Just Blue Skies:

poems for & after
1968 - 2001

an electronic chapbook
by t.l. kryss

Cloud Marauder

Something like a silent child
who is too heavy for holding
sits in his lap, and he wonders
what to do with it

he moves
from one end of the room
to the other, noticing
how the carpet moves its weight
in front of his feet

he puts his hand on the window and watches
the lights go out in the bowling alley

the night is so dark
that the wind hurts its hands
on the things it doesn't see

he lies down to listen
to the snow blowing off the roof
and sleep grows from his mouth
like a slow forgotten word

           First appeared in Cloud Marauder

A Possible Circle

In a sense, by burning the poems,
he required new forms of energy from them
and bequeathed their questions to the skies,
the clouds, and hence to the trees
he tried so hard to emulate..

Immediately, a clear case
of unintentional confusion
ensued between benefactors

so that, to this day,
we still may wonder
who was given what,
and rightly ask

whether anything a man sets free to fire
should be of use to leaves

Like indefatigable shreds of meaning
left standing on a street that's gone
to seed and ruin, the elms and sycamores
themselves do not make judgments

and the questions we have gently posed
seem only burning seeds
of a thousand possible scenarios

Children of Terezin

Their pictures..

The outline of a small hand

A collage of butterflies
using various scraps
of coarse heavy paper

Drawings of a guard,

The green walls of an infirmary

I want to spend some time
with these pictures
as the father spends time
with a son, with a daughter,
so that years later
they will not grow into strangers

Because there was no time left
to speak about 'the facts of life'
they became these facts, suddenly,
on paper

I want to let these pictures speak
(as if I could stop them)

Let them have their time with us
at last. .

blurred water colors,
circles of charcoal
made to serve as suns


The World..

At least a little time..

A visit to the park,
a walk through a museum

Or just sitting close together,
turning the pages,
each with his own private book

One doesn't have to fight
their battles
or explain too much

Just spend moments

Maybe then
they'll be drawn slowly
along the arc of the future

Those colors. .

yet so chillingly distant
like photographs
like sunlight on a wall
like people


Genesis. .

They drew
from famous prints
of Van Gogh,
and this irony was lost

From a scarcity of flowers
and such life as could be found

Burrowing out from underneath
the walls,
from raw sky and earth

From the faces of their teachers,
from dull lusterless days

But mostly they went inside
to draw these scenes


Hall of Mirrors..

A simple turn
and immediately we are
traveling in the company
of kings who wore their crowns

so lightly the charters flowed
from all they touched,
boundaries vanished

Kingdoms enlarged to a state of mind,
and the armies went underground

All that was needed was a word
to bring them back,
and they held onto the word, unswayed

like a child with a pencil
the good kings held their ground


Forgotten Agendas..

These are serious matters..
transformations and travels

A man leaving his car
in the desert and continuing
on foot, his shadow growing
longer as he disappears in hills

Seeds living long after civilizations,
in caves and recesses,
beyond the transparence of necessity

The visibility of flowers,
unimagined blackholes in our daily light

Exhibits at a childrens' science fair,
a girl's smile, free and guileless

As serious as laughter,
the arguments for its existence..



Our pictures..

If these pictures
should remember us,
I don't know what
we would show them

Let them see, I suppose,
images of other children--
excitedly raising their hands,
burning with their answers

Or flags at the All Nations Festival,
snapping in a sharp wind

No, don't expose them to flags

Just show photographs
of the earth from space,
bright fruits and vegetables

Remember them to bicycles
lined up at a beach,
paints of every color
in the rainbow,
a cherrywood easel

so that they can have, in memory,
the things it was not theirs
to see


Life, Death..

The father stared
so long and intently
at the ocean
that the sea-child asked,
'What are you looking at?'

'At a green village,
my little one,
at a cloud with a painted face.'

Human Shield

Excuse me for falling
into your arms,
when she raised the gun,
there was no time to ask,
no place else to go.

Only now can I apologize
for the confusion,
the stains on your new shirt..

the embrace between strangers.
Stand back, please, walk away
through the streets and distances
so I can learn to know you.

I now realize that no one is innocent,
not even the bystander,
that the first instance of
passionate abandonment was birth.

Yes, It Happens.. Every Day..

Sometimes the suicide lives.
A piece of music from afar grows
through darkness, bends up fire escapes
and like small lights brushed from
heavy silk, pulls slowly, draws
         against the heart.

Fingers loosen, guns fall away
and can't be bothered with, just now.

'Not so quickly,' say the drifting leaves
with their mimicries of loss and conflagration,
'there is something else you might consider..
         it won't take long..'
and sunset's colours lay in
the first grey pilings of a bulwark.

A moment's delay turns into an hour,
a bridge of hours. A calendar's pages
wander down quietly, and the eyes which
only a short while ago stood so adamantly
prepared to close, will never again be able

to tear away from the palest strands of sunlight.


