Nothing’s precisely and exactly what is granted.
Behind, before, beyond Everything is Nothing.
Get with this.
So, first we have Nothing.
Then, Everything happens.
Happening’s It, get it?
It’s not there.
Nothing’s what’s there.
See It happen.
And then Happening.
Happening’s where it’s at.
Now watch It.
It’s Everything Happening.
Coming together and falling apart are Happening.
Take it step by step,
From Then until Now until Then,
From There to Here to There
It’s What’s happening.
Take It in.
It’s what’s happening.
Now, picture It.
Nothing rocks and rolls.
Nothing waves hello and goodbye.
There’s a whole lot of Nothing going on.
Nothing’s going on.
And on, and on, and on.
Until there’s so much Nothing going on,
Something starts going on
While Nothing keeps going on
Something’s rocking and rolling,
Something’s waving hello and goodbye,
Something’s shaking and baking,
Something gets hot to trot.
And then It happens.
There’s a whole lot of It going on,
It’s rocking and rolling, hot to trot,
waving hello and goodbye, shaking and baking,
All while Nothing’s going on.
Something’s rumbling and tumbling, slipping and sliding,
doing the bump and the grind,
Something’s on the move, this way and that way,
All helter-skelter, jigging around, tripping the light fandango.
Until It’s hard,
Hard, to hide Something’s going on while Nothing’s going on.
Always, by all means,
Something’s going on, while Nothing’s going on,
slipping and sliding, waving hello and goodbye,
even when It’s hard to hide.
So, It goes, rocking and rolling.
Something gets picky and sticky.
Something says Yes.
Something says No.
Here I thought Death and I
had an understanding, Brian,
when I paid a nice visit a while back,
the first real vacation I had in years.
We parted on friendly terms
because I still had things to do,
like hang out with you and your posse
and lend a hand helping out
the hurtingest folks around.
I was totally down with our understanding
I’d be coming back to stay one day
when my deeds were done.
Man, though, what’s up with this,
you taking off right in the middle
of the game for the championship?
Whose idea was this, anyway?
Not yours I’m sure. So, Death and I,
we need to have a talk.
Us, you left behind, heads and hearts
spinning crazy, we’ll get it together
and do what we got to do,
without your glowing and singing company.
We always do, when a key player is down for the count.
Still, Big Guy, we don’t have to like it. At all.
Don’t think for a minute we’ll forget,
and count on it, you come pay us a visit
when you start finding the company of angels
a little boring, and you know for sure
we’ll be on the lookout, wanting to hear
the straight skinny from where you’re at.
But hey, one last favor we’ll ask of you,
because you were always our best salesman
and story-teller: Please tell Death for us,
as far as we’re concerned, your number
was not up, no matter what the wannabe
wise guys in fancy robes might try to sell us.
All I can think is
Death misread the calendar, I do that a lot,
or else was having a really, really bad day,
and forgot what time it was.
Not your time. No way.
– Il miglior Fabbro
Hey, Old Man –
One thing is clear:
We could not have stood each other,
too unlike spirits to keep converse.
Changing lives, I tarried in your house;
as you may know, if ever
your daemon and my angel parley.
I heard the cadence of the rain you knew,
coming down on the hill between Prospect
and the Little River.
I luxuriated in the falling of your light,
rolled myself up in the redolence
of your rotting leaves.
I shushed and muttered at your ghost,
when I wasn’t over busy with mine.
Man of business, you’d have had no truck
with this willful seeker skeptic,
intruding in your garden.
In your shadow I walked your walk,
stepped along remembering a certain blackbird,
the first I knew of you.
A good gait you had,
matched like your sartorial habitus
in all weathers, to suit time of day and season,
inward to work, outward home;
its parsing ever after setting the paces
beneath the offbeat pulsing
in the carcasses of your poems.
A little note on this: Half a century ago, when poetry first captured my fancy, Wallace Stevens was one of my favorites. By a strange twist of fate, when going through a mid-life change of direction I was invited to live in the house in the West End of Hartford he’d occupied during the years he worked as an executive for the Hartford Insurance Company for a few months. His spirit still pervaded the house and its surroundings.
Hard, like diamonds.
Flow above, around, before, behind or below.
There is no in nor through.
They can burn, so it’s said.
Hellfire has been giving its all
for decades now, yet they insist.
Crystals stand strong and hard.
They do not flow.
Break, crush, erode,
if you’ve got world enough and time.
Otherwise, live around them,
or one fine day set them aside.
Leave them. Count on them,
they’ll be waiting until you return.
For return you will, if just to visit.
They too made you you.
All you know is constellated around them.
They are not all, else you would not be here.
Walk on. Leave them be.
Go, flow. You won’t forget.
They marked you for life.
Soft waters wash across the wide reach
of shell-strewn tidal shore. Small wonders
urge plodding through sucking mud.
Monstrous and miraculous fellow
creatures wallow in twice-daily stranding,
subject to lunar rule.
Awash, await and abide the ills
that sun, and dogs, and gulls
can do; or become
perhaps a sacrifice to the
of naked curiosity.
Plucked as lightly from the sand alive
as remnants left by doomed companions,
read as chapters in a history
unmeasured by time’s rod;
these are ancestors here rudely grasped
by their inquisitive descendants.
Hope for them now lies in their simplicity,
variety and number; features not of each,
but of their kinds and worlds.
Peruse the scripture on an oyster’s shell,
behold the drama in the train of a horseshoe crab.