Assemblage by the author
Photos by Michael Burtness

In memory of Kirsten Erica Denner


Two friends
this fire.

You here,
I there
in a garden

of fire.


Dirt makes me itch.
Asphalt hurts my feet.
Kindness an official bitch.
Lawn order on every street.


The beach at Miramar
is marked Right To Pass
Revocable At Any Time.

Banana skins, plastic cups,
oil derricks, all forms
of rubber, wood and steel

ripped to elements,
stripped of character
and dipped in tar.


Alaska, who lives there?
Caribou, wolves and bear.

This grizzly airs a grudge
that everyone fears to judge.

A refinery don't smell
like Chanel— more like hell.


One drop goes
a long way to ease
the friction.

100 billion barrels,
ten to the tenth power—
while the answer is hair

warm nights in fur,
and the best investment
is Sasquatch.


Hard to see
the truth. Shaggy curves
in a fuzzy country.

Realm of the densely packed.
In turn, a town with streets
that aren't on any map.


Birds that lay
in Euclid's branches
have a view of May.

Spring blows and sucks,
sucks and blows
the eucal blossom.

It's always ragtime,
suck and blow.


when Ezra Pound was released
from St. Elizabeth's, he said
"America is an insane asylum"
and then split for Spolento

It appearing to the Court
on this day
the above named defendant
appeared to answer
a charge of committing Treason

It appearing that the said Judge
in it appearing that on that date
a doubt arose as to the sanity
of said defendant
dismissed criminal proceedings
in said action
and certified the above-named
for hearing and examination
by said Court
to determine the sanity
of the said defendant; and
the attorneys
for defence and prosecution
that the doctor's reports
could be received in evidence
and the Court
considered the evidence
presented upon the issue
of the present sanity
of said defendant and found
the said defendant to be insane

that the said defendant
be committed and confined
as an insane person
until such time as he shall
become sane


the poet sits alone
in the Idlewild Airport Café
sketching his next Canto
C Beef  65¢
Coke    10¢
comfort after 14 years
in a Washington D.C. mental ward

across the room
a dark-eyed beauty
cool, contemplative
  Cassandra, your eyes are like tigers
       with no word written in them
  You also I have carried to nowhere.

noise from the juke box
interrupts his cold beef vision


Old Valdez.
275 sq. miles. Second oldest
white settlement in Alaska.
Captain Cook 1778
1794 Bligh Island
Spaniards 1798.

1800s whaling. Copper mined.
Route to the gold fields.
Blue fox farming in the 1920s.
Iron Trail by Rex Beach set here.
Young Miss Miller marries
the Maharajah of Indore.

New Valdez.
Rebuilt after quake on a new site.
Voted All-American City 1965.
Valdez rhymes with "ease."
South Terminus of Alyeska's
pipeline from Prudhoe Bay.

Wrathful Alyeska
auger in one hand
marshprobe in one hand
geo-stick in one hand
polaski in another

I take soil samples
along the surveyed route
from Valdez to Tonsina.
I follow the Lowe River
through alder swamps
across marshmuck to bogmire.
Streams rot with salmon.

I follow a bear trail
to the cutline where I auger
twenty feet to bedrock.
I sidetrack near Kendal Cache
to collect lichens and weathered
telegraph insulators.
I note the conglomeration
from a glacier deposit.

Along glacier benches to bedrock
across rivers to bedrock
to bedrock under ridges, under
boulders, under cobbles, under sill
under sand, under volcanic ash.
I take a rest and get sick.

A caravan of Winabegos passes.
A woman points to a dead salmon
and exclaims, "Someone should do
something about that." Cheechakos.
10% chance of rain in a rainforest
means 10 inches of rain.

At Trans Alaska Pipeline
Point on Ground TAPS PG=361+68
I join my copter pilot.
Mustachioed Vietvet with shades
his scarf trails in the breeze.

He drops me off on a sandbar.
There's a field of devil's club
and a jungle of alder hanging
from granite cliffs between me
and my testhole.

King crab to Otterman:
  glacierized graywhacky
  sandy sill
  silly sand
  Indian love stones
  fucking rocks

Otterman to Kingcrab:
  reading you
  alluvial fan
  metamorphic composition
  zone theory
  montage effects

Dhal sheep graze below me.
As the Alouette lands, a bull moose
into the brush.
Up the line, a grizzly and her cubs
into hiding.

From the Arctic Ocean
at Prudhoe Bay, over
the Brooks Range
across the Koyukuk River
across the Yukon River
and the Tanana, stretching

Across the Alaskan Range
this in temperatures below zero
for more than one hundred days
below forty below for weeks
dropping to eighty below
in arctic winds

From Thompson Pass
down a glacier moraine, the pipe
slouches into Valdez.


