Sunday, May 25, 2014

Quiet Flows the Don

They hid the old professors in the sub-
Scriptorium, in carrels made of wood
And chickenwire, gave them wi-fi, let
Them roam the stacks, as long as they were late.
They were, they always were. Was found: puns bent
To fit into the pretty bursar's door.
The bursar's gown was torn and gluey, stained;
Her person was a vacancy in time
And apprehension. Dr Rathbone wrote,
The Oxford comma marks the gentleman.
We cannot find a one about her person.
Condemned, he was, for pronomial pride,
Then built a stand behind Collected Works,
Blue and maroon, with peeling paper labels,
Accessible to none and dead to all.

Friday, May 16, 2014


Dear Abbé:

We are pent up in our loft,
Too stippled to sing, too poor to buy new clothes,
Ladies and gentlemen, too sick to beg.
We tell each other stories. I'll be quiet,
She'll be at peace, and when the fairy says,
A plugged sou for your thoughts, then mum's the word.
Orchids could never change our little love.
Once she is dead, I'll be a notary
And practice barratry; when I am dead,
She'll move to customer service for the mob.
Someday, God willing, there will be crème brûlée,
Amoxicillin, and some warmer clothes.
Till then they hum, who do not know the words.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Well, I never

Something called says of RHE poems, "The website doesn't contain questionable content. It can be used by kids and is safe for work." I gather that "safe for work" doesn't mean "won't cause industrial accidents," but something more like, "You won't get fired just for clicking on it." I don't know how it would be "used by kids," but I am quite sure that it does contain questionable content, else what's a poem for?

Friday, May 09, 2014

It Takes a Villeinage

This appeared in Plainsongs.

In high dudgeon, as horsehair crests exude
Manliness and confidence and ye olde
Tyme-iness, the warriors each produce speeches,
Spontaneous and metrical and crammed
With tropes, the bridge across Antiquity
To Meriwether Lewis Junior High.
It doesn't span it, quite. Into the cleft
Fall sleeping children, doomed to curse and rail
Like Thersites and feofor-princes. Better
To be a live shoe salesman in the Loop
Than eloquent in school libraries, pent
On clammy shelves in dusty inglenooks
Where Edie strips and Bobby Millstone waits.

Tuesday, May 06, 2014

A Theory of Composition

Poems who sing emerge
To unexpected light.
Like morning, they are caught
By those expecting night,
With shreds of dream attached
And dripping from the sea,
Their private parts worn bare,

Saturday, May 03, 2014

Spread Sheets

The cash alone was not enough.
It made the flagstone terrace slick
And all the shutters red and bright;
But consciences are black at night,
And cash does not afford a light
When even sheets and spreads are rough.
The dead are still, and eke the quick.

Gelt not so much. The dead forgot,
The live forsworn: but in the dark,
Where they go on, but you would not,
You can't buy room. There is a lot
Of that in Zion Perfect Park,
Home to the absent. They were all
Live on the margins. Came the call.