SMALL MOUNTAINS
1-
Rats in the harbor.
Time spinning a web in my head.
A shadow falling down the Chinese wall of a long life.

A mushroom eaten in the wind.
Blood distilled in the lungs.
Couples finding their purse strings in church.

A miner sweating in the sunlight.
The listener asleep before the news can be forgotten.
Strangers with eye patches who follow the same swallows.

We all must learn how to see in the night.
In St. Louis there were no sparks in the summer heat.
The clouds heard voices that came from where the barns were burning.

2-
The sermon betrayed what the causes spread over the tea leaves.
Nothing is what the mind calls the future.
Rain has its own apparel to undress its cold fluids.


The way everything is can never be found again.
There are cities where the tabla players solicit the holy for their prayers.
In Montreal the sober found their identity only when wearing a gas mask.

All seekers must pass through the stillness
that runs across the sea without a sail to raise.

Before we tap into the maple tree,
we should look over our shoulder
to estimate how far away
we are from the factory entrance
 that Spinoza reached out for
when he went out the back door.

3-
We are the apple core
of our rosy cheeks.
 
We  are the pre-products
of the local merchants,
who brought us here
without us noticing
how much on the shelves
was wiped clean 
on the broken plates
of the truth.

4-
Life is a joke
and death is even funnier.

Those too filled with pain
to sleep
can see more clearly
what Job must have said
when he was alone.

5-
In a drive for pelts,
the drizzle became
the itch
that took away
the urge
to find the easiest way
to scale the wall
without enabling
the security guards
to take their feet down
from any of the rescue ladders
that would be needed
if everything turned into
a game people play
when they must keep score
of things.

6-
Not everything is fishy.
If only it was just a great heat wave
that made the self-made man
take the last detour off  the road.

In the scheme of predicting losers,
it's the so-called lucky one who steps
on the top-floor ledge of a skyscraper
and envisions his family and friends
all in safe places chowing down on spare ribs
and afterwards either reading the New York Post
or watching the news on cable TV.

Illusions come and go as quickly
as the weather changes.

The one certainty is that fate
has so many transgressions
that allow us to see things best
when it's too late.

7-
Some say it will be better tomorrow
when the earth will caulk.

In the afterglow of meditation,
on the washed out lines
between infinity,

the marble steps of Job
have been muddied
and the people have
not found another path
to walk away from
their indignity
without pausing
for the eternal.

8-
Pardoned
by obscurity.

The animal signs
in the cut trees.

The house of solace
with no
Brillo pads.

Into the languishing
chambers
of the heart,
where the day stars
touch the branches
that sleep alone,
again.

9-
We all must die at some time.
The sun, on the other hand, can shine seemingly forever.
The clouds can come and go as they please.

It's a holiday in the sand when the frogs croak.
The country air can be as clean as the whitest beaches.
The salesman at a parade will feel the rain most on his back.

In the hyperbole of hymns, the the geese fly away when the autumn leaves fall.
A wall can never hide what it can't measure.
A man with no energy can still be warm near the fire.

10.
Flowers and weeds.
The bumps on the granite road.

Then saying farewell
to the men on the hill.

I imagined how it would be in August
if I was still alone.

When it drizzled
I felt my bones ache.

There were days
when I saw the faces of those
I would never see
in my life,
and I would try to
remember what they looked like
so I could try to know them.

when enough time passed
I would have
to find my way home
or rethink things.

11.
I'm not alone
eating hay
in the cow fields.

The summer bubbles burst
in the furrows
whenever a child learns
to think for himself.

In Gettysburg the Union Army
mingled with the ghosts moving
through the maples
to find a way home
for those missing their limbs.

The church bells in Laredo
ring only for the devout, who know
when to look up at the sky
for a sign to obey.

12.

There's no singe in the wind
when the crows gather
in the fields to cry foul
about the harvest.

Some would rather die
than be boxed in by a life
that leaves no standing room
for the players to get on base.

There are no real flowers
in paradise.

When lovers walk
under the boardwalk,
it isn't wedding bells
they are hearing.

In Palestine, the Left thinks
they are inoculated from the hatred
against the Jews.

It never stops raining  on an Easter parade,
even when the band removes
their uniforms and the spectators
never stop cheering the marchers.

The world always elects itself
when it's worried about
its nerves hiding in the shadows.

13.

The rain wears its hat on it sleeves for the religious holidays.

The desert hides its lonely in the shade.

It never turns to grass when the squirrels
run through the park.

Too many nuggets never
get out of the woods.

