Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Dream Stars

Those lines, say, on stars:
the hell with the stars.
They were about the perception of the stars.

—Franz Wright, Another Working Dawn—

Are the stars
still blazing away,
all those happy little dream stars
in their empty blue somewhere?

Once I knew about stars,
those endless blue holes in the cold night sky,
how they burned God’s fingertips
when he tried
to move them
from one little dream
to another.

O! stars of silent sapphire dreams
please gleam and glitter and scream
now and then:

warn me

before you decide to

return to

my dreams.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

At the Beach

The breeze is blue off the lake,
the shadow of the willow the green of forever
and the goldfinch in the blueberry bush
a yellow sun-bright song.

Maybe gray is incurable
but when yellow and green dance out and vanish
over deep blue blindness
let me lean into fog,
sink into gray,
summon color for my poem.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Forever Song

Have you ever heard
forever songs—
songs of rain and whirling wind,
duet of chickadee and yowling cat,
the chorus of angry crows in the whistling old willow?

Across the cold gray city
traffic rumbles,
jackhammers preach their special sermons,
hawkers hawk,
beggars beg
and city streets and countryside are everlasting song.

I sing to rain and wind and whispering sunrise,
black crows on black willow limbs,
jackhammer men,
somber sellers of street food and unwelcome news,
and all the sad, stunned beggars.

I pipe my modest tune.
I sing what I must.
I sing for my life.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Angel Wings

All told: We drilled and hit demons.
—Jill Alexander Essbaum, What Isn’t Mine

and I set off a rocket
and clobbered angels

though I wanted to cuddle them
ask them to speak on my behalf

I didn’t want to shoot them down
just let them know I’m here

down below playing with explosives
all day long, preparing my fate

inch by inch, minute by minute
not expecting the fuse to light

the rocket to burst from its silo
in splendor and catch cherubs

with their harps and lovely angel wings
totally by surprise so please pardon me

tell me, I pray, tell me I have another chance
that one little mistake and 10 ruined angels

singed angel wings and busted halos won’t
consign me to some netherworld

some immeasurable place of dark imaginings
tell me, angel heart, that you still pity this

fallible creature unable to shoot straight
unable to whistle and walk without stumbling

straight down into hell’s own dark gorge

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Paths

with thanks to Kim Vanvoorhees

In the ancient northern woods
all the paths are unmarked

and the streets of my city have
familiar names; I know where they lead

and which cross and which branch off,
and under the usual tall glass towers

I’m utterly lost

dreaming of aimless unmarked paths
on my unremembered way and I know

I could die of
my dreaming.

There are no certain paths,
straight or winding, named or nameless:

dreaming or eyes wide open
in sun or shade
I can only urge myself forward
one puzzled step
one unreadable dream
at a time.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

At the Beach

The breeze is blue off the lake,
the shadow of the willow the green of forever
and the goldfinch in the blueberry bush
a yellow sun-bright song.

Maybe gray is incurable
but when yellow and green
dance out over vast blue sea-dreams
and vanish
let me lean into fog,
sink into gray,
summon color for my poem.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Reverie

I walk into day.
I walk into night.
Is there a difference?

In the back corner of my dream sun fades
away, the moon is hazy and uncertain
and stars sizzle and hiss like sparklers in the rain.

Night is day and day is night
and the sun rains ice on silence;
I drag my modest past behind,
my immodest dreams.

I walk down the winding
byway of my once-upon-a-time
and there flicker and buzz
the sights and sounds of
a small child alone
under a summer canopy
of looming black-walnut trees
and a strange whispering across
a continent of time to
that small thin child
alone in summer shadows
dreaming the elderly
white-haired poet dreaming
his former self alone dreaming,
dreaming, dreaming.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Night

I cannot master the beauty of the night
—Maurice Leseman, A Man Walks in the Wind—

I enter night
not knowing night,
the welcoming night,
the steep, unscalable night.

The wind is high tonight
and the dying maple groans
or laughs (maybe at my fragility).
I wonder what it sees of night.

Will I ever be one with night?
Will I blunder off course,
my path unseen
beyond the next blind turn?

I persist into shadow and wind
and wonder why I can’t turn back
though lost on this sightless path
to the steep starless night.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Unsung Songs, Unwritten Poems

it’s an unshiny gray day
not the day I proposed
for lounging in the shade
of my sugarberry tree

then she dashes by
her black ponytail
bouncing
bouncing
and I cannot run with her or after her
I’ll never catch up
after all I can’t even catch up
with myself

time passes
time always passes
even when I’m sitting down
with my legs crossed
contemplating
a beautiful black-ponytailed young woman
running by

where are my unsung songs
my unwritten poems?
maybe they’re chasing after
a black-haired beauty
who just turned the corner of my life
and vanished

