Poetry and Verse

 By E.W. Benson

Here Now

no change could be the change missed,

then, when nothing was and nothing had.

shelter of sky is consistent, including its catastrophic impulse;

twist of ankle in flight, with ill-fitting sandals, is welcomed

as destinations blow in.

 

noon hides midnight and sunset cancels dawn.

from expected delay, there is mundane relief on the way to

repetition’s solace; fake achievement benefits from fog.

glances and relaxed lips invite conversation from inside,

stirring within the vacancy.

 

wheels and rock lay a path toward rest

while fabric and wood warm the approaching haven.

clouds dissipate, then coalesce, fooling the thought of safety.

concrete steps trick knees wanting safe ascent,

then falling brings comfort’s only permanent gloss.

 

 

2-11-2015

 

 

Words in Faces

Given turns by chance and choice
Minding the day
Recalling days
Pulling us near by power of mundane time
We slip and pass and fall and reach
Powered by friendship of fate or founding grip
Moved to stay
Faces in light
Taken askew by fear and sloth
Missing our say
Inventing old ways
Taking us (where?) by selfish and mirrored theme
Minds slip and pass and fall and reach
Fooled by concept of work or fading hurt
Called to try
Recalling; inventing; moved; called
Here

 (2014)

 

 

These poems are divided into three periods: 1967-1980; 1981-1995; 1995 to the present. Following this sampling is the complete collection as self-published on LuLu.com, (Sur)Renderings.

 icehouses.3.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

slink in, thought,
and curl by me
and I will pet you patronizingly
for I don’t care
what token for later you allow.
you always warm the bed

(1968)

-----------------

a solitary wooded walk by
the trees of memory sets the shape
 of gently spoken truths
            before my eyes.
a flower is lofted on a limb
there (sheltered by a careful leaf)
blooming to return the favor to
nature.
    (we sit and love in the night under a street lamp moon.)

a carefully patterned sleep past
the dreams of my fault brings the shape
of softly molded smiles
            before my eyes.
a kiss is planted on a cheek
there (carried by a thoughtful lip)
thrilling to convey the flavor of
belief
    (vowing to return to day the same way.)

(ca. 1968)


ampurias.2a.jpg

i sat on the horizon
balanced on a wave
and looked into the gull’s flight plan within the mist.
one cheek warmed while its eye
winked hello to the yellow.
the eye in shadow stayed wide
but saw with borrowed light.
when I began to sink
the sun screamed so loud
that the mighty sea shied away
and then I walked
and the gull rode my wrist
smiling
at the flowers in my path.

(1968)

 -----------------------

 alone
    when finger nails
    file away silence
    and the face
    under mine
    smiles without its eyes
        walled out voices
        climb over and stir my bed
        where I stare in fear of dreams that die
alone
    when energy sleeps
    and I roll in tears
    from eyes that see
    one face seldom twice
        all I have
        is this night
        and its mare
        and
        that maybe sunrise
(1968)

-------------------------------

a sea of red
        upside down
rode high midst a purple sky
        and followed the
brightness
        who sought
refuge behind a valley.
        failing,
the sea
        soon lost his
color and became again
        ordinary,
waiting
         for the chance
that comes again with tomorrow’s sunset

(1968)

insadong.crownbakery2.jpg

pastel swirls of people
moving and breathing
about each others dreams
            and
        smiles floating in a wet, listless lilt
green beginnings basking in
age’s grimace
        while
some nice lady
blows the dice.
        heave ho, artless
        acne hackneys.
Death is the best tipper.

(1968)

 -----------------------

years dead
dream
    reels
in
    under stupor
    of antiquity’s booze,
    sings up downtown and
    whales (the blues)

the iron-poor
fired blood flowing
 backward in
        vein
and they die as
any bum in Paris:
updown-side, drowned
in
   Seine

(1968)

granary3.jpg
 
a fat duck
waddled through the branches
of moonbeam
and made his way to a stopping place
on an asteroid.
he rested till a comet tickled him
with its tail
then took to the emptiness
again
and flew to the land of the rising
song
and lived after her
ever
happily.

(1969)

----------------------

(a poem or a lifetime
a shade or a color)
a permanent fixture of the face
        looks through today’s glass

(a day or a lifetime
a shade or a tree)
a lively limb of the body
        stretches to hold tomorrow

(a lifetime or a birth
a tree or a seedling)
a simple breath of the night
        warms our common neck.

(all
    baby
        all)

(1969)

-----------------------------

in waiting for the night to come
i will to do a thing
of loving, i guess
for loving i do.

in settling for a time to wait
i save to say a thing
of giving, i guess

and lying on my waiting day
    i stay
    to keep
    a place for giving loving
i do
        to you


(1969)

-------------------------

this is a poem about love:

open your eyes
(and smile)
and legs
    darlingness
and
wide your mouth
kiss
white
quiet
    arm my hand
    and
    hand my neck
and
body yourself
around my sleep
(shhhhh)

(1969)

taxi.nypd2.jpg
that silly, misery-made mask
enters and bows as love
and exits stepping on hearts
and we who lie in his path
can’t reach that false thing
hiding an ectasy we sometimes forget to believe in.

but he’s going to take one
curtain call too many once
and bow too low.
then

i’m gonna make you love me
yes I will

yes I will


(1968)


In a Room

In a room of life
And wall and brick and glass and shade

By a street of time
And curb and stripe and lamp and sound

For a pair of us
And on and with and now and soon

(2004) 

 

  Storming
The day before we hail its rage,
Praise its power.
Then we let drift the boat of our escape,
To stay and to end in triumph.
And let the wind shove us inward,
Into brave skin
Devoid of fear, and tough.

The storm comes and we are victorious.
We celebrate, swagger and begin again.
Bring back the rain,
Let go the calm,
Let slack the rope of this,
Yes this, the ripping thing.

Don’t go.
Bring out the next
And drink the one in hand.

And then the storm returns.
I must hold the spot below my feet, the better to dial the sun
When mist is gone, when waves subside, when grief begins.
 (2005)

Two Sonnets

                         (1)
First up, then down, in conscious movement made,
Her step unheard outside the room she left,
She could not mask the size of heart displayed.
Yet now, upon the sight of him bereft,
She cried within to say the thing she will.
On hearing her he lifted eyes away,
His hope in flight across the windowsill.
She stopped a word that tugged her tongue in play.
Each turned to seek the other’s top intent,
Instead to look beyond the gaze held back.
Then as she’d entered, thus she turned and went,
And he, not moving, planned for how he’d pack.
    Their day was gone without a cause to keep,
    The last before all hurt defeats all sleep.barcelona.bedroomview2.jpg

 

                        (2)
She rose to catch a glimpse of him in light
And peeked between the leaves of ficus there.
He stood beneath the wind chimes, touching night
That pulled the sun below the trees and air.
With lazy stealth she glided near his place.
Then feeling her and sensing scents she wore,
He turned to look and savor hands, then face.
He looked across her body, head to floor.
No arms outstretched, no gaze to match a smile,
She pushed her face into his shoulder, calm.
Now, leaning into her, he stood awhile.
The two in place, her fingers stroked his palm,
    Then holding on, so wordlessly to own
    The pair of them, each to the other known.

