Archive for February, 2019

The Weariness of the Spider

February 25, 2019


Like hunters shooting at stars too far
from earth, the weariness of the spider
is like a dying panther caught
in a trap at the edge of the savanna
as morning surrenders
to the anger of the sun.


As you burn your brand into
the vastness of the savanna.
I will burn my brand into your skin.
My eminence will trap you
and you will be caught
like I was  caught.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 


The spider is a weary lioness
who sits at the fringes of the savana
and thinks, despite the sun’s acuity
she will wait until night to eat.
The stars  will be visible then
And  the hunters  will think
their light is the same light
that shines in her  eyes.

Staged Fight

February 23, 2019

Enter Hamlet, stage right. To be or not,
He has never acted in a play before.
And Horatio thinks he looks tired and wan,
Too worn down to murder Gonzago, much less
Kill Claudius. He looked more a model for

A stage hand than he did an avenging angel.
Still, a play is a play, and to sell them his version—
To grapple with them— along with
A wandering act of provincial players—
To Horatio seemed an odd way to convict a king

Or to believe a ghost. ‘Your honor,
He over reacted. He must be guilty.’
—of something, for the king could quickly claim
Innocence because of nonsense, a crime
Brought in churlish spite to play in a play.

Yes, the players could speak trippingly on the tongue.
And, sure, they could incorporate certain changes
In the text…. Or hold a mirror up to nature… but…
What of it? Listen: The angels are weeping, and King
Claudius was entertaining, and he is still the host.

The School of Pure Conversation

February 17, 2019

The Entire of Elsinore

February 16, 2019

A gravedigger need not be grave. Nor need
He be alone. Horatio stood alone and grave;
Hamlet had wanted him to ‘stay center stage,’
As he put it. ‘Sententious, stentorian
And smiling.’ Elsinore was a war.

Now he wanted more. ‘A play is the thing.
To kill a king’. He wanted real proof before
He and Yorick could ‘off the fool’. He wanted
‘A truth with truth’. And more. Horatio knew
What was wrong. That fucking ghost could be

Just about anything, a stray specter,
A glint of light in the wrong eye, a rip in
In God’s fabric, anything. Anselm’s proof
Of God had proved it all. Existence was
That which cannot be allowed to fall.

But soft…for a mise-en-abysm to work—
And this is surely what Hamlet must have had
In mind—a crazy quilt of reflections
Would have to be in place. The entirety
Of Elsinore’s sin would be needed. El-sin-ore.


Valentine’s Day is just around the corner

February 12, 2019

A Most Excellent Fancy

February 12, 2019


Horatio believed the laws of heaven
Should be obsequious to the laws of earth.
God coughed. Only the lonely holy boy
Believed that god was stretched beyond Himself.
God loomed. God boomed. The land began to pitch…

The ghost was unhouseled, disappointed,
And unannealed when he died. He was
Condemned to walk the earth in chains, plagued
By illusions. He needed the night to end.
Horatio needed indulgences for the king.

In a cloud made radiant by the sun.
Like a turtle digging a nest for eggs.
Only to release them into the frenzy.
Of sinful murdering crows. Dependent
On tides, on winds, the moon: gravity. .

Few turtles escaped into the sea.
On horseback Horatio escaped to Rome.
You could buy an Indulgence for the dead there.
He would free Hamlet if he could crown
Hamlet’s fathet dead—a most excellent fancy.

The Bird of Dawning Singeth All Night Long

February 10, 2019


Horatio dreamed indifferently when
He slept alone—which was most nights. His bed
In Wittenberg was narrow and spartan,
but his dream this night was more like a song
made special by the maid, Ophelia. He dreamed

of Hamlet’s face, wounded and bleeding and poisoned.
Ophelia sang in a hushed whisper:
The bird of dawning Singeth all night long.
The bird of dawning Singeth all night long.
Over and over, she sang: a sentence too short

for the very reflexiveness the words
implored—Horatio’s dream tragedy
of Hamlet’s dream of Ophelia.
The very artifice of her bright song
would lead them to their death.

The cock began to crow. All was not right
in Denmark. Horatio lay panting.
He had come all this way to witness
his friend’s death. Barnardo awaited,
Hamlet awaited, Silence awaited.

Applause, Applause

February 7, 2019

The sun was fast approaching.  Horatio
Saw the curlicues of clouds as they licked
Both the horizon and the distant sea.
The tide in Denmark always smelled of fish,
The kind Hamlet used to eat at the castle

For breakfast, a ‘hamlet omelet’, as poor
Yorick would say, cracking jokes as he cracked
The eggs. Horatio silently smiled, in spite of
The horror he’d just seen. Hamlet, the king,
Still walked the earth, or his ghost did, a man

They once owed fealty to, now a ghoul
Left haunting windy moors, his face a mask
Kissed by death. Horatio knew he was bound
To tell the Kings son, Hamlet. He must come here
And see and talk with this strange apparition.

A quickening: a noise: a rustle of feet:
A voice calls out, ‘Who’s there?’
A trumpet: applause: applause:
But look, the sun in russet mantle clad
Walks o’er the dew of yon high eastward hill.

Catch and Release

February 5, 2019

Just as fish hang in scales, their weight to be
Determined by the pull of gravity,
Their sales reflect what fishmongers must see
Belongs to a season’s inclemency.
And you propose to reason so…to fish!
To me, it’s a calamity, served cold,
Like a revenge plot that becalms a wish
instead of a smile winsome, wise and bold.
But wait, a tug. The line is running out!
Saint Walton preserve us, I may be hooked
on my own petard. By god, it’s a trout
just in season, declaimed, weighed, booked.

     The poem makes catch-and-release seem pale
next to my trout, so much more like a whale.