Sunday, April 6, 2014

Reality

Like Midas and his gold
     the masks turn into mirrors,
But I see them still as mysteries
     cos’ I can’t see masks I wear.

It’s far too bright, my being’s light,
     to gaze upon directly, so these
Forms that take the fire's place
     are the only thing I know.

To the mind they are false,
     to the heart they are death,
But how could I ever take them off,
     knowing they aren't there to begin with?

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Life and Death

Spring sounds so confusing
          to the newest birds.
“This is life? Or death?” they’d say
          if their cries were words.

There are no shoots, no leaves,
          no crocus in the grass,
Tho’ summer cigarettes the sky
          and glows through every glass.

But maybe they know more than we
          how full trees are of sap;
What could we know of life and death
          who eat meat from shrink wrap?

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Carnival

There’s always an amusement park
          at the end of the line
Where the sewer of dreams
          has run dry;
Each stop is more hopeless
          as more time passes by,

And the last extras peel
          away from your screen test
Where you would tell the little of the story
          you can handle
(The story we all know so well
          we think we own the rights to the sequel).

You kill yourself thinking
          there’s something you can’t give away,
How if you knew what it was
          It’d be no longer yours
And maybe you’d be lighter
          someday

And could plant your banner
          at the end of the pier
Like some phantasm
          cool, dark and pure,
Lurking, turned heartless
          from heartbroken.

The sound of money and gimcracks
         and junior high proms
Echoes so sadly, like the lights
         that won’t stop
Disappearing, and crying
         through the gear-restless night.

On some moonless Sundays
         you can still hear the ghost
Of the dance hall waltz
         in the arms of the wind
Like the story is writing
         itself.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

The Ghost of Henry Dumas

The dispossessed they cry
But it's never quite as real
As those who're crying for them
-- The anger out of line,
The victimhood unseemly --
What has all of that to do with me?
The watcher understands.
Yet the specimen parade, in cages
Is the only voice of freedom
We're supposed now to attend --
The loving touch of those outside
Too much like us
To trust.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Negro History Day

"The contradiction between ethics and aesthetics in Western society is symptomatic of a dying culture." - Larry Neal, Director of Education for the Black Panthers and Guggenheim Fellow.

The cool passed all their tales to us
Like a bag of phony dope.
Toasting by the dozens,
The dominant jazz
Oppressed the printed Miltons
In their ghettos.

A child sees only this,
How pale his own skin is,
How ugly.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Aftertaste of Explanations

The machine of mind
          hums brighter now
I cannot hear its
          high-pitched drill.

My prayers are automatic now
          - the clock, the keys, the glass.

Our comfort God asks nothing but
          to serve It like a woman
And drop the petals of my soul
          upon Its black faux-metal
Without a trace of will or
          pause of doubt.

I finger news,
          thumb-wrestle sports,
                    push pictures for the weather -
As if I was betrayed by trees and grass
          for turning yellow.

The older Gods said "shh" inside
          vast honeycombs of texts,
For knowledge was a secret then,
          a sacred thing that blessed.
Now all that humans grasp and know
          is just one more addictive pull
To keep the wolves away
          outside the fire line.

No limit on how
          empty all this
                    striving for the
                                   facts
                                             can be.
The truth
          - the me that I've abandoned
          for fear I'll be abandoned -
is undisturbed.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Another Poem About Chemtrails

The skies are finally thick with a silvering grey, not like every otherwise blue day, when all manner of thin etchings balloon in gassy sick criss-cross in the sky, back and forth, up and down. The skies that would break the silence of God to us forlorn mortals are now sprayed with human waste like some vast and secret dog marking impossible territory. So we evolve, beyond the shapes and thoughts that brought us here - to new visions of what's real and true and right. I begin...with you.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Winter Night Without Stars

The wind must believe I have never existed.
The snow can't accept it won't stay here forever.
Who will correct them?
The trees dare not show any life,
and my heart is far away,
teased and contradicted
by a sweet ocean breeze.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Kafkaesque

The gaslight is not real
-- people say --
but they can't really know
if saying "you've taken my soul"
saves or loses it.

I'd like to think
there was a voice
you stole from me;
your total lack of honesty
let me believe
quite indulgently.

But now I know
there was no you
only me --
even loneliness was feigned,
it took every piece of
the city of lies I built
to fool myself.

Your gift of nothingness
I thought was life itself.