Every now and then a small, troubled
cloud will tumble down, out of the night,
into the city, with a sliding, revolving joy,
and let itself go all over a streetlight,
trying to embrace a faith it has seen
         only from afar.
Or a confused butterfly will alight on
the colours of a poster moored to a dark
brick wall.
Along deserted sidewalks the tired wind
slows down and stretches slowly out
in pieces of paper, one by one,
as though methodically trying to
experience itself in magical new forms.
Newspapers, gum wrappers, the glitter
of a torn lottery ticket
spread like beautiful feathers
at the bottom of a curb.

Overlooking nothing.

Eyes, hearts. Abused, neglected
living space. All come together
in the neutral dark, to arrive
at their understandings.
Stone may be light and healing.
Streets open and just,
broken glass always understated.
The city is not, after all,
such a terrible place.


I would have wanted you to see
what happened to the mailman
who gave up writing because
he liked to eat. Let's just say
he found his way, and only starves
when he slips away from seeing..

strange how things turned out.
Grains of joy or sadness get inside
the shell, and no one sees them
in the pearl years later, fused,
translucent. The wars, of course,
go on forever, but some of those
who landed in Da Nang are now the doves.

Nice day in the rain, d.a.,
summers in the cold.
The trees grew soft as you,
without you, though they have
a few new rings like seasons
layed to rest in memory.
The old fat Tibetan lady heaved

her colour television,
rabbit's ears and all,
into the street.
Then in the landfill flowers
wound up through the gutted console
and swarmed beside the broken
picture tube.

I don't know why we let
the doors of our mind close,
one by one, only to have them
crashing open sometime later
in those flowers.
On this day they're gone, too,
but there's a piece of music
I want you, if you could,
to listen to. .

A new kid and his saxophone,
laying it out, right here,
in plumes of fire. .
or just this sky above us..
would seem a little truer
if we could turn and read it
in your eyes.

The Search for the Sound of Windchimes

You've stayed away from the cemetery,
knowing no song's there we do not bring,
already, in our hearts

Who wants to find the man can glimpse him--
unconditionally-- in a piece of old graffiti
slashed across the dark walls of an overpass,
in trees that keep on giving leaves
         to dying streets
No evasion, this is real sun
he would have bet his time on

From the balcony of the small apartment
where the bamboo windchimes hung, you take
your final shot : the wind has stopped,

though the space is bare, and done
a slightly hopeless double-take,
and put back something you, at least,

would swear was needed to make sound


The poetry of d.a.levy
does not appear in any anthology
I have ever seen. It is rarely reprinted
or remembered. No one quotes from it,
or learns from it, or judges it important enough
to show a child.

In some countries the young soldiers
go to battle with poems
like a warm letter or a glowing photograph
tucked into their pockets,
just inches from the source of all confusion.
Somewhere they are read aloud
and carefully dismantled
       to see what makes them tick.

But not his, not the poetry of d.a.levy.

Today you have to go, like searchers of old,
great distances, at great personal inconvenience
         and some peril,
to even catch a glimpse of what remains.

Sunlight on the narrow road through mountains.
Loose rock to the right of you,
     chasms on the left.
That's how he wanted it, that
was the way his life was
    and its strength.

               To appear in Abraxas 44/45


He came to me the other night, or rather,
I sought him out-- someone close to me had said.
'I stumbled on someone you'd like to meet'

He was living in a Winnebago, on the outskirts
of the city, but had just got into town
Once inside the trailer, I seized the hunched

and ravenous shoulders, looked him squarely
in the eyes, and asked, 'Is it you?'
and he smiled easily, without a trace of rancor,

but I don't think that he answered right away
His kid burst in, at one point, then his wife--
a young blond girl much wilder than himself

She had rough edges and a mischievous streak in her,
like fire under platinum    the boy bounced up
into his lap, a squirming catch that steadied him

He said that he'd been traveling, but mostly
he was quiet, content to let the child raft
the silences    not evasive or unkind

yet it seemed he was not particularly excited
over being found
for a while less than thirty summers may have
warranted. we both held watch

across the darkened roads, the city in the distance
distorted in the glow of radiation    even from
those far perimeters. the clear light of a star,

a comet's arc, had not been seen for years
We knew him finally by the beaten wheels under him,
the people who along the way had come into his life

               To appear in Abraxas 44/45

Advisory at Riverside

One elm in particular stands as testament
to an irrepressible and inscrutable
laissezfaire that has made its way
through fungus, drought, and a series
of ill-advised attempts to cement
the open crevasses

Just try to get a handle on the leaves
that proposition skies like twisted hooks
and grommets from that mass of weathered
driftwood dragged upright

And a cherry tree from Israel supplants
an admirable emptiness, rising like a backwards-
trenching wheel from the blue grass

The pitch of an oak that's wasted time explaining
rushes forward suddenly
in apologetic manner for the grievances
which only it perceives as tendered

A poplar
--twelve board feet of an angered poem
   turned inwards--
guards the north view to the city

In the old graveyard I've gone walking,
taking the pulse of all the trees
that have sprung up from those hills
of bedded memory, the mindful knolls
and shaded, sunlit alternating current
one-lane roads

Scattered on the ground, acorns,
leaftrash, twigs, and bits of bark
reintegrate in travesties of trunks
and branches

What kind of tree was levy, really?

