Saturday, January 24, 2015

Measured Nautically

Nautical miles away, does that make me

closer or farther? I should look it up.
The dictionaries loom across the room,
as you lie over endless waters, measured
by any span, piratical or not.

If I could picture schools of kippers pushing
a v-shaped wedge of water on their way
to be your lunch, or hear the blue whale sing
Songs of the Psychedelic 60s, we
still would be stumped by distance. I am quite

as close as thought-waves. I could rig a gizmo
out of a curling-iron, colander,
extension cord, some rock salt, and my belt.
Where would you plug it in? Someone forbade
compatible power in our different lands.

I'll tie a message to a tuna, let him
slipstream currents, resting at fish stops. If
he pulls up lame, we're hopeless; watch for him
to greet your shore as tired as a dove,
bearing a stalk of salt-soaked celery.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015


The first snowdrops are showing.
Carol loved them dearly,
Under all that snowing.
Carol marked them yearly,
Said when they'd appear,
"Through another season, safe another year."

Friday, January 16, 2015

The Daisies Mown

from These Denver Odes

The daisies mown will blow again.
The moon pines not, nor is dismayed,
rejuvenating without pain;
once man into his grave is laid,

he is no more a man. His dust
may someday form some form instead.
It won't be he. The new moon must
return; but man, when dead, is dead.

So you, figured like Helen, bright
of eye, Celinda, will not see
how good you look, made up for night,
to be illumed like Semele.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

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.

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

An Advent Calendar

The austere plain is only my front yard

At 2 a.m., and me without my glasses.
These are not angels, drifting in the wind,
Browning and brittle skeletons, the shape
Of feathers, strings of light, and Christmas stars;
But they will do. The lawn is edified
And passes on its wisdom. In the genes
Of adjectives the flexible is made
Customary, a quiff of clothes for skin
Which cannot bear the touch of falling leaves,
Of fallen princesses, of yellow bones
Made into grass, made into trees, remade,
Remade with no trick ending while it sleeps.

Saturday, January 03, 2015

On the Road to Little Pacification

By stage, the journey, shorter than you think,
Consumes with interest the time. Those heads
You pass, for instance, stuck on rusted pikes,
The burning martyrs praising their foul judge,
Half-naked women selling anathemas--
Where is the like in leisure, safely sound,
Petting the family dog or boiling grits?
It takes a trip like this to fill the mind.

We stop at The Remorseless Inn for brunch,
One price fits all, relieve ourselves, then wash,
And head for the Humble Counties, home of black
Kine and those hunting dogs bred out of wolves.
Consulting our horoscopes, we do not pause;
Our journey has the urgency of faith
Beset by trimmers, little men, and gray
Ecclesiastics. Soon it starts to rain,
Thus mud prevails. We are above such things.

Thatch is espied, then woodcocks, and the tang
Of peasants burning wintergreen: they keep
Their spirits up, sure, broadcasting the fate
Of unbelievers in a weal of woe.
We have arrived, credentialed, to be kissed
And flattered, and we order each a grog,
A sandwich, and a leg of wench. Ah, home.
Someday it will be home. The savages.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

A Babble of Green Fields

County after county,
green field after green,
land of good and plenty,
filling in the rain--

who knows what the people,
blessed by county airs,
do to keep them simple?
Up the wooden stairs,

they are what they should be,
common-like and poor.
Of the woodlands woody,
moorish of the moor.

We of course admire
simple little lives.
Bless us, if we spare
a glance for graves and wives,

prior to our mansion
flats and massage showers.
Older than our fashion,
these the little hours

and ceremonies lost,
like counties in the rain.
Green fields like a ghost,
passed and passed again.