Instrument Training & Algorithms for Shepherds
The manual instructs: forget 
Icarus & go with Brueghel’s crows. 
As we taxi, the ceiling’s low 
as black hair on the belly of a plow 
horse gone to seed. You pull back, lean 

away & the ground gives up 
its calloused thumb on the strings. 
If lips are the eyes
of the ear, you’re a formula 
for vertigo: body heat, changes
 
in pressure & liquid surrounded 
by liquids. You parrot 
the new science: a quantum bit holds 
an endless field of wheat. 
The glitch, for now: 

contact of any kind 
turns it all to chaff. Think what it means.
Everything we know in a sphere 
of no volume, poles 
at zero & anyone. Another small step

beyond Oresme’s “du ciel & du monde”
or one more ass-first leap
from the evolutionary plane? 
Engine-drone ascends. Acquacheta? 
The gauge shows a mile-thick 

stratus band. In the Opera of Intensio 
& Extensio, wet behind the ears 
& good as blind beyond my nose, 
I’m head-over-heels & you hum a thin 
red line to the false horizon. 



ii

The manual instructs: windshields 
flow to gravity’s center 
& the eye makes a better mirror
to the gauge than a window 
on the world. What if the eye paints 
the mirror & the sky

is a harp of hungry birds? Juno, nude, 
slips into a blue cloud, Pasiphaë’s skin bristles
beneath her cow’s wooden hide. 
What if the eye’s a camera on the corner 
& strips the politics 
of pocket-change down to paper 

lanterns & easy porn? Camelot’s on M Street,
third-rate Lazaretto &, Jesus Christ, 
have you seen what passes 
for rain? Manual instructs: you can touch 
nothing you’ve seen yourself
thru. Wind, shield or liquid? Memory 

or marble? Lips follow Bernini’s ecstatic folds 
& I can’t tell if you want to fly with Teresa 
or dance Ixion’s tresca with an anvil
from a thunder-head. The speed of the rhythm 
spins the gauge. Altimeter reads: 
circle seven, ring three. Centaurs train 

bows on bald crowns & milk-white brows. 
Questions remain. What if a quiet eye boils 
a river of blood? You want to touch
me? You & what army? Want to know whose 
musical chair this is? Ask. Who wove cane 
into hexagons? Who knows how to bend bone over steam?

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