10 December 2017

James Koller
Looking for His Horses

28 November 2016



Walking up to the window
winter gray first morning light,

I missed him, didn't see
he sat atop the garden fence post,

then did, & stopped, & he knew
I'd stopped when I saw him,

& he was still, no move
until I moved, took one small step back,

& he turned, flew straight away,
passed into the gray & white trees

James Koller
15 Jan 09
from A River I Couldn't Find

26 May 2016

Hello from Placitas, NM

Here's a recording I did in (I'm pretty sure) 1986 in Albuquerque when I was setting up readings at the Central Torta.

Thank you for "Crows Talk To Him." I liked the song and I'm asking who wrote the lyrics -- is it Jim or his son?

If you happen to know what books Jim was reading from let me know and I'll add it to the information.

Larry Goodell, 
a direct contemporary and long time friend of Jim Koller's.

28 January 2016

Some older videos collected here...

On the Poet's Cafe July, 2011


At RISD 20 Nov 2007



In Rome April 2008


Performance di Stefano Panzarasa alla vernice della Mostra di Collage di James Koller tenutasi 6/11/2010 alla Grafica Campioli , Monterotondo ROMA


Recent Bone Show Excerpt May 2011


22 January 2016

Traduttologia's new issue with a commemoration of Jim is available

dear friends

Traduttologia's new issue with a commemoration of Jim is available.

a. V (n. s.), n. 9-10, luglio 2013 - gennaio 2014

Per James Koller. A un amico, in memoria

It contains my translation of Wilderness by Carl Sandburg with Jim's short biographical note

 my translation of a slight  different version of "A river I couldn't find", worked by Jim and Stefano to be played as a song - we already sent the link - 

my translation of "From the Hotel Alba, Pescara" and brief comments on Jim's and Sandburg's poems. Some consideration on the term Wilderness and its translation into Italian.

a big hug 

10 December 2015

remembering the poets

We moved by water, slowly
found our way in the dark, through the canals,
around the tight corners. We moved slowly-
circled out & in, put it together
like some kind of needlework. Some places
folks don't live their lives in a straight line.

James Koller (1936-2014)
15 Oct 87 Venezia


One Journey

Moths and other sacred wings
Butterflies and bees whisper
In breath of the wind
Blessed way blessing way things

Dreams are the minds streams
Thought pictures of the spirit
There are dreams of the day
There are dreams of the night

Thinking and dreaming are related
Dreams of the day we make our own
Dreams of night part eternals stone
There are dream takers
Taking from dream worlds
Taking dreams as a way of
Stealing thoughts

Turning minds inside then out
Dream slavers want to change
Our connections to ourselves
Mess with our dreams make us unsure
Unclear about right and wrong
Feed our dreams and instincts
To industrial profit machine

Difference between dream and fantasy
Reality and illusion center and no center
Dreams of the day keep our spirits alive
Our creative mind who we really are

With dreams we can create and heal
Follow our original purpose
Dreams are protection good medicine
Blessed way blessings way things

Sun and moon continue
We are all on one journey

John Trudell (1946-2015)
from Children of Earth
Childs Voice


For Jim

10 dicember 2014
10 Dicember 2015
dear Jim we remember you

25 November 2015

hello from Dianella in Italy

Ciao, with the permission of Jed Koller almost every day I put in my blog one poem of Jim  from "A river I could't find":https://poesiaprosaspontanea.wordpress.com/2015/11/21/a-river-i-couldnt-find-di-james-koller-2/
I love so much these poems of Jim and I remember him as poet and as person. In few day is the 10 dicember, as you know naturally
all the best from Dianella

20 February 2015

Another song for James Koller. Love, Bertie

Searching For Blue Sky
my father died an old
man coyote crow
face to the open
window sky road

we gathered around
the world together him
a lifetime of
children lovers friends

for blue sky

oh joplin missouri
wind & clouds & rain
a poet died in your arms
but to you it's all the same

we're all just passing through
nomads drifters tramps
on our way to somewhere else
black coffee & maps

for blue sky

set me loose on the
highways back-roads trails
let my heart
open love wail

for the days yet to
come be pass
from now until my
final closing last

for blue sky

my father died an old
man coyote crow
face to the open
window sky road

beneath a mid-day sun
whiskey feathers bells
together we bade him

for blue sky

23 Jan 15

our Love, Bob

05 February 2015

from Ida Rose

There is a chair in my kitchen where you've always sat
I look over
and see you there
watching me.
You smile. And with your same eyes,
I smile back.

