Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Lying in State

Once the day began, the full
English breakfast well disposed,
all was well, and all was well.
The doors and minds and blinds were closed.

The coaches glided by, a ghost
brushed and curried at every pane.
The pigs, two years before their mast,
policed the park; down Primrose Lane

a masked man with a bag marked Swag
scampered and capered, free at last.
There seemed a lout for every lag;
at each semi-detached a cast

of Nelson or dear Albert stood.
We shouted as the trees went by,
depeopling a laburnum wood.
The dwindling hedgerows filled the eye.

Now for a cuppa holy grail
and biscuit. Down the wet cement
parades of plastic bags, how frail
the castle and the elephant,

seeking lodgement against the cold
whose day is coming. Hear the late
cobblestones crack. Come sing the old
songs: our ladies lie in wait.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Virgil & the Bees

appeared in Angelic Dynamo

we have rather chosen to fill our hives with honey and wax;
thus furnishing mankind with two of the noblest things, which
are sweetness and light.

A flat gray stone absolved of dung and schmutz,
Warmed by the sun and near, not in, a grove,
Proximate to a meadow, not to sheep,
Unthinking sweaters on the hoof, at hand
Running water for sound effect: then sit,
And you will find the bees. Theirs is a mind
Unfit for your accommodating self.
Like physicists, they are absorbed by thoughts
Too pure and rarefied for you. They work,
The autumn ever coming, honey from
The dandelion and excrete a light
So fine it makes divine commedias
A piece of cake, a holiday of dusk.
He listens: you can see him move his lips,
No buzz, no hum. Hexameters like glass,
The shape of cells, coincidentally--
They were invented to store wisdom, wax,
And pollen effluents. Thus you have flowers,
He thinks, stung by the notion Dido walks
Amidst gray flowers she can never touch.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Elder Than Springtime

He was the elder. So he had been told.
He felt it, too. So much to take on faith,
But this, not this. He grizzled as he stared
Into the mirror recollecting zilch
Of what made him the elder. And of age,
A twist of this, a week of that, whole years
He called to mind in no detail, except
The colors of the calendars and shapes
There for memorializing the months, like May
Bedecked with buds and always breasts, but none
With heft or veins. A birthday cake of shrubs
And columbines like candles, and the wind
Which did not quite extinguish them, but made
Counting unlikely. In the dark he saw
The eyes of March, a fall of fallen leaves,
But no one younger, elder though he was.

Saturday, June 10, 2017


Zeus the Thunderer sent his golden rain,
Which fell at the wrong address, like orange juice.
Not having been invited, Nereids
Did not attend. Nor wood-nymphs. Neither fauns.

The guests arrived by Greyhound, on the Beagle,
Borne by two wolves named Love & Happiness;
And Dionysus brought a box of wine.
Hephaestus hit the cake with hammer blows,

Which scarcely cracked the frosting. Siva sent
Regrets, cerise bacilli, and a drum.
And Dionysus took his singlet off.
The bride wore orange blossoms and a snood,

Which Ceres blessed with lucky charms, her vows
The death of childhood and a Liebestod,
The groom brought all his horses and a halter,
And even Fafnir, stag but looking, wept,

Especially since the wedding cake was hollow,
Busy with carpenter ants and worker bees,
Suspended in lemon custard. And the fall
Began. The groom would end dragged by his heels,

The bride pent in a harem, Ceres’ child
Stuck, still in Hell, and Dionysus’ date
The sport of kings. Zeus sent a nice clean rain,
And all was gone, except for the photographs.

Tuesday, June 06, 2017

What Do the Old Men Say?

What do they mean, who say
The world has gone awry?
The trees leave every day.
I saw them in July,
As green as the heart of man.
I see men stiffly clad,
Colored in gray and tan,
Calling our summer bad
For insufficient shade,
Damning our leaves as small,
Making their wrath a blade,
Hurrying us to fall.
If only our lives were sad,
If we saw that we had
Outlasted our summer stay,
They'd happily love us all
And tidy us away.

Thursday, June 01, 2017

Taken at the Flood

This appeared in Angelic Dynamo.

Later the yard boys dyed the new growth green.
Nobody knew it wasn't grass but ants,
And who were they going to tell? They didn't speak
To other hills, impossibly soigné.
The trees were propped back up, the roots tied down,
The stream was re-recorded and the wind
Instructed not to blow its obligations.
New men arrived. They never guessed a thing.
If told that they had been replacement parts,
They'd have discovered fossils and designed
Evangelists to praise the status quo.
It wasn't said that apples used to taste
Preposterously sweet, that knuckleballs
Danced polkas on their way up to the plate,
Or that the dogs would talk about the day's
Prodigious hunt. The brand-new women wore
The chic fall fashions, still a little damp.