Thursday, August 11, 2022

Chains They Forged In Life


The poems no one heard of populate

This verbosphere, invisible and bleak,

Dottering incoherently in dry

And crumby cupboards, turning bedsheets gray

On sleepovers, making little girls pale,

Afraid that they have accidentally bled.

Elegiac, embarrassed, and full of tropes

Disparaged by Seleucian kings, they tell

Stories of unrequited jealousy

Engraved on stone with sponges, vetted by

The underappreciated and the fat

Recipients of Golden Books and schmaltz.

A few are goodbye letters, never signed.

A few are tax returns, unaudited.

Some lisp. Some swoon. Some have these wild ideas

About the immanence of outer space.

They drool. They belch. Complain. Complain. Complain.

They like a mirror, write they backwards verse.

Saturday, August 06, 2022

Walking Home in the Dark


    This appeared in Life & Legend.  I have changed it a bit since then.

Some nights I can't get home before the dark.

I can't quite make it. Some nights I brave the streets,

And I'm afraid. Who isn't? There are ex-

Acquaintances, role models, and the police

In every hole, the shadows of themselves

Awaiting the day when hair loss is reversed.

Arise, I tell them, and I say, Not now,

But after I've passed and left you where you were.

I hear them rustle in the deep-down beds,

Less than they were, more than they ever will be,

Until the day when fallen arches rise

And all their triumphs, mute so many years

Still in the gladstone bags they kept close by,

Rise to the surface, fried by benignant sun.

Monday, August 01, 2022

Things In Bloom


The peckerwoods are blossoming—this heat

Is perfect for them, clears their rosy limbs,

A scent of gravy with a hint of lime,

Creaking with all the weight of special sauce.

Me, I just can't transport a whole lot more

Compressed into this stringy frame, a touch

Of spirit in a wealth of this-and-that.

I'm thinking chastely of a new frontier,

Out where the rumpus rooms are naugahyde,

With attic vases all the way downstairs,

Where Indians bear cobras in their packs,

And landsmen dance the shabbos hully-gully.

It's just a myth, a brackish aspiration.

I'll choogle to the fridge, but nothing more.

Next year the Thousand Islands and a hope

At long last I can be consumed with relish.

Tuesday, July 26, 2022

Adam's Rib House


Leaving a lot to be filled in, it took

Less space than a person ought. The garden floor

Was filled with hippopotamus and mice,

With rhododendrons and Rhode Island Reds—

The irony of which is clear, even to me—

So maybe it was good that it was spare.

He did okay without it, anyway;

And she built quite a suite of space around it:

Organs to make the windpipe sound, a gut

Deep enough for a cello; and her loins—

Well, he needed no instruction as to those,

Which seemed a little strange, when he reflected.

It served, the rib did. In his view it made

The Venus de Milo look like cottage cheese.

They had no seasons, so there was no fall.

They made a paradise and called it peace.

And Adam never wished he had a dog,

Not more than once or twice. And so did she.

Friday, July 22, 2022

They Call It Rain


What with the locusts and the twirling spray,

It hasn't been the best of days. Old blood

Pumps through the holes and sewers of the town.

Oh, that is what I'm smelling, people say,

But what they mean is, Holy shit. I'm leaving

The final days behind and going now.

Those purple hazes may not be the best,

However sonorous, for telling time,

Of which we have unlimited supplies,

Not each of us, of course, or one by one,

Just lots of foggy, vulgar chunks of loss.

And locust shells, lying around like bones.

Monday, July 11, 2022

Mortal Lovers


Year on years, pages and pages, 

I have soaked myself in sages.
You who come here, the unwary,
longing to complete your knowledge
in the ventriloquil college,
pause, perhaps, but do not tarry.

All these parti-colored bindings
bind the heart in all its windings;
flecks of red on green and blue,
all they are , all they stand for,
saturate the heart with candor.
They are what you turn into.

Daphne, who, however stately,
could not be the god who lately
ran her down amid the clover,
Daphne’s lovely, green, and shady,
but had rather been a lady
with a flawed, a mortal lover.

Wednesday, July 06, 2022

The Post Is Never Dead


Antipathy dropped by last night, the heat

Escaping through his bowler hat, a brush

Mustache above the toothy grin, cravat

In old-school colors, much askew. He stood

Half again as wide as tall. So it seemed.

He hadn’t a sweet sound to make. A few

Blasts of opprobrium and then all gone.

I sprayed air freshener and lit an old

Pumpkin-scented candle, then I returned

To sweeping up the letters I had dropped,

Overseas mail, the most of them, from times

I promised I would not forget, though some

Contained an odd surprise I’d overlooked.

And now, spent by Antipathy, I found

A rhythm I was better off without.