(2004) 

    Child's Play
Rock shadow on church walls
Result of sun’s insistence
Clue of coming darkness

Cut of darkness on the walk
Cause of changing routes
Sign of losing ground

Bark piece on ground and grass
Chunk of right now
Piece of dying time

(Comes you to stroke the shadow, soak the sun, toss the bark
And sit me down to watch your play
And set me at my ease
fill my holding back)

Red hope shines back
And wades through rolling day
To safe and saving night

(2005)


    Landing, Pennington County, MN

Patchwork of fields
Colored squares bounded by perfect lines of roads
Carved by rivers, decorated with lakes

Blank canvas
Where successive visionaries have released
Private renderings of the true world
As they would have it

In midnight light of summer
Or when ice crust pops under deer foot
Each flatland life is illustrated
Corrupted or exalted
By certainty

Summer late night scene
Glowing from horizon up, long after the red ball sinks––
Insistent light foments indolence but
Requires industry
In all who walk
On four legs
Or two

Rugged winter
Makes tough all but indoor play
While summer makes easy all but quitting in time for good rest––
Creatures clutch a bountiful, manic warm season
When sun refuses sleep

Dependable crops
Are now packed and sold or wrapped and saved
That inhabitants may surrender in peace to
Winter and its idiomatic
Isolation.

Moon and stars
Seen from within lakes in summer
Upon lakes in winter

Shadows a quarter mile in length
Whispers that carry three times as far
Ignite imagination and prick persistent memory
In those who land and stay.

 (2004)

 

Young friend, old man––new death
A dearth of notice here
No Willy Loman friend, no Charlie
To pick up your name and hold it above memorial acquaintances
To make its sound match memory

Oh, don’t go far.
Don’t leave my picture of congenial possibility
In this time

(2005) 

 

    Planting

'Neath clouds of Sunday,
A season’s change undone,
To field, from none
Just now, no new thing answers yet.

From work of one day
The gift’s for us unknown,
Save what we’ve sown,
But, O, our living new crop’s set.

So digging that way,
The blade kept safe from use
In earth not loose,
On small worries sharpens now.

Yet, asked, one may say,
Herein there lies a ruse—
That we may choose.
But dig, is it in chance we plow?

(2004)

sunndalen2.jpg

 
The Coming Generations

For those who could not sit still,
Whose small offering to posterity
Was buried beneath the glacier,
Between the mountains,
Before the running of the ice-blue fjord:

To them we lift salute
For choices that saved our lives,
Gave us home, and
Made us safe.

From where we could not see them,
Their inclination to prosperity
Lay dormant beyond an ocean,
Between the mountains
Before the running of the ice-blue fjord:

To them we lift salute
For chances they took for us,
Leaving home, and
Living hope.
(2005)


First Person Vigil
Or
If Dylan’s Dad Could Talk


Return not, O death in night foretold.
Let sleep, let be,
Unhand the body here laid
Beneath this blanket of leaf and tear.

No power to thee;
No surge in power to stop this heart.
Be gone, stay gone,
Leave me.

Face God, and harken to his case for me.
No claw, no knife
Into my flagging soul strike,
Nor pierce the blanket of leaf and tear.

No power to thee;
No usurped power to stop this heart.
Be gone, stay gone,
Leave me.

(2005)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Sur)Renderings


 

Why Not

 

Private expression, for me, turned serious and went public when poetry’s alternate forms were introduced to me by some excellent teachers. At age sixteen, trying to surprise one such mentor and some friends of mine, I disguised my work with a nom de plume and read it in a literary seminar, only to be exposed by one of the girls who knew damn well that I had written that set of morose, if faintly moving, lines.

Though I have not written enough, nor can I ever, the balm and elixir of doing even what I have done cannot be taken away. One would like to think that your reading of these lines could awaken some cathartic pursuit of your own.

Except when there is an important marker for the poem, I made a conscious decision to leave out the dates these were composed because that information may take the reader out of the moment. Anyway, here’s some stuff, and this is my real name.

Wade Benson

 


 

 

 

Introduction

 

 

Words that rhyme in simple time

                                                      or blank and full of thought;

They may report, or just cavort,

                                                      all emphasizing naught.

 

 

I’m calling up with empty cup

                                                      word flavors for our tongue.

I’ll toil awhile toward sweet and vile,

                                                      sure sated before long.

 

 

 

 

Oration

 

 

Full circle, quarter circle, half circle, knot,

Blank verse, universe, meandering plot,

Half truths, bull moose educated twat

                                                      with a drunken brained, stupid stream of consciousness sot

 

 

I’m saying you’re playing sans a full deck;

Won’t you give, don’t you give, even a speck

Of a damn, by a damn, for a damn heck,

                                                      with a heigh with a ho and a traveler’s cheque?

 


 

 

Invocation

 

 

Not saved by me but for me

                  unclaimed but not unknown

Oh, peace of truth unyielding

                  reframed and to us shown

Come near to us,

                  the fear in us remove.

 

 

Thus shamed of things unworthy

                  not pressed in forms of pride

Oh, peace of truth unyielding

                  reframed and to us shown,

Come near to us,

                  the fear in us remove.

 

 

Serene in time unending

                  yet pulled to Earth as flesh,

Oh, peace of truth unyielding,

                  unchanged, unkept, but known

Come near to us,

                  the fear in us remove.

 


 

 

 

 

 

All sleeping sound is wearing on in careful mews of kitten dawn

                                                      in waking silent, stalled and gone,

All quiet now, still quiet now.

 

 

Some singing now, some sinning then with tune and lie and verbal wend

                                                      t’ward making word of truth again,

All quiet now, still quiet now.

 

 

There is no wake or make to do when leaping hearts are speaking true.


 

Separation

 

First up, then down, in conscious movement made,

Her step unheard outside the room she left,

She could not mask the size of heart displayed.

Yet now, upon the sight of him bereft,

She cried within to say the thing she will.

On hearing her he lifted eyes away,

His hope in flight across the windowsill.

She stopped a word that tugged her tongue in play.

Each turned to seek the other’s top intent,

Instead to look beyond the gaze held back.

Then as she’d entered, thus she turned and went,

And he, not moving, planned for how he’d pack.

                  Their day was gone without a cause to keep,

                  The last before all hurt defeats all sleep.