Inner cities must fight for their right
to never die without turning
in their badges.

In Old California opinions were
falling off the ledges and gold
was chugged down
like the water
when the Mexicans left.

Height cannot be translated into French
as long as the Statue of Liberty
is in the eyes of the ocean.

For every rat on a ship, there's a captain
that returns to port without saying
a word.

Deployment depends on how far away
from the House
the veteran is willing
to be within his sight.

14.

Sometimes it's too late to see
where you are going.

There are wounds gotten only in a war.

Hell becomes the truth that softens
as it drifts forever in the sea.

In Old Russia the peasants would
spit on the flies
rather than admit
they no longer believe
in the stars as guides
in the underworld.

No one needs Tolstoy anymore
to find out if the monks
are keeping the faith.

Every day in the tundra
the traveler can see
how fragile his life is
if he looks too far ahead.

There is no such thing as happiness
for those who pretend they are happy.

The unseen things in the night
are like fingers of a thief
looking up from the grave.

The snow-banks taking us
into their bosom
are the flowers
we once watered
in our garden.

15.

We are shown the stones
the ancients used as tablets
so we can see only
what the others see.

In Old Vienna
we could have said
the words
no one would say
and got away with it
if we spoke fast.

We came into the night world
as strangers to the music
that once was only heard
in the castles of the wealthy
and left during the day
with only so many dreams
that moved us.

The golden years come through the storms
as slowly as a scholar
turning the pages of the Talmud
in a changing world.

When it snowed
the silence covered
the streets
for those falling
from the sky
to ride
in real time again
on their childhood
carousels.

16.

It's always bad in November.
There are no more flowers
to genuflect on in the garden
and in the woods only the hunters
in orange vests were pleased with themselves.

A thick smoke in the hills
becomes a metaphor
for living the country life
in a log cabin
for those buying time
to be reborn into their same
vocabulary, weather permitting.

The unpleasant chain saw sounds
verbalize for the workers
in the downed trees, which are
in the same spot where the crickets
knock on the wood coffins
meant for those who found their way home
after the last call at the bar.

A man in a ski mask, on the street,
gives me directions and thanks me
for asking.

When the rain stops
in Manhattan,
there's always hope
a subway rider
will remind us about
the jugglers who
never dropped anything
but there was no audience
to verify this.

Sometimes it's only a game
we lose when we take a wrong turn
and the nostalgia we once
couldn't live without
becomes as amusing now
as following in the footsteps
of a father we never knew.

17.

Looking for the light
in the open shed.

Finding the right afternoon
in the quiet streets
of the small town.

Scrambing through the field
in a drizzle.

After another mass shooting
dancing on the roof
of town hall.

Embracing our gun culture
without flinching
as our business as usual
turns ever so quickly
into evening.

18.

Fragments
as rituals
taken off the line
before
the hours change
for the journey

from yesterday's
cathedrals,
that were facing
the unnamed
with the wind
at their back.

19.

In their blindness
the gulls see only
the forbidden fruit.

In the ears
of the fascist dead,
the red bells
of hate
are still
ringing.

In the biblical rain
there's no shelter
for the illegals
crossing the border
of the haves,
who pretend to be dry
behind a wall
that doesn't exist.

20.

The tedium of yesterday
is in the conduits of today.

The incense in the prayers
are the words that vanish
when spoken.

The stones that once wept
for Socrates, no longer
see the world through
the eyes of the Greeks.

21.

There are only the disparaging rumors
left afloat in the water
where the industrial navigators
left port in the middle of the night
without lying about the hours
turning back the clocks
when the ghosts held
onto the rails of the barges
and were not in a hurry to live
anymore without the nothingness
that is being stolen from them.

22.

The loneliness in my heart
is in the night
tossing in its sleep.

The silence at dawn
is in the uncounted sheep
who no longer awaken
after dreaming.

The firs in the forest
sometimes fall on the treeless thoughts
lost in the darkness
of the ground.

The map of existence
that can't be found
when needed to travel over
the sand in the dunes
is the same blind spots we finger
in the whites of our eyes
when we can't believe
after all the years searching
we have found a home
we can stick a pin in
to see if it pinches us.

23.

It's on the porch of reason
where in the suburbs
the postmodern gods sit in the summer's nights
to refresh their memories
after being lost for so long
in the transitional machinery
the world needs to keep oiled
in order to smell like something new.

24.

The horses let out
of a dream
to live again

in the bronze streams
of your baptism,

where your God
seemed like a fraud

because whenever you spoke of Him
it was about the miracles
he performed in ancient times
and not of the miracles he no longer can.

