Wednesday, June 26, 1991

DREAM VESSELS # 26: Exodus rescued DRAFT

DREAM VESSELS # 26: Exodus DRAFT
     —From a collage by Marsha Connell

Three camels, ships of the desert
in caravan; turbaned riders asleep
in the green-gold of night
striding toward us
an archaic statue thick calves
a woman by the breasts, but a man in stride
the wind whips her garments
molding them to her body
left foot forward
a rice bowl above her head
the Orient, the camels, the silk road
naked vertebrae rise against the night sky
like a howling animal,
a quadruped reaching for the sky in grief
on the unstable platform of two legs
while lightning punctuates exclams the horizon
The snow capped mountains bathed in royal afterglow
a messenger walks out of the desert
neither male nor female
we must seek new paths, new directions
the way we have been going has been too late
her arms are gone, she cannot embrace us
a fissure threatens to divide her
across the gut and she is bald
her hair is lost in the night
the rice bowl, a cauldron to resurrect the dead
but the fisher king is wounded and cannot heal
she is come to tell us
that she is come
and the camels head left into the sand storm
uneasily rocking their cargo (human or otherwise)

The Israelite fled out of Egypt into the desert
surviving a series of plagues. 


Do nothing be still turn your fears into faith 
Aram's rod, the jar of manna 
god walks among them.

DREAM VESSELS # 11 Shards of Creation DRAFT (DV 12-17 MIA)

DREAM VESSELS # 11 Shards of Creation   
DRAFT
  From a collage by Marsha Connell
War, at least, has become the human condition.
       —William Styron

The sky is a Sistine chapel draped over the holy city at dawn;
the dome a lesser eye of the sun.
Writing on clay pots, images of the sun and zigzags
could be the rain, mountains or temples.
City of clay rising from the desert
God touches Adam, filling him with inspiration, breathing into him
and like the effigies we once were made of clay it is said
We write ourselves onto clay tablets while the angels looked on
we would prove to be trouble. They were right.
Adam is a reclining colossus on the green hills behind the city
God's balcony is overcrowded
perhaps this is why he is reaching out to Adam
It's a race, theyíre passing the baton, the invisible wand
but Adam is lying down on the job, naked and forthright
while God is clothed. original Sin?
He will take that back where it will lie on the pillows of Eve.
She will carry it forth, creating the races of Mankind
but the mother ship too is crowded.
The city wallsócells both protecting and isolating the nest egg.
The maleness of this religion cannot be denied.
Where are the women, the femininity?
Even the liongates are male, the angels, the cherubsóall male.
The sepulcher, by right, should be femaleó
like Queen bees, ants and termitesóthis is the pattern of nature.
In that gesture of God's to Adam—like gentle apes reaching
through the bars of a cage to touch a beloved companion,
God and Adam are cellmates both in prison;
who made the walls? surely not the women.
Perhaps God and Adam fell in love.
After all, God made Adam in his own likeness
or so it is written. And like Narcissus, God saw
his own reflection in the pools of Adam's eyes
and could not bear to be parted from himself.
Maybe the angels are really jealous
wanting something of God for themselves but this is blasphemy.
Blastopore; I will take that risk cursing the king
using God's nameórisking death by stoning.
Blas blas seed sprout  beginning in the beginning was the logos
blas + evil  blasto sprout seed bad polemy = speech sprouting speech
but there is a war going on in the Gulf.
Metaphors Desert Sand, Desert Storm, Desert Shield.
A victorious warrior returning from battle
is advised to dress for mourning (tao te ching)
We dress trees in yellow ribbons as if they were young girls.
War as a shadow of war before Eden. Pax Amerika.
Who are the chosen, and what of the Hittites, the Sumerians
and the Kurds? A continuous world war. Corporate ideo war games.
Who is taking responsibility for our shadows during this age of light?
The oil fires of Kuwait, a whole country on fire
how many days will the oil lamps burn this time?
What festival of light will lend its name to the offering from the desert?
Scud missiles exploding over Israel more beautiful than the stars
In every citadel there is a well—even the ground water is poisoned
Saddam is rebuilding the tower of Babel Sodom is Saddam in cuneiform
neb-Hussain builds for the nuclear armagedden.
There is little graceto be shed. The final prophet.
What pillars of wisdom, what articles of faith to bear witness to this?
Afraid of their own impure thoughts, men blame the women for them
in Russian every womanís patronymic name ends in the ova and ovum,

Summer 1991

DV 12-16 missing
D V #17 Grandpa Sam's Farm  (empty file..) I sure hope I have a hard copy somewhere.

