Two Poems

I. Here Meaning Mountains

There will be no there
there, a drunken almanac 
based on level lakes.
The telescope's terrain 
brought a vision by mistake;

and where the rock is rock
I had so long longed to be;
you stood by
as I stood among
umbrella pines and the disinfected
vines and fallen 
masonry of an empire,
the invisible peaks
and lakes not yet created, the waves
of which are always breaking
although they never break— 

and from these mountains,
showing their cold shoulders, 
always dreaming stone 
with nowhere to go (not for all 
time or even tracks in the snow),

and never was so little done by
so few as simply to sit on
the ragged rocks farthest from what
we are most near.

II. Animals Sheltered in a High Houseboat in a Bottle 

we are now at sea
since you and me are only here on probation

weed water high as wallflowers
fill the sea with tumbled men

count the kindling crows
and words in ruin

listen. put on light break.

latch summer in the whale
float men in me.

in the day the world. 
but, at night, we

that one sleep sound the sea made, 
then stopped.

listen. put on morning

barefoot accident and beast
breaks into boatloads

bird caging approaches

a famous ship warped to a rotting quay
the floorboards of the ballroom open up

the merman will rise to you 
the hour you sink to him
JOHN PAUL CALAVITTA studied poetry at George Mason, Naropa, and the University of Washington, Seattle, where he is currently finishing his PhD in English.