Category Archives: Poetry

“You Own the Year”

“You Own the Year”

You own the year and years before you
As I the year and all that’s passed;
Your signs are rising, eternity is steadfast.
Quo vadis, then? I who serve eternities am overruled
By sheer numbers, countless previous dispensations viewed
In retrospect and circumspect in vast
And spacious notions of impermanence and impasse.
I see before the fact in part, imperfectly at present, pursued
By spoils of the war and coupled with a dubious acquired taste
For bitters, an acerbic memory gained close at hand or lost at sea.
Nothing in this world is or is so stable
That it is not utterly dependent, created, removed and recreated on the table
Of bounties throughout creation; what God has willed to use or waste
Shall be not be more or less than what it is and what is not shall never be.*

***

* “Protect me, O my Lord, from every evil that Thine omniscience perceiveth, inasmuch as there is no power nor strength but in Thee, no triumph is forthcoming save from Thy presence, and it is Thine alone to command. Whatever God hath willed hath been, and that which He hath not willed shall not be.

There is no power nor strength except in God, the Most Exalted, the Most Mighty.”

–His HolinessThe Báb, Selections from the Writings of the Báb, pp. 190-191

“Study”

studying-boh

“Study”

Study marks all stars to bring a second truth to stand reenforced
By what the doctors know; to second guess
The odds, a capitulation of a second, a consolation prize at best;
To cheat, perhaps, or worse, to change the windless course,
A doldrum of ordination well before conception, even more,
Delight to undermine what primal motives strength
Of certitude command, a reprimand, the breadth and length
Of all creation guided as it were to win, to score
Beyond that something, this someone, those some facts greater
Than the product of a wizard or the clever second-hand
shuffle across the face of clocks and cosmic signs. A man,
A faculty of man, an energy—perhaps an enterprising satyr—
Quickening the insight and knowing just how much the gathering clouds
Have missed the point will gorge himself on fate, and blaspheme right out loud.

“Or”

Restricted

“Or”

“Where have all the children gone?”
Wait. Hesitate or “What’s a Luddite suppos’d to do?”
If all our stars are realligned the few
Who register approval hear the song,
While all the rest are caught in endless sleep. If right and wrong
Depend on numbers and wisdom on its devotées, the serpent in the queue
Itself provides the answer to the Sphinx; what is never seen, the clue:
The roll call amongst the deaf exceeds the number of the living.The throng,
The mob, their bliss in congress feeds on givens more than present appetite demands while someone pays the piper;
They always will, you know; it is the ancient promise of the latter day.

Did you believe
The King picks up the tab while you so freely lunched with your psychologist
And somehow missed the age-old sign upon the wall:

“Restricted” The misanthropist
Waiting tables finds comfort in his tips; the cleric, lips are his own private sniper.

Cell-phones in the square deter a tank or two, but rarely seen are thse who will succeed, who sooner either disappear or die while those who don’t are later forced …to bleed.

“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.