5 POEMS by TAMAS PANITZ
Ode to Marie Laveau
Caiman walk in the liver’s dream
up stairs of missing waters
the atoms at last have agreed to work
Hiram was Hydrogen exalted brother
wearer of all clothing more and more.
Let talk reach its terminus
where the unformed lends its edge.
What good is blood if the second comes first
the priestess asked, vervain and vetiver
don’t tell anyone what you choose
for third, a personal door to be free of your desire.
Listening to Bruckner’s 5th
Only a pythagorean could dress as the gate empty through it
always toward danger the keen edge of being teethes
up the Tiber philosophy is about trespassing where you are
because words are slow and the heart hammers fast
but some day they must meet, Jack said, patient.
long as breath
along the tape
a keen eyed Indian he was never safe from lions.
Hear the trees decide to sound their brass.
A busy hand keeps your minds free.
My tables tremble with the voice of angels
who do not themselves disturb the air.
The divine surrounds itself with deceit.
A flower growling in your mother’s photograph
nothing is different but gradually new animals
these first geese ever coming or going
it was quieter we could communicate from anywhere
just seeing to say, remember, all of this for you.
Maze of the Horizon
A long line of words the horizon shuffling about at the doctor’s door
who watches all long lines from anywhere until they supply their cure
turning on themselves note the sense call back an order it must have known
the girls push their wheel barrows when do we ever get to know
under the shadow of the margin trace the furrows back to sin and then light
the long teleology of lives rays from the line of lines that purifies
Dido is Hannibal my father had wet hands elephants on the alps
it’s hard to see much when you’re busy doing
order of the spell we’re in can’t see how we’re spelled
waiting to learn the present tense the humble means of chaos
when you kiss me like Mary with your Aramaic lips O hosanna
here’s a long bold line that toils and flowers from the center
I can hear the horse in the chair the snipe sing in solid plaster
put your foot through the wall and feel its wet unmade continuo
of course the margin starts anywhere moveable evil idem-itas identity sameness
the trick is to think back back back and suddenly it’s over
fish falling from the light and no other god around my dear
just a panther circling in the dark we are ever closing in on rest
fervid center of bone closer becomes thick green its vapors I near in delusions
Kant you rat I neared the line came in the thick with delusions and I let go the rope
but that was much later they ring the gong and maybe it’s later again
they ring the gong maybe it’s now he’s coming the scribe starts a fresh line
the bronze waves of gongs roll back and make to shatter the margin
as if the margin had never been o read from the fair silence my friend
we’ll know what to do looking back we’ll ride the beast that is itself the end the sun.
After a painting by Louise Smith
How long have you waited
to make me see this by accident
the way the moon is always between
any number of stone stoplights.
The ground is covered with math like that
in this city built of seeing
under the sky in a blue cross
between your two hands. Tau,
the third thing,
between us too, that makes the whole
Kether, crown, completion.
They say Qabala came from the Greek
but Qabala is not scholarship.
The book that matters is being written still
and today the great polymaths
of Renaissance systematic science
have finally begun
to speak themselves in paint.
What they always meant but couldn't
say, the name that calls her back
because this is the name she left
sign and seal she sailed out from under
on smooth Aegean, Atlantic, bathtub
to mysterious Greenland.
Atlantis was in Chicago all along,
the salt of her primordial sea.
The Nine Lives of Island Mackenzie
He gouged his claw deep into the tree.
Eight lives left. He marked.
He did not like to look at it.
It is better to pore over the sea of death
and there give out one’s own, he thought:
reap tangential blessing.
The release opens through her of the light
an influx in the mistress below.
She said, go down and tell her her secret name.
The light her other face opens in life
both wave and particle.
He ate a sea anemone and a crab.
Because he didn’t like to look at it he went down
and called Persephone by the secret name of Love
to release and follow her living beyond life.
If the story was about a man he would have burned
black cats until sunlight, a reductive horror
in the other world, the mind works hard
by waste and excrescence to people.
The bridge turns through her face and expands
each ray turned back through the other.
Because the story is about a cat lost at sea, Mackenzie
made designations ate fish for breakfast.
Christ was already there, and Captain Jupiter
could not be the hero of this story for divine Justice
for his being English.
So christ was the cat of this story, very very alone on the island.
Because a cat is two swords running each way
through the crucible of the narrative, the spirit
beyond death forged me for his noble companion.
Together on our islands.
We are very very alone and his suffering ours
from an authority within in his mind of Pan.
Captain Jupiter is a toothless old hick.
An insurrectionary imagination takes the empty
beaches. Walk out from the temple.
Past the end of the world.
The Island spoke: “Behold,
this is the floor of my house.”
Then in the jungle Mackenzie felt at home
and the living things were all permitted
their own voice.
But the crocodile has no voice. I mistook it for a rock
until it opened its head to the sky and was hollow.
Christ thrust in a shipwrecked attaché case
and saved himself.
She came out of the sea.
He could smell her island in the heart of the jungle.
He followed her scent.
In and faster than I grasped I rushed along
and her scent would not notice me.
Stepping lightly on my paws
in her lap onto her hands where they rested.
Where I will die.
In her lap unnoticed the emperor
and I fell through the air a scream tightened
up. Her enraged popes
full of her against me.
She said: You will die.
She loved Captain Jupiter.
And Mackenzie did not notice me, as Rilke said
are we present at all in the world of a cat
even as we co-inhere the characters wear
the stations of a narrative in a single plant, rhizome
of transformations, a drifting association of birds
in the serious hands of the wind.
She was an older form of death the only death
but he had followed her in the guise of Love
moving because she moved into the destructive impulse
that stood as a point in the darkness
giving the darkness dimension.
She threw nuts at him from great distances.
A painful vestige of one’s Creation:
Captain Jupiter is in the mind,
and she loved Captain Jupiter.
From the little I’ve been able to discover about the life of Ursula Moray Williams, author of the “children’s” book, The Nine Lives of Island Mackenzie, three biographical details stand out: she was locally admired “for her many acts of kindness and instinctive christian faith;” she “organized riotous parties for the Puffin Club;” and was influenced early on by her uncle, the publisher Stanley Unwin. Unwin published, among other things, Tolkien’s The Hobbit and may have been friendly with the other Inklings (I don’t know, though it may well be known somewhere). Her story has the simplicity and rightness shared by that circle, especially in Charles Williams; or of an attentive listener to the world that had just produced Freud, Oswald Spengler, Rudolph Steiner, etc, all aware of their place within an emergent world-age. I would somehow add her voice with theirs, though she is their younger, not German, and perhaps addressing us through a different colored telephone.
Tamas Panitz is a graduate of Bard College living in Hudson NY, where he edits The Doris magazine with Billie Chernicoff. He is the author of Blue Sun (Inpatient Press); Uncreated Mirror (Lunar Chandelier); and The Way of the Tower (Metambesen). He was born in Hungary, where as a child a snake once wrapped around him, and then went its way.