Monthly Archives: December 2011

Bahá’ís throughout the world gather today within the First Day of the Month of Sharaf [Honour]

“Sonnet In Honour of the Feast of Sharaf”

Not that what is in my soul is pure, nor are my eyes
In proper shielded, buttressed against what should not be seen;
No, my thoughts are not so secluded from my dreams;
These, the ears, are not immune from bablings of bathos on the sly.
My hands are placed firmly where they should not be
Nor to my taste my food as it should be. All
That modesty and honour require are no more; nor is the call
Of truth without duplicity the centre of my heart’s sincerity.
These infectious imperfections gain erection every day before my face
As each hour with yet another hour blasphemes with  uniform joy in their gray
Glories with ceremony in a plethora of follies strewn
throughout my hours’ providential tally of remaining rainy days.
I am never far from falling short of all my own metaphors, the similes and grace
Of He who created me and the cynosure of they who didn’t…yet I continue on
That He remains the Melody of Virtue and I am become the lyric of its song.

“I Was Informed”

“I Was Informed”


I was informed we’d arrived at Sometime Station

Some late grey hour, but was I convinced?
Shadows’ shallows hid pertinent details tight behind the lids and since
I was not awake there was no stirring; no? then perhaps a little indigestion.
I somehow missed what seemed so clearly plain
To the passengers but nothing rhymed with what was printed
On the programme. The brochure gave me hints
And vague suggestions listing attributes and mundane
Tips on what the locals do and how one clothes
The outer skin and where to cast the eyes,
But when I briefly set the door ajar and opened windows
  A judicious crack, I found nothing there resembled tips and innuendoes
That the guidebook said were there, nor what I’d seen in skies
Above my dreams and hopes, nothing close to inspiration:
Pilgrims best travel light and in their flight they forfeit anticipation.

“It Has Come To This”

It has come to this
That
Nothing
Desired
Has
Been mine

 


A minute
Before
It mattered not at all
Within my heart
And thus declined
To flattery
And
Nothing more.

“So Great a Silence”


“So Great the Veins of Silence”

So great the veins of silence on the streets in this year’s dying
Days; a fresh upon fresh blanket of winter’s dews shrouding
Trees and sidewalks, weighting rooftops, goading gables. Clouding
Clotted skies both day and night show no respite. Incense of Abraxas plowing
Down liturgical calendars, disguised, the last uncertain week of this last
Uncertain year; there’ll be no other.  The funeral’s banquet’s not yet finished,
But come now impertinence in  wedding caterers as the neo-looming skittish
Markets address themselves to not so certain promises profit, and as the past
May be the mirror of the future, Hamlet’s wondering
At his own wonder in the thought so universally voiced,
“Can we really stand another year with the same old invoice?”
That it should come to this! Denial’s simple rites, the blundering,
Sundering ties to all that virtue knows in favour of what is known, flaunted
ignorance of both at once even to the gates of Pergamos and Ephesus:
Have John’s missives not arrived?
Are there no prisons, and still no workhouses?

 

“The Body’s Built for Stretch Marks”

“The Body’s Built for Stretch Marks

The body’s built for stretch marks, peculiars, indictments drawn from lines

Reserved for bruises, random ancient scars received at childhood,

Subtle abuses leading to arrests, differences in the artificer’s sketches, would-be

Blind catastrophe to a child bound for trial. Etchings, wounds, fine

Byzantine rites of passage penetrate the masses gathered in their schools

Of fantasies as testacies: for the ignoble, pastimes; the chosen, noble death

Certain. Pride of station, booty, brazen badges pinned to what is left

Of  that old shirt or those old pants, and in the end, the glass is raised to fools,

And myriad mirrors of Alma Maters. “Yes,” she said, “You’ll lose that baby fat,”

But she was lying as she sliced another quarter pound of butter

For the stir fry, dairies churned to proven grounds for utter

Joy at dinnertime for the calf, an unction for the stomach and hardening heart,

…Vanitas vanitatum omnia vanitas, and then some for the cat.

