Garden of the Restless Martyrs


ceramic mustard and ivory shells cradled in fruit skins and ashes

once we were doll heads and now we are only ourselves

we seem to be discussing the warmth

of the forgotten aging compost

three kids in the goat shed plotting breakfast

the blackberries puffed up and away with themselves

wild with bird spew

motherly breeze now and a tip of the shawl when a yellow maple leaf flutters down

* * *

in the early garden was an aberration of three long days

rubbed raw by the absence of sorrow

I went to the clever garden to meet the Asian Pear tree

where the doves perched in the morning

string seemed to be swinging from leafy branches

seemed to float from what has been lost

it ties things together at one end

little flower horses nickering at their green tethers

in the gentle waft of the seedlings sharing the breeze

* * *

this is my home not the house but the garden

kissing the vast lips of shadows here seems wider

more complete

the streets have failed to grow over themselves near the burn barrel

cobblestones thrown down a century ago

those city boy shapes on the interior walls have a lot to learn

sadly my bombs have all been exploded

by merely the idea of the bomb

instead suitcases full of cucumbers

the cassocks of the rhubarb

a row of men gap-toothed as potato forks

hungrier

turned inward

which vegetable are they

cooled lantern light lifted through tender stems

holding too much weight for their shoulders

and what they all wrote seemed to be either sleeping

or chasing something very slow

* * *

an agriculture of wind

has been planted sowed taken to harvest

planted again the benefactors in different fields

all in the same slight breeze passing and passing again

a powder of cloud a silence fallen upon

I could have been the illusion

* * *

sometimes I lived in a bird in the garden a statue

that flew when I entered it

and returned to its roost when I left

sometimes my chirping was understood sometimes

not and sometimes even I

didn’t understand what I was saying

in Wichita or Munster skinny victory gardens understand

the familiar routes of ancient sacrificial trains

and martyrs planting themselves in glorious

failures whistling down

the long rows of ghosts

anchor their feet in pumpkins and melons

I saw plumes in the air and I followed them

sometimes other birds were with me

an irruption I never knew if I caused

* * *

slumped against the tree stump

the old hatchet blunts its attack

unruly limbs will wait for their cousins

in time you could hammer them loose

your backside like nails

brute force may not be neat

but it can be so much more satisfying

* * *

sooner than

is when

I had to go otherwise

that’s the way I am in my bird-suit

ahead of myself and streaming

not yet stepped back into my footprint

I was a gesture till I fell

flight is not a choice but an impulse

in another body I’d be turning around

to see you of course

* * *

feathers are the components

of a listening device for wind

you can interpret all that lies between

the source of something worth saying

and where you are when it’s finally understood

I met a bird I liked but there was too much

Thoreau in that cabin dweller

where was my nest

* * *

next I listened at the portent

but I couldn’t open even myself

no footprints

I don’t want to know I’ve been here

so this time the bird I am is a dipper

the little waterfall in the creek my

garden in reverse that needs

space in the water not water in the space

I look for the center but the center is

nervous about relationships

not frightened but mercurial

settle down now and vibrate

* * *

what shape the center if the rest is infinite

purple meadow rue in the waterfall’s hair

the fortune I meant to tell you about

has a door I cannot open

any further than relaxed

limpid

no awakenings nothing sudden

life in its bundle rolling around inside

until the outside follows

and everything appears still but is not

the way the echo of two crows moves only one direction

and then they go hiking in the clouds

* * *

but even play can be an irritation

which makes it more fun for one of your

joyful annoying echoes

then I flip over and take the sky with me

which makes you the instigator of reality mischief

* * *

have I been watching myself depart from myself

have I been you with your feet on the ground

the whole time I’ve been flying

now I want to go somewhere with a bottom

the waterfall the misunderstanding

the garden’s healthy feet

I don’t want to call this a success

because there is no other to follow

here I am in my limitless post-occupation

nailing cooperative clouds to thoughtless dissipations

here I am inside the fruit flying home to water the string

that holds lost things in its bundle of little horses

toes in their windy featherless shoes of sacrifice

I step back into my footprint

I am here now but I was here yesterday

perched in the air of the Asian Pear