Sunday, August 31, 2014

The Goön Folk

Their pilgrimage began before the light,
Before the squabbles of the little birds
Pilgrims forswore. And they were going where?
To where the road concluded. Since this was
Their latter days, that just might mean the sea,
The culmination, surely, of strange strands,
Pounding a plainsong once, twice, dot, dot, dot.
They’d rather it would end against a wall
Invisible to those of little faith,
Studded with jasper, joined without a joint,
And crowned with fire or with Dagon’s roc
In chains, something spectacular, without
Curios at the exit, something none
Knew substantives sufficient for. They brought
A change of shirt, a charger for the phone,
And water double-filtered to remove
Impurities. They sang car tunes without
The words, not all the words. They thought they’d left
The word behind, the first rest stop enclosed
By plastic fence. The map said, You Aren’t There.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The Dead on Arrival

The number of the dead in Pasadena
Exceeds the grasp of man. Who would believe
You couldn't fit another body in
Another hole, the green so green, a sponge
Extended to its fullest? And the dead
Continued to arrive. From Ypsilanti,
Louisa, Chillicothe, and Gig Harbor,
The dead, the poor, the affluent, the dead
Came rolling in like breakers, but the shore
Declined their cold attentions. Thank you, no,
The living said, and didn't say much more,
The declinations, courteous, ignored.
So many, light, and losing heft, their last
Ride a return. Where was that ticket home?

Friday, August 22, 2014

The Girl in the Red Honda

Knights fell a lot. And there they lay,
Lumps on the grass or in the mud,
Their armor like a suit of clay,
Rescuing maidens, giving blood.
The dragons chuckled, and the maidens
Planted cherries in their gardens.

Cherries ripe, but very wrong
For knights encased. Whenas they ride,
They sing, but every note of song
Is lost to echoes deep inside.
The ladies listen, if they can
Desist from planting pits for man.

We leave our dragons in their caves.
We watch the maidens drive away.
The knight are cool, but agile thieves
Thrive in the distance. Dawns the day,
And knights are bold and old and gone,
Cherries ripe in the subtle dawn.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Casual Labor

Later they claimed they hadn't known the truth.
It might have been a train, a didgeridoo,
A kid bleating across a bottleneck,
And not a woman trying to break free.
Gods are capricious. When he let her go,
He hollered Boo! and farmers in their fields
Puckered up tight and drew their flocks in close.
The woman cried herself into a daze,
Humming and shaking, giving prescient birth
In 24 hours to a superstar
Who grew to his full self in a couple weeks,
Released the hounds, throttled a blatant beast,
Then took to the road, a casual laborer,
Beating up bachelors, just for fun, at night.

Sunday, August 03, 2014

Regime Change

Grandmothers throw themselves into the street,
Caterwauling, burning their ancient caches
Of diaries and grosgrain lingerie.
No more to hope for, now that loss has come,
Unpacked in the great room, fixed itself a snack,
And cut the landline. Tell the tailor no:
Alteration belongs to yesterday.

The authorized watchers do not want to watch.
Where younger pain explodes, this just hangs on,
Nor all that long. The actuarials
Identify themselves and confiscate
Running shoes of the stationary kind,
The keening widows and the flattened fraus
Not vigorous enough for knitted sleeves.

The grandmothers grow smaller, they retreat,
Much larger women on their wedding days.
Their children now have dewlaps. Here come vans
As big as percherons. The women grip
Their sorrow and will not be dragged away.
By morning they will be a little field
Of husk and hull, a compost now assoiled.