For Mister Irby, 'Merican Master

plains, camps, stations, consistories,”
words         moving away from each other
                      at & for great speed
           to reunite elsewhere —
part of their very own, not part of yours
                      or yours   or yours    or yours,
not for dissection, nor for distraction from the purpose
           the micro/macrocosmic:
                                              small world born-into/
vast world not just aspired to but: lines the event,
turns every inside out to the sum glory. Merican
                                              without the “A”
pastoral (burger, coke, float), to dandelion,
or elderberry wine, the fine cuisine, a soar of friends
past, present, future. Absolute control
                                              of the right hesitation,
the occultation, filtered speech. Lay of the land re
           Synecdoche: imperial era. (exeunt omnes).
Too young: golden Rangoon soars beyond touch, sky gold,
                                  mire underfoot,
nun-pink at eye level, assault of frangipani (nose),
                                  small delicate umbrellas
for spirit children. Too old: the
silver Gulla islands, as of a coast in sky, white linen
over black, the lazy syllables, prognathic smile,
her lazy eyes far from her ignorance of me,
                                  voyeur, visualist …
For whom I’ve spoken in the dark
                                  vainly alas, whom I would bring
into fame’s broadway were it to mean
the whelming of unworthy words by several thousand
or none at all — for its own merit only.
                                              Land of all treasure wasted,
all beauty mired in overkill, obscene abundance:
great flower of our lives destroyed by frosts,
                       over and over, winter blast
against our bliss.    Our  Merica without the A
his seed in darkness provides necessity,
                                                         (interminable need):
to empty out the hard-held heart and hands and reach
o brother clouds, your house above the sea, o sister earth, o sister sea


For the greatest American poet of his generation.

Originally published in Recollections of Being (Cambridge: Salt, 2004).