Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Tree Trimming

A venerable vignette
a virtual return
to new endings
old beginnings
and the
phosphorescent
pulse
of a glow worm.

An incandescent retreat
a coup against the cheat
the neon
the LED
and the
trite.

In the innocence of hushed
tones
of lush creeks
and blushed
poems
and cheeks of a
child
thrice blessed

is a Christmas for me
is a light out to sea
blinking red
and green
for the distressed.

And the prow maiden
will dip
through the fray and the foam
and the seeker
will sow
in the clay and the loam
but the potter
will turn
not for me.
Not for me.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Two Towers metaphor

















Hudson river abandoned pier.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Dreamed of You Vaguely

I dreamed of you vaguely last night.
There was no beginning
middle or end of a story
or argument
or line.
Just your arrival
or mine
and a simple feeling
of serenity
and the distant
distant
distant
dread of waking
without the satisfaction
of the answer to
questions
like how are you?

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Veteran's Day

My clay mug is warm
hand-fired artisan
artifact
announcing the contented
contents
pretense
of a middle class
daze.

Mocha colored
sugared
and milked
of all that bravado
and hard bitten life.
Sweetened
not cold
not black.

Guilt is sparse
parsed like powders
of saccharin
of simulacrum
substitutes
for mourning the minefield
of patriotism
paternalism
of patsies and privates
and platoon after platoon
of pretenders
in a drama
not
their own.

Dust on my bars
a tan on my scars
and a tentative air
of having been there
is all bullshit
when the news
turns from veterans
to empty shoes
and all I have
is training
and a photograph
of a leg*.


* A "Leg" is a slang term for a non-airborne qualified soldier.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Dreams

Sweet dreams.
Lovable toy to sleep with.
Your parents and God and sisters
love you.
You feel safe
because you are.

written by Victoria, my 7 year old daughter, who says she wants to be a poet when she grows up...from the mouths of babes.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

To Be In Clover

Never thought the seeding would take
that the finest tiny grains
would find their way to salvation
to germination
to a burst of inspiration
after being cast on such sterile
stony ground.

Thought it would be over, was over
after the black frost of October
of departure
and the end of crimson blossoms
four leaf clovers
or the specter
of relief.

But among the dew matted fallen leaves
among the shocks and tied up sheaves
a tiny meadow has emerged
a patch of green not yet interred
and the prospect of my own fixation
and the distance of sanctification
are altered by the legume
grafted by her rune
and fallowed
by the liming
of her love.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Victoria

Victorious finally...
an almost Rembrandt day
where if my brow is furrowed
the source is significant
and truly
every decision
matters
supremely.

My victory finely,
in the Albinoni adagio way,
in subtle shades of the pure
and pink and precious
first fruit plucked
from a weeping tree,
ripened
reluctantly
reverently.

When,Victoria, you find me
apostate and incapable of prayer
remind me,
in your angelic muse kind of way,
of the lavender life,
of first fruit fervor
and of the ordinary happiness
of today.

Written in October 2000, on the birth of my daughter Victoria. Posted today in celebration of her 7th year.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Witches Finger

There is no substitute
for the stalagmite point
found at certain depths
certain temperatures
certain humidity
and chemistry.
I won’t be pierced
like that again.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Alembic

Mere moonshine.
Just the mention of juleps
of June in Jessamine
and the mill and the still
within
my thirsty karst topography
my pacifist pornography
is penetrated, primed,
and spins.
A matter or mouthful
of moonshine.
A trifle, a nothing
none.
These
of course
are lies.

Spelunkers
skin divers
certain of our
certainty
we plunged
in a fountain
of freefall.

In the cavern
the dripping
and the chatter of Chiroptera,
not dark,
nor light
nor deep.
The candle a simple prop
for our platonic renditions
against the wall
mingled shadows and
mud
from the seep.

Barefoot scaled the cathedral spire
the crumbling limestone promenade.
Reached out and soaked
our quivering fingers
in the simmering sounds
of summers made
mating
mixing
in gasps and galaxies
of gorgeous paradox
and perdition-
a Thiasus for sentience
for seeing eyes
katydids
heavy dew
and fireflies.