 

 

 

 

Restoration

 

She rose to catch a glimpse of him in light

And peeked between the leaves of ficus there.

He stood beneath the wind chimes, touching night

That pulled the sun below the trees and air.

With lazy stealth she glided near his place.

Then feeling her and sensing scents she wore,

He turned to look and savor hands, then face.

He looked across her body, head to floor.

No arms outstretched, no gaze to match a smile,

She pushed her face into his shoulder, calm.

Now, leaning into her, he stood awhile.

The two in place, her fingers stroked his palm,

                  Then holding on, so wordlessly to own

                  The pair of them, each to the other known.

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

alone

                  when finger nails

                  file away silence

                  and the face

                  under mine

                  smiles without its eyes

                                    walled out voices

                                    climb over and stir my bed

                                    where I stare in fear of dreams that die

alone

                  when energy sleeps

                  and I roll in tears

                  from eyes that see

                  one face seldom twice

                                    all I have

                                    is this night

                                    and its mare

                                    and

                                    that maybe sunrise

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

a solitary wooded walk by

the trees of memory sets the shape

 of gently spoken truths

                                                      before my eyes.

a flower is lofted on a limb

there (sheltered by a careful leaf)

blooming to return the favor to

nature.

                  (we sit and love in the night under a street lamp moon.)

 

a carefully patterned sleep past

the dreams of my fault brings the shape

of softly molded smiles

                                                      before my eyes.

a kiss is planted on a cheek

there (carried by a thoughtful lip)

thrilling to convey the flavor of

belief

                  (vowing to return to day the same way.)


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

slink in, thought,

and curl by me

and I will pet you patronizingly

for I don’t care

what token for later you allow.

you always warm the bed

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

i sat on the horizon

balanced on a wave

and looked into the gull’s flight plan within the mist.

one cheek warmed while its eye

winked hello to the yellow.

the eye in shadow stayed wide

but saw with borrowed light.

when I began to sink

the sun screamed so loud

that the mighty sea shied away

and then I walked

and the gull rode my wrist

smiling

at the flowers in my path.

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

a sea of red

                  upside down

rode high midst a purple sky

                  and followed the

brightness

                  who sought

refuge behind a valley.

                  failing,

the sea

                  soon lost his

color and became again

                  ordinary,

waiting

                  for the chance

that comes again with tomorrow’s sunset

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

pastel swirls of people

moving and breathing

about each others dreams

                  and

                  smiles floating in a wet, listless lilt

green beginnings basking in

age’s grimace

                  while

some nice lady

blows the dice.

                  heave ho, artless

                  acne hackneys.

Death is the best tipper.

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

years dead

dream

                  reels

in

                  under stupor

                  of antiquity’s booze,

                  sings up downtown and

                  whales (the blues)

 

the iron-poor

fired blood flowing

backward in

                  vein

and he dies as

any bum in Paris:

up-down-side, drowned

in

                  Seine

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

a fat duck

waddled through the branches

of moonbeam

and made his way to a stopping place

on an asteroid.

he rested till a comet tickled him

with its tail

then took to the emptiness

again

and flew to the land of the rising

song

and lived after her

ever

happily.

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

that silly, misery-made mask

enters and bows as love

and exits stepping on hearts

and we who lie in his path

can’t reach that false thing

hiding an ecstasy we sometimes forget to believe in.

 

but he’s going to take one

curtain call too many once

and bow too low.

then

 

i’m gonna make you love me

yes I will

 

yes I will

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

(a poem or a lifetime

a shade or a color)

a permanent fixture of the face

                  looks through today’s glass

 

(a day or a lifetime

a shade or a tree)

a lively limb of the body

                  stretches to hold tomorrow

 

(a lifetime or a birth

a tree or a seedling)

a simple breath of the night

                  warms our common neck.

 

(all

         baby

                  all)

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

in waiting for the night to come

i will to do a thing

of loving, i guess

for loving i do.

 

in settling for a time to wait

i save to say a thing

of giving, i guess

 

and lying on my waiting day

         i stay

         to keep

         a place for giving loving

i do

                  to you

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

open your eyes

(and smile)

and legs

                  darlingness

and

wide your mouth

kiss

white

quiet

                  arm my hand

                  and

                  hand my neck

and

body yourself

around my sleep

(shhhhh)


 

 

 

 

 

                           I

 

I want you

I want every breath I take to be

                           drawn

from the air around you

 

 

I want that air of yours to rest

                           in a cloud

around my hopeful shoulders

and to carry songs of me with it

while I wing in its way

 

 

I want my feet to dance –

                           as my heart

on sight of you –

on the soft sod of green

                           that is trust

and I want you always

 


 

 

 

 

 

                           II

 

always

         is how you follow me

         the day goes by,

         but you –

         you stay to

remind

         by conception of you

         that though I wait, I wait

         for a purpose, and I come to you

         on purpose, for you always

warm.

 

 

 

                           III

 

you warm me –

in my memory of

where I walked before,

in what I thought was good

company –

I took one warm step with you

and the shadow by me now is

no longer my own

nor are my thoughts

 

 


 

 

 

 

                           IV

 

had soft thoughts

before

generalities

but now my eye is often

sharp

and

leaves out the poetry of before –

                           a lonely tree

                           is no longer poetic

                           because

                           that tree is me

                                    the clouded sky is

                                    no longer friendly

                                    because it hides

                                    your face

and when I see a sky without you

I

fear.


 

 

 

 

                           V

 

 

I fear

         because

I know

I know

         that you have

been there

         before and

I haven’t

         but I’m glad

you took

         me there

         even

         if

I was taken in

I’m glad I finally went somewhere

and because of the experience

I don’t care if somewhere is an

         end

 


 

                           VI

 

 

                  but

if it must end

                  give

me a moment

                  give

me a moment

                  for

if will take a

                  thousand

to erase those

                  hours

that were our

                  moment

 


 

 

 

 

Flyover

 

 

From clouds to Sunday,

A week in change undone,

(To field, from none)

And there no new thing answers yet.

 

As works of one day,

The gift for us unknown,

(By that we’ve sown)

And here are saving new crops set.

 

Now gone to that way

A blade kept safe from use

(By earth not loose)

On those worries sharpens now.

 

Yet, asked, one may say,

In these there lies a ruse—

(That we may choose)

But no, it is through chance we plow.

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

Genealogy

 

 

Impossible depth of memory arrests me here

Near the top of volcanic ruins,

Interdicting descent

To the bottom of what’s gone, the core of what was.

I stand, instead, on the rim of knowing,

Inventing––and saving the invention––in the name of care.

 

Unanswered calls into the caverns’ void

No less echo discernibly,

Forcing re-focused noise

Across synapse and cerebral contemplation.

