Thursday, January 12, 2017

The Expatriate

For extra credit he remembered much 
That wasn’t worth remembering, forgot 
The kinship he had promised to except 
From discharge, and demurred at growing up. 
It made him charming, like a short-term loan, 
Lots of interest there, so he changed his name 
To Amaryllis-in-the-Shade and wept, 
Or said he did, at auld acquaintances. 
The Times that try men’s souls, he did not read, 
Other than archived, knew that butterflies 
Were thinner on the ground than yesteryear, 
But worms more frequent. Mr Lowly Worm, 
There was a name for next week, if he made 
Next week as Amaryllis-in-the-Shade.

Friday, January 06, 2017

Early Onset

Lordly dinners and waistcoast made of fust,
Gold, and the kind of glue schoolchildren use.
Gardens of flowers chosen for their names--
Verbena and wisteria and rue.
Cigars and women and women and cigars.
And ice cream, said the little boy. You do,
His father said. And so the women, too.

Yet I’ve forgotten everything that counts.
Without my mother’s maiden name I can’t
Access my bank account or climb the tree
From aunt to cousin, cousin to The Manse
Wherein the steamer trunk of crowns and pounds
Is kept for an emergency of love
Or kidnapping. It never will be missed.

Sunday, January 01, 2017

Mystical Truths of Astronomical Illumination

Who can believe the luminous moon
Is lit by the sun? Here? In the dark?
Science is not some kids’ cartoon,
Where falling anvils leave no mark
On trees who are singing in the park;
And the dish runs away with the spoon.

It glows because it’s happy, bright
With sweat and pleasure from within.
It romances the earth at night,
Wolf-whistles at the frabjous sight
Of you in bed, and shines with sin
At second hand. You light the sky;
The moon absorbs. What science knows
Ends at the treetops. Wonder why
At night, between the breast and thigh,
Your silver duvet glows and glows?

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Duck, Duck, Duck, Goose


Ducks, the feathered biped, take to the air
And are transformed. We should keep faith with dirt,
Carpets and planking our relatives; but ducks
All but turn cartwheels, launching off of sky,
Air to air missiles. We are only earthed.

You wanna buy a duck? You say, Duck, duck,
A bird. Who cares? I ain’t afraid of birds.
You say the secret word, and what you win
Is life eternal, if you’ll only die;
And who brings down the news, who marks the spot?
A duck, a duck. Your kingdom by a duck.

We lay enmeshed in eiderdown, a pair
Professing satisfaction and perplexed
Our fluid situation had been stanched
And we were now what we were going to be.
She twitched the duvet, adjusting me, and hoped
I wouldn’t take too long to be re-lit.
A fire for my fireplace, she said.
She threw the cover back; unfeathered, made
A sight an angel would have molted for.
Ducks died so you could show yourself, I said.
What a canard, she answered, moving in.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

A Sentimental Christmas Poem

A mystery play is why
We say again this year,
And me a Jew and dry
As ash on toast, Good cheer
And peace on earth. And stuff.
And, no, it’s not enough.

I never met an elf.
I fed a reindeer corn—
He picked it up himself,
In truth. When you were born,
Redemption might have been
Avowed, pomaceous sin

Cancelled. But maybe not.
The land of snow and ice,
Marprelate and marplot,
Is far from paradise.
We murder to dissect,
Said Wordsworth once. I checked.

And nevertheless we are
Together on our grounds,
Pretending yonder star
In ancient flaming Zounds!
Promises you to me.
And here we are, we three,

Wholly a family,
An hour now or two.
This is the trinity
Available to a Jew:
For this an angel came
And vouched no greater claim.

Friday, December 16, 2016

The True Meaning of Christmas

Can we expect the box of books to come,

Pat by Twelfth Night and just in time to save
The meaning of Christmas from The Tartar Kings,
The Merovingian Mayors, and The Last
Of the Mohican Princesses in a brief
Deerskin corset, stiletto moccasins,
And arrows Nessus's poison painted pink?
Lebkuchen while we wait. You watch the door.
The FedEx guy's already late. He stopped,
I'll bet you anything, to sneak a peek
At Lord Jim on the Road to Mandalay.
He's cracked the spine of Christmas, Baby J
And paper, bound to tell the death of kings,
The sport of lepers calling round the world,
The time is right for reading in the street,
And we are dead and dying for a word.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Pleasure Comes In

from These Denver Odes

Pleasure comes in short supply,
grace and favor, bit by bit.
Who promises contrariwise
tells innocently blue-eyed lies,
believing she's believing it,
Philpot. Celinda made me cry

that once, but that was yonks ago.
Today I merely miss some sleep.
If this one tells you you are strong,
and she will love both sweet and long,
the little bit of pride you keep,
kiss it goodbye. I ought to know.