The wind lay intoxicated
on our backs, on our brows,
a Zephyr
with neither zeal or bliss
became an angel
or Dionysus,
the alembic
of our art
our altar
our instar
our kiss.

Drawing back the curtain
of the velvet Jessamine
fanning embers
with breath and motion
and before ignition of the oak
of the incense swirling smoke
of black tupelo, pine needles
and sweet grass
rose satyrs, maenads,
skin and stars
and in everything
there was nothing
but this.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Monday, August 20, 2007

Rained on Hay

He rises like the sun, with the dawn,
with the damnation.
He will toil, toil and toil
and I will tag along,
searching for the skeleton
keys to the handcuffs
that have shackled him all these years
and robbed him of his song.

He curses more robustly at knots
I have noticed
especially in fence or twine,
but always pulls up short and stops
wipes his grimy brow,
shoulders slumping for a brief moment,
looking down from any field
at the big wolf oak top,
at the sky
at me.

He will sigh.
He will purse his lips,
kick the ground
and advise not to be overrun
by anticipation
not to be undone by “No.”
Never to be discouraged by defeat
never to yield
to a blow.

And the crops do sometimes grow.
And the cattle do sometimes fatten
through the flies, through the drought
through the snow.
And surely we too grow,
the scarred and worn scarecrow
seems shorter each year.
And Daddy’s bravado
belt, beer, shotgun
and gusto
seem diminished
in the shade of what we sow.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Etre

No snug safe harbor
no sane serendipity
to move this conversation forward
or get the grammar for “to be.”

We are shipwrecks
both
rotting on a reef
surf pounded
life boats long drifted
out to sea.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Sunday, August 05, 2007

betrothed = the debtor

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Boarding Pass 93

Who will say "Honey, hurry home"
when the day drags on
and the need inside
for hands to hide
in rises to surface
and spills over the edge
of shimmering pools of sorrow?

Who will pull me back
and push me down
when I'm longing
for the ledge
when I'm leaning
over the edge
to forget it
to find it
to feel it all again
to believe it all again
and when?

Who will dream of the future
of the freedom
of loving
and laughing
or living in bliss
or at least believing
I exist
and I'm missed
when I'm lost...

Voices whisper "I will..."
as if a vow.
I heard it once
a wedding
together forever
and yes
I thought I too
would wed
but no not to be
not what she said
not to be dead
throwing arms
around misty faces
saying “I do”
fading back into you
into never
where I feel I must have come
or gone
or stay
on the dark side
of the moon bitter
abandoned yet
on some dream lit black night
someone just might
champion me
and say come with me.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Dew In the Harvest Moon

To search for the root of you
the tendril of your ecstasy
is the reason for muscularity
in a tongue.

Yet it tastes on its way
finds the saline in the succor
the sugar in your sap-making
cambium.

My tongue as a tap
as a means of production
of confectionery
cause celebre
makes me a farmer, a forester
a man who reaps what he sows
and toils in fields
once dead.

And on this eve
in this reprieve
this unrequited requiem
of the harvest moon
I will lay aside the scythe
and the plow
and instead look to you
deliciously organic
and till...
and till...
until nothing remains fallow.

Originally appears at WetPoems.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

My Shameless Lion Pareto

He woke me last night
from outside the perimeter-
the repeated decrescendo
of roaring
of reifying
of his repeatedly realizing
the predator’s
Pareto principle.

He struck me
with his proclivity
for parsing Pangea,
and reinforcing
the sustained
survival
of his species
in the sum of his
slashing
severing
shameless
privation.

This anti-Aslan
his eyes and heart of darkness
roaming the voodoo veldt
of global capital
and trade
will not
lie down
with lambs
yet he sees
with eyes
of angels
into the deepest
anarchic
abyss
tail stretching back to Africa
whiskers
sensing
the alchemy
of order
and myth.
.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Tyche

A chance meeting
chance happening
the name of a suitor
of a mistake perhaps made
perhaps not
there is a chance
its chance-y.

