03 May 2011

Thirty Poems/Thirty Days


transfer, held damply in her
hand, the snow melting
where her cap (nearly)
met her coat, her scarf
left where (behind), shed
like the skin of a snake,
useless as an escape tool,
however jauntily it was wrapped,
the pantone color the blue
of a Mediterranean summer
once seen in a postcard, the
demarcation of blue and
white wavering beneath her eyes

and her feet ache, now, in the
warmth of the bus, the slow
thawing an agony she distracts
herself from by repeating one
line, then the next, as
regular as the telephone
poles she passes, one, then
another, the marking points
of distance, as chatter
rises and falls the bus
creaks in protest, the
recirculation of exhaust, thick
and tarry, makes her

so many miles to go, on her way
to a new habitat

Greetings from...

Seems so long since I saw you
yet it was only yesterday. Arrived
safely, though so tired found it
hard to sleep. Bread so rough
but the air so fresh
and springwater so
cold. I miss you, still,
through all our goodbyes. Be
safe, be still, be mine,
ever, in haste to make the last post,

Undomesticated Scenery

tipple-topple the silver pan-lids are
clashing cymbals clattering to
the floor, the
milk scorched into a honeycomb
adhering to the bottom of a
pot, while the
dustmice slowly grow, fat and grey,
and four, no, six loads
of laundry sit, obdurate, waiting to be done,
the nose, unwiped, went off
to school, the telephone
rings with news of the
latest accident, but she is
not here to hear it

Gold-Braid Peacock

you are for all time, like the
poverty, death, disease you
breed as you strut, peacock-feathered,
stiffened with gold braid as
volleys of ancient Kalashnikovs
fruitlessly pierce the sky

the blood dripping from your
pure gold taps--does it taste good?

or does it cramp your stomach, like
that of a child crying for cereal while
her mother faints in the sun?

Deckle-Edged Invitation

time to make hay while
the sun shines, or else (ah,
you'll wear dead men's clothes
yet) aged and hungry,

incline upside a wall, whilst
the banquet goes on
behind leaded windows, the
tickets, deckle-edged, some-

how missed your mail-
box, amongst the pleading
four-color advertisements, glossy-
sharp, great for bookmarks

Don't Weaken, Dig Your Heels In

easier than you think, to bite
off the matter with a brittle
smile, regardless of how

she has been assailed, know
that her heels will grind them-
selves into the earth before

she gives way and topples,
crushing you, at the last--
beware, beware, any who

would persecute her children--the
lovely reeds swaying in the wind--may
they be bedevilled by an itch
they cannot scratch
before the maw of the earth opens up
to enclose them

Three Years, Six Months, Two Days

what if his words were more honest,
honest, more, his words she
was honest, too, much more
than he

it goes in circles, he she, he she,
heshe, shehe, heshe, it was it
was it was
and then it was not

and that is the pity of the
thing, him raising his hands
in exasperation, herself
curdling, sour under

the sun, box of remnants shoved
into her hands, flatfooted on
a Summer sidewalk

Slicing Fruit

all is in readiness, the curtains
pulled to permit the first light

of Spring in, as she, green-gowned,
slices fruit and counts the

bright slashes of silver marking
the cloth, mirrors reflecting the

face of the sun, the brightness,
the long-hoped-for, the prodigal

returned home, her hair in
pincurls, the lining of her cases

ripped out, time to celebrate indeed

5:50 p.m. to Fleetwood

the day done, the noose of
the tie loosened, the crack
of a can opening, homeward they
go, this one working on a
crossword, the other ripping out
an article sssssssst from a
magazine, another TALKING TOO
LOUD on their cell phone

click click click click down
the aisle
tickets, please, tickets

the doors open to humid air,
another day done
another to come

Nil Desperandum

never, again, look into the distance
and see--nothing

there is always--something, however small,
microscopic, that wants your

brushstroke touch, in spite of their
unknowing eyes, blinkered,

the tongues dumb with fear, the
staccato fingers on the thigh,

nil desperandum, never, never
draw the shades down so fully

you cannot still see a sliver of
the sun, the common gold bar,

some currency to hold in your heart
when all else is bankrupt, a string

of goose eggs fading into infinity

Maybe It Was Simply Sleight of Hand

Maybe it was simply sleight of hand
that made the potato-peelings,
still gritty with soil from their
unearthing, turn to silk ribbons
slipping through her fingers, the
coppery skins of onions amber
jewels--she felt the coolness of
them against her cheek before
cutting into their flesh, always
looking for the blooms crowding
through manure, spinning straw
into gold

under the eyes of
the gentleman and lady on the
tin biscuit-barrel, himself in
perpetual supplication, herself,
hesitant always,
in his hand a small
packet of letters, ribbon-tied,
a vine of flowers snaking
down her lap, fleshily


there's no whalebone, yet, she's
found, strong enough to make her hold
to a form, so, take all your
madsong madrigals, your
hexameter hemming and hawing,

stifling her breathing, corseted
into an hourglass? Never!

