14 June 2016

Cloistered

from pools of ink-black
coffee in anonymous
office buildings piercing the
sky, some words are
written during a lunch hour,
then some more, and
some more, savoring of
the street, and music,
and the tenor of the
times and having a
Coke with you I do
not think of statuary,
but of a kiss stolen
in the Cloisters, next
to the quiet tomb of
some great lady, her
solemn face in
perpetual repose, her
husband close by

away from the din of
the city, where the
steel pierces the
clouds, accepts
his kiss, for better
or for worse, as
well him as another

Noontime

the open skies look
down upon the patchwork
of green, brown, black
ribbons of road newly
dug, ever expanding
veins to tap fields thick
with wheat, alfalfa, corn

the bounty of all that
springs up here, the land
arable, the water pure
still, and the song of the
birds clearly
heard, the dawn chorus
a prompting to the day's
labor

the land grown over with
simple spires and towers, pointing
heavenwards, the weathervane
spinning to show what way
the wind goes

and generations are born
and die
and still the lilac by
the dooryard blooms,
redolent of the promise
of spring, and, as we
tend to the land, so
she relinquishes her bounty

Upon Arrival

setting foot upon a
foreign shore, black
clad, starting the
work of taming an
unruly land, resolute, unsparing

the stones dug out for
fences, the land marked
out in acres, trees crowning
mountains, green parapets
in this new Eden of
forbidding landscapes,
jagged jewels yet to
be smoothed

in this ever-expanding
America neon often
lights the way now, in
place of the stars the
pocked the sky, beacons
to a better future, with
bread and land for all,
the story still undone, it
goes on, unstoppable

07 May 2016

Untitled I, Untitled II, and Untitled III

UNTITLED I


take me in your arms again as
another spring is born from winter

place your lips on mine and
overhead the birds shall
sing a song fit to break
the heart

furrow-fields, lines straight,
without error, all too ready
for planting, dew-damped, fading
into the distance, a horizon opened up
until infinite, beyond all our poor calculations

how long will it take for the seeds
to sprout?  Only a skilled
farmer knows, winking and peeking
at the sun as it rises and sets, other
propitious signs well-known to him, his
visage fairer than any other

and buds burst along the branches,
newly green, tight-folded, waiting
to be plucked


 .....................
  


UNTITLED II


the woman says:  do not try
to make me small; I am the
colossus who straddles the earth
and engenders all that is good,
mother of all the world, grown
out of the sea, though no
pillar of salt ground down
to grace your table

no doll to be tucked into
your coatpocket, or a book of matches
struck, one by one, their brightness
lying, extinguished, on the landing,
dimmed forever to a smudge of ash

mother of all, subject to none,
rising above the lines of littered phrases
meant to trammel her in.  No.  She
eludes these nets of sarcasm, scar-casm,
gleaming ivorygold, sinuous, sailing off
to better waters


 ...........................



UNTITLED III


do not mourn me when I
am gone.  Know that I am
with you yet in every sprig
of green you find beneath your boot

each squawk of birdnoise, each
crack of thunder, flame of lightning,
sudden wind stirring up the leaves to
dance in brittle circles

only tell the bees, so that they will
not decamp from their hives, that I have gone,
and let them know of those who will
voice the customary funereal words,

walking, stiff-suited, noose-tied, in dark
clothes, pinch-shod,
mouthing forced formalities through
the fug of flowers, so distant from
the sweeter noise of buzzing hives
under the summer sun


16 February 2016

River

too big to fail, too
old to trust, the
water sullied by
glowing particulates, threading
thick through the life-blood
of this landscape

and who shall hear her
call, soft through the
night, winding through
the trees, now bare in winter,
waiting for the green garb of
spring?

will it come again?

or shall the rivulets shine,
doubling and redoubling mutations,
reworking our DNA until we are
what?

fault lines and faulty
thinking: a poor pairing
indeed, piercing the ground
with poisoned daggers, killing
the one who bore us


Charnel

scraping the plates, the
heaped bones into the
charnel of a bin, kitchen
meat-fragrant, redolent of
blood burnt over a steady
flame and she thinks of
him and his dear bones,
that finest of frameworks
and how she (once)
pressed her lips to his

still, there are greens to
be chopped with a blade,
silver steady, pressed
against the board, the
ribbons adorning a blue
bowl, crowning the cool
china like a triumphal
wreath, waiting for a
fine seasoning

as she would season your
brow with kisses, peppering
his cheeks until she was
hungry no more.....

and still, the pitchers to
be filled and the linen
cloths, these winding sheets,
to be pressed and put
away

oh my dear, my darling one,
do not abandon me!

Fairy Tales

drops--that will not pierce
the skin--pelt the flesh
like pennies against the
wall--a coin toss, the
rolling of bones, all in
life a chance, the
chancers standing on the
corner with their matchbook
manifestos, eyes snapping
like a leather belt around
the ears.

this too
shall pass
shall pass

and all will be light
again, the unnerving glory
of a spring day encapsulated
in a single pill, to be
taken with a glass of
milk

we are good children (or
were, once-upon-a-time)
when we still believed
in happily-ever-after

keeping company with the
kith and kin of the forest,
those familiar gnomish elves
who practice good magic
and reward the
simple and deserving, answering
thick riddles with
common courtesy


Carpet, Electrified

the boards shake under a
multitude of hooves, a
tremendous trembling of all
about her, the very fibers of
her clothes quiver, the
carpet is electrified, shining
beneath her feet, the
hot coals to walk across,
a straight line makes for
the shortest distance--
moving the clobber of clothes there, here,
there

bend and stoop and move,
move, move.  up down, up down,
from black to black and the
mouth, always, looking to be
filled


Sunday

sit, stand, sit, stand,
kneel.

kneel and count the
colors in the glass bordered
by metal, thick scent and
always the bells, crisp linen,
fluttering bills, the words-words-
words--the smoothness of
wood and glass, the
quiet-cool of marble, the
water daubed crossways, and
then the returning, blinking, molelike,
to the glare of the sun outside,
blinded, but only for a moment

Farmyard

ah, the bleating and the
bellowing of this season would
fill a zeppelin with hot air to bear
us away from these ill-
tempered contentions, the
rancorous neighing and
pawing of the ground in the
barnyard fit only for
animal tempers, ungoverned,
ungovernable, beribboned and
bewigged, grandly suited in
their suits for our affections,
lapels pin-pricked, noose-tied
red or blue, all this
sound and fury