To the Cognoscenti Absence Sensorium Letters of the Law Ancestral Cave Four Strange Books Realism Prospect of Release Central Europe Erat Some Appearances Ready to Go EncY The Grand Piano, Part 1 The Grand Piano, Part 2 The Grand Piano, Part 3 The Grand Piano, Part 4 The Grand Piano, Part 5 The Grand Piano, Part 6 The Grand Piano, Part 7 The Grand Piano, Part 8 The Grand Piano, Part 9

Ancestral Cave

Moscow Metro Station Mosaics

Curbside puddle : a city facade trembles
They rise through the stairwell to an upper floor
Move a brick onto the path where Wednesday stops
She rocks forward, then back on her trailing foot
Place a brick in the wall where Thursday ceases
Pick up speed on the stairs, keeping up the chase
He is unsure the future street will exist
Afraid to place her leading foot in the street
Runs headlong across lanes of moving traffic
Reaching for the power line, he shifts his weight
Laughing easily and shaking off its grip

All instruments, all sounds, tend to unison
Superimposed between buckle and sea-green
They caress each other in a doorway
Verdant transformer decay
She is in perfect balance and he is too
In a moment the portrait will terminate
I see them each separately walk away
Expectant ritual, the pole holds our place
In darkness, still air, flies and cables gather
The street leads under elevated train tracks
Trees flower, heedless stained grids. Seasons press on

Physical identity with street square house
Finger traces circle edge
A kind of pause or else syncopation
Waiting swept away, movement starting again
The neighborhood laid out like a sacrifice
Which returns incessantly
Filmed image of river-dark opacity
Reading under the stoplight, walking at night
He stares at the escalator for hours
Street-level village among outsized buildings
The statue holds a lightning bolt or a sword

Racing, I give no impression of movement
Of their music and that they store heat
A light inside the room, a black sky, the moon
Arms open message unclear : what to do next
He makes up his mind to walk in each street
In school he is taught to write on stones
Cutting across the park at the same hour everyday
Yet she was left off the list - uninvited
Across the river a room set into a brick embankment
Her eyes bow its windows as if violins
Between their airs, mute stones receive the message

Gently, he sands the piano mallets smooth
One arrives and leaves by the same door
First she picks subject matter
Night mist despite moonlight muddy path furtive
Halting acceptances, strange change
The facades identical hard to find among
Finally it will be I who says goodbye
Installed at a front table of the large restaurant
Leaning against her closely forehead in ear
He says goodbye over and over, counting
She descends the stairway between the old and new towns

However brief the instant he waited throughout
Plaque single flower foreign-seeming name
Armored ship listing in its ponderous berth
Helping him to describe us differently
I question when they will meet again
Soldiers sporting bayonets the city
The room was dust; the mattress dust
She makes a thing by making it not an idea of it
Her work is not hers alone
She asks herself how it is done
A work which cannot be realized in a happy place

Was an artist a chemist, searching the door
Friendship screwed tight as a technology
She walks away from her mother's large eyes
Lined up at the front of the vehicle
He waves his wrist limply - dismissal denied
In retrospect - first moments tastes and smells
I wonder whether they will meet today
He steadies himself, leaning on the bookshelf
One set were receptacles
At the crossing they put pennies on the track
She feels alone with an old technique

Of a goblet: delicate, gold-rimmed, chipped
He sits in the studio, he thinks of her work
From your room you enter occupied territory
Paint peeling, soiled, discolored, shriveled
It becomes time for all to leave your room
Bottle glass cigarette butt on balcony
An oval tray of smoked meat and tomatoes
Beneath her small room lights the glowing river
Hero embossed on crumbling facade
World of shallow relief in which profile is gesture
At night in the poor quarters, a village churns


Ancestral Cave was written in San Francisco in 1990 and in Moscow in 1995. It was published in 1997 by Zasterle Press. It is available from Small Press Distribution or Amazon.