Arrow

Inklings and visions
and small fragmented
somethings
indefinable but so concrete
stir and yearn to free themselves
and remind me in predawn darkness
to look up
up at distant Orion
as if they missed a home

The hour is still
the darkness so complete
only the very wise
and the oh so foolish are awake

I take a few steps
over old bricks
over cold bricks
to reach the shed
my desk, my pen, my labor

He rattles his cage again
this prisoner
and again
bars that never shatter with age
praying
for but one weakness
for but one miracle
as Orion outside beckons

He dreams of holiness
this one
wants to leave the world
he does
and rise up in the air
slide gently into nothing
away from traps and mires
and problems
and problems
problems
whose only purpose
is to keep us from
looking, looking, looking
whose only goal
is to keep us from
finding

A smile, a breast, a lock of hair,
a promise all aim to kill
and snare and lure
and seize this arrow aimed at far away Orion
and bend it instead down
toward dull achy pleasure
toward pain that life will kill for

And he lets her in
he opens the door
if only the tiniest crack
and the ether soundlessly fills his room
reeling him with this promise
and his arrow falters
and he drops his bow and gives in

The loneliest crusader
will he die for truth
will he ever cease trying

I find my bow and pick it up
gray with dust and side roads
and find neglected arrow
and find again Orion
and match again notch to string

With a sigh I pull it back
take new aim

Ulf Wolf
October 1995
Copyright © 1995 by Wolfstuff


Universal Prayer

May the one true sun rise for you
May you know peace and strength
  and letting go
And may the stillness inside you
  guide you
Through darkest night to clearest light


Spreading

I find myself spreading
beyond flesh and
  bone and brain
beyond the narrow view
  of narrow self

This spreading
this no-longer containment
  is a large, light
  wide step
I flower
  beyond inveterate
  boundaries

And the truth I see
  is more than amazing
It is devastating
  for life as we know it

Ulf Wolf
November 2017
© Wolfstuff


The Writer

In the stillness of the page
when nothing but ink on white
stirs the reading eye

In the stillness of the page
when nothing but spirit remains
to revive the world once traced
by inky fingers on willing paper

In the stillness of the page
when the deepest knowing
when the light behind the reading eye
shines awake the meaning
and so builds
word by word
a world as full and fuller
than that which made the ink
than that which made the paper
than that which made the eye

 In the stillness of the page
when towering mountains
when raging seas
when tenderest loves
all breathe within him
spoken by the page
revived by him

In this stillness
and not before
is the writer
truly talking to the spirit

Ulf Wolf
December 2016
© Wolfstuff


Surely, This Is Hell

Where stilling a hunger
is deemed a pleasure
Surely, this is hell

Where quenching a thirst
is deemed a pleasure
Surely, this is hell

Where easing a pain
is deemed a pleasure
Surely, this is hell

Where appeasing an urge
is deemed a pleasure
Surely, this is hell

Where sating a greed
is deemed a pleasure
Surely, this is hell

In heaven
they call this
Obeying the whip

Ulf Wolf
August 2015
Copyright © 2015 by Wolfstuff


Finally Freedom

I turn
onto vast plain
yellow grass
occasional trees
against the sky
I leave everything

In a white boubou
I am shoe less
I walk for the horizon
for the dawn of man

They have burned them
all my things
my desires
my greed
my needs
I sacrificed them
for banishment

The heavy gates swing shut
bound with iron and age
and that’s the joke
the gates still moan
as I turn and walk:

This is finally
Freedom

Ulf Wolf
September 1996
Copyright © 1996 by Wolfstuff


Thoughts of Virginia Woolf

It is a tender leaning backwards
into white
into noble understanding
receiving, embracing
It is a falling into safe sky
through the beauty
of unclouded gaze

A coming home then:
this terrifying release
(though exhilarating)
of completely letting go
of implicitly trusting
her wings and their strength

I turn to her as a mother
as a lover
as a beacon
clear but yet so distant
that only love
can reach and touch her

And so I curl, and furl
and rest in the gauze of
all she knows
knowing that
in that bodiless expanse
I will at last find comfort

