Archive for August, 2009

Calliope Grieves

August 16, 2009


The crowd looks up. It seems so rude. Spotlights

Search through the audience. He looks okay,

This ‘professor’, as he comes to the mike.

The tux looks new. Think James Mason here, not

Brando. Oleaginous, perhaps, but not

The first ‘overly sophisticated’

Curriculum Vitae to dance for us.

A-one, a-two, a-one, two three—

Got that? Go…


I’m running. Like the god is darkness and

The lights go out. A kind of stunned silence,

As one and all whisper: that’s it? That end,

It sounded like poetry. But way too short

And minimalist, minimalist in

Extremis, we all think. In the worst way:

‘Borges, Pessoa, Kierkegaard,’ he’d said.

‘All of them giants and all of them dead.’

And then the lights went out. And running feet.

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It’s Late

August 7, 2009

These pictures trouble sense: the abject walk,

A frontispiece of misery and dejection.

Just chintz and prints, my buddy Ray says.

We are supposed to be in Egypt, I guess.

But this Pharaoh, he’s, like, the king of all

The known world? I don’t think so. It’s beyond fake,

The faux Pharaoh, the ersatz Dynasty,

Put together in Las Vegas or something.

Then a picture of the Nile comes up:

Bulrushes, a felucca…could

That be Baby Moses floating down steam,

His head up, smiling at the camera,

A big toothy grin? Giving us the thumbs

Up sign? Well…

The last picture is a hollowed out log,

A ghost emerging from the stump, a fog

That is about to flow and coat the known world:

It seems to smell, foul and bog-like, like it

Would smell outside the frame, spilling off

The trompe-l’oeil, to fool the eye. And nose?

And stink up Pharaoh’s Pizza Emporium?

‘The World’s Best Pizza. This side of De-Nile.’

A groan from Ray, as he gets change for music.

And when the pie finally does show up…

After like 40 minutes of jukebox

Wooly Bully and 96 Tears

…my God, ambrosia, thin, crisp crust,

Just the right cheese…and real tomato paste…

Hey, no denial here. Pharaoh, my man,

This is great stuff, I say. Great pie. A pause.

Why, I could write a poem about this, I say.

You know, pyramid pies and Cleo’s calzones…

Naw, says Ray, don’t do that…

Besides, it’s late.


August 2, 2009

So solemn—

The sparrow does not sing to (the) Ra(t), it seeks

His shadow and his substance. It sings

His death. So (you too) stand in the shadows and wait,

For when the sun declines, so does His power—

Like an aviary of suffering,

Frantic flying, everything trapped. A card

That says ‘assassin’ comes from (the word) ‘hashish’,

Not admonitory just a plan fact.


The next panel—

…as though

Each death, unique, each act a whisper,

Can measure what is not, can measure

One by one, the death of one’s health—

(Or so they tell me, these flowing birds,

As though they knew…)

A puzzle, but there is a story here:

(The silence is…)

(The space is…)

…as to the crows, they know

The true extent to which they will

Be sacrificed, as if that will

Universalize itself in thought.

As if…


(A note to myself:

Look up ‘stochastic processes’,

And ‘artificial paradise’

As Baudelaire conceived it)—

And finally this fragment:


The sky in reflection can possess

Only air and clouds and rain—

And yet, it remains whispering…


I write another note to myself: to please,

Please look at (Fred) Sandback’s work, look at

The line and the language of line, how he

Resolves the two, hypocrite lecteur—

Then: (string is unemotional. But this is not!)

Speak as they please, what does the mountain care?

It’s time to leave the cage, to stand outside

The aviary (and burn the bodies)

And take…take one last, long look inside…

As if we could. As the assassin strikes.