Poem from 1975 when I was 18 Years Old and Driving my 356 across America


It remains. Even for that which condemns it,
It remains.

Aged Pound at his battered desk,
Carving out the few last Cantos,
The old working new wood (root and limb)
and all that went before;
His mistress preparing tea,
Gray hair unbound in Rapallo light,
Last sunset, as a warm voice, through the open window,
See Pound’s stark shadow upon a cold plaster wall,
Hear his resounding mutter:
“Who will copy or care about this palimpsest?”

Lost angels of the open road
Demon coming through the rain,
Headlight reflecting in the night road,
A purr in the wet stillness
A form against the fog.
And then—flickering—
Dean leaning against himself,
Wind caught in his perfect hair,
Light upon his turned searching face,
Those who gaze at nothingness with such intent.
Have heard the song, spoke Jimi,
Electric never far from unrivaled hands,
Locating sound from beneath saturated earth
As easily as far above the lightest clouds.
And those desperate for meaning,
Huddled on hurtling freight cars,
Pounding through desert nights,
Charging toward an unreachable horizon,
Again, the unattainable with such pure intent.
And there, Hal Stowell (quietly)
Awaiting fire in his dark woods,
Cat tongue reaching for a giving hand,
Fresh coffee steaming, that thin rising line
Poets all seem to know, yet
weakening walls clutching at him,
Binding as the arms of an empathetic woman.
The spoken word: “Let it all fall away,
The purity of the art remains.”
And those, impatient for sun after crippling winters,
Now walking wet streets, puddles swamping their broken shoes,
Shut in by desire of motion, oh to be moving forward again,
Cloud. Cloud!
And sea is sky is song.
A naked girl, white as young birch
Washing in a shaded pool, gentle as a full moon,
In the tall grass, so drunkenly hidden, Rihaku listens.
Basho shouldering his paper raincoat, gathering
Cane, drinking tea against the cold mountain
In the rising mist.

All things pass before us,
Late waves ascend a stone beach,
Dusk blows color into our sky,
As if lifting sound itself, Bird begins to wail.
The steaming earth in early rain,
Love bringing her body next to mine,
Such soft wind, this delicate kiss to the ear.

And the dawn,
Gold above the clouds,
My love lies among them
Singing as many voices,
Its color a myriad of changes.