Monday, November 28, 2005

The Literate Season

In the Winter,
the wind spreads the clouds
West to East in blue and pink,
yellow and white strips
across the sky. Writing paper,
words fill the spaces between the lines.

Words fill the grooves
in the ice on the road and
between the lines of rabbit tracks
in the snow.

The children bob like bits of flotsam
on the currents of the street
and words fill the spaces.

Letter to Tom P.

I had no idea
where the path through you
would go when I first met you,
all blond on blond
with wispy bits of unruly gold
all around you.

I thought bright haired people
always avoid the cold.
In spite of the rags and bits of paper,
you looked redeemed.

When you told me about the dark,
the fever, the rage, the land of nothing,
and you sung your angry, pent-up songs,
I declared how strong you are
to avoid madness or live at the edge
of madness without slipping over.

You are bound in safety
because of the asbestos qualities of art.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Getting Ready To Continue

Can you
imagine me,
the little man
with a dishrag

moving little pieces
of error around,
making the rows,
putting parts back,

holding things
so they don't wander,
flitting about the room
emptying what remains?

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Memory Principle

I know that memories
make the best poems.
They twist in the telling.
They borrow their sadness
from long shadows
in the late afternoon.

Friday, November 18, 2005

On Seeing Myself in a Restaurant

How did I become
an American Gothic icon?
I thought I was young
and fashionable forever.

I guess I hang out
in the local cafe
where my neighbors eat
mashed potatos and wear baseball caps.

I wear my cap as my face
and the face of my wife in her babushka
suck the prairie dust and shrivel
under the years. My hair lightens.

I have become a classic
in my daily clothes because I
never want to dress up.
You will see me with my poor taste.

I don't look any better
when I put on the dark blue suit
that I stored away
before you were born.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

The Democracy Office

I'm being taken
to the democracy office.
I can't help it.
I know that once inside

I will spend all my time
enumerating, and I won't count.
It will be a nightmare
of equality.

I pray hopelessly
at the last minute
to the Maker of Meaning, please
give me a rank above bottom.

Why I Snicker While I Watch The News

They tell us
about a world
of pressed suits.

The footfalls are quiet on
industrial carpet or
the high heels clack on marble.

Thoughts are germ-free,
conversation held into the narrow chinks
of daylight, avoiding dreams.

Where I live it's always wet
and shadows block most of the sunshine.
My conversation is about secrets turned inside out,

not as in sociology. Journalists miss me.
They find my body leaking.
They can't address me in the plural.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Having Grown Up Among Spies

With her monstrous
green eyes unfocused,
Emily slips
past us.

As she crosses our lives oddly
and breathes out of sync
with the rhythm of our days
her meetings with us have

been messy.
Yet we know she sees us
because she sits in our chair
and jumps when we discuss

amazing things.
Marked books sprawl on the table.
Entreating letters still arrive
for her to dismiss.

But Emily loses weight
even as she dines in this world
and gains weight
in another.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Leaving A Trail

I was transferring some of my life
from certitude to chance,

a curl of sentiment
past now.

I usually leave the loci of my waves
behind me and when

on rare occasions, I find
a victim caught in one of them

I want to say
hello.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Ark

I love to grant
"you"
to species unworthy of it.

They seem so grateful,
puckering their fronts
and squinting their occulars
as if holding in the bubbles.

When life is
accidentally poured into
such odd vessels,
we look at each other and laugh.

This is a come as you are.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Stark Administrative Note

All losers should leave.
If your portion is small
and you have received
no honors for the last year
you should think about
your graceful exit.

The War

I don't want
to talk
and turn off all the music
while the hinges
of the world break loose.

Flap goes the backdoor
of the Earth as
buckets are left
to be filled and
garbage needs to be
emptied. You can
wait.

The war doesn't leave us
alone. Appetities
shake our arms and
loosen our fingers.
And our minds,
we must hold them closed
with clamps.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Even If Food Were Free

No,
they don't want to help us.
Each of them is
splendid and they live
in their own castles.

We are island
citizens of bedlam.
We have fought
for the fuel to light our fire.

Death is simple.
No one counts it.
We are asked only to smile
to make it pass quickly.