Saturday, July 25, 2015

Their Widened Apertures

Girls in dresses on bicycles with baskets,

Streamers from the handlebars. A wet April
In a dry year, and they pedal warily
To market, to market, to buy like a lamb
Their new décor, more than observers deserve.

Higgledy, they head home here and there, thither,
If that may be permitted, stilled by the eyes,
The boys’ widened apertures, the precursors
And post-. Into the sun with them, pink streamers
Streaming, spring girls the headstones of the winter,
The corpus of the fall, where they wend, ridden.

Friday, July 17, 2015

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.

Monday, July 13, 2015

How Green

In valley towns the elder ways
hang on like dad’s chums; they struggle
to pass their habits on, their genes
long since committed, best they can.

And if the kids, and the kids’ kids,
break out into docklands and loft
flats and little gated enclaves,
the valleys shut up.  Keep mum mum,

keep dad, too, ligature thin, hope
he doesn’t speak, he’d only cough,
a lucky strike, a lost best hope.
The kids spread, their new jeans low slung,

vaunting how they quite disavow
vernaculars, forget the terms
for tucking in.  The valley mouth
shrinks.  There are runes hidden inside

cereal boxes, bottles filled
with elderflowers.  The kids come
for funerals; haply they praise

famous men, the powerful wind.

Thursday, July 09, 2015


Scraping away their dirt, you find--

The time-intoxicated dirt,
Rich in polysyllabic orts
And nutrients, like red roe deer
And tallow chandlers--roots and bones.
We have those here. Around a shrew's
Skull you can see the withy threads
Of something growing somewhere else.
Our soil is fed by little songs
Of composition: Here lies one
Whose name was never writ at all,
Genius and species, gone to seed.

Saturday, July 04, 2015

Final Exam

The fractious verbs, the adverbs soppily
Lagging behind, explaining as they weep—
What good are they to those like you and me,
Schooled by an inkhorn buried by the sea,
A preposition long since put to sleep?

Announcing that you are a proper noun,
A little rusty from a lack of use,
The adjectival nature of the town
Laying its nosy hands on Cinder’s gown,
An oxymoron cooking its own goose,

You are the part of speech making a speech
Superfluous, a body proving rest
Is myth and metaphor: the teachers teach,
And back behind the church, the preachers preach.
The final sentence is the final test.

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

What Was In My Pockets Last Night When I Undressed

My keys, a pocketknife, the Pietà,
A handkerchief, a poopkit, and a friend
Of Héloïse, who said that Abelard
Was boring, but intense—no mix for men.
And 32¢.  Too little to apprise
A grateful nation of my whereabouts,
A paltriness made for a piggybank;
But I was out of pigs, apparently,
And when I dropped my pants, nobody cared
Enough to hang them up, preserve the crease
For sales meetings, in case there was a need
For Pietàs or handkerchiefs or knives.