Monthly Archives: June 2011

“The Greeks Have Flown”

“The Greeks Have Flown”

The Greeks have flown; they’ve left their god
A morsel, a token of devoted consummation,
And a fitting tribute to Poseidon on the shores of conflagration
As Casandra’s painful cries go largely unheeded beyond a nod
From time to time within the royal brood; their sovereign’s rod
And sceptre sanctified by land and sea, firm determination
To abide by what is thought a victory for the nation
Complete with joyous riots in the streets, the sod
Still wet festooned with crimson oils and a decade laid to waste;
While Trojan mothers weep, their sons receive the final rites
And Priam’s troubles treble as the night in blindness falls.
Wreathes of fine remembrance punctuate belated joys, the caul
Of sorrow thin and thinner in the ritual; they’ll circumambulate
The horse that dwells within the walls and sleep in peace tonight.

“They Await”

“They Await”

They await some helpful word and know the news
Their fear falls short of what it is they want to hear;
Days’ delays, too much backlog must disappear
Before the silence and its echo can renew
The striking of the bell within this people. Still
It falls within the natural healing that smatterings
Of longing, waiting, hoping in and of itself brings
Spasms of a healing psalm to the many, and for the few no chill
Will touch the man who holds the triumph of the will to heart,
A movement, distant, upward, outward toward
The next plateau, a freshly minted meme within a percolating promise, forward
Always–never moving yet never still–magnificently arched and carved.
As with a steaming rainbow, himself the crown to every several cloud
While he succumbs to resignation and relief that only ignorance allows.

“Too Cynical for a Child”

“Too Cynical for a Child”

Too cynical for a child, too innocent for a man,
But then, what did you expect? I asked
Enough in all the opening years to empty the trash
And throw out the sash of operations in the half-light; I ran
From the womb when it was required. I am
An eternity born in and out of time, the last,
The penultimate of a line that survives–the cast,
My mother’s hopes, my father’s hand–
Beyond all thoughts of redress or retribution.
Within their sometime august and rhyming rôles,
The median in ancient paradigms and genes
Has faithfully rewarded patents in a pre-recorded dream
Of glory in the seeds but with a difference, a resurrection
Common to the seasons, divinely timed within my soul.

“Nothing’s Censured”

“Nothing’s Censured”

Nothing’s censured, everything’s gained they say
and choice is all there is and all that’s human.
Cycles shift as do devotion
and commitment and we are glad and sad
As fits emotion and the glory of the stars;
December’s fads
are gone by February, January’s gains illumine
What’s to come in cloistered gusts
that blight the staggered laughter of a spring’s reality.
As autumn’s indiscretions rush to judgement of the past
Occluded by the soul’s embarrassed need
to face the present last,
And yield a future’s wanton wastes
in raw October’s costs and call it natural morality.

Of course, all the world’s put right within
a pale Pink Moon’s delight and we are here tonight
And know damn well we’re gone tomorrow from the diaries of the estuary;
Dawn’s first kiss–the eternal pardon–will arrive behind the execution day,
Delayed a single hour for the sake of show and mere appearances, flights
Of angels sprinkling  spores of wonder in the newly pollinated skies. We’ve lied
Again  and while we ponder why it matters only heaven knows we tried.

“Monotony”

“Monotony”

Monotony abides the inverse to eternity since we last prayed,
And so to arms and legs, and chest, a shallow glimpse into the mirror’s relay
There with all angels and their demons on track,
Mental ferris wheels to feed the ego. Creature comforts and divorce
(Whichever comes to mind) as skin and moisture, open nostrils
In the midst and mist of hostile winds and waters, lesser thrills
Than what you thought you’d find there in the tub.
But then, you’ve done it all, . . . what lamp to rub,
What nerve to prick to wake the dead within
Or titillate the whole without, and feel the skin
Of something close to human and possibly alive.
So much to do at fours and fives
In autumn afternoons or deep in winter’s snows: so creeps the dusk
Of possibles in the binding of the summer’s ledger and maybes in the dust.

“The Cells”

“The Cells”

The cells call out their scholarity,
Mighty spires reach for skies
That live seasons in the earth’s penumbra and expire
Forever, so they say. Turn, then, to odd peculiarity,
Particulars in ornate stone formations possibly deliberate
When once they housed a single evening’s temple
Built by want and ignorance of what is simple,
Worshipped by multitudes within, immediate
To some, an intimacy of bodies petrified
And sprung from some light’s supple
Flight that had a need for nuptials–
She, the goddess; he, the priest. So sanctified,
They possessed a night that launched a myriad cliffs
And in that blackest of shadows, its oceans shifted.

–Once

“The poem… is a little myth of man’s capacity to make life meaningful. And in the end, the poem is not a thing we see – it is, rather, a light by which we may see – and what we see is life.”

~Robert Penn Warren
[April 24, 1905—September 15, 1989]

“Humour Is Impossible”

“Humour Is Impossible”

Humour is impossible in the throes
of serious contemplation of the most potent question
ever asked on any secular page of literature:
“To be or not to be, that is the question,…”

When faced with such a query,
who will denigrate his own
imagined station and position within what is,
after all, a lethal situation for all of us?

