October 26-November 1, 1998: William Houze and H.A Maxson


Week of October 26, 1998-November 1, 1998 
William Houze and H.A Maxson 



William Houze


I live in Greenwood Lake, NY (temporary abode is cottage I rent on the lake), and have family ties in Syracuse, NY Born 1942 in San Antonio, attended public schools in Cincinnati, then grad school U of Washington and Syracuse University, PhD, cabinet maker, furniture maker, consultant, poet, writer, veteran of USMC and VietNam Father of 3 children, and I will be moving to Portland, ME in the spring of 99 with Pat Taub, who is my lover and companion.

The following work is Copyright © 1998, and owned by
Bill Houze and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsover without written permission from the author.

Yet Still and Cold 

There are old ways
To be or not
Shaving off his beard
He thought
Of love madness death
Standing at the edge
Of the narrow lake
Looking at Diana’s
Blue-white image
Bouncing at dawn
Before his tired eyes
Her form dancing
In the wind blowing
Across the water and
Through the torn lawn chair
In which he sat naked all night
Writing poems in the dark
On the golden wet leaves
Which he tossed over his head
Bent forward as if to see
The dirty plank flooring
In the cabin in the woods
Bordered by fields
Yet still and cold
Beyond his eyes blind
To the snowís melting
And his ears deaf
To songs being sung
By birds tired of Dixie.

Each Day Now I Am

This space and place
One lit and comfortable
Where I sit and sit
This place and space

The moments
The sounds
The aimless disguised
The purpose unknown
No blessing discerned

Only this place
Where I sit and sit

Each day now it is
The sun, moon, stars are
Each day now I am
The same as the other
The not all of a piece
As I sit and sit
Or walk or rest

It is of a piece
Yes and yes.

“Upon Diving Into Greenwood Lake,  New York”

There is nothingness under Greenwood Lake
Here in downstate New York

And I look at it beneath the heaving
Green swell bearing the flotsam
One expects to see when the boats are out
The bits of torn weed from the lake’s bottom
The feathers from gulls, ducks, and geese

Signs sent all the way from the Nile
Of what was once held and then let go
By Cleopatra’s confident fingers
In moments of languor and delight
In the speech and gestures of Anthony
Standing in the center of their small craft
Poling them forward
Over what lies beneath the surface
A man capable of making her love
And live and be in delight in all things:

His smallest gestures
His laugh and outward measuring glance
His head turning on his sweet neck
His hair showing the light brought
Down to her by the sun god himself

Whose light I too see dancing
Amidst the weeds and feathers
Heaving on the wake crashing
Behind my back along the rock
Where the dock is grounded
In Orange County, New York

where I now am in time and place
A small man in my little blue trunks
Standing with my toes curled over the
Hard edge of the dirty aluminum dock
On which I have my foolish idea of
Drinking all the water from the Nile
And the Amazon and Congo too

Just to see if I can taste
The nothingness there too

The salt of her fingers dissolved
The aftermath of cannibalism diluted
The priests’ urine run clear
The hippo’s flesh rotting in the ooze
The baboons shitting after their bloody prowl

As I look about and decide it is time
To dive into the churning lake
And in doing so

To make no sign or gesture
No statement about anything at all
As far as I can tell
At all

For No Reason I Know

I am awake now and
lying in the dark light
listening to the chorus of crickets
and to the heavy first drops of rain
hitting the dry leaves on the ground
and the hood of my car
parked just outside
my bedroom window

but in my dream
I was standing beneath a large dark tree
possibly an old apple tree
that was also a woman I
seemed to know

looking up into its dark branches
answering her questions about
what had become of this man or that
but never any about what had become
of me

while I stood there pulling free
the dead branches caught in her
from where a high wind had put them
and for which she thanked me

and then for no reason I know
I tried to break off a living branch
but it was too springy and would not break

and then I was pulling free
a dried helical vine and was
thinking how painting it
silver and gold would
turn it into a staircase
and me into an artist

but I cannot remember now
if I removed the vine or not
or even what happened next
or when I think about it now
if I ever knew her at all
indoors or out






H.A Maxson


H A Maxson is the author of three collections of poems, a critical work, On the Sonnets of Robert Frost, McFarland, 1997, and a forthcoming novel, The Younger His poems have appeared widely in print magazines, such as Southern Poetry Review, Poetry Northwest, Commonweal and The Nation A native New Jerseyan, he currently lives in Wendell, NC.

The following work is Copyright © 1998, and owned by
H.A Maxson and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsover without written permission from the author.


My daughter lifts the dog bowl up
and looks from it to me and back,
and her face asks what wrote its history
here in this shining concavity, in luminous
loops and crosshatchings that shimmer
when she tilts it to catch the last of sun.

I see it then, a slug
no bigger than a sliver, a nick
in the reflected light End of the trail, wanderings of a night
and day, a confusion of dead ends
from lip down slick aluminum walls
to the center of this cup collecting light.

Minutes more and it might have burned alive So I point him out, gray back and fish-white
belly clinging its ooze to the shine My daughter unwrinkles her nose
and stares down like a god and tilts the bowl
until it fills with her shadow
and she carries it down her own map
from this moment she’s already forgetting.

~ Clay pit Creek, ca 1962
album photo

The skinny kid in loud jamms, joker
behind a straight face, heaves into a dive
midway along a storm-downed tree His buddies tread sepia water off the creek’s bank They cat-call and whistle down his slight
form until he doesn’t surface Then slowly–as if waking– they begin
to kick and punch the water to a boil,
as if marking the way back to air They stop, then laugh as if taken, taken again And years from now they will remember the first
red staining the cedar-brown creek.