Saturday, August 19, 2017

Nighthood in the Neighborhood

The chickens came back, the beetles and the bears,
The pigs and the pronghorns, ready for the spring
That hopes eternal life is just a fad,
That fruit must be explained by leaves,  and buds
Will never fill their ponds in dustbowl days.
Some of the chickens felt bedraggled wings
Would not make them an asset; but the wolf,
Famous for fairness, said that wings were meant
For wagon trains and truck stops.  They all bunked
By Union River, watched the sky, and said
How pleasant it was that stars came out at night.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

The Books of the Dead

for Stuart James

Jesus, Stuart, look
What we have come to, thick
And tired, brought to book,
Brought to ground, and sick
With authors. I had read
Every single one—
Recited them in bed
And taught them to my son.
Now they look away.
It’s just as they had said,
They never meant to stay.
Jesus, they’re all dead.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Beaux Bois, e.g.

The trains still run through small, eccentric towns,
Mostly at night, the children, brave in their beds,
Dreaming of sleeping somewhere else, so young
They think that Indiana is escape—
Trains still pass by the silos that are not
Mere symbols of desire, and they pass
What used to be a station, but is now
A home for unwed orphans, and they pass
Fireflies making fun of locomotives.
And nobody jumps the train. If it slows down,
That’s so the engineer can take a leak
On Illinois, grateful for the attention.
The children who wake up—well, more or less—
Will check if they are now emancipate.
They’re not; but tracks still run both ways at once.

Monday, August 07, 2017

Lullaby In Slumberland City

While birdies slept and earthworms snored
And owlets stooped to swoopy flights,
You the Teen Queen Max restored,
With endless make-up, endless nights.

Our tygers pad the jasmined path
And cherries fall from green green trees
And all our dead lay down their wrath
As I awake through slow degrees

In shadowed rooms to unfilled beds.
The clock, the clock. Across the lawn,
In fact, the sparrows shield their heads
Till, chime by chime, they rouse to dawn.

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Cardiac Arrest

When we were young, when we were less,
When you were poised and I a mess,
We were as we are now, apart,
Unequal portions of a heart
Broken for decoration, cute
As flowers trimmed above the root.
And one of us flourished. One did not.
But which was which, and which forgot,
I do not say. You do not know.
The flowers dried, the roots still grow.