Sunday, October 13, 2019

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.

Tuesday, October 08, 2019

Goodbye to Poetry Month, And About Time, Too

They asked for something simple.
They asked for something plain--
Something about a flower girl,
Something about the rain.

I really don't do simple.
I really don't do clear.
That's not what these eyes look at.
That's not what I can hear.

Obfuscatory nonsense,
Effete and out of touch,
They told me, and I thanked them.
I thanked them very much

And offered them a sonnet,
Recondite and blue.
They said they didn't like it,
Not that it was untrue.

Thursday, October 03, 2019

Plot Points

It wouldn't take me long to build
A monument --  to stuff, then gild
A cassowary or a grub,
To stain a fence and plant a shrub,
Install umbrellas all around,
Stick Latin mottoes in the ground,
And plat the place with a snazzy name.
Of course you would have died of shame.
Much better to lie in the dark,
Pretending night is a private park,
Charming the mob away, who knew
Nothing of me and less of you.

Saturday, September 28, 2019

Exterminator 20:2

The rodents in the wainscoting
Are singing: Praise to God on high,
By which they mean--I've no idea.
The cat, perhaps, the Man of Pie

And Edam. Or a giant mouse
Who takes no shit and never begs,
His tail contorted by a trap
And dying from his broken legs.

A little song, a little dance,
A little seltzer in the pants:
Not for the pious mice who keep
An eye on life and death. The chance

To be a better mouse is not
High on To-Do. They settle for
An Oysterette, some sour rye.
Their god and appetite are more

Than any mouse can bear. They go
Gently, and they do not return.
Some life, some death, some little guys
For owls to eat. They never learn.

Monday, September 23, 2019

Foundation Myth

Leastwise, they said, they had a proper book,

With “thou” and “withal.” Under a fruity tree
They read and didn’t understand a thing.
She had her hair--her tresses, she was told;
He had the muscles God might give a goose,
Were He so minded. They thought they looked swell.
It rained, but not so they knew wet from warm.

One day the sun went elsewhere, and the leaves
Showed them no comfort. One day she was sick,
Of nothing, really, and then she was gone.
He blamed the varmints, critters in the dark
Who laughed at her and told repulsive jokes.
He said he would remember who she was
And what they did, but what they did was made

A part of where he left, and who she was
He told so many times that he forgot.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

The Worms & I

They do not come to see me in this hole,

My buds and bloods. Perhaps they share the shame
And largesse of disaster. Who would bruit
His kin's confinement in an earthy cone,
Tapered for retribution? All the worms
Are laughing, mind you: they don't see the sense
Of wider welkins; blue just makes them blush.
My Uncle Thad threw rubbish on my head,
The Daily Mirror wrapped around a bun.
Perhaps he meant to plump me. Kindness comes
In kits, to be assembled as you like it.
Aunt Alice led him off, her voice the twin
Of heavy rain on mud. There is no bed,
No sleep, no sanitation, whereat worms
Stand up and cheer for everyone but birds.
I pray for commutation, they for dirt.

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Casual Labor

Later they claimed they hadn't known the truth.
It might have been a train, a didgeridoo,
A kid bleating across a bottleneck,
And not a woman trying to break free.
Gods are capricious. When he let her go,
He hollered Boo! and farmers in their fields
Puckered up tight and drew their flocks in close.
The woman cried herself into a daze,
Humming and shaking, giving prescient birth
In 24 hours to a superstar
Who grew to his full self in a couple weeks,
Released the hounds, throttled a blatant beast,
Then took to the road, a casual laborer,
Beating up bachelors, just for fun, at night.