Tuesday, June 25, 1991

DREAM VESSEL # 10 COVENANT

DREAM VESSEL # 10 COVENANT

If a child walks on Jerusalem's walls.
should a rainbow appear?
While in the old Jewish cemetery
a raven's wing reaches upward.
Among the stones inscribed in Hebrew
the flute player and the golden cross of the sun at T'sanque
Across from the graveyard, windows of housesóten of them
like so many eyes or commandments,
I'd swear it was Russia, 1910.
But what is the flute player doing here
resurrecting the dead.
He is the Anasazi god of fertility, his penis a flute.
He is the hunchback, the bringer of music
growing among the graves, small blue flowers, vines.
The cornices of graves like gabled roofs
all crooked, like teeth.
The child looks back over his shoulder
as he takes his morning stroll to the citadel to the dome.
A child walks on Jerusalem's walls.
This is the line that divides nations, peoples.
His shadow cast into the courtyard of the wailing wall, leviathan.
He is strutting, a soldier in the making.
Participants, celebrants the size of ants.
A child walks on Jerusalem's walls; is he Arab or Jew? some will ask.
He is a child looking back through the four arches,
portal at the top of the steps leading to the citadel.
He is walking away, looking back to a distant time
when the only conceivable answer was yes.
I dreamed I was in the courtyard, 
I was asked to chose between three religions:
 the Christian I knew, Moslem scared me,
I went to the Jewish temple. I chose the oldest,
but the choice was not mine.

Summer 1991

Monday, June 24, 1991

DREAM VESSEL # 8 MASADA

DREAM VESSEL # 8 MASADA
      —from Gulf War Collages by Marsha Connell

Beneath a bandage of snow the stones of Masada—
wounded mathematics address a long mountainous road.
Am I dreaming a mirage of islands on the horizon?
Why not sooty chimney stacks or columns of faith?
Fluted pillars lintel the sunset. Icons of the past take flight.
I struggle with the mechanics of closed systems.
In the collage, a virginal doll fell from a brooding sky.
Names of religion, of stars. Of missiles. The sixth pillar.
From Tel Aviv, photos of the artist’s daughter in a gas mask;
an “I am” escapes on the breath of the god of collateral damage.
I thought of Georgia O'Keeffe in the desert painting the secrets
of flowers in the curved throat of mountains.
This is my body said the doll as she orbited industrial skies,
the moon is chasing the earth's darkness. This is my blood.
When the cities were bombed, I dreamed of skiing on sand.
Who told me to ski the fall line with harmonic determination?
I traverse a slope too steep to bear the weight of the world
in the direction of declination. A leap of faith.
Sand and snow are one thing, but time stutters
and slips like old movies as we watch celluloid fires on CNN.
They say life passes before the eyes of those resurrected from death.
In those last infinite seconds, what images did the mind choose to view?
Drink from the body of memory, the world is a narrow bridge.
The mountains, stubbled with 6 O'clock shadow.
If we make it out of this one, it'll be a close shave,
no matter what icons we choose to salvage or bury.
Summer 1991/9/2001

Sunday, June 23, 1991


DREAM VESSELS # 7: Grandmothers          
 from a collage by Marsha Connell
  
From a turbulent sea filled with icebergs,
where immigrants waited to enter the promised land,
blind and crowned with thorns, Liberty rises.
Or is she drowning, sinking beneath the waves?
In a crepuscular haze where nothing is clearly defined,
not even the edges of the sky, industrial scrubbers
breathe warm clouds into the frigid air.

Towels and aprons, domestic prayer flags;
a grandmother hangs out clothes to dry, touches the mezuzah.
In a locked cabinet, whiskered koi frozen on a ginger jar—
The memory of ancient fish, venerable as the sun.
The small child wants to touch them and wonders
if they still dream of being fish—or have they forgotten how.

Where are all the grandmothers?
How to explain to the children free carbon
cannot escape through the holes in the ozone layer.
A slow polar Armageddon ripens under greenhouse skies.
The seas will rise, the cities will flood.
No time to worry about the trees.

Though everything is cyclical, we can't see into the next one.
Both enemies shrouded under the same veil of history—
Liberty ages, ice melts into the sea.
Her eyes seem to say this too shall pass.
Prayer flags continue to do a brisk trade with the wind.

