“Off Hand I’d Say”

demonstrators-defy-curfew-ferguson

“Off Hand I’d Say”

Off hand I’d say this section’s filled, the seats
Are taken, and in all this searing heat  the jury’s
Out, and while the nation waits and scans itself, a libertarian fury
Bellows “Foul!” cloistred churches howl, and streets
In this small town are lined with booths and kiosks
Selling trinkets for the hanging sure to come.
If what’s been aired and stated stands the run
Of by-lines, commentaries, and jaundiced clues, the costs
Of fine democracy at work as free speech
Advocates declaim, the cartoons reign
Supreme above the mob who’d have the same
Indictment levelled at their enemies that screech
“Revenge!” and “Infamy!” against the polar opposite’s restraint;
While strains of ’29 and `39 are clearly heard in all this world’s complaint.

“Double Sonnet in Honour of the Feast of Asmá [Names]“

Bahá’ís throughout the world gather this evening within the First Day of the Month of Asmá [Names]

“Double Sonnet in Honour of the Feast of Asmá [Names]“

Greatness, the maw and gulf of differences between
Recipients of names and the manifestation of the same
In full-blown sail, vain imagining; objective oversight’s the blame,
The ark in any given second. A constant stream,
The crown of transformation comes in time to weave
From strands of gravity the produce and press of what is never really seen.
Within the visible, a name resides, the hidden thread of dreams,
Confirmation of life and being—in bas-relief,
Or so The Buddha warned—the reliquary of  lethal trust. Between the name
And its receipt abide the seeds of pernicious doubt and protestation,
Manifest but without form beyond all timely attestation,
More an emanation than anything in revelation. In every atom reigns
The distance and sweet velocities of change. The many tools
Of blind belief in Adam’s gift seek rest somewhere within reach of fools
Embracing blasphemy in luminous dichotomies, dilemma’s
Punctuation marks’ delusions born of natural mental sedition. Litanies–
The outward beads of faith and understanding–are crystals of epiphany
Drawn from rich deposits of deep enigma
  In which mystery serves as providence and a farce of perpetual plebiscites.
Their greatest acumen is servitude bestowed
By human justice whose tragic flaw is banal integrity, whose goal
Before the cock crows thrice must beg the question of myriad rites
Born in mortal time like Sisyphus in spite of all he knew and knows.
And when denial and prayer are in arrears,
When needs and resignation outweigh a sum of means,
Words gone bankrupt erupt and deeds are stripped clean of fat and lean.
Perpetual hopelessness finds remission in an average skein of years
With all that overwhelms the truth at sunrise
In redemption in the simple phrase, “I’m still alive!”

 

“Who Denies the Virtue?”

ferguson1

“Who Denies the Virtue?”

Who denies the virtue of a single act
Of charity and thoughtfulness, or instinct
crowned by mindless bigotry at the going rate?
Is there some subtlety, some sardonic smile,
some eleventh hour of business while late
And grainy nights come out to play that shares aplomb
while force-fed deadlines prove lethal to the facts?
Witnesses rush to queue the feeding gate;
The talk is endless, stale and flat, debased debates
That lap up honesty and truth as hostages to obfuscate
Collusion in the elect? “One moment, please!” contumely before one’s fate
Is ever known. Comes a jaundiced breeze that begs the gangrenous thought:
“Shall I do myself the honours, or shall I wait?”
Fools enough will bid for time designed to waste
The troubled waters in the rush to publish what’s been bought
And what’s been stolen. “But, there’s the rub, the standard, is it not?”
A man will broadcast expectation in a polished mirror of himself and rot.
“So damn the polls,” say sentinels on molehills; as nightly scenes
Of raucous petrels in profusion draw the strangest notions.
Propinquity in multiples of flawed emotions
Nominate the place, and no one weeps
For them because they are too small
To ponder. Inflection will pursue
A difference here and no one wonders notwithstanding revenue
Against expenditures what weighty enterprise. They’re all
About their their fathers’ business whether in stampede
Or at a crawl or motionless in the hall. They will what they will do
To some determined end that in the esoteric eye
Of the beholder need not make a lot of sense.
“Are we not but squirrels?” they query on the defense
Keeping watch for enemies with eyes that never leave the skies.
“And we are here as on a darkling plane,” recites the leader
While the troops remain at full alert and no one reads the metre.

“By Day, the Toil!”

Wrting

“By Day, the Toil!”

By day, the toil.  Just so. At times the ache
Returns, but somehow, nightfall must come. Perhaps
It is the hour, or something in the newly evening breeze, but laps
Throughout the day are then for someone’s sake
Forgotten, and he simply sits before the fire,
Or there, outside beneath the bluer, richer hues
Of cares and harsher edges of desire
To carve, to whittle, to embrace a life at once recused
In poetry, metre askew with so  little harmony, alone
Not so much in sparks, but in the riot of results.
He waves his hand and even owls listen; bolts
Of lightning in his voice again do not groan
But gently call to sit beside him in the light
Of distant days remembered in the call
to rest with him through the vanity of his night.

