Tuesday, January 18, 2022

The Levellers

 

They clobbered the delphiniums and turned

Them underground. They made the sedum pay

For blooming late and changeably--One Plant,

One Hue, they chanted as they beat them up

And down. We named the battered garden Mud,

The sit-in by the sundial, while the birds

Enjoyed the spoils of spoliation, Worms

For Everyone. And everyone a Worm.


They came back in the spring with bitter breath

And threw their rotten carrots at the gnomes,

The real ones, elder statesmen, not ceramic

Cutiepies. They pissed on the fallen leaves.

And they looked hungry, empty hearted, spent,

As though their gods just really hadn’t cared.


Thursday, January 13, 2022

Wolves & Avalanches

After the wolves and avalanche subsided,

After some man was found encased in ice,

A quill clasped in his hand, a bowler hat,

Crown up, between his legs, there wasn’t much

To do but lay new shingles on the roof.

The goats were glad the wolves were gone, the dogs

Looked sheepish, and the bowler hat was blessed

By Father Tom, the light of rectitude.

We thought, though, that the corpse might be a poet,

One speechless as a Popsicle, and stiff

As Abelard’s one poem would have been,

An Orpheus of footless harmonies.

He wasn’t, it seems. The only one we had,

One Paul Verlaine, was eaten by a bear.

Not even the local Rambo made it good

By blood vengeance, monosyllabic death,

Or dada verse aboard a drunken sleigh.

As for the wolves, perhaps they have moved on—

No verse, no point, so late their happy seat.


Saturday, January 08, 2022

Meanwhile, On The Coast

         O heilige St florian verschon mein Haus, zund andre an


Maybe it's not exactly candlelight.

Stars are lights, too, and burning yews, and yours,

Fire consumes. Light kills a little bit.

Darkness is cool. It grows, They say, and Time

Chooses the side of nothing. Figures. Got

Nothing? Invest it. Darkness futures pay

Dividends, if some more of what you have

Is what you want. Or burn a little light.

See clearly what is going on for now.


Wood burns because it's meant to, full of ash,

The forest made of fire-stuff. The streams

Are water-soluble, the hills are hard

To fathom. Which old Greek said fire starts

Your day, your every day, your morning toast?

When wind smells like end of days, your house

Is green belt in potentia, the song

The sky is singing, Burn your baby, burn.


This appeared in Pens on Fire.


Sunday, January 02, 2022

Jeopardy!

     Millard Fillmore


Fame is fleeting. A bubble. A male duck.
What is that green head, shining in the sun,
doing here on this inland parking lot,
carrying on like some deaf alto, crying
as mournfully as Thomas Wolfe in flight
and waddling to boot? Oh, ghost, come back,
be lost again. What is obscurity?

    Babe Ruth

The summer you remembered me you ate
candy bars like—like candy, sure. Oh, Henry.
We lay on that bed in that apartment maybe
714 times. When you
came up long on your period, you left
to take a walk. I am not waiting now.
I think that you aren't coming back. Who walked
and struck out more than any other player?

    The Venus de Milo

It was a dark and stormy night. We fell
back along the line. We walked. Some wept.
Jesus wept. The tracers lit up the dark.
I thought of you. I thought. I didn’t know
the name of the man on either side or if
they thought of beauty when they wet themselves.
Oak Park, Illinois is extremely distant.
And clean, too. What is A Farewell to Arms?

    The Daily Double/The Dead Sea

You can’t sink if you try. You have your own
specific gravity. Padlock and chain
will float like plastic tub toys, but, the smell
will certainly remind you, you are here,
awake and fettered, not because you are
rectitude personified and beloved.
What will occur on Resurrection Day?

    Browning

An alary formation, sounds of which
barely achieve us groundlings. Straight due north,
the last person who saw you said you were
headed. He told me, leaning on his rake,
trying to tidy up the harm he’d done
the grass, which only wanted to grow longer.
Point of view is everything. The absent
decline to state theirs. Have them, though. What is
a good idea before you cook your goose?

    Final Jeopardy/Julius Caesar

Eppie can be affectionate. Or not.
Tone of voice makes its contribution. Mal
grand, petit; but mal afflicts us all,
the seizure of the mind. The child is old
enough to have its own child now, if child
was there when you reached there and built Dun Roamin’.
The noblest roaming of them all, but we
who drew our cloaks over our heads and died
forever in one morning needed no
umpire to announce if we’d been fair
or brutish. Who, to poets’ betterment,
died at the hands of friends and made a name
synonymous with dynasty? Et tu?

Tuesday, December 28, 2021

And A Happy New Year To You, Too


The year sheds skin and time and cash.
The firedrake burns down to ash
His habitation.  The road is clear
All the way home to Happy Year,

Coming soon.  With the proper friends,
Nobody notices when it ends,
This derelict calendar.  The few,
The consequent, have naught to do

But watch the helicopters tow
The End behind them as they go—
West, of course, and into the spring,
Where next year's lark prepares to sing.

Thursday, December 23, 2021

AngelBug271: A Retrospective in Perspective

 

The things left out would fill an armory:
snow mattresses made out of fresh-cut spruce,
cross hatched, Air-Wicky, noisy in the night;
the thrum his pulse beat the last hundred yards
of a 440; locust shells on trees,
adhesive, alien, empty; new Keds.

Some themes, though do emerge, and many words.
Seven poems begin with moon & stars;
and "tears" appears in every single one.
The word for Love.  The word for blood.  The word
made ink, but never flesh.  Not even chance
makes miracles.  The moon.  The stars.  The moon.

The grout between the bathroom tiles.  The wind
unrolling the awning.  Look: they are not there.

Saturday, December 18, 2021

Pleasure Comes In

 

     from These Denver Odes


Pleasure comes in short supply,
grace and favor, bit by bit.
Who promises contrariwise
tells innocently blue-eyed lies,
believing she's believing it,
Philpot. Celinda made me cry

that once, but that was yonks ago.
Today I merely miss some sleep.
If this one tells you you are strong,
and she will love both sweet and long,
that little bit of pride you keep?
Kiss it goodbye. I ought to know.