Games of chance
games of dance
Russian Roulette
or a minuet
parlor gimmick or gift
depending on the stakes
on the snakes
that you charmed
or handled
or just looked in the eye
hypnotized,
come heaven or harlots.

Craved a chance
automaton
didn’t have a chance
Tyche went wrong
wringing her fortune from
the frail
the fragile
the foundering
wrecks on the reef
wracked and retching
with the unrequited brine
of romance.

If we were dice
you’re rolling
if I a die
you’re throwing

SNAKE EYES

no chance
bets off
we’re finally
fucking
folding.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Snags

Severe storm warning
expecting gale force winds...
she would ride it out
except she’s land-locked
between Lovers Leap
and the Valley of Death
where she should
not
fear
everything.

The wind is not whispering.
She shouts for help
to find
an answer
an echo
my echo
my ego
and the distinct
lack
of a view
a vantage point
or a vision
of shelter
of chivalry
of the shivering
shivering
shivering
to come.

Exposure brings strength
like a gull on a rock
a girl in the suite
like a gill in the silt
the guy in the suit
and if it does not kill
then it is a good
gift
of God.

If I get back to here
If I get back to her
I will hew this hemlock
this hedge
this hermetic holly and ivy
and ravage the understory
with hatchet, axe and saw
denude the detritus
and free the flaws
clear cutting
the wind falls
of her fear.

Friday, May 04, 2007

She and Gila

I
too
am exhausted
exorcised
omnivorous
oblivious to
the length and breadth
of my long illness
and the wasting away
and the tasting of spray
from the crashing waves
against shallow cliffs
the reptilian coast
where Gila
and she
have mingled.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Getting Wet

Wrens
I don't think
dream hard enough
and are afraid
of a zero sum game
while Robins
get wet
and know raindrops
are words
and they've learned
how to read the
rain.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Whittling

My how the sparks fly

as the flinty wheel keeps turning

as the waxy fuse keeps burning

like the cherub child

I’m learning

to be ground down

burned to the ground

sharpening the saw

but dulling the sounds

of a million little cuts.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Tyrannidae


I remember white paper birch

bullheads and miniature perch

off the end of a dock

on Long Lake.


That white headed eagle soaring

soaring

soaring

beyond the furthest red and white bobber

plucking a keeper

before my astonished eyes.


I remember his white puffy hat,

like an Amanitas-

a chef in the wilderness,

out of place, an unheeded

warning.


Plastic one gallon ice cream buckets

filling with clams

symmetrical mollusks

felt with toes

and dug from the mud.


I remember him calling-

stepping out of the water

my silty wrinkled toes

the dark cavity in the rooty tree

and white-faced hornets stinging.


I remember the Chef,

the Destroying Angel,

his flycatcher recipe-

he’s a preacher now

preaching

preaching

still serving barbs and scree.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Thursday, March 22, 2007

snow covered "Ramble"
male Woodcock in Central Park
vernal equinox

Monday, March 12, 2007

The Drain Game

I was always rooting for the underdog, though my winners never won. It was those last struggling seconds that seemed always to captivate me most, when it had to be then, or never. That razor’s edge, where one really knew about life and death, to make it or not to make it, to be victorious or vanquished. I pondered these thoughts often, or thoughts like these, though probably more vague and juvenile, while shivering in an empty enameled tub, glistening wet, at the glorious and tragic end of the game, of the ritual, staring at the shinny-rimmed hole, squatting and peering down, listening to those last gurgles that signified my “horse’s” loss once again.

We were young, before we learned how not to be naked. My sister and I took baths together in an old ball-foot tub. It was a smooth, glistening white tub, with faint hairline cracks in the enamel that looked like little spider webs. There was worn-out enamel around the drain that seemed sort of like a hole in the sole of a worn out shoe The water was always just a touch too hot, and entry was its own adventure. It was my time to prove my bravery to my little sister, and to my mother, who never seemed as impressed.