Friday, February 28, 2014

Another Ode to Lethe

The death of literature - ah -
what never was life - oh -
hold the warm beads by the fire -
feed your heart now something more.

All things must live -
passing cannot change that -
the list of things to forget
grows larger every day.

It seems so easy to release one's grip -
until the will fails -
and decay alone opens the hand
to let nothing fly out like a bud.

The councils that watch this - with pillars and eyes -
are no more real than we are,
trying to live in homes we've built
- we pilgrims never lost.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

The false hope - becomes real

The false hope - becomes real
With a wave of one handkerchief
- For you remember how you feel
At each turn of love's leaf.

If the thing - underneath
Merely fills the echo of space,
The face of God's the form bequeathed
- Fixing your gold from its base

Like any altared Lord
Can't exist without thankful breath
- Something later nailed to a board
That won't die a real death.

Heaven's in you - now Hell,
As if it's from something you've done.
The pictures you know all too well,
Subtracting one to one.

That thing you remember
Is not your old life, well disguised,
It's barely the flare of an ember
Pops the dense seed - outsized.

Home

Home is full,
Home is endless,
Home takes all you have
And makes you whole,
Each step another lesson,
Each breath a chance to grow.
Such peace when you are sanctified,
Tethered to love's service,
All there ever is.
Home stays still while moving
Mirrored with the sun.
In one home there are many,
Each right in its own way,
Unyielding but still blending
To a purpose singular,
A giving to the future
Without the present moment
Ever jumping off its track,
The memories that have built it
Never needing to go back.
Each day awakes to new disputes,
Problems and resolutions,
Each night is filled with smoky warmth,
The rich bouquet of guidance stilled
In love's unbreakable connection --
We laugh, we cry, we mourn, we play
And home is always with us;
It hears all that we say as prayers,
Forgives us all our freedom.
Home is love, it needs no words,
It gives by its receiving,
Asks only for the best of us,
Never expecting,
Never hopeless.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

The Gun Shoppe

What can we share but objections?
We feel one through what we're excluded from
And build a place away from the people with whom we disagree,
In hopes some nest will feather from our fear,
A bright new bridge to God will build,
Some salvage for our sorrow.

Monday, February 24, 2014

The Inflatable Geodesic Ball

The sound of breathing
Birds through reeds,
The gift of wind calls it song,
This pain of being
Ungrateful for life,
Surviving for oneself alone,
Yet touched by sharing
Breath and sun,
Negotiations
With death,
As if one is unworthy.
The plangent voice
Blots out all I am,
Because it has some being.

And then I see it,
A tiny bird
Perfect, on a branch
Keening, and I watch
As one divine, as it flies
Away, learns to let go.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

At Dana Point

A peace sign on the lawn
Of a mansion built on postage stamps,
The conga lines are drawn
In the sand, beneath the man-made clouds.
What world there is has disappeared
In smoke on endless oceans.
All that's left in the mausoleum
Is "Hell is other religions"
And pilgrims who have climbed its cliffs
To touch its form devoid of form
Bring too much life along with breath
To coax the gold to truth.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Feather on the Lawn

No one hears the crow
Assault the shady lanes
And echo all that pain
Across the grass and gravel
-- But he can never cease
His slow harmonica drawl
Until they finally hear,
These people sealing off the air
To tamp his clamor.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Funny Pages, Bag of Crickets, Frog Dirt

Love brings desire
The cry of the hen for my food

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Outside the Holy House

I.
All of life
      In goldfish eyes
As we lie
      Inside of time --
               Bubbling --
Letting pass
      Every meaning
                Because we need to
                       Make more
My one job:
      When the kettle boils
                 Turn the stove off
II.
No one knows how bad it is --
       This gift --
Which makes it easier to let go
        The many faces of grief --
So that a greater gift, a more
        Paralyzing grief
                  May arrive,
Like lightning must dissolve
        To illuminate the void
III.
My wife is half a world away
        -- The house next door --
Still her flame burns in my heart
For there is only one
        When all is said and done
Two bodies disappear into the soil

Monday, December 16, 2013

Blues

It's 12 degrees above zero
Honolulu can't unlose
12 iced degrees above zero
And the blues are bound to lose
Motown man can never choose
The only way to walk is in those doomed shoes

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Three Poems

High Modernism

In the devotion of rhetoric [in French poetry before Verlaine] to either beauty or truth, there is a certain consciousness of an audience, of an external judgment: rhetoric would convince, be admired. It is the very essence of poetry to be unconscious of anything before its own moment of flight and the supreme beauty it will never attain.” – Arthur Symons

