Monday, November 12, 2018

And the Last Lost Adit

Conceivable the bitter parts, the twa'

Derbies you never brought back home nor wore,
The spats unpurchased, only acted out
With objects made affectional by law.
The piles in which the birds Arabian
Nested during the months of cinnamon--
Them you never saw, the pellucid pools
Wherein begins the mighty Zamazon,
Crocodile-worshipped, head-huntered, and blue
Beyond the sapphires of Mozambique.
(Well, to be fair, you read about the last
In Newsweek, and the children made to serve
Dark lords with hand grenades and empty guns
On pain of death, both fort and dure. They're dead
And nothing like the poster of Seville
You bought in the Rive Right, as faded now
As that brocaded vest you used to wear
To absinthe parties, fond of spongy hearts.)
Still, you have read, the absent elephants
Of Pukkastan--they sparkle like the dew
And trumpet like a glee club in the heat
Of frond-oscura sun--may have been traced
To Adam's Lair, tickets for sale, online.

Wednesday, November 07, 2018

ABC

In Sumer love kept lovers warm;

And from a distance cuneiform
Sufficed to substitute for flesh.
It was the same in Marrakech,
Where swirls and loops conveyed the sense
Of sworn and forsworn innocence.
It was the same where love idyllic
Begged to change in Old Cyrillic
Blush for a satiated sigh.
Even in rebus, with this eye
I name what I hope soon to see,
Writ in a language new to me,
The legend of the Holy Grail,
Spelled out for touch, composed in braille.

Friday, November 02, 2018

Alone in the Afterlife

At least the leaves are crispy, and they smell

Of cinnamon. Kick them aside, they float
Like butterflies and settle on the trees
Who held them last. There are no promises
Of stars beyond the stars I see. The fox
Rolls on the patio and shakes himself,
A Canis Minor. Everyone I know
Still loves me -- better, loves me now, at last,
At once. The fox trots back into the woods,
His little dance insouciant desire.
My coffee smells like it was made from leaves.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Odysseus Leaves the 7-11

Odysseus stopped, turned to the monitor
The clerk was watching. “Odysseus,” she cried,
The black Calypso, as she wrapped her legs
Around the Italian claiming he was he.
“Damn all these pronouns!” said the wily hero.
“Say what?” the clerk enquired, with what passed
For courtesy among a swordless breed.

His shipmates looked to have been coifed by nymphs,
Or Ganymede, maybe. A talking pig appeared.
“Some pig,” said Circe. “All you guys are swine,”
The wired clerk said. Odysseus believed
The gods who sent him here did not make change,
Except for sport. He thought Penelope
Entitled to a break from his attentions.
“Some pig,” she told him, just the other day.

A rosy-fingered Dawn was fingering
The donuts filled with wine-dark jelly, hoping
He’d speak to her. She was prepared to boil
His clothes and give him shelter. No man looked
Past her like that; crafty Odysseus,
Accustomed to being No-man, took his change,
His Lotto ticket, and his Diet Fresca,
And thrust into the night, seeking a storm.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

A Poem Unrequested

The mice knew first, the crickets and the small
Wrens, who muted their music in respect.
The Bigguns had no reason to expect
A coming, first or second, so they all
Went to the circus, laundry, or the mall,
To buy some smoke detectors could detect.
And then they bought a family to protect.
The beetles sang, We shan't shut up till Fall.

Somewhere the news was posted. In a paper
Of general circulation, someone read:
Death shall have no dominion, being dead;
But he was only someone, not a shaper
Of big opinion. Big opinion heard
Interruption and said, Shut up that bird.

Friday, October 19, 2018

Old Kings and Things

Ignominy thwarts both

King Cyrus and his cook,
Whose name was Xx3.
I know, I know, you took

King Cyrus 101
And learned him in detail.
You had him for your tea.
You bought his socks on sale.

His bedpan holds your soup.
His cook is dust and hair
And someone’s sidewalk salt
And someone’s Dutch au pair.

Your Cyrus is an art.
His cook is a disguise.
It rains their blood and bones,
And slaves fall from the skies,

And children in their beds
Cwtch up to ancient kings.
Old dogs on counterpanes
Bark at transparent things.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Winter Leaves

This appeared in Poetry Proper 3.


Look, have I mentioned how the winter leaves
Resemble bronze? That statue of a tree,
It is a tree. The art of standing still,
Of keeping still till everyone forgets
The name you had when swords were haute couture,
When bronze was for an age, and dryads slept
With bark for blankets, that you still possess.
Have I not watered you when it was dry
And promised that the birds would love you, too?
Some day a god will build his nest from hair
He took as a trophy. Some day he will kiss
Confusion into legs and roots, some day;
And men will cut themselves on winter leaves
And swear eternal love, day after day.