the rivers of it, abridged

New York City skyline at night




R. Nemo Hill

Heidegger's Traffic

A man clattered and rang
on the rim of a glass
with a spoon
in the street
while I was starting out toward

I wore his bell out walking
in my winding sheet.

Long lanes of all motion
open toward me, lead me,
and present to me the leavening
and the dread.
And unspool the string of no door closing
nor eye averting nor diverting
vision's stream of streaming,
vision's saying said.

Bell of sleep and wheel of waking
turning rings within
the corridor extended straight ahead.

While wheel of sleep and bell awakening
ringing turns within
where all appearing is


(Yogyakarta, Java—1991)


A Dog Barks In It

A dog barks in a distance that is somehow farther
than the farthest clouds dispersing on the horizon.

Then suddenly the dead are whispering in my ear
of the long journey they've made.

Sometimes it is balled up here in my pocket.
Sometimes it dissolves just before dawn.

The herons are flying through it right now. And tomorrow
licking stamps at a post office—I'll be sending my letter off into it.

It's going nowhere, and it's never returning.
Or it's brought, like a wave, by deep water.

(Petulu, Bali—1997)



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