Ulf Wolf
March 2003
© Wolfstuff


Currents

They drift in and out
these currents
they call and clamor
strangely

is he really here
does he really listen

and they swirl
and blend and enter
nostrils, lungs and
blood and feed
these thoughts
as they wander
feed these fingers
as they walk and walk
‘cross pages white
as they jump from key
to key to chase
these words
‘cross white

And I’m the one
says one
no I am
says one different
and I stop and marvel
at their strength
and how they argue

The one carries a smile
the other
the meaning I give it
and a third,
still till now,
stirs at the promise
and so finds my blood

But I cannot hate
nor love
convincingly
and as the currents
tear at me and
tear at me
I can only look
and wonder
at their strength

Night now
and they fade
the ceiling
barely here
protects me

Yet memory rises
and with her a new sea
and this is true power
as my resolve
aloof till now
tangle with waves
and strands and warmth
and I lose footing
and we drown
so easily

Ulf Wolf
August 1996
Copyright © 1966 by Wolfstuff


The Bottom Line

5am: dream ruptures
then shower, coffee
car and dawn
I’m on my way
to fight the good fight

cursing wife and kids
who get to sleep

Three-piece charcoal ants
striped and ready
wheels that craw the crawl
all off to fight the good fight

cursing car-pool guys
especially the motorbikes

Mr. Burnes is always right
you just clam up and take it
if not for him we’d all go broke
you just clam up and fake it

Mrs. Fields is always right
you just clam up and take it
if not for her we’d all go broke
you just clam up and fake it

Mr. Burnes and Mrs. Fields
can rot and go to hell
can sit in shit for all I care
and kiss my ass as well

I wish

Instead I fawn:
is how you fight the good fight

2pm: I’ll make the 3 o’clock
barring accidents

Wilson got another plaque today
outsells everyone
manager next I guess
what a kiss-up

no wrecks, no crews
I’ll make the 3 o’clock
but not with hunger

6pm: just leaving, honey
yes, in five minutes, max
I promise

7:06 elevator
7:08 garage
7:10 “See you tomorrow, Steve”
7:16 barely made it through on yellow
7:18 back in the snaking caravan

Mr. Burnes is out there in the dark
whatever you do, ignore his wart
what the hell happened on the Brooks account
was on your forecast, in the bag you said
Bob turns a little pink
don’t worry Bob, I know what I’m doing
the hell you do

the hell I do

Bob turns into a thousand brake lights
bowing to the crushing bottom line

Ulf Wolf
September 1996
© Wolfstuff


The Sculptor

 I sculpture these words
out of thin nothings
from just reflections
and faint memories
that I chase and hold

and for short moments know
then affix onto rock
and let go

 I nurture and form
and place this light logic
up against sensation
this dream up against urge
this will up against desire
this dawn up against sales
this spring up against reruns
this reason up against impulse

and all this to grow new life
to emerge new form
a banner
a call to arms

 When so many sleep
hypnotized and driven
worn and conquered
frantically consuming
consuming
more is beautiful
war is peace
love is hate
consuming is creating
“but he has nothing on”
says the child
and we all say
“we know”
and flick the channel

 Where do I begin?

Consumption is a click away
no need to even shift
it will all be done for you
as will all thinking
and as muscles atrophy
so does thinking
and soon there is only
consumption
entertainment
consumption
entertainment
atrophy
death

Commercials pound
you’re not done yet
for how can you possibly
live without this
and this
and this
and this

I eat therefore I am
I buy therefore I know
I own therefore I grow

Two, perhaps three
TV-less homes in the city
one repossessed
one broken
one by choice not there

In its silence I hear
there is one god among us
one tiny speck of truth
one voice, thin and unsubstantial
whispering over and over
into the whisperless din
that here is the truth
and to put it plainly:
we are no longer equipped to hear

Are only the very old
concerned about
the hereafter?
Are only the very sick
curious or afraid?
Are only the very wise
aware that ending
must follow beginning?

The billboard sums it up
“Be original this summer
watch something creative”
not “do something creative”
but “watch something creative”
and anyone that does not
throw up in despair
at the sight
is dying or is already dead

That feeling of
being onto something
is it at all familiar
to anyone?
That notion
there must be more
to this than this
does anyone ever sense it?
That goal
I mean to find out
is it ever lived now?