I hear––in quiet––leftover notions

Rearranging confusion, solidifying sound.

 

And still, it is not for me to know,

Not a certainty of mine,

But a floating responsibility

To look beyond seeing, to wait beyond living.

I feel the present caress of those not here,

Then reach to return their touch.

 

 

 

 

The Coming Generations

 

 

For those who could not sit still,

Whose small offering to posterity

Was buried beneath the glacier,

Between the mountains,

Before the running of the ice-blue fjord:

 

To them we lift salute

For choices that saved our lives,

Gave us home, and

Made us safe.

 

From where we could not see them,

Their inclination to prosperity

Lay dormant beyond an ocean,

Between the mountains

Before the running of the ice-blue fjord:

 

To them we lift salute

For chances they took for us,

Leaving home, and

Living hope.


 

 

 

 

 

The Leaving One

 

 

The goodbye ritual, we both know.

Don’t leave, one says.

Don’t make me go, says the other as a joke.

Tonight I’ll miss you.

 

Tonight, yes, but tomorrow and the next day and the next?

 

Almost.

Because I am in you and part of you when you’re here,

And your place in me takes the whole of my heart some days.

Sometimes it almost does, really.

So I notice me again when you go.

That’s good for about a minute.

 

You know I’ll be back, the leaving one says.

 

I know. Sure, says the other.

But I don’t really know, do I?

Planes fall down and cars crash.

Healthy people get sick and suddenly die.

 

But you won’t miss me on those middle days, will you?

You’ll fill your time with cleaning messes you’ve made,

The half-size meals you leave uneaten, poor thing.

 

I will.

But you’ll be embraced by strange places and voices.

They’ll hold the open space in your brain

Where daily we play together.

 


 

 

 

 

 

Except when it’s time to sleep, the leaving one says.

I’ll dream of chasing you in labyrinthine dreamscapes

Where you blithely ignore me

And the cats get in my way,

Always underfoot when I’m in a desperate hurry.

 

But you’ll wake up.

 

Yes.

 

And you’ll come home?

 

Yes.

 

And never leave me again?

 

We’ll see.



 

 

 

 

 

I Cuckold Goya at the Prado

 

 

nude composition deserves

no vulgar desire

nor exploitation of her

exposure

 

yet she requires pause

elicits guileless lust

 

she clutches privacy

with sweet regard for sensitivity

in voyeurs

 

yet she begs naïvely with her eyes

requiring affection

 

with no power to stop my gaze

she reclines

ceaselessly serene

shrouded in translucent innocence

 

taking her from the wall and into my arms

off her divan

scraping her from the canvas

and into my lap

i run from the guards and into solitude

 

to be nude with her

to be nude with her

 

at first she mocks my solicitude

flaunts her oily pigmentation


 

 

 

 

 

i wait for her to change

for me

i wait for her to change

to me

 

at last

when i finish

she returns my kiss

and cuddles us behind his back

 


 

 

 

 

 

I seek the thing unknown

The hiding piece

The partial mind

 

Take me and my crumbs remaining with you

 

We know only the part that’s past

Fear the thing unknown without the joy of

Counting good that’s passed

 

The thing unknown

The hiding piece

The partial mind

 

(With these languishing thought crumbs, quaff the rumination brew )

 

Review the piece that’s past

 

 

Tease the thing unknown

 

Words shedding light pass by us, sandwiched between layered shadows; they shine as brightly for the eyes of the curious that blink open, and the eyelids of the weary that droop.

 


 

 

 

 

 

A Title a Father Can’t Write

 

 

I’m a soldier, Daddy

Before that I was a golfer

And a Ninja.

Don’t forget skater-head, linebacker,

Fastball pitcher for the eight year-old Indians.

All that great equipment to play with

And those cool uniforms.

 

Watch-me-look-at-me-look-at-me-watch-me, Dad!

 

A son forever but a boy gone away,

Out of this safety––into the world of somebody-who-needs-him––

And I cannot say no.

 

Even if “no” is what got him this far,

Kept him safe for those kid years.

(No playing in traffic; no drugs, dammit, no talking back, no fighting)

 

No fighting!

 

Now in the real uniform

He’ll risk his neck for “greater good,”

Instead of stolen bases,

Before he begins his own way.

Thinking of all this on bright days,

When no clouds block edge of future view,

 

I’m sure he’ll be fine.


 

 

 

 

 

I Commit

 

 

In a room of life

And wall and brick and glass and shade

 

By a street of time

And curb and stripe and lamp and sound

 

For a pair of us

And on and with and now and soon


 

 

 

 

 

as I study the

butts of your cigarettes

and the imprint in

your chair

I still hear the silent

quake of my voice

that marked the evening

 

 

I have paused too long

on a point of ecstasy –

and have worked

to find the most

real joy enacted

and the most dear

moment unlived


 

 

 

 

 

Love Thoughts to Suicide Bombers at Heaven’s Door

 

 

Because of your promise

The promise we have together heard you utter

In solemn pledge to me

Among the seventy-two––

 

(Bless us and save us)

 

Because of your past sincere promise

I wait to see your face

Yet, through this haze of devotion around you

I can see that you know not how you are here

 

I neither know how I am dead

Nor why you seek my teenage skin in this realm.

 

I am sorry for your misunderstanding.

 

For I have read your spiritual visa,

Your pass into this beyond,

And learned your toll for entry:

One bomb, three fathers, and one granddaughter, among a busload of unguarded souls.

 

Why would I attend you?

Why do you suppose that my self and my sacred sweetness

Linger to be tasted by your ephemeral

Remains?

Remains that represent you in this nether haven?

 


 

 

 

 

 

Ask your still-living, old mentor that question now.

 

You killed yourself, thirty strangers

And two unwed girls like me.

They will not meet you in heaven, nor will I.

Your flesh-seeking manifestation repels my virgin spirit.

 

Again, I am sorry.

But let me be the first to say

 

Go to Hell.


 

 

 

 

 

Out of heads like yours and mine

Into the heads of gone away things

Far from the madding

Seconds

The rough pieces scratching us but eluding our desperate grasp

Lashing our torsos together, back to back

Strapping us to the bow of the ship

We don’t pilot

Waiting for the things that were anticipated

Back in days when nothing was ours, and nothing was deserved

Before the expectation

Before the rotating tragedies of other lives connected to ours––

Back to the happy pettiness of oblivion

The safety of dereliction in the shadows of ambition

Dreamed for us by others

Made fantasy by us

In spite of surrender to hiding

To hiding.

 

Now they see us


 

 

 

 

 

Storm

 

 

Let drift the light in place,

No day to end,

Allow the wind to shove,

Stroke not the skin

Devoid of texture, and soft.