The word “like” has broken
the blood brain barrier
of an entire generation,
like a gulp of terror:
don’t kill me, don’t judge me, don’t commit me
– do you, like, like me? The cautious hedging
of every possible bet, it’s far too dangerous
for any courage of one’s convictions
in even the simplest of declarations.
How smoothly we’ve adopted the fake patois
of the stoner slacker beatnik fraud
because it’s, like, cool, as Shaggy said,
to have the attention span of insects,
the stuttered speech of dislocated consciousness,
with the only word that matters now
counted like a pulse in the trance of endless sleep,
where generation upon generation of impressionable children watch
Gilligan’s Island episodes hundreds of times apiece
without ever seeing how they’re teeming with sexual
innuendo.
Intelligence is in an offsite computer,
the brain a signal processor, code interpreter
remotely controlled—but at least a machine
trusts in God to work, here everyone is
sticking out their tongues for pharmaceuticals,
and their arms unconditionally on command
for a flu shot that makes them get tattoos
and dance to heart-attack inducing
excuses to rape women, the monkey DNA inside
reducing them like fine China white in a spoon.

Our heroes are just slaves,
Our heroines on heroins,
Our preferences are saved
of kill myself or kill all of them.
The clones called politicians
sprinkle truth like fine white powder
upon the thinnest whole cloth tissues of lies
they call the issues of the day.
Our food is filled with tumors,
our water catches fire,
as they seed the skies with barium,
have sound waves jar our minds,
have science prove our lying eyes are wrong.
It was a wildly botched
lab experiment
this last century,
a colossal failure at every level
although it produced all kinds
of amazing and unintended results,
like Silly Putty and auto-sushi-mats
and expressions like “kid stays in the picture.”
It’s a history of
the end of history
at its end, our linear braincase
cracked with broken links,
pay-as-you-go fantasy machines,
pornograph placebo
cranking out the junk-sick beats
of needle chic calling sheeple to the steeples
beaming out its microwave short-order circuit
wizardry to bend the shorted minds
on encyclopedias of chaos,
a schizophrenic satire-collage,
solipsistic stream-of-consciousness
caterwaul. The great culling has begun.

Chacun à son propre infini.
Immortality means
all the obligations
of celebrity,
none of the fun.
The purpose of coming to earth again
is to punch it up on the rewrite
for we tell stories first and foremost
when it is said and done.
As the moon waxes and wanes
so does our emptiness hunger
but you can’t teach a new moon old fingers.

Nostalgia-sick I am
for shooting galleries in the grand and central terminals
and agitprop art event announcements
stapled sad to abandoned warehouse plywood doors,
for days of old when boys just laughed
and left the game alone,
before the wind cried Cesar Geronimo
to Bob Gibson’s rising incoherent murderball,
before replacement gods were hatched
just to be retracted back
by the Aristotelian death cults of Venice
who bought and sold the universe
and hurled it as a dismal diurnal
darkened void of stone
with all the immortality of a black hole,
before the word of mouse
and the long strange tip of project artichoke’s
day-glo mustard and Esalen champagne
on rock salt ice for later use at the mkultra acid baths,
before Eugenics became Genetics
and the subjugation of women through feminism
and op-art hallucination mini-skirts,
before the dormant Queen of Hearts
could terminate by altar command
with playing cards that hide the tarot in plain sight,
ancient divination from the alien
snakes from above and underground
performing a cauliflower lobotomy
with heterocosmic archeobotany,
before the wet jobs and Glimmerglass
and the Knights of the Order of the Garter
created virtual tribes afraid of their own shadows
reliably liable to crack, like all the stacked debts of Baal.
Idealism needs only to be believed to be victorious,
Materialism needs everything but itself to be destroyed.

(It may be a tin-foil pipe dream hat but
don’t bogart that hat,
it’s gold cinquefoil with tailfins,
the hat of a different color,
heavy is the head that wears that hat,
the hat that got your tongue,
success has gone to your hat,
the moon is a harsh hatcheck girl).

The train is calm as the passengers soak up
damnable lies from dry newsprint
while the skies are criss-crossed by unmarked planes
spraying conductive metal salts to block the sun’s rays
and no one seems to notice or mind.
They can’t kill all the fish in the sea, after all,
or change the color of the sky too much, but they can
control your mind through your smart phone waves
and program you through the smart dust
of this spray line of lithium trails that veils our world.
No, there’s nothing new in any of this,
it’s not even more refined. Take joy when they say
it’s to save the weather, for they finally admit they are doing it,
what’s been going on all this time.

