Oh, pussy cat, pussycat your meow so low,
lowing out of your yellow ball of fur, so low
I can hardly hear you. You don’t look at all
like our stone Geshe Ganesha in the hall,
elephant head, pudgy boy below,
petting the head of a mouse, the louse,
oh the fun our cat could have with a mouse.
Its fitting for such a big guy to be guru
not a goose, flipping in the night.
He’s a meter long from tail to noose,
inside safe from the fisher cat
who hides in the rose.
He seems to be a Coon cat but he has five toes,
hidden in his fuzzy big paws.
His litter box doesn’t dull the claws
he flexes as he purrs,
OK if you wear lederhosen,
hell if you’re in cotton pants,
and he’s on you nose to nosen
compresses your chest,
needs nuzzling; the pest.

Kent Bowker
Oct, 1 2006

The Shortness of Time


Bells, bird song and space-time coexist ,
the eternal atomic clock-tick-tock never stops,
while heart ticks are finite.
At the end one cannot care about perpetuity.
Tall trees, beset by gypsy moths
or hurricanes, weakened, fall,
and I contemplate a shortened time.
Is time measured by the strength of breath,
sturdiness of the heart?

Oh, how long these days seem
how long ago was January?
Each day is much like another
wake, exercise, dress and all the rest
like a ritual, repetition, renewal,
you almost lose count while time
tick tocks along calendar squares.
Kent Bowker
July, 17, 2916



When a day slips away
and you think yourself in another
you’re in trouble
I’ve been watching the season evolve
from buds to a pale green, deepening
intricate details in the intimate view
is it a fault forgetting the view of one day
shifting its details to another?
you’ve only failed a neurologist’s test.
Every day the same wind waves the same tree tops
the old days of working in Tic-Tok time long past.
I no longer wake myself with a day’s
scheduled assignments
I’m happy to have it slip away
for now I can happily watch
the grass wind wave in my mini-meadow
A new stage this, losing a day.


At some point there seems not much left of future
and the past come rushing in
filling the vacumn so to speak
as I found corresponding with an old friend
from Boy Scouts who’s in communion
with the ghosts of a wife and son
creating a future for him no doubt
hanging on wings somewhere in celestuality.

It’s not dementia to forget about what tomorrow
was supposed to be, its just clarity —
its not going to be much different from today
when you end in a nursing home or assisted living,
though they try – TV is always the same
you’ve read all the books, mysteries begin to bore.

But I’ve found a way out
I do this – this writing thing.
The past can come in rambunctiously,
and futures can be fantasy
better than heaven’s obscure beatitudes.


Death’s dark, the last light fades,
all ones questions and hopes are unanswered,
dogs wail, the chorus cries and rends its hair
the spirit remains in memories
by nightfall the body and soul buried.

Too simple ‘There must be something more’,
truths can’t be left untouched.
Tinkering with death is fraught
naivety, like a blessing, looks skyward all the time.
If you expect to rise into heaven at a final bell
you’ll never hear it, no one rings it anymore.

It’s not bad, — just going —
be grateful there’s no Hell
though in Purgatorio great conversationalists
Plato, Archimedes, Democratus,

Be grateful you can read this
you’re still alive
so forget it, breathe sweet air
swim in the sea of life
its just once – remember –
so drain every delicious drop,
from the ever full flagon’s elixir.

Kent Bowker
June 23, 2016

Silent flowers

So many were the dead
.     Print the news in red sorrow
.             of dying and injured lying there
.      In mixed moaning clumps
We know the name of the killer
.      one homophobic man one gun,
.            Don’t know the loves crumpled on the floor
Noise and silence
.     never to hear the sirens
.            The many who did not
Pulse, where the gowns were stained red
.          The Gay club Latin dances were over
The flowers stand in for all of them
outside the empty dance hall

Then flowers began to gather
outside the bloody dance hall
iris, poppies, spring pink roses,
The flowers are silent.

Kent Bowker
June, 16, 2016
49 died, 50 wounded
2 AM on June 12, 2016

Songs of a Late Night

Last night from the top of our rock
I watched a bronze disk
set furtively behind the woods
fragmented shining through tree tangles
shifting its aspect as we can do
seeing our pasts, our loves and hates
unfold as mysteries.
So much not understood in muddled language,
as we so often live in a fog of our doing.

I remember, in my twenties, the rush I felt
racing over the Bay Bridge with the top down
radio blaring the Italian Hour, Tartini’s ‘Devils Trill’,
Domenico Baccarini’s ‘Vertigo’
High on the night’s kisses, bodies entanglements, the boozy fog
swirling about the bridge towers.

How do you disentangle Flesh and Soul in love?
Perhaps you cannot,
Until you lose the nightly connecting touch,
a love warm beside you. Sentiment perhaps.

The past and present are not so far apart-
the long trudge in between seems ignoble, forgettable
in the stress of making it. Keeping promises.
Remembering being
Seventeen, wondering about where to go.
Chopin’s Nocturnes, foggy night, I’m outside smoking.
Kent Bowker
May 25, 2016

Media Declare Hilary Winner

Now Hilary’s won the shouting match
Bernie’s ideal state of the old New Deal
can safely be ignored, too bad.
The corporate state can be content.

Thatcher and Merkel are feminine, does this
soften the world or lead to austerity and war?
Promote the equality of women?
Can a woman lead a patriarchy
without becoming a patriarch herself
a tough leader?

How can we attain a cooperative society
where men and women are equal,
treated each as they need
where there are no extremes of wealth

Though there was a depression in 28
and things were hard when capitalism collapsed
it got better slowly with New Deal
full employment, when a war got us there.
Democratic Socialism seemed possible then.
As if a light blazed forth, Sanders campaign
has given hope of a fairer USA.

Still the Capitalist parties prevail
bending just a little bit.
For revolution is in the air,
the under class has awakened,
Kent Bowker
June 9, 2015

# 16 Howl Now, Ginsberg, Howl

Howl in pain and rage for all of those left out with drugs, booze
.         and sexual agenda, for all the poets and deviants everywhere.
Howl now as the natural world subtly dies
.        Is there hope, when lamentable TV news denies it all,
.       selling illusions of individual wealth selling us out

Howl at the exceptional worthy making fortunes, taking advantage
.        skimming, always skimming the cream off the top
.        and giving themselves a raise

Howl at the war on drugs, prisons for blacks, the mentally ill
.       no raises for them, just solitary for the damaged
.       no jail for the yachtsmen, none for the broker
.       lots for the little fixer with a 5 dollar bag.
.       Erecting prison cities, there’s profit
.       lonely valley towns need employment.

Howl for the men, who can’t find a job, who only have themselves to sell,
.       become soldiers, start as heros in the forever war on terror,
.    terrorize others, killing in tour after tour, more carnage, more .profit,
.       and they lose, pay big, pay over and over until there is nothing left,
.       no self they can sell on the shrinking labor market .

Rage at the militarized cops killing the blacks, kids with water guns,
.       drivers who can’t get their licence out quick enough,
.       don’t lie down quick enough, anyone talking back,
.       unless you’re polite, and white.
.      they’re here to protect property and those who have it.
Rage at all the Whites getting guns
.      At all the money made making guns, selling to the world,
.       importing electronic toys, exporting all the arms,
.       empowering ISIS, Israel, Assad, Egypt, big business, war.

Howl at the security state’s big daddy, the CIA is watching you
.       especially if you deviate, occupy Wall Street, read the Koran.

Howl as Nature reacts to the rape of the planet
.        Our digging up and burning fuel for capitalism’s system,
.       fueling cars to get people to work, fueling the factory robots displacing them
.       a whole system geared to burning, mucking up the atmosphere
.       warming it, acidifying the oceans, melting the ice caps
.       making endless profits, everything privatized
.    powering all the gadgets that convince us all is well, that we’re alive,
.      happy, that we can make love and dis the gloomy scientists.

It’s all coming to an end, rise up and stop it, all the whole capitalism shtick
or the seas rising will drown us, all the poor in cities who can’t get out,
and all the 99% like us who haven’t been howling, accepting it all,
the old dying of heatstroke, or thirst or unleashed tropical diseases
dreaming of salvation in the end days. After the Battle of Armageddon
when it will all come down, Howl, Howl, change it all now.

Can’t cop out, angle dust or smack won’t make anything better for you,
Object, rage, burn the banks, the justices of injustice,
senators who sell themselves to remain rich senators
the journalists who repeat press release lies,
advertising shit white as vanilla on synthetic cake.

Arise, arise, blame yourselves for your stupid belief
when your God’s preacher tells you things are good. They’re not.
You work for nothing, can’t afford a decent home,
can’t get ahead of your credit card debt
all the debt that binds you mounting up until there are no more credit cards
to cover your ass. Find others like you, admit you’ve been had
form collectives, unions, tear it all down, all the big corporations
forget that you’re exceptional you’re not

Howl out, ‘cause we need another way of being with each other
big daddy never did tell us to love each other,
just compete, compete and get on top,
big daddy only thought of himself.
But if we band together, all of us in true solidarity, we can prevail.
Then big daddy you’re toast.
But Howl or Rage – don’t be Naive , Big Daddy still has all the guns.
We may have to go down with him when he and all else implodes
hold on, hope, even as seas rise, landscapes burn,
revolt will be bloody but may well save us all.

(I couldn’t hold it down any more)

There is Great Love

There is great love in this place of devastation
dire illness, rank injury, and near death
I watch from my room’s uncurtained door
the Brownian movement of white coats
stethoscopes dangling, aids in blue, nurses white
incessant motion, seemingly without meaning
they look at a board I see the edge of and rush off
urgently beyond the narrow scope of my vision
I miss the action when they come to work on me
they draw the curtain that distracts me from my pain
I joke where there are no jokes, let them probe.
One more CAT scan before I rise to higher floors
but still must wait in the corridor and see the action newly.
Then I see them coming, the worried, anxious and fearful
lovers of those thrown up, wrecked here.
A soft eyed black family waiting to know, for their son was shot,
Japanese crying, solitary women dreading their love’s fate,
There is great love in this place of devastation.

Kent Bowker 1/18/ 2016

The Neurologist

I bounced my brain as if in a goofball game
rattled inside its bony shell, Oh well
but my wife thinks I’m unbalanced now, Oh dear
I can touch my fingers from each other to my nose
remember the three words after a while.
The Neurologist puts on his serious face
and bangs me allover with a little rubber hatchet
inducing jerks and spasms and unlikely pleasure
and then with a little but, declares me fine
though it always requires further examination
to see if I’m coco or not. So we sing the song
of referrals, hither and yon, sanity always in doubt
once the question is asked. Face it my dear,
I lost my drivers license and will now succumb
to the ills of cooped up-ness and your horror
of having to have me always at home
and demanding errands and rides as well
but to hell with all of that, I’m slow, not retarded
by blows like old prize fighters
and must defy the judgmental bell
that tolls for you too as well as me.


How Fortunate We Are

I’m no longer shocked by the awful reports
of damaged refugees, beaten by clubs
their heads and faces so often crushed,
it’s so often, police bully clubs or rifle butts
or the fists and bricks of black clad gangs.
Doesn’t matter which, the pain’s the same.
We see it, read about it too often
whether it happens in Calais or Israel
Syrian refuge, or removed Palestinian
that we don’t think about the pain
or the blood caking, or the ghastly bruises
don’t think much until it happens to you.

When I fell and smashed my face
there was a hospital to care for me
and many months of visiting nurses
and physical therapies till I was well.
I look normal now, bones have healed
but now I think of those others
who’ll not be cared for, festering wounds
profound disfigurement, lingering pain
how unfair this world is to the venerable
and how little we actual encounter the wreckage
from the wars we started and those we left to die.

Kent Bowker

Self Pity

What now, a poets bane
we’ve heard so often before.
We don’t wish to hear it again
I’m truly sad for you, my dear
but we need it clearly said,
we’re all in pain these callous days.
Do I need to say ‘buck up today’.
Once we were stoic
taught our children to be tougher
than they wanted to be.

Now because our parents were hard
we’ve become protective of our brood
until they have no idea of the toughness
they’ll probably need as climate change
is more intense makes great death eminent
So please don’t hold to your pain
but seek fearlessly all else again
find laughter instead of the self
find sex and love and all the confusions
of a greater life than the confines
in a self forever reliving its pain.

Kent Bowker


In the beginning
There was no time, there was no space
There was a golden embryo behind a dark veil
There was no knowing before then
then there were clashing cymbals
the soundless bang
There was the bursting of the veil
Space flowed out with blinding light
time within space began.

Was there in the no time before
the World-Snake Ophion
coupling with the White goddess
Who laid the Orphic egg, who broke it?
There was the big Bozo Higgs God particle behind the veil
It is presumed, making all the other pieces in the zoo
quarks and gluons mesons neutrinos embedded in photonic heat.

This is what we know now, this bursting out.
This is what our Physics tells us happened
The measurements tell us it is fact.
This is the battle of man with the gods.
This is the razor that cuts nonsense away
this is Science denying the faithful’s tales
rejecting Yahwah’s magic seven days

There were phases: everything was an immensely hot gas,
Then cooling into liquid clouds when much cooler, solids
and the world we know.

