Friday, September 23, 2016

When Birds Divorce

When wrens divorce, the children fly.

Young tits from broken nests decry
The wounded tree, the severed song,
That feathered fate who hopped along
A bobbing branch, while in the park
A lone and separated lark
Complains to the under-birded blue
That there is nothing more to do
Than lean on a pelicanic thorn
And end with song this garish morn.
Or so the ornithologist
Explained. Perhaps a point was missed.
I caught the gossipy detail,
Who’d been distracted by her pale
Brow and her raven hair, a thing
Reminiscent of a wing.
So scientists construct a plot
That shows themselves where they would not.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Pastoral Care

Rough winds on premises to let,

And summer’s lease is triple net.
The cuckold goldsmith in the sun
Makes melting pots of everyone,
While Amaryllis in the shade
Regrets the choices she has made.

Her bowered beau regrets no more
The nights he spent in days of yore.
Though Amaryllis shine too hot,
He will be spent when she is not,
Which, he suspects, the flock has known
Since they were fleeced, then left alone.

And greener pastures beckon.  Soon,
She will exclaim, this prick of noon
Will feel his autumn felix frost.
Then she is warm and he is lost
In fields of blasted corn and clover,
Rough winds at hand, and summer over.

Monday, September 12, 2016

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.

Wednesday, September 07, 2016

My Republic

This one was in Plainsongs, a long time ago.

To my republic immigrants arrive
with no fanfare of paperwork; they come,
and right away they ask to be left alone.
They want to go where yeoman farmers live
and beekeepers and Latinists.  Old maids
give them each maps and send them on their ways,
unstamped, unnumbered, all unphotographed.

In my republic each one makes a stop
at gift shops which sell baseball gloves and bats
with which they make their own ways to the dark
sinuous backroads of the heartland states,
thence to disperse to dry or forest places.
No one keeps count.  No one’s allowed to do so.
You’ll hear them playing catch in summer’s dusk,

trying to learn to act like you and me,
even the ones who exit tropic climes
in oddball togs woven from unknown bolls.
If not at first, then soon.  They must be just,
like us, and just a trickle, which is why
they all play ball, a sort of crowd control,
the only one allowed in my republic,
short on theologians, long on shortstops.

Friday, September 02, 2016

Inside of Moab, It’s Too Dark to Read

Outside of Moab, they’re replacing Time
With sidewalks.  Rolling either way, they pass
Monuments, which will never now occur,
First heart attack which ended with a kiss.

In Kingman they are stocking all the bars
With Mexican beer and sandalwood, in Page
Nothing but churches and the refugees
From Old California missions and next spring,
The spring after that, and pools in desert towns.
Nothing sets like a sidewalk laid in Time,

Fossilized bugs and palm prints.  Over in Brush,
The Mayor declared that Time was just a myth,
An immigrant’s invention.  He pronounced
Chicken-fried steak the plat du jour; he drank
A Nehi Orange, and Time just washed away,
Like fiddlers on a flood plain in the rain.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Congress is Happier Than Your Hand


It isn’t death, whatever princes say,
Not when I dreamed of sandwiches, and kites
Fell on us all, like panicked meteors,
Leaving us naked at the first alarm.
These sheets don’t wind. These covers aren’t for keeps.

Conceive of dirt as history, says Prince.
If you don’t dust, you’re worth a Ph.D.
In Native Studies: who you were Way Back,
Who was the Who before you were, and who
Taught grease stains how to kiss my lady’s hand.
It isn’t Alexander in a bung,
Not necessarily, but someone’s some
Distance away now, never regretful, made
A building block, like calcium or beets.
Don’t sweep: it might be love. It might be sense
Of history in Bag Type H, sucked up.

We are not quite immune. This ham was once
A pig among his peers, a Gadarene,
Alliteration challenged, equaller;
And now a sandwich of most perfect gist,
Chap-fallen, cheesy. We shall all be toast.
If better not to be done, then pourquoi
Are pillows only broad enough for heads
Solus and undistinguished in the dark,
Though full of these dramatic congresses
With faces blurred? You know it isn’t death.

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.