he decided he was not going to die
instead, he would just disappear
dying can be very painful
often it lingers for a long time
people no longer know what to say
some people say goodbye several times
returning too soon can be embarrasing
he’s still alive
if you disappear
you are there and then you are gone
it’s abrupt, but definite
your entire body is gone immediately
no ashes, no casket, no tombstone
it’s very inexpensive
all of your clothes are gone, everything
all your books, all your photos, all your smiles
and then there’s a part which many dislike
all trace of you is gone
you are no longer you
all thoughts vanish
you are less than invisible
nobody remembers you
it’s difficult to contemplate
it’s quite economical
the ultimate recycling machine
pieces of all that you’ve collected
stick to an endless carpet
it all rolls up like an enormous pinwheel
and the last object to stick is you
it’s over, it’s finished, it’s gone
you won’t hear any crying
you won’t be drowned in tears
some people think it’s selfish
some think it’s considerate
an amen isn’t necessary





all that we call holy is dilluted in the present day
it is almost non existant in the noise of civilization
here and there a sacred thought pushes through
the garbage
and begins to sprout with the pale timid green
of life
the atmosphere is laden with smog, sin, greed
and gold
the essence of love is underground waiting to
be nourished
kindness gazes from faraway mountains
find your voices in alleluia
sing and chant a sanctus
remember our resurrections
we shall sleep until the earth is gone
we shall breathe another planet
from the bowels of the galaxies
the air will be pure chartreuse
flowers will dream whatever they wish
everywhere will be washed by paleblue, glistening water
quiet shall cover the sunset with technicolor
there will be: no people
no hatred
no wars
only the sound of distant humming
only the swish of bourrees
only the endless
dance of peace








don’t forget to look at the rose tree
it’s magnificent
the springer rose bush
is having a halcyon year
it is no longer a bush it is a tree
its pink is beyond pink
its flowers light
the entire back wall of the garden
in the middle of the roses
there is a full scale bougainvillea
this once tiny rose bush cutting
loves the soil and the sun
it traveled here from oregon
if it were allowed to spread without pruning
this would become a rose orchard
one dark, moonless midnight
i awoke to the sound of a color
i walked to the edge of the deck
it was fullshining
it was pink aglow
the rose tree had become luminescent
don’t forget to look at the rose tree
it’s perfumous






		

somewhere in my teens
i realized that there
were many voices in my body.
my every day, all purpose
voice was only one of many.
i started reading and reciting
poems inside my head,
using my inner ears to listen
to the hidden voice of the poetry.
i think i might have learned that
from my high school English teacher
Miss Clark.
one day i approached her desk
with a question,
“would you be so kind as to help
me with this paragraph?”
she looked up at me
with the brightness of the sun.
“what a wonderful way
to ask a question.”
her smile pulled my entire brain
into the knowing of the question.
as i walked back to my seat
i was embarrassed but delighted.
Miss Clark always tried to capture the imaginations
of the entire class
” look at this character. what kind of voice does it have?
would its voice be high or low
scratchy or smooth, hard or soft?
if your body was inside its body, how would you feel?”
and when i looked up at her, i would discover
she was gone
floating high above the classroom
laughing with the ceiling.
once when we were reading Macbeth
i looked up at Miss Clark’s face

she had turned into three witches,
“when shall we three meet again?
in thunder, lightning or in rain?
when the hurlyburly’s done,
when the battle’s lost and won.”
she was flying around the room
i wanted to join her flight
my body wasn’t ready

he peeked out from behind a very wide tree
started walking quite cautiously
they spotted him almost immediately
started tugging at his manager’s jacket
he pulled the three gentlemen aside
they were very excited to have found them
they spoke in hushed tones
the manager returned to the pianist
” they offered you a million dollars
for one concert “
” do you want to do it?”
” yes,
fresh dover sole every day,
fresh green asparagus every day,
my piano must be transported,
it can only be guarded by new yorkers.”
” is that it?”
“y e s.”
they all started babbling with joy
as they chattered on, the artist disengaged
fr om the bulk
backed away slowly
tiptoed behind the same wide tree
when they finished talking
and the contract was signed
they turned around to congratulate the pianist
he wasn’t there
he disappeared
they walked away slowly
not knowing what to think
when it was completely quiet
he moved out from behind the tree
found the nearest cabstand
and went home