There is the Atman, the creating self
before gods, before man emerged after the chaotic fire.
Self of pre-existence, of repeated cycles,
we exist on an island in an endless sea of ignorance.
That doesn’t happen now, mythology is forgotten
only poets pay attention to the currents
sweeping the old away.
make note
There is the coming of the triple goddess
Diana, Aphrodite, and Persephone
as Science makes the once great Patriarchy pointless.

There is but one cycle
This cosmos will not be again.

1. Air

A great wind from the center’s celestial eye
flies outward, always outward, this breath
the goddess exhales sweeping into raw emptiness
a pure invisible substance the first element,
Aeolus sends into ship sails, lungs, a fuel,
consort of fire and destructive winds.

We seek wisdom, and have forgotten the names
cannot invoke them

And cannot hold in our hands the first thing
the first element our life desires.

Old wisdom, the tales of creation,
are but vibrations in the air, carrier of sound
carrier of how we know our minds

and where did it come from, this air surrounding us
Physic’s gas, the ancient basic thing
constituent of all complex things
exhalations of volcanic eruptions or the outflow
at the beginning of time called a big bang
all matter flowing out into the created space.
2. Water

We are of water, it flows out of us
flows in our veins, in all that lives,
we came out of the waters that surround us
salty oceans, rivers, lakes, and rain
from above, Olympians gift to us from the heavens.
A gift of creation, ancient comet dust,
the liquid of all life we understand.
Fluid of incubation, fluid of blue planets
fluid divine governing life,
Unlike all other forms
expands before freezing ice floats.
And life underneath can survive,
all the microbes that multiplied and changed
and changed in time into us.
from the fish that crawled out
We die without water.

3. Fire
without our inner fire we are dead
we fear the cold that takes our warmth
make the fires Agni taught us, that Prometheus stole from the Gods
and punished, his guts wrenched by the eagles.
without the nuclear furnace of creation
stars wouldn’t be
our sun wouldn’t burn for us
nor warm the primordial soup that borne us
Fire, re-maker of all things it touches, molds iron
Swords and horse shoes, horrific wars, and home fires
cloud fire ignites the woods,
the inner fire of the earth belches forth islands
Frightening explosions, lava flows
and the continents shift floating on a molten sea.
Fire is action, change, essential sustainer.
Fire is the remolder
Fire is in us, in our burning intensity, fans our passion,
beliefs, our heart, and our loves.

4. Earth
the cauldron’s swarm of gluons and quarks coalesced,
matter formed in the expanding furnace of creation,
there was hydrogen, gold copper and iron,
all possible combinations from smaller pieces
and there were galaxies and in them stars.
The swirling gasses became planets
and all the elements within them.
Gasses like air, molecules like water
and fire the forge of all.
Slow were the workings of nature
slower the understanding of this much,
slowly the meadows green appeared
the volcanos quieted, the seas took their place
our paradise became this, our earth
the infinite substance of it,
the infinite variety
our basis.

5. Quintessence
what magic in the mud made it happen?
we might never know the true essence of being
it’s not just in the substance of things of air, water and earth
It’s the quality in our soul’s purity that yearns for Gods
and saviors from the abrasions of existence
for a Christ a Mohamad or a Buddha
answers riddles, the questions of why life and death
for we are creatures that can imagine beyond ourselves
can ask the why of creation, conceive of it
imagine a first cause, be it Yahwah’s,
Or Purusha, of the Golden Egg

Quintessence cannot be measured, has neither weight or dimension
as essence is felt rather than seen, permeates all things
permits the knowingness of things.

How we imagine living before and after, knowing the ancestors
conceive of cycles of reincarnation

the ether of space that’s not been found that carries
souls into our imagined heavens, our yearnings.


Fall wind       leaf dance shadows flickering on the deck
sun glints through twisting trees       leaf spewing yellow
into the shadowed groves       a fine lace entwined
with butterfly wings flitting away in the gusting
into the black brown ground         moist molding decay
a skein of living death          an expiration transforming
soil to soil a black matter     overwhelming mass
overwhelming all visible cosmic reality
the unknown others        the gluon of bacteria
holding everything here             out there
together unseen as empathy is unseen
but all we have      to knit our lives together.

Black matter greater than all we see
beyond our ken       a fine lacy glue
not understood           cannot be understood
the tangle of man cannot be understood
without acceptance of the black decay
in our common soul soil          empathetic love
Ygdrasill enchanted ash tree of creation dropping leaves.

Kent Bowker 10/26/2015
(Enchanted ash, sacred to Woden, Ygdrasill’s
roots and branches spread through the universe.)

Robed and Naked

Insatiable Moloch, the cyclotron, in the Berkeley hills,
gobbled up engineers, physicists and students like me.
I intently followed sparse dot tracks, connecting
microscopic silver grains in a murky emulsion
exactly measuring, evaluating, and recording
event after event day after day into night.
Good at it, excited, I found I wanted more,
found I could make a living, find certainty
in science, in physics, found my open door.

But elsewhere I was drunk on words
wished to live in cascades of wonder, ecstatic whimsey
dancing wildly loose, un-robed to Stravinsky
whisky uplifted with girls and guys in a foggy beach shack,
dreaming and trying to write like Henry Miller freely.

Mathematics are clear, crisp paths of past into future
equations of state, fixed Newtonian laws to revel in,
even the Quantum weird, lord of all that was and will be,
I gloried in invention, patents, papers written
became incased in government corporations.

I thought I could live a double life,
I wrote a novel, gloried in making long sentences,
echos of Henry James, felt the rhythm in poems
Duncan, Rexroth, Levertov, Ginsberg, Eliot, Pound.
I burnt my classroom notes, thought I burnt the physics trapping me,
dreamt of being other than what I did. ( lost even this after many years)
Often home late, tired, after dinner and martinis,
in the alcoholic haze, remembered who I would like
to have been, and could not then be.

Kent Bowker 5/14/2015

The way things are

Long robed African women carry water on their heads
large jars precariously up hill from the well
every morning to the village and its sheds
with their cattle, to their children and husbands that tell
of their hunt, or the lion outside the kraal,
all talk of their joys and woes,
the way things are.
Time stands still.

Not much different here, in America,
where complexity hides the simple.
We’re caught by ritual routines,
time rushes Monday on to Sunday
when Hope gets its shots
lifts joys up as birds might fly
our life as soft as our pillows
but with joy fleeting woe stays,
in the way things are.

Kent Bowker 5/17/2015


I’ve just devoured a lot of information
the whole new issue of the Nation
of digital dances within the NSA
and corporate manipulation of our play.
My morning reading time frittered away
Knausgaad”s ‘My Struggle’ still untouched,
as urgent catastrophes wasted the day.

Overwhelmed, I wonder why, what compels
me to do the one, ephemeral, than the other
that might take me out of this comfortable,
what I expected to read, affirmation
of what I know. This simplification
of the negative view that all is not right:
the political, economic, social plight.
Seems a shody way to ignore the light outside
the glorious day unfolding after so much rain,
as compulsion takes over an uncertain brain
losing sight of other things, that might,
just might, bring happiness and lasting delight.

Kent Bowker 6/5/2015,

Every Seventh Wave Breaks Largely

I’m grateful now for small things,
the shaft of morning light striking a blade of grass
the brightness of yellow against the mauve winter tightness.
Remembering the waves of old voices, Elliot’s cute cat wit,
Sitwell’s jingle jangle records,
Dylan Thomas’ long rich descending lines,
Spicer intoning his pain of a California lost,
Robert Duncan’s shrill embarrassing camp,
and our dissident, rebellious singing
the Wobbly ‘International’ at the White Horse
drowning out the Stalinists there.

The wave and warp of memory mixes so much
Do we ever untangle it all, or touch
the clear line of what reality was.

When I was sixteen
my young beliefs were torn apart,
as Mormon dogma, and incredulity battled,
like a sea storm banging into headlands,
the waves washed my old beliefs away.
I wandered

In the Playland at Ocean Beach
I grasped for the golden ring
flying by on my gilded horse
the great prize beyond my reach
a love lost and old certainties gone.

Is anything as bitter and sweet
as an overwhelming passion lost?
Sweet, sticky, sweat commingled
our tongues and bodies melding into one,
my radiant queen, blond, blue eyed as I was,
as we, bursting into sex, but unfulfilled,
grappled bestially at the edge;
neither of us free to go further.

I was ardent but inexperienced
hadn’t known how to break through
and lost her to an Israeli’s chutzpah.
A buddys silk parachute; her wedding dress.

Then the perpetual fog of belief
that enveloped my youth lifted
as if a wave broke and shattered it,
Berkeley’s sun dazzled my eyes.

Waves repeat, come on and on, this seventh breaking,
washed my childhood away, then over again,
little waves got bigger and bigger
all through college, andthe years at the Cyclotron,
when the seventh broke and washed me East.

There have been many cycles
marriage, a child, a divorce, an affair, then
remarriage, victories and defeats, the waves
go on and on, always the count of seven,
the most likely dice throw, or the equivalent human age of a dog,
and the relentless renewing of our cells every seven years,
until the last large breaking wave
carries all, the memories, the loves,
dreams and happiness away, like doves
wings flashing light over a far horizon.

Kent Bowker 5/28/2015

City Grill

Swinging City Grill, 1990,
Tucson Air I zona       w/ splashy paintings
lots of chicks and guys               busy bar
and us old ones hanging off the balcony
its too early white lace encased shy buxom girls in booths
thin chic maids across the bar,              bare shoulders
motion             swinging sweet breasts

What is the snow like this morning
I ask myself when I settle into my chair
by the windows, with coffee and cereal
for it seems different each time
sometimes soft, or painfully glittering
so much depends on the light
the angle of the sun, density of cloud
just like everything in our life,
ambiguity, shifting prospects,
but here its the intense whiteness.
Its easy to see the particular,
did it shrink overnight or not
or heightened by new layers.

Into air – my flying dog       seeking an arc of water
high, twisting          finding steps into sky
on the basil, eggplant’s brittle arms
he flies exuberant,     after the flying water
he flings his young life         into clouds of play

Now all that seems clear is tree shadowed
as sun illumination shifts in time
redefining our perceptions
until there are no simple truths
no fixed shapes in snow
in our thoughts, memories
or timeless imagination.

Kent Bowker sometime in 1990, then 2/27/2015 – 4/16/2015

Foggy, dank, albatross tossed

Foggy, dank, an albatross tossed
voluptuous sea, Xanadu’s
feral opium, and flesh
caverns unmeasurable
sweeps into night’s dreams
oblivious to feelings
we easily relate to, poems
uplifting and hopeful.

But the messes
you’ve made, they stick
hang slickly inside you
neither poem or scream
never polite or light,
twist through the nights
consciousness plays upon,
haunts all your compositions
no matter how flitting,
light or slyly evasive,
these dark crawling thoughts
will out.

Kent Bowker 3/31/15

Crossing the bar again

In the slosh and tumble of waves, around ledges,
at the favored lobster spots close to shore, the white working boat
maneuvers about rocks, gear shift growling,
runs down on pots, the men scooping them up,
hauling traps aboard, pulling the writhing bugs out, checking length
sometimes tossing most of them back in
thinking its time to shift the pots further offshore.
It seems the hold is never quite full,
when they turn the helm to home.

It’s not all work, for there is a time
for awe and wonder in going
to and fro, in foggy uncertainty, or clear air
when the horizon is crisp and stark,
or when clouds boil, flowering in blue sky,
or when the black of a coming storm menace,
or in the calm of sunrise, waters flat as can be,
never the same from day to day,
but same never-the-less.
You’re on your own out there.

They do not visit this place
as the yachtsmen do, to pleasure the day,
they live this world, all of it, its peace and hell alike.

Then back home again and out on the town
into dazzling lights, dark bars, a drink
having fun with women
punk rock songs and randy jokes.

Saint Joseph certainly must be there,
with faith’s wafer and wine certainty and protection
warding off threat of wave and rock
in the heave and thrust of swells
uneven footing, a dangerous winch cable
screaming on its spool.

There is a muscle taut energy
in this small 35 foot lobster boat
heir to the fast Grand Bank fishing schooners,
proud large trawlers, the great hauls.
These rock crawling scavengers
are all that’s left to harvest now,
bend the muscles to.
It’s traps now, was nets then, always the haul,
the heft of the prey on the deck
in the heave and rolling wave of the sea.

The big thing to think about
what many of us do not
is who and where we are in this world.
So few know, but those whose working rhythm
is embedded in it, do.

A Saint Joseph medallion dangles from the rear view mirror
of their pickup loaded with traps and pots
and its ‘screw you’ bumper stickers.
But when some ignorant asshole on autopilot
with cutters on his flashy yachts’ prop
tears through a line of pots all the days moneys gone
What’s Saint Joseph to do then
you have to keep asking.’
Oh, they’re not paying what they used to, 3 buck a pound,
not worth it sometimes when they’re 10 bucks afterward.
Everyday, passing by the Dog Bar, offloading the stuff,
tired, returning to the slip, tie up, disembark
and, bone hope weary, might take to drink again.