but to be held fast by
your arms--oh, yes, to
that she would agree, the
reforming of her form, too,
.....most agreeable...

so stuff the terza rima,
the capolito, too, into the
casserole dish and freely
form your hand to hers,
unformed, unmade, together

It Wearies Me, You Say It Wearies You

never easy, that ship rocking on
the ocean and all her various

treasures upon it, anxiously awaiting news
of shoring, safe, hand held

aloft to test for favorable winds,
eyes searching out clear skies,

the crow an ill-omen, croaking
as it flies north, over the

stables, the broken syllables she
scratches out in two columns,

given, received, the multi-
colored bill of lading bright

as the jewel of a bruise that graces
her arm.

in dark-dim, the wooden chair,
the wine poured out and she, again,
a queen beside you, candle-bright

Boarding the Black Dog

the black dog must go, that much
is certain--but when? His ebon
eyes implore, wide as the twinnned
cups of tea she pours, hot, dark as
a night without moon or fireflies to
light the way

old, familiar head, nuzzling her lap,
snapping up the bits of bacon falling
from her table, baring his teeth, the
color of ancient ivory, in a grin so sly
she shudders,
turning her face to the wall

still, he will join her later, in bed,
nipping at her ankles, while she
tries, in vain, to sleep--he turns,
turns, turns, and settles himself
squarely upon her chest.
In the morning, so tired, even

draughts of coffee will not wake her,
and she stumbles, from chair to
street to market aisle, and
he dogs her heels, tearing her stockings,
she hears the clicking of his nails until,
and with such relief,

off, to his kennel, away he goes

Light, Squared

lights from Broadway, park-
bordered, reflect your profile as you
grip the steering wheel and peer
upwards at the traffic lights,

triune brights under a curtain
of rain

your lovely bones casting their
long shadows still, the
spare movement across the
stage and October and
burning, always again and
ever the light streams
through windows, many-paned,
trees turned to gold, again, again, again

oh, not knowing and yet
knowing, the voices, always,
carrying through the clear air,
an echo of memory when night gives way to day,
sun glinting on copper domes green-smithied

Framed and Mounted

still life in greys and blacks before
dawn turns to day and all the

multitude of things to be
accomplished, somehow, in that

short space of time, the tints vivid,
the bloodred marbled white while the

endpapers of a forgotten book,
still, life, the still life of

grey, black, somehow underexposed,
beneath quilted covers, the halftones

she flips through absentmindedly,
wishing for the rosy fruits,

tinted gold at their edges, cupped
in porcelain metal-banded, the

feathers of an errant fowl
scattered beneath them so


Ancestor Worship

we leap from the shoulders of those
who came before

names, in black/white, black/white
each thin column a multitude of
multitudes, towering babel

St. George, Perserverence, Alhambra,
Junius, Stephen Whitney

Sarah Mitchelson, James Morrison, Mary
Flynn, Ann Doyle, Bridget Cullen,
Michael Costello, Patrick Maguire....
(Ireland, country to which they belong,
United States, country they intend to inhabit.)

so many more
leaving one shore for another

where know-nothing copperplate script protests
for "the amplest protection to
Protestant Interests" and
No Irish Need Apply

built up from stone streets, the
ward boss and his nightingale,
the bricklayer and the
cook, the ironworker reaching,
always, for the heavens

for them set out the bread,
thickly buttered, tea,
lamb cutlets, uisce
beatha and pipes of
fine tobacco

Like Fireworks

like fireworks that July evening
exploding in waves, again, waves, shuddering across the skies,

black otherwise, bereft of stars, then
moon hidden by fog and your

hand in mine, it seemed, for all
eternity--ah, the scattered grey

stones shall speak yet, the earth
spade-riven to make a mouth

wetly black, all-devouring

Sky-blue Cadillac

blanket of snow tucked across the
highway and you, and I, in a
dream together, you, in that
sky-blue Cadillac, ever the
American optimist, me, simply
wishing for warm feet

and--love you--yes I did, with
the whiteness of the snow, the
blueness of the eye that first
beheld you

until I woke, word-weighted, weary,
tired to the bone, diagramming
your sentences endlessly


send me a quilt, to keep me warm in Coventry,
some light novels, too, the better
to while away the time with
until you join me here.