( for Vladimir Horowitz )

the swinging, green, canvas hammock
                                              has been in the back yard
       for several years
       it began as a bright, green baby
                 aged a bit each year
                 only twice, all summer
                  has anyone used the hammock
once, the gardner was working in a flower bed,
                it was a hot day and she grew tired
                                                 she decided to take a break
she stood up and saw the hammock as if
                 it had just appeared
                 she smiled and gracefully slid
                             into the arms of the waiting, soft bed
they both seemed quite content with each other
                 they fell asleep for a long while
                                          hours later the gardner awoke
                                                     and walked away quickly
she           didn't bother                to say goodbye
                                       the                     gardner never returned.

nobody came to lie in the friendly canvas for several months
                           the hammock was lonely and wanted to leave
but didn't know how to walk away
one sunny afternoon
                     two long, young, thin people
                                                  with long, thin legs
stood next to the whatever,
"what is this"                          "i don't know"
they both slid, smoothly and carefully into the inviting, swinging
                                                                           thing
their long, thin legs slid back and forth
                                         and they bounced and laughed.
the hammock bounced and laughed with them
they bounced up and continued laughing     and ran away
they didn't say goodbye                      they never returned

the hammock often felt lonely
               sometimes it dreamt of an entire forest 
                                   full of rocking, swinging hammocks 
sometimes it couldn't fall asleep
                   it would hum and make believe 
                   there were other hammocks

                   one dark night the hammock awoke
                   to swishing sounds and giggling glides
                   it was the moon and all its friends
                   there were stars in all the spaces
                                              it was very beautiful
                    there were soft sky spirits
                    floating, dancing, diving, flying
                    "hey! mister hammock"
                                         "hey!    miss hammock"
                      come      and      play       with     us
                      we've been calling to you
                                                       for a long time
                      teach us how to swing, 
                                                  we don't know how
                       it was a quarter moon
                       a perfect moon to string a hammock
                       the hammock zipped up to the moon
                       tied one part to one end of the moon
                       and one part to the other end
                       and soon they were swinging
                                                           all over the sky
                        meteors were swinging
                                                comets were swinging
                        all along the horizon
                        the heavens were alive 
                                                with perpetual motion
                         it  looked  like        a    giant  carnival
                         now the hammock had a vast family
                                                            loneliness was forgotten
             

NUMBER 297

sometimes something as simple
                                     as a woman walking in her bare feet
can be just as sensual
                                     as another person biting slowly
                                     into a ripe mango.
                                                          one really doesn't
                                                          bite into a mango,
you sink until you are covered in juice.
that same woman combs the black tangled hair
                                                of her dog's back.
you can feel the brush untangling your own knots
         as you stand in the warm sun of a saturday afternoon
                                   the garden is there
                                            a     nd the flowers are walking
                                             alo  ng the path
enjoying another angle of the same scene.
                                          it is a fluid manet painting
  pretending to be nothing but a camera click

      trying       to               remember                everything










dziadzi, dziadzi,” dziadzi”—an old old handsome cat
lives upstairs most of every day
comes downstairs for a visit
his hind quarters don’t know which way to turn
looks for special food
sniff a bit eat a bit
searches for warmth on the sunny deck
sleeps all day until the night cold calls
he stares into your eyes
with the clarity of deep pools
when you return the gaze it is shocking
you find the edges of his soul
containing the wisdom of all cats
he looks into your self so long
as new worlds open
new voices whisper
dziadzi, old old man
old old cat dziadzi
will you leave before me
will i leave before you
we will touch and smile as we fade through
the invisible curtain
amen

*pronounced “judge-y”



pasquale took a photo of a hyacinth
in the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens
this hyacinth has sucked in
all the red of aries
when people come to see
the red, red hyacinth
they’re confused
because everything is glowing in hyacinth flames
the entire gardens are one, one flower
covering all the people and all
the walkways
they are confused by the ‘all is red’
they can’t find the hyacinth
because they are inside its redness
then they reach up and are joyful
they are the hyacinth as they touch
the hyacinth which is them
come to the Botanic Gardens
and become the essence of hyacinth
it might be all you need to know
pasquale has presented you
with the opportunity

doro and caruso
arrived on our deck
as though they lived there
forever
doro ( pet name for enrico caruso’s
wife)
was almost too timid.
caruso was louder
than reality
and he sang
‘O SOLE MIO’
when you looked his way.
each morning he
would hear the
opening of a cat food can
“mirror, mirror on the wall”
mezzo forte meow
“who’s the fairest
of them all “
forte meow
“caruso”
fortissimo
“caruso”
fortissisimo
“caruso”
and the kitchen bounced
with his belicose
boisterous
sound
doro cowered in the corner
until the noise stopped.
caruso was the main act.