Friday, August 04, 2006

13 February 1689

Narratives of New Netherland
Historical Foot Notes

The Glorious Revolution

Today, all Stuart Kings
and pretenders are lost
in the factories of slave
traders, wool merchants
and gentlemen who husband
pleasure from the labor
of Human Beings.

In the archives of their frenzy
sandbars rage with fragmented
dancers drawn by Degas
into the sidewalk of New York.
Chalk dust from Dover batters
the old graves of common men.

Blood has not changed. Artistry
channels deviation as totem,
no, delusion of quick thought.

1989 is three hundred years
after the Houses of Orange
and Hanover came to govern
Great Britain and end Divine Right,
and the absolute rule of Kings
and Queens who by their oath
could murder without reason.

Ska Nee watches as Degas
chalks musical phrases into
limber bodies that flow with
oceans until lightning cracks
the earth and we pause
before the righteous are chosen.

Ska Nee restores what never happened.
In the Irish mode she dresses fate into maps
that spring with hands to reveal lies.
There can be no absolute truth.

In that vacant space where discovery
circles soldiers and sailors back
to the first woman and man vigorous
as they swim from New York to London.
Human Beings tease the character
of perfect rivers and valleys.
In Nevermore, Eden, Pavonia, Bristol,
London wagons return to Hudson River
for the fault to change patterns
of estuary and its commandments.

Physics is not grammar. Newton is not perfect.
Einstein failed but opened Pandora’s Box
and made her his woman after all.

They waited for tickets in the sun
outside Yankee Stadium while
assorted chicken hawks, grifters
sold warm bear and hot dogs

“History will end. It will stumble
from your kiss to finite world
We will bend lust and root it
as we explore the surface of hell.

Light speeds up too fast out of time in
an impossible axiom to throw magic
sticks into ceramic pots with fossils
scattered and preserved by chance.

We live while radioactive future
sunbathes in its own backyard.

The return will be bitter.
Manitou has grown inpatient
with Swannakens and their sunrise.

He broke their legs and saddled them
with impossible cliffs and imperfect waves.
Ska Nee could not set new heading
without John’s musket of adventure.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

1570: The Great River Now Called Hudson

1628: The Earliest view of Dutch Manhattan, dated two years after Peter Minuit's purchase, 24 May 1626, shows the fort, windmill, a cluster of dwellings, and Human Beings (Indians) as a regular presence. (New York State Library)

The Great River Now Called Hudson

Underneath the dry flow of rivers the unkempt secretof the rocks dresses the process of eyes arrangedin multiples of ten thousands false steps disturbed by pathogensor transposed sequence of rocks altered by magma in still pondbetween facies of stratified rocks with altered topography.

We manufacture truth and cannot understand the details of earth.There are invisible rocks inside this gray air. There is nothingbut bitter green dust scattered from our own ash. Climb.Process fakes white-water River to resist fixed legs. Drift.

Desire restores satisfaction as invisibleuntil the dock closed and arms tightenas pieces of heaven and hell congeal for work never restswhile music, abstracted words, drawn out of the notesto fire raised cold we never searched. Life is not over.

We are drawn into diverse tints of dark and heatwhere birth and revival complete with crocus in blueand yellow shades stains fingers where sex began.

I am born. Erosion is duty; waste has no shadows here.No suns, no hell, and no cute simple boys and girlsgather as fanzines between rock and roll hysteriato face rows of slight river waves with unsure strokesbefore we fuse, reach home again.

I am shaken in love on the inside of thigh where I hold heartand you arranged drink these simplest words passing for truthin the gallery of Eden complicated by earthquake rhythmsand the shift of space between what is and what was lost –

What remains cannot be known. It is not space or matter cut out or pasted. We dissolve the process, dear government so no lies, please. Please make the mind stop. I am alive. Can’t you see my body tremble and throb?

2 November 1581.1611

2 November 1581.1611
John Colman Swims the Great River

When I was a child I saw murder.
There was blood on the stones
that leaked through the streets
into a great flood. I felt waves
and I wanted to die and fail.

I could not let my life fall
down and become one
of those awkward strangers
hanging about the shore
and muddy streets
for an axe to strike off
the head of my mother
as she watched the waters
of the great river quit.

It was a fever. Mother had
died five years past in Delft.
The savages covered me.
I saw the face of murder.

I remember how he was struck
down by a rock. He would die
laughing and I would live.

I did not drown.
Stuck to the slime
caught in the muddy noose,
I was buried in the earth
when I was shaken by furious storm.

Day Two

The tempest struck rocksand they moved.

