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G. K. Fowler

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Three A.M.

by

G. K. Fowler

What is the point of three a.m.
if not the power of time,
the primacy of time? Amen,
there is no other. Mayan thought
and muttering in Babylon
parenthesize oblivion.
The ocean woke me, and we fought.
Now I drift on a leaky drum.

Roll and toss, fluff the pillow out,
this ship will neither slow nor turn
and never stop, never come in;
we are not sailing to a calm
shimmering beneath a minute,
or an endurable alarm.
There is no point to three a.m.
except the rippling of a heart.


Shadow

by

G. K. Fowler

As often as the fool gapes open-jawed
at the pure eagle pouring through his flight,
self-set in circling, all-seing, unaware
he drops his plow and sits on a clod
considering the wind and light;
considering a moment how to move on air.

But he could never face that round stare
of perfect truth. Do as he dare
he scrambles, ridiculous thing,
through dirt and hours --like a ruined king
signing documents of small affair,
desperate-- for one feather from its wing.

Causality

by

G. K. Fowler

Now after breathing continuously since birth
presumeably because I do not
strangle my daughter over a desk
because my top hat and cape are too filthy
to work in the stars ferment
I think the whole sky is
the pit of a dripping bruise cause
and effect because we do not hold hands
even now on this very edge this sharp-nesse
pinched in two pressed to conversant paste
because we are not smiling our gums will be
seriously damaged probably we will lose
most of our teeth.
She finds the numbers anyway.
She finds them in her cape.
So we can stand quietly sitting in calm
looking at the nameless approaching engine.

More News From Hawaii

by

G. K. Fowler

I heard about it. I could see your pelt of haloes reaching for a breeze to wrap around and dry on. Send it away; pack and mail it in darkness.

You meant to surrender. That morning on the hill you were so happy with the snow you cried I thought, through all of it, you looked like something left by the Romans: solitary, leafy, and abraded, of planetary silence. Then I knew. Later, in the Konditorei, I played with my new lens and saw you tasting, stealing everything you said goodbye to 'till barely a hint of chocolate remained in the air. On the way to the station whole streets collapsed into you. Prodigeous resolve, my sweet, really, like Lenin with a stein. And next? Lunch again. Lies, idle lies...and of course you have an opera booth or two, the hotel downtown, an empty bus on the glacier.

I'm alright. They haven't got me yet. True, I am powerless now over certain afternoons, over hills, silk, and winter, but I still pack a lunch and honor the Gods. I'll be OK. I'll be the last to go.

The blizzard of mail clears; so many petit bleus have drained the sky. Now it names your face: motionless bone lid, perfect mirror of snow.

Standing on the corner today, waiting for the glacier to pass by, I scratched you a note through the frost with my boot. It wasn't easy drawing the address --all those haloes, and the mountains I never could get right, ever, even when I was good at it. I wrote my love --you can skip over it-- and sent you distance, grief, gold, the wreath of blue lotus: everything.

Fever Again

by

G. K. Fowler

Again a dream of dreamless sleep, drunk in the depths I rise from stiff on sweat-greased sheets with motion talking, eating its far self forward with the darkest sound. How many nights tonight? It has four faces, like all things, and a fifth that bends and crowns. And your night, too, enters the room, and our night, crushed like a cat in a gutter. We sit hushed; we know each other.

Something must always be done, say sweat-burned eyes, and crossing my arms to dive I almost move, pulling gently away from the dark. It keeps my curve in sticky dark. It will me now, an arch of absence. I am in the night and the night in me, we own each other, we are thick with roots. They rise like lonely steam and we braid them into dark, we fold, we tuck. They fall into us like a stone. Now, moving or having ceased to move, no words, and night sweats foggy dough.

Perfect as the river goes the empty barque...the lightless breeze tends it, touches it like gentle empty leaves. I could be a dog now, this is really the dream. On the banks tired villagers play cards and touch wires together; say hello. They bow and toss bodies in the river one by one, petal by petal, stone by stone, to purchase dreamless sleep.

On, on. Now night coils, gaining surface forever! How soft is dark falling gently from darkness elsewhere. I will go, I go, I am going in my trembling boat of trillions of years to where your curve is sacred stone, here by the pool that carved our shadows, here at the nostril of here. On, on this will go, this goes, this is going, gliding, pleading night, each breath a colossus bending away in its aspect of a perfect empty road.

