Online Exclusive

Three Poems

Alchemy (1947)

How the entire story is enjambed with color—
            black, white, red & gold: holding existences in near extinction.

The story is the story of slashing forces, a non-place without figures or trees—inscapes   
             metaphoric & metamorphic, inconstant as the ceaseless sea.

The hunt: to be storied, to add to the narrative, named in the mind.

White glitter of quicksilver, transformation.
            To turn something worthless into value: to not
             die a flickering shadow.

Dark as the wall of a cave, darkness is origin & end: ropes of 
            blue, the blueness of myth & the end of myth, overlay a tangle

of inky whips, afterimage
            of the bison hump arrowed in the hunt.

What if what is base could be made priceless? What then would be the value of value?

Failure must be hunted.  & veiled.

To be transubstantiated. To be god in the making.

To be of not in.

To leave the hunt & be it.

To leave numbers—all counting—abandoned, on their sides.

To walk out the door & see the white surf crash & seethe

            & not see anything like tragedy.

Autumn Rhythm (1950)

The dream has reappeared: everything in black brown & white.

The migration
is white

what makes the great white loops leap sprawl & surge.

Strange that we have been on the journey so long without talking about it.

That joy is always a leave-taking, a looking forward & a looking back: not simply unlike sorrow, glinting with regret.

A leave-taking that’s mute, but full of the acknowledgement of eyes.

That the death drive & the life drive can be one ecstatic rhythm, conjoined in a convulsion beyond intention.

That forgetting so much does not matter: What matters is the way conviction is carried
across space & time. The way paint fractals travel across space & time to
a new life on canvas.

Midnight forests, moonlight: scent of rain on dirt paths littered with withered leaves.

That ideation should give way to figuration, the cold energy coiled in great cursives.

Memory or premonition? The way the beach, the dunes and the sea-oats, are crusted white in winter, the wind-whips raising the latest layer of powdery snow.

The way the wind shrieks around the scree, lawless, counterpointing the ocean’s rhythmic bass.

The way the sheet-white snow, & life, and life-in-death, are allover in this utterly indifferent composition.

Number 1A (1948)

from disaster the air of resurrection

Not that which has been lost, but that which has been gained

against a mass of struggle, strife & infighting

the air is thick with light—
a luminous cream paint

lavishly befigured
with skeins of
fine black lines

the pure possibility
of the visionary—

not what is
but what will with will may be
captured with faith

in energy & motion
a visible

to the pilgrimage—
pre-figurement of pure pleasure,
acrobatic dance of light,

lithe twistings & contortions
of lines,
the arabesque movements

of desire finally freed
from dictum—
the simple joy of it

finding itself free
a sacredness without icons

eclipsing annunciation