Really, you don't want these woods
to chose your weapons for you,
or your poison,
or a clear way out

               To appear in Abraxas 44/45


At the airport the revolving luggage
like a carousel of lost possessions
and horizons materializing, receding,
looming near; all bags wordlessly recognized
and taken until only one or two remain,
continuing in an inexorable circle.
Or the luggage handler at the bus terminal
picking up each parcel and unnecessarily
weighing it, almost quizzically,
before sliding it forwards with a quiet grunt
into the belly of the greyhound fuelling
in the dimlit circle under distant stars.
The magician's trunk being moved to a warehouse
by the waterfront, separated from its key,
which may in fact, in time, prove worthless.
Cardboard grips, cloth bundles like medicine bags,
panoplies of decals from every place
you've visited and didn't see, autumn's
carrying case of streaming leaves.
And what about the suitcase
on the floor of the apartment,
delivered in some haste then unceremoniously
kicked to the center of the well-worn
oriental rug, waiting with unassailable
patience for the traveler who never comes,
biding its time as the late afternoon
light grows soft in a slow blue wave
and turns to darkness,
but the suitcase still prevails. .
whether bursting with the ordinary
or ingeniously packed with emptiness,
it becomes our baggage
like a conscience or a life befriended,
free and clear

Flowers        for d.a.levy

There, near the center of the empty lot,
where the death ship restaurant used to stand
(and hence its silver poly-vinylled jukebox)
grew a single remnant flower thrust
among weeds and rusted steel, siphoned
from the hard-packed dirt..
that flower's considerable silence, itself,
struck me as a kind of furious recording,
songs torn off in a delirium, one after another,
from the talons of a dream,
if only one could find the means
to understand them..
I approached on foot, danced
forward slowly, if you like,
got down close to broken bricks
and cinders, and lifted
the petals in my fingers,
parts of them falling apart..
rain's messages in bottles,
in blurred, smeared ink
and stringless guitars..
the unimpeachable singing of children
in the downs syndrome choir..
the very words to 'a plastic saxophone
found in an Egyptian tomb'
kicked back the carpet of
faintly graded wreckage..
the sky and the clouds across it
expanded, barely perceptibly,
like an eardrum dealt invisible,
incalculable blows


The old apartment building on Wymore
stands vacant, boarded up..
even the arch of the doorway
is a solid sheet of slightly charred
plywood.. high up, various sections
pried off what used to be windows,
exposing the darkness inside
for the poseur it is :
no more than the absence of light--
not a presence. It always amazed me
(perhaps I am too easily amazed)
how gradually windows, anywhere,
are replaced with cardboard, duct tape,
odd fragments of lumber.. not overnight
but a process-- piecemeal, random
reactions. For some reason
I'll never quite get, Wymore
wasn't Savannah. The courts and police
pushed hard close to Hayden,
and what did he find?
'The North American Book of the Dead'
Back up near Euclid
where there should have been at least
a stretch of psychic freedom,
'The Suburban Monastery Death Poem'
flew out and consumed him.
Maybe peace promotes terror,
and terror sheds light.
In any recounting these two streets
must loom large.. they crept
into the eyes and mind when nothing else
may have been happening, succoring
boredom with the insane beauty
of the ordinary. There were visions here
literally plucked from the way snow
blanketed curbstones, leaves
on the wind swarming through streetlights,
republics of rain viewed and inhaled
from the tower of a peeling windowsill.

Suicide Days

The entire episode of Kent State
eluded him. The resignation
of the king, a psychic victory,
the last helicopter beating waves
through trees as it lifted
from Saigon-- he never heard the news.
The Berlin Wall's dismantling
occasioned moments of regret
because he didn't live
to bring it. The spectre
of a hundred burning oil fields
played out and passed without him.
By dying, by becoming the ether's
charged, dazed molecules,
he missed by thirty-three years
the air strikes at New York--
his door to the future closed.
Who can say what Kant or Nietzsche
would have made of Nissan,
flowers born of faxes, CNN?
We never had the benefit,
in the intervening years, of seeing
'The Book of the Dead' extended
to include new swirling permutations
at loose in the world,
but when we look inside
or just beyond our shoulders--
on the simple strength
of light and echoes--
he continues to be there





































































































































































































































































































Copyright © 2001 by t.l.kryss Go to d.a.levy home page

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This is a cooperative presentation of
Ghost Pony Press, Kaldron On-Line and
Light and Dust Mobile Anthology of Poetry