SPAIN 1958

The slit of a silly Murillo moon.
A girl with a karakul heart.
The fountains in Sol would make any
Roman scream with laughter.

Castilla in Saharan colors:
cruel whites, sand colter, purples and brown,
deepening harsher reds, and ocher tones.
Spain in the desert barrenness
(if soft eyes could see the wastings).
There in the summer coming
will descend great heat,
and then kind God may kill
dry cattle first with thirst,
before they bloat with hunger,
choking themselves with dust.

The false Spring's sinister grey,
high clouding horizon unrolling
over barren street trees,
hard unpromising heaven,
dank Sunday sky.
Distilled from light-killing nebulosity,
a limpid spirit, ethereally cast,
translucent with hope, proved
another mean mirage. Impersonal
dull blood pumpings,
visions of cool dying:
men with constricted throats
last-dreaming, in dry
tombless deaths.

Trees were scratchy lines
on the dismal, uniform
scratchboard sky, hard lit,
recalling its opposite: dappled, happy nights
in dirty snow.




Is God coloured?
If so, is He red? Green? Ferraniacolour?
If not, is He black and white? Just white? Unjust black?
White trash? white Anglo-Saxon Protestant? (And can His son get into Outward Bound?)
Black Muslim? Black as the ace of spades?

Assuming God to be white...
(Why should we assume God to be white?)
White light contains all colours,
Or has done so at least since Newton,
Hence, the whiter He is, the more coloured He is in fact.

Assuming Him white, are we justified in assuming Him to be post-Newtonian?
Newton knew all about Him.
Was Newton's God coloured?
At any rate, he was English, and a gentleman,
And probably a creditor, and a colonialist-degenerate-bully.

Suppose God has polka-dot skin, or stripes;
Revealed in alternating, flashing, neon tubes.
Could God's Christian name be Claude?
(Mr. C. God, R.S.A., portraits by appointment, landscapes a little longer.)
Suppose God's middle name were Muncaster.

Lies. God always passes under the name of Claudette,
A Chinaman to our losing hand of patience.


The nighttime throwing a bitter blanket
A blanket hiding insects
Insects creeping from cracks in the tile
The tile slickly polished
As slick as the scales of dying wings
Wings of electric blue
Blue that is never seen in the night
Except when the nightlights are fired
Fires igniting the hiding wingslime
The slime seared wings in a blaze
Blazing electrical whirring and burnt
In wing burning blue insect flights
Flying at wicked and blinding lights
Blinded and streaking they sting
Stinging in incandescent blazing
Blazing in evil sparkles
Sparkling them into a pulverized cloud
A cloud of electrical dust
A dusty fire cloud flashing with death
And death but reflecting the dying
The dying and settling insect film
Filmily blankets so softly
Softly except for electric blue fragments
Fragmented sparkling death wings
In wingdust settling nighttime cover
Covering the porcelain glare
The glaring of slick incandescent whiteness
Of whitely bitter nights


I look out over the grasses
willow trees
and a thin lake,
here—from where
I soon will leave.
Stacked cartons
crates and excelsior around me
in  scattering already starting
to settle down like dust
with a diffusion of sadness that
accompanies departure.
Still two more days. Bach
flutes and an oboe
shuffle the air cards
in the early night;
and tranquility
after high winds today
spreads into the corners
of speculation
and rememberance.
While at the center
these thoughts still hold you
still too new
too soft
so indispensible
for my being
beginning to be alive for you.
Sensuous girl,
long fingers
Modigliani linearities
and your eyes:
be beautiful (always).
Move swiftly in your woman-smooth skin
(dancing for me).
I love you is like a sunset
almost impossible
Lustrous wife and beautiful mother.
(come with me)
under the ocean sun
rhythm of tides
and slow heaving of earth
arrogant delicacy of winds,
and under you the darkness (always)
and the warmth
and loving you
the quietness of mountains under the sea.

--Jose Que



Kafka has written that there are many places of refuge,
But only one of salvation; (and)
However, there are as many chances for salvation,
As there are places of refuge.
What then of the steps and stages in our hideaways?
There is no refuge without awareness,
Just as hell is really no suffering and torment--
Any more than that which we endure anyway--
So much as it is being permitted a glimpse of heaven:
That which old-fashioned writers used to think they were doing a favor with,
By granting such a vision to the blessed.
Hell then is curiously intermingled with our notions of the world,
As with the blessed Camus with his heightened vision
And his hellish refusal to enjoy any more of heaven than he could see.
The mirror is aware.
Upon awareness, interest builds
(Unless they are so close that we can save sense
And divide at the same time).
Image: shoppers in front of the Century City Broadway,
Looking up from Plaza Level,
Consuming, aware of production--building--growing
Going on above them
At the new, higher levels of some adjacent hell.
The interest gauge is a finely-calibrated device.
When all the rods and cones start functioning
(Rods from Jesse's stem hath doubtless sprung,
As Cohens from the interests of the priestly caste)
Then perception occurs.
This, in turn, elicits response--
Which, as science has fallen in love with measuring,
In a complementarity
(Hie thee to the ice and iron towns, in 1925,
And bore down to the center of the earth
To discover, in her black body, this principa--
An emission, no prince, out of Denmark).
And response can be measured by reaction.
Sometime, during millenia, culture accrues,
And this becomes transmitted as knowledge.
Resolved, somewhat, with our life in this world,
Knowledge adjusts itself toward understanding.
And toward resolution with that world of god or heaven within us,
Comprehension is attained.
Tempted beyond this
By the still-occurring, occasional flashes,
Some men--among them certainly mongers,
Swarthy souls, or those benign and bedazzled innocents,
Or still, those destined to be saved (anyway)--
Profess or manifest belief.
Beyond the realm of belief,
Faith begins.
And after faith,
There is grace.
Only there, beyond the extremes of grace, is there truth.
And only through truth can salvation be received.

Monday, November 6, 1967
Venice, California 90291


Poets, laureate or ivy twined
Sing most true when their lyrics
Call the names of the denizens,
That is, of the spirits resident roundabout,
or as the Tibetans call them, Lords of the Soil.
Even there in habitations perched like warts
On the bridge of the high forehead
Altissima profile on the face of the mother
Queen peak of the earth's crust
Into whose exudent rock out croppings
Torque caves containing springs of hot mineral water
Whose drainage trickle warms the watered crevices of rock
So that seeds of nettle sprout.
Some spirit of high adventure in its plant consciousness
The sense of what it is to be a nettle plant in terms of RNA
And the imaginary skein of species memory.

Circa 1985


Street dogs prowling
House cats growling
The Gypsy jokers are coming to town.
Some are unshorn
With garments torn
And some come in velvet gowns.

Date unknown