 

“Yes, We’ve Seen This Rain Before”

ferguson

“Yes, We’ve Seen This Rain Before”

Yes, we’ve seen this rain before and now we see it every day;
Umbrellas up, umbrellas down, yet all these expose
Themselves as useless as the refugees keep running, hoping, close
To bolting at the slightest sign of teardrops for their pain.
And what is gained in either case, the with
Or the without? The question here is moot..
Is moisture poison to the man who values silks in suits,
Or to the woman bound to shake her fist
At every incident that renders hairspray a total waste?
But these are questions for the sophist’s notepad, fodder
For prevarication while what is relevant to the journey— blotters
For but a mere veneer of life—disclaimers, discounts which so easily make haste
To negate what is evident in a common tin of oysters or a jar of lox:
The end of every one of us is six feet under in a box.

“You’ve Got to Walk”

doubting

“You’ve Got to Walk”

You’ve got to walk, you know; you’re going down;
You don’t know when, but you can bet you’ve blown
It out and without a match, and nothing new
To breathe. The body’s there, but you left town
A moon or two ago, and when you stare
Through windows in the train, you know, you can’t
Be where you are. That doubting slant
On things, the way you’re forced to care
When care’s the last thing you need to do
Makes a sign of wonder at just how far you’ve come
From where you were to where you are tonight. Outdone
By every least distracting, petty issue, smoke to warm the flue,
Perhaps, but not your shot to make the call:
Once aversion shows its face, there’s nothing left at all.

“Tonight, a Silent Message”

“Tonight, a Silent Message”

Tonight, a silent message, I can hear the pleading
Through the trees and branches of my old friend; my companion sings,
And I am somehow comforted. The fluttering of wings
Accompanies the rhythms of the encore; and you, again, repeating

“Into…” “Out of…” Lift, release so softly,

gentle summaries wreathed in whispers,

Musings of what is not and never seen; tunnels and their tributaries,
Rushing, relentless repetition, applause, obituaries
To the spent and useless, harbingers of blisters
And the frostbite, erosion and fresh volcanic flood
And in the ancient chanting of a million
Dirges of the past and now redundant death–civilians,
Now–the arm’d legions follow closely through the blood
Of daily martyrs to the rescue in defense  the furthest reaches of the empire.
And I’m still here, I’m still here, and I still feel the fire.

“They Told Me Often”

“They Told Me Often”

They told me often, always boisterous, boasting loudly, nights
Would come when I would feel the season’s counterfeits rally round
Ten thousand thousand fresh laconic smiles, duly marinating in their sweet obscenities while chasing tails, and bound
For fiscal glory, yes! I knew they knew it could not last, nor might
Not, could not more than minutes in an icecube’s stand, this half hour, or that,…and yet…
They always raise their fists on high, and swear to God
despite their losses surely, yes, they’d do it all again and lay in flight
Their life’s breath’s coin conjoined where once their wit was hatched to stay
The course and never once betray or even reconsider whom or what they are with no regrets.
Their joy is in the print and watermarks and all that shredding….No! By God! They that were sincere are sweating, and all those shirts will never dry. Standards to the clan, they are,and even after desperate stares
Surround their own deductions, loopholes, distorted egos all aware
They scribble texts, graffitied mountain tailings, organs failing, seal their space:
“A hand! Extend a hand” they cry, “and deal the cards again for as we live
We die together… “Well, the hell you say! In the Fed we trust; the government forgives,
for goodness sake!”:…Mae West my friend, she’ll tell ya bluntly: “…goodness’s got nothin’ to do with it!”

“Did Ever Peace in Motion Come”

runner

“Did Ever Peace in Motion Come”

Did ever peace in motion come to mind while living still,
Or what’s an ego for? We do not cease; we know we die
But, what hopes are hung there in the clocks, the early cries
Of “Quickly!”or “Grant me time that I may kill,”
And whether there is joy in sunrise there beyond that hill
Or here behind this present place within the wall we occupy.
The only guarantee we have testifies
To purpose, patience that we have lived to see what fulfils
A destiny, no mere approbation, positive as this may be,
But willing prophesy and added acquiescence to the turning
Of the page, the further reading, the greater goal
To ascertain than to achieve. Then on beyond the poles
Whither to the north or south, to encompass greater than the seas,
Further than consumption; such limitless forests as are beyond all learning.

“Of Course”

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“Of Course”

Of course you’re slightly disconcerted, you should be. Now
That you’re alive and well and thriving,. . . how
Else should you be?
…after all, you’re really here….
You know; a little here and there will never hurt,
And if you’re good at what you do the benefiits assert
Themselves. Sooner or later we’ll get the point.
Knives and forks and spoons are placed precisely on the table.
When your but’s are in a basket and your no’s are out of joint
With the seasons and the people, aliens crawl
Through pipelines, conduits, and everything in the air ducts maul
The lungs since the filter’s often worse than what’s in the air.
Yes, well, someone’s never mentioned in this nor cared
Enough to remove the label when they had the chance
While the thing’s still breathing. Price tag thus, and at first glance,
The truth is just as obvious and nothing short
Of brilliant, worthy of protection, noteworthy of report
Amongst the never-you-mind might-have-been’s.
Back then to the backfire and the stall. The mid-flight
Process includes a message from the pilot, “Don’t tell a soul
But we’ve already landed, nor in bronze or silver, but, damn! solid gold.