..Laid down in braided stone at green dawn cool in the temple fever quits me; better mounts go to the climax of darkness on other planets. And you will go. These rags will soften to skin. I tell you, I would tell them, I would live in this body, if the dark would fall out, the stone roll from my eyes, if you went like night only, endlessly commencing your return.

To Light

by

G. K. Fowler

This birdsong net immediately
cast shadows in a wall
around our rising, and all
nature loved our drunkenness,
and like a beach devoted to our sea
sang out the boundaries of what could be,
the world of all we might possess:

these bodies, and a way to make
both fit forever in each angle
of the starry path through burst
from the soaring crossroads --flaming tangle
of tornadoes, thirst reversed,
o rose by whose allowances we live;
the moon, the snake,
the world and all we might possess

fallen to light, devouring your dress,
into a cage-long song around the light,
the staring garden where we press
together, dizzy with height,
skyfixed, arked in noon beyond night.

Exile's Letter

by

G. K. Fowler

I know what I read dust wrote of dust
in a monk's book, how young that boy was
who on that smothering gray dawn
climbed up the monastery wall
to see the fields he would no longer know.
I know the smell of that fine wind
and the taste of those tears
and the look on his eyes
when he came down again
to live behind high walls.
Old friend, the years are walls
that finally direct us only skyward,
sudden mountains whence we stare motionless
at the green walks inherited by others.
The past drops from now,
untouchable, heatbreakingly near.
It's cold up here.
Art is warm, if powerless:
I see you truly, face to face,
brother my brother, and forget
how one step toward you now
is death. We go on, we come down,
the sky darkens, elsewhere grows light,
and nothing is known of this in heaven.
We go on. We come down.
It must be enough that anything remain:
the wind, these walls, the history
of sadness.

Fire (Death Of Tom X)

by

G. K. Fowler

When I first read of Tom X's death screaming
he drove across my desk, breathing fire
and holding it, exhaling his thick life,
clothed in fire, moving in fires
that punched him and plowed his smile
with dust, clothed in fire, moving
in fires, a halo of fire baloons
dripping from the new star
his face, pointing with a broiling finger
to the car crashes he dragged behind him
on half-flaming strings, the car crashes
that had pursued him and that he had conquered
and drew by the hair, and I tore in that cab
with him, as his partner ("who probably won't make it,
but we have hope") --where are we going?
What are we saying? Something, something,
then noise, then suddenness

and we are riding, this is a beautiful
long day, the road is so clear
the cab begins to fill with water.
Still the fires come like bees
to settle on Tom X. What are we doing?
What are we saying? What are these words
that feel wet and heavy in my mouth
my mouth forms around so as not to touch?
Something, only something not yet screamed.
Tom turns to say what we have been saying
but his left, blind eye is already on fire.
Then sound, knife of motion, smoke
from the letter, weeks later, that tries
to tell me what happened and can never tell me
how to get out or to wake up without the ashes
or the fires that have come home to feed.

Dolphin

by

G. K. Fowler

Or is there a vicissitude of sea and land, as Anaxamenes held of old the mountains of Thessaly will become seas, and seas again mountains?
Robert Burton


Offshore, the blue beach
gleamed through wrinkled air,
smoothed by the confused surf
pounding the white sea,
riven by light, and way in,
from a low pier, I watched kids
go for it all day, driving
gold in cobalt sand so far
as strength and breath allowed:
our strength, our breath.

Deep light they seek, the wide places
where, when they arrive, they first
can dream of making the attempt.

They arched for hours, aching,
bone-yearning calling its orient root,
like birds lost over water.
I felt it once. There was never
sadness or gladness in it
but need like a knife tracing
red explanations on flesh
that could only receive them
as joy, as if a strange, new,
interrupting heart grew suddenly
next to the old, the necessary
in chests just right, too small
for the ache rising out of us
we trailed wildly after, going
where it went.

This is this.
Here, now, here.
This, if just one
live.

Almost too busy to feed,
what they do to the future
absolves a vague history,
something I almost remember
nearly learning about life,
the permanent explosion,
so I drove on, through phosphorescent
stoplights, in the magnificent wake
of an ambulance, blessed, graced

These are my kind!
We go on for ourselves
although nothing matters,
by ourselves because
nothing matters,
like an endlessly
exploding jewel,
while everything else
goes on:

As I drove into the rift

The beach continues,
it signs its gleam,
the sky continues reflecting
white shadows of absent
mountains, a maritime
illusion.

