Archive for January, 2013

A Luxury of Knowledge

January 31, 2013

How intriguing. Aunt Gracie’s final words,
her epitaph against the sky, has revealed
an audience for poetry, strangers,
come from the funeral, awaiting tea.

Her parlor looks like an empty parking lot
after a summer’s baseball game.
The kids have all gone home, of course,
half winners, half losers. Outside

the beast moans as if he finds
our tableaux-vivant insipid.
The beast moans again. It’s his tea,
after all, so we sip it.

Equidistant from his desire
and from our eyes, is this sentence:
If poetry is the luxury of knowledge,
pity the poor sky…

So be it, Aunt Grace, tea and poetry.
One hundred and seven years on the planet,
and now you’re dead, so much like
a final poem left in an empty valise.

Assault on a Simile

January 25, 2013

All whiskers are like a cat’s whiskers.
They tend to frame the face the way a frame
Does a mirror, which is something like a pond,
In that both are in essence reflection—
But consider, my friend, how different the
Reflection when the pool of water is empty
And the sky is clear, and when M. Descartes,
About to bathe, is standing  there,
And Christina, who is not at all like
A tiny Christ, sits watching in a chair
Brought from the royal palace, where René
And she would discuss his philosophy—
Which is like the mouse the cat must finally kill,
And unlike poor Descartes, come down with such a chill!

Parachute Subdued [Proust, his Pajamas]

January 20, 2013

Compare, with its slow descent to earth,
which combines gravity with a poverty
of movement—just compare it to
the flight of any bird—that fills its girth
with air, with a gentle smile of a  birth
that only Marcel could come to
regard as poetry, a chance to taste
the very air we breathe, as he would say,
his great nightgown a billowing cloud
about him. Compare this amazing parachute ride
with a great white whale rising in an effort
to meet a cloud’s fall from the sky. Compare
all that with a sea as clear as a lagoon.
Compare it with Marcel, alone in a room.

Goarskill

January 14, 2013

Tell you why. Corruption of ‘goats’.
Used to be a whole pasture of them out here.
‘Kill’ is Dutch for river, sure, but
Concision can be a wound too deep for suture.
The goars kill, that’s all. Slate sharpened.
But perhaps you’d like
To wade across another river
Or ramble aimlessly in another pasture—
The Goars is always all we are
Even as the shadows
Surround our meadows,
Even as the goat and the water spar.
The rivers grow so still.
The Goarskill finds those rivers. Kills.

Little Girls, Little Boys (Newtown 9:30 AM)

January 1, 2013

A time for children you can’t quite hear,
the source of eyes that starts to speak, then begs,
as if they want to curl their tongue around your legs
and cry. Think snakes become an ordinary fear.
Think of a prism fired from a gun,
an impact inside a mirror no one can see,
the gods of glass, of glass majestic, cutting free
the rainbow from their skin, a shard’s fun.

And if you can’t repeat the drill—how to lock
the door, to pull the curtains tight, how to close
your eyes and make it depend on sight.
How to tell your ears to fill the noise
with something empty: empty bottles, say, empty toys.
How to die and not be dead, my little girls, my little boys…