Mother would always take my sister out of the bath first, to work on her tangles. I stayed in longer because I was dirtier, because I was older, because I was a boy. After awhile my mother would say “pull the plug” and I would, with relish. For now, the game, the ritual, the race began again.

Carefully, I placed some piece of flotsam behind me, at the far end of the tub from the faucets, from the drain, and observed, noting its characteristics. These were my horses, my winners: a hair, a floating chunk of soap, perhaps some lint. Then I pulled the plug, fired the starting gun, flung open the gates.

First there was the sound, the rush of water filling the empty pipes and then a subtle disturbance on the surface followed by the slow movement of water. I tracked the flotsam horse with g rowing anticipation, monitoring the water’s growing momentum, watching the awkward dance of the little whirlwind over the drain.

As the water level lowered, I shifted to a kneeling position, watching my long-shot go around me or through my legs, at which point I would squat, positioned to watch my horse win, my horse overcome the odds, overcome the current, the gravity, and demonstrate to me, to the world, at long last, victory. Victory over inevitability, over all that which is predetermined or fore-ordained, of all that is ruled by rules and probability. Often at this point I would vaguely become aware of my mother’s voice somewhere in the distance asking me to hurry. But I squeezed it out. The race was on, the ritual begun.

I knew almost “by-heart” the path my horse would take. Straight down the middle until, picking up steam, he would swing to the left, suddenly caught in the pull, but fighting outward. He would struggle, and I would agonize for him, trying to will him free, to desire for him victory so intensely that he broke the spell. The more the concentric rings tightened, the more the orbit closed around the drain, the more focused I became, and the more anxious. Though the whole race was actually over in seconds, the space in my mind’s time reckoning was vacuous and seemingly eternal, a lifetime of almost suspended, breath holding, vicarious clinging to the precipice. And then it would end, my horse having disappeared, down the drain.

There was always a delayed reaction within me; I would stare for a moment in disbelief, incredulously, and then suddenly and expectantly, but with a familiar dread, spring towards the drain to peer down the dark hole, hoping against hope. But there was nothing,
just the familiar gurgling sound, and the slow dawning of disappointment and frustration,
as I simultaneously became aware of my foolish position, cold, wet, naked, squatting in the empty tub, and mother calling.

Originally appears in Voice of the Hill, Vol. 3, No. 4 July 2001

Friday, March 09, 2007

Fever Lonely

Thought I saw a Mamba
in a fever tree today.
The thought seduced my mind
but the thorns got in the way.

Poison
poison
in a blue lined bottle...
poison
poison
flew farewell to you.

A crown of green and black
for your pomp and circumstance
Emerald noir
noir
if only you will dance.

Sway now rhythmic slowly
roulette to miss the bite.
Stay now fever lonely
if only for tonight.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

All distractions are equal.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Thursday, March 01, 2007

...an immemorial urge

Ms. Ana MarĂ­a Correa over at "Out of the Woods Now" has been traversing familiar territory as of late, musing upon young efforts at soul-baring in the form of the poem. Referring to a fellow Cornellian, she says:

"Nearing the end of Nabokov's Speak, Memory I come across his beginnings in poetry as a teenager (remembering my own overly-earnest false starts) and listen to his thoughts on the matter:

But then, in a sense, all poetry is positional: to try to express one's position in regard to the universe embraced by consciousness, is an immemorial urge. The arms of consciousness reach out and grope, and the longer they are the better. Tentacles, not wings, are Apollo's natural members. Vivian Bloodmark, a philosophical friend of mine, in later years, used to say that while the scientist sees everything that happens in one point of space, the poet feels everything that happens in one point of time. Lost in thought, he taps his knee with his wandlike pencil, and at the same instant a car (New York license plate) passes along the road, a child bangs the screen door of a neighboring porch, and old man yawns in a misty Turkestan orchard, a granule of cinder-gray sand is rolled by the wind on Venus, a Docteur Jacques Hirsch in Grenoble puts on his reading glasses, and trillions of other such trifles occur--all forming an instantaneous and transparent organism of events, of which the poet (sitting in a lawn chair, at Ithaca, N.Y.) is the nucleus.

