Archive for March, 2011

Trees Do Fly, Old father…

March 31, 2011

Just don’t say that—for I would sketch
the chalice of time, not the compromise—

for trees do fly, old father.
It’s true. The sap that
can climb the cellular ladder—
with leaves and birds, the old artifacts,
the spiders and flies, bugs and caterpillars
that can fuel arcs of light and arcs of flight—
would end with old disgrace
without your steady hand on my shoulder.

When you planted this tree
almost forty-five years ago, you were
younger than I am now. I get a chair out of
the garage and sit in the sun. I have
a sketch pad and a fresh box of crayons—
Crayolas. It is as if you planted this
selfless and leafless tree
for me to draw today. Something to think
about before we sell your house, I guess—
a breath of continuity. Hence the crayons.
Hence the winter tree starved
and waiting. Hence, something to sketch
before the leaves fill in among
the branches, for…

For it is spring,
and this tree, it can lie.
Daddy. Okay?

What Emerges

March 25, 2011

Mary, another beauty,
Bethany—from Beth
and Anthony—the Bethlehem Babe,

who sings while we sleep,
and cries when we wake.
A giant child made to look

so much bigger than she
could possibly be.
The surprise of spring,

elevated by our high- toned songs
and heightened language.
Our warrior—once copied

by spitting chewed and salivated earth
on cave walls,
a child that—strangely—is

one with all our human thoughts.
She is so still so as to be what she is not,
this creature of the sounds that cease

to seize our human thoughts.
The white noise and the passing accolade.
Ho-hum, another god, another incarnation.

All Others Overhear

March 16, 2011

To the two Johns, Jan, Janus, and Jane
(all others overhear): Here  I propose
a toast to the prose/ poem divide:
prose is so natural, we get it all at birth.
And so poetry must be music justified,
each word justified, each word music, all
a part of the composition the world admits.
Before you know it we’ll be burning
incense scented candles
and drinking sweet muscatel wine
(old crones, low moans,
ice cream cones, koans,
bank loans, sticks and stones)—
Prose is deep but natural, prose is social,
prose can propose, poetry, such repose,
and such longueur.   Prose, prose,
poetry. Prose.


March 16, 2011

Annunciation Song

March 14, 2011

raise grief to music
–Louis Zukofsky

We populate earth and death in
an attempt to
inform humanity—
its scent, its sentence, its poetry.
And blessed be singers who sing
of man, woman and child, the antenna
of provocation,
an obsession of dust, among
wild bones…
The jaw drops.
You earn your vocabulary.
The arm beside me begins to open, burn.

Freddy goes to Florida

March 7, 2011

The great train goes by like a great but grainy owl,
like a black-and-white two-reeler that’s both
a movie and a mnemonic—oh yes!—

each view a polished memory, each stop,
each station, each picket fence, every tree
a hiding dryad! (Freddy’s read his Keats.)

He smiles. We’ll go easy on the dryads.
It seems there is a rumor on the train
that Greta Garbo is traveling incognito

under the name ‘Mrs. Wiggins’. It seems
that he, plain vanilla Freddy, has been
ID’d as Fatty Arbuckle en route

to Florida to star with Miss Garbo
in his first talkie. What an idea.
Mrs. Wiggins as Greta Garbo!

He is reading the book of poetry
he got from that rather heavyset man,
an insurance lawyer from Connecticut.

Rumor and amour, he thinks. Poems about
love. Freddy turns the page.
O Florida, he reads. Venereal Soil.

Hey, he says. Hey,
this is good.

Freddy, an Unguarded Moment

March 4, 2011

As Freddy dreams—the sunshine on the grain,
the sunshine on the corn, a coin drop in
one’s own mimetic bucket, so to speak,
this—portal— this great backyard—opens.
Oh, I adore it, he thinks, laying back.
It is summer. It is. How summer it is.