I only knew you
through your God
and our love only
grew more weary
with age and the world
seemed only more unsettled
the more you prayed
for us.

25.

Stigmas freeze
in their tracks.

Feathers cling
to the spindles.

Before the ground
was painted red,
the songbirds rested
on the beaches
and the albatrosses
came with the sudden rain,
as the lovers searched anew
for their belongings
until it was another day
and their souls

resembled the kindling wood
once used by the older generation
when the new day became
too cold.

25.

Monkey shines with seals adrift in the fall.
Dog whistles with backward banners in the winter.

A thousand prayer wheels to discard in the circus.

The orange man of nocturnal politics
thinking he alone can turn the dawn
into a moon-based prison camp
for the disenfranchised.

It's only in the street uprisings
where the workers
can't be stopped,
in the underground word factories
that make enough light
to shine on the monster,
can the heat they create
be felt
in all the institutions
the people swore they were willing
to die for.

26.

Sand
is a net
found
in the half-bitten
heart,
where the migrants
tango in
the rain
when it gets
too dark
to see yourself.

A sickle
is the wand
a traveller
must forget
when he can't
ride the shaft
forever
without carrying
too much of the load.

The assumptions are
seminal
about so much
of inner-space
and how uncertain
is its memory
of others
when it comes to things
such as dates and places.

27.

Everything in the Hudson river
can only see itself
in the past.
 
The man-made toxic pond
in Butte looks more beautiful
than the natural mountains
because it seems more real.

At the crossroads, in every Texas
border town, no one sits too long
in the dark corners
when waiting for their time
to come
without dying.

With so many fingers
raised in Gettysburgh
for respite, the pores
of the dead open up
again for the arms
of the evening mist.

28.

Mountains in Montana
have no teeth
to bite down on their virtues.

Rivers in Mexico
 have no gold to show
for their prayers.

The willows in India hide
in their loins those
living forever as mortals.

The Cape Cod breeze
cannot touch the darkness
without turning off the light.

29.

Everything leads to nothing, even if that doesn't seem possible.

Death is not a dream to fall asleep on when not awake.

Playing with the dust of existence is a game only the holy ones can win.

A memory of the Lord is not the soft moon you land on when you crash for the night.

30.

This is my bed
where the roses
can't smell the night
and its thorns
refuse to be a crown
worn by the loser.

This is the hour
where the stream
can't tell
if it's coming or
going.

This is our small world
where every friend
could be the stranger
who stabs us
in the back.

This is our corpse
we have lived with
our entire life
until we become
whole again
by planting our seeds
in the spiritual world.

31.

You, the ringer
of the night,
your  darkness
comes out
of my eyes,

your spells shatter
the stars I have chosen,

your calloused voice
turns away
the angels.

If you shout
at the constellations,
they still cannot
hear you.


If you stand with the other
survivors near the heather,
still you may wonder
who will care
if you are there.

32.

Cold voices,
                     plastic armbands,
the curses from the one-armed bankers
who weigh their Alpine stones
on their German blind- eye monocle,
while blinking at the honeycombs
for what they have forgotten
about the bees
and at the black moon
facing the slopes,
that looks out to the sea
when it snows in the fall.

33.

How removed I am
from my childhood
trolleys and daydreams
when I look out
at the bold landscape
from the foothills
of the Himalayas
and am struck
more about
what I  left behind
than what I gained,

and wonder if memory
can ever bring me back
to a moment
where I can start over
without being reborn.

34.

Sand falls
through the cracks
of time
during the despair
of the wordy season
when so many
forget their passwords
while shopping online,

that the expedient
world travelers
who want to save the
real world, in opposition
reach for so many
octaves in their
search for their
true identity,
that the hand music
of the day
gives them some
soothing mild therapy
for dying with their
boots on.

35.

The Bardo streams
amid the sandy bones
of hope
that are tossed aside
in the blind streets,
where the undead
search for themselves again
in the rubble.

The lunatic border sky
with its many transient moons,
again illegally shines its light
on the migrant's pulse to no avail.

The cypress hands of winter's thoughts
go untouched in the toxic shakes
of the heart, whose world goes aflutter
when its flat.

In the stillness of the messianic night,
the loners ask so little of themselves
when the stars pour out of the night
like wine uncorked on the Bowery.

In the cello players Spinoza-like movements,
the creaking temple doors are the sounds that
break through the enigmatic silence,
as the worshippers are opening up
to their inner fears of nature.

