Wednesday, July 30, 2014

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.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Independence & Resolution

for Douglas Wilson

Listen, he said, the sound of flies
Above the riffle, that bodes well.
The old man sat, in sad surmise,
And thought of revelation. Hell,

He told us, when the world was new
And we ran guns and gerunds sang,
I watched the mountains turning blue.
Ecclesiastics never rang,

And girls were disappointed I
Moved them along. Now I can hope
That when my grey habiliments die,
The Queen will wear a dab of crêpe.

The music of satiety,
Which has no wings and does not grow
In memory, plays endlessly
And only strikes the notes we know.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Our Little Furry Monsters

Well, yes, there could be little furry monsters
In local garbage cans. They might be trying
Cumbersome alphabets with broken twigs.
They could be adding 1 plus none plus none.
Primary colors, cunning speech defects,
And shaggy. You would think that they would stink--
Eggshells and tea leaves, vacuum cleaner bags
Filled with hair, dust, grit, gravel, ash, and pebbles.
Leaves, butts, dead flowers, Kleenex wads, and shredded
Stuff. Stuff is the word, the bland adhesive
Which binds us bone to bone, passionate motes,
A minyan for a landfill. Where was I?
Ah, yes, the monster with its glass of milk
And cookie, with endearing mustache crumbs,
Though where the mustache ends and cheek begins
Is mere surmise. He has no bottom half.
Bones, hair, teeth, dolls, eyeglasses, wedding rings.
You wonder that there are so many monsters.
"Mingle," their mothers told them. "Go on, blend."
Monsters among us. Who'd have ever guessed.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Summer Blockbuster

Summer didn’t differ that much from spring,
Not the first day. The sprinklers and the dogs,
The blossoms where the bees crawled, and the night
Which wasn’t quite the day because I saw
Less of myself, which didn’t bother me.

Then it grew hot. And windy just the same.
The tree of knowledge only bore dried fruit;
The columbine flourished, and the chiles made
Mad bombers of the wasps. A chickadee
Drank all the water in the collie’s bowl
And fluttered like a wiffleball. I mailed
My manuscript To Whom It May Concern,
No one yet having been; but this had heat,
A love triangle, scalene, sweat and skin.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

They Flee from Me

And the small birds flee. Me, I lurch
Down the brick path, as though the fence
Were a destination, low church
Of last resort. Sing in past tense,
I warn the high birds on high branches.
They can feel light. I can feel dense
Bricks and palings, boundary chances
To stand firm. And the small birds sing
Inexplicably. See, they search
For song, they say, in everything.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Move along, please. No vampires here.

I hope "The Strain" is a massive failure, no matter how well done it is. I have no animus towards anyone involved, but I'd like to see the whole vampiric enterprise die for at least a generation. Obviously it plucks some sympathetic chord and endlessly fascinates millions; but between the Twilight utes and those walking dead chaps, I'm quite drained. Why are vampires so popular? Why now? It can't all be a metaphor for hedge fund managers.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

What, This City Park?

Potpourri printed this one.

Here is God’s plenty
--Dryden

I watch the garden mythologically,
predator swans beneath the victim trees
whose limbs still twist, the Zoo a generation
of sweat transforming semen. It may be
the tail of the tapir holds statistical
significance, as flexible as a god.

Look at the fountain, all carved heads and mouths
smiling in blindness, O-O’d in stone terror,
or blank, as though anomie were their defense.
The flowers soil themselves with seed: they once
cried to be changed, and now they are, they are.
The coral snake remembers better days

when he swam double-breasted in a rain
of terror. There are peacocks in my path.
Two antelopes who can’t elope because
Jove pinned them in begetting to the sand
until they begged in heat for hooves, they made
story. A bullfinch twitters. From my first

fable up to the present, who has been
transformed by hormones, given plumes, and sent
to brood odd young in armor? Who’s been paid
for charm in stars? Who started school but came
back home a tale of fantasy in feet
some free verse mortal thought too cute to count?