Friday, October 24, 2014

Security at an Exhibition

We stand where we are stood, assigned to fill
A vacuum till the posh begetters come.
Trust us for that. The portraits say their names,
Whereas our labels are not blessed with art
Or opulence. From pockets we spill keys
And gummi bears and Zippos from the war,
Absent the ruffs and velvet hats. Our skies
Are free of putti, pennies in a jar
Betray no pudgy burgher here. We stare,
But are not scanned. We are the dragons now,
Extant beyond the borders of the frame;
And look at this one, gilt and dark and grime:
The demigods are falling from the trees
Like caterpillars, waiting for the change.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Dead Grandpa Chats Up Hosea's Wife in Heaven

I haven't posted any Dead Grandpa poems in a while, and I know you all are feeling the omission.


Sabbath in Heaven. Again. Unlike Old Nick,
Grandpa may not walk up and down the earth,
smelling a harvest ergot has betrayed
or breathing the salt spray off an inland street.
He look for Hosea's wife for old time's sake.

"'Harlot,' I hate. Kings James's idea. A strumpet
Is what I was. You'd never know it now,
all sackcloth bustier and Eau d'Ash. No, I wasn't
no Pen-e-lope, stuck in the Spindle room,
fending off suitors for a minor profit."

Under the Tree of Life Old Nick unwinds,
his coils gone drab by sinful repetition.
Vice palls, as Virtue, novelty the need
of fallen natures. God says, "Nihilo,"
when asked, "What's new?" He took you back, says Gramps.

Hosea's wife is sure that she was wronged,
round heels in a square bed. It isn't fair.
"I know," she says. "I'd show you what I know,
but will has been redeemed and cannot form
the wish to sell you half-and-half." "I wish,"
says Grandpa. Old Nick, thinking fruit, recalls
how badly people do theology.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Memorial Park

Many have risen. Not all oaks
are nymphs converted. Other folks,
their bite exhausted, left with bark,
arose again, to point a park:
not as a plant, but through a bole,
not as they were, yet as a whole.

They bear their branches. Who believes
that green is all there is to leaves,
both food and feeder? In their arms
they cloud first, then support the swarms
who fancy live apartments. Birds
pay their respects, in other words.

They die, and some are seen again.
Some fall in cords, and some in pain.
These find no end, no fine full stop.
Dead at the root, dead from the top,
bent double as in desolation,
somehow some last. Some consolation.

Monday, October 13, 2014

The 7th Avenue Historic District

Up and down the street,
Committing daily errands,
Jogging, biking, joking,
My proximate gerunds.

The neighbors. They look busy.
So much ado to do.
I sit out front and read
Of romance and virtù.

But stay when I am placed.
I do not jog or joke.
Deflecting passion's flame,
I do not burn. I smoke.

Of that they disapprove,
Although they never say so.
They move along. I sit,
Half like them, and I stay so.

Thursday, October 09, 2014

Kindergarten In Hell

That's the mess. When the brass bell rings,
You find a seat. There's prayers and things,
And then you eat. It tastes like crap.
And then there's prayers. And then you nap.
And then comes story time. You hear
Isaac and Ishmael. The mere
Mention of Lucifer gets you spanked.
You do some chores, for which you're thanked
In homilies--Elisha's bears,
Perhaps. Confession. And then prayers.

Sunday, October 05, 2014

The Future of Extinct Birds

Extinct, the birds are full of woe,
Serried like bowling pins. How could
The nevermore be sad, dodo
A shadow in a shadowed wood?

Why do you say that I am real,
But we are not? You have my word,
I am as dumbstruck as you feel,
Singing the song an absent bird,

Succeeded, sang. If what we say
Endures beyond the tumbled trees,
We still would ride, like birds, away
Upon an undocumented breeze.

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

U Before I

To you a letter. How about q,
Always followed by u, as I
Follow the mark for hay and Hensa?

Too oblique, I know. I know it
Follows, no p to o, but where
We all align, in tidied rows,
Where there are diphthongs we can share,

On monuments a line or less.
O, I say, O. But no one gapes.
They keep, instead, their final shapes.

12 lines. Or several hundred more.
And never again what came before.