36

The face of snow
has no years
for all the mountains
that were muted like mimes
in all the solitude

and all the pilgrim climbers
who perished
were like the naive believers
of fairy tales who only
believed in happy endings.

37.

The garden flutes
play on the WH lawn
for no change other
than to pull the wool
over our democracy.

The haters march for hate
with armbands
as happy reminders
of the Holocaust.

The tormented
 immigrant children
locked in cages,
cry out in their innocence
for the spineless enablers
to return them to their parents.

The face of a country
can't blush anymore
from shame, if its leader
is not sane.

38.

The grey dunes
in the unpictured slum
of misfortune

is where the most dire prayers
for the sandmen are made,
by those who kneel at the cathedrals
for the lonely
and who go onward from there,
even with so little wind
at their back

and so much uncertainty
in front of them
from their gods.

39.

The sound of spokes,
the normal evenings
to standby unhurried
by the future language
that already has a pulse.

The stars hogging
the winter light,
the buzzards
close to town
when the hungry
leave in silence.

40.

Broad sterns
coming off
the world's
breathes.

Lavender pylons
turning up the hours
of Doric cylinders
exploding.

Central decks
dusted on the sea hands
in their back shifts
for water.

The sherpa spheres
of steppes
on the low headstones
the limp parts
were cut off from.

41

Racist wire
jammed into
city walls.

Priestly almonds
on the heels
of shelled
missteps.

Barge trolls
for the sharks
to return
to the past.

Harbors
in the weeds
where the water
tests our future
solutions

42.

Unmapped tourist roads
for rabbits
to find luck in.

Suburban fires
for yards to be maintained
rather than for feet
to be groomed as shrubs.

Walking calls
to hear yourself
when awakened
to the alarms
of wolves.

Brown borders
that even Neruda
won't translate to.

43.

Rails across the backs
of slavery forever
leaving its tracks
at the station.

The senators from ancient Greece
on the forked roads of democracy
only when walking in pairs.

Nothing tested in the blood
sails without your stomach
forging its own memories
of childhood.

For the rose worn on the heart,
for the fear that holds the thorns in place,
the church bells toll  the loudest
for the children pushed off the ledges
by their perverted saviors.

44.

Through translucent meridians
finding your way to the front.

The booby traps amid the causeways
that carry pain away from the free zones.

No more poring over the copious bonding pacts
to find new masters.

The time is now when there's
nothing new under the sun.

45.

The red daggers of success
fall from the skyscrapers
when the wind is brain-dead.

The muck turns to beans
for the homeless living
in the dark when the city
withholds its sunlight.

The wounded war statues
bleed again when it gets too noisy
for the night to let it sleep.

Somewhere in northern New Jersey
there's no stink of futility
when when the bookish
toss their ideas
into the schoolyard bins.

The populist poser for the deplorables,
with the voice of
a gargoyle, turns a beastly orange
when playing Russian roulette
with the world.

46.

Skins jump
out of their hives
in their insular
daydreams.

Ash tips
fall off
the limbs
of the eerie
dead.

In the breaths
where I last
felt you,
the walls
grow hands
to paint
a pretty picture
of us separating
forever.

47.

Your unseeing outward look
at the sea
calls for more blindness.

The beach crabs
for your seasons
to be pleasant
calls for you
to be drenched
in the shade
of the passing hours.

The rubber boats
for your children
calls for the  inevitable
to be in the blood
of the first voyage
that runs deep
into the dark
to save itself.

48.

Of the limp emotions
that hurt the most
when on the lam
across the moors

are the pains we carry
in  our fog-draped selves
we no longer see
disguised
as the tiny creatures
in mortal danger
that we are unwilling
to see again as
the truths of
our real fate ahead.

49.

Dregs of what I imagined
in the river
I never dredged
from my system.

The sand of snakes
on the branches
with no more art
to hide behind its
fruit.

Threads on the wheels
of the passing hours
that will breakdown
its sleep
rather than go back home
without any excuses.

50.

Your outward looking
at the sea's blueness
masks no purity.

Your crab-eyes are
fixiated on the beach
while waiting alone
for the low-tide
to pass so you can
dry off in time
the nocturnal past
from your being.

On the rubber boats
of the future,
on the waves crashing
against
your drifting soul,
the inevitable conclusion
runs deep into the dark waters
to save all the children
from drowning.

51.

All flowers are not red.
The sky is not heaven.

The foreign stones
are not the only steps
where time has no end
to bring back
the lonely hours
of your childhood.

The lines for your geometry lessons
are not the toll
everybody pays
when they must
cross over their dreams.

52.