Sunday, March 01, 2015

An Affection for Battered Objects

More duct tape. In his Weimar he cries out 

For his repair. The rents reach for the sky;
Mere tatters are not held by paperclips.
I had this elephant when I was young.
Look at him now.
 The light is sicklied o’er
With blinds, the last Venetian charity
This man performs in darkness. He knows if
You ask, but in between he is a boy,
The brightest of his class, a lower form
Than he has yet acknowledged. I had these pants—
Envy me, envy me.
 I think I heard
That this had happened once or twice before,
To Adam and Erasmus and a Doge
Desperate to recall flesh on demand.

Saturday, February 28, 2015


Reposted from 2009.  Not much has changed.  FB has helped a bit because I can point people here --  ☞ This way to the Egress.    But if you look for comments, you still won't find them.  It remains true that most of my visitors are accidentals: they Googled "What is Dead Wabbit," and were offered this.

I: But people not named Epstein do too read here, at least occasionally.

Other: They don't, you know. Well, there are a couple regular nutters, I admit that, but only a very few, and they're all elderly shut-ins who talk  energetically to their cats and their hand-tinted portraits of the Queen Mum.

I: There are others, I'm almost certain. You can tell by looking at the map of the most recent "visitors."

Other: Oh, yes--you mean the folks who arrive here by Googling "poems about friction," "poems about recently deceased grandfather," "manifest destiny poem," "short blank verse poem," and "what does elegy in country churchyard mean." They are accidentals; they don't mean to be here, and they don't stay. Have you noticed that when Katy and Rebecca and Trish put up posts, they are pounded by replies? And where are your equivalents then?

I: But they're all...well, they aren't like me in some critical respects.

Other: You were going to say, "They're girls," weren't you?

I: No. Not me. Not ever. They're bright and talented and interesting writers.

Other: Oh, so that's how they differ from you.

I: Never mind. You win. I lose. It's all true. This is the blogging equivalent of vanity pressing your books, the Blogspot version of the Vantage Press. But it's a harmless outlet for my excess energies. Who knows what I might be doing, were it not for this.

Other: Spraying funereal distiches on the underpass, standing on the corner with a hand-lettered sign, "Villanelles for food. God Bless." That sort of thing?

I: No doubt. No doubt at all.

Other: And the last time you had any "excess energies," The Temptations and The Four Tops were in the Top 10.

I: Dayenu. I concede. Let me get back to being obscure.

Other: Who?

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Attenuations on a Theme by Yeats

All right, it really hasn't been six weeks,

And I've been busy. When the circus left,
I was about my less enlightened craft.
Now every motion of my body lacks
The sense of singing. All the animals
Have gone to entertain the shopping malls.

A prisoner can gild a caliph's house
He can't inhabit. Old, I bear the name
I gave myself before my art had come;
And I live in a lodging without lease.
I buff the floors, and still the floors declare
They head nowhere I have not been before.

The cages of the animals collapse;
The clowns have wheels beneath their living rooms.
Too late to try out any other names
Or board the caliph's azure sailing ships,
I sit before a battered desk and wait,
The sound of words like incandescent light.

Friday, February 20, 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.

Monday, February 16, 2015

And the Last Lost Adit

Conceivable the bitter parts, the twa'

Derbies you never brought back home nor wore,
The spats unpurchased, only acted out
With objects made affectional by law.
The piles in which the birds Arabian
Nested during the months of cinnamon--
Them you never saw, the pellucid pools
Wherein begins the mighty Zamazon,
Crocodile-worshipped, head-huntered, and blue
Beyond the sapphires of Mozambique.
(Well, to be fair, you read about the last
In Newsweek, and the children made to serve
Dark lords with hand grenades and empty guns
On pain of death, both fort and dure. They're dead
And nothing like the poster of Seville
You bought in the Rive Right, as faded now
As that brocaded vest you used to wear
To absinthe parties, fond of spongy hearts.)
Still, you have read, the absent elephants
Of Pukkastan--they sparkle like the dew
And trumpet like a glee club in the heat
Of frond-oscura sun--may have been traced
To Adam's Lair, tickets for sale, online.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

When Birds Divorce

When wrens divorce, the children fly.

Young tits from broken nests decry
The wounded tree, the severed song,
That feathered fate who hopped along
A bobbing branch, whilst in the park
A lone and separated lark
Complains to the under-birded blue
That there is nothing more to do
Than lean on a pelicanic thorn
And end with song this garish morn.
Or so the ornithologist
Explained. Perhaps a point was missed.
I caught the gossipy detail,
Who’d been distracted by her pale
Brow and her raven hair, a thing
Reminiscent of a wing.
So scientists construct a plot
That shows themselves where they would not.

Saturday, February 07, 2015

Unidentified Fallen Object

That light from underneath the wendy house?
Aliens praying for our human souls,
Which they use to recover old upholstery,
To plug the cracks in alien patios,
Through which they plunge for hundreds of alien miles,
And end up salting mines.  They keep a light
On day and night, hoping they will be saved
From alien fates by spiritual human stuff.
I don’t know if that ever happens, though.
Our lawn is littered with the crinkled husks
Of something other, something not like us
In flannel shirts and wool sweat socks, and hats
Stamped Alma Mater, Stabat Mater.  Pray,
You aliens.  I wish you all the best.