When even the news
know that he said it only
to gain in the polls
and the little kid says
“but he has nothing on”
and we all say
“we know”
and flick the channel

Ulf Wolf
11/19/1999

Copyright © 2016 by Wolfstuff


Bristlecone Questions

I asked the Bristlecone:
With a life as long as yours,
what lessons can you teach us?

I asked the Bristlecone:
With a breath as slow as yours,
what lessons can you teach us?

I asked the Bristlecone:
With an eye as clear as yours,
what lessons can you teach us?

I asked the Bristlecone:
With a view as vast as yours,
what lessons can you teach us?

I asked the Bristlecone:
With roots as deep as yours,
what lessons can you teach us?

I asked the Bristlecone:
With arms as strong as yours,
what lessons can you teach us?

I asked the Bristlecone:
With a heart as wise as yours,
what lessons can you teach us?

I asked the Bristlecone:
With a song as fair as yours,
what lessons can you teach us?

This he said: Let go.

Ulf Wolf
October 2016
Copyright © 2016 by Wolfstuff


The River

 For me

 There is no slaking this thirst
by drinking
No quieting this roar
by bread or by meat
No quenching this desire
by yielding

There is no escaping my captor
by a coming together

 There is no relief from this dream
by waking
No quieting this moan
by hearing it complete
No pouring myself
into wonderful warmth
There is no release
by finally melting

 Surely, this is a sickness
Surely, when not a minute passes
without the thought of her
When not a breath escapes me
without the need to touch
to hold, to bury my face
in her hair and vanish
into that river

 Surely, this is a sickness
his awful pull
this unreasoning
this unseeing
that sees nothing but her
that feels nothing
but the need
to furl up against her
and vanish
into that river
 

For this is not volition
No, this is not choice

This is now river

 This cannot be right
his driving rush
that asks nothing
but obedience
blind and absolute
that hopes for nothing
but release
and never stops speaking

It is a terrible sickness
this one
that seizes the heart
in its iron grip
and seems to
leave it up to you
when in truth
there is no you left
to leave it up to

For now
there is only the heart
and the fist
and its terrible
crushing strength

It is the human part
of being so very human

It is the lie
that states
in a thousand different guises
that you are incomplete
without her
that you are unfulfilled
without her
that you are less yourself
without her

It is the hurt
that says
in a thousand different tongues
that you are nothing but hope
without her
Nothing
but that constant
aching
seething
seeking
loving
lost and roaming
tossed and sinking
warm and clutching
darkly living
softly killing
wish

How can this be me
so content a moon ago
Now so starved

How can this be me
so in flight a sky ago
So heavy now
with Earth

Ah, that I could lose myself
in something else
in something less
consuming
while still
I have some air
to call my own
untainted by this
ceaseless love
so fierce
that only poetry can heal it

For unlike the bruises
cuts and breaks
and scrapes and burns
that start their healing
once received
(the body sees to that)
this wound
is of the unhealing kind

So fierce at times
that priests would
drown its moan
with metal and thong
in rivers of blood
in grooves of pain
to replace
her ache
for a moment at least
with the sting of her sister

And yet, and yet,
I have to know

Tell me
by what design
and by whose
does this tender seed
sown by love
so innocently
by a blush perhaps

by a sweet smile
a kiss
a tender eye
a touch
by one hand upon another
with no harm planned
nor pain intended

Tell me
by what design
and by whose
does this tender seed
thus planted
into soil of understanding
Turn parasite

Turn tentacles
Turn drooling

Turn strands
Then shackles

Then terrible sickness
By no will of mine
(and so I swear)

By no will of hers
(and so I swear)

By only the voice of one heart
caught by another

Though heard
by these strands
so fierce and strong
only song
can sever

But whence do they spring
these tiny strands
so small at first
as to not be seen
that can grow to turn a
nothing but sky
into terrible darkness

How do they grow
these tiny strands
from hand on hand
and tongue on tongue
to turn a nothing but laughter
to a nothing but ache