In the coherence of this life,
(the faith and ceremonies, a cardinal’s blessing
once a year doesn’t do much)
no matter how small it seems
faith punctuates the daily chores,
but it’s the rhythm of the lobsterman’s life
out and back again, bait and reap
that sustains as it does for all working men,
the doing of it.

Kent Bowker 11/30/2014

Essex 16 February 2015

Edges of snow drifts are sharp
aquiline smooth until they fold
into the flat glistening field
before me, the tangle of normal
life lingers in the shadows of bare trees
lacing the blank white surface.
Three blizzards have encased us
within dazzling whiteness
and vicious cold winds.

Like the lash of ice on our faces
while shoveling a path out
in the rages of an ending storm
we grate against each other
feeling trapped inside
while the plows outside breakdown
heating oil trucks get stuck
and we pray the lights stay on.

Safe, warm and irritably
we are blessed to be here
and not in a lonely farm house
out west, w/ snow fenced ranges
lost cattle, a blank range,
not lost as the homeless we don’t see,
Here where tree shadows dance the snow fields
plows pile up snow mountains
round ruddy bundled children slide down.

Kent Bowker 2/16/2015

Solstice Song

A rush of wind, quick,
.  flying crisp brown leaves,
.       cheeks red in the cold,
in this moment       all stops
.   a presentation,
.          an apparition frozen in motion,
change is marked
.            not yet apparent,
expectation stalls in the restless air.

Dying King why do you come here?
.            Is it really time to go?
Wait,             wait for the failing light
to waft the year’s end away.
You’ve aged so quickly,
.       Bounding Youth of spring,
.           so desired then
.    spreading your seed
.          in the maiden fields,
.                    so wasted now.

Your shifting phases of mortality
.     All that lives dies
.             all that dies lives,
the juncture of ambiguity, being,
Dionysus, Corn God ephemeral.

You, Our precious sacrifice, our marker
erect the burning tree,
impale yourself into its branches
.     above the gaily wrapped gifts
.            of passions spent,
and then farewell
.     into the dark times
.           solstice born.

Pray with us,
.       as the tree burns your
.            light away
for rebirth, for repetition
that the turning orb
.       of Olympian chariots
.           carries the Sun Child,
.          the Reborn King
.             down to earth again,
that he will rampage
.           over the dead fields
.             spray the golden touch
.     of young semen /
.           impregnate
.                      us.

Days of darkness
Days of death
the solstice marks the end of Kings
and the long slow reawakening of life
the coming of Mithras, and a Christ
who’ll die with the year for everyone
that their blood will flood the fields
bequeath fertility to the earth.

The Cat, the Mouse, and Me

I have to admit fancy has failed
to imagine me as a mouse
the cat chases through the house
thinking he will catch me.

I fail to think of me as other than
a serious minded man.
If I’d had another mother
witty and mischievous, I just might
think I could be a mouse
making faces at the up-tight cat,
lounging slow, old furry mat.

I can’t imagine cat’s catnip trip
to be anything like my own
whiffs of weed, wet hay,
because I’m stuck being human,
high or not, almost every day.


7:38 AM first light here
as the sun rises over distant pine tree tops,
brighten my mood
after many days of rain.

Now its quick spreading light shafts,
probing dark spaces,
strike my coffee cup
dazzle my eyes, penetrates
the dark rooms
with yellow white glory,
streaks across rutted fields,
glistens, flashing off old spots of ice,
tree shadows dance and retreat
as the sun, low on the horizon
begins its low arc way east.

This day after Christmas
is quiet now
as sun rays reach
the sparkling ribbon
clutter of yesterday.

Kent Bowker

Clearly an Eggnogy Night it Was

I wish you a Merry Wish mass,
and a Happy New Snow Year ,
with lots of whisky Christmas cheer
and a rampant partridge in your blinking tree.

I swish you a Merry Wishmas
a brightly lit partridge tree
and flitting myrtle doves too.
then,   maybe,     a new Ferrari for you.

I wish you a sherry X Mass
with  partridge dovey turtle trees
and porky piggy I-tunes too

Oh shop until we  swap
on the twelve day of Wish List.
jingling all the way.   Forget the sleigh,
you get all jingle belly.

Oh blimey its confusing
with all the choruses singing:
God rest ye gentlemen,
On the first day of Wishmass.

Oh, twelve geese are  a laying,
eleven ganders a chasing ,
ten loving crows a cawing,
nine rings on every body part,
eight colors dazzling our hearts,
seven wishes tossed in a well,
six bells a ringing, on and on until
five swans go a swimming,
four woodpeckers a pecking,
Three couples a swapping,
two pigs a squealing,
and one rampant partridge in a frosty, blinking tree.

So, I’ll wish you all a Merry Christmas
when my true love curls up with me,
and Santa Claus comes crashing
down the old sooty chim-in-ny.

Kent Bowker 12/16/2014

Moon Man

The shadowed moon, darkly unknown looks down
wondering about the white green earth changing
dazzled by the eternal brilliance the long dance
together around and around. His blind white face
sees nothing, but the man in the dark the face
we glimpse, thinking he eats green cheese
the substance we can’t see, sees us, sees
the slow changes: the green advancing
then retreating, the white ice grinding south
and retreating, over and over, millennia pass.

Moon man remembers when he was young
an earth encased in bloody volcanic fire,
spots of crimson, a cloud shadowed black earth
cut by a spreading sea, blocks of land split,
water cleaved, moving, a slow measured gavotte,
till now. The drowsy half moon man wakes, is shocked,
earth night is quirkily changing, the earth’s sleeping half
is awake spotted with light clusters and veins
alive at night, at each turn expanding.
The seas are spreading, the white parts are vanishing
all in a blink of the moon man’s eye.

Kent Bowker   11/22/2014

Ah, the crafty poet’s recipe:

Three memories, a sensuously descriptive phrase
overheard.  Snippets you catch from the radio,
someone babbling, gestures, junk, movement, detritus,
the Psychedelic Anarchy you try to find,

For the Poem Manufactory: get a big pot,
throw this stuff in, turn the grinder crank
until words come out, and get stuffed
into stanza skins, something’s gut.

Poetry is thus an edible sausage you can eat,
to be uplifted, and when fed, feel complete.

The Unicorn

The unicorn in my garden
.           has eaten all the bean leaves
.                   dangling ribbons from his horn

as maidens flit around
.                   in may pole circles

astride the beast of dreams
.                bare soft thighs clasped about
His hot back.

.                   Desire
floats in the air of the dance
.              around the horn.
.                      Thoughts of penetration,
of remorse, and loss reel through the maidens.

Tangled ribbons

Nothing flies quite like an elephant

Nothing flies quite like an elephant;
heavily     after they’ve tenderly plucked the leaves
and cleared a forest or two
rolled around in the clearing they made
splashing,      trunks spurting water
like whales in a pool just for fun,
after they’ve plucked the tender leaves
of fantasy, the beautiful flowers
in their tummies will not wilt.
******     *****
Can any of us really fly
when our tummies are full?
when we’ve added     thing    weight
to our souls,   when dream flowers
get hidden within,     small hopes un-withered
used occasional to prop us up,
when we’ve drunk too much and
our fleeting aspirations are drowned in morning woe,
empty as the smillys displayed on our screens
these illusion walls we stare at
night after night — baseball — morality plays.

Tired —  we’ve forgotten to play,
becoming as hard for us as   elephants  flying,
as we let others do for us,
provide the fly feathers of illusion
we can hold in our trunks.
.                                        Kent Bowker rev.  10/30/2014

Taking the boat out

truth, elusive as a loon,
bares down on us, the edge of a storm
black ice seas to come, it’s time
summer’s pleasures end, abrupt
falling  leaves, chill  northwest winds
ravage the mornings.  It’s obvious now
time to take the boat ashore
clean the bottom, wrap it up.

We never wish pleasant dalliance to end.
Jolly masks often hide the truth,
though some truths yield happiness
so many others do not.
Fickle the nature of truths,
what we accept and what we do not,
we do not want the summer to end,
we do not want our pleasant era to end.
but we know the truth of natures rhythm
man made storms have not the same even beat,
abrupt, crashing all out of proportion,
hard to face our doing, clouded
by the way we are, our nature,
our fabricated way of daily doing,
our dearest beliefs, deep structure of our brains
deny new unexpected truths,
“one can’t change human nature”,
though nature itself can change,
precious verities can be destroyed by us
so when the hard truth sledge hammer hits
when we can’t deny it, it may be too late,
as if all froze, and we couldn’t break our boat out,   ever.

Ever?  This is a bit too much,
too apocalyptic for the melancholy season
loading it with Climate Change status.
Almost no one thinks like scientists
testing the present against the long term,
the decades to come, we think with normal rhythms,
face off the winter, grumble then glow
with glorious spring, bask in the summer heat
think apocalyptical when big ,storms come,
then forget, recover as the green fields do
after winter snow fades away.

It was a cool bright windy equinox morning
perhaps too windy but the tide was high.
So with the trailer and three strong men,
two in the 4 horse power Zodiac, took Selkie,
our 13 foot catboat, off the mooring.
But the wind filled the sail cover
like a horizontal spinnaker
and off Selkie flew downwind
with the Zodiac in hot pursuit.

Laughing they corralled it, brought it back
to its trailer, plucked out the mast
and with everything else loaded
in the back of big pickup trucks, took it home.

This is the way the summer ended,
at home, with mast and gear on the lawn
cleaning bottoms, putting the toys away.

Kent Bowker
20 September 2014

E. R.

Life is a circle
beginning and ending
between a curtain and an open door
a slit view on a corridor and life,
nurses, stretchers, wisping by,
the supine from other rooms
coming or going.  You speculate
who, what, where, knowing nothing
a nurse in pink the doctor in white
a parade of questioners
on a scale of 1 to 10
how do you exist?

Our Great Western Landscape

Our great western landscape
like the wilderness east of Jerusalem
.              mandates prophets.

Seers wandering in the shadows of mesas
.            and canyons bounding the wide
.            endless dry, ancient sea beds
Places for the desperate
.                  and the mad,
a land of delusions, mirage,
.           and brilliance, rocks, sky
.           and quick flashing storms of summer.

Pueblo Indian country, Ute and Mormon country,
.           gamblers, cows, and stubborn believers
.                         in wild religions,
seeing glory beyond their hard lives.
Veils cover the stark emptiness.

.                     Kent Bowker    8/10/14

MY Hand

My hands hold the memory
the touch of your back
in the gesture, the smooth flow
into the hollow before the soft hills
where my tongue remembers salty
hot days on the beach
and lying there young in the sun
feeling the lotion in my hand
roving  over  the shape of you
beside me  – this stays;
deep, within my  joys,
and long ago .

A Lament For Dotty

All traces of winter are going now
as the snow clumps fade away
as we too can decline and vanish.
Our Dotty Brown died that way,
smiling, giving up her spirit, free to roam
out, out over the sea she saw every day.
Her soul, content, with her body stays.

Limitless, her horizon unbounded,
there is the sea, the great ledge boulders, and a lawn;
three horizontal bands, a simple view.
The moon, full that evening rose from the sea
at the center of the far edge in perfect symmetry,
as would the winter sun, red in its majesty
crack open the earth’s day /  from its very center.

Water dominated Dotty’s view and her world;
blue placidity, or in grey whitened rage,
it surges in the frame of her ken.
A simple  view, complex, changing, her sea,
the Atlantic,  never stays still.
The Ocean’s voice beats incessantly
all day, all night, quietly moving little stones,
or booming and crashing against the ledge
sometimes bounding up on the lawn.

Here one feels the world’s pulse, the tides, the great cycles,
controlling all life,  governing the earth justly, /  not favoring us,
as the ocean’s warming rise will wash this all away.

At her end Dotty saw fewer and fewer fishing boats
sliding along her long horizon
saw fewer sea birds, seldom heard gulls crying,
saw the dwindling of  life
in her cherished tide pools, and in the sea,
as our era surely ends.



(On Reading Jung’s ‘Memories, dreams and reflections’)

Oh God, oh God, are you not there,
in the light of the day – exist at all?
My poor unconscious quakes,
my courage fails, puts on the brakes.
Where did this, this come from,
with my swaddling clothes?
in the fabric of things given me,
unconsciously, as I became aware?
Jung says it was there before
in the archtypical collective, but Freud disagrees.
It’s all about sex you see,
and Father, and Mother, and me.

Kent Bowker    4/12/2014 (4/16 rev.)

The Death of a Snowman

Nothing is more certain than a Snowman’s death.
My proud six year old grandson made it big
twice his size, with help,  weeks ago.
He strutted, he commanded,
he endowed his Snowman with a prick
black and up; a rakish angle.

