Category Archives: Lyric Poetry

“Yes”

Storm1

“Yes”

Yes. So much as I can see
staring Eastward across the waters
that later touch the Holy Land,
still, in the early briefer hour I cannot remember its equal.
Standing here alone in endless fields of wheat and corn
from where I feel an overweening rage Westward, miles
between those twin skyline cauldrons, and swells upwelling heat and sweat
in anxious presage: something coming! sweet release.
My body aches. I cannot stop the prayer beyond the syllables―light and lightning, cheaper thrills, the instant comfort and relief
of ice-cold waters of an irrigation ditch.

Nebraska! To ease the sweet pain,
I cannot wait. I know what’s coming. I’ve always known.

I should not be here, but am I, and nothing in this heart could be disarmed, alarmed or warned to cede to what appears and never once makes sense.

No. I see them, righteous boiling mountains
not of rock; no trees, no streams, no mirage―
no poetic soul’s terse natural verse here while there,
but two whirling dervishes from the West, floods
of supra-natural flotsam, mitred clouds
with stains of seed in florid green
to punctuate potential, a pure
perspicuous majesty
and they stare at me…

Their hour is come. It is their mercurial summons I hear,
its first flush reaching for me and I have no fear.
And in this empty plain,
a place where I’m forgotten,
my early exile, this beside the point
as I stand here, within the hour,
I’ll breathe, I’ll cry, I’ll laugh,
and damn the lightning,
I’ll survive!

Storm2

“His Days In Office”

“His Days In Office”

His days in office draw him closer to himself;
He knows he’ll  finish what he long ago began,
And now? Well, now the dusts and sands
Sequestered in the hourglass run low, the shelf
Awaits, perhaps in this hall or on the other wall
Among the former Oval Offices eulogized
And honoured, and after all, who imagines perpetuity? No surprise
In this, and nothing to be done but heed the last election’s call.
He knows exactly what he’s  done, and he recalls
The early years when nothing hinted at the fall
Of institutions or what his fellows thought when one and all,
They outdid themselves before his very eyes. Wthal,
Their thoughts so tersely croaked upon the twigs of some fine November’s day,
Are odd reminders that values change, and curds dissolve in all that whey.

“Now Mark a Man’s Credentials”

images

“Now Mark  the Man’s Credentials”

Now mark  the man’s credentials as he speaks
To pacify the greater numbers in the act
Within the sport of words, his only ammunition, the facts
Of light within his arbitrary audience. In this he cheats
Himself  and all that is of simplicity, the one
And indivisible beyond the Sadrat’ul-Muntahá, the point
By Whom the conscious constant cursive case of time appoints
Both upper and lower worlds and effortlessly runs
Within Itself this generations’s needs
Deposited, seeds of what will be in fields, in mountains locked,
And from which, freely, fire and ice withdraws their stocks.
Creation surely finds the end in deeds.
If in the breath there is not proof enough
To others witnessed, what is it to be
Amongst us all beyond mere mortal toil or immortal fee
And foils alike, these gems are simple stones.
And it is true that all have rights to speak?
If life is worth beholding to a saint,
Thus then reckon life worth living with no complaint,
A longer extended cut along the grain
For some; a sculpted verse, splinters carved, a life
In words of fine complexion for others while the knife
And chisel complete their commission in omission, again
In elimination to capture something safe,astounds,
Contraband of observation and objects more or less
For all the world in waiting; certitude’s with us,
My friend, in likelihood a likeness have they have found
A last and least messiah blindly plucked, jury duty in the crowd.
They must, if blind duty binds, expose the cloud
Above the clods whereon he sits uncrowned
By all but his delusion, angels’ muted corkscrews and horns
 Release the cork of new and untried bottles for every eye and ear to see
And hear upon the virgin bow of a ship which no one will believe
Is reason enough for this and one fine statue placed.
Gifted verses do not make the tale.
Ananias, lo! to you I speak in verse
To forsake this prophesy live or even worse.

Once

The only way to deal with an unfair world is to become so absolutely free that your very existence is an act of rebellion. –Albert Camus

***

Sometimes when I think how good my book can be, I can hardly breathe.