In old little leagues the whiffletree
still sits crying to be born.
October’s octopi in the ghost land of the fens,
in chain-saw weather, remembers all that was
and never has been,
the blues played like a sick kiss
on the Sun god’s muddy mike.
I sink my teeth into some Hollyween irredentistry
but time flies for no dude.
Possibilities are the last refuge of the sleeping.
The fish is already covered in fur
(put that in your this is not a pipe and smoke it!)

On November's Buck Rogers clock
dry snitching for a juice card with the duck
for a stainless steel ride or parole to paradise
on a karmic roulette wheel, they deal me in
with brake fluid, bug juice and wolf tickets to sell
in a ghetto penthouse, picking up road kill in peels
before the ninja turtles insectival with their monkey mouths
go "if you dance upon the blacktop you go dutch."

December’s mildewed decadents sigh
on a pharmacologically frozen rose,
another quid pro snow, a neural zone infraction,
a meta-amphetamine meta-languaging
hyperactive hypodermic solution
that cooks a mean book
of whirled war peas
as seen from the dervish service station
by the dustdevil crossroads truck stop, dog track
and temporary amusement park, but circus people
suffer more than most, usually in silence.
I represent in purple on a divan in full flaneurhood
but true flaneurie is dead, in McCoy truth.
There are yachts to sail and foundations to run.
The British have their causes. We have our deeds.

Rodriguez the Sugar Man
in a red plastic overcoat
felt he owed a little something to the lost;
how long it took him to realize he wasn’t
like them.


Autumn Poem

Gold dies in the green pond’s reflection
                The geese bathe backwards in unison
                And disappear in a sudden splash
Of illusion on cloud-mottled glass.

Chasing hieroglyphs of squirrel tails
                More heard than read, as the forest flails
                Like our life and death – as mystery;
Seeds drop – the secret stays – under leaves.

Birds call to me from whirring trees
                That are the consciousness of the breeze,
                To hear what only hearts can recognize:
How silent this grace that overrides.

A stream clogged with sheets of sky-starched brown;
                The woods are now dropping underground.
                The geese are now floating past my eye.
The cold, inside of me, starts to cry.


At The Bowling Alley

Usually she just sat there
like a mouse without cheese
breathing in seething streams
the hideous tar of her Kent smoke
hoping only that it objectified the loathsomeness
of all she saw, heard, smelled and touched
– even the blue bean-box ashtray full
of her own pink and noxious butts.
The automated pin monkey sent back
the pink marble Brunswick balls
to the sound of dungeons flushing
like a ghost stuck in the machine.
Someone who thought reason alone
could answer might suppose this came
from an indifferent father and overbearing mother,
or some lack of kindness shown by an itinerant tinker
in some jeweled sepia moment in her past.
But all those suppositions would be wrong.
For the plain fact was
she were too inarticulate to even assume
a fixed identity, except in the vengeful
blood entitlement of dreams of annihilation
where everyone grieves the loss of their squalor.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

At the Racetrack


This man's ghosts
Galloping gravy
All bets are on
Over toast, baby

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Current Events, Explained

Newsprint sky, against the telephone lines
No breaking into sun or tears this time
Just the smudge of heavy camouflage
And the helpless feeling in each one of us
Of what's been left undone
And who's been placed outside
--Our brothers, who we are, the ones alone
With no one to defend us
Or believe us
Or cast a friendly stone

Save the demagogue
With ears to the underground
And eyes on some pharmacological prize
--He unifies what isn't even us to begin with
Behind his stories that are lies
That so much become who we are
The truth lines up on the other side;
It would make us disappear
Were it not for
The incredible rhetoric
So careful to say nothing
But what we feel

For we've long since passed the point
Where any word
Construed for dialog
--As we would construe,
In our loneliness, any word--
Would be too much.
We're just too far away
From us,
We need protection.
We call it justice.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Autumn Poem

The new morning light - so final it seems
Long shadows remembering everything

Love is perpetually saying goodbye
As it rises to enflame decay

The dying leaves become the sun
As if they're being born

This place between
We call it "Time"

Where memory can't free itself
And being is unseen

We hold on to its sunlight
Like the body we so desperately need

For fear that it will go away
In the night

A leaf floats down so quietly
I almost hear a sound

Monday, October 14, 2013

Monday Morning

The traipse - commuter shoes -
burdens hung from shoulders -
a root for breath from underground
- to dirty New York morning.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Alone in the Woods at Sunset

Bountiful day,
Intelligent evening,
The fire-tempered branches lean straight in to me.
The woods have thinned to valleys and rocks,
Brown and orange suffuses the green.

