Monday, September 30, 2013

Jeopardy!


Millard Fillmore

Fame is fleeting. A bubble. A male duck.
What is that green head, shining in the sun,
doing here on this inland parking lot,
carrying on like some deaf alto, crying
as mournfully as Thomas Wolfe in flight
and waddling to boot? Oh, ghost, come back,
be lost again. What is obscurity?

Babe Ruth

The summer you remembered me you ate
candy bars like—like candy, sure. Oh, Henry.
We lay on that bed in that apartment maybe
714 times. When you
came up long on your period, you left
to take a walk. I am not waiting now.
I think that you aren't coming back. Who walked
and struck out more than any other player?

The Venus de Milo

It was a dark and stormy night. We fell
back along the line. We walked. Some wept.
Jesus wept. The tracers lit up the dark.
I thought of you. I thought. I didn’t know
the name of the man on either side or if
they thought of beauty when they wet themselves.
Oak Park, Illinois is extremely distant.
And clean, too. What is A Farewell to Arms?

The Daily Double/The Dead Sea

You can’t sink if you try. You have your own
specific gravity. Padlock and chain
will float like plastic tub toys, but, the smell
will certainly remind you, you are here,
awake and fettered, not because you are
rectitude personified and beloved.
What will occur on Resurrection Day?

Browning

An alary formation, sounds of which
barely achieve us groundlings. Straight due north,
the last person who saw you said you were
headed. He told me, leaning on his rake,
trying to tidy up the harm he’d done
the grass, which only wanted to grow longer.
Point of view is everything. The absent
decline to state theirs. Have them, though. What is
a good idea before you cook your goose?

Final Jeopardy/Julius Caesar

Eppie can be affectionate. Or not.
Tone of voice makes its contribution. Mal
grand, petit; but mal afflicts us all,
the seizure of the mind. The child is old
enough to have its own child now, if child
was there when you reached there and built Dun Roamin’.
The noblest roaming of them all, but we
who drew our cloaks over our heads and died
forever in one morning needed no
umpire to announce if we’d been fair
or brutish. Who, to poets’ betterment,
died at the hands of friends and made a name
synonymous with dynasty? Et tu?

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The Spoils of Colby

He says he has the Eagle of the Ninth
For sale. He says he bought it secondhand
At Wagonwheel Collectibles in Colby.
It doesn’t come with provenance, he says:
He can’t afford to DNA the stains,
Though you can, if you want, on your own dime.
They found it in a yard sale up in Vail,
Where folks have follies, know about the used,
And might speak Latin. That’s the bit that sells,
He tells me. I said, empire is dead.
It’s only lost, he says. Eagles can last
Longer than vandals wearing furry suits
Who pocket pillage. They can transfer wealth,
But not create it. I bought used CDs.

Sunday, September 08, 2013

Mannering

Rain penetrates. You wouldn’t think
a solid shell would fail its past.
Back when they built a house to last,
the generations, link by link,

seasoned the walls with soot and steel.
The rats have come. Thick as a brick,
the door performed its only trick.
Now there is nothing left to feel,

no ambience but topless stairs.
The leaves pile up. Sir Morris Grouse,
beneath a stuffed and fraying mouse,
forgets the lineage he shares

with Puddleman and Bundderlice.
Mildew has come. Port circulates,
sinister towards the broken plates—
blood pudding, kidneys, sheepshead twice

baked. There once was a chandelier.
The rooftree sings. A missing pane,
inscribed in diamond, brags in vain,
The Men Who May inhabit here.

Thursday, September 05, 2013

Eppur Si Muove

My fellow Americans, I come rehearsed
with lies. I have prepared a tableful
of whoppers for you; if they are consumed,
the presents of your enemies are yours.

Knowledge is numbing. No one talks about
the right and muscle of the full deception.
I bring you what-you-will: turn it around,
read it upside down. It still will be true.

I've decorated it with cloth rosettes.
I've loaded every rift with anecdotes
for which there is no cure. I'll make you sick
with longing never to be undeceived.

The earth is round. The earth is flat. It swings,
it jitterbugs beneath a smoky heaven.
The angels shimmy to be heard at last.
God is because we say so, and he moves

funky, but we are sutured to the spot
provided, swaying, cervically up.
The world is waltzing very, very slowly:
we are because we say so, but we move.

Monday, September 02, 2013

Tales Out of School


Happily ever after, says the wolf,
Picking his teeth with Granny’s rib; the Prince
Is thinking he should let the zygal float
Against the oobal, now a muttonchop
Graces the front of his pink currency.

From hard-boiled eggs and crumbly cheese and pears
A girl can make a picnic, but a myth
Requires meat, not osiers; the bird
Who doles elusive clues is never served
Fajita-style. Granny works best for that,
Digesting in her aged, sinewy way,
Her juices turned to lupine sentience
And thigh muscle and slaver. When we grow
Old ourselves and have grandchildren to tell
The soothing psalms of bedtime, we shall lie
And say, The woodsman split the wolf in twain,
And Granny tumbled out and smoothed her dress
And baked a cake and spread the counterpane.
The child will sleep. We too shall check the yard
For prints. And listen for the wolf. Aha.