7 Poems


Ray Hinman




The New World Order #1


The buildings have invaded fields,

the sun glances off archribbed mirrors.

White, sterile

Chunks of slab with fake porticos.

Homes were scraped aside

for row upon row of random cars;


the sky

is pelted with lights

that slide from one horizon to the next,

the powdery sheet of stars

is blotted out.

None of this has given us our freedom,

though our freedom reclaimed these fields.






Corporations Buy and Sell


Corporations buy and sell

kingdoms rise and fall,

goods surge like rivers of traffic,

the poor huddle in their pealing apartments;

the opposition: slender types in black,

with their MAs in creative writing,

chattering lists of platitudes

to a crowd that applaude

everything it hears.


Rivers boil away, woodlands wither,

species die out,

fighters fight, ranters rant,

everyone makes their living from

a dying planet.

Sometimes I go out to look at the moon,

radiant white, or chili pepper red,

lost in the clutter of lights.

Does it remember the things we have given up?

The moon just smiles and says nothing.





Whitman's Ghost Takes a Tour of the City


The goddess sits in the axhandle park:

she would give more grain, but corn won't grow

in our streets.

The trees can lift their arms skyward,

but their hands and hair sprout flames.

Indidolons time,

when the old shade goes loafing (though evening

can't come any closer). Could he manage disembodiment

before now, the fire of the flower would still

be there by chance.


But you, knowing the richer reds

and deeper blues appear briefly at dusk

then withdraw into their own flame...

He goes out at evening, shirt long, baggy as a coat,

his white beard flows from the sack-like face,

the outstretched hat-brim;

he has made himself bewildered: Where are the poets

chanting to the multitude? The headlong, vulgar, robust

freedoms of the crowd? Is there only you?

Bleating out this quick-flaring image? You chant

the gawk-shuffle, art-patter, and wonder how the plant


ever let you in. The inferno of the city blazes

around us, we detail its hidden lights.





Border Town


The Rio Grande flows like a hat band

under the international bridge.

When I went over, there was a small blue cross

wrapped in red and white wreaths

stuck in the sand below, fifty yards from

the railing, completely overlooked.

I stood and wondered who it could have been for.


Across the river adobe blazes white in the sun.

Dope smugglers buy drink for their unemployed

friends, liquor flows like a scalding sacrament,

as precious as the girls

who step from white afternoons offering themselves

for a handful of pesos...their brothers sell

shoes or Yankee news papers.

The rubble molds, shinning in the sun, the fabric

of poverty laughing in the world's face.





Solitude's Counterfeit


The roar of the freeway fades.

Here and there

a light among the rows of identical houses.

Here and there

patches of blue-gray light, framed by

a yellow window.

At this time of night I can't help thinking

how silly Rilke would look, standing on

a bridge in Farmer's Branch.


Or he would look sinister.

The ornate cityscapes, the ones he loved,

knew centuries of war and upheaval, for him

they created the deepest solitude.

Buddha of the book stalls (his features proclaimed),

an Orphan of art, brooding on park benches.

A dancer, though always serenely still.


Here bridges are built for speed,

the streets have no sidewalks, the creek

is only knee-deep.

Here the man who would truly go into himself

has no place to go.

And when it's really late, only the sky


is active, filled with lights

taking people off to buy bits of the cities

Rilke loved.









In the summer

the elders frequent

the archives.

The musty smell

of old books


with their sense of repose.


The maidens and the wheat,

the sun

on their tiny feet;

your hand


a slender waist.






The feet

are marching,

as waves crash.

The feet

are marching,

as waves crash.

the feet

are marching,

as the sea of fists clench,

the answer

is not

in the archives.

the mouths

are marching,

the mouths

are marching,

and the minds are tossing slogans

while the Elders


of rivers,

and lakes,

and ladies

in flowing gowns.

Walls are crumbling,

the horses bolt

and run

like a river.

The night is well lit,

the moon's teeth

are frantic;


the answer is not

in the archives.






The hour is like

a clock

wound too tight,

more like a fat balloon

when a child

won't stop blowing;

small faggots are abundant

and leaks,

and the humble lintel.

The world


its sad stupidities

while the maiden

with the slender waist


Her lips fondle

the words

you will never hear;

"the answer is not in the archives."





Beauty in the Brain


The soul hovers beyond the trees,

beyond the clouds, beyond the stars.

I'm an empty shell that buys things,

and yet it's in me.


Does it flutter beyond the broken columns

and green glades, whispering their beauty

into my brain?

perhaps their in me too.


The soul is a ball of light that flutters

beyond. It's a jagged ball,

with edges that cut.

It's a mouth that feeds upon itself.


Yet the soul is also the glades

and hills and broken columns

it's the part of me that knows

and doesn't know.

The soul is bigger than the self

that seeks it.