The leaves are all leaving for the light now
And falling back on black mirroring streams
And on meadows clear enough to receive them,
Alive enough for ghosts
And carrying such wisdom the boughs keep their pride as they bow.

Nothing here wastes a moment of its life
Or resists death's tender dissolving embrace.
Gold ferns seem older and firmer than I am
Sensing the smoke from my kind.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Aversion to Immortality

Leaves fall on the turds of modern sculptures.
Even the willow here loses what it
Never really had, the year’s well hidden
Appearance of something, so this nothing
Could commune with the nothing over there
And call that living – this thing – resisting –
That never lets us call it by that name.

Children pass like leaves – how crisp they fly by!
Red berry days display the happiness
So carefully not chosen on the way
Within the shelter of my freedom’s cage.
Leaf life floats down, unhurried to its end
Without a sound, except the mourning song
Of birds ever-joyful, ever-bending.

The hill that beckons me to climb—just like
The voice demanding suicide—does not
Allow the mind to ever understand –
The strict demands of contemplation make
The hiss of wind-filled leaves some mystery
That reaches to the center of my being
—That thing that never knows it is a thing.

Sun tears through the canopy as if it
Was a gift to me, the migraine light on
Leaves like grace—but what is can never seem
To be, life’s miracle, mathematically
Reducible to the impossible,
Mere darkness owns these sparks that have no place,
That think that they exist until they don’t

And nothing evermore of what they were
Survives their moment – hope turned meaningless,
The light turned off forever for every
Thing that ever was, so that it never
Lived at all in records of eternity.
That’s what they want the falling leaf to say
– And who are we, so open to the myst-

Ery, to disagree – we've fallen here
Ourselves, so out of place, we make our peace
With nothingness so greedily, happy
To have shared our need instead of making
Meek apologies for how outsized is
Our feeling—and how we go beyond our
Selves as if it’s laws that we are breaking.

Soft the voice that tells us we are nothing,
How comforting to know we’re lost and cursed,
Bestowed the blessing of impermanence,
Annihilation’s grace, just to forget
We had some existence, we lived here once,
In a world too beautiful, its colors
Final, fearing we were responsible.

Oh horror as the leaf descends – that I,
Born so divine, could squander these precious
Moments of alignment, looking for the
Permanence of graves, the shelter of dead
Walls, the protection of the mind from the
Enormity of consciousness, from bird
Song ever beckoning to understand.

The long and wrenching cry “I am”
That we never can
Believe.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Planting the Feed

"Without form, man is hidden in his own unfathomable secret." - Chuang Tzu

Have pity on the world
For we existed long before it
And will mourn the God we missed
When Her flesh has turned to dust.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Red Matty on Ice

"To know oneself is to study oneself in action with another." - Bruce Lee

The nice blue dice rolls paradise,
Atlantis Braves dispatched
through some trap door to nothingness
with their guilt trip of death as oblivion war paint
like our lives need so much that shocking change,
a road never taken before.

Fibonacci Mordecai unstrands his spiral green absinthe
cotton candy, and banks like a flamingo an impossible shot
on Minnesota Fats’ magic-trick tablecloth royal blue felt.

But the only one who wins at this schtick
walks alone in the clouds
lacking the wisdom
of the lowest, sorest loss:
that we want it this way.

The allure of the losers:
Atlantis in half-light
still rules a toxic stretch of black hole tar
where ruck-sacked hitchers rue their power
in gasp-for-air bar chairs for victims
where the thought of being immortal
is too much to bear.

The ball goes in play—the heart’s leap of faith—
Time falls away, and the game is too long to keep score.
Eyes study moves like they’re holy book clues
to do unto others what you don’t want done to you,
with a full of love handshake and hug afterwards
for all the respect invested in a brother’s defeat.