Three A.M. (Rev.)

by

G. K. Fowler

What is the point of three a.m.
if not the power of time,
the primacy of time? Amen
there is no other. Mayan thought
and tinkertoy Babylon
parenthesize oblivion.
The ocean woke me, and we fought.
Now I drift on a leaky drum.

Roll and toss, fluff the pillow out,
the ship will neither slow nor turn
and never stop, never come in;
this is the long and short of it:
nobody's gliding to cool calm
everlasting for a minute
or an endurable alarm.
There is no point to three a.m.
except the rippling of a heart.

Fever Again (Rev.)

by

G. K. Fowler

Fever Again

Again a dream of dreamless sleep

drunk in the depths I rise from stiff on sweat-greased sheets with motion talking, eating its far self forward with the darkest sound

How many nights tonight

it has four faces, like all things, and a fifth that bends and crowns

and your night, too, enters the room

and our night, crushed like a cat in a gutter

We sit hushed; we know each other

Something must always be done

and crossing my arms to dive I almost move, pulling gently away from the dark

it keeps my curve in sticky dark like half a kiss

it will me now, cradleing an arch of absence

I am in the night and the night in me, we own each other, we are thick with roots

they riddle the corpse I carry and we bury it between our skin, glittering and wet

they rise like lonely steam and we braid them into dark, we fold, we tuck

they fall into us like a stone

now, moving or having ceased to move, no words, and night sweats foggy dough

Perfect as the river goes the empty barque

the lightless breeze tends it, touches it like a departing friend

I could be a dog now, this is really the dream

on the banks tired villagers play cards and touch wires together; say hello

a stone thrown among them goes down slow as a snowflake, resolutely mute

they bow and toss bodies in the river one by one, petal by petal, stone by stone, to purchase dreamless sleep

On, on

Now night coils, gaining surface forever!

How soft is dark falling gently from darkness elsewhere

I will go, I go, I am going in my trembling boat of trillions of years

to the place where your curve is sacred stone, here by the pool that carved our shadows, here at the nostril of here

On, on this will go, this goes, this is going, gliding, pleading night, each breath a colossus bending away in its aspect of a perfect empty road

Laid down in braided stone at green dawn cool in the temple fever quits me; better mounts go to the climax of darkness on other planets

And you will go

These rags will soften to skin

I tell you, I would tell them, I would show them how to go down to dreamless sleep, how not to move and so incur a thought

I would live in this body

if the dark would fall out, the stone roll from my eyes, if you went like night only, ceaselessly commencing your return

The Promise

by

G. K. Fowler

You were born to this.
The very day: inside
the writhing light of fields at last
standing still on earth almost
rolling from under your feet
the sky is disnamed.
You must let the world
boil around you
and bear it,

inhale noon when blue
distance ignites in your veins.
You were born to this,
the very day you return the sun
the day you owe all things
and they spill from your eyes.
Even let night exist!
Let the moon, also,
be beautiful.

Give this:
these holy wounds cannot be shed
like paths; there is no healing
of telling. Giving this
what goes shall be let go,
what stays allowed to stay.
The wind from the bottom of your silent hand
is also a voice
and can also name.

Love and Stars

by

G. K. Fowler

I thought of love and saw the stars la

Love Poem

by

G. K. Fowler

I saw the stars and thought of love last night,
seeing how deep and true this darkness is
we run through trying to reach
out to whatever's distant, bright,
or human --heaven, plenty, eyes not hers or his,
instinctively desiring each
and even light.
Ah me oh me bald monkey clutching air,
I didn't see what Dante says is there,
just bits. Blazing bits. Small and small.
Vague islands, if anything at all.

It remains odd that anything should be.
I thought of love and stars last night,
instinctively desiring each,
but heard the sighing of the wise dark sea
that holds from every boy and girl
a simple truth it dare not teach:
all things are waves upon a deep
surprise, and to and from it hurl
in widening circles, headlong in their sleep,
dreaming that each must one day curl
over a bright, unshifting beach.

Fever Again (Final)

by

G. K. Fowler

Fever Again

Again a dream of dreamless sleep, drunk in the depths I rise from stiff on sweatgreased

sheets with motion talking, eating its own self forward with the darkest sound.

How many nights tonight? It has four faces, like all things, and a fifth that bends and crowns.

And your night, too, enters the room, and our night, crushed like a cat in a gutter.