 

Bring back the rain,

Let go the calm,

Let slack the rope of this,

Yes this, the ripping thing.

 

Don’t go.

Bring out the next

And drink the one in hand.

 

I’ll hold the spot below my feet, the better to dial the sun

When mist is gone, when waves subside, when grief begins.

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

Election

 

 

Under a wooden bridge of floating reason

We wade through mire

Not changed or lifted but mocked.

One swish annoys a gnat

And makes us rush and long

For nothing less than full reverse

To calm.

Up hills not ours we, never nearing sunlight,

Step unaware,

Scraping naked shins and thighs

Across the briared brush

So pricks bring specks of blood

From unprotected soles to waist

And ass.

Our Better Nature laughs to hear our crying

And looks away.

No memory reservoir,

The stream beneath the bridge

Still urges with its drift

And guides us, low, to selected

Remains.

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

First Person Vigil

 

 

Return not, O death in night foretold.

Let sleep, let be,

Unhand the body in care here laid

Inside this blanket of leaf and tear.

No power to thee;

No surge in power to stop this heart.

Be gone; stay gone;

Leave me.

Face God, and hearken to his case for me.

No claw, no fist, no knife

Into my flagging soul strike

Beneath the blanket of leaf and tear.

No power to thee;

No surge in power to stop this heart.

Be gone; stay gone;

Leave me.

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

Anniversary

 

 

A swish of hand from yours to mine,

such gift to me is fair.

In waking things and sleeping we

are wont to save it where

the flowered form in sunlit spot

removes us worlds away.

Then, with a cackling voice and clap,

our muse of mirth will say,

 

“Don’t stand and wait!

The table’s set for you.

Now sit and take your sustenance.

Your wine and napkin, too,

your senses sate.”

 

But for a while we play at rest

and move inside to woo

and lock all other places out,

the selves of us pursue.

When eyes are fogged and hearts alight

––and dark the candles takes––

our night will pull us to the bed

to taste of wedding cake.

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

Rollin’ in my Sweet Baby’s Arms

 

 

Scanning choices, each of us once turned to see

The other sitting still,

Minutes making hours.

                  This ‘now’ was not yet here.

                 

                  How fun.

 

 

The ‘you’ that passed, left for ‘us’ and grew to be

A woman opened up,

One new self disclosed.

                  Passing time blended two.

                 

                  How well.

 

 

We guess at unfound wonders, but turn to see––

Again unknowable––

Hours making days

                  Then tomorrow is now.

                 

                  How swell.


Viewing Pride 2005

 

On the day we paraded in crowds over asphalt

The sideline voyeurs looked through us

Onto the opposite shore of curb and into the eyes

Of those who stood across.

 

For a few, we weren’t there but as a film

Of nobody-they-knew and thank God for that

But aren’t they funny, eccentric, queer, gay?

(Aren’t they free to us for the prying glimpse?)

 

For others we were the brave ones who walk,

Sticking out the chin of our vulnerability

Willing to take indignant visual slaps,

Anxious to take full-face grins and occasional kisses.

 

And some wanted us to stop and hand over what we had––

Not only beads and gum and more beads

But to hand over our brash disregard,

To spread on them our balm of acceptance.

 

So on we walked in sprinkling rain and clinging glitter,

Between the wheeled vehicles and in front of thumping speakers

Playing music only we know the words to––

Sounds in a code of life too private to explain.

 

But a life too musical not to sing its moods

And compel each singer to strain the voice,

To hurt the muscles of the neck with the effort

That lets loose the beauty, anguish, doubt and happy resignation

 

Of this life without choice that confines us, holds us

And releases us only fully to each other

Not even to ourselves because we know what we don’t deserve

When we sleep alone and no one can tell us our worth.

 

But when we marched, strutted, pranced, promenaded

And vogued our way down and between sidewalks of

Lovers, haters, hopers, deniers and dreamers

We found our friends where they were and held onto the minute.


 

 

 

 

Rock shadows on church walls

Result of sun’s insistence

Clues of coming darkness

 

Cuts of darkness on the walk

Causes of changing routes

Signs of losing ground

 

Bark pieces in ground and grass

A passing chunk of right now                 

A part of dying time

 

(Comes you to soak the sun, stroke the shadow, toss the bark

To sit me down to watch your play

To set me at my ease

To fill my holding back)

 

Red hopes in the falling back

Look of rolling day

Sleep of saving night

 


 

 

 

 

 

Over and done

Done over and within itself

The thing lives

Leaking intelligence and prospect

It takes its place in the walk at my side

Still able to pounce.

 

(Abjure confusion; pet the beast while he’ll let you)

 

His teeth sharpened with chewing

He holds my regret in his jaws

Whimpering

Fooling me as he slinks

 

(Put eyes to work in front of us; step over the cracks)

 

Unleashed guardian and tormentor

Follows closely pricks up his ears

Fazed

Pushes his body into mine

Behind the knees

 

(Look back, brace against his spine; hold the balance)

 

Unable to fall

I find my way ahead of myself

Wanting the next time

The next lost time

The next anytime

Away


 

 

 

 

 

Young friend, old man––new death

A dearth of notice here

No Willy Loman friend, no Charlie

To pick up your name and hold it above memorial acquaintances

To make its sound match memory

 

 

Oh, don’t go far.

Don’t leave my picture of congenial possibility

In this time


 

 

 

 

When into my room a stranger

                  comes quietly

And sits beside me in silence

                  to be near me,

I feel myself rise to gather

                  my history.

 

 

(For I summon

my all to meet myself

there, in that other one)

 

 

Because I know why a friendly

                  thought comes to me

And holds in a word the open,

                  side love in me,

I reach out my hand in gesture

                  from me to me.

 

 

(Now I celebrate

hope and see your face

here, in this simple one)

 

 


 

 

 

Twentieth Century Surrender

 

I

 

A girl with clear blue winter eyes

         (and just a bit of guile)

A jaunty walk, a willing face, a pleasing, ready smile,

 

Is looking now for Christmas love

         like that she once held dear,

The friends, the house, wide open space, and Grandpa living near,

 

And without all her winter stuff

         (the blue sky over snow,

Icicles on her rooftop’s edge, the small church Christmas show),

 

Still she finds hope with loving looks,

         and careful, giving touch,

And gathers up her own good gifts and gives the world so much.

 

 

 

 

 

 

II

 

When lifetimes are pressed

                  in the book of one day –

 

When worlds are found in an instant

                  of touch –

 

When sound finds its texture

                  in the giving by two –

 

 

 

                  I see you


 

 

 

III

 

I find that days are quickly

                  slow, these days –

That ways of looking around me

                  are made clear

By the changes in what I hear.

 

 

We see this place is warmly

                  cool, right here –

That moves to coming with us

                  are made new

By the chances in knowing you.