amber-bottled, the curling note
of scrawling script, goes on:
bring firewood, too, and some tea,
a kettle and some cups

to break the morning, long before
the sun slips down and I
sleep again in the shade and
some news of you, too,

and a red lipstick, blue undertoned, a
flint for fire, writing paper and
more bottles, please, there is
so much more I want to say,

counting the leaves of ivy until
I see you next

Wedding Cake

perhaps, after all was said
and done, a simple affair
would have been best,

bereft of flowers garlanding the
aisles, the crisp linens shrouding
the tables, the reckoning

as long as a hospital bill, and
me in ivory and you in black,
perfectly topping that multi-

tiered confection of sugar,
butter, eggs, flour, royal and
almond icing, surely a cake to be

dreamt upon, sliced with a
serrated blade, placed into
tiny boxes, white, beribboned

Museum Piece

only one, that's true, of him
rising and setting like the
sun, brilliant as the hilt
beyond the glass they both saw
that rainy November afternoon.

changing her feathers, fair to
fowl, to suit his naturalist's
eye, never-quite-achieving
the correct plumage so that
she, too, could be stuffed

and held for all time behind
glass, pretty picture-postcard,
buy it, for a pittance, before hitting the stones
of the street, rain slicked so,
so fast, fast, he drove, the

glove box thick-ticketed, pumpkin-orange, lean-jawed,
blue-eyed, whittling her down to size,

the ivory figure, ancient, knotty
talisman reclining in perpetuity on
the brocaded floral plains of historical
furnishings, neatly tagged,
catalogued in black and white

Calendar Blues

be still and quit fretting at
the years, increasing, one by
one, until they are counted
in decades, each amber
bead containing those reflections

mirrored back, held for all
time in that honeyed
thickness, she heard him
before she saw him, love
coming in at the ears

the hoar-frost has not
reached his chin, the
journey still not done, and
he, in her eyes, as
young as he ever was

Pared-down Prayer

to keep calm, carrying on, in spite

no matter--herewith
some small supplication for the
barest of necessaries--clean
food, drink, shelter, safety from harm,
freedom from want and fear

peace in sleep, satisfaction in
our various labors and
all else will follow,
sure as night trails after

Rocking-Horse Winner

falling, along with the leaves, unbridled,
golden, keys a-jingle in her
pocket, walking up, up, up,
above the skies, the rocking-horse

set in motion once more, winning
another trifecta on Riverdale Avenue, the
betting slips of the losers littering the

curb, along with cigarette
stubs and brown bottles halved,
angrily, in the dark, their

lovely necks so handy to hold,
hers, bowed over books, more
so, and still the golden

leaves fall, and fall, and fall,
leaving their imprints, wet, upon
the walk

Above the Fold

the leader, black on cream (or,
perhaps, black on salmon-pink)
surmounts the letters-to-the-
editor, the sidebar on the facing

page, featuring a low-backed gown in
velvet, the mannequin's face
turned, coyly, from us--not so
on the page of editorials--

with full force they bleat and bray, neigh,
sometimes in unison, more often not,


the printer's devil and the pressmen
in their squared paper hats amidst
the thrum, thrum, thrum of paper
and metal mixed, the din

they speak above, their dulcet
tones a better music still

In the Midst of You

in the midst of him,
stopping to remember all those
afternoons color-coded by ticket-
stubs, their falling, an accidental
rainbow, from her wallet, the
films, museums, they frequented, smiling
as he stole a kiss just
out of sight of the security guard
minding the old masters while
he walked with his young....

eyes, that is what drew her
to you, those eyes staring
through her like an x-ray,
irradiating her dreams
until they glowed

Empty Bowl

the empty bowl, already scraped
clean of the few grains that were

left, the sheen of the groats, the
oats, a dampness on the crockery,

and how am to live without you by my side,
arms and belly empty, a

scarecrow scratching at the
windowpane, counting the bowls

stacked upon the dresser?


resurging like the green shoots pushing
through black, always reaching for
heaven, so, too, I reach for you,
best and brightest of all men

I feel you still, in common streets,
in pews of churches too, you linger long
in and about me, wreathing your
fingers, always, through my hair.

in this short space not enough
time or length to list your fairnesses,
shining, sunlike, on these poor
shoots, seeking only your attentions,

a breath or two of yours to warm
them, blossoms aborning, adorning you only

After Leaving Here

after leaving here we had such a
time of it, I can't tell you,
what with missed connections
and luggage lost and the
coffee scalding my tongue so that
I could hardly speak, but I managed, somehow....

longing, so, for a surcease of
our travelling, pillar to post,
wandering, years, in this desert of
thought, the papers crumbling, yellow,
in her hands, the words twisted,
torn to pack the
china, hands inkstained with
the latest of linguistics, the
eager and ambitious words wrapping
a tired-out teakettle

rest. home. bed.

1 comment:

Abyssal Poet said...

wow this is amazing, i love all of your poems, you are really good at this. I just started blogging mine but these are great and you have such a deep commitment to writting them i am humbled! Yours are also a lot lighter than mine, mine are usually a tad sad but not always. Keep on crancking these out when ya can!