MVSR #1 (SPRING 1999)
The restaurant's classy
but run down, a bit seedy, the oak tables need waxing.
Burgundy wallpaper's stained from rough nights. And it's stuffy --
scarlet curtains cover the windows.
Susan, Georgette, Betsy, Cassandra, all at one table.
They're in petticoats and complicated old dresses,
black garters, high lace-up boots --
I think we're in the ghost-town whorehouse in Blackhawk.
Years now since I've seen them and it's not much fun.
They look different, weird, talk funny. I guess they went and got
....................Under one roof
..........sleeping with all of them --
....................bush clover, poker chips.
Haibun at Buckskin Lake
Floral perfume, nights of long love,
vast conversations with razor-sharp scholars.
But who is that, up in high jagged hogbacks
sleeping exposed on a rock?
What does he do, crack ice over his primus stove for a drink?
Feet sticking out of a mummy bag, he's wandering lost
in a dream of jade maidens.
It was Yunte's ideogram led me astray.
I woke up in stunted pines a thousand years later --
alpine forget-me-nots in my whiskers.
....................You ask how they
..........toy with us mortals -- ?
....................get a field guide to the tundra.
in the family of.
Yes and I know
where this land
An evolutionary scale
we hold dear as are
to seek, ever finding
Behind this trailer
sit pregnant women
made by God
SHALL YOU UNCOVER
(an acrostic chance)
Socialism: a man I'm sure, a
Hero who struggles east.
As we wish: to have
Left it to
Live in the city of New York.
Of zebras blows back and forth on the line
Upon his canvas beaches.
Under mercury light the little pup strives.
Cross country runner.
Eyes in Goya's painting are soft,
Hero, who struggles east
On the line
Has gone down!
Religion that would set man apart --
As we wish
Gathering the gold wool from the cannibal sheep
Goodness, I say,
The world is something not enough people dream of.
Senses quicken in the thick of the symphony:
As we wish --
Religion that would set man apart
Everything else in the world going on here.
from Cartographies of Error
The first choice we make is
the method of our burial.
Ashes, like stars, fall
more visible in the desert.
The colors are consistent
the mountains are moving.
Desert lines form
as a circle
angles are difficult
to swallow when
there are 360 degrees.
Choosing myths, like scarves,
we exchange position
on the perimeter.
Once again, we are passing the cemetery. Cemetaria.
We are seekers. We are seen.
À vol d'oiseau. By the flight of a bird.
You see a town,
a cemetery, desert,
the group of them.
Fijate. Pay attention.
The driver and his two
The truck. Several
windows cracked. It is gray.
A long stick between the driver
and his boys.
La puta. That's me. It's her.
* * *
Ithaka is god-like but hasn't got a clue
bitter birth, shallow water
Water, never more than waist-
deep, calm, though red, from clay
& littered with rocks
fallow fingers reach
each has more sides
than a moon
where to begin,
drew a map of
where it began and
to redraw it
Many instances have been documented of cartographers using their imaginations to fill what would otherwise be blanks on the map, as in Swift's quatrain. Blank spaces are there to be filled, however unlikely the results. (Geoff King, Mapping Reality)
Between the error and its fix
lies slip of tongue,
Told to excavate our beginnings
we pay poorly the interminable
Race, not, no beginning,
no end but what is real in Ithaka
Toe-stub, infected rodents,
who need to eat
* * *
She makes good with the driver.
They stop for cerveza. Una caja.
La puta now on the other side of the stick.
What makes one city "romantic" is its gender ambiguity. The desert is
always masculine. What makes a lover romantic, is her clarity.
Unwavering clarity. Signified in the gestures. As soon as she wavers
we enter the film version. When she still loves you it is black and
white & out of focus. When she has found someone it is
At the end of the road
the desert does not end.
They turn left, turn
The plant is not exactly a bush,
not exactly a cactus.
They are searching for the masculine -- told it will reveal itself in odd
the best numbers are those that cannot be divided.
* * *
Ithaka is god-like but
hasn't got a clue
map the way
The work of these poets and others can be read at Mungo vs. Ranger's website at
www.mungovsranger.com, accessible from the bottom of the Big Bridge home page.
Mungo vs. Ranger's new fall issue will be released September 1.