A woman I just spoke to, and thought I knew,
just revealed the sources and springs of what she calls 

a discouraged childhood.  She lives in pitch blackness.

Wearing sunglasses as dark as the tinted windows
of the Cadillac adjacent to D’s Pontiac

GTO in Denver.  I could still make out the driver's immense head,

like a monolith.  The friend I was visiting, the friend who lived
year round in Denver and never, ever, wanted to leave

not even to check out the name-whispered places in his home
state, like Boulder, Colorado Springs, Durango, Gunnison,

Pueblo, Silver City, Telluride, Pike’s Peak, Calamity Jane’s Grave,

Pancake the size of steering wheels, salmon fisheries: the Black Canyon.
Europe or Uruguay or Ferney to meditate on its stellar resident,

whose Voltaire wasn’t familiar as Ferney wasn’t familiar to me—and the first time

I’d witnessed someone, as far away as Ferney is from New York City,
pluck the something significant out of cyberspace. 

How long does the red light last at this intersection in Denver?

It hasn't changed yet and Sonny Liston may have lost to Cassius
Clay with the odds 7-1 in his favor, but it didn't warp his ability

to sit behind the wheel of the black Caddy, on the soft gray leather

seat listening to homemade tapes with a taste for Sarah Vaughn
Bird Trane   EllingtonNancy Wilson the Supremes and the Miracles,

but no Ella, who he tagged as having gone over to the other side

willing to sing in clubs where hers was the only black skin
allowed in.  These weeks the procession of dead friends—

some who you'd never think would think about suicide

unless pinned against the ropes as Clay had Liston, as Jake
La Motta had Sugar ray once, before the following blow

pushed Robinson over the ropes, bleeding all over the gallery and La

Motta about to continue the right outside the ring, man to man,

unless bitten,    bought, with a terminal illness
that moved with unheralded speed but did not yet have a name—

though one doctor gave it one and another doctor another,

clueless as the duo in Vermont who didn't think once
to diagnose my fever of a 104, double vision, and rusty

gongs that pounded my temples through to pathways

inside my brain that weren't available for the invasion
of caravans that consisted of the quickest cars on

the planet; but there was a plus: I was too worn out by that time to muster

serious fear in this encephalic no zone my body survived but my brain,


now hesitated, now lost contact, now drifted
unknowing in the fog Kant stated separated

men from the things themselves, when this mantra began,

“In a Mist,” Bix, cornet to his lips Bix
Beiderbecke, Bix, In a Mist, with the “Davenport Blues,”

with unreal control over the difficult wind instrument that made each song

he played a test, a trial, Bix thrived on, hot, hot jazz,
beginning to groove, and once satisfied let

it rip on the clarinet, the tempo far too fast

which equaled: just right.  If I keep it up we might
just spring ourselves from this club filled

with squares who thought hot jazz also ran

a temperature of 104, like Trumbauer, make that 105 and rising,
after which Beiderbecke tossed the stick to the drummer

and moved with the quickness Liston needed to have a chance

against Ali, but he had no time, dead unnecessarily
somewhere around the age 33, 33, 3                       three,

the age at which Dylan conceived "Sarah" in lieu

of her absence that wasn't     another     dream
that played the same sequences that led to this final

separation and I sat in the neurologist's office

without moving     but not     for long.  There are no words
for long or short in nowhere, unless you could wait it out     here.

Until weariness and ecstasy agreed to squeeze

under the stiff white sheets against whose design
they raised their knees and tuned in to the gradual

victory, which called up resources neither had yet chanced to use.

And Achilles never thought to.  Use.  Until his fierce despair

cut short in the middle caused me to wake up, soaked,
with no idea why the hotel filled the room with two

of everything but the woman, close enough

so that he was spared having to look and touch
told him more than all the deliberate approaches

where some element of coaxing insinuated 

itself unseen until dismissed and guaranteed immediate court
martial if further traces of invisible treachery were sensed

without being sighted: now a new kind of proof minus

physical evidence held sway,  And slowness elevated 
as the alternative of choice "for the unanswered ways

in which this prelude toward the reviled word patience

enhanced the quality of sex."  And then—a blush—
and after—resist temptation to explain

in the name of an equilibrium that exists in the mental

theater only and the dream in which I awake
with the fog gone from the membranes and both eyes

back to envisioning one of each thing they were drawn to fix

a revived kind of attention on.  All manner of things may be well,
but nothing's the same as it was and that could be for the good.  

Better Orvietto, Lucca is near, and Signorelli’s inferno