Part 3


eric solibakke

go easy toward madness
        arrive fresh and vigorous
                 arrive with reserves
like odysseus , sufficient to pull
the most recalcitrant bow

for karl iván

Oslo, Norway
third edition 1999
1968, 1987, 1999 © eric solibakke

  1. my courage
  2. Clock of Clocks
  3. At a Cafe
  4. If I Were Something Else
  5. Cones
  6. the woman by the gate
  7. the gray eyes of my door
  8. Time Now Is
  9. Mescaline
  10. Murder
  11. Epitaph
  12. city of dioce
  13. Prayer
  14. Winter
  15. not to tell a man
  16. transparent green
  17. Straight Arrow Ikon
  18. all in an embrace of long winter
  19. Monument
  20. On the Areopagos
  21. " full of life now
  22. over my zenith
  23. For Cotton Mather
  24. Morning
  25. as usual
  26. New Man in Town


my courage

my courage comes not from recklessness
but from the calm of inner certitude

every being flames with his own presence ,
every decision right , every action right

on days without wind the sea is repose
only the porpoise at play breaks the calm


Clock of Clocks

the flower of genius grows
                         at the brain's base
blossoms by burning
                         at the spine's truck ,
spinnaker ribs full and drawing
        on heart
                 windy pulse of present
                 stout as muscle

dom-dom heart time
clock of clocks commands dead tongues
to tower of babel in memory ,
calls on lost languages ,
pitches my tent on dead sea sand

divisions of time falling on body
penetrate soul ,
desire designs the bird's wing

now i lay me down to wake
        and pray the lord my soul to make
fully whole as angel's eye
        toe of newt , heart of snake

the catharsis of aristotle-pains ,
        hamartia , too big for life
sensation of pain substitute
        for the feeling of life ,
        an unused inlet of soul

on the way to becoming angels
the matter of spirit

thus as the apple warms my eye
and the wine of straw supports me ,
the hands of friends
resemble those of enemies

in the darkness i cannot distinguish ;
they burn on the floor of gravest joy
close to silence , where the words carry me


At a Cafe

a few dozen eyes made me feel wound
in ancient toga , while others potsherd red
exiled body beyond time with scratchy stares

the eyes found shapes
in a colored field with flags
like fingerprints
on the limbs of alive leaves
turning silver thighs to heaven

the eyes count
pleasures in condemning to death
an ant guilty ,
the crime of setting foot on one's skin


If I Were Something Else

if i were something else
i'd be professional
independent of gangs and rackets
a wanted man
whispered about
called desperate on page 1

i'd take pride in my work
learn locks and airline schedules by heart
read charts , diagrams
and cultivate a crooked cheek

i'd practice accents and makeup ,
getaways , signatures
educate my fingers for magic
and read the society page to keep abreast
of my colleagues

i'd invent new crimes and new tools
and name them
in notebooks full of mockery
i'd act out the secret of my voice

i'd be buried in sham
i sweat i fart
curses bloody my mouth
i blow my nose on the blanket
wipe my ass on my hat
i jerk off , i come pox on doorknobs

if i were something else
i'd circulate around black dollars
and stay in suburban hotels with back doors
give myself a gold tooth for each year in solitary
for women i'd violate what i want

i'd mainline
with more vitality than a politician
i'd charge interest on my advice ,
eat animals , lie to the taxi driver
about where i want to go
i'd read pornography for pleasure
and kill anybody i didn't like
the papers in my wallet smell of blood

i'd descend from byzantium
with an air of violence in my pockets
and feed my perversions on history
i'd laugh all the time
and donate to museums what i steal

nobody knows where my costume comes from
as for my eyes , better to pray and believe
than glance my way



do i remember falling asleep
                                  after costumes and nakedness
oum kathum
refugees from the new phoenix land
                                  robin's hooded children
walking among police cars
                                  and stuffed uniforms
transistorized street
                                  woebegone spring groove

gellabia's lonesome fantasy of deserts
and cultures built on sand

refugees      displacees      escapees
cold fingers scooped under the balls
revolving memories of fun

                                  hiding among cypress roots
                 on a sandy river bottom
                                  water skiing through the wakes
                 of tugs descending the columbia

fun structures sprouting in greek sun

splendidly arrayed in gellabia and turban
a corny version of afghanistan's chieftain
with cameras to cool the cops
coughing from a cunt hair in my throat

lady egypt rolls her belly and speaks west coast
with a zoom mind and a pouch of mexico's finest,
the shoeshine boys are empty handed and embarrassed

furtive rebels
slant eyed from reading mao
shoulders hoisted
imaginations watered by pills

maria saw ares dead
draped corpse with his head toward akropolis
cypress candles , the stars their flame