The sun ages a man, all of us,
takes ‘up’ and turns it down.
In the dwindling it falls off,
the sun rains the snow,
rain fills the snow
and night freezes the heart rigid.
Sun, snow, rain, work,
the grand fades,
the icy lump collects new snow,
stays small, stubborn,
as all us old ones are.

Kent Bowker   3/6/2014

Strain the Edge

Strain the edge and history collapses
as the mesh of connections fray
like winter ice breaking away.

A deluge has drenched us year after year
our memory is cluttered with crap,
with sale pitches and propaganda,
beliefs instead of fact.
Facts  seem pushed to the edge
by everyone with different views.

Beleaguered or bewitched we doubt
the facts, the containing edge gone
we don’t know where we are,
unbounded now by reality.

Our winter is now confused
not knowing hot or cold
bouncing from one to the other.
as it never did before.

Our planets history tells us why,
sadly. / why our future is grim;
but this truth is obscured now
by noise, by dumb opinion,
and dire rampant greed.

Kent Bowker    1/20/14

The Self

Part I  (Super ego complains to the Id)

A multilayered thing this self:
a tangle of discordance, the sum of  things stuck inside.
for I was implanted with a Mormon God when very young.
Twist as I might   my feet never touch holy ground

When I look,  the pool reflecting me ripples,
the sheen goes away, guilty apprehension appears
the whirlpool sucks joy away; my image is incoherent.

Reflection and assessment, the rational view
and the hidden insistencies conflict.
Is the whirlpool image  my true assessment?
the unease of me others see, and I do not?

The weight of Mormon demands I reject but surprisingly obey
the implantation of Godliness rejected, but of being chosen, I’m not.
And in  battle with this ubermensch the self might never win.

Guilt runs deep like water seeks all cavities
this God is a ghost in me
and I’ve not found another to vanquish it,
not the force of love or flowers sweet
or vain achievement, however great, prevail,
so I look in the mirror and see
a jumble of illusions,
and ghosts hidden from general view

 Part II (the ego regains itself)

Asked to write about myself
I ventilate
all sorts of rubbish
I shouldn’t publish
‘cause it will bore.

Oh, hum, the rant is dumb
all the inner ghosties numb.
The first ghost was a Mormon God
it remains, a puddle of pure guilt.

So it simply doesn’t do
to look in the fuzzy self mirror
without a musical background
and raucous laughter,
a fragrant warm meal
and lots of good red wine.

Kent,  Bowker 11/21/2013

Composition in Yellow

line by line a Ping Pong poem
illuminates a setting sun, a yellow
rising moon dream obscures
a dangling love, words papered
on walls brilliant, clear
to her, he hoped, writing about the sun
star rising over the ping pong
board, using absurd slices of bread
paddles as his fevered head swings
back and forth in the ruckus as sun
moon dance together holding on
to tales we tell ourselves
to become our life, mystical,
to eclipse all their poems
bright and shimmering
pieces flitting away.

Kent Bowker    11/2/2013


Under threat of war, alone with the The Primavera,
three graces in a room full of Botticelli’s wonders,
the year “Libya Bomba Lampadusa”,
( the Uffici eerily empty of tourists)
my heart opened so wide it rendered
speech silent.  The moment would last,
return fitfully from time to time the sense of serenity
scarcely found in the incessant drum beat of my work,
flying from one black security site to another
across the country for years, my body often
tighter than a drum. Tension radiating outward
set the tone, the terms of exchange, quenched
love, loves softening,  it stopped the tongue.

Now this service to country and the devil
has ended and the withheld
tumbles forth in a flow, words, into a world
of caring.  But love  strapped with duty
strangled my dearest
creating ruptures never repaired.

It takes time to relax the strains
repair  damage, to accept the love
one needs to live, to honor my loved ones
to hold them close within.

The Hand Off

I.  Transformation

Wooded, granite shores, mansions and lawns
a low shore line, and a fickle  changing ocean–
New England coast town harbors, offshore islands
large and small, ledges and lighthouses,
intimate spaces, and a sea sullen or
quickly tempestuous, my boat Seminole’s home
for thirty years.  Old now, as I am,
I have given her away to a son living elsewhere,
she left by truck to cross a continent.

Large, crowding a whole lane, she arrived at dawn
carrying her long mast like a spear, piercing
a landscape of freeways, concrete and mountains,
and enters Marina-del-Rey, launched few hours
later, becomes one among a multitude, and within the day
sails into the Pacific, tacking out
through a passage of white facades,
chalk like  condo  cliffs,
coming  into the wide,  empty Pacific Ocean,
and the rhythm of long swells.

Disparate worlds, the Northeast and Southwest
where you drive to change the climate,
live in the indolence of the ever sweet sun
rather than be subject to the change
of seasons, where you wrap boats in winter

2 Explaining things
I personify my boat, giving it opinions
awareness of where it is
or where we are.

Away from the play of seasons, summers and bleak winters
she was trucked to the vast Pacific, where distances are great,
With no-where to go quickly along a lee shore.
My son’s expectations are great
mine, old and cynical.

A boat is a promise for going off
into dreams of the foreign, south sea islands,
foggy mists of Nova Scotia, Newfoundland,
or the great inland sea of Odysseus,
even in the foggy islands of Maine
Joan and I sailed in the summer.
Arrivals and departures, the changing sea
rising and falling winds, threatening
and pacific, the sound of dolphins breathing
unseen in the fog about us.
When we age such adventures become hard,  ludicrous,
dreaming fades, and its time
to pass it on to the young.

Now Seminole is only one among many,
in a vast white flotilla – berthed in slips.
Mexican immigrants  do the grunt work,
cleaning, varnishing, soda blasting bottoms,
use scuba gear underwater to clean
scale and weed from foul bottoms.
In the endless summer,: think differently.
never face the clock,  the imperatives of flowing change

The season change breaks moods, shifts us,
prevents the locked mind from complete stasis;
the stasis of perpetual summer.

3.    Histories End

I grew up in San Francisco, knew the old California of cities with limits, bare brown hills dotted with live oaks, glorious orchards, and deep dark redwood forests.  San Francisco’s fog, shifting beauty filling voids, never either hot or cold, chilly often, no more.  The smell of ocean sweeps through the gate, tumbles over the hills. North end bars filled, fifty years ago with poets, before money came.

Who is left now, where is the center?

New York again?, Ginsberg’s world, the Howl
came from everywhere, prophesying  end.
as it will  now, the expansion of usury
taking the last margin, the environment depleted.

So much money in  California, growing on itself.

My century,( we witnessed this, if old enough);   the grand arc of opulence,
the gas mask war, the great party, (when I was born) Crash and a mean time, depressed,
internal violence, war on booze ended, farms blew away, Oakies and Arkies and my parents
moved west.  Strikes, a war against communists, Wobbles, executions,
crawling out of poverty with the New Deal, a world war saved us, peace and the Bomb,
more wars, hot and cold, prosperity, enriched middle class rising.  Then Regan and decline,
usury and opulence, war on drugs and vast imprisonment.

I look at everything with this knowledge
this  history coloring the uneasy present.
But not really; in my life, or in my play
We cultivate our small spaces; we love, have families.

Pelicans fly low over the water,
wingtips smacking the tops of swells,
more of the moment we can ever be,
so clouded by our histories.  .

The Morning mists dissipate, skies clear
a gentle sea wind rising, we go sailing
along the shore, Venice, Santa Monica, Malibu
little kids and their dog on the bow,
splashed by motor boat wakes, screaming,–
everyone taking a turn at the helm.
Running back, surfing occasionally on the swells,
we sip wine, the gentle wind drops, and we motor home.
This rhythm, this pleasure overrides the incessant.

My old California no longer, I depart, return
to my New England home, to the marshes,
granite ledges of the older sea,

and inevitable decline.

Kent Bowker
September 4, 2013

Point and counter point Plato has us by the balls

Of course I rage.
Watched by our secret government
for fifty years, because I needed a clearance
to do my mediocre Physics.
I still feel their presence.
    I forget about the dark suited men,
.     who ask my neighbors questions about me.
.     Do I care abut their answers?
.     I hide my deviance
.     On the other side of the moon.

Men of secrets huddle together
Nazi’s and communist cells, jihadists,
the fraternity of drone fliers
Men of secrets revere their precious knowledge.
.     What everyone wishes to know
.     are the origins of everything
f.    lowers, animal and us,
.     these thoughts delight us.

Secrets can catch you, pull you in
because, you know, Secrecy hides evils..
Authority hides behind secrets
secret bureaucracies, secret installations
vast computers listening in Utah, .
secret edicts from secret courts
hide the mailed fist.
all is shadow, democracy is dead.
    True singers tell everything
.     of worth, love, happiness, and the good
.     that never needs to hide.
.     Mysteries excite unsuppressed curiosity

We become a society of the cleared, and us, the uncleared
for I’ve fallen out of it, I’ve no need to know.
.     I’d rather watch squirrels run after each other
.     laughing at their quick tumbling..

Outside the compartments, there are other ways of life,
even the puppet master President doesn’t know
it will run away from him in his classified dreaming.
Are you satisfied with your cubicle?
The bit you need to know to work and go home
watch the TV tell you what else you need to know
as relentless as this poem must be.
We are in Plato’s cave, Democracy is no more.
.     Reject the cubicle if you can
.     cost effective spirit crushing.
.     I sing the song of our freedom
.     to talk around the water cooler.
.     Fuck Plato.

Do you know the meaning of this eclipse
the classifying shadow blotting out our truth?
Know the eclipse as I do, the habits of silence,
extend into you,   endangers your soul,
when you can’t talk about where you go
whether ventures into space, or  hovering over silent seas.
Or the desolation of motel rooms in secret locations.
.     We are not made to be hidden
.     we need to display ourselves
.     dance mating rituals
.     do pratfalls, be honest.

Secretes hide the little satraps,
erected from mission statements, obscure and secret.
It’s the scale that astounds, so many layers
entrenched in secret budgets, protecting  turf.

The new octopus has its sucking arms everywhere
for our protection or theirs, and no one questions,
Congress is silent, and the few objectors are lied to.
The agency heads lie to us, the President lies,
its all in the code of deniability,
we have no need to know.
Does our security need the ‘war’ on terror,
and the corporations running it;
privatized security shells, black window office buildings
with secret contracts and secure budgets.
Corporations cooperate, give their data, our data freely
it’s in their interest to control their market, us.
.     Free men and women do not need this entwining
.     we reject the slavery of gauging everything economically,
.     we are more than money and safety above all else.

I can’t talk of the wonders, light beams hot and lethal,
the vast installations in deserts,  fearsome emissions from deadly crystals,
frothy chemicals deep and deadly glow,. projecting photon fingers;
roasting the invisible far in space,

Few know about the scale of this endeavor
buried in Pentagon secret compartments.
We can’t talk about the cost to all of us.
The cost of the CIA, NSA and the hidden agencies.
We have a million people in prison
we have a million people with top secret clearances,
its gutted our schools, ruined the jibs we need,
while we watch TV for sports, spectacles
and other kinds of pleasing news.

They can peer into the ocean depths,
into the crags of city and suburb,
desire to peer into everyone’s soul
gauge our suitability,  passivity.,
And manipulate us to make it so.

Kent Bowker, July 4, 2013


The holy declare who’s unholy
and expunge their sins
,               ‘There are no innocents /
,                              fire cleans’
The anguish of the purifier
demolished, shattered and maimed –
Boundless embitterment, failings,

and heaven’s bruised beast’s —
raging prejudice.

The Patriot day marathon runners
coming to the finish breathless
exultant —
.          Cheering friends waiting —
the holy blew them up.

Holy,  holy, /  holy revenge done
a conflagration of sirens, hospital gates open.

.            The avenger’s mind

wind raged – a whorl
within an Hijab of purity.

Purity bred contempt;
‘I don’t like any of you’

Runners were cut that day,
legs torn off,  found lying about,
victims were rushed away

Grim time, clocks stop, sirens hang in the air
red carpets under foot.

Boston, Belfast,  Bagdad, it’s the same,
someone getting even,
again and again.
Balance  never restored.
the death of the bomber expected and pointless
afterward, so many are dead.
Lives torn – knowing why doesn’t help the crippled.
Joy and love  dismissed by vengeance,
it wasn’t explained,
no words,

Kent Bowker   4/25/2013

The Mind Rummages in its Basement


All becomes linked, eventually;
our minds not as free as we think
in the winding of sunken pathways,
connections seen only from above,
hidden to our consciousness —
lying awake for many nights
seeing the traceries of the waving limbs,
wind tossed, outside and moonlit.

All the wordy images dreaming are linked;
my toy bear to the smell of the real.
All the benign and fearful thoughts,
from dissimilar verses are the same.
Truth is not apparent, colored natures
flowing unseen, within brief pleasures.

Mathematics looking for reality;
in tea leaved string theory,
or the twists of quantum gravity,
where is time, and where before?

The fingers pierce the mirror glass
liquid to the touch as we may pass
into the intricacies of thought,
profound, mundane similarities.
Symmetries of nature demand a before
this time, for time to be.  Oh, mind
Oh this simple complexity
bedevils us to retreat to one thought
and gives up to believe in God, as we were taught..