(I love you, dad.)

04 February 2015

M. Swift - For Jim, on the 49th Day

For Jim, on the 49th Day

Thus shall ye think of all this fleeting world:a star at dawn,
 a bubble in a stream;
 a flash of lightning in a summer cloud,
 a flickering lamp, a phantom
 and a dream.

— The Diamond Sutra

29 January 2015

After reading " from a daughter" - Dianella

After reading " from a daughter"
Ci sono persone
che rimangono sempre fuori di noi
anche se le tocchiamo
ci parliamo
ci scambiamo parole
e ci auguriamo belle cose -
altre le vedi due volte
ma intensamente
altre non le hai mai viste
sono morte da anni e decenni e anche più -
eppure le senti ogni giorno dentro di te -
sono i tuoi maestri -
le hai viste quelle due volte
e quando ti dicono è morto
senti che è venuto  a stare da te
dentro di te -
è una cosa strana ma vera

from John Lane

Thank you for sending me this link. I was so sad to hear of Jim's passing. Please accept my sincerest condolences. Peter Garland had emailed me to let me know that Jim had passed. I wish we had been able to mount a production of The Bone Show for them, but I just couldn't get it together.

It is lovely to see all of the tributes pouring in from various poets and friends. Thank you for sending me the link.

I have a picture of Jim and Peter. Perhaps you'd like to put it up? It is from 2011. And here's a link to excerpts from The Bone Show: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pHDNnGe5SRE

All the Best,

15 January 2015

from a daughter

Poem title: "Because I told you that you would live on through me"

When a person dies
   many say that they leave
      an emptiness

I have been looking for this emptiness
   under rocks, in the sky, in city bricks and on train tracks
      in sounds
         like the tea kettle whistle, or the winter rain hitting the window

   I can't find the emptiness

I keep running into You
   here, there
       here, there

Even the prism through which I see and hear
   all of these things
      has your hand so firmly in its blueprint

So why should there be emptiness when You are everywhere
   and the world has become so full of You
that my heart intermingles its beats
   with Your own?

02 January 2015

in this and of 2014

Dear Jim, in this and of 2014 we think to you
with love from Dianella

Jerome Rothenberg - The Sky that Harbors Heaven

The Sky that Harbors Heaven
                                 for Jim Koller, in memory                

into the
homeless state
the lines
of poets
not hardened yet
into belief
& other acts
of cruelty

their voices
lost to us
signal a silence
sure as death*                                   * as breath
& louder
even now
I hear
& treasure
like a cry

the greatest
is silent
as the wise man
& turns
the future
still behind him

we love
only because
they break
the world
enough to let
the faintest light
shine through

the sky
that harbors heaven
is no sky
the darker world
enfolds it
waits there
until it swallows
mind & body

leaving scarce
a trace
once &
for all


29 December 2014

Harry Hoogstraten - Kerst groet

sad   so sad  ....

Dear Maggie here are some of the poems I know Jim liked, wishing you and the children all the best , love Harry


23 December 2014

Bertie Koller - Old Black Crow - song for James Koller

Performed at a Winter Solstice celebration at my neighbor's house.
Accompanying me are Jamie (bass) & Sean (percussion) Oshima.


Old Black Crow

cold cold river
cold cold ground
I'm gonna lay this body down
but I can't stay
no I've gotta go
I'm gonna fly away with that old black crow

old black crow
old black crow
I'm gonna fly away with that old black crow

I've got rye whiskey
& cold ice cream
I've got all that I need
but I can't stay
no I've gotta go
I'm gonna soar away with that old black crow

old black crow
old black crow
I'm gonna soar away with that old black crow

these nights are long
cold & dark
but there's a sliver of moon & so many stars
to guide my way
let's go old black crow

old black crow
old black crow
let's go old black crow

hey blue sky
I won't forget
it is what it is
you get what you get
& that's just fine
it's the way things go
I'm gonna fly away with that old black crow

old black crow
old black crow
I'm gonna fly away with that old black crow

19 December 2014
for James Koller

Theadora Koller - Finishing the Road Trip

Homage to poet James Koller...