And so I wonder

What endurance
What steadiness of hand
What surgical skill will it take

What masterful incisions
and delicate cuttings
must succeed

That the sickness
and its innocent heart
be severed

That the patient may still live
That the sharing may remain

while the terrible sickness
returns to Earth
to shatter

This, my love,
is the trial of spirit
living here

Ulf Wolf — Summer 2001
Copyright © 2001 by Wolfstuff


The Boat

This is a lovely boat, dear
but what’s with the bloody water?
  the pink of childhood porridge
  the crimson of high noon
  the black of shark attack
Hey, is that a rudder?


No Darkness

In this now I cease the darkness
In this now I am but light
In this now—on open wing
I am but word, a truth in flight

In this now I cease the darkness
In this now I am but will
In this now I am no earth
no star no sky and all is still

In this now I cease the darkness
Darkness in this now I cease
Ceased, the darkness sighs and dies
and so I rise to my release

In this now there is no darkness
In this now the view is clear
Now and here: a view so true
that all delusions disappear


Baudelaire’s Battle

How he battled
the pull of her hair
deeper than darkness
he used to drink it
along with his other
appetites
the sea of her loins

How he wrestled
her beauty
hiding behind
the next inky scratch
so visible shuddering
within
so coarsely mocking
without

And then he raced
ink everywhere
captured he wrestled
her down onto paper
and fell asleep
into her dream

But morning saw her
just another ball of paper
crushed and bruised
under the table


Evening

The light of an eye will shine
the dark in your eye to cease
where waters lie distant and still
where silences fill
a night where your heart
an find its peace


Labyrinth Night

Were it not for Venus
and a fractured moon
darkness would reign
as I scurry
six legs over
Kafkan roots
over mammoth trunks
tentacles testing testing
testing for deceptions
cunning and guile and
for this labyrinth

Were it not for Venus
and a fractured moon
these walls could not
be seen but see I do
I feel them too
and thanks Daedalus
for nothing
is that your Minotaur
comes panting

Were it not for Venus
and a fractured moon
he would not cast shadow
this beast they call
invincible
too large to do me harm
too dull
to even find me

Were it not for Venus
and a fractured moon
I would not have ventured
this escape
he ran away
for larger prey
I am no Theseus
to be sure
and neither am I
seven plus seven
and I wouldn’t even
taste good
that’s what I think

Six legs or eight
serve me well
in the pale light
of Venus
and the fractured moon
I hear they’re
shipping them in
from Athens
in the morning

Bon Appetite
bull headed man or
man headed bull tonight
the light’s not good
too hard to tell
Venus is waning
and the fractured
moon but a sliver
I must hurry
through the labyrinth
tonight


Doubts

A shadowy whisper
whenever I can
informs me I can’t

with doubts planted
like seeds so small
only the soul senses them

dormant like little stones
they lie in shadow
unseen but there
un-sprouted but there
un-sprung but there
only I know

and when I think I can
first one root
then another
spring from stone
to grow to crush
to suck my strength
this hope I have

these stones grow
become rocks
as doubts grow
into the certainty
that I can’t

Which is when
I sit down again
and close my eyes
to see the rocks
their true size: pebbles
and roots wither
to nothing but memory
and doubts recede
again into shadow:

there but not now
then gone


So Much Life

Were we to find a sapling
Green, light green, white
beating the odds
On a large rock in space
Conjuring droplets of water
from stellar air
Conjuring green little breaths
to stir
Slender roots ever deeper
on their mineral quest

Were we to see this
We would stop in wonder
We would stare even
We would look and amaze
That life is life and does grow
Despite whatever reason
Rocks and space and
far too remote throw
in its way

The Earth is no different
There’s just more of it
And so no one stops
or amazes, weary of
So much life


Gossamer Thoughts

A gossamer thought
a butterfly’s wing
a scale from a butterfly’s wing
aloft then lost in air
this windy summer’s day

What was that I thought
what was that feeling
that fleeting glimpse

that kissed and whispered
and smiled and fled

My clumsy fingers
memory’s goons
grasp and rip
the thought asunder


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