                              games are called for
                              no oar stuck hastily at sea's edge
                              funeral games to rival patroklus

darkened athene living the dull old age
of a curiosity
in the fussy hands of keepers


the woman by the gate

the woman by the gate in falling water
sun falling earth brown
                                  on the pulse of a thigh
black flags swaying
                           of hair braked against
                                                           water and air

when i am falling against you
the weight of my experience skewers your hips
and my mind plunges into a space
of false modifications
                                    under your skin
below white suds awash
                                    at the top of your legs

out of the moments of someone else's mind
related by possession of the same body
a hand slaps me
and a quarrelsome voice
prunes the green limbs back to a scar

the beast of energy whipped from its cradle
spends itself , and
the machinery smells brown as a merchant's thumb

the sun falls numb on dry stone
and dead habit
where the water at your feet
does not gather him
and the water in your spine
covet him

the soap bubbles whisper affection
over wild children howling in the alley
and finally
                   everyplace is of no return


the gray eyes of my door

the gray eyes of my door and window
stare at me flat on my back
mind kinked up in a history of habits
not long ago i was young as a puppy
growing everywhichway

the unclean lies inert in the cold inside me
fermented shit stones me
and dries along windowsills
my karma overflows with the past
and i do not what i know i do
the events that happen inside
after a day's contact with my family tradition

i do not count the months a mind dwells in god
before it burns up
measure freedom before it steams away
before flaw generates flaw
and the familiar birth of death crowds beauty
out of garden

mathematical petroleum birds
fly in some sky or other
habit has guns whenever i remember him
and there's a chick lying in bed
all day waiting for her daily fuck


Time Now Is

i have seen white light break the shore
of white sea stone , and now ,
now is past , habit rules

i have been myself pathless in paradise
and smelled the bloody liquid of heaven
and now , now is past , habit rules

i have worn a skin cloak
and drummed my bones on godhead
and now , now is past , habit rules

i have been paid in green leaves
and scribed my sum on balanced ledgers
and now , now is past , habit rules

i have been breathed
and i panted with joy
and now , now is past , habit rules

i have quaffed an overflowing cup
and bred seed in my bowel
and now , now is past , habit rules

i have heard rustle the bird in flight
and vertigo feathered me in high places
and now , now is past , habit rules

and now my bone turns to thorn
to prick me ,
                    my flesh to rags
to ugly me ,
                    and now , now is past ,
habit rules



i am in danger of being conquered by malicious toys
the vale of idiocy fails me
long marches , tough terrain

the language fails me
        as with soldiers in the field
                 the battle can be lost
reliance on ' old ' rules  :   valiantly
        on the field of honor
                 above and beyond , etc

call in journalists to make history

to grasp a shape out of nothing
        to pull it out of air
                 fat moth still fluttering
jungle gyms of structure
glass and reflections on soft stone

i may give up ' meaning ' and become
        an insurance executive , like rimbaud
                 a new ice age

or fall back on violence
        the boring old jack-of-all trades
                 a shorter piece of eternity
something small enough to have a face
to scream in

some crumb of anything
                                     to redeem this disgust
heavenly blue flower fields
        there goes my mind again



what has been kicking me around all morning
and pinned me to the floor
is not life

my opponent is facts
although the name dignifies the bastard
more than he deserves

he has a face like the covers
        of international fashion magazines
and a mind
        to drive a rolls
        eat strawberries at christmas
        own an island
        sleep til noon between some kind of fancy sheets

he lives on so-what street
with a terrible hunger

how was i to know
when he dropped by this morning
like a mailman
                         his uncanny skill
                         for killing truth



like most people i pissed
the long movie in a pile
of wreck surround me with hats
they ask me to live in
for a few hundred horses
on emperor's way


city of dioce

city of dioce
city of man dioecious
bot and zool , with sexy individuals
bought and sold

young man and vivid too
on a terrace the color of star light
nipalindra heart beat taking with quickened breath
        shalith sizeable
                 wearer of bright garments
on a voyage within
on a voyage
                 with quickened body , mind quickened
and the heat of an eye shall melt them

how shall a man express in one dimension

        spring rain awash deep in a gorge
                                  outside agamemnon's window