Mirrors contain reverse realities;
the left and right, good and evil
contend within a montage
of reflections, truth and untruth.
Magic crystal ball futures
enfolded, / all mirage,
fleeting, / on horizons of introspection.

The albatross does not land today
scooping from the sea quickly
sustenance, and we are seen
small by this ariel majesty
leaving questions unanswered

Which image in the glass is real
right or left, or the love we feel.

Kent Bowker      24 March 2013

Err the Loss

A dark abyss opens when death
claims an old friend, makes a vacancy
in the net of acquaintance and the love
that sustains coming and going, a breath
as if a wind whipping trees made a fancy
mess in the woods, a ripping fury from above.

But in our eighties we surely know
it will happen, this death breath
will whip beloved relationships
with merciless inattention to our needs
our friendly pleasure of no consequence.

The dark and light always mix;
each fallen tree makes room for the sun
to brighten fresh new growth, fill in
any vacant space, soften grief
with interest and connections new.
The gaps in our routines will repair,
others will come and go, each filling
the hole in our sadly rended fabric.

Remedies are few, so without regret
rise up,   leave sorrow behind, and flow into
to morrow to fresh woods and pleasures new.

Kent Bowker 1/29/13
Last line from Milton’s ‘Lycidas’

I couldn’t understand

I couldn’t understand the violence
the rage of a child swinging a chain
to beat me away, I didn’t see
the future that came of it.

The roughed up birth, the secrets
of his misshapen body mind,  birthing
poorly, whether his heart stopped or not.
His mother never saw him then.
His grandmothers fear of madness
coming to this first grandchild,
no one knew what she was thinking
fear driving all her manic acts,
she stole the baby away for a while.
Gave him her fear, before mother’s love
reclaimed him.   Was it too late?
this infection of the primal soul,
a family curse reborn.
I have wondered about this for decades
as the boy grew in angry withdrawal
from play with friends and school.

Are we so easily cast, molded incestuously
into the form we will become
whether wishing it or not?
What we see as so extreme, so obviously wrong
an implantation, is there one in us all
in lesser ways as well,
we cannot tell, as we forget
our beginning, subtle, well meant
gifts of  nativity.

1/14/2013   Kent Bowker

How Can I Compare

How can I compare you to flowers
.                    I cannot name,
but to color, texture and form,
.                    I can
as I watch your grace
.                  bending to the pansies
plucking off the dead heads
.                 the deft flow of hand.
And your delight in the popping forth
.                  of crocus and sweet hyacinth,
I would liken you to all of this,
.                  ending the winter,
bringing forth, too, your orchids
.                 your great successes.
How barren this place would be
.                 without you.

.                                            Kent Bowker
.                                             12/21/2012

Some Things Keep Rippling

Some things keep rippling through your life
for me the nuclear connection and subsequent strife
I met Oppenheimer at a party, studied physics then
attended one of his seminars, watched him when
he was crucified at his hearing, and I was losing
the clearances that allowed me to play amusing
meson experiments on Berkeley’s cyclotron.

We have been taught to close down
not talk about knowing, good or evil,
a life time not talking about what we do,
about implications; the detail is dull.

Those years keep coming back
even as every one then now dies
few left now to recall the horror,
all it implies of Bomb, and implicate evils.

The victims are shunned,
reminders, no one wants to see
the paranoid  selfishness that owns it,
as profits were to be made
of all of it, sold to private ownership,
bombs, fuel, reactors, all
after Oppie was cast aside.

Energy pumped up, affluence veils our vision,
not seeing reactors ageing dangerously
not seeing gasses fouling the atmosphere
polluting drinking water, acidifying the sea,
for two cars in every garage and big TV’s–
no one wants to pay the cost.

Worry rumbles beneath sports bar talk
of football, baseball, hockey, the little violences,
relieving the pressure of dwindling incomes
plundered pensions, water not fit to drink.

Kent Bowker   12/23/12

The Stent

I’m in Health Care’s  belly,
I’m denuded, frocked, and bedded into the Cath lab, my Docs are there
.           to send a snake into my plumbing.
They find a block, balloon in a Stent, I get a patch on my groin
have a hospital lunch            I’d settle for anything
wait to move upstairs for overnight recovery.

No room in the inn, stay in the recovery room
all the other patients are gone
Cath lab will be closing soon
nurses are laughing, a good sign.  But
Death’s dread figure dances / outside.
Sneaked in with a Vasovagal event
Heart stopped, I fell, I think now, there was nothing
no St Peter, no Krisna, nothing
bells rang, nurses rushed,   I missed a piece of time..

Waiting       Being here is waiting     For release
I’ve a hunger headache, constipated, wired up,    Can’t move
Can’t shit,   but piss a-plenty

Always a struggle for life
against the bodies natural path to death,
else despair rushes up early     so many poets died that way.
Observe the road marks, our Burma shave signs,
Vasovagal events,  gasping for breath,     steps too much to climb.

It’s too early, perhaps, for me to die
but this way is attractive
the cost but a moment of nausea
then sinking away quietly.

Do we hold on until it’s really bad
until there are untold interventions.

Juggle  questions of eternity,
know  about infinity,   about decay and dust,
the eternity of particles lost in black holes,
and the black hole the godless spirit
goes to with the last / quieting breath,

but not today,    love claims me back
free of gasping, dire implants, or shattered breast.

Kent Bowker      12/8/12

Break we must

Break we must the duty stiffened spine
and thus soft, recline and enfold these gifts
of affection that are ours and thus decline
the worlds news and wayward shifts
of fortune, keep it out, even shout,
‘stay away’, for love is so easily, sadly diverted
by the clamorous, by confusion and doubt
by all we need or have, so easily perverted.
I need the simple, the unqualified, you can give,
all that I too often hide in habit,
the mired rhythm of the life we live
and all the love we have within it.

Oh, soften belief’s stiffened spine,
and together my love, all doubt decline,
let us kiss and in love entwine

Kent Bowker

Essential Place

I began life in the west
of deserts and mountains,
was frightened by papooses
popping out of bags
on their mothers backs, I was two.
I rode horses and cows
on farms between mountains
knew the dry heat.

Chaco is a vortex, Gaia’s child
as Jericho is, ancient,
the central core of the Peoples
who left when their water failed.
Moist now, this essential place
drew into all the valleys and mountains
of the western plateau
impoverished, listless  pioneers,
to claim their land of dreams, this
Center of the west born of volcanic fire.

Bursting out, this land rose from the sea,
merged with the granite of the east
water carved, colored canyons,
sandstone arabesques, left
blooming mountain islands
in seas of  sand and sage.

Chaco’s dry monuments
pueblos, and Kivas are quiet,
within the nest of four holy mountains,
there for those who hold Earth sacred,
while the White Men suck ancient waters
lacerate the plains with a million needles
pumping every inch of legacy,
for today’s feast,

Wheels crush the sage
release the earth’s dry dust
dark cyclonic clouds rise
from the ancient center.

This fantasy land filled,
overflows with the white men,
retirees seeking sun,
miners stripping buttes,
farmers sucking water,
gamblers in slick cities,
and pious Latter-Day- Saints,
the air  fouled by burning oils,
by nuclear explosions,
by asphalt highway traffic,
air conditioners fighting  heat,
as it gets hotter and dryer
and mountain tops burn.

Beware of a  vacuum
that sucks you in,
with it’s bountiful promise.

A new cycle is beginning..
You can overuse the land
but, overwrought it will die,
and so will you and your progeny,
The Navaho know  this.

Kent Bowker   15 Oct. 2012


I’ve got lots of personas, I have
because I’m a heartless big rock
with glorious and ruckus facets.

I’d been happily alone for eons
until they came and put a house on me.

It’s disgusting their use of me,
though it’s not as heavy as a mile of ice
I’m not used to the nervous energy
rapidly unlocking the Buddha within.

Not that I’ve not had trauma before,
after my flowing, hot birth.
I was quite rugged, jagged, masculine,
but things happened, I got buried many times
in ice and sea, meteor dust, dead trees,
and violated, scraped clean naked.

I’ve endured all sorts of crawling, creeping things,
then man came, a rather new creature,
and chopped pieces off of me.
Nothing’s been the same ever since.
The glacier’s scraping me was slow,
gave me curves, sinuous femininity

Now it’s all disturbance, and my avatars,
my fat guru face on top, my monks descending
watch them sitting on me, arguing,
bouncing on their beds, singular stuff.

But I find I’m liked; they care for me:
clean off the rubbish, groom my sides.
I’ll be sorry when they go,  washed away
when they make the ocean rise..

I’ll miss their love

Kent Bowker    Oct 1, 2012

The Edge

I wish to sail beyond the edge of going
beyond concern, beyond constraint,
into a love beyond love’s limit,
each edge reveals another
until surrounded by the taking,
the motion of the sea,
the periodicity, wind wailing
lift and plunge, the matter at hand,
each moment insists on primacy–
the wind-lifted white sail
propelling out, outward motion
to the outer edge before me.

Land bound, I go to the land’s edge
to the rough cliffs where
breakers claw,  day after day,
sucking beach boulders in and out
grinding stones, into smooth ellipticity,
and to the rushing sea air, rich
fresh life-lifting air.
I cannot live far from the edges
from the churn of the sea
the chrysalis containing me.

Kent Bowker     July, 2012

Beware, old men walking dogs

Beware, old men walking dogs-
at night they are everywhere-
in the shadows.
Rarely caught in your headlights,
revealing a frightened hand,
raised, warding off, warning.
light closing in around them
they vanish,
as old men will in the end
protecting their dogs
from indifferent steel.

The Fourth

Slow heavy clouds  wandering east-
hot, as every fourth of July seems to have been.
I listen, there are so many birds, A feast
of greens, grass, oaks and cedars seen
so still, or gently wafted, as the soft air
stirs.  My loves have all gone sailing,
my wife, son, and the children, all so light, so fair.
This good fortune seems a blessing
I barely deserve, while my future years diminish.
I write this and wait their clamorous return,
when we will picnic on the beach, and finish
when, within  grand fireworks, the sky will burn.
And so I live, getting past the acute pains
of arthritic nights, while in me simple joy rains

Kent Bowker     July 4, 2012



I obsessively alter minutia
thinking tonight’s brush stroke
might fix  my odd composition
of tower windows reflecting
sea and islands, opening into dark  interiors.

Why are most landscapes so empty?
is nature so divorced from us –
untrammeled dream illustrations —
that dirty handed man should not appear
in abstractions of love,  in light and color.


Year after year my paintings pile up
crowd the walls, scream for attention.


Van Gogh rendered miner’s boots
cracked and worn, black and brown —
before color lifted
his evangelistic despair
into brilliant seas of grass.


Edvard Munch’s red angst–
She in a dark wood dream
hands against her ears,
screams   –


Damian Hirst breaking convention
repeals all light and color
with dark, rotting bug abstractions,
elephant dung and the crucifixion,
with sights and smell appalling
evokes a worried  introspection.
How far from beauty have we come,
what seed hides in dung?


Pizzazz – gladiators in the flicks,
chariots crashing around the pylons,
Hur diving between his horses.
Imagine Gable’s million-dollar gams
from ‘Pin Up Girl’, painted on B17s.

In the eighties,
alone in the Uffizi’s Botticelli room,*
I entered the Primavera,
and in this eternal dance,
I  remain.

Kent Bowker

*( no tourists, in 1986, ‘Libya  Bomba  Lampadusa,’)

As if I had not raged

As if I had not raged
through years of engineering exactitude
raging against its rigidity
its tight lipped conventions
propping up dubious truths.

I erected walls about my true self;
the dancer on the green,
the flower gatherer,
the dreamer.

The cracks in my wall glowed
enough to attract lovers.
But the protective walls
protected far too much,
and soul death haunted me.

Kent Bowker

Evening Worry

The end of the world didn’t come this year
maybe next if we’d be so unlucky.
We flounder, searching for expressions
to announce our dread of what’s to come.
It is spectacle, hysterical reporting,
politically inspired zealots
on the evening news, keep awake —
boogies, imaginary implants —
supplanting our fear of the woodchuck
rummaging in our  garden.

Kent Bowker

The Deck

Showering Lilac flakes
whiten my hair,
the sweet narcotic air
shifts my head talk,
as I hammer nails
ripping out and replacing boards.
Below the flowering, abundant
brilliance, fading to white,
spring snow
covers the black rot
I dig into.

Kent Bowker

On Selling ‘Seminole’

I panic, I’ve lowered the price.
My boat may  sell before I sail again,
and my long reaches into the glittering sea,
moments of enchantment   will be memory.
Inevitably, like a failing sea breeze,
movements in an aging life diminish.

Birds on the ocean are different
than those around my  safe quiet cottage,
their  cries, never echoed by obstruction
fade into the forever receding horizon,
the infinite future I now see cut.