Summer 1991

Saturday, June 22, 1991

TRINITY


TRINITY 

from a drawing by Marsha Connell, White Sands Guardians

When Marsha drew 
rock formations at Stallion Gate,
naming them White Sands Guardians,
she knew nothing of their history
witnesses to Ground Zero, 
and the new green desert glass, trinitite
On July 16th,1945,
the sand fused for miles
by Trinity; a destroyer of worlds,
said J. Robert Oppenheimer.
This is the place 
where Billy the Kid 
& Pancho Villa last rode
on The Trail of the Dead.

This is the place
where ghosts of the Cold War 
swarmed in hissing sands, 
where fathers and sons listened 
to the sounds of war 
growling across a cloudless sky
announce the birth 
of the nuclear age.

This is the place 
where blood stained white sands, 
and the threefold nightmare 
of a black flower bloomed,
riding across the world 
at the speed of light.   


6/91 & 7/16/92                                                                        

DREAM VESSELS # 6: Cellist

DREAM VESSELS # 6: Cellist
      —from a collage by Marsha Connell
       War is a symphony of destruction
       orchestrated by few & paid for by many.
             —anon.

In the gnarled bark of white pines,
an angel is hidden. Once a primordial sea
covered Owen's Valley. Sometimes
when the light is just right,
if you don't quite look, angels lean out
as if the tree were the prow of a ship
launched on the crest of the White Mountains.
We've sailed to the New World and taken the moon hostage.
Who spilled the moon? Who will drink to it, or mend its shell?
Annularity at sunset. Light knows its own source.
An eclipse swallowed the moon burning from within.
The faceless musician in a trenchcoat holds the cello—
concealed behind the saturnine curves of resonant wood.
Who gets to be the cellist in the next incarnation?
Or the cat? Where is the orchestra?
Who's left to interpret the dreams of 1644? Or now?
Morphos is asleep. A netted fish for Medusa's hair.
The moon is made of basalt like the sea floor.
More dead than alive, the tree hangs onto dreams,
hangs onto life by a thin Cambrian cord,
umbilicus to earth; its roots—archaic seeds
that sprouted before the Bible was proscribed.
Shadows of branches finger the air,
ply the wind, fretting the traces
for an ancient symphony of light.
Summer 91/92

Tuesday, June 18, 1991

DREAM VESSELS # 5: Shards of Destruction

DREAM VESSELS # 5: Shards of Destruction
           — from a collage by Marsha Connell
Twilight comes ponderously of age in the tropics.
Birds gather to watch the jewels on the shores
of Waikiki glisten with that peculiar illusion of light
when the blurring of headlights becomes a serpent
winding along Ala Moana Drive. Streets converge in an X.
A multitude of shoes come to mind; Imelda's maybe—
Kept in her exiled husband’s air-conditioned maseoleum
in the Valley of the Temples, where he waits for a political thaw.
Above the white void, it is equally difficult to hide,
or to find one's way to the other side of the question.
Should it be so strange to see skyscrapers rise
from the curved smile of pots, or lipstick crosses
lodged   between fixed systems of thought?
Blue macaws witness iridescent missiles
shove the horizon against the edge of the rainforest;
they wear broken shards for cloaks of mourning.
The household of the earth torn open,
labia pierced by the jeweled cities;
the rapists asking if she enjoyed it.
What's the use of asking those kinds of questions
when even the birds lean away from each other?
A bamboo torii gate with enough sense to grow
out of the confines of the sky cannot close the hole.
Broken vessels cut just as well as shrapnel.
It's only the context of violence which is different.
The boats in their berths, coffins of light
crusade against the darkness of the sea.
Summer 91 & 92
1992 Chaminade Review

DREAM VESSELS —from collages by Marsha Connell

Saturday, June 1, 1991

WHY I AM A POET

WHY I AM A POET


The silhouette of a bird on a telephone pole
a raven, a vulture, a hawk? Too big.
I swerved and braked the truck—
in the sunlight, a golden eagle,
too close to civilization, and I understood
why they're called golden; they are luminous.
Spotting eagles within city limits
isn't reason enough to write a poem about it.
What am I supposed to do now?
Tell the world I hang eagle feathers
from my ceiling to keep away bad dreams?
We feel compelled to talk of more human things
site-specific, but now I've seen rare eagles
where they're not supposed to be.
We've come to expect vultures and crows
with whom we co-exist so beautifully.
The raptor who faced near-extinction
isn't reason enough to celebrate;
our sights are limited to an occasional red-tail
on the fringes of society, and we are satisfied.
We always have trouble imagining
anything beyond our own limitations.


6/91