        sun's harbor chatter on a hull
                                                       s/s sardanious
                 rolls into a distance
                                               of white steel

        the coldest night of the year
        fresh in memory
        supple fingered spring takes morning coffee
        at the next table

beyond letters
yet unwritten for the uncurious
beyond comforts
buttoned snugly at the throat
beyond beyond beyond
have you heard
the baptismal font of motions
                         cleave hollow the aegean stone

have you lain
your skeleton on warm shores

        your flesh wetting stones to the sea's edge



my foot sticks out of your ear , poet
and my knuckle wedges your eyeball

my balls hang around your neck
and i see from the eye in your prick

my heart beats under your toenail
and my knees flow from your brow

my thigh brushes your shoulder
and my brains collect in your bowels




i forgot to speak of darkness
cats staring lead eyed from the walls
as i penetrate the cave i live in

cold months day by hour
numinous sun rising stoney
a shaft of this sky tires me

light sprays from a glass nozzle
hollows out space to be in
the dim thing on the end of a wire

the universe has its rights
how it killed oedipus on angel's wings
how in winter kills enough for us all

on the chance of meeting dionysos
i go to his theater next to athene's place
sit in the first row among priests

players cross the stage on their toes
in a japanese scene from ' the tourist '
on the ground of oedipus' million deaths

the romans put a stone fence and moat
between wild animals and the citizens
although death is as likely either side

all wall is archeological matter
where some tragedy plays itself out
and falls icily into roman hands


not to tell a man

not to tell a man what he doesn't know
or what he doesn't know he knows

not to burden him with the tragedy
he has come to live
unnaturally opposed to the soul of his flesh
and flesh of his soul

not to pretend that knowing matters
unless the planet flame from ash
and play inherit it


transparent green

transparent green with black eyes lizard
lives in my garden i say freedom

freedom i say to the sprawled cat on a chair
dog i anger and strike you but i say freedom

spider i'm in fear i kill you i say freedom
i sit in front of the window and say freedom

he says laws i say freedom
he says rules i say freedom
he says books i say freedom


Straight Arrow Ikon

                                                                 f   l   e   s
                                                             f   l   e   s   e
                                                         f   l   e   s   e   l
                                                     f   l   e   s   e   l   f
                                                 f   l   e   s   e   l   f
                                             f   l   e   s   e   l   f
                                         f   l   e   s   e   l   f
                                     f   l   e   s   e   l   f
                                 f   l   e   s   e   l   f
                             f   l   e   s   e   l   f
                         f   l   e   s   e   l   f
                     f   l   e   s   e   l   f
                 f   l   e   s   e   l   f
             f   l   e   s   e   l   f
         f   l   e   s   e   l   f
     f   l   e   s   e   l   f
 f   l   e   s   e   l   f
               e   l   f
                l   f

all in an embrace of long winter

all in an embrace of long winter
dried  ,  hung  ,  pickled  ,  preserved
i stop when frost seizes my watch

to stay
and die by the perseverance of decay
or flee the man
back to a simple wilderness

it has taken pistons and circuits
to destroy a roman
law of battle
                     skewered in the effigy
of a free man

depopulation implosion on the island
of apollo fascist
driving me pioneer
                            forth on a godly sea

an average egyptian
moves in the shadow of his ancestors' blood
cast black as slavery
                                  on blank space

hysteria      witness      magi

crammed schedule
a trip to apollo costs more blood and levers
than gold can discover of men
devoted to being and selling

occupied by the body of common knowledge



the end of an apartment building
with part torn away showing
a mondrian painting a block wide

scar patterns , brick wounds
faced in colored plaster with
the vacancy of unused movie screens

cupboard holes in previous life
reduced to single dimensional memories
old as exposed film

the after-odors of privacy , tears
and tender words trapped in
a monument for the city of violence


On the Areopagos

looking over athens maybe the last time
seeing for the first time the little park

on stadiou between syntagma and omonia
a demi-center bus stop and flower stands

with trees close to anything as greeks allow
turkish national airlines , after a day

of defeat in the new money gardens battling
hydra merchant minds , turn around

on this rock , face a battered ruin called
akropolis , and run my mind backward to

the perfection of this present rot in a dim
time when numbers invaded the organ

to the point of balance . numbers occupy
the hilton ibm card stuck on hymettos .

st paul stood on the rock of ares ,
hill of men of violence , man sized hill

outside akropolis where athene peacemaker
, turn around , run my mind back to hers