Kent Bowker       5/12/2012


Oil from Pandora’s box
smothers our mother world,
and pop goes the Beezeal
Bub, you’ve got problems:
because —

frothy fickle freeways
push California outbound into
a grass land of otters chomping
into illusory hippies, swimming into sunsets,
encapsulating bunnies sniffing glue.
Moldy hibiscus blossoms waft no scents
of pernicious nonsense
into the empty mind of a poet.

Who’s to know it all, silly,
stuff that bounds around
the corner drugstore as candy
is dandier than pots of flowers
in the grand lexicon
of an exhausted breath.

Kent Bowker


There was a time  the earth was open
limitless, all could be taken that could–
but not now, the old injunctions fail,
our trained neurons scream in pain–
not further, not further!

Our inflated  expansion is over,
turns taking into catastrophes,
turbulent inward contests for space,
primacy tearing apart amenities,
for each one feels the same pain
all driven by the ancient command
‘go forth, be fruitful, and multiply’.

The Buddha and Yahweh contend
for the soul, minds in flames,
inner fires of ruptured belief
face realities —
our free space is no more
no more riches to wrest from the earth
not enough water for all to drink
that I should thirst, for all my days to come.

Kent Bowker    4/12/12


A dry list of begets and begotten,
bereft of ornament, the nature of being,
inherent in each entry, ignored,
except for the small notations,
Dr., minister, Sr., or Jr —
pointless unless you knew
the pirates in the closet
or the secret tree of the family adulterer.
I imagine my poem tree
with lines as ragged
as the horizontal list of siblings
raining down progeny
like bombs into the future
of accumulated wives, husbands
and convolutions of divorce.

I forget — this is about love,
this cosmology wrapped around me
of inheritance, eyes, noses, and hair,
not of properties or moneys dispensed,
or rights in name bearing patrimony,
but of nurturing,  mothers care
above each name, a perpetual shower,
fathers and grandmothers genes,
binding us all together, all
the abundant creators, and the loose ends,
in passion or lust or conventional carnality –
we exist – because of this love.

Kent Bowker                4/17/12


I’ll take a taxes to Metaxes*
to save the Greek economy,
from electronic salami, its debt —
park in the graveyard of equality,
watch the schools decay,
and pay for exemptions
for the few with yachts
of Dionysian splendor.

* Greek general and prime minister 1938-41

Kent Bowker     3/16/2012

Why do I do this?

( an answer to an existential question)

Do I even want to be heard?
My thought simply bubbles up
A line sets me off in a rush of words
And all play of image and sound
Ripples from my tongue, or
Roars, in a ranting demonic trashing
Of something wrong or evil with
Morality puffed up or in despair.

I must ease frustration,  let my heart free,
Speak gently of my love for you,
Or  advertise my awe and wonder
About my camp of unknown readers.

But sometimes I hold a mirror
To peer into the hollow room of myself

From my conscious dreaming
Thoughts run together, enjambing sense
And sensibility as I do this —
For you, and for me
in the doing of it.
Kent Bowker   2/1/2012


I found myself tearful today
reading an obituary of Vaclav Havel
in the London Review of Books —
my late friend and I often exchanged –-
But when Death comes close
I busy myself with inconsequential things.

Death crept in slowly
months of preparation
costume changes, poor disguises.
I said I would be back later
to read amusing things to him.
But He came and left with him..

Kent Bowker    1/23/12

Raimondo: Snapshots of My Friend Ray

My wife introduced us
and he asked, ‘do you do lunch?’
We were old when we met
told our stories through 500 lunches,
I heard about the children he read to,
trips to Operas in New York and Santa Fe,
light poetry and slow retired pleasures.

He had style, an LL Bean credit card
American fashion style – urbane, cultured –
listening to opera and jazz, ( reclining in his Eames chair).
He was our editor and publisher of poems, –
and told tales of Scholastic Mag., (interviewing Gore Vidal),
and of his Ford Foundation Follies.

But now, retired, he longed for Italy —
devouribg Italian detective stories
(Donna Leon, Camillarie, Montelbano) in winter,
and rented apartments in Rome and Florence,
sharing them with friends, almost every year.

In Rome we  negotiated the Metropolitaneo
bused from Fermata to Fermata –
dinned at Fabricios Trattoria –
and sought  great paintings leisurely,
So,     After the glories of the Chiggi Chapel,
talking lightly of Caravaggio,
while strolling along the Via Barbuino
Raimondo found the perfect Panama hat
a grace a gentleman would divinely wear
in the evening passeggiata through Trastevere
to admire all the gorgeous Roman women on display.

Kent Bowker    12/28/11

Of ‘Three Quarks for Muster Mark’

(from Finnegans Wake, James Joyce)

Behold, the Big Bang Creation.
Behind opaque ion veils, dancing
strings curled in an uncertain eleven dimensions,
unobservable, squished up, tumbling
together, then inflating, become a fiery froth
free of the churning unknowable past
rushing  into the infinite void,
time begins and in dimensions three,
the great Higgs, the Quarks with Gluons galore
and all other kinds of massy gore appear:
Fermi-onic nucleons, Hydronic  mesons, all flavors, and chromaticities;
wild clusters of Anyions  (Charmed or Strange) and all the anti players.

The Universe happens then, in a swosh.
Tiny Leptons rushing from Fermions
at light speed, Tachyons grandly push
even faster, never seen again, while Bosons
so slow, coalesce into infinite galaxies
with black holes, and WIMPS  holding  together
all the heaven’s time lines, all our felicities
expanding through warped geodesics for ever.

Kent Bowker                11 December 2011

Oh, What do you do with this?

(  An apology for a quick and ill-considered assignment based on the declaration,
’We’re here to look at your sprinkler head’ )

Oh dance the interrupt polka,
the morning news with Mars bars,
motor cars, coffee with mocha.
The sprinkler man has come
to look for drips,
and bad trips, stimulating
an irreverence for authority,
and just about everything
else, especially  inferiority
to ‘Special K’ Menshes
crunching with wrenches
whence a drip.

‘We’ve come here, madam, to see’
algorithymically shattering our privacy
our secluded meditations
our secret inclinations
shattered, dispersed,
splattered and revealed,
torn, as might a spider web collapse
into a face with sticky bug cases,
our thoughts are disordered,
like commercials screwing up love scenes,
coitus interruptus redux.

The spider in the closet is aghast
her web is ruined, splattered alas
entwined in a pushy inspectors face.

Must we be open to intrusion,
listen to amplified Listerine ads,
lipstick patina, M and M’s prancing,
watch murders and bouncy babies hands
selling watch bands,
allow cameras to watch us,
cell phones to track us?
Polled and monitored
us delegated consumers
bandied about by rumors
of terrorists, or enormous debts
hide in our homy castles.
To avoid all the hassle.
must we grow beards;
hairy privacy shields?
Dear spider, interrupted,
web demolished,  come back
build again in your darkness,
we’re out here where sprinklers drip
inviting inspections
uniformed inspectors
any time they wish.

Kent Bowker   Nov 23 2011

The Righteous Man

The political poem is often a jumble
the language simply ill constructed
of mouthful words like a grumble
emoted rather than gracefully said,
we must then regretfully grant
it often becomes a clumsy rant.

Theodemocracy is such a fumbly word
a Mormon idea we might investigate
Elder Romney’s Joseph Smith-ian good
belief, that while democracy is first rate
arguments are no pleasure,
revelation is much better.

Georgie Bush had a big revelation;
invaded poor Iraq. It trumps contention,
allows a politician to switch his views
it doesn’t matter what the people choose
when agreement is unreachable
revelation is unimpeachable.

Beware, then, these politicians’ claims
with undisclosed beliefs; and aims;
fantasies, Gods, all that strain credulity,
biblical creation presumably,
their cliches endlessly, easily repeated, their phlegm
that we might  unthinking, believe them,
and accept the scourge behind the jabbering..
Be wary,  godly austerity punishes.

Kent Bowker

The Song of Eliot’s Perfecto Cigar

A melancholy season entraps you and I
with a dash of cold, leaves curling brown, a stark blue sky.
We sit around the dinning table
talking of TV movies, and mean streets,
the price of bananas,  summer  retreats,
and of cheap Sicilian Grand hotels.
We yearn for south sea oyster-shells,
for  warm days  gone, yet end with existential argument;
Where are we going, what to do, what is our intent
in running from here?         Silly question
Mr Burbank, with your Baedeker, isn’t it?
Well, its time to end this visit.
It was nice, we must go;
I can’t paint like Michelangelo

Grand, this sense of captivity, scratching at window-panes
to open. Then Rush! Break all the window-panes;
our lives need more air, more in the evening
than an ad riddled TV show that drains
our spirits; aspirations rising through chimneys
like smoke.  Knowing we must leap
out of ourselves into the night
exultant, we’re lulled,  and fall asleep.

What are the higher causes?  Every time
we reach up we’re dumped on the street
like soggy underwear, while priestly ghosts at the window-panes
chuckle.      ‘It’s time’
says Mr Bleistein, with a cigar, ‘to meet
the bigot who will assail you, create
despised under-classes, and raise despairing hands’
No thanks, we’ve enough on our plate,
don’t need his holy distinctions that disparage me
don’t need to resolve religious indecisions;
our lives don’t need revisions.
Please, put out your cigar, and stay for tea.

No matter how this poem will go,
I never could paint like Michelangelo.

.                  Kent Bowker, (and  forsooth, T.S. Eliot)
.                  21 October 2011

Neutrinos oddly go..

Neutrinos created from  pulsed Muons at Cern
aimed at a cave below fair Italy’s Gran Sasso,
pass through leagues of rock without concern
as if it were just glass, their passing so
unhindered.  But with puzzling oddity, they
get there much too early, faster than light,
and, as if bouncing in a mirrored way,
change sex promiscuously..  It’s not right,
upsetting Physicists! Anomalies they shout!
But maybe it’s just refraction, just as light
must bend into density, neutrinos may bend out,
changing speed to keep its wave coherent.
Sleep well dear Einstein it’s only a curiosity
in our random,   weird quantum particularity.

Kent Bowker
Oct. 16, 2011

An Angry Economic Sonnet

The pain of restriction, austerity, runs deep
Into the marrow of our bones, switching
Up to down, while pompous rentiers creep
‘round declaring our multitudinous sinning
Shaming us as hollow men who work not well
Who malinger when ill, don’t want to win
Who hinder progress and perpetual growth.
But the ceilings have been reached, and we’re in
Trouble.  We’re the last frontier, the candy jar,
The last source of profit a cannibal economy
Of less can feed upon, as if an unfeeling glacier
Were to come and scrape everything away.
Must we have catastrophe before old belief,
Capitalism, die, and our souls have relief?

A Season Ended

The sunbathers and their umbrellas, water skiers
And their power boat packs are gone, summer is over.
Moorings are empty, cottage windows, boarded up.
We venture alone into the waving marsh sea.
Beating out, our cat boat climbs a wind ladder
Into the gold-grassed sea-covered marsh land
Rounding the islands of dark pine and crimson vines
Seeking passage through the white Heron’s grasses.
We all fly here, over the waters, white wings and sail,
And fold into this melancholy season beyond summer,
Before the storms to come whip the waters black..
We feel the world here as it has always been
Before mechanical man’s use changed it.

About Love Sonnets

The sonnet asks for more than simple wit,
A crafty wish for love, a scented glove
To hold the sharp rose thorns that bite
The heart away, breaking all hope of love.
A story to tell ourselves all is right.
But knowing each other may be enough,
Far better than wispy vain wit, bright
Enjoyment of time together, not rough
Words of suspicion, or honeyed explanation
But tender exchange, a kiss, an embrace
Hands that seek company, deep connection,
And words honoring each other’s infinite grace.
The sonnet is but a gloss, mere  embroidery,
Love’s banter, bright tomfoolery.

From F to G

Thoughts in the fog of waking up

Four Twenty is a sailboat,
Four Forty is  detergent,
Forever is lying awake before dawn,
Fruits are for breakfast.

Fuel is our necessity,
Filling our tummies,
Following our desires,
Finding our way to loved ones
Folding them in our arms.

Frolic in the pleasure of
F   , morning, noon, or night.

Forebear the critics in us,
Free the emotion, laugh…
For next will come

Grinning, garrulous gophers,

Kent Bowker
1 October 2011

Painting Hog Island

I paint images of the Great Glacier’s artifact
the massive drumlin in the Essex marsh,
a large dark oval whale like form,
always distant, bold, or vanishing in mist,
a turning point for swirling tidal flows,
sometimes floating on the sea
often sinking into the marsh grass..

I try to center this island
in our bowl of existence,
.        -impose the sacred onto it
.          as we do onto  inscrutable forms-
as the osprey hang in the sky,
or gulls hover over the darkly
wooded mound imbedded
in the simulated swirl
of rising and ebbing waters.

I paint the sea of the island,
attempt to show the water flowing
through the passages of the marsh.
I try to find the sacred embodied here,
as others in Kayaks do,
visiting the graveyard,
searching for artifacts,
arrowheads, shards, mythic remains.

