Friday, July 28, 2006

Peg-ala of Beirut


When I hear your voice
you are my neighbor
with your quality of every day,
pleasant habits,
a piece of spicy cake.

Now you face the busting,
pop and boom. You live
close to a volcano
and your new mystical speech
erupts through a geography
I can never visit.

can I have you back?

This poem is dedicated to a poet friend who disappeared into religious quicksand.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006


Before I understand
I worship them
they beat me
out of my breath
with their mystery eyes.

Now that I am past understanding
having seen them
human and flesh
having seen through their magical eyes
I invent pretty names and play
at worshipping them.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Program Note

Saturday, July 22, 2006

History on 55

One hundred red and white
take-a-number cards
dangle on the wall
of the blood test lab,

on the border between
receptionist and technician
who argue jurisdiction
in front of the patients.

A record of my hand is
folded into hundreds of other hands
on number fifty-five
across the gloss of the plastic,

elongating highlights, waxy smears,
etched in melt marks,
and pull patterns around the hole
where we lift the card from its hook.

If the marks of my hands
could be teased
out from the others,
I could be remembered this way.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Trip to the Gynecologist Before Fran Is Born

Trip to the Gynecologist Before Fran Is Born
When I am three
the seats of the bus
look like they are made of woven reeds.

So much stone
on Philadelphia streets
stone walls, stone fences

paving stone glistening
in the lamplight.
I am not frightened.

My bare knees are cold.
Smooches of chocolate
she wipes off my face

with a tissue
from her purse
fragrant with lipstick.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

My Place in the World

I have a cyst on my chest
that secretes the essence of Scha-
effer. When I treat it like a pimple,
the ooze looks milky white, ectoplasm,

biology juice
doesn't smell genteel
in concentration, but
when the cat recognizes my scent,
I'm sure this is what she means.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

July 15

In the wild place I walk
there are no new green discoveries.
Everything is finished, still,
awaiting dimming of the light.

Days pass from morning tooth brush
to evening so routinely, and
summer ends quickly here.
By August there are already unkept promises
and questions about the depth of the heat.

Soon things I look forward to
happen and pass,
hours familiar as old friends.
Each fresh day says hello and almost
simultaneously with a whisper

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Anniversary 40

She says "do you love me?"
There is no bargain implied,
no claim of tit for tat.
A little voice
asks a deep and
delicate question
this side of a wall of days,
in a room filled with
familiar things.
There is no escape
possible this late.


Writing a poem
that sees print
is a pretty respectable thing.

But I am a hoofer,

That's why I
boast about all good news
like a child.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

To Tammy

When as on rare occassion
they want to create an artist
they will feed it thin
then love
develops fast but imperfectly
and leaves a great selling.

They let it live on group hugs
and watery conversation.
Skinny relatives in dark places
filled with folklore and fear,
never quite out of myth and
nowhere to hide.

There are few dinner parties
and couch conversation does not
venture where it goes. Thin and
perverse half grown love
is the burning that fuels
the selling. Everything flows out,
rarely in. The sale is the thing.

Those of us who live among the riches
of people who know who we are
may be immunized against doubt,
reared to enjoy and applaud, certain
of a place in the eye of God.
Sometimes we buy.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Silly Spirits

The tiny yellow candles
jiggle in the rhythmic air,
babies made of light,
tiny angels.

Candle spirits
mimic cherubs,
make me laugh.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

The Heart of Europe: On Seeing "Munich"

The touch of love
bounces from my skin
like a bullet
richochets off steel,
intended to be tender
but hard and brittle as bone.
It is a human touch after all
subject to the limitations of grease
and water.

The ointment of love
doesn't penetrate,
doesn't reach the tightened screws.
Imbedded deep,
some visions just grate
when turned and never loosen.