Loser, that impasto graffiti
sprayed perpetually over vast boundaries
of stone by the young. The death never ends,
expression can never be emptied,
the puzzle is pulled out of chaos again
to dissolve afresh in the spiral
like flesh shells, expended, decay in the soil
that re-uses all to reshape life so malleable
—the spiral moves on, its dense clouds of mind
like seething grey downpours in the distance,
the fields being watered some unknown plane
far enough away the eye can't, mercifully, see
save transcendent sky that smothers with mystery
but never once gives the candy of its secrets out
for the heart must be empty to receive.

Today the rain drips from sundrenched eaves,
pigeons and people collect with each other,
share something in silence that cannot be known,
only work to be done, beyond the East River,
new gods to be tried, combinations applied,
alliances plied and untied
with the ease of the current to a half-imagined sea,
a destination irrelevant because it does not exist,
despite what the flow we surrender to suggests.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

The Light at the End of the Book

All the miserable young poets
don't seem to know
love is a weapon
against every ill
that makes the world cry...

The unknown can seem like the known at times.

Mere fear can seem like the truth
                                      disguised.

Nothing is clear
                 no one is heard
                                problems are never resolvable
 but the heart doesn't care about any of that
        for what other truth is out there in fact
                   but love in the universe?

And what doesn't feed on our fear
        but faith
        in whatever it is we
                     believe in?

The dream of a better and larger world
shows the world of death as a dead world
        that has no hold
                on immortal
                        hope
for in our dreams we are Gods
         and it is only in our dramas
                  we are not.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Helen and the Giant

They could not be more perverse,
These readings that she forces
Down all her students’ throats.

When common sense
Forces them to balk
She fails them.

So it is the Great Ones
Stay unknown
Yet remain in the service
Of the hypnosis machine
Where minds are trained
To do anything
For fear of being shamed.

It is not enough
To say that she is wrong.
It is not enough
To say there is a reason
For her always-undersold
Influence.
It is not even enough
To say when humans find
Their natural genius
It’s always snuffed
Like it’s not even immortal
In some diabolical way.

But it is enough
To simply say
That this waste of time
And violence towards the soul
Is there to serve our mastery.
It is the gift waiting
When we wake up,
Like cut flowers in the sunshine
Or brand new words in a book.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

The Bristow

The chipmunks cheep in shaggy underbrush
as cricket-throb in auras hugs the grove.
The hissing stream’s the same as leaves above
while crows and wigeons tell the woods to hush.
September’s fresh cathedrals of the sun
glow on goldenrod and ripe crabapples.
The first dead leaves are honey lacquer dappled
and new white flowers run where there were none.
The Bristow's now familiar as a friend,
still alien, but touching who I am.
The water darter skirts across the pond
just like a spider drawing on a hem.
Fuzzed cattails geese still scavenge silhouette
the pastel incandescence - this - sunset.

Monday, September 30, 2013

An Unexpected Moment of Freedom

Fractured by obligation, the diaspora of SUVs
          bears to uncertain destinations
                   to tend unknowable brains
                            while the sun maintains transparence.

 The maddest of poets lives in the squarest of houses,
           presides like some rooftop vagabond
                   as the children squeal "Malatesta"
                              in long shadows of the lawn.

"Summertime" by Abbey Lincoln plays
            at the neighborhood hot dog stand.
                    Birds above the trees are crying.
                               Life is for me, and me alone.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Autumn Drive

The first yellow trees; what do they mean?
It grows more elusive with each passing year.
It has something to do with the past,
how memories must be banished gently,
summer let out of one's system,
letting go of the need to sigh.

The first yellow rivers, when the trees finally cry,
like poets sharing the beautiful with the beautiful.
There is a line of green, crickets sing on one side,
on the other the stillness comes alive. In the last
sunset of September over the Quinnipiac River,
golden mountains answer a golden sky.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

The Annual Perambulation Tour (After Chang Chi)

Marblehead, MA

The house of Doliber the Cordwainer on Brimblecomb Hill
         is black now with pewterpurple doors.
The seagulls are white as sailcloth and make sounds
         like the creaking dock.
The smell of blue striper and fried clams is as faint as a memory.
The sun peers down the carved-rock cat walks etched
         through the hills of Old Town.
All of it reminds me of my childhood home at the edge of the sea.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Epiphany at Wolf Harbor

Victory only vindicates,
the sting of defeat
holds its glow—
the dissonant chord
so much richer than
the drop
to resolve.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Addiction

So much that I can control:
the weather, the way that people look at me...
yet I fritter away all my time
because I can't get that bird to fly
in the direction of the sun.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

No Trains Today, Buses to White Plains

White apartments for the elderly,
a touch of red in the trees,
their empty chairs arranged around
the rusted cannon mounted in the town square.