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Halloween 2009

Leaves are falling
and soon the maples, oaks and elms
will all be gray and bare

and the wind is gray
at my feet, swirling
debris to the gutter

of the street,
soon to be
crystalline white,

and the day grows empty,
clouds dissolve, and the wind,
resolving highs and lows,

pushes here, then there,
formless and aimless,
and I meander to

whatever it is I yearn for
but soon forget,
and now it’s dusk,

and the wind
dissolves whatever
remains of resolve,

and I turn back to the house,
somewhere in my past,
there in the valley

of the sheltering hill
where once there blossomed
so many flowers and other living things.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Twilight Song

sing
a twilight song
of radiance ending in magic
the beginning and end
of something

all things end
the sun is not imperishable
and gods come and go
some walk on earth awhile
and linger in our dreams
but all must die

tonight the setting sun
is pandemonium in
yellow and red and orange
sliding off the edge of
the far horizon

it will surely fall
maybe to rise again
or maybe not
and as it falls it sings:

remember me in my descent
in all my falling splendor
just in case
I’m never seen
again

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

In the Rising and Setting Sun

I too was a child
dancing to
lonely dawn and twilight song
and the music was shadow music
singing
in my song-wild childhood
and even now it sings
and it will sing
and sing again
till time runs out of song

Monday, October 12, 2009

At the Core

In the
moonless
starless
darkness
something is glowing:

though somewhere the moon is hiding
and stars despair their dimming
something is glowing.

Let me hide behind
silent brick walls
where I can wait
and wonder if
I’ll ever see
the radiance
at the core of darkness.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Bright Lights

from what we cannot hold the stars are made
—W.S. Merwin, Youth—

The stars are wilted and wan
and the Milky Way nostalgia,
unable to compete
with city razzle-dazzle.

I wonder
where radiance hides.
Is it still pulsing away
at the rim of our whirling blue world,
at the edge of sanity,
perhaps afraid to
signal us
that the gods cannot get through,
that we’re alone,
all alone
in our fine and brutal incandescence?

Thursday, September 17, 2009

I Walk in the Neighborhood

through gates of moonbeam and shadow
trampling unseen graveyards.

Is that the wailing of ghosts
I almost hear,
the bonedry cries of
vanquished nations
at the edge of
everything unholy?

I can’t see through moondim reverie
into yesterday’s unholiness,
but somehow I know
I’m not alone in the shadow
of this almost silent boneyard village.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

My Summer Vacation

Is today the day I rise above
the wind to a windless forever?

They say the shadow of forever
is long and dark and incurable.

Maybe I’ll wise up before I float above
autumn blaze maple and honey locust

and the tattered gray clouds
that decline to come when I call.

Maybe I’ll learn to stay put, anchored
to the mossy red brick of my familiar

patio, consort with chipmunk and
chickadee, thrive in the shade of
my sugarberry tree.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Twilight Song

In the soft amber shadow
katydids and crickets sing
farewell to light.

Or maybe they mean to summon
ancient gods to save
them from night.

Or is it insect love—
time to woo the ladies,
a final dance,
a tryst in the grass?

Now the night’s opaque,
and there’s a hum, certain and calm
as the hard silent sleep of granite and iron,
and I think it’s time to honor creatures
kind enough
to sing for me.

I applaud their nameless song,
its veiled composer.
Let their song be forever
the song of wind and grass,
iron and granite and falling light.

Monday, September 14, 2009

No Escape

Light rises
into windsong and laughter
and across the street
children swat a ball
and laugh and run.

Once I was a child
of laughter and light,
unfraught days
and nights of lilac and honeysuckle.

Trees reach up and out
perhaps in thankfulness.
Do they remember their
saplinghood,
their struggle for light?

A slim blond child skips by,
ponytail bouncing.
I want her to celebrate.
I want her to understand:

Life is incurable.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Warning

step down

pretty angel

from the autumn sky

winter is coming

and you will freeze

in your gossamer gown

dress for snow and ice

death rides

in gray days

and heavy clouds

though you are

beautiful in

pink and rose

and always

fetching

you will die

in the cold

it will be ugly

no matter

how lovely

your smile

Friday, September 4, 2009

Angels and Other Considerations

...If angels lodge inside
us, they feed on details, then retreat into hiding.
— Lance Larsen, Santiago, Pluperfect—

Angels aren’t picky.
Content to live in fat and bone
muscle and viscera,
they ward off dragon and slave and bully.
They hide in my indifference.

I don’t know why
this leafy green village is
greener than ever this summer,
so many dollars away from sprouting potatoes and moldy cabbages,
rats and lice and other perils of the poor.

I sing to the angels behind my breastbone
in my gut
lurking in my loneliness
or wherever they chance to land
and I sing to the angels in my leafy green village
in exile from indecent slums.

Somewhere angels screech hosannas to misery.
Somewhere angels pray loudly to money and joy.
Somewhere angels are silent and dangerous.

