Monthly Archives: November 2011

“The Café Stool”

“The Café Stool”

The café stool at the corner bus stop spins
Lukewarm as the smiles concentrate on the coffee. The counter reeks
Of vinegar and last night’s cream and stranded weeks
In tufts of cusps and smoke and maybes render standard wins

And dust bunnies in an otherwise long night’s wait. The daily burn
Put miles on both the urn and that old stool.
He’s going nowhere fast but yes, he knows the rules.
He’s been to school. He’s got a lot to say, and bile to burn

Before he bags the keys, and hits the road
For all it’s worth out there; and tell me, now, what’s

It worth? Another dime, another cup of time forever cuts
A path between the long and short, and both are simple codes

For what he means to say, “I’m here and going nowhere,
Fast, but, if you’ve found the exit, let me know, and I’ll be there.

Oh, well, and since you asked me, yes! The twisted lips,
Emaciated torso, darkest circles,
Smudges, really, orbs―a pair―and matching icicles
For breasts suggesting that they’re beyond suggesting; tips

Of fingers, possibly, or weaknesses supporting barbed wire frames,
And all this while naked, reading The New Yorker; raked, reclining, draped
Across a thing or two. A second piercing, pain, or whatever can be scraped
Together to perform the task achieves its consummate utilitarian fame

Expressed in motifs on the menu or à la mode made decorative and dative
In function, deliberately neutered as are the midnight waffles.
Yes! There’s so much that can be found in any diner or rendered awful
In some missing space or blank provided―the passive or the active

Voice required―sired, producing tired generations of sensations
To the point that what’s come in on the bus becomes the stuff of veneration.

“And Then We Come”

“And Then We Come”

And then we come to points on rising suns
And beauties in the skies; the eyes,  sweet buds bloom along the dog run
Held in audience, thrall from so much beauty to be gleaned,
There among glare of sun and all its flowers; seen
And heard among the many who have come
To see you through the dance, the movement,  simple mansong.
Well, who can blame them, after all?
They are so beautiful, and conventions so installed
Withal that in the course of minutes you’ll applaud.
And give them what they want because they laud
Your tastes and know their needs to be the same as yours.
You’ll have no soul in torment since of course
You would not have yourself in doubt and you’ve no recourse,
. . .do you think?
Yes, well I don’t know, I ‘m not sure at all, at all.
Do I really think?
Do you really think the Buddha took the night off
From time to time to shake down bread while His saints soar aloft?
Tiger, tiger, burning bright, whose the lady for the night,
To tone the rigours. . . vigours. . .do it right. . . .

“Disconsolation’s Signals”

Painting by Rolf Harris

“Disconsolation’s Signs”

Disconsolation’s signs, the truth will out
Through pavilions  of opinion; fault lines debase
The currency of doubt, and, at the going rate,
Lethargy, even prohibitions at the root
Of talk of golden calves must crystallise as collective
Nonsense based on phantoms hid within
Themselves like obscure poesy of gaudy display, the interim
But specifics of momentary revelations: selective
Memory wants its hearing.
No, if line and verse

Combines to set the tenor of the bell, what strikes
The golden instrument defines the tone, the trite
The cliché outcome, sporadic blessings cursed,
Immersed in baseless notions are the mint for multitudes
Of memory’s slips, the ratio of spirit to the limits of the fingertips.

Painting by Barry Hilton

“Unless a Man Is Called”

Unless a man is called to teaching or sustains
Within himself the antidote to know, his time is wasted, illusion
Sets the course; affected treason, rust and delusion,
The hosts of obsolescent ills engage and surely, silently inflame
The shadows of what he’s bought and sold; nothing else remains.
No lesser refrain explains the patois, the syntax of his daily pain.
No finer melody is heard, nor can an earthly merit stain
So deeply as an election steeped in knowledge arraigned
Before the sign of radiant experience, the conscious moment,
Acquiescence to the Creator and creation, the beginning and the end of life.
Cacophony and strange occlusion feeding strife,
The precision instrument of precocious gain and loss; delusions foment
Strange complaisance with all cosmic forces, and in the rainbow’s
Dimness in the end, the single greatest lie: “Of course, I know!”

“When I thought I was learning to live,
I was learning to die.”
- Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519)

“The Future Stands”

“The Future Stands”

The future stands but does not dwell in hearts

And spaces so vast, so quick, yet so brief

As tombs of imitation and limitation in bas-relief

Of constellations ranged as consolation in the arts

And sciences―oh, the prize will come in fits and starts

In patterns evenly to please the crowd, the

Chief of purposes, the reticent centres of knowledge and belief

In suns and all their moons;  these, the shafts and cursive darts

Of cosmic speech that never once at rest

Disturb the stillborn soul and its restive rapacious will―

Fickle and feckless―its satisfaction and natural elation

Balance here between denial and evasion,

There within the paradigm of tests

To sycophants and disingenuous skill.

“She Means Well”



“She Means Well”

“She means well, Mr. G——,” her mother says, “and all
She needs from us is time to sort things out, and she’ll
Be fine! She’ll shine, she’s bright; she’s such an angel. Yes, we’ll
Be patient―yes, we will―while she takes her time to recall
Whatever she’s been missing all these years.
Our Madeline’s been through these spells before,
And worse, and ever bounces back and off that floor,
And calmly walks away no worse for wear, no wasted tears,
No cautions, no concerns as we all love
Her, don’t you know, and she’ll for certain find
Herself one day!
You mark my words! She’ll put her mind

And soul to what she does and goodness knows, she’s a cut above
The rest!” Yes, well, madame, forty years from now, with her demands,
When Madeline finally finds what’s left of her, no one’s going to give a damn!