It turns out there’s a history here,
you've been inside me all along;
I can see the sleeves of the glee club,
hear the Swedes' long talks in the park.

The people are all on the platform now
impatient to leave this new city,
Reunion Coffee is served on the way out.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Outside

The beauties of Manhattan weave their goddess resemblances
         through the vapor of a still afternoon
while the plaid September suits deal to try to earn their ardor
         with conjured reassurances and smiling words.
It’s the kind of a day a cat stays in the window for,
         where even the men in blue look on benignly, beatifically
as they collect by the thousands at the Waldorf Astoria
         war-zone fortified for the heads of state visiting.

Blondes beam at me behind black sunglasses
         while men try to pin their words to my lapel
but still I don’t exist, amid the chandeliers of crystal and amethyst,
         the river of mirrors, the golden gleam of pretzels in the sun,
the feeling that we’re walking through a painting in a museum as one,
        but then an Asian woman, without speaking, presses a piece of paper
to my hand: “Organ Harvest of the Falun Gong for China’s tourist trade”
         and I realize I have been alive the whole time.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Sappho Fragment

Reconstruction of Lobel-Page 96

O Atthis, she lives in Sardis,
our loved Mnasidica goddess,
but often she sends her thoughts to us,
of the ways we used to love once
when she loved your song the best.

Now she shines among Lydian women
like a rosy-fingered moon among stars
spreading her light over saline seas
and flowering fields equally.

As the dew flows to roses
and clover and sweet honey-locust
her thoughts turn to Atthis,
and tender remembering
burdens her whole heart with yearning.

. . . .
 . . . . ἀπὺ Σαρδίων . . .
  . . . . πόλλακι τυῖδε νῶν ἔχοισα

ὤς ποτ’ ἐζώομεν· . . . .
 σε θέᾳ σ’ ἰκέλαν, Ἀρι-
   γνώτα σᾷ δἐ μάλιστ’ ἔχαιρε μόλπᾳ·

νῦν δἐ Λύδαισιν ἐμπρέπεται γυναί-
 κεσσιν ὤς ποτ’ ἀελίω
  δύντος ἀ βροδοδάκτυλος σελάννα;

πάντα παρρέχοισ’ ἄστρα φάος δ’ ἐπί-
 σχει θάλασσαν ἐπ’ ἀλμύραν
  ἴσως καὶ πολυανθέμοις ἀρούραις·

ἀ δ’ ἐέρσα κάλα κέχυται, τεθά-
 λαισι δὲ βρόδα κἄπαλ’ ἄν-
  θρυσκα καὶ μελίλωτος ἀνθεμώδης·

πόλλα δὲ ζαφοίταισ’ ἀγάνας ἐπι-
 μνάσθεισ’  Ἄθτιδος ἰμέρῳ
  λέπταν ποι φρένα κῆρ δ’ ἄσα βόρηται·


κῆθι δ’ ἔλθην ἄμμ’ . . . .

Sunday, September 22, 2013

A Couple in the Woods

It's the trees—not the wind—that's speaking
And what it's saying—is only—what we hear
What I hear—in fantasies of sharing—in dreams of knowing something
                                                             
It might be a reply—a gurgling yes or no
To teach me what I know already—in my confined world...
There's something there—I know there is—although it's not

Yet touched—a voice not heard—still beckons
All my love—although it dies—without a sound                        
I hum its gentle murmur

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Feathers

The widow who came in my room
placed such a soft voice on my wounds
I thought it was my own pain that I felt
that wouldn't heal.

The tale seemed so familiar
I never thought it strange
the story-line did not resolve
except as I gave in.

Her webs went so unnoticed
I thought it was my fault
I hadn't brushed them all aside
before, my fuel consumed,
love came to blame’s rescue,
assumed responsibility
for what it couldn't know,
the echo of old auto-plays,
so victims once again could gloat
as if they have no souls.

It was only a ghost who appeared that day
—some memory of compassion—
how real I became in what I gave
to what dared not exist.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Trampoline

Golden late Sunday afternoon light
Gleeful noise of boys on a trampoline
So easy to think that the world is perfect
But it's only a moment

The terror of getting along begins again.