Homage to poet James Koller on the Web site of the Regional Nature Park of Monti Lucretti (Italy), where James had frequently visited since 2002 and shared his poetry with students from local schools. A heartfelt thanks to Stefano Panzarasa and Mariagrazia Pelaia for their years of working with Dad in sharing poems about nature with those children. This work meant a great deal to him. 
The homage includes videos and translations in Italian.

Bobby Byrd - BIRDS for Jim

Winter Solstice 2014
El Paso, Texas
—for Jim Koller

Couldn’t sleep. Reading Gary Snyder.
“Essential nature is not female or male.”
So surprising, so obvious, so revolutionary.
Woman and man. Good and evil.
Like golden aspen leaves fluttering to the earth.
It’s been years since I lived in the mountains.
I woke up at 4:30 and waited until
The night skies began to turn
Pinks and blues. A grey cloud
Stretched across the Rio Grande to Juárez.
We moved to this house almost 40 years ago.
We have grown old inside these walls.
Blood pressure 133/86. I am 72 years old.
My friend Jim Koller died last week.
Room 124 of the Motel 6, Joplin, MO.
A stroke scrambled his brain into darkness.
A few days later the rest of his body
Followed to the other side.
A road runner stared at Cirrelda
Through her Albuquerque window
That same morning. The bird
Preened its beautiful feathers.
“Jim Koller,” Cirrelda said.
Her body warm under the covers next to J.B.
She makes those connections.
A very human gift.
We have a mockingbird always
Screaming at me to open the gate.
“Nothing to it. Just let go.” Jim
Killed an elk on San Antonio Mountain,
The horses snorting and whinnying
At the crack of his rifle. It pierced
The peace that passes all understanding.
That morning likewise was years ago. Was ice cold.
Death steam rose fresh from the elk cavern
As Jim, kneeling like a priest,
Sliced into the dark center of life,
The bloody knife razor sharp,
Hands trembling in the terrible cold.

“CAW, CAW, CAW,” the crows screamed.

Beauty at the beginning
Man and woman. Good and evil.
Aspen leaves rotting into the cold earth.
Beauty at the end
No beginning. No end.
Beauty all around

That day and for weeks to come
Jim, his lover, his friends feasted on elk meat.
“Delicious, “he said.

Goodbye, Jim. Goodbye.
We’ll keep it real as long as we can.

Giuseppe Moretti - Remembering Jim Koller

Remembering Jim Koller

I came to know James Koller thanks to Gary Lawless, who told me “you must know this guy” and he gave me his email address. I wrote him and he answered sending me The Bone Show text, one of his masterpieces. I answered back “whow, this is good medicine!”. And there it started our friendship which lasted till the day of his passing away. Before that I knew him through occasional reports from the Sixties & Seventies’ counterculture press (he had a few of his things published in Italy, thanks to his friend Franco Beltrametti, in the rather famous Fernanda Pivano’s anthology “L’altra America degli Anni Sessanta”) and the perception I had of him was of a man hard to locate, perpetually on the move.

Eventually we met, during one of his frequent visit to Europe, and we started journeying through the Italian watersheds for poetry readings and talks. He has been very instrumental and supportive to our work of promoting the bioregional vision in Italy and I owe him lots of discussions and deepening on the concept. His points were always acute and accurate as they reflected years of study on culture and nature. Although at ease in every context he was perfectly comfortable when he was on the road (a pleasant anecdote: every time we were about to leave, we approached the road singing “On the road again / just can’t wait to get on the road again…” of Willie Nelson), I would say the road was his daily bread, an open door to new possibilities, alliances and new territories. His bioregion reflects the map of his travelling and spoke in terms of poems, landscapes and stories around the fire. Over the years he build up an extensive network of people and situations over which he could count for hospitality and a chance for sharing poems and thoughts, and I’m very proud to have been a little nod in his net.