All is vanity if clutching at the straws of life and luck and liberty to boot

To generate bravado for hopes that render all his finite questions moot.

Catwalks above his life’s pavilions, sidewalks in a decent neighbourhood,

And nursing homes dot the landscape while all declare,

“You know, the Devil made me do it!”

Who denies the processes of thought, the fine idyllic conduits

From “Why not me?” to “All I am is what I should

Be,” whispered while whistling down alleys and paper routes; the avenues

Conjure images and constructs preserved en bas relief in two dimensions,

Melting icecaps in an ocean of invention and intervention at the mention

Of a third. “To whom and what for?” He wonders at the dews,

Fresh-formed deadlines, spinal taps and tallies, and reams of “Things to Do”

And all before the door is closed and locked, keys deposited at the main wicket.

Who’s survived to say that winter’s haze might raise the need to buy a ticket

To some gilded paradise conspicuous on the fridge, or a cruise for two

Along the coasts or toward the navel of the nation

As he remains at home inured of all such thought and aggravation?

So wide the miles to peace and once again some pompous reconciliation

As the Parthenon limps through yet another year

and cancer strikes the very spirit of the Holy Temple Mount;

In the malls of Washington and London the body count

No longer matters to the kids at dinner while the recapitulation

Of the days’ decapitation give reviews on CNN no rapt attention.

“Nolo contendere” say they, the salt of sorrow’s “single spies”

That marshal once again in “battalions”, with no word nor photo from the skies

Above the glass-lined pulpits of the ‘ulamas of cable news centres

or only slightly less innocuous city gutters, the catacombs of dubious mention

All along the Tigris, the Congo, above Solomon’s mines on the African Horn.

They know their losses simmer silently in the chambers of the heart;

They know their worth in sovereignties and ulcerating boils apart

From what is said of foes on Fox or activists on board the unborn

Born again processions that occupy the parks. Landmines litter, braying gospels

of long’s and short’s, the meretricious glitter scribbled hastily

on chits strewn throughout the bar codes in the canyons of every market floor

Just as surely as autumn leaves attest what may be God’s penultimate bounty,

Blatant warnings in blood  atop the sash of every second church door.

“What’s the Ordre of the Day?”

“What’s the Ordre of the Day?”

What’s the ordre of the day? The laundry?

A trip downstairs to gather bagels in the morning’s light,

Across the street for vegetables from lands where armies clash by night?

The pharmacy awaits―its monthly maw is open―yawning,

Leaving me with hymns of thanksgiving for insurance

And of course the curse á tous les professeurs du côté français

Who voted out the dental plan, which means we all must pay.

Oh, well, I can’t complain these days. There is the firm assurance

That retirement is good until I croak, and croaking’s not that far away.

I might have done the deed this year, but something in me holds

That I’ve at least another year in me; silver this year, next year, gold.

There is in living more than simply doing laundry in the list of things today.

So what’s the sweat, and what’s another crate of eggs and milk and bread?

Another spring, another year, and some few miles to go before I’m dead.

“And In the Timing”

“And In the Timing”

And in the timing looking toward the left or right

I am arrested on a cliff, bereft

Of reckoning what is left

In me beyond the trappings of a simple light

And memories catalogued, together bound

In burgundies and beige, and with the odd in olive green,

The velvets of their spines lean this way, seen

Like houses on a narrow Upstate Albany block; I’ve found

It so, conveniently I guess. There is no slight adherence

Here to regimen, no lesser well-warn track to rhyme

With hours or days as I would have them, nothing timed

In what I spy within the closet or the dreadlocks of my clock, but clearance

And permission to proceed through standing weeds my gentle paces

As if bound by who it is I am, and nothing more than what my bulk displaces.

