Democratic Vistas

democratic vistas (1990-ongoing) is an open-ended journey through public places in the united states, in photographs made in many locations across the country.  the following is an excerpt of the prose poem that introduces the work:

 

 

 

            out of america:  minstrel-lucky songs, penance, sibilance, casualties, harmonies, a refusal to mourn;

                                discernings:  bosk and billhook, a city and a town on a hill, a democratic vista, a breach-song from nero’s paradise;

                                                        (winthrop blows:  “the eies of all people are uppon us”), (whitman calls:  “democracy, in silence, biding its time, ponders its own ideals…”);

                    out of america:  a dying, a hand of snapshots, burials;

 

*    *    *

 

light and a burden of light: 

                   pranky old fathers and splitting advice, bread and eagles, bid after bid for the destiny of a painrent planet’s masses, an adrenalized earth looking for rumor and initiation into the dune-vine paradise;

                                                    homecomings, tournaments:  canorous cubes of cubes, semiautomatic partitions of wealth and poverty, truepenny hunger and thrivenness, flayed methods to quiet a relieved public, ambulance-bursts, the dead and the jailed carried off alive, larruped eidólons such as the world never saw, the shock of the transitions itself an unfathomable trust;

                                                                            out of america, love-crowns:  christniks and huddling jesus operations and somewhere real haters of oppression reciting mizzling agonies, unlikely drifters muttering shehecheyanus as other men say war;

                all mouths speaking only vincible sentences;

 

*    *    *

 

out and out of the cradle endlessly rocking:  a sore party emitting a seraph’s stare;

                                                    who are the inheritors of the native land?  who are the readers of the epitaphs, the learners of the graven letters in their blackness and whiteness and numbness?  who are the gleaners rid and self-ridding of guile?  who are the unholy calmthroats, the ones to soothe the passions of the king of america, to study his landscape of rain and succor?  who will be the last frightened child to arrive—gentle, voiceless, reticent, faithful, standing and standing beneath the vanities?  who?

                                down and down to the street, below lore:  pigeons and a wingbeaten silvery word, a sharp clear prism made for a witness, a human grammar to size up;

                                                            (“and i woke up glad to feel the sunlight warm, high up in the window,” pinsky allows), (“tonight i jerk astart in a dark, hourless as hiroshima,” rich leyns), ("let the totality of it be one of the pieces," says my old friend, jeff fort);

                                        out of america, hiders and seekers, ones and twos—pictures faint and real, honest and confessionless;

                                                                                    out and out of america, a crazing discipline, a verdict, postponed, alien:  america and americanismus, sadness and happiness, good and fooled and peccable decency, ever a child’s heartfulness—clarion, volatile, and dancing in place––