All of us fail, one way or another.
The Indian artifacts are long gone.
The paintings fail to show the sacred,
lying hidden in the soil.
.         (Sacred Madonnas were, after all,
.           painted in the ages of belief.)
The sacred sense the Indians have
from the Great Spirit and Earth Mother;
.        that we are temporary here,
.        that the land does not belong to us,
.        that we only borrow it from the Mother,
has been lost.

Hog Island reminds us.

The paintings will vanish
the sea will rise, flood the marsh,
wash the binding clay away,
assert the ocean, and we too
will have gone by then
linked as the Indians know
into the swirl of nature

Kent Bowker        9/16/2011


A brassy Bossa nova, feet banging sound,
drew me into dancing
as I used to dance , back to youth,
to my Fred Astaire snake pit days of fifties swing

Found a willing partner to fling, spin, and flip;
incessant  motion in 5 step frenzy
captured within the loud band’s energy.
Immersed in it’s intimate sound,
beyond the pain in my knees
the wine edge vanishing in my sweat
we’re a lone couple on the floor space of abandon
fused to the music to end in…..
A painful gasping.

A quick foreboding
existing inside a choked breath
the great apprehension

the breath fails
gasping, I make my table, breathe fear
know the smell, the taste when it happened
ten years ago, the chest pained angst
faced the end of all love
gasp again slow

Alone in my darkest self, under old shadows, a child,
again, not knowing, angry father, raised hand, razor strap

Everyone is dancing now
Breathe slowly
wait for my future.

Washington DC, 2011

The long escalator from the Metro underworld
of massive Piranesian tubes, ejects me upward into
the grey, light showery day, and the wide National Mall.
I walk, away from the Capital,  massive federal buildings on either side
like fortifications, defending themselves,  no longer public,.
and grand Museums, Art, Nature ,and Space for the people,
I walk past the grim WWII monument, a felangistic plaza
black bronze Roman wreaths on towers.

I escape, trudge on.
A black granite V penetrates the earth,
carries names of men thrown away,
plunges into the sodden surface,
blood splattered Vietnam fields.
Black granite walls, scattered flowers
umbrellas, glistening pavement,
glistening, crying black walls.

I flee to the small,
to the Phillips gallery to find  relief.
.          Bonnard’s brilliant green violet mixtures
.          Renoir’s boating party, Van Gogh, Cezanne,-
go smaller to a dark music room, rare De Stael’s,
suited diplomats from Slavic lands
large women, reserved seats.
A quartet plays Beethoven (Raz 3)
and a quiet wistful modern.

Kent Bowker    May17, 2011

Nine Haiku for my love’s big left toe

A sprung light wind
lifts a breath from the sea-
stroke your back gently.

After the spring rain
Daffodils reach up to you-
Dreams of love.

Lavender ruins
The garden erupts color;
A breath of smoke.

A cloud is a shawl
A linen streaked with rain-
Light trembling leaves.

Spring, grief and ruins,
makes it all seem pointless-
voices in the fog.

The dying old year
Ends in wild and holy days-
Frogs are sleeping.

Photographs of love
is as Spring’s water greening grass-
moon flirting clouds.

Attic to Cellar
Walls and windows make a house-
our naked embrace.

March becomes memory
The stillness of snow forgotten-
lips touch softly.

The Gryphon at the Mansion on Thursday night

How could our world change, become a  hostile place?.
Here at the mansion on the hill, a crowd of us
seeking fun, taking time out for happiness,
parking cars, rushing in, spreading blankets on the grass
bringing picnic dinners and forgetting for a night
the other garbage stuck in our worried minds.
It’s not  the end of it, our world,
It wouldn’t make sense, now in this middle time,
but we might destroy it by  implacable selfishness
the ‘I want’, before thinking
but not, not before the band plays.

The Gryphon on the pedestal
has glassy eyes and rapacious beak
but it doesn’t speak
or perhaps we didn’t hear it,
we make so much noise
dancing to a metallic amplified beat
Giddings’ big band underneath the stars
where we bathe ourselves in warm night air.

.        Listening to poets, a dancing in the stars,
.        Zukosky’s flow of words tumbling through 800 pages,
.        Jorie Graham’s rushing music, meanings compressed
.        and expanded, lines like accordions.

No oracle from above commands us,
though we think we’d like it to,
nor words in the songs we’ve heard before
automatic as drum beats, even as our hearts
repeat, repeat, repeat.
Words from above would not come
b‘cus there’s no one out there, or here.
We won’t listen if it just comes from us
no matter how wise.
So perhaps it will end
this time, this species
so beautiful, so pleasured
dancing here under the moon.,

Kent Bowker               4/4/2011


Ka, the winged self shape flies free
of tombs, slips out of pyramidal
masses, Pharos spirit roams the land
dust like at the deserts edge.

I thought I knew deserts
growing up in towns wrested from one
until I saw this one.
This Egypt, the mass of it
outside the green snake
of the verdant flowing Nile.
Seeing it from the deck
of a small cruise boat,
Seeing its white and dusty expanse
cliffed, dark edged and infinite,
beyond the temples and tombs
beyond the green cultivated river banks,
the rush roofed huts, fellahin tending crops,
oxen walking forever in circles
pumping water for the fields.

Lotus columns hold the heavens
above temple  Hieroglyphics
(Kom Ombo, Karnak, Thebes,  the Valley of Kings)
showing the after life of great ones,
all embalmed, protected from degeneration.
A thousand generations of wooden dead
clutter the margins of the desert.

Great Nuit, star clad night, mated with earthy Geb,
begot Isis and Osiris, Horus, Nepthsus, good, evil, and Seth
murders Osiris, hides his body.  Isis
sister wife roams the world to find him
to encase his Ka within her, resurrect him.
Nuit encloses all, and is the pathway of Ra.

We feel the primordial weight of the great Sphinx
the Ka of Kings here in areal dust.

Timeless land, the rivers rhythm,
death defines living beliefs;
The Ka, spirit from the river,
the Ruh, from the desert,
the Soul an escape from pain and suffering.
So many ways of being self,
mine, enbodied, is transcendent
but it ends with my death.
The Nile and desert vibrate,
generate beliefs; all deny death,
the Sun God Re, immortal,
the infinite life of Ka,
the Essens teaching Christ, the heaven of Christians,
the cold sleep of the Ruh.
the devout dead Mussulman waiting for judgement day.
A land of the sleeping; a desert,
this crowded land.

The arabic script shoves Greek letters aside
flowing like river waves from the right
across papyrus sheets, across walls
like tsunamis wiping little images away,
the great paintings are hidden or painted over
the granite gods noses are broken
this past was forgotten
in a rush to impose the ineffable One; Allah.
But it took a thousand years,
by the Ottomans and their Mamalukes.
to push the agenda onto the Copts,
the jews and Christians at Alexandria,

We lightly forget the anguished centuries between
the crash of Rome, the Christian Coptic era,
the slow crusade of the Muhammadans.
How fast old millennia are erased,
plundered and forgotten

Ka dissolves, hides its nature
in Moslem Ruh, all egos in the One
this crowded land, bread basket of Rome
flowering from the flow of the spring flood.
Ka is in the hash laden air of the Fishwel Café
in the alleys, the souks of gold, leather, spices
wikala of al Ghuri, caravanserai
of Mameluks, grand Muftis
and the high crest of minarets above old Cairo.
We are in the remains and  the new
blatantly pushes against the Gaza Pyramids
new villas, glass steel towers, English hotels.

Ka is in the people now
all are Pharos, the land has changed,
dammed, the Nile changes.
Sleep, crumbling   Ramses,
chaos returns,
a spring flood
renews the land.

Kent Bowker     3/21/2011


The dark sea is clouded
the smooth liquidity becomes sickly foul.
We dug too deep
broke the tissue
between us and primordial ooze.

It will spread, this thing
we unleashed when we turned our backs
on Venus and the Virgin,
We gave greed freedom,
and made a pact
not to see consequence
in  wealth and pleasure.

And now the dark flows, grows
out of a great depth,
fouling a beautiful sea.
Gasses rise from fractured rocks
poisoning  water,
as we suck old life out of earth,
killing nature,
for our wealth and pleasure.

Kent Bowker            revised 4/4/11

Oh, Daedalus

The Minos corporation has you by the balls
making you invent for them,
giving protection after you fled Athens,
when you disgraced the house of Erechtheus
by wiping out nephew Talos who really did it all;
invent the saw, the potters wheel
the compass – who suffers? You, – no,
not paying for your skills like lame Hephuestus?
You make bronze bulls for Minos,
play with his wife, indulging her
appetite.  Oh technician of Crete
taught by Athene to weld, cast metals,
now doing anything the wealthy want.
You’re the ultimate tool, living on ego.
You didn’t pay much attention to honor, or arete,
oblivious to the Erinnyes that bother most men.

Oh, Daedalus, think of the white bull
doing it to Pasiphae with your device
and all the results, the Minotaur
you so cleverly hid in the labyrinth
which Minos fed with maids from Athens.
(Till Theseus came, but you’re gone by then.)
And you thought you were so good
making dolls and maze dance floors,
watch Ariedne  and your son Icarus dance,
he as the partridge, hobbled, rotating
bird sacrifice to the white Moon Goddess.
All the while, CEO Minos, Dorian usurper in the ancient land
of the tripartite shrine, Great Snake Goddess and Boy King,
got you, Daedalus, to ward them off, defiling for him.

It all flows, your life,
bright and cunningly wrought.
(A precursor of Odysseus, and millennia later
of physicists Teller and Von Neumann,
Minos Corporation’s dark creators
of hydrogen bombs and computers.)–
Oh Daedalus, cire-perdue
maker of bronze bulls, and the double Axe,
enabler of patriarchal power,
you slipped away when it got hot,
as a partridge, flying away with Icarus,
hardly noticing the feathers on the water
when you lost him.

You’ve survived in the secret places,
the plunging dark Cretan caves,
the labyrinth under Knossos,
beneath the maze dance floors,
(Now hiding in the impenetrable secure facilities
the SCIF’s of our military establishments)
not at all interested in what’s done
with the clever devices,
oblivious of consequence.

Kent Bowker   1/31/2011

note:  SCIF acronym for Secure Communications Intelligence Facility

Blessing for an Atheist

My childhood God was heavy
like men’s hands pushing me underwater
holding my life in the baptism
giving it back conditionally.

I built a fortress around me
to hold off the terror of this god
I must keep the heavy hands off.

I rejected that Mormon cast ,
I became outcast
I secretly cried, and now cry
when I’m made to feel outsideness,
by the sound of plainsong..

Denied morality because of unbelief
seen as outcast — unclean,
I must build a fortress around me
To survive the damning righteous air..

Refused then, feeling refused now in places that proclaim love
De-baptized by me, by them I couldn’t go into churches.
unless there was incense, elaborate ritual, great paintings
wondrous gilded madonnas. murmurs, chant and ancient smell..

‘It’s old stuff, alienation, angst, god is dead stuff’ she sd
This old stuff does not go away like the drift of Reagan’s mind
into warm Christian theology, meditations on hanging laundry
old thoughts don’t go away. God is always in question.

God is an answer without question in cathedrals
But, here, I listen to Bach’s entwining sound
And hold my fortress around me,
because I don’t believe in God.
I am only a needful being,
Like everyone else, a sweeper,
a Janus, bearing souls I love,
an atheist seeking blessing.

The Rant of the Blizzard


(A polester made a new diagram of us,
to explain our political trends and thought
put us in a big metaphorical box
and made a blizzard of all our concerns.)

Black are the ribbons we travel on
to the edge of binding attitudes,
beliefs in this world, roads to go
to the outer walls. of our box.

At the Far High wall lives Authority
heavy with religion, preachy
pundits, sanctimonious legislators
families with perfect Fathers
controlling all emotion
all function, sex, shit and temper
where the Good achieve and
the achievers are the Good.

At the antipodal low earth wall are
individual antonymous men and women.
emotional, loving and exchanging
love, lives, fluids, touches, monies
engaged, all responsible for all,
the failing, the ill, the healthy, the rich,
taking risks to find universal good.

The black ribboned arteries flow back
and forth between these walls to the edges,
of our social box left to right
from fulfilment to survival of the fittest
from ecology to the joy of consumption
from empathy to just happy to survive,
driven by plenty draining into scarcity
the feminine garden of Eden into
the valley of righteous competition.

We live in this big diagramed box
linked into a nation by black ribbons
and video electronic exchange
forming new tribes yaking away
in one mind blogger echo chambers
gated, we become distrustful.

Id like a Virgil to take my hand
lead me along the black ribbons
through the labyrinth of belief
past the humanistic sciences
through the rational, irrational
mud scape of politics
refugees and cowardly men
christ, mohamad and markets
the hidden hand, creationism
the unchanging world
of untaxed fortunes

The cracks deepen
I would like to tell Virgil
the republick may not hold
in the race to the bottom.
The blizzard is here
the rotten rant too
goes on and on
until all is covered o’er

Will the sun never shine?

