Thursday, September 29, 2016

Apocalypse Now

This first appeared in The Shit Creek Review

The end of things may have come yesterday,
When frozen sparrows dropped from budding trees
And spectral hordes on smoke-stained ponies rode
Suburban streets. With swords. And women gave
Birth to stones. When red anacondas hung
Like plastic icicles from guttering.
Those all seemed predicators. Like the voice
Who spoke out of the sewers, “Be ye not
Amused. This is an actual alert.”
And yet the network news provided live
Detail about absconded brides and junk
Bond status for GM and Ford. I watched
Game 6, and no one said the final match
Was cancelled for Apocalypse. I spread
Fertilizer, clipped a forsythia
Whose day had passed, but which will bloom again
When spring returns and all these frogs are gone.

Friday, September 23, 2016

When Birds Divorce

When wrens divorce, the children fly.

Young tits from broken nests decry
The wounded tree, the severed song,
That feathered fate who hopped along
A bobbing branch, while in the park
A lone and separated lark
Complains to the under-birded blue
That there is nothing more to do
Than lean on a pelicanic thorn
And end with song this garish morn.
Or so the ornithologist
Explained. Perhaps a point was missed.
I caught the gossipy detail,
Who’d been distracted by her pale
Brow and her raven hair, a thing
Reminiscent of a wing.
So scientists construct a plot
That shows themselves where they would not.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Pastoral Care

Rough winds on premises to let,

And summer’s lease is triple net.
The cuckold goldsmith in the sun
Makes melting pots of everyone,
While Amaryllis in the shade
Regrets the choices she has made.

Her bowered beau regrets no more
The nights he spent in days of yore.
Though Amaryllis shine too hot,
He will be spent when she is not,
Which, he suspects, the flock has known
Since they were fleeced, then left alone.

And greener pastures beckon.  Soon,
She will exclaim, this prick of noon
Will feel his autumn felix frost.
Then she is warm and he is lost
In fields of blasted corn and clover,
Rough winds at hand, and summer over.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Old Kings and Things

Ignominy thwarts both

King Cyrus and his cook,
Whose name was Xx3.
I know, I know, you took

King Cyrus 101
And learned him in detail.
You had him for your tea.
You bought his socks on sale.

His bedpan holds your soup.
His cook is dust and hair
And someone’s sidewalk salt
And someone’s Dutch au pair.

Your Cyrus is an art.
His cook is a disguise.
It rains their blood and bones,
And slaves fall from the skies,

And children in their beds
Cwtch up to ancient kings.
Old dogs on counterpanes
Bark at transparent things.

Wednesday, September 07, 2016

My Republic

This one was in Plainsongs, a long time ago.

To my republic immigrants arrive
with no fanfare of paperwork; they come,
and right away they ask to be left alone.
They want to go where yeoman farmers live
and beekeepers and Latinists.  Old maids
give them each maps and send them on their ways,
unstamped, unnumbered, all unphotographed.

In my republic each one makes a stop
at gift shops which sell baseball gloves and bats
with which they make their own ways to the dark
sinuous backroads of the heartland states,
thence to disperse to dry or forest places.
No one keeps count.  No one’s allowed to do so.
You’ll hear them playing catch in summer’s dusk,

trying to learn to act like you and me,
even the ones who exit tropic climes
in oddball togs woven from unknown bolls.
If not at first, then soon.  They must be just,
like us, and just a trickle, which is why
they all play ball, a sort of crowd control,
the only one allowed in my republic,
short on theologians, long on shortstops.