Spring is the Season of Looking



Armies of the uninsured

Are standing on street corners

In heretofore unobserved clustering patterns.

They are dreaming the unfolding


Of the electrocuted sky.


A feather from some

Utterly forgotten bird

Quivers in the breeze

Beside the crumbling curb.


There is always a green

Light on in the school

For the autistic

And a red snake that crawls

On the window sometimes.


There is always a blind dog

Lying in the street

That keeps you from leaving town.

There are coffee drinkers

At the airport

Who always seem to be alive

For a particular reason.


People in the squalid houses

By the power station

Beneath the nocturnal certainty

Of the cold purple sky

Can always hear the trains

More clearly in February.


There is a café where the waitresses

Always look like they’re from Kansas

And have finally achieved

The subcutaneous zenith

Of the Texans—

The primal pneumatology of voice—

The spectral blur at the fulcrum

Between two worlds.



I was driving a bus

Full of retarded girl scouts

To dance naked around the tomb

Of the Unknown Cowboy.


I was hoping to escape,

Perhaps one more time,

The hedonistic protocols of the

Neighborhood luminaries

And the politics of remembered birthdays.


When I am among strangers

I am the road out of town.


I fall asleep among fresh graves

With a pomegranate in my hand

And walk down the crumbling stairs

Into the cold green water

Where I become the iconoclastic address

Of God.



There is a man with blues eyes

Standing in the darkness

That surrounds me. He can

Feel the subterranean winds

Of the interior. He fills

My waterclock with rain from Jerusalem

Until my voice becomes as rainy

As the cold brown foothills of China.



There are no coins for the juggler

In the city of the disappointed

Until he finds a new set

Of elevators in the long stations

Of his poverty.

This is the place where nothing

Has ever happened before.

This is the place which everyone

Knows exactly nothing about,

And a dying girl stares languidly

At a single arm that rises

Like a cobra in the window

Across the street.



We always thought in Egyptian

When we were crawling through

The pipes below the street.


I become an orange bird

In a house with no roof.


I was a beast in the garden of spiritis

Born twice into the season of looking

Where everything is more full

Of its own appearance—


In the spring

Which rattles my door

Like an animal that lives everywhere

And all the theologians are carried

Away by a flock of net-bearing sparrows—


Where I lived for forty years

In a meadow in the magpies brain

And smoked the last of my European

Cigarettes as I watched my lost daughters

Walk off into the fog.





I was nearly submerged in the ocean


I was nearly submerged in the ocean

And I saw green stones gleaming on the bottom.

There was a woman on the shore

With a bucket full of red watches.


It was a Spanish scene in the extreme.

A hat was full of the Spanish energy.

I had been to a bullfight of which

Picasso was President.


I couldn’t stop thinking

Of all that love and violence.

Spanish colors kept turning up in my mind.

I was a long way from home so I decided to stay.


There were communist heroes in the acid rain,

And somehow it all made sense

For a woman like that, an actress,

To have beautiful cats around her house.


The houses had a look of unreality like

Photos of architecture in a Turkish encyclopedia.

There was a slight shifting of flame in space.

I heard bells ringing and the windows began to tilt.


The sky became a jeweled saxophone.

The sun disappeared and left another light in its place.

Infinite extension from a fixed point in a single direction.

And Sagittarius was just a skeleton praying for sunlight.




Mrs. Thorn was seeking advice



Mrs. Thorn was seeking advice

Among the wicked

On the day my poems were burned

And I was lost somewhere

With twenty boy scouts

Who couldn’t find the ocean.


We had thrown our shoes

In a dumpster

And walked backwards

Through Las Vegas

For fear of transcending time.


Our best friends had already gone down

Below the eartern horizon

And the one visible cop

Lit another cigarette

To the detriment of us all.


The tragic malingerers

And the equatorial drunks

Still had their windows open

To their floribund autumn.


My girlfriend was High Priestess

Of the Ozarks that year

And she nailed me to the wall

With lit candles as her blue

Turban flickered in the sun.


The inbreathing of the flutist

At every pause becomes

The purest language of her need

Which is lightning and waves

With flowers in between.



What am I waiting for?

What endocept—what passion?

What happens when the dam

Finally breaks and we fall

Through the octagonal ingress?

What happens to the evil spirits

When we dream like this

On Thursday night?



It was an undulant twilight

In the flux of the open road

Where we had gone naked

Into the wilderness of the boars

And have returned

With our Levi jackets

In an old truck.


I devote myself to the water

And the rings of stars

In the warm Arizona midnight.

I have traded my face

For a fresh beard of tears.

I have made a small boat

Out of her mothers’ cedar chest

And navigate rivers

That run through factories.


Arizona is my big sister—

Queen of remembered twilights

Merciful Mother of drunks

Sweet Mary of the toxic

And motionless lizards.


We were phasing through mercurial pools

Of an unknown language

As the moons kept sailing

Behind the amber roofs

Of the mesa.

Thousands of birds were plotting

Their next flight

In the nearest cluster of poplar trees.

We could feel the embryonic warmth

Of the angels who were driving our truck.


The birds were learning to negotiate

With pure vacancy

And the Indians have befriended us

Once again with colored beads

And a new understanding

Of the motion of bodies.


We have abandoned our politics

For the sexual incognito

Of the reclining voluptuaries

On the journey to kindness

Where nothing and everything

Ends in a question mark.

Glenn Parker lived and wrote all his life in Salt Lake City, Utah. Before ending his own life at the age 37, in 1994, he inspired a generation of young writers and artists through the power of his voice and presence. For Parker there was no separation between his poems and himself. As Rimbaud said, Parker gave his “whole being every day.” He was utterly present and vulnerable in every encounter. For Parker this was simply what the fact of being demanded.

Parker embodied the possibility of literary work as vocation, rather than career; as alchemy, and as prophecy that does not aspire to dominate or coerce but to restore, elevate and free dormant potentials in people and situations. His continuing influence in the lives and work of those he affected testifies to his success in accomplishing this.

These poems are taken from his 1998 collection from Paper Salad Press, Bird full of Rain.