Archive for July, 2011


July 31, 2011

Omphalos, Again

July 24, 2011

Imagine that the summer’s stringencies
Have found themselves alone
In a garden, so full of bone
Petunias and bone pansies
That the Omphalos stone, full
Of captive water, full
Of bio-mass, with its
Subterranean flow—exhibits ,
In lieu of flowers—cannot pretend
To be our final fortune’s final end.
Suppose instead the garden is an egg,
Its shell, the sky about to beg
Release from all this heat,  a tuft of X,
My friend, a silence, salient, stolen, so complex.

Thought Gate

July 18, 2011

Mouths in glass jars cannot be free.
They speak but without words. They kiss
and smile, they face the anointed wall,
they speak of brick and cinder block
beneath the plaster walls, they speak
of veins in my eyes and in yours…
but then they escape through the Thought Gate.

Do words have words inside that rein them in? Perhaps
it is I who is inside the Thought Gate, for I bring
to earth each day the earth our capillary states
have stolen. It is so pale, this earth, translucent,
and perhaps I alone can see it.
I peer into the jar.
I plant philosophy in the jar.
I am inside the Thought Gate.
I hide the jar in the folds of the earth.


July 15, 2011

Mrs. Gimbal bought me this book, You Made
Me Love You
. She didn’t want to do it.
For three dollars and 95 cents… cash,
as she put it. That’s a lot of money.
A Harry James songbook. You know you made
me do it. We all like Harry James, Jim.
But stop with the Summertime, okay?

The next morning the sheet music to When
the Saints Go Marching In
is pushed under
the door. Play this, the note said. Please, Jimmy.
Play anything but Summertime. I dream
about Summertime. It’s a nice song, sure.
But enough is enough. Give it a rest.
Try Cherry Pink in Apple Blossom Time.

The kids who are playing punch ball, they sing,
‘your daddy’s rich and your momma’s good looking’.
The new newspaper boy is whistling
so hush little baby, now don’t you cry.
In church on Sunday we all sing Summertime, like
it was a hymn. Your daddy’s rich, Jim,
and your momma’s good looking…

This week’s Weekly Charming’s headline starts off,
Neighborhood Noise with the WINDOWS OPEN.
Be courteous. Don’t play your trumpet on
the porch. Play different songs, it says. While we all like
a song like Summertime, it can be too much of
a good thing… Play Over the Rainbow for
tonight, okay Jimmy? Play Far, Far Away.

I’m out on the front porch with my trumpet.
It’s a hot night. Those fat first notes… I let
them hang in the hot air. It’s Summertime.
Everybody is sitting outside in
the heat. It’s 1957. No AC.
The catfish are jumping, I play… Come on,
you guys, I say, let’s sing it like you mean it


July 12, 2011


July 10, 2011

The babysitter sits—as time, as breath.
As time, it could be a baby, a snail,
the dawn itself—and nothing you could kill—
as breath, the  grass around the child, a trail too thick
to notice…a tension, a poultice .

And so the discourse starts again. It’s just
the guts this time. I touch its skin.
And sun will light it all in full array.
The imperative tense begins.
The baby crawls; so much is made of clay.


July 7, 2011

Each word stakes out the territory, boss.
‘I ate the pie’, means that your pronoun had
some other desert. And he deserved it too—
despite his desertion, despite the time
he spent in the desert…
What’s mine cannot be yours; take the gold from
my mine, and my mien,
with only a scant scintilla of ore left
hidden in a soup can, a  soupçon, if you will, of
the ore that should be mine, will deceive you
enough for me to reclaim said ‘ore’, perhaps;
perhaps, by claiming it to be ‘fool’s gold’,
‘who needs it anyway?’, proclaim it, fool,
to fool a fool  with a smile a yard wide
and a yarn to hide my  pride…
for only what is mine  can be your loss—
either that or that ore will cause a war, boss.

Anniversary Poem (Bill to Flossie)

July 5, 2011

Speaking of
the sidereal, I left
the bread out in the rain

again last night.
It’s soaking wet,
ruined, so bloated,

like an unnecessary vow—
but softer
than when fresh.

It’s like the rain.
The grass is so glorious,
so delicious

and so full  of flowers
and yeast again,
I forget the years.

I do.

Your Husband

July 4, 2011

Even the mud must be thinking how it no longer can
comply with the new restrictions, for not
all rivers flow, not in Panama, not in 1945,
and not on the July 4th holiday. Surveillance planes
still land from out of nowhere, and the kids still throw
their dying sparklers out into the calm canal.
Yesterday he went swimming in a lake teeming with crocodiles.
He and his buddies caught a toucan and put it in a cage.
But he can’t write this in a letter home;
I miss you all, he writes to my mother. Enjoy
the 4th. I will love you forever. Your husband.

The parade starts at 10 and lasts to almost noon.
I get a burrito for lunch at Chipotle;
I stop by our Barnes and Noble to read again
the beginning lines of Paradise Lost. …the fruit
of that forbidden tree whose mortal taste
brought death into the world, and all our woe—

like paradise is something to spoon on
hot cereal for breakfast. Like—a cup of woe to go.

Then I drop by my parent’s empty house.
We’re going through their stuff. Upstairs I find
a picture of my mother and father
from 1947. My father is sitting on
a rock in a river with his pants rolled up to his knees.
My mother’s standing next to him.
She leans down to touch his hair.
They look down into the river
like they can see their whole life out there
finally free from the rocks and stones.
They both look absurdly happy.
It’s like every crocodile is poised forever
on the edge of every swamp. And
the toucans, which are trapped, are
all trapped by the daylight.


July 2, 2011