Category Archives: Lyric Poetry

“These Sonnets”

two-aspirin-hand-400x400

“These Sonnets”

These sonnets do seem at times
Something like aspirins or vitamin C;
You know the old stock remedy
From doctors that used to say,
“Take two of these tonight
And call me in the morning.”
For me, at least, the effects of writing
And even reading some of them
Are much more potent than their actual content
Since life, itself seems to demand from me
In the ordre of any given day
Oof effects than the actual content of any twenty-four hour period.
It’s not so much what I did today, but rather that I was alive to do it.

“Transitions”

“Transitions”

Transitions, troughs and floodgates
Swell before the crops are in;
Appointments rough-hewn begin
From centuries’ wealth in soils. He hesitates.
Lamentations of the classic farmer’s touch
Bestowed on something that was expected
Neither to outlast the seed nor tip the balance but once elected
Audit landscapes from the past and serve the sudden rush as much
As circumstance permits a well to gush and choose another path.
He was a teacher; was, and no doubt
Will continue to apply the torch to oils of souls
Whose mission is to lance the boils of youthful wrath
And freely prime the wells of mass miscalculation of the myths,
The babbling and cursive powers of hubris and its shibboleths.

 

“The Body’s Built for Stretch Marks

alzheimers

“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, “Lose that baby fat,
She said, but she was lying as she sliced another quarter pound of butter
For the stir fry as dairies churn to pave the way for satisfaction and utter
Joy at dinnertime for the calf, an unction for the stomach, a hardening heart,
Vanitas sanitarium omnia vanitas, and then some for the cat.
All is vanity if clutching at the straws of life,luck and liberty to boot
To generate bravado in 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 scansion
of 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.

“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.

“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!”

 

“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.