Monday, August 22, 2016

Foundation Myth

Leastwise, they said, they had a proper book,

With “thou” and “withal.” Under a fruity tree
They read and didn’t understand a thing.
She had her hair--her tresses, she was told;
He had the muscles God might give a goose,
Were He so minded. They thought they looked swell.
It rained, but not so they knew wet from warm.

One day the sun went elsewhere, and the leaves
Showed them no comfort. One day she was sick,
Of nothing, really, and then she was gone.
He blamed the varmints, critters in the dark
Who laughed at her and told repulsive jokes.
He said he would remember who she was
And what they did, but what they did was made

A part of where he left, and who she was
He told so many times that he forgot.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Riding the Interstate

At night, half in a daze, I drive this plain,

And here the highway stumbles through the town
Where you lie sleeping in your husband's bed.
Love and anathema rest on your head.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Doing Cambridge

Cambridge is just a town. The B & Q,

The Spar--they sell the things we buy at home:
Bacon crisps, bird nuts, those vacuum-paks of screws.
Doesn't seem much like wisdom habits here,
The flagman said, and pointed at the sign.
To Let or Toilet, one of those. The sound
Of mobile phones or angel choristers,
One of those, unsettled the browsing ducks.
Considered taking wing, they did, but stayed,
And after practiced evensong for crumbs,
Birds of paradise in their bright green hoods,
The porter said. You can't go in there. Them
Is proof of the existences of Jutes,
Angelic doctors, the actutest choice,
And girls so daft they make your head explode.
I pressed my face against the leaded glass.

Tuesday, August 09, 2016

Edible Arrangements

Our friends are celery and thyme.

They’re acorn squash and coriander.
They used to pass the oddbox rhyme;
They used to copulate, philander,
Sweat out of every pore, and curse.
Now they grow grass, and we grow worse.

Our friends are honey locust; mud
Becomes them. No more shop and dance
With anyone who warms their blood
And shtups the lot in true romance.
Eggplant, maybe, and Queen Anne’s lace.
No one grows with a greater grace.

Yam and bo, they were once a pair,
Love in an atmospheric venue.
R ♥ J on a bark is their
Gnarled and edible hostel, menu,
And home at last, the beetles say,
Leaves in the fall and flags in May.

Thursday, August 04, 2016

Born Under Our Bed Sign

Under my sign are born the hard of hearing,

The hard of heart, the hard-up double-clutched
Investigative annalists. We act
Out conversations with ourselves, until
We’ve polished every line to silken splendor,
And who cares if they never happen? Lust
Is academic, omnipresent, pent,
But not exactly personal. A tale,
Worth more than actuality, is told
In Roman periods, by steel dip pen,
To pages not intended to be read.
That is my sign, not her sign. Where she walks,
Firelilies blossom and bombs explode
In anthills underneath the path. The toll
Is glorious among the hoplites. Drones
Behead themselves in homage; cynics rise
Buck-naked from their tubs and bow. She lies
Like rivers flow, by nature. She observes
The holidays of vegetable dyes,
The saint-days of the unredeemed, the last
Rites of Pompeii. The birds all wish they were
Self basting in her wake. They know the signs.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

The Book of Simple

The Book of Simple instructs you how to make

Your gut behave. It tells a tale of long
And distant. How, without it, can you steep
Teabags of Life? Would you like her to be bleached
And buxom, do you need to make her love
The man you were, unlikely as that seems?
You've got to go there. Really. You go there.

Of course it isn't cheap, not having been
Online auditioned or a paperback
At Harold's Half-Price Inwits. There's a crone
In Crawford with a stack in her Tuff Shed,
Guarded by gargoyles and a papillon,
But drop-ins she doesn't like are mostly dead
And numerous. When Lifetime tried to shoot
A movie version there, the black was white.
I bought one at her jumble sale last May.
It changed me round. Now I can call to mind
The minor dramatists I never read,
And then some. And the foxes stop to stare.
They catch some scent, a brief response to pain.

It can't be memorized. It must be read
Each time as though from scratch. The crone once made
A golem in a golden-thread sombrero
Who danced at her command. The April rains
Reduced him to a plaster statuette.
Made in Crawford, it says there on the sole.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016


"Storyville" first appeared in Staple.

Just once? Upon a hundred million times
he woke and learned to speak and knocked her up
and watched her die and ran away and hid.

Each branch of this bears twigs, and each twig flowers.
The children live. The wife runs off. She finds
a man who loves her less and turns her out
to bus the tables of a mining town.

He makes a million - somethings. Dollars. Pails.
He trades the cow for beans. He plants the beans
and learns he loved her more than provender.
But it's too late. She's dead. Or wiping tables.
Or on her way to Jacksonville, where God
has called her to be Sister Angeline.

In one small blossom he is deaf and dumb
and sees his town in black and white reversed.
He finds her anyway. They stay. They live
ever after, just off SueƱo Street.