Sunday, May 22, 2016

Mortal Lovers

Year on years, pages and pages, 

I have soaked myself in sages.
You who come here, the unwary,
longing to complete your knowledge
in the ventriloquil college,
pause, perhaps, but do not tarry.

All these parti-colored bindings
bind the heart in all its windings;
flecks of red on green and blue,
all they are , all they stand for,
saturate the heart with candor.
They are what you turn into.

Daphne, who, however stately,
could not be the god who lately
ran her down amid the clover,
Daphne’s lovely, green, and shady,
but had rather been a lady
with a flawed, a mortal lover.


This appeared in Lyric, a long time ago. Had it been written yesterday, I'd have used initial caps. I was tempted to change it, even now, but I suppose something is owed to the poet I was when I wrote it.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

And This Was Only Monday

What do you say when trees begin to dance –

I see you, though I don’t know what you are?
Look at the starlings fall out of the trees,
Indignant anyway, now mortified.
There in the moonlight, starlings on the grass,
What will they tell their mothers? I was mugged
By Terpsichore
? The world is just as strange
At Adam’s desk, where the blue screen of death
Devoured a fortnight’s work complacently,
And he has organized Consuela’s name
In paperclips. A pigeon on the ledge
Begins to sing a Kindertotenlied.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Lente, Lente

As old as Moses, balm from Gilead

Can’t touch this, more like stale Rice-Krispie Treats
For knees, when I remember they’re my knees;
And still the angels whisper numbers, like
Da-dum da-dum dum-da da-da dum-dum.
I can make English of it, only barely.
Slowly, slowly, the horses of night arrive,
Tacked for a king in black, with golden reins,
The stirrups folded up across the saddle.
Believing that the fairy tales are true,
I bow and wait for one to speak, but can’t
Quite straighten up. Dum-dum dum-dum dum-dum.

Sunday, May 08, 2016

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.

Tuesday, May 03, 2016

The Hesperides, Such As They Are

The Raintown Review for this one.



Here there are no rough winds, and here no snow
Disturbs construction: twig by twig they nest,
The birds of summer. Here we have a plan
For wasting time, not spending it; the gold
And lilac spring dissolves in pools so brief,
The grass absorbs them like a sponge. We sing
Like blackbirds; but without the gift of song,
Soon forgetting what we were singing of.
Our trees are wrapping pits in juice and flesh,
Dressing them up for going underground,
Absent of light, flowering memory,
Ready to take one for the common good.
Within the hedge our fledglings ask, How long?
And even birds don’t dare to say, Forever.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Major Bear

Although I'm cracking wise and quoting Yeats,

explaining all the voices Kant can't do,
the damn bear won't look back. He has a den
accessible to meat- and berry-men,
but not to those whose popcorn-covered cates
feed just themselves. He may live in a zoo,

which is his loss to bear: but one must buy
goodwill from prisoners. He can smell my heart,
so fat, so crowded, from this far away.
When I go home to betty, he will stay,
a bear among men, a bear who will not try
to rise above his nature. Take your art

to some museum, where a red Matisse,
resigned to gilt, rectangularly framed,
hangs. Never shuffles. Never craps or roars.
Blinks not. As squares dance in the in-of-doors,
my bear is moated by such white police.
Die, will you? Do. The bear will not be blamed.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Tomorrow in a While

Tomorrow, or tomorrow in a while,

After you lay down secateurs and pause
To watch the housebirds swoop, and when you smile,
Thinking of what a wilderness it was,
This little eden, when the warmth of order
Makes of fatigue a friend, when you install
A sense of fence along the gravel border,
Carving out here and here and here from all,

Remember that it was not always so.
Change uproots comfort, stains, then shatters, glass,
Packs up a house in boxes, hands to weeds
Their lasting triumph. All disaster needs
For flowers to be overcome by grass
Is one small crack through which the wild can grow.