That summer I was still far too young to evolve any wealth of "cosmic synchronization" (to quote my philosopher again). But I did discover, at least, that a person hoping to become a poet must have the capacity of thinking of several things at a time.

Yes. Liberating. And thank you Ms. Correa and Dr. Nobokov...now, do I have the courage to post, even for my own scrutiny, my own naive juvenalia? Catharsis vs. humiliation...now there's a trade-off. Is there celebration of puppy love? Of idealism? And why the urge to shed all of that, like ridding one's closet of skinny ties and parachute pants? Yet I saved at least one skinny tie...and a high school sonnet or two. This kind of confusion had better not be a harbinger of mid-life crisis...stay tuned, or not.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Plow

Crash.
Shrieking steel impact
then silence.
Snow
blowing snow
on the white plain
and a yellow flashing light
on a yellow truck
with a state seal
on the door
familiar for its good salty work
now ground to a halt.

Shoe.
Hats and a university sweatshirt
speaking youth
but mutely
from the ditch.
A mangled first car
shunted by the plow
perversely converted
a container
of fate and urgency.

Sleep.
They were asleep.
The plow man numb.
Slumber soon to be
disrupted
surreal
by sirens and multicolored
lights
a blurred kaleidoscope
people disguising confusion
with pointing
shouting and scurrying.
Samaritans
veterans
of the first five minutes
displaced
by experts
but locked forever
into the muffled sounds
and shadows
of their snowy
waking.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

This does not bode well.
When has Pride's waltz with the Dark
bode naught but ill?

Monday, February 12, 2007

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Hoary

Gently
on my lashes.
Deftly
on my tongue.
Novel
at first
then
less new
and finally
numbing.
Unique.
Every one.

Pure.
And pristine
until sullied
until slushed
by the traffic
the traffic
the traffic.

Encrusted.
Frozen fiasco.
Soot.
And gray.
Granular.
And black.
Slicked.
And yellow.
Pissed.

The paralysis
the stupor
lying in the drifts
as the fate
the fear
the faith and finality
the frost
the frost
the frost
... bites.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Oceans

Afloat on seas of seeming serenity
suspended in aquamarine
fluid emerald
liquid jade
oceans, Kelley green.

Euphoric indulgence
lying still
with motion comes
the spin
sensual avarice
brings destruction
yet I long to drink
you in.

A taste and parching bitter
as swallowing mercury
aged vinegar
rancid wine
oceans, Kelley green.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Thursday, January 18, 2007

To a Child, on the Environment

We are humans.
There will always be
a greater tree than we.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Made Me Think

An unguarded utterance made me think...
made me think of the misery of bunk beds...
childhood, summer camp, military
all lost innocence.

Made me think of the dullness of knives,
of bandages, of blood and the stupor all cause
...and the loss of innocence.

Made me think of medics and mercy
menstruation and mean brothers
meditations on menarche and murder
modernity
maternity
masculinity
myopia
my
innocence.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Black-eyed Susan

She stares away
and smiles
crooked
when the wind blows
laughing at the sun
and running
she's running
running after dandelion snow.

Through the meadow
where the sweet spring spills
down to the sluice
and the old grist mill
beneath the curtains
of the gnarled and wispy willow...

Hand-me-down slipping
over sun-skin-beams
daintily dipping
in the rising stream
Eve is dripping
yet she doesn't let the chill show.

I stay away
and day-dream
drowsy
until the wind blows
dancing with the leaves
and waiting
I'm waiting
waiting for the drifts to grow.

Barefoot breathless
where the willows lean
falling fences
and the river between
swiftly carried
to the edge of the leaping waterflow.

Cashmere clouds
hanging in the air
swirling strands
of angel hair...
Black-eyed Susan
never let your petals go.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007