 

 

We give what things were openly

                  closed, these things –

Where songs of loving around me

                  will sound bright

By the knowing our holding’s right.


 

 

 

IV

 

a night of young solitude is passing

         – a dawn is breaking in you

 

         and in the haze of sunlight

                  we see the bright image

                           of the flowering you

 

 

the fading of shaded night

         is softened by the golden

                  folds of a full and

                  pleasing cloud of yesterday

 

 

                           and we share a day

                           which breathes its fresh life

                           into us –

                                             and awakens us to

                                             unknown places within us

 

 

and, now,

                  the strength of tomorrow

                  is present

in the certainty of today’s

unformed––yet easily unfolded––

                  fabric of discovery

 

 

and we love what we find ––

         and we find what we can keep ––

a small, gentle, lasting love

                                             for friends


 

 

 

V

 

A new word is needed

     when you call to this unseen

     territory of completeness

          – this silent awareness –

               with a cry of “us”

 

 

A new eye is wanted

     when you look, to this changed

     face of knowledge

          – this renewed expectancy –

               with a smile of “now”

 

 

But there is no need or want of

     any you which I don’t see

 

     there is no absence or loss of

     any dream which we can have

               because

     us by us, now by now

               we grow

 


 

 

 

VI

 

How do we make this world stay

                  just as it is

                                             now?

 

 

When does beginning become a lasting hour

                  just as we dream

                                             always?

 

 

(the facets of this crystal

                                             of time

                  are unlimited

                                             in reflective power,

                                             in number,

                                             in color)

 

 

Make the world go away

                                             sometimes

                                                      (for us)

                                             sometimes

                                                      (forever)

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

VII

 

Taking time to see

                  (seeing more than I could have known)

                                    that warm and bright light that (on a gray morning)

                  spills from your wide eyes,

                                    a clear place in me is opened for you – to you

                                                      for a time

 

 

Giving time to hold

                  (giving more than I could have known)

                                    that small and secret piece that (in a stolen day)

                  listens for your tickling voice,

                                    a soft moment in you is begun for me – with me

                                                      for a time

 


 

 

 

VIII

 

A twelve month turn of time

                  has shown another one of us to me.

I could not have seen in your

                  blues,

The eyes of future love this sure.

 

 

                                                      But here it is

                                                                        And here it grows.

 

 

While looking next to me

                  I saw another one of us in you.

You could not have known with your

                  words,

The thoughts of coming love as clear.

 

 

                                                      But here it is

                                                                        And here we know.

 

 

Now hold it; touch it; save it; love it;

                  for we are the ones to keep it –

                                                                                                                              always

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

IX

 

the way

                  you take your place

                  when you walk in –

                                    anywhere

 

 

the way

                  you laugh at nothing

                  and anything with no

                  hurt in your

                                    heart

 

 

                  that you are glad

                  at any moment and

                  open to any

                                    of me

And no fear of fun


 

 

 

 

 

X

 

this sweet frame of mind

                                                                        finds me

(when I see you or don’t –

                  whether I touch you or not)

                  and changes the sensation of

                                    the day

                                                      or the texture of the night,

                  and fills me.

 

 

this sweet face of yours

                                                                        follows me

(when I look for you or don’t –

                  whether I call for you or not)

                  and smiles the words of

                                    your heart

                                                      or the light of loving,

                  and changes me.

 


 

 

XI

 

 

How the passing of

                  one day changes you –

 

your smile ignites the

                  sunrise

 

your face reflects the

                  noonday sun

 

and – as your flourish –

                  the glow of sunset

and shade of evening

                  hold your heart

in a soft glove

                  of a sweet affection

 

and in each night’s

                  sleep, a new dream

                                    describes tomorrow.

 

 

 


 

 

 

XII

 

Make no mistake

                  you never leave.

 

 

                                    Be sure that I’m not the same

–       that every new part you

                                                                        have found will last

                                                      with you over my shoulder.

 

 

                                    These changes have crystallized whole

                                                      places that were known only

                                                                        in my fantasy hopes of

                                                                        who I could be.

 

 

                                    I’m more because of you.

                                                      Most of all.  Know this –

 

                                                                        I’m here.

 

 


 

 

 

XIII

 

All that I see in and behind your eyes –

 

                  Every sound and sight of you –

 

                  Every wish you have for me –

 

                  Every hope you have for yourself,

 

For these things I am happy every minute;

 

For these things I come back –

 

                                                                        every day.



 

 

 

 

 

 

Like kittens who shield their eyes from the invasion of

                  (unwelcome but warm), glowing household lights,

We rest within ourselves to the peace of our own purrs.

Subject to pulse and rhythm,

The same rhythm with which we count beats unto dread,

Dread of the next hiss of discord, our joy also will wait awhile.

It waits awhile and looks us up again

                  (perhaps encountering at the coda),

The evening of our hopes

When the night which, of late, threatened,

Becomes a comforting passage to dawn.

The enlivening dawn is the gift of days,

Days which do not number, nor sing in tune within the small mind,

The small, resting mind

And heart

Of a sleeping cat.


 

 

 

 

                                    When in the light of sky not seen

                  I sound the voice of noise not known

and speak to only that which moves

                  without my touch of gift,

 

 

                                    you reach into the thinking part

                                                      and give up this unknowing heart

                                                                        without a doubt,

                                                                                          without a pause,

 

and call me there to hear you start

                                                                                                                              your thought

 

 

and stop

                                                      in here

                                                                                          in me

 

 

                                                                                                                                                You do.

 


 

 

 

 

 

Truth conventional unchained and recast becomes truth of me, malleable.

It rumbles in the head and wrenches the body

causing cerebral indigestion.

                  (These are the whines that try [wo]men’s souls.

The slimmer shoulder and the sunshine patriarch clutch, in this fray, shrunken by the service to verity [situational].)

                  All change is progress toward that which is immutably true, therefore change equals stagnation and revolution returns convention.

 

 

                  A gift unopened is perfect; a word unspoken is kept.

 


 

 

 

 

 

I spoke at length

With a young, fellow city-dweller collecting for his church

While standing outside a discount store.

I inquired about his church’s address and he gave a straight answer,

                  right enough;

I put a dollar in his can.

Convinced – at least a dollar’s worth – of the legitimacy of his cause,

I inquired further about his view of our mixed world, his and mine.

The dialogue was peaceful and informative.

But there was a sure undertow in the current running the gulf

                  between us.

He, a young black man with a mission to help his inner city youth,

Seemed to regard me with more sad acceptance than

                  distrust or disdain.

There was a palpable sense of the inevitable conflict ahead,

of undeniable blame belonging to my race for all past wrongs.

All words were said without animosity,

But this encounter felt less like a discussion than a

                  reconnaissance mission by scouts

From two populations doing blood battle.