Thanks Jim for your art, your exquisite poems, for the little Coyote book of mine “Watersheds of the Mind” you did (in three languages!!), for hosting me in your home in Georgetown and for the walk in the Maine woods to see the beaver dams and later along the shore of Walden Pond in Concord, Massachussetts, to visit Thoreaus’ cabin site. For the journey along the northern coast of California to see Mount Tamalpais, Bolinas, Point Reyes and up to Mendocino County, and before that the ride to Kitkitdizze where I attended to a memorable conversation between you and Gary Snyder on the good old days, and thanks very much for offering your time to edit the translation in English of my writings. This is the first without you… and the difference is evident. 

Giuseppe Moretti
(on winter Sostice’s day)

22 December 2014

Winter's coming - from Stefan Hyner


There never was a more honest place to be
as when Jim was riding 
the road of this Saha-World with me

these photos for Jim from Dianella an Livio with love

Dear all,  these photos are our "gathering in time"
Dianella and Livio from Selva Malvezzi ( Italy)

21 December 2014

James Koller (winter solstice 2014) - Bob Arnold 21 December 14

Rita degli Esposti 19 December 14

part of a poem I really loved to hear from Jim's voice, for Dario Villa, and now, sadly, for Jim...

...immacolato, spirit
from il cielo
an immaculate
segreto della notte
agitates the secret
agitava the stars
la brezza della night
my passion
fuso con luce
in this country


Fred Wah 19 December 2014

From the blog, Red Log, by Fred Wah:

"I met Jim, after many years, at the 70’s event at Orono several years ago. His attention and energy seemed still as he had been in the early 60’s when he and I, at Robert Duncan’s suggestion, talked of publishing a book of his poetry as a SUMbook. We were living in Albuquerque and had just published Duncan’s Writing Writing. Though Jim and I explored the possibility of doing his book, it didn’t happen. It was published as Two Hands in Seattle in 1965. I was attracted to Jim’s poetry in pretty much the same way I had taken to Snyder’s: northwest, mountains, rivers, trees, animal spirits, etc., a poetics of place I felt aligned with. We published Jim in SUM #2 (February, 1964) and in the final issue (#7, 1965). I’d like to honour Jim’s poetic presence through the years by offering these pages of his from SUM #2."

Giuseppe Moretti 14 Dec 14

... Thanks Jim, for all the journey through the Italian watersheds we had together. For all the books and booklets we did together, for all the poems shared and the readings you generously gave for us all. You’ve been such a good friend and a great poet.

I’ll keep you in my heart forever.

from Po river watershed to the Blue Sky...

Giuseppe Moretti

17 December 2014

From Mariagrazia


oval hugs

from Rita Degli Esposti

"...Gonna miss you more when you're gone"

Supenova edizioni in Venezia (John Gian who organised Jim's very first reading in Europe, Armando Pajalich, Rita Degli Esposti) published "Fortune", by Jim, in 1987,( translated by Franco Beltrametti) and this iconic poem was in it.

"Gonna be worst than now"

With love, Lily Bruder

I had the privilege of sharing this dance with Jim at my wedding last year. It was the last time we were to see each other.
I will miss him and continue to be inspired by him always.
With love,

with love and gratitude, David Schneider

Jim strode towards me the first time we met, holding a creased sheet of paper bearing my picture. I’d sent him the image by email, so we’d recognize one another, and he’d printed it out. I stood at the head of the train in the Cologne station, where I said I would, and he came right on, and held the sheet up next to my head to compare. Then he extended a hand. We’d been exchanging emails for some time.

Jim—chiefly through Coyote Books—had been one of Philip Whalen’s principle publishers, and I was at work on Philip’s biography. Jim had also served as one of Philip’s editors, especially on the large compilation On Bear’s Head. Philip was grateful for all of Jim’s efforts, but beyond that, he also admired Jim’s poetry a great deal, and he enjoyed Jim’s company. He said this repeated. Philip also often leaned on Jim for transport—of himself and of many assorted belongings—because Jim usually had a truck, and Philip usually needed a ride. 

On the day we met, Jim had taken a slightly longer route to Germany, kindly coming through Cologne, so I could interview him. We had lunch first, at a brewery close to the station. After I translated pretty much all the menu items, he said, “If they really have a liver-dumpling soup…well, I haven’t had that in a while.” As a source, Jim was precise, and when he couldn’t be, he restrained himself from speculation. He was surprisingly talkative about what he knew, and he knew an awful lot.

