Tuesday, November 24, 2015

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.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Pursued by a Duck

Edge of the edge, the ducks explore
Duckitude.  They don’t know it, though.
They nibble at the sludgy shore
While we call names and say we grow

L’homme qui criat canard.  That sedge
Is served them there so we can chime,
We should admit that.  If they cadge
A breadcrumb, panic.  A loup in time,

The ground subsides, the ducks retreat
Like Muscovy.  Here, let us count.
One duck, two ducks: this life is sweet,

When wild in just the right amount.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Chains They Forged in Life

The poems no one heard of populate

This verbosphere, invisible and bleak,
Dottering incoherently in dry
And crumby cupboards, turning old bedsheets gray
On sleepovers, making little girls pale,
Afraid that they have accidentally bled.
Elegaic and embarrassed, full of tropes
Disparaged by Seleucian kings, most tell
Stories of unrequited jealousy
Engraved on stone with sponges, vetted by
The underappreciated and the fat
Recipients of Golden Books and schmaltz.
A few are goodbye letters, never signed.
A few are tax returns, unaudited.
Some lisp. Some swoon. Some have these wild ideas
About the immanence of outer space.
They drool. They belch. Complain. Complain. Complain.
They like a mirror, write they backwards verse.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

The Boy in the Iron PJs

Older by seconds, thus the King of France,

A wig so big the star can’t constellate.
(He thus decreed and fears nor scorn nor sneer.)
A lettre there, a duc by title here,
Leave to wear lilies on his velvet pants:
A little one, whose priors are his fate.

Pent in a donjon, eating mexicorn
From a melmac plate, his eyes like metal dust,
His prayers bouncing off the crumbly mortar,
He waits for the interminable porter
To celebrate the day when he was born
And let him dawn the elder, only just.

Saturday, November 07, 2015

Othello: Crib Sheet

When they say Moor, they mean a lad
Of color.  Black like pitch or coal,
though multi-colored in his soul.
Polka dots.  Paisley.  Tartan plaid.

His wife is white.  As pale as whey.
She has a hanky bleached with salt.
The dark chap has a Tragic Fault.
(He likes to fight.)  (She likes to play

at wifery.)  His sword is keen.
His adjutant is keener still.
At peace, there's beaucoup time to kill,
and we all know what that can mean:

the blackamoor is dead as dirt.
The pale-faced squaw is stiff as stone.
The villain rules the room alone
and will not speak and will be hurt,

which he minds not.  Oh, what a waste.
The colors of our rainbow run
red everywhere, black as the sun
behind the moon, perversely placed.

Tuesday, November 03, 2015

The Age of Heroes

Unrolled, the ball of twine will reach from here

To Sunday next, maybe a little past,
As strong as faith, and supple. Place such string
In hands like yours, you could subvert a world
Of passageways. The monster has to smell
Both us and exit. That’s a lot to ask
Of demi-men and semi-livestock, see?
Somewhere along the way it will sense grass
Or wind on open water, then forget
Its murderous intentions. Clover makes
It sleepy; birdsong, and it drops its guard.
You, with a chunk of rope, a .44,
And proper shoes, could be back home for tea.

And then what? When the monster has been foiled,
The maiden slaked and handed back to dad
To foist her by-blow on a little prince,
The whitecaps braved, the Welcome Home endured,
All speeches, leis, and fatty bullock thighs,
We’ll frame your twine and hang it where Aunt Vi,
The Tutor, and your nubile cousin Daph
Can hardly miss it. What then? There are new
Monsters, of course, but, really, they’re not much
But bags of bone and teeth: blood is a bore,
Philately in person, so to speak.

Friday, October 30, 2015

The Levellers

They clobbered the delphiniums and turned

Them underground. They made the sedum pay
For blooming late and changeably--One Plant,
One Hue, they chanted as they beat them up
And down. We named the battered garden Mud,
The sit in by the sundial, whilst the birds
Enjoyed the spoils of spoliation, Worms
For Everyone. And everyone a worm.

They came back in the spring with bitter breath
And threw their rotten carrots at the gnomes,
The real ones, elder statesmen, not ceramic
Cutiepies. They pissed on the fallen leaves.
And they looked hungry, empty hearted, spent,
As if their gods just really hadn't cared.