Monthly Archives: January 2013

“Quite By Accident”

Portrait de Stendhal par Silvestro Valéri © Bibliothèque municipale de Grenoble

“Quite By Accident”

Quite by accident one chilling snowy winter’s eve
In my youngest years I sat me down to read, and what was there
Was cumbersome at fifteen, but with time to spare
I let myself begin another novel’s reading, one sleeve
To the other. Written by the French,
The dusty tome concerned horrific hopes within a youth
In an older France who from his rural boots and uncouth
Raw beginnings set store in wealth to the very core and stench
Of Royal Louie’s of the day. The content of the book
Was not then nor even now a particular account,
But what was there had stuck a sticking point and still amounts
As much as talismans and strong elixirs when in the light of age I look
Again, and behold effects of Stendhal’s subtle registration
That it’s best to hold the tongue till one is truly questioned.

Red moth

…Portrait de Stendhal [above] par Silvestro Valéri…

“Take Away”

Marilyn Monroe-Pop Culture

Marilyn Monroe [1926-1962]
“If I’d observed all the rules, I’d never have got anywhere…”

“Take Away”

Take away the shackles of faculties, the prodigal powers
Of youth, the viscosity of strangers
And friends, the leonine odds of birth with dangers
Lurking in the pride of family hours,
And beyond; remove the adulation of the ubiquitous twin towers
Touted through the Belt Way from Wall Street to the manger;
Displace, then,  the landed genii, articles of faith in sycophants and trolls; anger’s
Legions, mantras of the deaf and dumb, the apostates of the flowers
Of all generations, the misgivings of those that wink at love that cannot last,
and set above all it all common traffic in camera, sessions in the night,
Rites that are never forgotten but should be,
The mythology of ends far out-weighs the infamy of means.
To forget to forget as Laius to his Œdipus, witnesses that cast
Lots in choruses eager to testify to shadows in the dawn’s early  light.

A Descent

“What Price?”

The Conversation

“What Price?”

What price, the fee for casual converse blocked?
The harm outweighs the benefit in terms
That suit hereafter more than graves and worms,
Reward enough for some, but less than naught
At all for me, or better, left of fraud.
No substance for a single meal is earned
Except for vultures as the scavengers learn
Its whereabouts and take what’s left as stock
For soups. Their substance boiled ingredients—
Salvation in the spice and never mind
The content of the broth—its goal arraigned
Within a semblance as a token nourishment
To conquer moments in a steep decline
Of condiments’ delights, with nothing gained.

The Conversation1

…painting above by Eden Compton; below by Darren Thompson…




Giants, quiet lichen nights illumine flights of condors
Heard perhaps but never seen; an avian genocide
Serves no master but in seasons; reasons’epochs’ fratricide,
Hidden hoards beneath the beaten earthen floor
Outlast disasters just as dusts applaud the doors
And orchestral pits the audience; splays and side
Exits greet no one but actors; bid adieu to suicides
In multiples whose protocols demand far more
Than this world holds. The elephants are still,
Circled, aware; behold their matriarch;
Jagannātha, when the bull’s in musth
Neither memories’ crown, nor wisdoms’ trust
Remain epiphanies further than the will
To outlive the rains, and nothing moves within the ark.



“She’s Never Gone That Long”


“She’s Never Gone That Long”

She’s never gone that long. But sift
The moon in sure and certain phases and she can count
On me to take the blame. She mounts
Her memories, recalls her beasts and I am left to shift
From bested  bowers to the shifting towers of her Babylon
Whereas she thrives in corners swept by footsteps
Only. At times the odd leaf or flyer, some windswept desire left
By chance behind these days or weeks ago–a forgotten
Stocking or mitten–and I am smitten by the sight
And lose too many precious hours staring
At it all in disbelief. The simple wastes and nothingness, the glaring
Truth be damned, if nothing is but nothing lasts beyond a single night,
As all Gethsemane or Broadway slumbers in the hour of He Who never sleeps;
And something in my soul is saddened, something weeps.

Richard MacDonald1

…sculpture above by Richard MacDonald…

“They Address Themselves”

Richard MacDonald2

“They Address Themselves”

They address themselves only, their colours, fears that bleed
The default, the code, the sometime arbitrary bloods of red, white, or blue,
Hues of auspicious concern or trepidation; precaution reigns within the jewel
That holds the bending of the prism’s light,
setting  thralls in line—the mirror’s seed,
Immaculate and pure—the coronation of denial set upon an Attic steed,
The ancient plough of Cain’s bright logic on that fateful day, the crude
Supposal of some slight in God’s apparent oversight, as if God were rude
With no less than petulance and ingratitude than creation that feeds
Itself on sulphuric notions that once created, “`twere no request
Of ours for breath or life, and ërgo ours, and ours by right
To tax the Tax Collector, harvest tithes, and forget the usury of the loan,‘”
Trumpet this sustaining note as the universal moan
And cry, “Worship cause, deny effect, and give the workers straw
to sustain the Holy Ordres of the bricks and loyal to the cause recite:
We’ll rise again; we’ll perogue the day; we hang, perhaps, tonight.


