Seven Poems from Europe with Pix

In a Purple Greeting Card for Nisarg

Which has on it a painting of a full moon blobbily luminous behind the branches of the huge tree which borders the courtyard of the pyramids in the commune in Poona

(What is life but a pyramid
Near which is a plaza
Where one can dance to the moon?)

Once upon a time
A fairy crept near to me
And she had the heart
Of moonbeams and prisms
And shy light fingers going out
Every which way
And this fairy had a smile
With so many little movements in it
Like teeth which are mountains
In a landscape of earthquake and sun
And in that land of her smile
So many things are built and shattered
That Pakistan has nothing on it.
Her fingers are tree-frogs’
Reaching touching like a child’s –
Testing the face of life
She never stops smiling, this fairy girl
Who crept close to my heart
And she said that sisters/friends/moonbeams
Issue out from unknown places
To take their place beside one
And feel the pull of the chariot in the wind

She rode with me then
That fairy
And the winds brought us forward
Into moonbeams bright as day
This is how we danced
And are dancing still.

October ’09, Loc Casette

Leaning Out a Window in Tuscany

And so one has the flu and stays in bed
and the blankets are hot and muffling
and one is patient and still
and gets up only to drink and pee,
drink and pee.

And now it is some wee dark hour
and one crosses the little attic room
to the window, and unlatches it,
and opens it wide.
The blackness is great and encompassing
It reaches everywhere
and in it are decorations of stars:
the village of Chiusdino spangled on a hilltop
the Little Dipper and her friends
clean and sparkling.
And over there, between a roof and floor of cloud
The bare and gibbous moon
With his scrubbed face and silent breath
Is poised huge as anything
Making night colder.

And one is leaning out the window
over the light lichens crusted on the roof tiles
and the air is clean as cool water
and one is so gently full of joy

Loc Casette. Oct. ‘09

At the Chalet

This is when the real happiness begins
When I’m all by myself in the piney mountains
And even the most festive gatherings
Are left behind, left behind
Down in the low hills of Italy
Where people laugh and speak
All over the tops of each other
As they dip bread in oil,
As they sip wine
And I bathe in the rich flow of forces
Like a most agreeing rock in a pond

But this is different, this is the real thing,
This is everything
Night&day and day&night
Nobody influencing me as to what I do
Day&night and night&day
For people tend to need to do this thing
And that thing
And one is obliged to go along or step aside

The sky of course is less oppressive when it
Has mountains in it
Holding it up high
Certainly things are lighter and more
I have a huge house around me so it’s
Kind of like I live
In a hollow mountain
All friendly with window-glass
But most of all it’s that
I’ve got nobody to take into account
Or bend my actions because of
At all
I can go out walking whenever I please
Without having to announce it
I can put a clothes-drying rack in the
Living room
To take advantage of the floor’s civilized
Radiant heat
I can leave dirty dishes filled with water
All night in the sink if I feel like it
I can scrounge food when hungry
And at evening
I can sit on the couch in the lamplight
And read or write or sew
Hour after hour nobody bothers me
The hot water’s all my own
I can sit and close my eyes whenever
I feel like it
And talk to the mountains
And feel the gift of their replies
Cool as a mother’s hand
Drifting over my cheek
Feel them lifting ice shoulders
And the long pull of their state of patience
Helping me, helping me

I can sit here at the long dining table
Admiring the mountains
The way the sky rests down over them
White and misty and still

This is the real thing
To stretch my arms in the mountains
To stretch out all my arms

November ’09, Les Diablerets

Coin Distribution

Americans don’t walk, they are
Yet whenever I go for a walk there
(I’m not American,) I find
Coins – really, every time
Almost, pennies dimes quarters
Looking like spit but
making craven moi glad nevertheless

Swiss walk everywhere
They have legs,
Every time I go walking there
I find no centime franc half-franc
Never ever one –

Do Americans hurl coins from cars
Yelling, Whee! Spree!
Do Swiss people manage
With clever craft to hide

November ’09, Les Diablerets

A Plea from the Heart

Friends, dears; see my consternation:
I live in Missouri.
I didn’t mean to cut my hair
Lay aside my dancing
And swaddle myself in grease –
It just happened –
Dear friends, can you forgive me?
Whoever, wherever
You are?

November ’09, Les Diablerets


There are different kinds of primitive.
My girlfriend lives in a rough-stone-floored
Thick-walled flat
With dodgy plumbing and third-world lekkie
She has to lug wood from the barn for her stoves
And they leak dense smoke when first lit
Until they begin to draw.
My girlfriend is a soul of light
She is so permeable she is like
One of those lamps with a zillion holes
Punched in it
To let the luminosity out and in
Nobody will be lost on her doorstep
She understands how to
Take everybody in
She has no limits but for shifting ones,
Like scenes in a drama
Shuffled and rolled onstage and off
At the whim of something we prefer
To laugh in ignorance of

Then there are the walled people
Who live in grand, so-tidy houses
Everything in the yard is pruned just so
Behind the sheetrock course the pipes
And wires
And all these things do their jobs
So excellently well
The halls are vacuumed
The kitchen fussed over
Much care is taken with light fixture choices
And termite control updating.
Maybe some people are allowed in
But I have not seen this happen
Only, perhaps, a grandson is allowed
To run his remote-controlled tractor
Round and round before the door

And primitive people live there
They gnaw bones and grow humps
They worship idols, symbols made of
Paint and plaster
They think god looks like a grandpa
Instead of Aretha Franklin
They believe the devil slips around
Behind you
And puts his hands in your puppet holes
And makes you go to the motel
With that woman or that man
(instead of that Nature’s screaming through
You like a wind
Shaking your vitals like a stand of wheat

They believe that some suffering old effigy
Died on a cross for their sins
Whatever the hell that means
So now you should be nice to him
Since he went that far

They believe that belief will save you
(this the most primitive
scrabbling anguish of all)

We are not supposed to be saved
We are supposed to give life credit
For its nastiness and grace
And dive for the center with all our might

Actually I don’t know what we are supposed
To do

But waddling medieval peasants
Live in fine taut houses in Missouri
And a crumbling farmhouse in Toscana
Shows holes enough to help a beaming
Bee to fly.

Nov. ’09, Les Diablerets


Snow has it

My boyfriend too
In his cowboy boots
And overcoat
In his bathrobe too
Kingly disposed about his den

I have it
The way my bun
Sits tilted back on my nose-prowed head

The house has it
When it’s waiting,
And everybody has been out
For awhile

But snow especially:
The way it lies down all across
The plains below the plane
Scored with property lines
Like jailhouse tattoos
But nobody can trap its flatness
Or how it just goes on and on –

Dec. ’09, Mo