She wrote reams of poetry about love from the knowledge of it she gained by reading vampire novels and from watching black and white movies late into the night. She thought they were wonderful and would surely bring her fame.
The Bookends Poetry Theater
it dances and speaks
hums beats drums
futile frustrations for a gone world
it reads itself with its eyes closed
curses you then pleads forgiveness
moves like an acrobat on a wire
high above a circus crowd
that waits with held breath
hoping he will fall
unfolds like a seven-foot clown
getting out of an impossibly tiny car
has the sound of fresh-washed sheets
purely white and purely wet
flapping - snapping
in an organic ocean wind
it dives and dies like leaves
flies off above fields of lolly flowers
and hovers over the heads of
with future feet
She buried him in his best suit, the blue serge that he had worn for every wedding, funeral and christening. Later, she remembered he hated that suit, how he had complained every time he put it on. It’s too late now, she thought as she checked each egg in the carton to make sure none of them were broken.
When I was young I thought it odd
That Santa Claus was not a god,
Breaking and entering to do good
In every town and neighborhood.
I asked my sister to explain.
She laughed and said it very plain,
That he’s the ghost of the patron saint
Of prostitutes and pawnbrokers.
I’d no idea what those were.
I wouldn’t know for several years.
I only wished down to my toes
I’d grow up to be one of those.
“Falcon Of The Inner Eye”, tempera on paper, Morris Graves (1941)
Oh, these are not the pretty
painted plovers of Audubon
but spirit birds of nature
that seek to nest
in the wounded wilderness
of the inner eye,
maddened by the sound of machinery
and logged-off mountains,
myths of division and separation.
Taoist owls in times of change,
moonbirds with their haunted bouquets
singing in the next dimension.
When I have finally passed into unimportance
you will trim me carefully from your life
and paste me onto an empty page
in one of those spiral notebooks
of which you are so fond.
You’ll carry that with you for awhile
but eventually it will find its way
into the bottom drawer of an extra dresser
underneath all the other things you have no use for
but cannot bring yourself to throw away.
To be perfectly honest, I haven’t been feeling myself lately.
Doctor Jekyll. hasn’t made a diagnosis
but he’s trying different medications
hoping some combination of them will help.
I can describe the worst of the symptoms.
People say I’ve been irritable.
I wake up mornings soaked in sweat.
I find hair growing in the oddest places.
My girlfriend says she doesn’t know me.
People who should recognize me
act like they’ve never seen me before.
I’ve been tired during the day, like I haven’t slept.
Tonight I’m locking myself in.
I’ve heard rumor that some of my friends
are planning an intervention
but I swear everything I take is by prescription.
So says the sign held by a thin bearded guy
who’s dressed in sandals and long robe.
It’s obvious to us who live
outside of the cartoon panels
of The New Yorker Magazine
that he’s about to be struck by a piano
that’s falling inexplicably
from a second story window.
The prophet of doom won’t make it to Armageddon,
see the consequences of global warming
and won’t be around for the impact of the meteor
that will bring human existence to a fiery end.
Back at home the prophet’s wife and children wait,
their dinner of locusts and wild honey
gone cold on the top of the stove.
Tomorrow it will be up the oldest son, Obadiah,
to hand letter a new sign and take his turn
standing on the corner.
Let’s say that today is the black Friday of poetry,
that day of the year when
the ink in my poet’s ledger book
changes over from red to black.
I’ll sit at my roll top desk
in a puddle of light from my bankers lamp.
Maybe I’ll have on one of those green eye shades
and a pair of those sleeve garters
to keep the black India ink
off the cuff of my shirt’s sleeve.
I’ll sit back in a wooden arm chair with wheels,
light a cigar and from the bottom drawer
I’ll take out a half-empty bottle,
pouring two or three fingers of rye whiskey
into a couple of dirty glasses,
one for me and one for you, my reader.
I’ll stretch my arms, interlacing my fingers behind my head
and, hoisting my feet up onto the desk’s oak top,
"ah", I’ll say, "that’s more like it."
Then you’ll look over at me and nod,
making that face you make.
The one you always make
when you’ve finished reading
a half-way decent poem.
It’s one of my sister, the oldest one,
when she graduated from nursing school.
I remember when we took her there.
It was before there were expressways
and the trip took a whole day.
We came home that night
in a ‘52 Chevy with a leaking hose.
We had to stop every few miles
to fill the radiator from a two gallon pail.
She was enough older to have memories of the war,
stories of scrap metal drives, ration books
with their special stamps,
neighbors returning home.
After she graduated, the woman across the street,
the homeliest woman I knew,
asked me if it was true that my sister had married a negro man.
I told her didn’t know but that he was a doctor
and that they lived in Detroit.
I don’t know if my answer satisfied her need for gossip.
I didn’t know much at that age, just that her son
Russell, and I, wanted to be outside
in the vacant lot next to the power station
killing Japs and Krauts with toy guns.
The prognosis was about what you would expect
so you give your heart to the surgeon
who says that he can take it out, fix it
and put it back with no more than a faint scar.
But he cautions it will not be exactly as it was
in your youth when it kept perfect time
even though you swallow the pills
that will regulate it’s ticking, at least for now.
Do the rehab and take care of yourself, he says,
and It will go on beating, perhaps for years
but it will no longer be suitable for loaning out.
It has all it can do to keep one person alive.
Uncle Denny’s really drunk.
His wife Bethanne is in a funk.
Bert and Brenda brought their dog.
It’s pissing on the carpet.
Maxine is fighting with Laverne
Over how to stuff the massive bird.
Don and Bill have heated words
Over politics how absurd.
On the way upstairs I think I caught
Two teen-aged cousins making out.
The bathroom smells assault my nose
But I’ve no choice I have to go.
A football game is on TV,
One I don’t even want to see
But that’s okay there’s no chair left
I’ll walk outside to get some breath.
At dinner time I have to eat
Next to Bruce who’s guts I hate.
Every time I talk to him
He asks me how much dough I make.
The meal is done and we adjourn
To the living room where I get a turn
At a chair where I can sleep ‘til four.
It’s something to be thankful for.
The door is open. Come in and have a seat.
This is my poem.
I won’t bother to give you the grand tour.
there are just a few small rooms
and you can see most of it from here.
If you had called ahead
I would have cleaned up a little,
at least washed the dishes in the sink,
put the vacuum away in the closet
and picked up yesterday’s mail
from the dining room table.
I can’t offer you much in the way of refreshment.
I have water, with or without ice.
There’s some milk that’s only a day or two
past it’s use by date. It tasted okay
when I used it on some Cheerios this morning.
That door at the end of the hall
is the bathroom when you need it.
The towel on the rack is clean
and I took all the medicine out the cabinet
so feel free to be nosy if you must.
But come in and make yourself comfortable.
Stay awhile if you can.
I’m glad you’re here.
you will go on into the world
Go untroubled and unashamed.
Look around with a timid heart.
Find one who will pause over your words.
See that you do no harm
at the world’s edge
where there is no hope of certainty.
And to any who may ask how I fare,
say that I lived.
Except for that, be silent.
in the story
of insect glory
I don’t recall the rainfall
nor the snow accumulation
cumulus puff balls overhead
turn to rain in simulation
the first step is to get a good dog that every body likes
the rest is all animal instinct
by Anna Akhmatova
And the stone word fell
On my still-living breast.
Never mind, I was ready.
I will manage somehow.
Today I have so...