The Clockwork of Dreams

There is a ticking clicking ratchet hatchet

in the buzzing drone that sleeps me slowly

up to the neck of the rich hiss that

finds time sliding quietly out of reach.


There are gamelans that make clockish sounds,

yet pretty, running like rats across the richest chimes

that rhyme the ebb and flow of dreams that puzzle

and dreams that follow fleeting shadows of memory.


For I am the metronome of all that haunts you

and I am the keeper of what you thought you saw and did

and I will remember the odd thought and skewed logic

that dredges past and future from within.


So be the dancer who taps a dream to life

the drummer who measures the moment's span

the cello's human voice, rasping but harmonic

the intricate stop-start machine of gamelan.


In sleep, live the life unlived, perfect and parallel

till you roll with the music teacher of the soul

till you turn in waves of incessant, crazy rhythm

and find yourself entirely in the clockwork of dreams.



More serious snow

More serious snow

cuts into the night

with the sinuous hands

of those in pain

and those in the know


Salt of my grief, cure

layer upon layer

of washed ground

and the upturned knuckles

of blizzard-bent trees.


Gently sift through black branches,

coil at the lee corners of houses.


Caught in the headlights,

mesmerize with patterns hypnotic

until bold and breathless,

heap upon heap

the whiteness

the painless

the serious



December 10, 2000


The world's gone to sleep, but not me;

I'm left uneasy by an owlish urge

to keep watch when watching's silly.

Sounds grow menacing to the unpillowed ear,

while the muffled one augments

a steady rhythm of breath and blood.


In breathing slow I hope to mime

the sleeper's easy speech of sighs and whispers;

in sharp jumps and half starts I fall

into dreams that disconnect without warning.


I'm adrift in the Horse Latitudes,

bobbing and rolling with the slow motion

of swells far out to sea; as if

in trying to sleep I become a plaything

to be turned turtle by nightbreakers:

no direction into sleep, no momentum.


Give me the strength to swim from this shallow chop

into the Gulf Stream's forceful seawish;

the strongest undertow seeks a single direction:

my yawn continued by the current's pull.


October 1998

Entering the Dream

As you sink into the bed

there is a darkening feeling

of trains approaching night

and subways falling into black tunnels


Your breathing grows faint

and caverns of your torso

fill   with deep    bass    notes:

The pound of wheel against rail,

low moans of scraping steel


The train shoots upward

out of your mouth into glaring sunlight.


Your friends have come to meet you.

They wave as you leave the train.


(January 1977)

Comfort in a Falling Age

No help to patch the cracked lip of that smile.

You see only the edges of things caught sideways

in your jelling brainstorm.  Even the cracked smile

could not stop the momentum of your wandering.

And if it's not a movement through space,

across silences and around brittle cities,

then it's a journey inside, between and among

words and patterns you know so well.

Upriver, you swing into your own jungle,

thriving on paranoid connections, vines arching tree to tree,

among smells you remember but cannot identify.

Clutch at the jungle; you're the uncommon flower

that bursts open to find truth woven

in fronds to block the tepid rain.

Reach for it, unperplexed, till sun in the steaming ferns

signals a new relief, unquestioning warmth.

Outside your head and the room, trace dust waves

shot from passing wheels across red and gold desert.

Shafts of sun between fall's darkening clouds

heave against shadows: hands of dead tribes

still sifting through dry weeds with hoarse voices

for the oldest bones.




And so in these times, cher Percusso

enter the house of rhythm

and bear down with the sureness

of those for whom even language was a chore,

but song effortless, and dance the same as laughter.


And so, artist Percassio, pick sticks from palette

and beat color into motion on the taught canvas

that wills the color into life and love, even

into the pixellated pointillist patterns of the air,

say, above the Seine in Paris in a pastel spring.


And so, even you too, Plato in your cave of dreams--

resonate until you explode with riot of the real,

sending the shadows dancing up the flickered walls

out among those who will and must boundingly step

to the ecstatic, the lush and loving, the rhythm.


Thoughts of a nightwing heartbeat drummer, dramatic.


Drumlove, drumstruck alive.