Through surrounding trees

If the bark of these trees was
my trees I would worry. Over
the ridge, memories, fresh as
a new coat of paint, how they
came to these lands and showed me
this and that of modern man,
in straight lines and against the
grain, covered the hills with strong
pine as if they never could
not have been, quarried the use
less mountains for good stone
to build their tall buildings
demonstrated – what messages
might be in language; taught me
how to count that I too might
count others and come to count
on them and speak – speaking
only to myself, picking
away at the peeling bark
of eucalyptus revealing
smooth clean trunks, bark thickens.


I View an Impulse

The sky is a lot and this moves me.
My trees worry me too. The leaves
sigh their last breaths and I count
their departures as failures, one
for yesterday, two for today.
The leaves are the peeling off of me,
the layers of weather and time.
The sun pushes its corruption
through the clouds: really pastoral,
really sublime.


Trunk Line

The trunk is the unbroken line
Of administration the trunk
Is fibrous leads away into the air
Into matters of state the heart is
Stony the trunk is optical, immaterial
Nothing is the same again after Guernika
After empire, nothing remains the same when
A whole thing appears in my mind like
Liberation or rearranging the landscape by
Planting trees in rows, the different orders
Around the bend in the road



The Map

In a few minutes you'll see
the place where we were born.
It's like human, but it's stone.
It's besides the ruins of late
civilizations, in the heaps
of autumn debris. It's west
of empire and in the headlands'
highest point, that pinnacle
of poison plant and fog.
No gaze quite as firm
as a map's fixed mirror
of what we've spoiled.



Round the bend

I can see it through the year's leaves (heaps of
Autumn debris). A place where people laugh politely
and someone is up to no good, nervous, heavy on his feet.

I pitch camp within the background as the fly leaf
falls looking for air in small circles, as under the
ground sheet worms make their way. Thinking
is easy, pull out all the pegs or strip the matter out
leaving only the leaf's structure. The tent disappears,
the yellow grass grows green, leaves, comes back again.


Poison Pinnacle

The village people will be at the center of the valley
perseverating like in Shirley Jackson's lottery.
The king will be there to commandeer the building
of a straw man, to put in the straw man's all-seeing eyes.
We're numbered, we're marked. We pay the price
of our excess with occasional sacrifice. Half-mast eyes.
The bluster of editorial and rhetoric in lead type. We write
about it, and time passes. We write about it, build
paper and straw monuments, but the edifice is diamond,
is kryptonite, is insurmountable. I don't know
what comes next, or I do and it's so over, not just tradition,
but the wind and the sounds it carries over us and across the valley.