“Philosophical Principles”

“Philosophical Principles”

 

Philosophical principles daily posted pass

Me by; I can see nothing. I thrill to what I sense

In worlds beyond the simple physical; I have no defense

For case.  The economics of the street come hard and fast

As I am walled out or worse, within. Relationships

Quite simply, cast doubt; I am alone. The trick is in the chip;

I am become obsolete. Psychics set my soul on edge, their tips

Much greater than the check; I get no reading. Doctors seal my lips;

Somehow, the Ph balance in the aquarium is wrong; my fish

Have died and husbandry’s beyond me; I tend to use

A bankcard. Thoughts elect to the elusive next to

Tarot cards there upon the shelf, perhaps a shade above a wish

And whisper, but far beyond the random tea leaves that interrupt

My golden mile, and so I drain the coffee, and throw away the cup.

“Split Infinitive”

“Split Infinitive”

Split infinitive, the cleaver cannot leave a mark;

Whither here or there, I can

Say nothing of it save that in such spaces weightlessness demands

Safe passage through the night, and dawn, the every morn as sparks

In the extremities reveal mere likenesses of divinity, an excess so easily payed

Out as if ‘twere planned or ready bought, a largesse in signs

And light diffused. Humanity’s the excuse, the very line

Drawn in sands that separate here from there as if in an arcade

Where emotion speaks for intelligence and former lovers find a place

To hide within the withered phallus, the wilted orchid for just a little while.

Who will look upon obscenity as a mask of travesty whose caustic smile

Cannot pass the lips nor wisdoms register results within the mind? Efface

From memory the protocols of inertia in the game and such a stench is discerned

That cannot in the end be seen where more than innocence is burned.

Seizures break the of silence, then arrest all prayer.  Godly fear, psalms,

Some short breath of eternity alone can pace

The soul in such moments in the light of suns, with time and place

Within the mirror traced, as was Medusa to her Perseus, aglow, disgraced,

Displaced, and finally erased in sacrifice on this side of the glass. A man

May view so great riddle in a prophesy and reap such gifts

As this in seconds in the shift

From what was once alive, is etched in stone and even now dispersed in sand,

From what was from eternity to be feared and even now

Evokes a melody of springs in the trebles and threats of eruption set

To give us gently back above what now must lie below. He hears it yet

As some sweet adverb’s antecedent, an irony in tone:

Here lies all there is to truth, and certitude is all I’ve ever known.

“Take Nothing”

“Take Nothing”

Take nothing from nothing lightly.

His own sprites, infants

Of Providence from voids, nurtured, cradled, reborn as instants

Above the need of time’s pieces, time beside itself, timed slightly

To the skyward―Fate and Destiny merely fashions, statements in spatial nights

Of fire.  Engines of the commonweal may not easily be ignored

As antipathy gainsays grace and sue the flowers of “Might”

And “Maybe” as with all other litigants in the pond.

The cultured and the coarse and those who are not born

In affirmation’s garlands are worthy vesitutures but wisely worn

For what and who they were not what they are, held well beyond

Distractions the eye; reality rarely takes a mistress.

All that is cannot be penned and has no vested interests.

“So Who’s’t Knows”

The Deluge by John Martin (1806-70). 1834.

“So Who’s’t Knows”

So who’s’t knows the end in such benign beginnings,
The coming floods that fallow flow from all that snow
And ice held hostage by the cold alone when any fool knows
That what comes down must in time admit a hit in later innings
The last whose time is preordained, the added sweater helps but winning
Nothing ‘gainst the close exchange that comes within the glow
Of this year’s logs piled high at the hearth, the comfort zone
Cannot endure another fiercer facing, just another frieze in reasoning
When all that matters now is reduced to splinters
In the opening hours of the wake of powers beyond a stream,
Beyond the hopes of wagers strung on nothing more
Than readings from the runes or yet another card pulled before
The Gipsy’s deck was shuffled or wrinkles of the winter’s
Palm were read, too little information here for dreams.