The bourgeoisie cannot afford to ask the question;
the rich above the need of contemplation;
the poor too oppressed by the instincts,
the daily needs of hunting and gathering

simply to ensure a continued existence
in this world share  a modicum of
some comfort on the odd occasion.
The rich experience nothing because

every effort costs them nothing;
their pride, therefore, is rendered moot.
The bourgeois may well seek to own his world
in terms of expressions of what he imagines

the bailiwick of their betters,
and indeed, but fails to recognise
that ownership without purpose
sustained over a generation or two

is inevitably the prescription
for yet another application
of the Peter Principle
or the Dunning-Kruger Effect

and, as with poisons can provide
as great a lethal punch to the soul
as it can be in beneficial form to the body.
The poor experience the wonders

of life, struggle, and death but have no voice,
no language that does not promote
anything short of need at best, sedition
at worst when given half a chance,

and in the odd instance passing freedom from sheer want.
Witness: from a tax revolt in 1776, America did without its king;
1789, the French its monarchy and aristocracy;
1917, the Russians their czar, their aristocracy,
Their bourgeoisie yet all revolutions failed.

…But, Nymph in thine orisons be all my sins remembered,
strip away convention, then, and turn to prose….

Given all of the above and the advent of the credit card on the one hand, and ubiquitous Federal Reserve Bank Notes, the logical use and result of the invention of the printing press, what might have been humorous in the past has lost its flavour much like one’s wad of “chewing gum on the bedpost overnight,” simply because whether one addresses true tragedy or its counterpart in comedy, both rely on some helpful word as to what constitutes the intrinsic good or, in short, the presence of virtue and its ultimate outcome, nobility, vraiment…. Without such a word, we have no choice but to think nothing is too sacred to denigrate, belittle, or even to crucify, as the history of all of the many Prophets and Messengers of God, not to mention spiritual philosophers have experienced and met Their ends; what, then can be said of the qualities of the arts and sciences, and the “pith and marrow” of any given society on this planet?

In the end, what constitutes a poet if in fact the characteristics of the artists and sciences have been laughed to scorn just as those of the basic institutions from the kings, popes, religious leaders of all kinds, lawyers, doctors, teachers, nurses, librarians, professions of all sorts. Once one has laughed at God, Himself, it is difficult or even impossible to maintain any semblance of nobility; what should the present two or three generations expect but that after what amounts to almost continual world wars from the 1840′s and straight into the present hour? So much for religion, government, and so much for the arts and sciences, and ultimately so much for the sanctity of life, itself; if Hamlet had some difficulty in maintaining his sense of humour in a Denmark rotten to the core in its banquet days, what, then, can be said of the “remains of the day,” as it were, by the by, so to speak, as the crow flies, in our sweet time, …que çela reste entre nous deux?….

“Summer Like the Lion”

“Summer Like the Lion”

Summer like the lion has so little time;
Reflections on horizons only seem at rest,
Refractions, hungers in the higher grasses are at best
A blind, a routine introspection, attest to sun and pride,
Alike as natural season’s slightest change rewards the prey
Of both with perspicuous signs and insecurities but nonetheless
Concrete enough to cause a wonder in the every power; less
Than single clouds occlude the sun, the slightest hint of grey
Upon the main, both signal gain and loss. Clearly crowned,
They have no equal in selection’s schemes
Save Death, itself, yet each pays out in measured penalties. Extremes
In greatness and renown sustain but reasons, diadems and crowns
Subject to circumstance of cycles in the main—in means
A certain end—in cosmic tragedies beyond the need of seasons.

“Close the Books” [On the anniversary of my last day of classes in 2007]

“Close the Books”
[On the anniversary of my last day of classes in 2007]

Close the books, put away the notes,
The shipyard’s abandoned; desks and chairs have lost their rows
(The final cleaning crew arrives tonight!) and do you suppose
The office will be closed before the votes
Are in? Inevitable closing calamities. But by the clock
He sees the hours shifting toward the back
Of what was his room these many years; no lack
Of tomes and final papers, calculations, ever marking; the dry dock’s
There and oddly placed, order impertinent, his ship’s put in to port
And not a scintilla too soon, the wetted finger held aloft with storms
Approaching and heat stroke looming in the warmer
June-filled many-papered halls of what’s left in halls of lockers. Sort
The last class’s fillings, his room no longer root canals in light
And lighter proverbs of an erstwhile life; the tunnel’s end: his silent night.

“So Smooth”

“So Smooth”

So smooth, so ever-abiding, hits the pocket
Every time; he makes the basket, finds the hole,
And never loses face. He’s always first to leave. Nothing’s slow
So nothing sags or lags, nor is his neo-light in question. No sockets
Left unplugged, it’s true, but never there on time
He never feeds the meter down the line.
Talisman itself, icon, the behemoth never needs to look for signs.
He never walks when he can ride, does not drive when he can fly.
His speech is writ; his name’s his habeas corpus and he’s booked
His morphemes long ago. If his recipes were ever really known, he’s there
At pond each day because he does not travel far, has no need to stand and stare
In disbelief. He’s got it made, he seeks no shade; the man is hooked
In both these worlds, you see, and if there’s any hacking
In the phrase with nothing in the metaphor he simply states he’s backing
Many points of reference here, “And you can place me east of Edom,
Ma’am and tell me who I am today and where I’ll be when all will end.
What statues, then, what silk route to the East defends
The past, what Zephyrs offer less per pound than bedlam
There for plucking? There, because it’s there for tasting;
There to be admired and where inflated sires hesitate, there is a fire
In the valley waiting down below. “Pick up the pen,” he says, the song
And chorus speechless.“Wounded Knee and Plymouth Rock are pacing,
Praying, supplicating even now, and what may not be said? Where
From here, and what remains? What’s left to leave out in the rain?
…Where’s profit here, where the justice, whom shall we defame?…”
“The road’s not long and we’ve so little time to pay the fare.”
“Time, my friend? You have your meme and meaning, you…”
“…If not narration, then, I have my point of view.”