Seth Howard


Sun vibrant I catch as time rewinds,
my life scattered with each vestige of memory…

The pale-blue of afternoons,

drawn from a pool of inflection.
The motion that
moves us into action,

those brief moments we call upon ourselves to speak,
then fall again into silence, rain…
It was she, in the shadows, I searched for

she of the grey-leaves lambent,
we no longer see.

I spoke of the space between words.
the breath of spring that winds within the hours.
What was it here for me,

save the flash of a familiar face,

the moon high
above the pines…


Reading Lamantia aloud in the squalls of separation
along a dusky eastern road a sole
vender of yaki-imo sells you something else
in the byways of history hemmed with silks infused with jasper
where the hermits
ponder in the courtyard
by the old camphor singed with lightning
by the playground of two moons
I lift from the ashes the carcass of our histories
I dip in waters garments of the late Tang & watch the darkened letters
bleed into the
depths of our desire
reading Lamantia aloud on a balmy afternoon
as the storm seeps through the roof
& the Buddha breathes into you a room
So seldom
had I traveled past the gates
that line the border of western towns hid in the mountains
of misery or the temples deep-set in hell’s valley
a stranger asked me where Paradise was I motioned to the wheels vacillating in the distance
a stranger asked me where his life went I motioned to the valley of death
in the dream chamber where the women slept
of Kanazawa in the caverns of sin where the machine
sucked silt from your ear
Reading Lamantia in the darkened
quays that drift by like a dream
I saw a stranger with two names & with each name
a separate face
he now approached with something in his
hand as if to offer us a paper-god etched in the pages of flame
I slept late that afternoon & no one
came to wake me in the evening as drowsily I pulled
the shōji open to the sand
garden overlooking the darkened hills
the water-fountain’s threadlike strand seemed
as silks floating past the travelers who’d stopped to view the moon

                for Ezra Pound

It was an ambivalence I reflected
upon, a skeptic. Drawing the line
back into a trace of something…
The glass-chambers that lie hidden
in waiting, the ghost-whispers of a
deep-locus. Such was the diagnosis
of the man of law, who carried his
bat though dampened passage.
The man of justice, who drew his
hand back (from the box) in horror…
A lingering glance across the waves
that held us in limbo, the trailing
remnants of a cloud that spun
from his hand in threads of mist.
No longer the same it seemed, his
voice a rasp in phantom-light,
a rustle of leaves against her neck.
So it had been written, & the justice
man who ran his bludgeon over
the cage, looked across the waves
to reap the seeds sown in madness…
His clasped-hands loosen & free
themselves, from currents that
slip as strands across the prisms
of chance. It was a hawk sailing
in the wind that dives, the pith
sinking, like birds that search for
exile. Slowly he hones the motion
his bones speak as if to know the
thing expunged. A swollen-sun
spills from his stomach, without
so much as a backward-glance
or slightest-hesitation. The man
of law, who paces the quays as if
by nature, gives himself to currents
that climb, the zenith-of-repose...


A listless wind, I venture with thoughts far off.
This perfectly balmy evening, as if in
a half-dream. Stepping out of the air-conditioned-car, the dusky town
reminds of somewhere else. Fragments
of quiet banter pass us by, some familiar face
as the actors gather near.
Three or four Koreans enter the Italian place we exit.
Someone next to us. Acclimating
to the air a moment, then, we’re there.
The tone of Tokyo or of Seoul, the Boston waterways, & bridges with subtle arcs.
Somehow a secure infrastructure, an almost rubbery feel.
Strangers to this place,
& yet some connection deeper than age.
Opening the record store for us after close, the smallest things
said as if in affirmation. “I see you have some Cecil Taylor there, not
something you see every day.” I say half-awake.
“Do we? We might have some…”
Entering the evening heat,
quiet movement in the streets,
& into the dark tunnel, they pat us down & check our
bags with flashlights.
Then, a sea-of-austere-limbs
swim in the darkness, cool air of
the AC, we look upstairs for Keiran Hebden.
No sign, but a DJ on
stage, & later, he enters,
a specter
drawing us in.

Seth Howard is a New-London-based-writer, who considers himself a Zenist, & greatly enjoys the study of kōans, alongside the nightly practice of zazen. He focuses his energies on the discipline of poetry, nourishing his spirit with the study of existentialist / phenomenological works, as well as delving into an assortment of experimental writings. Lover of things Japanese, Chinese, Korean & Taiwanese, he keeps up with goings-on by listening to Japanese-Web-Radio, & in his spare time edits CAPSULE.
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