—Truman Capote

“The Knowledge”

aviation-firsts-wright-brothers

“The Knowledge”

The knowledge of the thing, a single breath, a pebble
On the beach, a grain of dust, a semblance of a solitaire in seed
That afternoon at Kitty Hawk that married destiny and need
For millions…or even worse, some jot or tittle on a treble
Note scribbled on a single page within a tattered score;
It’s firsts or yet again, in time it’s lasts; the leasts
Among the spores abused and blessed within the kneading yielding yeast
Of five fecund loaves that feeds the thousands; the thing she swore
She’d never do the night before he knew he would. The ringing
Of a solitary bell in 1941 one cool December Sunday’s outing`neath a rising sun
From where the first “Hello!” from Cain to Abel,
in the afterglow of “firsts” to repetitious marathons
That set the record straight the night they drove Ol’ Dixie down
to the tune of raucous drunken singing
In the belly of a ship at port before McHenry
as the glare of flares and rockets filled the ears and lit the skies:
The first and last hurrah in Nagasaki on the beach the night the music died…

“The Deed”

Caesar's funeral

“The Deed”

The deed is done; Cæsar’s death beside the point.
Of course, some several trinkets to collect
And box and some there are who promise to reflect
On what’s been said or what is grist made grit for future pundits to anoint.
But we’re not finished here; might we turn our eyes
To months and years ahead to present promises unfulfilled
For movements gentler to deride, some new tryst for someone’s will?
And we’ll be at the thing with something less disguised
Than we were wont to wear to mask the gnarled face
Of bigotry that’s ever there; a place
For some younger soul’s reported win, surprise! perhaps a show; the race
Is on but nothing less than more will do and competition’s traced
The route for them, of course, but no one roots for us who seem so satisfied
If in the end we stumble on across the line with nothing left but pride.

“His Dreams”

Horse1

“His Dreams”

His dreams define the smiles within his skies, but goals
Are drowned within the pits, the bottoms, the deadly dregs
Of what this world seeks that greets the eye; the festering eggs
To what in nature all but cedes reality. What foals
To what dark stallions then are bred?
He need not strain himself to know the truth of this,
And in his several steps he leaves no trace
Of what he’s become to mark his leaving of the place.
Specialties and exhibits, the inner lining of the kiss
That one day brings up bubbles from the depths of readied cauldrons;
Progeny and circumstance, my friend! Mortality confirms in
No uncertain terms a many-hidden hydra and remorse
For what a man must abdicate when incident has run its course.
His dreams refine the miles within his eyes, but goals
Are crowned within the lows, the highs, and all their middling rôles.

“Vetted Miles”

Driving

“Vetted Miles”

Vetted miles and truck stops all across the state
To feel the blessing of the eyes, the rising voice
Within his own breast; the choice
Is always his, oh yes, of course, and he’s arrived, and late
Enough each time to bear the weight of witnesses that his
Are not his eyes, nor his the sacred words
That even he can use. He’s seen nothing here and so he’s turned
The car around and while it may be circumspect, he’s heading home.
Then comes the once again, the call
Is always there, that Tennyson and Frost in all the walls,
That albatross of restlessness that bleaches clarity in tones
Of sepia and bronze, the clothes,  the nakedness of all
Past memories perfumed in ancient rhyme. Silences make every room
A canyon trussed by random thoughts of “Yes?”, “Tonight?”, and “Soon?”

“Largesse”

Largesse

“Largesse”

Largesse, and aims are high perhaps but not so high
That all the world concedes the call
To extremes as must soon wane and not at all
So generously ordained as reach the loftiness of lies.
But weighed on level grounds prepared
To live and die within a tapestry
That may or may not be cause for apathy
And ecstasy in swelling ranks on alabaster stairs
To banks of realms we cannot yet see. Not first
Nor last among all are those who line
The avenues, the pedestrian mists, a teeming mankind
Spread as swarms in clouds throughout the world. Minds
And hearts cannot address themselves to what will
Out in time that every man deserves this sterling word,
This honour due to he who lives in spite of the absurd.

“Quietly, Adventists”

cnnblack

“Quietly, Adventists”

Quietly, adventists, circumstances, events will tilt and, tossed,
Belie their source, defy all purpose,
Lost in ballyhoo and bombastic noise loosed
In garments of comedy and nether-tragic costs
When of a sudden, lack of audience
Stifles spittle churned and turned to gauze and cotton candy
In spinning queues of mental traffic; what comes in handy
Mauls the maudlin, crosses lines and fences
And while so much the better for CNN, barely scores
On Public Television. So much the better
For lessers or worse, the editor’s opt or letter
To the begetter of just another ad, progenitor of national lore;
When the edge of justice touches drifts of reason:
Even the planets and the brightest stars retain their seasons.

“I Am On or Off”

spectral_enigma-1280x800

“I Am On or Off”

I am on or off with nothing in between
And as I speak with few, some, or not
At all, to crowds or to the wall, I’m caught
In queue to glimpse the mind seen hiding high above the catwalk, the means,
The glare of someone’s thoughtless headlamps along a cold deserted road, eyes
Ablaze, altogether missing in the sketch.
I’m on my way to Canaan Land and far beyond,
A prisoner to some casual frog in my own back pond,
Declensions of a small plot of rooms stretch
Before me pleasingly. I have at once
Both everything and nothing worth the time
To move, vague velocities and straightened lines
Within the present augurs solids’ in a liquid balance. Suns
Aligned, I maintain the weight of fingers on the keys;
With so little depth in what I say, I am the simple universe at ease.