" full of life now

" full of life now , compact , visible "    whitman
        after a century certain as love you're with me

putting the word on structure the word is rhythm
        in a state of continuing perfection

when i do not know a truth from falsehood
        i grow it into a tree and taste its fruit

space walking among fragments of the grecian urn
and the cold scent of money gardens
clink in my sow's ear counterfeit authority


over my zenith

over my zenith , a school of silent objects
defies identification

think of the new growth , how much more lush
how lovely for this long fall and winter

now is the winter of our , this our gesture

think of the gold circle , and flower
        in light of the luminous fang ,
think of the sunflower asleep in seed
        in a world where things happen , think
of the dream within the dream within the dream

encounter  :  the mind changes lenses ,
great lanterns leave no shadow deposit


For Cotton Mather

astral fires from planet to planet
                 like the hilltop bon fires in the agamemnon
                         to announce the fall of Troy
                 old man cosmos shivers on a hard bed

        from the mouths of caves
                 and furrows opening behind plows
                         from holes where something pushed a rock aside

through the skinny metal of wires

        metal plates    metalmobiles    minerals

                 and the wandering metals of seawater

                                                                    psssssssst !
(   listen   )
                         molecules everywhere are whispering
                                  like times square new year's eve

words change in the mouths of politicians

                                  of opportunity

                         from the mouths of river
                                                           wet straight-talk
                         in the glass on my table

tongues of flame
                           the old man's persistent fever

from the homes of the wind , the breath blows outward

                 rock 'n' rape
                 official music of states
                 bergenbelson bop

who is responsible for the death of god
                                  (  in unison  :  machines !
        meaning of course the industrial revolution
                                  (  he survived ice and flood

from the protoplasmic ocean in every cell
from hitherto unsuspected cells

                                  from cells which have satiated
                                  the crematorium of modern time

                 from cells which secrete secret substances

from all the building blocks
                                          in the hands of the divine child
                                          out of the cradle endlessly

                         the shuttle of being
                         woof and warp
                         the weaver of being
                         ancient pattern
                         the mystery of being

                                          pssssssst !     (  listen  )



the island comes awake with the coasting
of white hulls
                         on a gay sea that redeems
                         for the eye
                 the icy edges of an obstinate earth

after someone points out
that a boat's wake opens behind
                                          like a woman's legs
i see the sea knit without scar

                                          earth remembers
le pouvoir illimité de l'ésprit sur la matière
fire and water
                         the track of a man through life
                         like the track of a planet in space
(  from the secret of the golden flower
                         the track of a vessel on the wave
                         under a moon
                         clipped from the end of a finger

                                                   " only by smithing
does one become a smith "
                                          one imitates
                                          the work of a dentist's drill
                                          while another
                                          the work of a seine net

always product , never sum

                                          (  the third blessing

jacob's blessing
                 shall supervene over all the nations
        and it will endure forever
                                                as is written  :
        shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms
        but it shall stand forever

at the center of the circle
                                          dont le centre est partout ,
                                          la circonference nulle part
the conversion of water to wine
occurs annually ,
                          wine to water daily


as usual

as usual , legend settles around the man who sees angels  :
        as if rimbaud could deny the futility of truth ,
                 could keep a smug secret out of the deal

ah rimbaud , you give little support aside from beauty  :
        " a tenth of an inch's difference
        " and heaven and earth are set apart
                 what ruins are not beautiful , what death

any segment , any assortment of experience  :
        how manifold splendor in the time of affection ,
                 how fabulous the bone , how fun the flesh

man is the animal whom all creation nourishes  :
        notebook , pencil , thin-stemmed pipe ,
                 a beaker full of sunburnt morocco , illumination


New Man in Town

new man in town , new space
        in the same old locations , new eyes
                 whip out and fasten me tight in new time

sees things , knows differences , looks at
        encountering familiar corners beside a real life
                 new dimensions telescope from old concrete

time is a teller of tall tales , a joker
        plays spiral in place of full circle
                 and the best men after a time rot away

whitman knows all about me , a natural man
        sewed up in everybody's skin , free to live
                 equipt to die in chambers poisoned by lies

beauty the anti-clock unwinds tick-tock time
        stops it forever in a net of new rhythms
                 and the moving perfect flows through me


Quiet Clouds, part 1: Life Lines
Quiet Clouds, part 2: Pause , Pulse
Quiet Clouds, part 3: Drywater

POEMS 1966-1996 | My Story | Giftwaves | Silly Bulls and Dog Growls | Oh This Yes | Eternal Perfect Beloved