Like Lincoln Out of Office Hours
Whitehorse & Yellow Knife turn cloudy
like lands in a paper weight ball: filmy glassy as the Five & Dime in snow
down the block;
Weather reports are solace to me.
Sail me back to Ohio River Valley.
I come by it honestly love for horseback riding.
There I met, married daddy.
Divorce wedges sky in big "V's" headed into a winter high
The living God
looks out at me from your eye.
Lincoln Out of office
The furnace makes it July: but it's January:
Ontario high-winter. (Frosted albino hills roll, the invisible insurrection of God.)
Due to her, her sister won't dare a child: A hazard like murder:
the Fragile X Chromosome is woman-borne.
The sisters dream microscopes on cliffs
suicidng into ocean.
But each is her own huntswoman.
Married love is now not easy:
Never was but now is risen
breaking open the red heat of an oven,
she dons a smile
the natural leaf-colored ebb she lives in tugging her child along
Toward slate sea.
It's not for nothing the Lord gave her broad shoulders:
Rowing Rowing Bowing.
Orator to none
under an oyster-white moon her frock-coat on its nail hung
like a man's.
Oils 100% Northern Pure Canadian.
Ohio to Ontario.
Tear up the cold like floorboards with nails, ripped by hand.
We've left a White Log Cabin, Contemplation ,like Lincoln.
Agnus Dei, Lamb of God.
We thought to name you Agnes before Lalo had the right sound.
Bright, bright as a fir tree
coming Midwinter Solstice:
could have been an apt name.
Mother Noel in flowing robes held the scales.
Danced her dread daily:
To Pergolesi. To Vivaldi, the red-haired priest of the ospidali of girls, the orphanage in Italy.
War Child's Lullabye
I saw the circular quarry:
burnt limestone library of my childhood a line drawing:
Chorusing the Covenant.
I dreamed of Lincoln
Union Jack & Confederate Flags rippling, stars breaking apart into lines then pleating into stars again.
I dreamed I was standing
in a field of wild grasses before his son, Tod, who died limned with sun
under the ruinous sky
live apple-trees rosinous, sickened.
I remember my last day with legs
first Sunday wheeling in old wooden wheelchair
into an improvised hospital temple its Mogen David pasted on the wall. Bald in back from bed-lying.)
Remember the June noon you came into my life
out of discord:
a round stone:
beating rain made a homelike sound.
I held such fear at bay that winter
now, when it rained it torrented down:
I rode bareback under a sun which flicked the whip, beat fire with no hidden harm.
Vision trained telescope-fine
Sharp mirror-like lens
lawyer from Illinois long-legs crossing log cabin to books:
Soft-spoken, Kentucky-born to a Kentucky Frontiersman and a Hanks,
Abraham: poet, eloquent orator:
Self-educated, could read, write & cipher: melancholic. Suicidal?
Where white windblown logs stood stacked for the burning in autumn.
Focus upon geese barking in a ring:
Not tender domestic like duck, dog, or kitten.
Mysteries of the fine mind
the final mind, the melancholy in detail
the Gettysburg Address
penned with nib dipped in 40% ink, 60% blood:
Parchment darkened with his stunning oratory & startling lyric intensity.
Lincoln, wintering with Mary Tod & Tod
Or their four boys, only one loved: December-ing
that ring which is burnished rosin
a coin, resonance
like a violin
wrestled with its Cremona anguish, dark tone.
Civil War Soldier
He raises himself to a razed world: pre-dawn ash sifts.
The Confederate soldier lists. . . . the battlefield sways behind his 20-year old bloodshot eyes.
The light exit of the dark the dark exit of the light
amid the Triage workers he sat up, the wounded man who rose & kept rising:
This is the visible insurrection of his invisible death.
he knows not what lies before him. Give him two reasons not to die.
The word rings a bell which tools misery
from the saddest part of his childhood: polio.
He looked down the ward like looking down a gunbarrel to Hell.
All those carts unfolded like extinct cranes dusted off
brought from some dark museum vault: sprung open for children.
The children lay in cots
as men did now: some being carried out on gurneys with wood handles:
a nest of others suffering: like eggs, like Russian dolls.
The week in Purgatory.
Medieval weights & pulleys.
His own mother would prefer him to die:
the fine planed wood doors of heaven sliding, waxed & oiled, opening.
The naily river of rehabilitation on its banks the wounded & dying: bandages no longer white but blood-stained & gray:
when body habits another house, in the body & sharp, but a great change comes.
The cracking of bone
brings the entire light down like a revolving wheel, ceiling to crack & shatter his remaining bones:
Not Michelangelo's Sistine
despite the scaffold he's swaying on like he's drunk a Fifth of Jim Beam:
No Southern Comfort in the bled light leans
like a dying soldier upon his stick:
A bladed tool he turns, helplessly, dazzled, shocked in his hands.
Lord, Lincolnís son, Tod was taken
like lynx takes bird.
Wheeling chaos a chariot of ash:
gray gloom the winged things alighting all in one tree.
Who knows the story whole?
Let him have lungs to tell.
To order this life like glass, cork-stoppered bottles in an apothecary:
Recite half-remember school-boy nerve-rosaries from the ground which wonít obey.
he tastes his hand: the sea-salt, the lime. the blood-iron:
Safe in the Theaterís loge
The Ford Theater on Good Friday
with all his legal acumen he could not have seen
the bullet tailing toward him.
John Wilkes Booth
telescoping: the great orator & melancholic, a bullet put thru him, felled like a pine.
The blood spilled thru vests
of Black Porters bearing his body home along the rails which told the news:
the blood as dark as the man was long.
It was lined with Black folk singing.
He'd take this calm if that was what it was
& ride it free rein from burning core out to rim:
slipping from slack of sleep
harness of fear resting in his running
into eternal rest a quilt covering him to the bullet-snap rhythms of the steel rails glistening.
On Break from a Kentucky County Hospital
the county midwife came
clumps of manuscript under his arm Abe opened the door.
Her face was partially open
cockhorsed his boy, Tod, on her knees.
Neither loved the other.
Nevermind the natter.
nor could either move the desk piled by the slat-board gray
Existed no way to keep, like little Rhenish foxes, the loneliness away..