 


 

 

 

 

 

Make a wing from a wish and fly into the next day;

Save a hand from a hammer and breathe relief.

 

                                    A place is made for the transformed, the redeemed.

                                    A prayer is raised for the heartened and the hurt.

 


 

 

 

 

 

That Fall will come is certain as that falling will come.

Riding, as we do, sometimes standing in the saddle,

Sometimes facing to the rear, astride a dumb horse

Among the colored leaves, looking about us,

                                    Carefree;

                                                      Falls recur.


 

 

 

Christmas 1996

 

 

On Christmas Day in the morning, we rose,

And felt the white of cold,

And called the name of God,

Again, to know of the way that He chose,

And sleep in peace this night.

 

 

On Christmas Day in the playing, we slowed

To take each other’s eyes,

And held between our hands

A face which shown from a baby, and glowed,

And warmed us in the sight.

 

 

On Christmas Day in the ev’ning, we cried,

Then laughed to think it so,

And looked tomorrow down,

Not scared, to take the new day in  stride

On sleigh, or camel: flight.


 

 

 

Christmas 2007

 

 

our round sounds bounce from wall to floor;

green limbs with hoped-for heavy snow

dress windows, seen or dreamed from inside;

old ways from fresh loves greet us

and

new gifts from gone friends arise from our talk

 

blue and white; white on blue

skies soft to rough; there to here

 

Christmas comes and stays

till our real grasp of what has gone strengthens;

till our trust of safe waiting returns, complete;

wrapping us, to be opened next year

home or gone

here or there


 

 

The price is high for being hard.

To hold, within, a narrow wrong

Costs us freedom to love and long

For truth in change, moving t’ward

The mending sought at living’s end.

And “change” means “wrong” to one who’s left

To mend alone, of peace bereft,

The place where changes caused to rend

The soul’s cloth cloak of colors warm,

Of fabric taut and soft and thin.

Yet mend we must, and do again,

With threads of truth, not stitched of harm.

That things can take a course not known

Is fear itself, and nothing saves

A life from inundating waves

Of chances, thrilling, altered, flown.

 


 

 

 

 

 

Dropping a tiny speck of change,

and turning to look behind me

The drop-off place where a new velocity charged my

unpowered flight is not a daunting sight

nor does it make me wish to mount again the safe cliff-top whence

I jumped

 


 

 

 

 

 

No worth in less than all, I claim,

For me to hear in this time wasted, but wild with query and

                  personal rage,

Benign to a fault.

 

 

(What truth has rage or riot unused in mind or spirit?)

 

 

I call for God to see, in my faulted facet (buff’d by

safety and apparent age, to shine for effect) usefulness despite the

                  character crack.

 

 

O, call us what we are, but what?

The name is clear, thus empty,

                                                      (Not th’ opaque and sure eternal plot)

To Him who calls the lasting shot.

 

 

(No waste, no fault, no rage, no shine

                                                      yet clear as one who is

                                                                                          and is

                                                                                                                              and is.

We are to Him as known

                                                                                          as He to us, full written on our souls.)


 

 

 

 

 

O song, in gone time, one time mine,

                                    O catch my ear and ring again,

For us who were and had and saw

                                    Our selves and waited in the line

To pick a purpose and forsook awe

                                    To make a road and walk.

 

 

O find me where I stand to hear,

                                    Thou untold tune, please sing and touch.

With melody you save my self,

                                    And words and path become a brook,

Now moving, winding by itself,

                                    To quench the thirst unknown


 

 

                                    September 7, 1975

 

 

 

When memory rushes

                  and senses recall –

When the air is old

                  with the thought –

                  and I breathe you in –

 

 

Where sky clouds with

                  faces remembered

And feet of us enters –

 

A hall of mirrors attacks

                  the senses

And then all of me from

                  then

                  till

                  now

Calls into now, mercilessly.

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

if a pen really

really holds yesterday,

I would throw tomorrow

windy

but that the minute gone of my

24 hours is so

love heavy

that I can’t wait

for the coming

crushing

affection

 


 

 

 

 

 

Here’s a marshmallow

for

Hannah.

that’s a nice word –

marshmallow – I mean.

I’d like to be one – for her.

 

 

I already melt friendly

when I hear in a

memory corner –

“Don’t ever kiss me.”

 

 

Only Hannah can afford

to be hones.

 

 

I hope her tomorrow

man loves much –

he’ll never understand.

 


 

 

 

 

 

love packets –

                                                      filled with

                                                      hearts

                                                      and

                                                      heavenly pennies

 

 

morningtime –

                                                      singing my ears

                                                      away

                                                      and

                                                      swinging my eyes

                                                      to stay

 

 

or you –

                                                      coming one –

                                                      true and real

                                                      tomorrow

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

a wide-eyed

skylight

                                    open on a sleeping lady

wept this rainy day

                                                                                          and

dropped wakefulness about the

room

but

nothing stirred,

and bed-sheets still

wrapped and rested –

yet that soft face did change,

for the resigned place next to

a heart

rains on her for love.

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

I’ve got a hole in my time where

I’m prepared to fly gladly –

But the gravity near the rim

Scares me a little – not because of contents,

But because there’s no backward passage?

                  I wonder if my beard will grow faster

                  Up there –

                  I wonder if my head will sit higher –

                                                      I guess that anyway

                                                      Only I can around

                                                      My bearded high head.

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

say the word

                                    and I’ll smother

you with all that’s

                                    of my thoughts in

                                    permanence

 

 

say the word

                                    and I’ll explode

into showers of

                                    soft clouds

                                    only for you

 

 

say the word for…

                                                      for…

 

 

For Whom?

                                                      ever

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

The weight of things leaving

pulls us down to earth –

in which things

rooted deeply there on

that which we’ve dropped

along the way.

 

 

the consistency of emotion

drives me past

words and expression

leaving the

nakedness of true feeling

 

 

I defeat my purpose

in an attempt to tell you

I’m at a loss for words

 


 

 

 

 

 

the fullness of experience

which floats in

a 3:00am fog

tells things to the grip of

the past

which I cannot reiterate

more clearly to your

well imprinted memory –

 

 

                                    can I stick in

                                    love here somewhere?

                                    like a million times?

 

 

my tears burn with failure –

I’ll burn my pen

if it fails me now –

 

 

please – can you look

at me in your mind

of the past and know –

know that love is

smiled from that memory

 


 

 

 

 

 

I must – and can –

believe that you understand –

you’ve grown an x-ray

eye that only works

near me –

love me –

single out my self

in your growing-up

bonfire

love me –

                                                      I’ll always love you.

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

Can I feel for you

when you walk that way?

