Archive for the 'poetry' Category

Mr. Senescence

July 20, 2017

There were those that would have wept to step barefoot into reality…                            —Wallace Stevens

A picture of my family:
My mother and father and me,
all wading in some river.

Must be 1949 or so.
I can’t really remember it.
I would have been two.

But my feet were wet.
My father had his trousers
rolled up to his knees.

And mommy had a dress on.
The cold, clean water ran
through our toes.

(I could walk then. )
When your tongue reaches up
into the sky, the sky kisses it.

Yippy yi yo kayah.

The Glories Undefined

May 18, 2017

Through a thrill of flowers that cannot be found
in any other meadow, the slimy vine is
thought to be extravagant; it seems to seep around
the luscious soil as if it were molasses
going uphill in January, cold and numb,
attached like wings to the ‘flesh-like’ roots:
Will the glories come? Will the glories ever come?
Many of the glories have routes
they have always used and have won with.
The glories grow inviolate in a violent mind.
The glories all want this urge to transform ‘kith’,
unprincipled, into a glorious morning, undefined.
But summer’s sun returns day after day.
The sky clears; the glories swell and sway.

 

The Surface

September 25, 2016

Some people die in sorrow,
some, despite the sleeping shadows,
die like a metaphor.
They compare the earth
to some final value, and
they want to weave the forest
into something good:
some  good new man and woman,
some good new breeze,
some good new  plant
that lives like an onion
at  the bottom of the sea
and watches in wonder
at its huge bulbous skin
as it swims slowly towards
the surface.

His Apotheosis

April 13, 2016

I reckon – when I count at all –
First – Poets – Then the Sun –
Then Summer – Then the Heaven of God –
And then – the List is done –
—Emily Dickinson

The casket that carried him away
should have been made with gold inlay.
He was that grand a man, the poet.
And all they buried with him was his white coat.
His head was kept above another man’s,
his cock inside a frock made of silver cloth.
He was that fine a craftsman, brought forth
to engender so regally. The sloth
of mind to trust his kith and kind
with such a wealth of material, though,
for everyone knew how much those poems
were worth, boggles the mind.
Imagine him wrestling with himself
just to find out if he could. Imagine
the crime of the century stolen in free verse—
of worse. Imagine his poem a hearse.

 

A Clown’s Wings

April 9, 2016

The wind’s sole source must be the mountains;
it’s motion, inconsolable.  The sculptor of
the world is blown sand blown around
by idolatries, by sequenced sand dunes,
not the winds per se, and they are not
the terror he’d thought them to be. The winds
would bring him peace—not so, the wings. They were
God’s tools, incommensurable with man’s ways.
You used wings to fly, for god sakes, used them
to go to heaven. When the clown found them on his back,
he found them suffused to his spine and soul.
When the wind blew, his wings lifted him up into the air.
The sky became meaningless, microscopic.
The sky became a happenstance into which he fled.

A Silvery, Slippery Thing

March 20, 2016

I, a silvery thing, come flashing by—
by night or day, I don’t know when.
I made a hook out of my intellect,
and forged it into an icon of man’s ire—

a slippery, silvery thing. My words
enter the skeleton of the mind,
which does not let the darkness out,
nor let the earth’s words sing.

Nor does a poem always rhyme—
it is as if we were too weak or too correct
to say the truth to ourselves—
too weak in the knees, sir, to genuflect.

For I, a slippery, silvery thing, cannot speak at all—
except in the guise of a whole cosmos—
so central to our fears that I must disguise
my voice again—or I will cut you with my lies.

The Battlefield as Winter

February 23, 2016

Indifferent tourists—to sounds, and shadows,
to mice whose teeth grind salt and syntax—
wait in line for the battlefield to open.
The tour guides tread softly across the field.
The shapen snow is so cold it bites the nose
of the unwary and leaves them crying.
You have to pay attention to the dead bodies
to know how the frozen solidity of the land rebukes
the crenellations the solders have left behind.
Crenellations are explained as cut outs in a wall.
The battlements gave height to your position.
Your morals are reified. Souvenirs are taken.
As the tourists climb back aboard the bus,
they caste a glance toward the towers  that gently move
against the astral sky, daylight’s passage.
They live as ceremoniously as the moss does
on rocks, imitating the rocks. The cannons roar,
the nights howl, might the banshee wail?—
we are all taken back to a time when
they were a tincture of the soil, its blood.

Her Gentle Hands

July 5, 2014

The rain comes out of nowhere, thunder first.
It rumbles through the town more like
a rock concert than a storm. Lightning bolts
light up the dark streets with their ancestral ecstasy.
The boy sits on his bike, his newspapers folded
and wet. The gas station on Sunrise Road
is empty but open. The milk truck stops,
then glides through the traffic light.
The boy pushes off into the dark red street.

If only rain were syrup we could use
to sweeten the sounds our words make—
the words they think will come out of your mouth
to stop him, but don’t,
words that will speak your name—
your name along with all the songs to sing before
the skidding truck suspends all sounds—
the sounds that crash as if bottles fell from the sky,
so much like that hissing sound
that lungs make as they finally slow the breath down—,
and of course the sounds of a prayer
so that he could lie down to sleep
where such precious words are formed—
within her gentle hands.

The Sleepers

May 10, 2014

Who dream there is a city full of sentient caterpillars;
Who dream the sleepers, who begin to believe this dream;
Something the brain has squeezed together, say,
Something that allows the groggy and the gasping sleepers
To sleep soundly while the caterpillars climb
All over them. Of course rumors abide. Some say
That the caterpillars must be a dream,
A sort of collective nightmare. Others disagree.
The caterpillars must be the reality, they say.
This is not Walt Whitman with his super empathetic
‘pausing and gazing and bending and stopping.’
This is a nest for the nameless. We want our rights,
They say to the sleepers, not your stupid dreams.
Butterflies, this is our dawn. Sleepers, you must wake!

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July 15, 2012

A poem set to words—
Wind in a swallow’s wings, my
Throat full of footprints.