They shifted as I shifted
and I wished for a brief second
that rocks of littoral of this flooded river
drove out all the sea demons
and bring us back home safe.
I know when I drink
how anyone is safe if they
do wish their own end
before they are struck
with shot, or the axmen
or the executioner shows
fate to the end may you wish
other oaths to keep you safe
at least until your teeth are gone.
If I had died, how would
I have watched Ska Nee
give birth? She had entered
before my enlistments,
Great River had swallowed up,
and I would never join the circle
where wise men talked with their
hands and hearts more than words.

I understood it all every flood
drowns the man who swims
the passage from the isle
across to the tall red stones
shimmer as antimony. My leg healed.

My arms stretched from the sails
behind to the ones in front.
I get stronger. She who heals stirs
at my back and loins with her fat
rubbed hands and catches my shiver.

She works my legs. She makes me move
as she leads me out of death. When my
flesh blackened and I had fever and shrieked
to other savage gods my denial. Curses shifted
underneath the river of hands. The rain pounded
my head slowed my stroke. Caught by the cold water,
I made me tight and then when the mist rose
from the fire. Fish will be boiled but I entered
the brook and soon it was hot and the heat slowed breath.

The woman moved her breasts
to my mouth slowly, and holding
my jaw she feeds me that white blue
broth. I am eager. She knows that I
cannot exist with civil people.

I get stronger every day. Red rolling
fire branded clouds before sunrise drifted
against the back of my hands
take them into my lives but I didn’t.
I made it to the broken rocks and lifted
my sore shoulders up to drape my body
on the red moss. One small beetle wore
his half shell turned over and drifted I
realized and found the flat rocks rose
above the stumps of a forest of drowned trees.
I rushed the shore. I couldn’t stop. Waves
pushed at my head. I left Bristol. I left the skin
of the streets there. I left my wife wondering
if she would jump up when she heard my steps
up the path close to the smoke house where
we cured the bacon her father fattened.
Stones were thrown. The wake of the ripples
caught my hands and I was frozen in the water
Follows missing pages to the tale
kept by his descendant Simon Colman
and published in London in 1767.

15 Fragments of a Conversation

Tuesday, 24 February 1643
John Colman.Edward Wyman.Ska Nee
15 Fragments of Conversation

I speak to myself
my mind is dry
old waters raise my fall;
final plunge in empty lake

Within the race of our Great river
black eyes in gray faces
creep upon the water.

My land was full
violence, dark and random.
Death was serious
not romantic chance.

I love Ska Nee, as you knew her.
Our birth, a simple calculus;
the digestion of our hands complete
with sly acrobatic of legs by legs

There were harmonies
in Ska Nee, in the roseate dress of river;
fluted wings beside throat of waves
What kiss have we discovered
with our marriage at her spine
She was mother to mother
when our feet fell in air
and let to swing bashful
and blissfully solemn.

Is it simple to walk out the river past the bridge?
We rise without flight to peel gilt from pearl,
each layer lost to reveal that precipitous grit.
I am the viper of charm
in the gleam of Ska Nee's gig.
We settle down upon loam
with the buttery ferns for copulation.

Let us inside, among the shad
the roe, our cannibal, future meat,
our gracious age abandoned.

The tides tumble over fingertips.
At midnight we shall be bare
in Ska Nee's undulation.
Our figures gasp out of bounds.
Runners stand still.
The flat earth has won,
clocks not set.
I stand at the water,
to drink last trees.

We wait at the planet's door
our body wild divides,
these cliffs will stand straight
up and down with antimony's grain,
there was a terrible hum at death
I will translate the harmony.

There was a terrible pain at birth
I will translate the pleasure not sorrow.

After your murder
if I passed the Great River
I would divine it,
and when death closed,
I would prick my eyes
then my nipples
to savor red milk.

—Do not cut the mother
No hunting in her mouth.

Swannaken cut me down
to commit the murder to the murder.
I sleep in a double cradle;
all companions lost,
no John, Ska Nee.

I will dissolve the air
as Ska Nee taught.

There is no frame,
I will heal inside
the pulp of the stem;
my sight opens
color--pulls out its nerve

This was John's mask;
I put it on for survival.

Here are Ska Nee's female parts;
I will wear them
for her dreams
were given
with mercy.

What are my names after dying?
I am, truly, spirit?

First time you died
breathing smoke
from your mother's lips
shot as you stood at the cliff
in a second of laughter
Second time you died
breathing life into your mother.
You fell from the cliff and
were taken by the man
you call Edward.

I knew the end of the rivers
where the ocean stirs the clay
into slurry then indivisible
There was great honor
in stone and sand
in the fragments of history
baked to white bone.

Adored Ska Nee
at ledge where we fall
blessed thy arms
and kiss our mouth

Like the contemplation of the plum,
we are that plum; thee, sky
to unpredictable forest --
patient background to what
we met when time drew
itself in its own box.

The sun has one more shadow
to make before it paints the river,
and the heavens descend
into the mask of its mask.

When gravity is revoked
time falls down.

Have you noticed?