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.

“Of Course”

“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 and sooner or later, we all get the point
. . .of knives and forks and spoons placed clearly 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, and aliens that crawl
Through pipelines, conduits, and everything in the air ducts maul
The lungs because the filter’s often worse than what’s in the air.
Yes, well, someone’s never mentioned this and nor cared
Enough to remove the label when they had the chance,
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, worthy of report
Amongst the ever might-have-been’s.
But then 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 solid gold.

“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. . . .

“My, My, So Come Now!”

“My, My, So Come Now!”

My, my, so come now! We’re a busy man today.
Strange to see when, only yeserday I heard you say
You’d turned a leaf or two, induced a change
So greatly you could taste it

You’d packed her bags, and said you’d waste it,
Took a train (perhaps a plane), or took the cure
In no more likely place than tree rings, age,
Withal, sublime, and now the buffet’s on.

. . .You called my name?
You knew your time had come for sure.
You wanted me to take for granted all
Your best intentions, and forestall
. . .some rupture in the waterbed.

Was it something someone said, or were you that disturbed
With smirking, smugness, the perturbèd. . . .

(They’d never think of this before
To beat you to the punch to make the score
Themselves before the world, and all that’s holy);

So you were first to burn, the burn so soley
For the good it’d bring in time for auld lang syne,
And all that’s wholly pure and good tonight.

You know, when after all is said and done,

And certain things which must be spun
Restrain the world, there’s yet time to spin
The thing, and youth’s enough to win,
(You must have sown a few yourself and let the rest be damned.)

You do know why you pressed this thing tonight,
This thing you do when fires are boiling light,
. . . come on, you fool!…
Oh come all that’s faithful in the light tonight.

You know you’re on, so leave the wrath
As exposed as stumps and what’s still in the tub, a bath
Or better in the shower. Got a better plan?
Hey mahatma; got a better thing to do than leave?

You really want to lead, and bless the soils with seed.
In an evening not unlike this night there’s yeast this affair.
You want the world to see your hair
And how you move it all and how you salt the soil,

How you shake doxologies, burn incense and holy oils
Replicating earthly canon till the cows go home,
And once again, of course you’re all alone. . .
. . .did I say that?
. . .did you say that?  Did I say that?

” Sometimes”

“Sometimes”

I sometimes think that happiness and joy
Are nothing more than hints of what’s to come,
What floods the mind the minute we are numb
To all this world’s profusion, enjoyed
As hors d’oeuvres that we so urgently demand
These states of being caught within the bailiwick of science,
Or the wider, freer brushstrokes of alliance
With the ego in the arts, and worse. And as we can
Inhale the sundry ethers of the hour’s liqueur the waste
Is in the exhalation and all that can never be constrained
Within the finite body’s workshop, the afterglow remains
To service seeds of fields of suns meticulously refined, the tenuous tastes
Of what lies just beyond the gravitas, the concubines of space and time:
Within that world, bliss; in this, a cosmic door prize for the blind.
 
Less sincere and not entirely moot,
The thought of what it is the poor
Conceive as midnight’s missing sun―the cure
For every second wicked fear that suits
The howlers that in haste construct from roots
And tendrils of what’s so ironically obscured
By little more than hidden light with pure
Imagination mixed―demur and demons loot
The pitiful remains of hopes and weights
Accorded place and station out of sight
And far beyond the pale of leisure’s stains
Upon a pride of literary lions’ tired and tattered vain
Attempts to survive through pen and page. Pain
Shows deference for justice in the night
 
Of such an aim because it does not turn
A page or wrestle with a churlish verse
Or if it has, it’s penned but chocolates, terse
And instant, yes, but nothing lasting learned,
And few retain such warmth in merit so taciturn
And brief that in the throes of fever see the breath as cursed
As desire meets the frigid air and cannot bear the worst
And best beneath Orion’s fickle nightly stare. The urn
Or precious alabaster box awaits us all as wisdom
Sees or does not see surprise in purpose for it all.
There must be some judicious gain or helpful word
That grants repreave or respite from the mold
And model of our outworn lives that decision
Leans toward flight for the many before the final call.


“Disconnect the Vowels”

“Disconnect the Vowels”

Disconnect the vowels, then, read what’s left
Within the strophe that makes sense to you; leave
Judgments by the door. Wear no sleeve
On which to pin a sentiment nor shibboleth bereft
Of common sense because the urgent cause
For which the precious ointment was adopted long ago
No longer finds its use. Justly, as it should, in isolated slow
Progress through generations, the hoary stories pause
As literary cusps on scrolls between cycles’ broader strokes
Stoke what it is we know or think we know, or what all know as lies.
The verdicts will, of course, disguise themselves as scripture in the eyes.
And do you think so handsome gilded spokes
Of wheels as cycles’ pillars, circumferences to cover centuries of fears
So fragile that words inscribed in tears will touch the hearts and reach the ears?

“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”

http://galleries.absolutearts.com/galleries/artwork/penumbra/penumbra1049139707.jpg

 

 

“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!