Kayak Trip

I went on a kayak trip     I succeeded at the kayak trip     I was in
           nature     I was OK.
I saw a heron     I befriended a heron     I paddled after it     it seemed
           to like me.

It waited for me     on an outcropping rock     as I paddled towards it
           it just hung around.
But when I got close to it     it flew to the next rock     where it waited
           for me     to play catch up again.

I paddled after it     heron acting like Lassie     the event was quiet
           and I communed.
I never thought     that I could commune     with a natural object     
           be it heron or tree

     *   *

I wonder if anyone     would like to tell me     a little story about
           their kayak trip too.
For our force is quite fluid     chewing the kayak fat     cosmology
           radiant      a kind of mineral calm

For there are frogs     and there are tadpoles     there is fire     and
           there is a lake.
There is one river     hey here’s another one     there is a beach     here
           a fat daisy.

Oh there is a twig     and there is an outhouse     sounding of giggle
           and there is some rot.
Now here is a ripple     and here is a plash     and there is scouring
           sand     oh and maybe a bulrush.

So there is a stone     and there is a kayak oar     there’s a canoe     
           and then there is the sun.
A sun beam some bees     lobelia some glass     a pan and some
           bubbles     leaf shade a slope

Oh come upward to sing     with nostalgia o wings     of a heron in
           clouds     and the background for words
A bird glides some heron     all feathers and shriek     in the air of our
           surface     whose name I’m not sure

Mix all sorts of scraps     it’s August my ears     the orange has fallen
           night stinks of pine
I went on a kayak trip     I succeeded at the kayak trip     I was in
           nature     I was OK.


Beginning with Flapping

The fly doesn’t flap her wings she doesn’t flutter them
what does she do what does the fly do what does the

hummingbird do for I have seen the hummingbird
suck from the bluebell or is it even bluebell and does the hummingbird

suck or sip does the fly flap or flutter and what does the pigeon
in his daily excursions do is he a flapper or a flyer

or a glider OK hawks glide of that I can be sure hawks glide
and seals flap their flippers on the rocks in the north west shores

of Scotland I do not cry out after the seal I do not wonder often
about the platypus as it sparkles in the waters of New Zealand

huh I saw a squirrel scamper and nibble and once a squirrel kind of
looked at me funny and then scampering and nibbling at the same time

scurried up a tree which was as far as I know in the process of
growing though it could have been dying as there was a mysterious

bulge in the tree a mysterious bulge as if some infection or tumor
had made its home in the trunk oh an ant just crossed my path I’ll

slap it I’ll slap it with my flip-flop and a duck just landed in the
swimming pool or does it land does it merely slide or settle

does it settle or slide or land into the pool a naked
man can be like a river a body can have a coastline a baby

can be a forest of blood and you can wear a wedding dress but
a cat never slouches a crane’s neck bends and it doesn’t so much

peck at the water as tests it yes I’d say a crane tests the water
before consuming the fly and the fly doesn’t flap her wings and

nibble and a squirrel kind of day or a crane day or ant moment
a million gray rats life and a platypus a breeze of coral and

life who would be like a river if life could be
like a river when that is the world at sunrise with a fly and ant and more


Daniel Kane is the author of All Poets Welcome: The Lower East Side Poetry Scene in the 1960s (University of California Press, 2003) and What Is Poetry: Conversations with the American Avant-garde (Teachers & Writers, 2003). His poems, interviews, and essays appear in in Fence, Exquisite Corpse, The Denver Quarterly, and other journals.