Monthly Archives: January 2011

“The Girl Had Been No Problem”

“The Girl Had Been No Problem”

The girl had been no problem at the start;
She was never late, she did her work, she raised
Her hand from time to time to disapprove or praise
Whatever happened in the class, a spark,
An edge in almost every session, eager to propose
That what was studied could not please
Her more, and as she rose, the breeze to ease
The burdens of her classmates–I supposed
Them all to be her friends. Then in time a rage
Came over her: she was absent from her seat,
Arrived at times so much more than late, she asked me to repeat
What had been covered in her absence. Clouds evolve, change;
I forced a meeting with the lady, “What is it you’ve discovered?”
Said she, “I may not pass this course, but neither will the others!”

“Ask Hucksers”

“Ask Hucksters”

Ask hucksters what they want and wander
Through oblivion to the source of specious theories,
Forecasts, and teapot tempests; reliquaries
That confuse Gertrude and her latest husband are set to thunder
In the index of both their worlds. The times are now aligned
To spend, to risk the whole at will. In the end, what binds
All capital are not the markets but the printing press–refined,
Its produce consigned as wallpaper in the study, and echoes of 1939
Followed closely on the air, subterfuge and incidentals
In the immanent reign of night–note the accent from the fireflies
That given space and stage enough are harmless as butterflies
And the common moth, winged creatures, given credentials
In an incremental vacuum. “Where’s the luminary of the age,”
They say, to feast his pen on renewable rites of slavery and sages?



Roses for longevity, yes! tokens of a former reign
And deep within their sacrifice reds and florist’s greens,
Are fragrances of time and place from passing scenes
Of nuance, puddles deposited from accidents and incidental rains,
And that was yesterday; tomorrow, a torrent drowning visions—
Foundlings of future stories—deliverance in blessings saved
For half a century and more, prescient tokens, brave,
Benign and lacking only guile to cut the ribbons
Of what’s left of reticence. There are dangers in the cellophane.
Please! If this then that; if inertia, stimulation
Then, of course, the sum and price of abnegation;
What the Greeks call horses, the Trojans, lethal gains.
Intentions swept aside, abandoned, rapture’s secrecy
Is hidden virtue confused with common sense and mediocrity.

“To Peer Through Glass Bottoms”

“To Peer Through Glass Bottoms”

To peer through glass bottoms, back through doors
Toward me; outward from the ceiling, the interior;
Inward from the surface of the exterior
Of all I see; I wish to breathe. No satisfaction’s scored
On golf cards if the man has never wished to play;
No records made of voyages through veins
And arteries, or through the musings of the sane
And common mind, but oh, what he may
Decide to say if only he were not among
The living. Shining there with nothing, on
High above, and riding in the jet stream, strong
In atmospheres with atoms so far flung
That scream for the lack of crowding—here or there,
A view without a window—a step to where there are no stairs.


“They’ve Played That Card”

“They’ve Played That Card”

They’ve played that card so many times: they blur
The icons, alter megabits until it’s come to be a part
Of them in triplicate, and still they’re at it. There’s an art
To all this noise, and something sinister in words
And sounds that take up so much memory
And leave so little history in the space of fifteen minutes in the light.
The antidote, the better for the overhaul, continual flights
Through manuals of casuistry and blame, the counterfeit incendiary
Of every curtain call, the wherewithal in the daily stampede to press.
The public calls for even more than all must be obvious to any least
Observer. Within the Fed, the yeast that feeds the beauty to the beast—
To hell with all the rest—with no surprise and endless repetition, the test
Of wills and willing contradictions to the golden rule, the pundit’s song,
Remembrances of frogs who inhabit ponds but moments, and are gone.

“The People Say They Want a Change”

“The People Say They Want a Change”

The people say they want a change; clubs
Are ripe for shifting gears and crowning kings
From diamonds or from hearts and while the telephones ring,
The bids are readied, cards are in; spades have flubbed,
There’s no one in the mood to compromise;
The deck is shuffled once again for luck,
Brand-new tires on the same old truck.
Promissory notes are dealt; the bids just rise, and rise,
And rise again. But, what’s this? Speculation’s brought
To automated stops on all the outbound tracks,
And while the freight departs, the passengers arrive. Dealers smack
Their lips, and rub their palms, and bids are caught
Between the speeches and cries at last of “No trump!”
Seconds later, Boardwalk yields to railroads, and everyone jumps.

“Dinner’s at Six”

“Dinner’s at Six”

Dinner’s served at six, and so’s the evening news;
The writing’s clearly on the wall and while the Constitution stalls, the gist
Of nothing from nothing sticks to banquet tables, chairs, and the guest list
Of the average home in Baghdád while the views
Expressed in measured fractions there amongst the factions
In the House feed increasingly on mediocrity and courtesies of strangers
Sporting cellphones where reporters point the finger at the signs of danger,
Motorcades, and armies on an ever trivialised darkling plain. Reactions
Blog communication lines of press and presidents who bear such striking
Poses and resemblances to Dr. Goebbels and his precedents that modern sooth-
Sayers need not wonder where all of this must lead. As Congress votes for truths
To fit pragmatic means, the ends, of course, are guaranteed from spiking
Needs dispensed in sparkling cocktails served each night along with dinner,
Presidential dim sum, cartoons, genocide, and Oprah classed as winners.