Monday, October 24, 2016

Lid & Latch

Inside the damp, torn box a bit of fluff--

Bright hair by Donne. Might be a web. Or lint.
We won't find out today. All lost, grave stuff
Waits for last things. This box, though, packs a hint
Of all the rest: we lie against the grain.
We take up too much time and too much rain

For bone to carry breath. His new, clean shape
Will grieve the man who lived for gasp and catch,
Who free of taint, not bent to bare his nape,
Will climb back in, pull down both lid and latch,
And while his thoughts last, think of sweat. In pain
He saw the light and left it. Bring the rain.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

In the Year of Our Lord

In 1436 the gods of war

Changed their approach and stained their skins, their clothes,
Their reputations, and left the Roman world
For residence in gray geographies.
They bought clean papers, forged fresh fingerprints
From fish scales, and denied the love of men
A role in their affairs. They wanted blood,
Never a tough commodity, but chose
Abstention and the madness of no voice.
They broke their bows, inventing new disease
As more efficient and anonymous.
They drew bad dreams on hitmen fast asleep
And offered explanations via signs
Of nature—clouds and a chemical response.
It was a time of gravity and loss.
They raised the dead, then sent them back for good.
They ate their young and easily made more.
The story would end here, except that birds,
Disguised by night, concealed in brush by day,
Sang their way clear and called it parable.
Later the wise men said it was history.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Exercise: Patience & the Monument

A choice to be alone is good,

Although you haven't practiced much.
Don't walk. Don't hurt. Don't cook. Don't touch.
Pretend your legs are made of wood,

Pinocchian your heart and head.
Remembering is quite all right,
But try to reach beyond tonight.
Concentrate on your ancient dead--

I don't mean Agamemnon's brood
Or Marshall Ney's aunt's brother's wife.
Someone on whom you bet your life
And lost. Back when the world was lewd

And you in touch. All right. Enough.
Now you can make your mac and cheese
And sing what every little breeze
Whispers. And feel your legs. And stuff.

Friday, October 07, 2016

The Tempest

The air is full of music, but the isle

Gets bad reception. Under every rock
Scamper the grubs that were somebody else--
Will be again. The Ghost of Christmas Past
Or The Nobel Prizewinner for the Blues.
Thrones go unoccupied, but fires set
At twilight smell of camphor, and great moths
Sing little liebestods while sailing in.
The stars are green. True love never runs smooth,
But walks at a brisk pace. The wind blows warm
Across the bay, where seals on plaster rocks
Snore gently, dreaming dreams of fish. The eyes
Of magi close as well. The roads are waxed:
Young lovers slip away, concealed by mist
Imported just for them. It rains and rains.
It rains and rains, and ships capsize, the crews
Borne to the shore on water wings. They find
The aborigines, diaphanous
In raindrops, dancing pas de deux, de trois,
Wrapped round themselves and singing, Liberty.

Monday, October 03, 2016

Unruly Breaks the Day

Peep-peep, chook-chook,
The briddes rebuke
And take short wing.
They scold and sing.
It’s what they've donne
For sheep and sonne;
It’s what they do
For gods and ewe,
Fodder and pun.
The briddes review,
Chook-chook, peep-peep,
Who wins, who won.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Apocalypse Now

This first appeared in The Shit Creek Review

The end of things may have come yesterday,
When frozen sparrows dropped from budding trees
And spectral hordes on smoke-stained ponies rode
Suburban streets. With swords. And women gave
Birth to stones. When red anacondas hung
Like plastic icicles from guttering.
Those all seemed predicators. Like the voice
Who spoke out of the sewers, “Be ye not
Amused. This is an actual alert.”
And yet the network news provided live
Detail about absconded brides and junk
Bond status for GM and Ford. I watched
Game 6, and no one said the final match
Was cancelled for Apocalypse. I spread
Fertilizer, clipped a forsythia
Whose day had passed, but which will bloom again
When spring returns and all these frogs are gone.

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.