As I worked at writing the book, Jim would graciously look over chapters, query some things, point out others I hadn’t seen. He and Maggie Brown published one long chapter about Philip and Gary Snyder in the online Coyote’s Journal. Jim was a tremendous help and friendly, generous, guiding spirit.

I attach two pictures: 
— one the day we spoke, at a cafe near the Cologne main station;
— one of Jim’s name, copied out in a formal hand. 
Partly because Philip Whalen was a buddhist, because I am, and because Jim seemed at least respectful of buddhism, the card will sit on my shrine until the traditional seven weeks have elapsed since his passing.


from Patsy and Sascha

Koller,with his buddy Jean Paul Belmondo, 1966

16 December 2014

Video: Last Will and Testament

Last Will and Testament
Monte Matano, Moricone, Italia - 2006
Un abbraccio,
Stefano Panzarasa

14 December 2014

Love, Giona Beltrametti


 15 Novembre 2008 - Como Train Station.
1979 - Wolf dog, Franco and Jim, Monte Generoso near Riva San Vitale.

Love, Ida Chapman

Me and my dad.

for our Wild Bardo James

I am Gino from Napoli, south Italia.
James was here many times...was time of poems and heart..big heart.
so..i am with You and with all your family this time of His journey in the eternal Nature of Bliss...
Him is always Live...eternal heart poem.
Yours in LOve

love from massimo and corine

Jim  in Selva del Lamone (Maremma- Italy) - September 2004 for the second Festival of Reistent Literature

Love from massimo de feo and corine young

 Jim in Roma, May 5- 2010, with his daughter and Corine Young
Jim in Spoleto with massimo de feo, in the morning of May 5- 2010

too young - Rita Degli Esposti

Crossing the corner,the shop  where we used to laugh and watch the window , those clothes " for retired people"...no you were too young to die, your soul was young your poetry your heart your pure presence...maybe those who die so young, like you, never die
 the sense of love and sobriety you took into my  life


from Judy Goldhaft

Dear Folks,
I had hoped to post this on the blog for Jim. It took me awhile to put my thoughts into words, so here is a weeks worth of thoughts.

I send you all my best energy to deal with this difficult time. Such an incredible loss.

Please keep me updated and let me know if there is any way I can be of help or support to you.

Judy Goldhaft  (Judy Berg)
San Francisco 12/11/14


Dec 5

So good to see so many of your friends writing on the blog.

Brilliant silver sky full of rain.  Thinking of you water dripping from my eyes too. 

Thanks for the twinkle in your eye. Loved your conversations with Peter Garland. Loved even more our conversations together with Peter Berg – us three rolling in the grass at night, drinking Old Overholt, howling at the moon.

Many thanks for WIND, Fragments for a Beginning. We’ll sing it when we give Peter’s ashes to the fire and the sky on the beach.

Loved your response to my pointing out how many wives you’ve had. Ingenuously, “Well, it wasn’t my fault.”  You are such a lover. I love you Jim.



Driving out to Pt. Reyes predawn
    Your presence is with me
    Your laugh
    & smiling eyes

The sun’s orange glow warms the fog at the rise into Olema. Ravens take flight.

The shimmering water on the road reflecting brilliant winter light recalls wet and snowy streets in Bath

We visited in the nowever as I drove through fog mists along wet highways.   
Recalling other times, another trips, some poemized by you – captured moments in time.

.… Dreamtime visitin’

Dec. 9
In the dark
You transport me
Wrap me in your reality
I breathe with you
From you
For you

Dec. 10

Sadness overwhelms me

Big wind coming tonight

perhaps you’ll blow through

A VENEZIA per Jim Koller, in ricordo

A VENEZIA per Jim Koller, in ricordo

In questa città
dove tutto fluttua, dove siamo stati vivendo,
come hai fatto notare, in cerchi concentrici, sono
andato a letto tardi stanotte e come poche altre volte
ho sentito dentro il cielo grigio una stella respirare
alta nel suo pianto. Una nuvola a forma di lupo
poi è corsa qui sopra ad essa vicina, libera, in questa città
dove come scrivesti la gente non vive la vita
in linea retta. Un' ultima cosa, si procedeva lenti,
girando per strade d'acqua nella sera improvvisa.
Non c'era per forza qualcosa da fare.

dicembre 2014, Francesco Giusti

"From my perspective"

"From my perspective"

Outside in hall squeaky soles

machine to lift move muscles drained

lights on paper wall attempt cheerful

smiles over cataclysm

Knock open door reveal words

tearful life words singing family

root-tight togetherness walking

him through to new life.

