Friday, August 23, 2019

Sad Stories/ Death of Kings


Let us not decorate the doom of kings
Whose bubbes forecast for them great events.
They mostly whined about the dearth of gold,
Misplaced dominions, and the gaucheries
Of bathrobes. Celebrate the concubines,
Whose cheeks, at least, were pink at either end.

A woman camped outside the coffee shop,
Atop a mountain of her own debris,
Swears she was once the Queen of Shangri-La.
No need to disagree. She crossed her heart,
Whispering to her phone, pennons at dawn
Creased by a zephyr, yaks upon the green
Below the castle wall, some blend of blue.
She's got a swatch she'll show you, the same shade.


Sunday, August 18, 2019

Please Take a Moment to Locate the Exits

King of the Night, he is.  He doesn’t like you.
He doesn’t like your backstory.  Your charm,
Like Bottom’s bottom, isn’t something special.
The mists of midnight blow away.  You stand
In the Aisle of Target, looking for your shoes
On shelves of mouthwash, rodent spray, and cans
Of 3-in-1.  King of the Night, he says,
“Wet cleanup on Aisle 7, where the lute
And zither sale  has just concluded.   Please
Exit the store, and, listen, don’t come back.”

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Non Plussed Ultra

Something’s not right--the dog has too many legs,
The poet is rhyming punch with anaconda,
You in an iron mask, a gun in hand,
Thought balloons overhead. Alarming stuff
For those not yet acquainted with the dog,
Whose genial nature only wants to please.
A centipede for love. A friend in need.
But why not a sword, which better suits the mask,
If not the miniskirt, balloons so full,
They’re raining everywhere, the proper nouns
And action words. The poet is nonplussed.

Nevertheless, each sun must have its day
To shine on its constituents and tell
Its tale, or maybe that’s the comet, come
And gone, not to return, until next time.

And, no, conclusion has not come. Not yet.
Not while an aunt is upstairs rhyming fish
And threatening to wed the chest of drawers.
Something will come of this, something sublime,
Like peonies or chifforobes in flames.

Thursday, August 08, 2019

Light Concludes in Lightning Bugs

When the sky was a vault, the stars were stuck

To the underside. We wished for luck
On falling decals. First the sun
And then the moon blinked off for fun,
Relit for entertainment. God
Was merciful, but very odd.

Grounded, alfalfa didn't care;
And cherries ripened in an air
Closer to home, where pigs agree
That slop is their theology.
The decals slipped and fell at night,
Yet there was no decrease of light.
Piercing terrestrial disguise,
We brought them home as fireflies.

Saturday, August 03, 2019

Jeopardy!

Millard Fillmore

Fame is fleeting. A bubble. A male duck.
What is that green head, shining in the sun,
doing here on this inland parking lot,
carrying on like some deaf alto, crying
as mournfully as Thomas Wolfe in flight
and waddling to boot? Oh, ghost, come back,
be lost again. What is obscurity?

Babe Ruth

The summer you remembered me you ate
candy bars like—like candy, sure. Oh, Henry.
We lay on that bed in that apartment maybe
714 times. When you
came up long on your period, you left
to take a walk. I am not waiting now.
I think that you aren't coming back. Who walked
and struck out more than any other player?

The Venus de Milo

It was a dark and stormy night. We fell
back along the line. We walked. Some wept.
Jesus wept. The tracers lit up the dark.
I thought of you. I thought. I didn’t know
the name of the man on either side or if
they thought of beauty when they wet themselves.
Oak Park, Illinois is extremely distant.
And clean, too. What is A Farewell to Arms?

The Daily Double/The Dead Sea

You can’t sink if you try. You have your own
specific gravity. Padlock and chain
will float like plastic tub toys, but, the smell
will certainly remind you, you are here,
awake and fettered, not because you are
rectitude personified and beloved.
What will occur on Resurrection Day?

Browning

An alary formation, sounds of which
barely achieve us groundlings. Straight due north,
the last person who saw you said you were
headed. He told me, leaning on his rake,
trying to tidy up the harm he’d done
the grass, which only wanted to grow longer.
Point of view is everything. The absent
decline to state theirs. Have them, though. What is
a good idea before you cook your goose?

Final Jeopardy/Julius Caesar

Eppie can be affectionate. Or not.
Tone of voice makes its contribution. Mal
grand, petit; but mal afflicts us all,
the seizure of the mind. The child is old
enough to have its own child now, if child
was there when you reached there and built Dun Roamin’.
The noblest roaming of them all, but we
who drew our cloaks over our heads and died
forever in one morning needed no
umpire to announce if we’d been fair
or brutish. Who, to poets’ betterment,
died at the hands of friends and made a name
synonymous with dynasty? Et tu?

Monday, July 29, 2019

When Dis is Done

Nobody thinks about Persephone

That much, though here she is, a normal girl,
Stolen away and raped in Hell by Hades,
Betrayed by fruit, although her mother is
The goddess of breakfast cereal and toast,
Dazed, dim, and bleeding in a sooty place
Even the iron heroes couldn't stomach.
6 months off for good behavior, and 6
Back, was the best deal even Zeus could cut,
And you tell me you have no time to think
Of Proserpine (you see, even the name
Is changing), and the innocent's allowed
A line and a half of Milton, which is more,
My dear, than you and I are due for Hell,
And we were not that innocent, besides.

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Under Groby Great-Tree

This appeared in Iambs & Trochees.




This is the anodyne. It dogs
The hand that bit you. Reigning frogs
fall upwards, then, and abdicate.
This is the awkward watch, the late
piecemeal of time your father handed
off, before the day demanded
help, before the poison took.
Listen. Babbles. On Groby Brook
the paper boats all have departed:
sodden, sank, too heavy hearted
to arrive. The guests have begun
to wander off, and one by one
they seek release in solitude,
but not in love, nor meat, nor crude
imaginings of quick relief.
There is no pain beyond belief.
In Groby House, on unmade beds,
the servants set down weary heads,
and slowly the predicted dark
begins to cover Groby Park.