We sit hushed; we know each other. Something is on fire, and, crossing my arms

to dive I almost move, pulling gently away from the dark. It keeps my impression

like half a kiss. Now, spinning or having ceased to spin, no words while night sweats

foggy dough: I am in the night and the night in me, we own each other, we are thick

with roots. They riddle the corpse I carry and we bury it between our skin,

glittering and wet. It falls into us like a stone. Who is it. Who wants to know.

Perfect as the river goes the empty barque; the lightless breeze tends it, touches it

soldierly. I could be a dog now, this is really the dream. On the banks tired villagers

play cards and press wires together, say hello. A stone thrown among them goes down

slow as a snowflake, resolutely mute. They bow and toss bodies in the river one by one,

petal by petal, stone by stone to purchase dreamless sleep. Will they eat hearts

in asphalt. Will the sky peel, finally. Will we ever be safe in Aschaffenburg.

On, on; now night coils, gaining surface forever! How soft is dark falling gently

from darkness elsewhere. On, on I will go, I am going, in my trembling reed canoe

of trillions of years to where your inmost curve is cool and sacred stone, to the place

that rents us shadows, here at the nostril of here. On, on the river goes, pleading

night, each ripple a colossus bent away in its aspect of a perfect empty road.

Laid down in braided stone at green dawn cool in the temple fever quits me;

better mounts go to the climax of darkness on other planets. For awhile, None.

In the morning I will fall as rain.

Night flexes away, bent back in its endless arrival. And you will go. These rags

will soften to skin. I tell you I would tell them, I would be this bleeding shrapnel

every night, show them how to go to dreamless sleep,

how to least risk incurring thought, if the stone would fall out, this dark

roll from my eyes, if you left like night only, endlessly commencing your return.

Bible Study

by

G. K. Fowler

The sky was low and terrible then,
there because it suited God
as a perch to mount watch in
or a good place to hang His clocks.
The world trembled if a mood
crossed the blue lid of the box.

Clever, sneaky, we learned God;
learned how to eat and mate,
how to venerate and hate.
Surely that sharp punishing rod
would pass us by if we reported any odd
behavior, and weren't late.

The perfect truth that we perceived
was simple as can be believed:
God was king, man his slave,
He cared more than anything that we behave,
and from the beginning set
masters of court etiquette
to spying on us, and sent
dogs to drag us to His tent.

Lord of Storms

by

G. K. Fowler

I used to hear you punching clouds
at night, far away, over another people.
Time was already occurring only
in your absence: loving you
was a kind of sleep.
I'd listen at the dark to dim,
immeasurable events, proof
you were far away making safe
places, punching clouds away.
housing rising around you,
punching clouds away, unpacking
furniture, killing the captives,
punching clouds away I'd be asleep
you'd keep punching, shouting
rare and doubtful words.

You Again

by

G. K. Fowler

Sometimes at just a small
rumble of hunger from the sky
night came like you
were tuning it in
and you'd be stumbling around again
in your invisible upstair
arsenal screaming for blood,
furious, dazzling...
you had us all
afraid to die, struck dumb.

Then bit by bloody bit
your screams exploded outside
and tried to get in and get
everybody you hate, or made a peep,
or cried. We'd hide like bait
beneath ourselves in the floor
wetting the mud,
praying to disappear.
The screams were huge accelerating
hands harm grew on like fur.

Once, on a long flight over sea
I saw how dark it is up there,
how lonely it must be --what
a december zone-- sad for shivering
angels, and saw, too, some
clouds are just breathlike fog.
Not, though, the big blue
killers you shoulder through
--such angry air! Setting off all
the sirens, hurting the ground.

Everybody has to go to bed
sometime and sometime fall
asleep, play dead, not dare
to stare anymore at the door.
I'd hide my eyes and wither
in the sound 'til it was
always there, until I knew
we'd be OK because
it couldn't go away; it needed
evening and morning, a new day.

Yup, Revision

by

G. K. Fowler

I used to hear you punching clouds
at night, far away,
over another people.
Time was already occurring only
in your absence; loving you
was a kind of sleep.
I'd listen at the dark to dim,
immeasurable events, proof
you were far away making
safe places, punching clouds away,
housing rising around you, punching
clouds away, unpacking furniture,
killing the captives, punching
clouds away I'd be asleep you'd keep
punching, shouting
rare and doubtful words.