Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Hic Jacet

Like a commercial, death by quantity,
For that most dismal catalogue of names;
And we are pikers, grieving by low primes
And little stones on picayune display.
How dare we? asks the Russian winter. How
Now, this memorial mound of mismatched socks?

Have you not heard of Blutenwald? they ask,
Who populate the textbooks. No, by God,
I haven’t, but I blush, ashamed of 1,
3, a handful of minimum loss--
A butcher, a baker, an artisan of light
In watts too small for speakers on the Platz.

No one in history bears names like these,
Compiled like dogs and cats. They have no dates,
Vice-consular assistants; no pink rose
Tells aphids how they’re called, in Latin yet.
It snows on them in aggregate. It rains
On mockingbirds, on shrews and shrubs. On mine.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Wait Till Your Cow Comes Home

The winter cows are coming home
To roost. From fields of cinnabar
They file a-lowing. Near and far
They look the same and sound the same
And know their antecedents are

Preposterous. In barns tucked tight
They chaffer over wisps of hay:
O have you heard the news today?
LaToonya will be coming late
To tea, and why, no one would say.

They cannot hide and are not heard.
In dreams of petitpois they rouse
The King of Cows to build a house
Where he is warm and they are ward,
Where cats surround the shrinking mouse.

Friday, July 07, 2017

That Old Black Magic

Ants, they may whisper, but they’re hoping for
Something preposterous, something more the size
Of Cincinnati, something which can catch
A mortgage in mid-air and snap its neck.
They may say shadows, even in the dark,
But what they mean are little men with knives,
Carving their names in the venetian blinds,
Altering light. Dressed up they may exude
The confidence of snipers, but they wear
An amulet of frog hair on each wrist,
Boasting that they walked miles to cure DTs.
Under the bed the suitcase is packed, the tag
Tied with a chain cased in a plastic sleeve,
Directing it To Whom It May Concern.

Monday, July 03, 2017

Devolvus Still

Devolvus, underground, preserves,

By lying still, his fraying nerves.
Yet in the sun, his brother walks
Above, and steels himself with talks
And chatter, as if they were kids
And wonted. And no mom forbids
One’s shoes inside or singing loud
Or hamming it up to please the crowd
Of featured hangers-on. If he
Should wish to lie there quietly,
Devolvus doesn’t say or swear,
Since he has time to spill and share,
By wit, by verve, by joie-de-not.
What was that punchline? All forgot.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Lying in State

Once the day began, the full
English breakfast well disposed,
all was well, and all was well.
The doors and minds and blinds were closed.

The coaches glided by, a ghost
brushed and curried at every pane.
The pigs, two years before their mast,
policed the park; down Primrose Lane

a masked man with a bag marked Swag
scampered and capered, free at last.
There seemed a lout for every lag;
at each semi-detached a cast

of Nelson or dear Albert stood.
We shouted as the trees went by,
depeopling a laburnum wood.
The dwindling hedgerows filled the eye.

Now for a cuppa holy grail
and biscuit. Down the wet cement
parades of plastic bags, how frail
the castle and the elephant,

seeking lodgement against the cold
whose day is coming. Hear the late
cobblestones crack. Come sing the old
songs: our ladies lie in wait.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Virgil & the Bees

appeared in Angelic Dynamo


we have rather chosen to fill our hives with honey and wax;
thus furnishing mankind with two of the noblest things, which
are sweetness and light.
--Swift

A flat gray stone absolved of dung and schmutz,
Warmed by the sun and near, not in, a grove,
Proximate to a meadow, not to sheep,
Unthinking sweaters on the hoof, at hand
Running water for sound effect: then sit,
And you will find the bees. Theirs is a mind
Unfit for your accommodating self.
Like physicists, they are absorbed by thoughts
Too pure and rarefied for you. They work,
The autumn ever coming, honey from
The dandelion and excrete a light
So fine it makes divine commedias
A piece of cake, a holiday of dusk.
He listens: you can see him move his lips,
No buzz, no hum. Hexameters like glass,
The shape of cells, coincidentally--
They were invented to store wisdom, wax,
And pollen effluents. Thus you have flowers,
He thinks, stung by the notion Dido walks
Amidst gray flowers she can never touch.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Elder Than Springtime

He was the elder. So he had been told.
He felt it, too. So much to take on faith,
But this, not this. He grizzled as he stared
Into the mirror recollecting zilch
Of what made him the elder. And of age,
A twist of this, a week of that, whole years
He called to mind in no detail, except
The colors of the calendars and shapes
There for memorializing the months, like May
Bedecked with buds and always breasts, but none
With heft or veins. A birthday cake of shrubs
And columbines like candles, and the wind
Which did not quite extinguish them, but made
Counting unlikely. In the dark he saw
The eyes of March, a fall of fallen leaves,
But no one younger, elder though he was.