Thursday, December 14, 2017

Good Cheer & Local Color

There’s been an incident at 5th and 6th
And 73rd and 58th and Elm.
I see dead people everywhere, except
On S. Lipan and Penny Lane and Stout.
I don’t know why. Rellenos on the wind,
The sound of magic flutes, the frail red duff,
Oranges and lemons: still the bones pile up
Just above Congress Park, on Ruby Hill,
And where the Carpet Warehouse has been closed.
Come home tonight. I found some bottles of
Whatever could be bottled up. Not these,
However emptied out the scuffed-up rooms,
Annoyed to be anonymous. Here come
The incidents of Christmas Past passant.

Saturday, December 09, 2017

On the Lam

Less, as he travelled down the broken map
To where the creases made the names a mess,
Than he remembered, still some fun, the dogs
A decorative nuisance, shifty signs
Ambiguous in all respects save mileage,
And roadside stands with contraband for sale.
He bought a stolen hat made in the Bronx
By emigrants and wore it for the wolves
Who counted campers, praying for the lame.

Where he would go from here, his dapper car,
Less suitable in every state, would say.
He hoped for string bikinis and the tang
Of salted sand. Tonight he'd settle for
A hero high on rye and pay-per-view,
A six pack of a beer nobody drinks,
Still in its plastic semiotic sling,
And wind that made the cheap storm windows creak.

Tuesday, December 05, 2017

Plus Jell-O With Tiny Marshmallows

Better unnamed: the carnival of dark

Imaginary emperies, the rose
Unpurchased for the girl unasked, the night
You drove poor Dixie to the Greyhound lot
At 19th Street and Larimer, her ghost
A fraction of the spirits she possessed.

Nothing articulate can be recalled.
Faces go fuzzy when you concentrate.
Better to go down in a haze beneath
The Magic 8-Ball’s promises, behind,
Year after year, and only gaining ground,
Mortgages and the Mastercard, as room

Service arrives. It’s better you don’t know
The name of the town, whose Really Super 8
Desk clerk said The Golden Corral was good,
70 kinds of salad, so you can’t say
How your Unfinished Symphony will resolve,
Even if everyone else already guessed.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

John Ransom's Garden

Kicking the leaves aside, I find a garden
Waiting, pale and helio-thwarted, seeds
Gone wild, which hasn’t henceforth proved a guerdon
Sufficient to combat saracen weeds.

Oh, till us, quoth they, fork and petty plow
A weaponry that fallen earth believes.
With pail and can they may be good enow.
When weeds are yanked and die, sir, no one grieves.

Unto a flower root and stem aspire,
Which then will seed to make a root a stem.
To probe so low, they needs must hie them higher.
I like the parts best, still unseen of them.

Thus is it often, paladins unknowing,
Consequence witnessed. What inaction forces
Lies, time in earth. O lovely flower showing
Benighted us, the dim tree light immerses.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Memorial Park

Many have risen. Not all oaks
are nymphs converted. Other folks,
their bite exhausted, left with bark,
arose again, to point a park:
not as a plant, but through a bole,
not as they were, yet as a whole.

They bear their branches. Who believes 
that green is all there is to leaves,
both food and feeder? In their arms
they cloud first, then support the swarms
who fancy live apartments. Birds
pay their respects, in other words.

They die, and some are seen again.
Some fall in cords, and some in pain.
These find no end, no fine full stop.
Dead at the root, dead from the top,
bent double as in desolation,
somehow some last. Some consolation.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Nothing of the Kine: An Idyll

Horrors, the lazy currents seem to spell

Saxon-ish imprecations on the pond.
Pathetic in their fallacies, the frogs
Croak in distaste; the serried midges form
An arrow pointing at the horrid words,
The word made wet, a stranger in their mist.
If words could kill, we all would die, the cow
Observes beyond her fence. She has been told
All cows eat grass. I don't know if that's true,
She tells her stablemate, but why take chances?
I wager it is so, and so I eat.
Grass is its own reward. The shrieking pond
Is turtle-proud, but in a world of woe,
We keep to beaten ways, as best we can,
And distance ourself from the shellfish sort,
The gravitas-less insects, and the fowl;
But, oh, how the amphibious betray
Lack of commitment. Low, she says. We're born,
And no one knows a single thing thereafter.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

A Way, Awhile

When winter came, they were not ready. No
One is. And though they'd seen it all before,
They never thought of winter any more.
That time had gone, and no one heard it go.
What did they have? A leaf or two to show

Succeeding generations, who would smile
And think how quaint the Old Ones were, who never
Took off their clothes or painted something clever
Or died for love or died for peace, whose style
Was okay in its time, away, a while.