Sing Song

November 21, 2015

Did we sing before we spoke, you and I?
Did we listen to the song that lights the rain:
a love song the water brings
on tides too swift to swim through? Songs
as sung by our ancestors, distant voices
too far away to distinguish, too close
to understand , too bright to darken—
too hot, too  windy, too fragrant…
the candle calling light back
into the darkness, a song,
a scandal, an anguish. Speech lip-red.

I too wish to go on singing—
a song sung but not remembered by a man sworn
to silence too long ago to redeem
the idea of approaching winter:
like mist amid the rows of  a pale corn,
the sky dark and cloudy, the snow about to fall.

Could we sing? Asking what?
Singing what? Seeing what? We
can do all this and more.

It is like a pond populated with wishes
where words form like minnow’s feet amid
the circle-like ripples the rain makes
as it drops into the water.
It is as if we were feeding the pond bread,
as if the minnows…
as if they’d come to the  surface
to sing songs in the air.


November 3, 2015

O, Orpheus, have you deceived us once
Again? We thought you’d said ‘descend’. But now
You use ‘arise’ as if one were a dunce
To make that pit into a sacred cow—
Because into that pit the fallen angels ‘fell’.
Of course, in that pit were merely animals
Of faith and fat that came to ‘dwell’.
Of course, you changed us into their cannibals—
And cannibals must remain frozen in their
Terrible form until some song release them;
Until some song, intrepid and so spare
In action that it may slip past the guardian
And make resurrection. O, Orpheus,
It seems a half of you has deceived both of us.

An October Snow

October 21, 2015

The earth begging to cool,
to return to a winter’s winter,
to snow-muted trees,
their sap withdrawn,
the austerities of a place so pure
we could call it holy.

A juniper bush, frozen, takes
so long to mature, one can see
the berries ripen along with
the growth of the branches and
the roots as they pushed
into an open clearing,
awaiting sunlight.

But O, the shadows were
so flat on the wet snow.
They looked like a kind of red rust
as they struggled to get free—
to get caught up in a fresh breeze
as it blew across the continent
and sang of contentment,

and sang of an angel that bends
and touches earth for the first time,
even though the earth
and all its fragrances
are too strong for it, too muscular—
the smell of an old coat
gone sour with sweat,
the crux of summer.


September 18, 2015

To their amazement the hyena
could sit and listen to Chopin or Bach—
the Nocturnes, the Preludes,
whatever, even Debussy’s Le Mer—
and see them as ancient maps
full of monsters and mermaids.

Listen to them roar—
Listen to them sing—
the ones who die are the lonely ones,
the ones who carry all your sentences—

not as words of amazement—
but as poems of silent daydreams and silent lies—
poems folded like an old map in an old attic.
Go ahead and listen.
Then eat the lion.


September 17, 2015



September 11, 2015

Why, my silent friend, are you still visible?
Even Orpheus, with his nightmare grip on
a hideous truth, satisfies the divisible
In us that wants all pain to be gone.
His silence, friend, is all I can give you.
His news of the underworld—
That it’s there—is a battle cry for only two:
She who believes the truth is a flag unfurled,
And he who thinks the flag unnecessary.
You! Sound the horns! Yes, you! cries Man.
If Hell has leaped into the true beneficiary
Of his true love, he must leave her a plan.
Of escape? No, that would increase the pain.
He must have her hide as something…quite  sane.

Regent Emergent

September 1, 2015

To whom should I address this verse except
To you, my sleeping voice? For only you
Can sing and still hear its song. Precept
Will follow hard upon a regency too blue
For eyes and ears except your own, that is,
That are mine. Mind and mine are always one,
So philosophers have shown. Orpheus
Always arrives to take control, has fun,
Then leaves.  So bestial. So like a man to fuss.
To forget both his song and his duty.
So like a king, his killer’s crib began
With an infancy vowed to futurity.
Yet regency is ended with a chair.
His kingdom is only a dream to share.

The Tea Ceremony: What Just Might Be Beginning

August 29, 2015

He wished he could fit its beak
over his own rough mouth
and not have the seagull betray
his knowledge of what to do.
The seagull had cried
and so he had cried too.
Its lips were red and pure—
that could be deduced. But what else?
What might just be beginning—
a cry that was sympathetic to
a knowledge that they all felt was
important, but no one could put
his finger on. This bird’s
too tight for flight, they said.
Too loose not to be real and regal,
not to be, simply, an example
of breath and beauty, cream and cake—
a tea ceremony of enormous size—
screamed at by the seagull
as it changed and changed again


August 26, 2015


Ariel of the Ground

August 21, 2015

To the prisoners of form: yes, escape is possible.
To the pensioners of time: no.

The doctors had assured them that that pain
On his face was only on his face, not in his mind.
That frown, those troubled lips, the scared look—
As if what he most feared, had come true.
But no, his soul was sleeping peacefully—
His dreams were sweet dreams of boys in cassocks,
Of young girls, not there for carnal knowledge
But for emulation—as if goats could be kids again
By pretending to be The Birth itself. True,
His face was afraid, almost. Truth:
‘Almost’ is a very big word here,
A mist over a time and place,
A mist to turn into a mystery.
To the prisoners, he was too big to see through
or around. His body was not of Shakespeare’s play.
He was not that old. He was not
0f that spirit, or made of those planets.
To the pensioners, his body was
almost of the ground—
almost touching it.


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