Wednesday, March 30, 2016

A Trick of Perspective

This appeared, with very slight differences, in The Melic Review.


We haven’t an excuse. Across the black
Perspective gimmick of the bay the boats
Are barely visible, yet here we are,
Watching and squinting, as though we were ernes
On holiday. (Ernes live in puzzle books,
A figment of the crossword, curtly vowelled.)
We do not see the fish beneath the white
And roiling surface, nor the lords who live
Over the curvature. (Borneo is
Speculative: though editors assert
It ought to be Brittanicaed, you can’t
Prove that by me.) Out here our stars are shaped
To sell cold drinks. Our room begins to sound
Like home, but with more towels. (There is a robe,
But we are going to dis-. We can’t afford
The cost of clothes, not with a moon like that.)
On such a night as this Jessica changed
Her faith for ducats. Our Discover card
Embraces lands beyond the curvature
Of thigh, where light and heat both are induced
By friction. And the dolphins leap to light.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Losing the Thread Count

The world is not asleep, though you may dream
It dreams of you.  It’s busy with the bus,
Running late, and a list of shepherd’s pie’s
Constituents.  It doesn’t even snore;
It doesn’t toss.  It turns a blinded eye
Half of the time. You’re looking for a mitzvah,
Kissed from the dark side, full of hugs and zzzs.
You get an email, Jewish Singles Hot
& Holy Hurry Hurry.  Now’s the time
To turn your hot cheek to the cool percale
And hope the dead don’t know what’s going on.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Epic in the Making

This was the edict: When the snow first fell,

He headed for the High Country, to stay
Until the bears took out their winter trash
And mockingbirds regained their higher range.
Meanwhile, he’d cover one royal family
In hexametric verse—Plantagenets
One January, Hapsburgs, though he fell
Asleep, spilling his ink, in staunching them.
The lynx, extinct, as all good families knew,
Admired declamation, and he fed
The shrews his extra feet. I say, he said,
Attempting the Romanovs, when comets fell,
Or airplanes, on his field of vision, there
Between his clothesline and the Finland Train.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Security at an Exhibition

We stand where we are stood, assigned to fill

A vacuum till the posh begetters come.
Trust us for that. The portraits say their names,
Whereas our labels are not blessed with art
Or opulence. From pockets we spill keys
And gummi bears and Zippos from the war,
Absent the ruffs and velvet hats. Our skies
Are free of putti, pennies in a jar
Betray no pudgy burgher here. We stare,
But are not scanned. We are the dragons now,
Extant beyond the borders of the frame;
And look at this one, gilt and dark and grime:
The demigods are falling from the trees
Like caterpillars, waiting for the change.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Spring Song

In the symmetry of seasons we have spring

today, winter tomorrow, spring again
the rest of the week, but all without the edge,
the knifeblade chill, that fall is always flaunting.
Something is happening here, and it is green.

Runners keep trying to run in shorts, retreating
to polar fleece, renaturing bare skin.
The snowdrops are almost done before the crocus
are more than scallions. Every day the stalks
need Lebensluft and take it. Every day

the light advances on the night, the poise
of seasons, symmetry and share alike,
spins on the scented air, which can be spent
but never saved. Accumulation fails;
and winter waits in Wollongong, or somewhere.

Sunday, March 06, 2016

Balance Sheet

If you are such a big deal, the real thing,
Where are your merit badges, where your stars?
Where are your fancy crockpots and your cars?
I fear you are not such a sichy ding.

Have you appeared at late night, on a stage,
Drunk, vexed, and barefoot, hooting like an owl?
Have you been told by witches, Fair is foul—
And put that robin back into its cage?

I didn’t think so.  When the big black van,
Equipped with no restraint, no jaws of life,
Waves bye-bye to your trouble and your strife,
Try to remember when you were a man.

Before you had a credit history,
You had a rock, a jackdaw, and a tree.

Wednesday, March 02, 2016

Garden Gods

Leis festoon my Queen Elizabeth

this morning, so she is both pink and coral,
one unexpectedly. Who would do

such a thing? The contractor next door,
him with the hemi? The SEC lawyer,
retired from niggling? A stranger,

hell bent on whimsy. Saints preserve us
from the drunken fey, the determined oddball
hoping to go Wilde and run to fat.

I think it was Zeus himself, eagled
as he has been bulled and pissed, leaving a gay
reminder that gods are not solemn,

except when they want something special—
grilled bones, sobbing virgins, grim obedience—
and prefer a boner to doctrine.

Bees back off from the paper hanger,
annoyed by mimesis and crude deception.
They own a queen way too fat to care.