…sculptures are by Richard MacDonald…

“There Is a Oneness”


“There Is a Oneness”

There is a oneness in God, one sea, one reality
In all exigencies, and so it is that we may be forgiven
And promptly forgotten for want of pure imagination. In vanity, they who live in
Fear of all things independent, who recoil from continents bound by seas
Of visions circumcised in shibboleths; those who fear their kind and its Holy See
Of horror, elevated as the Host in the cacophony of leisure’s golden trumpets
on the page or silver screen; to these much is given, these perpetually driven.
Spent, they prefer the image of the albatross, the unicorn, what thrives in
Flight, in tears, now realised now immortalised in manuscripts of fantasy;
These of fact, these of fiction hoard seats at the banquet by dint of circumstance
As they huddle together in nights of simile and metaphor; laurels, the oak leaves
Crown their worried brows with scales of vicarious habit born of years of ease,
Forsworn by tedious cloning of the suns leaving nothing to life and chance.
Given, then in specious time or choice, both now please
Their phatic lioves, emphatic in numbers yet limpid in the slightest breeze.


“‘I Saved It Up for Now’”


“‘I Saved It Up for Now’”

“I saved it up for now,” she said, and popped the cork
On the little blue bottle someone gave her years ago;
“That `now’ will never really come, you know.”
She sees only the signature tablecloth, the requisite candle, forks,
The spoons, the knives, the mustard pot and all the condiments at last
To force the inauguration of an issue with nothing left to do but eat.
And so she did and felt duly anointed by the stranger in the other seat
With grace and dignity with just a touch of the glass
That gave the toast an air of unambiguous solemnity.
“To `Us!” This from the couple dining in the window who’s never there, a “now”
That never really flies, a dream preëmpted by the forgery of an image
In the mirror, something clearer than just another exchange, perhaps an age,
  But a hint, a glimpse that clearly deceives only the outer eye, an indemnity,
A scenario that holds true in the parenthesis but never tells us how.





Patience in the jumpstart comes from seeing people–yearning’s
Genesis–the Sirens’ call, the weave of fugues of air
From all points, the afterglow of friction in the wings. What is fair,
Then, and where’s the owl in such a scheme? Where the eagle? Learning,
Patterns, snags,  tangles, knots, the steady twists of fortune
In the sleeve will flatten with the years, and while doubts
Will ever be removed, certitude remains the balm to all persistent bouts
With mundane depositions culled from oceans
Of occasion, the wider seas of diversion: exteriors hesitate, interiors pass.
Take care, my friend, leave movement within the gale
Of equity and justice to all occasions, the breath remains beneath life’s holy veil.
Alternatives in solitary places can never scale the heights of healing of the mass
In this weary workshop; not in books will you behold the open gates
Of paradise and all the world effaced; but patience, friend: Peace waits.


“Minor Prophesies”

Minor Prophesies

“Minor Prophesies”

Minor prophesies, you see, arrest attentions while the majors
Spin their auguries and send well-wishers to the drawing boards;
He who knows he knows cannot doubt the hoards
Of wisdoms summoning the priests and all wizened pagers
To alarm, the preöccupation of bed
And breakfast even on a holiday. They do not rest,
These prodigies of works in progress, filtered guests
And hosts of baseless hubris laced with lead
That lines the public coffers; petty online petrels elect
To withhold judgment, approval by proxy of produce in a downward spiral
To mask denial, pernicious lesions on tenuous surfaces of viscous viral
Social justification, cumbersome with resolution to deny all defects,
To stack the decks and grease the wheels of Vegas
or possibly occupy another park somewhere on the way to Wall Street.
The meek inherit nothing here; the air itself respeaks the fetid breath
of long-malignant greed, the Vulgate and solipsis of universal internal debt.
In a mass transit to succeed, to seed, to reconnoitre losses to the end,
Someone keeps watch at left, yet another the right; today the knife,
Tomorrow perspicuous incisions wreathed in sutures of strife,
The going price for impatience with what only God can apprehend.
Concuspience no matter by what name, post or missive
Finds traffic and intentions snatched by posses ranged in clouds
Like flies that all but promise folly well before the end of urgency. Sound
Advice is not the issue in a world adrift, submissive,
Spliced from virtue, in metamorphosis to vice, usury and programmed gratitude
Become the plough through ancient fields that will do what must be done.
The melody and rhythm in the closing bells are rung, the one
And only cry multiplied by predilection to kinetic irony calls itself rectitude
Of conduct. A prudent pruning of the prototype provides
The perfect recipe for what can be consumed with fingers and a side of fries.
Stereotypes abound as future founding fathers still arrive
From yet another tribe, the other shore, the still further side
Of bold imagination in the surging tides since 1844.  Slide
The rule but inches to the right or left and strive
To understand the ratio or face the inevitable consequence:
Though we took the land from startled natives,
We now tout these varied lists (the case is dative)
In the fray lain wanting in the codex, lost in nuance
That not so long ago applied to Dublin, Roma, gay Paris,
And even Shanghai, Saigon, and more recent private empires–cheques to be
Post dated as the years fly by while those in Congress in a sea
Of interests debate just who’ll pick up the tab, for whom the shopping spree,
And who’ll be the referee.