
clouds of hungry unknowing
whose song, like the wolves’,
like mine, is a call
to a hunt with no prey but the hunt.