Birds and rain
turtles on the waves
deep in your heart
you know harmony.

Keep your eye peeled
for litter along the way.
If it talks to you, pick it up.
That's politics, too.

"Hi, I'm a moldy doughnut
in the dumpster wishing you
a really nice day
with sprinkles on top."

"I'm a recycled plastic bag
giving you longevity vibes."
"An aluminum can, here, sending
blessings of happiness and peace."

"No, I want to send peace!"
"Shut up, you dumb Styrofoam,
get back, and wait your turn."
"Then, I'll send joy and light."

Birds and rain
turtles on the waves
I sing of lovingkindness as
a responsible use of power.


Zeroing-in on
the many that are one,
a place

where the parts
are not knowable
for the the hole.

Halve what you have,
enough is enough.
"Good morning, nice day!"


in the Springtime, etc.
to be precise
1987 was the conclusion
of the 16th 60 year cycle
of the Kalachakra System
and the climax of matter

in the Springtime, etc.
2012 is the conclusion
of the Mayan Great Cycle
and a period of hard choices

in the Springtime, etc.
I dream of the New Age
although I know
it's hopelessly sentimental

in the Springtime, etc.


January 25th, Saturday, 5 p.m.
Sun 05° Aquarius opposed the Moon
Winter transmutes Craig's Hill
dense and gray— a dead forest

Ethan and Barb and Steve
Tom and Sharon and Jill
circle dance around
the water tower

when you touch the earth
red rays rise through your body
when you walk you bring
purple rays down from Heaven

I'm drinking Jack Daniels
with a little water
while they dance and chant

explaining how, if you'd let me
I'd let you...
when we went in for the Hydrogen Bomb

and it is embarrassing
standing here in a white shirt
with debris falling, yes

it's a long day
if you have an extra sunrise
and a long night
with ultra-violet Spring
after Nuclear Winter


Flies mate on the page
drawn by my attic honey breath.

Life in Washington's delicious
compared to the worm
eating at the core.

Ruskin describes it, a march
  of infinite light...intervaled
  with eddies of shadow

Note the gas, the fire, cholera—
if only a tapestry of the travesty,
a n+1 number of knots.


The band heats the air
with acid rock.
Black-lighted bodies
dissolve in the dark.

Flames of ice,
flames of flood,
flames of meat,
flames of mud.


Slanted rain falls
on blank flowers
in a mechanical garden.

I have desperation
I walk like a dog,
never shifting my gaze.


Red Sea.
Persian Gulf.
Now,that your world map is complete,
the game can be changed.

No apologies.
This is magic.
The technology
is what's real.

The bleeding, twisted bodies
are real.
The beauty, the truth are monstrous.

Nothing to be done.
Make my bed.
Clean my room.

It's an end run
on CNN Play of the Day,
Skuds vs. Patriots.

It's a blitz
on a fortress
on a mosque
on a gulf of oil, a gulf
of blood.

Nightmare of smashed faces
out of the dark,
I am diminished as I awake.


you're right, Charles
the South did win
the Civil War

and America can't wait
for the next Texas Bar-B-Q


Mother's gaga,
limbs tied in tape.

No cedar to see, dear.
Can't dial 911-rape.


Hands at work,
sound of saws,
a drape of smoke.

Gaia grotesquely
posed, tossed flesh
that terrifies.


Joaquin sings
of Lily's graces.

She brought
the house down.

The house had beams
musically spaced,

columns of concrete
delicate as bird legs.

A structure,
a broken shell.


As custodial head
at the care center
infection control
and safety briefing
I get a hot lunch.

I sip my au jus
mistaking it for coffee.
Lab reports are read.
I eye my pie.

How many cultures
on a clean plate?
Did she say forty?

The entrapment of a mouse
is announced. My bit
of Velveeta and Old Vic
trap makes a hit.

Stomp, stomp, stomp
go the days. It's March 10th.
Alexander Graham Bell invents
the telephone. Kissinger calls
for more nuclear technology.

Birds will eat the feed
I put in the tree
by Rose Roberg's room.

Events— a waterfall.
Spray, white, spray.


The bug is right,
we're pond scum, flotsam
in the evolutionary wave.

Hear that—
Coltrane, man,
like in Kind of Blue.

There's a certain shape
to these final chords
like a crystal structure.

Inside, you can see
naked people, the living
dancing with the dead.

To Volume 1, Book 5