A dime, a nickel, some few pennies,
Mementos gleaned from erudition in the arcade,
Treasured trinkets from the boardwalk and what is always made
In China of the Nimble-Fingered Children ever bored by destiny,
Abhorred and reproduced in millions; Luddite transformations
Transfix and fascinate in silence the quire of seekers of the moment,
Momentary movers of unimagined wealth and worth that foment
Profundity in shifts of circumspection. Quakes and admonitions
Break with all tradition to take care, to hold back, to withdraw a pace
To take a second look. How now laughter
At the child that chides the system: “After
English, learn Chinese, my son!” and so the race
Is on to turn the tawdry into excellence and circumstantial skill
That marries slavery and child abuse through cold dictation of the will.
“By What Sardonic Schedule”
By what sardonic schedule carved does she cast her lot,
Yes, and at what cost, my friend, if on the trail
And in the early and latter oblique years she fails
To see her loyalties in office, the goal at ought,
Reduced to provisos and caveats, hors d’oeuvres
To curb her appetite before the meal? She’ll be there no doubt
Wherein the bull’s eye’s reigns— the stops pulled out—
And high above her saddled ass or horse,
Whichever suits the chorus of nocturnal catalysts who’ll be there
To see the deed, to mark both affirmation in the midnight bridal bower
Equalled, overruled by proxy, negation’s dreams throughout more subtle hours,
The natural conflagration at the dawn of search of some lone soul who cares.
Who worships race and rage to summits far beyond the crowd
Will choose the time and place but overlooks the shroud.
“Moment to Reflect”
A moment to reflect, these several words hold selective when
Objectives and their peace are won leading to no real choice
Nor rest and celebration; tasks, the last of many, invoiced
Throughout pedestrian years at work will one day send
A massive missive of relief, and thanks
With weighty sentiments and fond farewells; cheer,
And weathered tusks to see me on beyond, and further than fear
To take a few steps–arrogantly, yes, perhaps–down paths that rank
Above all present trumps and peculiars of this world and this earth:
I have now insignificance through to the end, I know,
And still will it so or else the illuminated hours, the weekly flow
Of days and nights, prove life’s lavas’ light might well have spent its worth
On what mysteries engender miseries in days beyond this present strife,
Born within the present, laced with beauty of the past
Relentlessly spreading spores of an even better life.
“Tonight, a Silent Message”
Tonight, a silent message, I can hear the sighs and pleading
Breezes hrough the trees of my old friend; my companion sings,
And I am comforted, the lightest certitude, the fluttering of wings
Accompanies the rhythms of the encore; and here, again, repeating
“Into…” “Out of…” Lift, release so softly, gentle summaries of living whispers,
Musings of what is but is not seen; tunnels and their tributaries,
Rushing, relentless recognition, never-ending applause, obituaries
To the spent and useless, harbingers of blisters
And frostbite, lngering erosion and fresh volcanic blood
And in the ancient chanting of forgotten millions
Strange dirges of more than redundant death. Civilians,
Now, the armed legions follow closely through the flood
To rescue and defend the furthest reaches of what was an empire.
And I’m still here, I’m still here, and I still feel the fire.
“Spell It for Me”
Spell it for me then, put it to the page;
Write it deftly in the margins if it satisfies,
Constricts, confines, and somehow justifies
The ciphers. Calligraphy implies a beauty caged,
A likeness petrified in seraphs, sighs beached in shadows, letters
Equal in significance to the words they form.
The lady doesn’t hesitate; both the single bee and all her swarm
Are natural metaphors in ancient scripts, instincts left unfettered
By the need to suppress or press a thought or bind
Its witnesses further than to cut a simple precedent,
The humble suggestion of a rhyme, a harbinger of content,
Coded, possibly imploded, sealed in what the mind defines
As patterned premises that merely tempt conclusions to evolve.
Haste? No time to waste before the riddle’s solved.
“You’re Beautiful, You Know”
You’re beautiful, you know. I wish we’d known
Each other close to forty years and had nothing left to choose;
Perhaps, we’d loved and lost, the ring’d been tossed, and felt its sting in hues
Of optimism and betrayal, close reunion, loose communion, blown
The whole on both sides twice or thrice by now
And somehow landed in the same lane, the same
Neighbourhood, perhaps slid down the same incline
Or close behind; the same old bus route, timed
And never off, a good fifteen straight, if lame
Or limpid minutes, from door to door. And, on some rare
Spring adagio, that night’s soft jazz nondescript demoted to the rank of others
In the cast, the added stroke, aromas of your cooking, not a hint of `druthers,
And none of this in my head. Yes, I might be a moment late because I’d care
Enough to stop somewhere to buy a rose or possibly a dozen just for you,
And there at last at half past five, amazing grace and dinner set for two.
I tire because I am endlessly, or waking, dream
I’ve laboured to no end in the day and nightly tripped
Through doors whether in and out with nothing scripted,
Nothing tasted, a greater thing than gravity. Early minutes’ quiet’s gleaned
From what I see as patterns reckon ends bit off before
They leave the fingertips. Salutations to the daylight from the darkness
Knowing light my only threat and saviour cannot be denied; I seek no rest
But simply wave my rights before I hit the bathroom floor.
Another round of ritual in the matins and by the time I see the streets
My spirits rise to the invasion, papers purchased and there
I am while no one hears me enter. My exit’ll not be noted as no one’s left
Who remembers where I stood so tall before it all–the cleft
Between the morning after and the afternoon before–the air,
The pavement, strokes of something like a sidewalk drawing noted
That I arrived before the elect but somehow never voted.
Devoted, yes, of course, I bear the scars that echo in my ear—
Thunder’s never altogether gone—
just as lyrics never cease, reprise to yet another song.
The stride is altered, yes, but never far from goals
I’ve set, and always from the “A” to the inevitable “B” the line
Is straight. It flows, it never fades. Consistency is there
And I am bound to find that certain place I’ve never really cared
To picture in my mind; the conspicuous Gate lies beyond the mines
And subtle traps I’ve laid, extensions of the singular;
Ignorance of pleasures life so egregiously proffers,
Simplicity of purpose wreathed in fine collective offers,
Boxed for public viewing, profits veiled within the insular.
The rock, itself, sees through all these aye’s
And knows its nay’s beyond the public gaze, disguised.
“They Are Redress”
They are redress to millions, their colours, fear and greed,
And steel gray default within an arbitrary quota, red, white, and blue.
If there is anasthesia in the operation, it’s local and in itself a semblance of glue
That bonding in the thralls along the wall in line, the call of need,
Desperation, denial, and now and then the expedient seed
Of Cain’s considered bright ideas gained long since that fateful trade, the crude
Supposal of some slight in God’s oversight, rude
Reaction of petulance and ingratitude that feeds
Itself upon the notion that once created, “`twere no request
Of ours for breath or life,” and ërgo ours, and ours by right
To tax its proceeds, harvested to excess, forgeting the usury of the loan
–And possibly the location of the philospher’s stone, values of a single stone,
The sacred cause, denial impossible effec while straw and stubble deficits
with which to build a pyramid–We’ll rise again; we’ll perogue the flowers
of our youth in saturaded powers that scratch the surfaces in midnight hours.