Collected Poems of John Holmes
Holmes, John A., Jr.
To catch the upgust, the windy slides and levels,
Crawking and snatching, an anxiety of gulls.
Long around a rolled-up postcard from Naples,
Short in needles' eyes, a thrift of thread.
Seven and a fire, among them three guns,
At the cave's mouth a dwindle of partisans.
Sway-necked nibblers, twitching off ticks;
Huffiers, blatters, chumpers, a graze of critics.
Under the gas-pumps a fort, under that Indians,
Then big bones, then ferns, a shingle of history.
They came toward me, thinkers, frowners, changers
Of clothes, Hamlets with ears, a mirror of strangers.
Polishing the dulled air until it burns
So we hear the shining, a candor of horns.
Too many for the corridor, kicking doorsills,
Obscuring the lettered signs, a lurch of rebels.
The skin fair, big in the nose, not quite handsome
Till she smiles: herself: an inflection of chromosomes.
Long dead the painter except his masterpieces,
Their dying delayed only, a varnish of patience.
Pipe in no teeth; blue shirt; waiting for when;
A blanket in a wheelchair; a boatyard of old men.
All for praise and translation and crafty thoughts
Of the new enduring to be old, a devotion of poets.
Better than heartbeat's kick, track, and knocks
Goes beller and boomer, the patrol of clocks.
Collectors want all the prints, all the rocks, they wish
The chronicle whole of angels, a tally of starfish.
Our direction our own, surely it was for this we blew, But when the wind stopped, a sediment of statistics.