A poem can be

A poem can be an ordinary thing
slight, hardly noticed
like a sentence
in a long novel,
in its self
a poor little thing
conveying a thought.
Isolated from the tremulous
racket of all the other voices,
why is it
here at all?

Do we breathe?
Would one breath stand out
among all the others –
and if it failed
went missing
would we be
here at all?


The Separation of Generations

Technology the ‘great savior’
of economy erases us
when the child learns
what his parents do not know

It’s the pace of change
the massive decade shifts
a rain of I-pads now
the internet ten years ago
each a wrenching shift
drugs flowed in.

It’s faster than generations change.
Children cannot understand parents
parents can’t teach their children.
Drugs flow in

All to make an economy work
there are only short visions
on ten year plans
drugs are in.

Kent     12/6/2010

The Attic Flew Out the Window

So much in our lives is sent to the attic
a place for memories to decay, or hide,
the images of families, the nice, and the sick
in tea chests along with thin doilies and the pride
of handicraft, layered with daguerreotype
of stiff, remote relatives we never knew.

These are nothing to us now.  It’s the living
we tried to bury in newer boxes, out of sight.
We sift through the unshuttered remains,
journals describing a shattered marriage, and lost children,
notes from friends and lovers
residues of a long life, class notes and skates, aluminum pans,
boxes of obtuse technical papers, all the useless receipts
and obligatory tax returns..

Rubbish Man simply flung it all
out the window.

For a moment the past flew by
descending, crashing to earth
three stories below
shattering attachments, and the voices
that roared out of the trunks
were stopped,.
leaving cluttered floppy disks in the grass,
smashed glass- framed honoraria,
and all the things we thought would be useful some time,
records and board games, monopoly houses underfoot.

Did  clearing the attic encumber us less,
take the voices from our heads
bring quiet to our gut?
This we don’t know,
even though
Rubbish Man
charged a lot..

Kent Bowker      12/6/2010

Running With Horses

(Christmas 1981 For Christmas 1998)

Horses running,
through gates joining me
along the fences, large
breathing close to me
we ran together,
frail against the rushing
the force, the mass, the fear rising

Candles in brown paper bags
along the roads that evening
at Arroyo Secco, a high plateau
village beneath sacred mountain
illuminating the roads, earth stars
celebrating Christmas until dawn

the paths horse and man together
connect the species universally
the moist flank by my cheek
the breath, the pounding hooves
by my soft clad feet
we are Indians in tune with nature…

we are not, are not in tune
afraid of power in the flesh.
with the horses coming from fields
on both sides pressing about
how small we are, how unused.

the candles for the dying year
for the souls in the road
for the shortened time
for the diminished family
for the attenuated spirit
for our fear of death

the mahogany flanks rush
all on and on, the moment
life is the moment, this one
flying along the irrigation ditches
in fear and exaltation..


This island is scared
its ancient granite has been cut
to build temples and gravestones.

Hurricane Island, a Maine island
fog drenched spruce clad
holder of fragments, unfinished
scattered grave stones, curbs, steps
drilled and cut and marred, scattered
on the shores
its ancient solitude ripped open
even to the outer sea bashed edge
the edge of the soft grinding sea
cutting fissures in the ancient stone
cutting aquiline lines.

Hard cut edges of the quarry
tower above a pool, a grand bird bath
with squawks and caws
of gull and crow contesting
air space above dense mossed trees.

Quarry men dig into the root
the oldest crustal parts of earth,
genealogists seek roots in other men
dig in old manuscripts
and grave stone legends
wanting a permanence like granite
for themselves in heaven.

Gently scoured by air sea and sand
unreachable ocean edge prominences,
ancient uncut stones, reveal
soft edged, sleeping Buddhas,
Mahabalipurim temples,
sea softened shapes
where gods emerge.
The slime beneath
the Buddha is
the beginning.

So, here is man
claiming permanence
using cut granite makers
denying his slimy beginning
his finite moment
creating heavens, nailing ancestors
into a choir celebrating
his transcendent soul
failing to accept death, the birth price.

the force of the sea
grinds away the scratches
of names, the cryings
of I, that was, engraved
in the ancient stones.
Chthonic rage
scours away all marks
restores the softer shapes,
the real sleeping Buddha
nurturing life to come.

7/26/06 On a mooring at Hurricane island.

Black Leaves

The leaves are falling wet
decaying, the year ending,
when the living shed
exuberant bright color.

But there are trees here that were cut down
by twisting winds, a summer’s tragedies,
uprooted or broken in the middle
healthy, tall strong trees that were
crashed down to earth and now clutch
their black and brittle grey leaves
above the colored ground for years.

As were my brother’s drawings
when he was cut down in his prime
his designs, his colors, were stored away
withheld, no wonderful realizations then,
his paper buildings would not rise.
As the green leaves would not be colored
or released in the flurry of fall
there would be no light hearted spring,
all his promise was held in, tight.

We must think of our falling,
of our failures proceeding new growth
our promise, our renewal
as our cycling years continue,
As we age there are fewer leaves to drop,
thinner branches to hold them.
But, there is always more to blossom
all the way to the end,
else war, disease, human blasting winds
cut the flow and natural ebb
and promise is filed away in dark drawers,
like the clutched black leaves
that will never drop.

From my chair

Only, from here, in winter
have I the scope to see the extent
of clouds and the milky way
else, as now, the leaves of my forest
occludes, shades and hides
sun and storms alike,
in summers calm and peaceful state.

Leaves fall, bare the woody structures
limbs and trunks; a lattice work
fencing, but revealing distant hills.

In summer the animals, deer
fox, coyote and fisher cats appear
at the edges of the density
of green dark enclosures,
birds dance between and above. —

We need both the enclosure
and the bare openness. The exposure
summer and winter bring
is a long slow deep breath,
our spirits inwardness and exhalation.

October 2010


Thursday, February 01, 2007

Undulant passages, a bird light song,
and a brilliant sun mocks the melancholy
music the quartet unfolds,
a cat jumps, dust motes float
I am content.

Bare trees waving in wind gusts
screen the farther dark ridges
behind their woody lace
a barren mauve, a blue skyline.

But within tranquility is subtle shifting
nature is not content

We cannot ignore
cannot pretend like sheep.

We’ve eaten all the grass
and the wind is blowing
the soil away.

The sheep are content today
their stomachs are full

will the grass grow tomorrow?
Who can foresee,

Roman Attraction I

(Canto XIX, Dante’s Inferno)

Skulls in the Cappuccini basement.
All the brothers, few and old
observe the future undaunted
for there is no other point
to their live’s praying potion.

The Via Veneto outside is fashion
gaiety and indolence, and tourists
come to look at the gruesome
result of long dire devotion.
The quatromille cupochin skulls
left here for contemplation.

For this is the point of belief
a demented, yes unfashionable now,
proof of existence, priests
with head below and flaming feet
in heaven

The Mechanic Comes

engine junk

Into his dark place, cars hanging on lifts
carded lights dangling beneath them,
arbiter of failures, renewer…

With black greasy hands
tossing out dead parts
into piles of metallic hard edges
unyielding gray rectangles
riddled with dark round holes.
ripped, tool twisted
out of larger pieces,
These fleshless residues,
engine blocks,
inert things.

Fleshy hands and minds
thinking, created,
wore out, tossed out
really dead, dead robots
will never dance, not like
Mexican skeletons in sombreros
pretending to be souls ascending.
no spiritual pretense ennobles
this hard black gray rubbish.

I remembered then my friend
telling me, long ago
from some other dark place,
‘when I came here
I was young and I believed
I was dead,
.          because
.                        death exists.’

What could I say to my friend?
What was death to him, like junk, or
the black clad figure with the scythe
reaping us up for the guy in the sky?

His long dehydration from study
of relativity, of the darkness of the sky,
hardened his spirit into blocks
clamped still as these
cast off engine parts,
and closed perception
into thoughts of death

What does death mean
if there wasn’t life at all.
Where is the mechanic
that wd restore him,
grease joints
restore fluidity?

Nothing absolute exists
no people mechanic comes
to save one as if are we nothing
but the dark stuff.

We can open our own curtains
illuminate the junk piles
change the teachings,
see what is not life
see what is.

Conomo 2011

‘Envy, resentment, an auto intoxicant, an evil secretion
in a closed vessel, and prolonged impotence’
Camus, from the Rebel, pg 23.



Essex is this
a marsh, mud at low water
a grand drumlin, Hog Isl
center of a vast gyre
of tidal waters.
Herons, egrets, white dots in the sweep of salt grasses
an ocean beyond white beaches,
gull screams, crows roccus on the flats
and the town at the head of the river,
A great blue heron glides by
in silence.

Essex is this
Clams, farms, woodlands, granite ledges,
The great fishing schooners built here
floated down river at high tide
past Conomo Point and out
to Ipswich Bay and then to
Gloucester for fitting.

Essex rents coveted land at Conomo
for modest well kept cottages
owned for generations.
Jutting far into the river’s marsh
the Point is the center
where sea thrust empties and fills
the wide wild grass space,

But there is envy in the town
that some owning houses there
on this rented land enjoy
the sky that harbors clouds of birds
majestic storm clouds lightening
heavens rage and sweet calm.

So came Realtors and developers
and those who take away the Common
who feed on anger and thirst for profits
to set fires in the hearts of the town
until they vowed to have no more tenants
have them simply go away
leave all the cottages
many more than a century old
to be wasted, removed.

Now, we face the ruin avarice brings
emptiness, unkempt scrub,
inhabitants gone
rats will gnaw at the rubbish
beside a desolate parking lot
tourists inside their metal boxes will view
won’t like the mud
there are no beaches worth much
no one can stay overnight
except the furies;
The green heads bite.



We are watching Linda flicker
between living and dying
frail, morphine fogged she reclines
in her hospital bed at the head of the stairs
planning her new kitchen cabinets.
Her smile is for us to see
to say she accepts our love.

She’s the shaman sometimes, or not
the force is dimmed the light remains
clear sometimes, her poetry seems
to have been written.

Do we grieve, or celebrate
the planned on positive future.__
We will celebrate today for tomorrow
none can see longer than this___
she is thinning each week
her smile broadens across her thin cheeks
wider each week it seems
as her faith belays our fearful
expectation, her strength flickering
each day toward tomorrow.

The poet has become bird
light, translucent reaching up
the presence of invisible wings
golden, radiant in the faith in nature
there is no betrayal, no flinching
no crying, the bear stalks about
the spirit cave containing her
We can’t see these as we sulk
about in the shadow of our fears.

The Crane dances with the snake
overland to the rippling waters
of the mother’s fecund ocean
we travel in the lower world to
seed the ending start beginning
her drum beat leads the passage
of the teacher, of her living
power animal, to come to
the lady of grace, Mary.

“Barnard’s windows open into life
a hard cold thing inside me melts.
I can see all the beauty within
the violet iridescence of light
sliding past the dread night sweat
I call for help as the stream is strong
at the crossing. Weak in fear
stroke with me together
at this crossing I am afraid.

I can see the crossing, that is my job
come help me stroke, share these berries
the spring sweetness, the taste of life.”


The Last One

Coming from P-town to Gloucester
motor sailing in a calm, lightly ruffled ocean
in the empty bowl of the horizon
we came upon a rusting hulk
brown streaked blackened red side,
slowly turning on the flat black sea.

A long dark rusty gil-netter, lines out,
like a hopeless memory circling in the flat sea
What is beneath this surface for the families?
For the layers of families waiting
for the missing fish money.
The boat’s steel flakes fall off
in the long search for the last fish,
no money in it for paint,
in seeking it rusts away

Dark cavities behind the streaked plates
we see no seaman, maybe a hint of a face
the ship rusts, circling in the flat sea
inside the sharp edge of horizon
the songs of the sea were still
the wind slow

reaching down
for the last fish
long searching, circling
nets winding, futile,
paint chips flaking, gone.
A face appears in the recesses
of the large net wheels
fades back into the indigo
shadows in the turning boat
as if depression driving
the hunter who must hide, –
a recluse of the sea
seining for the last fish.

In its own vortex
scorpion of the mind
repetition, the laying of nets
a slow dervish dance
arms raised like railroad semaphores
for the end of the line, a train coming,
in the desolation of this lifeless desert,
the slow turning over flat water
the dervish spinning ecstasy
is a ritual to invoke
the fish providing spirits.
the slow turning over flat water
slightly scratching the surface
enscribe the tracks of the dance
over depths of the sea
seeking the last fish –

so long out- rusting away
becoming pointless
lost, seeking, –
as the families
are fading



About Thomas More

from Montenegro

High ground, wha zat
so’s ya can shoot down
at me here in my swamp?
careful, your halo tilts.

Is it a cloud your sittin in
fluffy and clean white
balloon like,? it gotta be
tethered I guess, else

You might be off, jes gone
you don’t have a choice
Ya can’t come down here
in reality swamp cen ya

It’s mucky, reality is
no place you can be upward
and straight, so to speak
and crowded too, here
in the muck wallow,
otter compromise else ya
soul get shriven by evils
greed and wantin better.

by Kent Bowker