Love and peace to you all - Chaplain Justin Coberley, S.R.C.V.

Jim super Jim

ti pensiamo e ancora una volta ti abbracciamo, un abbraccio anche a tutti coloro che ti stanno vicino
cita mimi e miguel

from Thea - Last Will and Testament in Spanish

Sólo quiero que me cubra un cielo azul
quiero nubes, tantas
de ellas, cambiantes, pasando,
cambiando al pasar.

Quiero las noches más oscuras
repletas de estrellas girando.
Quiero que me encuentren los pájaros,
quiero el aliento cálido de los animales.

El viento también ha de pasar,
en su camino a los lugares
en los que estuve.

love from Dianella

Dear Jim,

guardo il giardino
l'erba più verde
sei tu

from Laurie Burhoe

Fare thee well Jim.

10 December 2014

Love, Bob & Susan

It's all a great loss

But the greater loss

is not wanting to have

a world without your dad

I've never been in

this world

without him
James Anthony Koller Jr.
30 May 1936 - 10 December 2014


I want only blue sky over me.
I want the clouds, so many
of them, variations, passing,
changing as they pass.

I want the blackest nights
filled with turning stars.
I want birds to find me,
want the hot breath of animals.

The wind too shall pass,
on its way to places
I have been.

                                            30 Nov 95
                                            Battle Mountain

from Cirrelda Snider-Bryan

here is another photo from that June of 2006 time in New Mexico … along the walk we found this sculpture
solidarnösc, cirrelda

from Richards Burhoe

From Patsy to Jim

Dearest Jim,
almost 50 years of knowing you
loving you
missing, greeting, apart,together
connecting, missing again and again
don't know where to start
can't get arms around you not there
not here
your voice
that precious voice on the phone
instantly making me smile
all is forgiven
all is just right

all the letters
later the emails,
filled with your narratives,
your poems

we married others,
had our children with others;
this was how it was
some things are never completed.
now you are getting ready to fly away
this is how it is

all who love you are trying to let you go,
to cheer you,bless you on your journey
I know I should too.
Am working on it.
For now am sending you all love
on every sparkling channel
I can dial in:
love to you
and to your dear family, encircling you.

In the woods I looked up,
saw two Flickers high in a tree.
Watched them a while.
Suddenly one took flight.
There was a little pause,
then the other flew after.
They were calling to each other.

Love, Peter Coyote


Shrouded in coast fog, the chitter
of Nuthatch and Junco
crisp as a  shaman’s rattle. All morning
late plums drum my garden
steps. I am mixing my mother’s ashes
with birdseed, elbow-deep
in a galvanized pail.
I am swishing the whispering
seed with ghostly flour
ground in the flower-blue bell
of the crematorium’s roar
pollinating each grain
with her smoky voice, the ghost
of her elegant pearls.

Plunging my hands into the seed
her flesh a gritty surprise
more sand than smoke.

The seed, the chaff, the hazing vapor
stirs memory --a downy puff dusting her angled cheek
the glow of her in a child’s eyes---
the scented fog,wobbling motes
                              hopping, waiting, head-cocked birds and songs
flow through my fingers,
ticking into the tinned tub

These powdery seeds offered
to couriers carrying her
through the dilated iris of the sky
rustle the tips of the grass,
slough off her exhausted flesh,
with acrobatic abandon
and detachment.

Rising from this meld of future and past
my spooky hands.                                         
August 17, 1999  revised 2003, 8-14-2013, 03-24-14


Lethal Grain
                                  for Daniel Pearl

Insoluble grit stimulates nacre
shielding tender oyster flesh from pain
creating the splendor of a pearl.
Suffering is lodged in the heart of beauty.

Conducting an interview
he never suspected the story
featured his assassin. A few quick strokes
sketched a plum-colored tulip of his throat.

