arthur lee

while

at the hunting sites,
home, the sun the color
of unripened nectar

the language would not
twist itself towards backalleys,
not into

lexicographical corners, barking at the wry

corners of
diplomatic mouths,

it was the brick houses
of the great families most,
among the

broad rivers,
and the home

now was an unfriendly coffee house-

where no
one spoke broadly, no one
rolled

about in the trodden dust, wore

black silk

over a hand.



perhaps worst of all the language glorified
those who spoke it. and who made words
glow like luminescent fox-moss, lupine
in the empty fields. the endless papers forested
out, grew

from the dark desks,
the soft-spoken gentlemen
ducking around spied corners-

and it was hot in july,
even in the orange-skied
country,

far away, far by the white ocean by the
broad words-

and by the time the letters in the simplistic
verbiage arrived, they were yellow and stained,
the way spectacled men would stare at later
on, under the heavy lights

of hindsight.



so the progressive argument stood
in front of a candid stage, and the
gaping hands grew greedy, grew
like the lords impassive, over the
divided counties-

and the letters were the same "oh arthur,

are you not home?
not home arthur,

among the salty estuaries, the brick-bed rappahannock,

the way
people say your name here,
in the

disparaged
happy tone"



the
oceanic navigator

challenge

opened your broad
eyes

and sat upon the
peaked

roof of the hague, arthur-

all those soft-spoken

papal
lunatics remembered
you by letters

and the language
like the crack
of a summer
rifle

lit the guyfawkes night,
away from

home, burning
the

words all the

same.


(October 25, 2002)