Should I assume blame for

your limp –

or should I,

since your defect is but

a product of my crooked eye

and my limbs pass as normal

to you

and adequate to me,

count my

God bless me?

 


 

 

 

 

 

I pulled out the old kite today

And tried to sky it on what

had been real

                                    for the real

                                    had driven by

                                    and it had given

                                    me a short lift

But that kite wouldn’t fly –

my big hands pulled it down

for my unsentimental mind

forgot

to wait for the wind.

 


 

 

 

 

 

For the soul’s profit of ages,

melancholy is bought by peace of mind –

and the Lord of Pain sits high

and smiles down with teeth of labor

on his few loyal subjects who sweat under

hig hand

for a kingdom translated to them

through his divine right.

 


 

 

 

 

 

in the cloudless calm

of starry day

I stir a breeze

in my own way

 

 

                  and bring you

                  home to me

in thoughts of green

                                                      for me

                                                      and while

                                                      for you

 

                  and some sunshine

                  owl watches

                  with a strange

                  daylight interest

                                    as we embrace

                                    (around the miles)

 

                                                      each other

 


 

 

 

 

 

this hideous game – with rules known by all

and felt by all – in aged or freshly carved

wound – a game few win –

 

                                                                                          you have known

                                                                                          its anger before

                                                                                          and I have

 

but I dish out painlessly what was once

mine –

                  a twisted heart writhing in pain unearned.

 


 

 

 

 

 

dearest in the wee small moments of infinity

are you

                                    weakest am I in your presence

 

 

softest are your lighted

dark eyes

                                    loudest is your whispered silence

 

 

                  give me your (dearest, weakest, softest, loudest)

moment

for a hand –

and I’ll give you all the somewhere

I own –

 


 

 

 

 

 

I gave my secret a way of sighing

                  and my love a way of looking

I spilled the break of my heart on a

                  way of loving

 

 

(I’ve known the flood in the wake of love

                  to drown my laughing

and days to follow on a method

                  of dying.)

 

 

In the harness again

I name my faces again

and mark my

steps carelessly

 

 

but the difference comes in the way of saying

                  her secret to the way of me –

 

                                                                                                            electric.


 

 

 

 

 

in the glaze of a candle

lit

and the blaze of the faces

                                                                                                            around

it

                  the simplicity of a

                  careful glance is

                  magnified

 

 

a partial smile will not suffice

                  yet the sincerity

                  of a blinking eye

                  is most faithfully

transmitted in semi-darkness

 

 

so let a smile be taken in perspective

but give the wink its weight ten times

 


 

 

 

 

 

baby-sitting with a corn stalk

                  (taking notes on ecstasy

                                    and not making a helluva

lot of sense)

                                                      I was visited by

                                                      a vociferous beetle

so what.

 

well I guess those fritters are

                  (about done (now) it’s

                  been a hot and warm

oven, huh?)

                                                      journeying sentimentally

                  alimentarily

take this down.

 

take this ride on the reading

                  (down by the corn (patching) on

the boardwalk)

                                                      can be fine

                                                      if it has a kinder rhyme.

 

I never could take notes,

                  (make sense in a (hurry) on

                                    over to the senseless side of

the tracks)

                                                      or laugh like

                                                      I like to(o).

 

There is pop in this corn

                  (however it is (talking)

                                    in other words I’m

done now)

                                                      learning how

                                                      to hold a pencil.


 

 

 

 

 

this dark of space

         between

you and your realization

pulls me to the blindness

that installs the fear of

                                             no more light

                                             no more waking

to gaze into your contacts

                                             and beyond

 

 

but when I hold out my candle

and hear you fumble for a match

my being glows before the wick

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

the rainbows are coming

                                    look at them

across a yellow field to

a wordless cadence

they glide

                                    in step with the golden

blades.

 


 

 

 

 

 

Bending into an empty shape –

                  Winding down the caring habit –

Looking into an open day –

                  Giving out of simple answers –

Saving up a shared hope –

                                                      I wait for you,

                                                      And I don’t know your name.

 


 

 

 

 

 

a black harp

singing strains of blood

claims many masters,

but is welcomed by none

it plays the anthem

of a day whose sun

never comes

while throughout

eternity we pray for

some ambitious

beanstalk-climbing jack

to retrieve his

damned instrument

and take it back

to Hell.

 


 

 

 

 

 

ahead,

a red night-light speaks

hypnotically to the aimed green

and frames the innocent

who stumbles desperately

through the fog

trying to glimpse

the beacon’s holder

and he falls at my feet

where I stand,

guilty

as Hell.

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

does the marshmallow ever melt into manhood –

or does he merely grow to disgusting softness?

 

 

or does he resolve himself to be forked and roasted in indifference?

 

 

perhaps he is sliced up and mixed in the ordinary salad –

or swims in reproduction’s hot chocolate mess.

 

 

let him hope that he is eaten fresh from the package.

 

 

let him pray that he is the victim of concern’s gluttony –

that he is gobbled up by Impossible Dreams.

 

 

maybe then, barring a case of indigestion, he will approach the

melting point.

 


 

 

 

 

 

                  with the brush of a lip

                  or the sweep of a lash

                           an unerring mind

                           speaks itself in

no uncertain terms

 

 

                  in the whip of a branch

                  or spot of dew

                           a confident heart

                           sings itself in

assurance to its listeners

 

 

                  as suddenly as it speaks

                  so it grows still

                           till the studiers of

                           sense and sadness

realize the inescapability

 


 

 

 

 

 

The playwright of give and the

novelist of take

                                    can’t even find a

                  poem they both like

 

 

For one

                  the time is out of joint

                  (but we know it is now) and the other

can’t think of what the scarlet letter

                  stands for

                  (but we know it is alone)

 

 

and so I’m given to word ramblings

of perhaps little sense

                                             but that do lend

sanity to the mess made by the others

 

 

                           I invite you

                                    then

                           with perhaps not

                                    the

                           answer but my own

 

and a hand to help you find yours.

 


 

 

 

 

 

on the wings of a snow-white

                                             alligator

the American flag flies at half

                                             mind

and somewhere baby huey smiles

because ethyl stopped at ten.

 

 

and till the sky gives birth to virtue, peace of

                                             ass

         settles in the dwelling of all

         self-respecting

politicians

 


 

 

 

 

 

a dog in shades

of black and opaque eyes – red

climbs the fence and swallows

the first bug in sight –

sideways.

 

 

he jumps a ditch and heads for a

cess pool – yellow.

 

 

         I wear shades of – green

and miss the world about half

as it misses me – blue.

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

when the singular thought

is of one, I turn to me,

the home of myself for

the given way of my

name

 

 

the plans made in a

sigh are reversed in a

wink of the present state

 

 

I measure the length of

my laugh by the width

of your smile