Wide-eyed at the final instant
did he understand
the debt of red-ink pooling in his lap?
His head drops like a petal.

The camera he assumed would guarantee
a ransom, scooped him.
He became the last editions
of himself. He became:

“the Jew”, “the Journalist”, “the American”
and finally “the Patient”
in a straight-to-video snuff film.
Had he no notion that he would be held
responsible for the deaths to which others

had signed his name? No notion that rocks for
the Jews of Nablus and Ramallah were also pitched
at him? The ‘doctors’ struggling to vanquish
foreign disease mock his wife

compound bitter ironies from gall,
 inoculate their own hearts against remorse
 with homeopathic doses of their own
dismembered wives and children.

They cannot claw pilots from the sky
 so slice this Pearl
 or whatever they can catch.
 Feed it to their God, Kalashnikoff.

 The robed men milk poppies--  
calculate his life an overdue bill
resent the shade he casts on the goat
they’ve staked for slaughter. Their parched lips
calculate goat and reporter equal.

And the pearl is passed from hand to hand
the hand of the giver shadows for an instant
the hand of the receiver, passing
the darkness with the gift— the sharp-edged grain

disguised, transmitted through time
as an accumulating viral load.

                                                Feb. 25, 2002
                                                rev. April 14, 2014


Earth is a Woman, Sure
Earth is a woman, sure
but most beautiful when
she weeps. Tears shining, falling
from fluttering ravens lashed
to the cheeks of the sky.
Soot-streaked hills
softened by mist and stinging rain
the cries of wild geese singing
                     Avalokiteshvara’s pity for the passing world.
And you who know me well
who question my proclivity
for women in perpetual shade
hiding their flesh from the sun,
Beside the mystery of myself
I can only add that tears
are the heart’s juice, some balm
against the diamond chill
 of beauty.


A young boy safe in the fragrant loft
of a tin-roofed barn, wrapped
in the blanket sheltering his sleeping father
from the fury pelting the roof—  
the heaving flank of mountain--   his chest--  
an unusual comfort.

                                                                        April 25, 2014


The Dogs of Bucharest

The dogs of Bucharest are dusted
with crumbled mansions, ash
of red flags. They doze
in ruined dreams abandoned
by their masters. They bark
whelp and die without
plan or permission. Occasionally,
like thinkers, like poets,
they are rounded up
and shot.

A bitch with flapping teats
haunts the ruined foundry
where I film an entertainment
for my country.
This feral dog eyes the roll I proffer
trembles, intention whittled
to a point. The whimpering
pups beneath a wrack of ruined iron
cannot soften her stiff legged fear.

Sad and sooty sumacs,
tattered sorrel, small luminous, lavender flowers
conquer the twisted rubble
vanquish the iron track.
Seed, stem, and  bramble
trump the stained concrete
trump all, except
the gnawing hunger of the dogs.

                                    June 26, 2004


Hunting Rubies
Empty even of hunger
the bones of your heels
are restless to leave the rail.
Loss is in the air
and underfoot.
A cord has snapped.

My love once sought
her rubies in the deep pile
of our scarlet carpet.

Eyes shadowed by loss,
Owl’s keen sight piercing the dark
She anticipates the finish
where pavement and clear sailing end
and her feet will seek mercy
between the stones.

My beloved,
my hands too are empty
dusted only with the pollen of your body.
Can you not follow my tracks
to where I’ve dried and stored the corn?

“You give me champagne and I’m starving.”

Has all of me been refused?
Have I stolen your portion of the bee’s gold--   
the bird’s songs from your throat?
Have I taken the best of you?

Oh, wait! Please just wait!
Can’t you see how feverishly
I am tying feathers.
to your arms?               
             June 30, 2008
            rev. April 14,2014 


The Dogs of Bucharest II

Romanian dogs have drum-tight skin.
Hearts slap the ribs drumming loss
through jungles of ruined concrete.
Heads down, clustered like jackals
scanning the broken streets
they are afraid of men.

American dogs shine like gold.
Are sleek with oil, have energy
confidence to burn.
They have vitamins in their feed
by law, are better fed
than  our own poor.

                                    June 26, 2004
                                     rev. July 11, 2014