The Chicken at the End of the Street

The chicken at the end of the street
Tries and fails, tries and fails
And cries, taking over the air,
How the good man is never wrong

Outside the Pyramid, Impatient for Forever

1.
LA knows a little about dreams
And how you put yourself aside
To make them real
It takes everything
To be nothing at all
It's rainbows or bust
For those who can trust
Heaven's gold surrounding the dust
2.
The nighttime landscape is alive with light
Except where the Hopi live -
Where she glows in my violet shirt
And pulls me in to the center of the earth
The old man remembers
How I came here alone
And he knows I'm not one
Without her
3.
I greeted the young as my equals
Honored their new words and ways
But my tales of sweet golden autumn
Holding on to the fading of dreams
Made their springtime wine taste bitter
We didn't say goodbye
But they'll remember me

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Haitus

Big summer night
No words because the crickets
                          are still alive
New moon, leftover tofu
A month on, my song
                          will be different,
I will be different—
The birth canal says all is forgiven,
Old lessons will all be forgotten

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Rain for the Sunday Painter

And if my life to this point falls apart ‘cos it’s not real
I learned from firm sand walls of my creation
how boundaries are all for the lost.

Knee deep in ambrosia I yearned others could believe in
my private miracles, to peer heel-high like a girl for a kiss
at the black-eyed susan glow beyond the bush,

to see the fireflies on the highway tonight, the universe of
unseen raspberries, the clots of pond moss pull away the sluggish
green from the jungle’s weary summer of no sleep.

The bus to Utopia passes Parsons Street at each lapse
of the clock, while couples lope in white cloths and shoulderbags,
rarely talk, sing notes occasionally in Chinese keys

as time goes dripping by, July waiting for some word from the coast,
the barest of frictious breezes, and I eat my sangfroid sanguishes
wrecktified and rectitudinal before the all-seeing blind eye

saying don’t believe the hope, the righteous pettifoggery
all it ever does is kill you the hard, slow, painful way
in pennyante petitbourgeoisie-ary catching on your petticoat wad.

Nobody came when I locked myself in the closet, three years old,
the darkness total, like the shame I felt in liking it, the rent of escape
others' need for me to become them (and, if not, stand in judgment),

and when the neighbor girl let in the light, and I saw my mother’s face
still absorbed in her dried flower reveries, I knew that I’d felt guilty
for nothing, I’d been cheated like some orphan sold the snake oil

of propriety toward the whole, that brand you’ll never understand
but must let control you, your impulses, your instincts, your desires,
the monolithic presence that does not even exist: the world of others.

I watched until I saw, in escalator town, barbarian sophisticates
part like a sea at these red lights, all dead save their overrated heads
with fright wigs de rigeur, and what sleeps on blotter sheets with fishes.

I said I only scrivened the ledgers, I didn’t game the deals,
but an antiquarian of greatness is no less on his own
than one who is without any other.

My blue harmonica home, still the heart stays sick;
I don’t want to be alone
any longer.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

The Longest Wait

While they perfect their buddhahood mere towns away
the bananas wait in the freezer,
roses blue in the fridge,
avocados lay next to the stove.

I put away the witch hazel, geranium, eucalyptus
and collect 26 hibiscus flowers.

I have become less than human, and more
than a God, as the veil between imagining
and knowing turns dangerous, any thought
can turn to pure light, my body at any moment
may no longer be my own.

                                              The brand new country
music station accompanies the ticking clock,
reminds me how deeply I need to change.

Friday, July 12, 2013

My Resistance to the Veil

No more crystal
that holds
vibrations' form
in some
blurred keeping.

The heart is endless,
and you are a river
to take me to my own
private shore.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Haunted Anniversary

It took so little:
a cat, a house, some words
that weren't "ours"
to fantasize this atrocity
of doubt

because love was
far too difficult
to believe.

It takes the simplest twist
to throw oneself in a fire
and flames are always calling
for any occasion of desire.

I pick myself up
when I never even fell,
dust off the nothing on me,
walk through the terror
that I haven't changed already

and mourn a past
I can't remember,
some voices in adjacent rooms:
no words, but tones of love.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Loneliness Is Other People

We used to go financing
                nearly every Friday night
and I’d get to hear
                everything about you
and sometimes you would let me
                                touch

But turns out there
                wasn’t ever a you and I

                                only an us

So now I go financing
                every Friday night
                                with us:

                                                me, myself and I

But turns out that
                                there is no I

                except through you:

                                there is an us
                                                in trust