Why, the child asks, is the sky blue? Why do things die?
And talk about wave lengths and cycles of birth and death
leaves her cold
and leaves me cold
Why?
Why?
she asks.

And the angels are silent and dangerous.


Wednesday, September 2, 2009

My Summer Vacation

Is today the day to rise above
the wind to a windless forever?

They say the shadow of forever
is long and dark and incurable.

Maybe I’ll wise up before I float above
autumn blaze maple and honey locust

and the tattered gray clouds
that decline to come when I call.

Maybe I’ll stay put, anchored to
the mossy red brick of my familiar

patio, consort with chipmunk and
chickadee, thrive in the tender
shade of the sugarberry tree.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Guilty

I’m guilty
The verdict is final and binding.

On rainy days I listen to Brahms.
The music laughs. Then it weeps.

I write my name in the mud
by the pond. It drowns.

Just out of reach, a bottle-blue
dragonfly slides by. I flinch.

I step down hard on a small green frog.

Another Summer Day

I wonder about a summer day like this—cool and crystal and green.
I want to live in it forever.
I want to sit forever in the cool green shade of the honey locust.

(I can’t imagine eternity.
Can you?)

I’ve grown old,
older than the honey locust,
older than all the trees seen from this cool green shadow.
The trees are strong. They’re not forever.

I remember a cool summer day maybe forty-five years ago.
I sat with my lovely young wife on our front porch.
I said, “Maybe this will last forever.”

It has
and it hasn’t.

This is another summer day.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Unsung Songs

Unsung songs won’t
whistle in the wind
and unsung poems stick in my throat.

If I can’t sing
let cicada and cricket
sing my homage to wind and rain and sun.
Let their songs circle the world
and echo back to me.

Why should I try to sing?
Isn’t it enough
that cicada and cricket consent
to sing for me?

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Witness

...and behold, the bush burned with fire,
and the bush was not consumed.
—Exodus 3:2—

on the best day never
the silent songbird sang
the blossomless thorn bush
waxed red and yellow
and the starless moonless sky lit up

I wasn't there

but

I want to tell you : it was radiant

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

No Escape

Light rises into being;
and windsong and children’s laughter
rise into light.

Across the street
children swat a ball
and run and yell
laughing.

I was also a child
of light and laughter,
unfraught days
and soft summer nights
of lilac and honeysuckle.

Outside my window
trees reach out
maybe in thankfulness.
Do they remember their
saplinghood,
struggling up for light,
down for sustenance?

A slim blond child runs by,
ponytail bouncing.
I want her to celebrate.
I want her to understand:
Life is incurable.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Rising and Falling Light

the moon rises
into being
and beyond all silence
at the edge of night
wind soars into song
and dances past
my deep blue dreamstreet

every dawn
every dusk
in my shining silver world:

promise and remorse
the singing wind
and the rising and falling light

Monday, August 24, 2009

This Bright Blue Sunday

I moped
about the yard deploring
the gnarled dead honey locust branch
the dying maple
and that sandy spot where nothing grows

but the air is gravid with lassitude and lust
and suddenly a mottled Cooper’s hawk snatches
a robin in mid-flight
my God
it’s nature unDisneyfied
in my own backyard

the horizon lies indistinct
at the end or beginning
of something

oh let me be blue
let me mope about deploring
the end or beginning
of whatever
it has to be
this bright blue Sunday

Heavy Weather

Darkness looms
and soon it’s heavy weather.

Let storm clouds rumble in,
raise hell with my composure,

pound ears and head and chest,
shake my standing in the world.

Here I am
planted in certainty,

so how could a widdershins wind
turn me around and upside down

and shake from my tumbling
all I dread to know?

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Variations on the Theme of Paradise

I.

she steps down from the sky
down from my exhalations
fogging the winter night

she walks on my breathing
to my frozen lips
she doesn’t kiss me

I remember her
when I remember to dream
she turns away

her breath fills the sky
the sky turns white with longing
the sky disappears

I am lost

II.

light is everywhere
it’s neither sun nor moon
nor glittering ice

she steps down from
the sighing mist
light
in her eyes
she opens her mouth
to speak
to sing
to scream

climb, she says,
the final step
is your answer

I climb
she watches
light is everywhere

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Lamplight

the antique lamp
peers over my shoulder
and percolates caged white light
on wild black words
displaying them for show

dial down illumination
over-zealous light
burns eyes to ash

please keep the light in its cage
200 tame white watts slyly sliding by
are almost enough to see
what I abandoned

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

In My Old Age

the silence of sundown
blossoms into song
and I can only decline
the other side
the underside
of song

at five my hair was yellow and curly
I was thin as water
and beautiful as
wildness in an unblighted field

today my hair is whiter than a wildness of snow
and I’m as unbeautiful
as vanished wisdom
seeking tomorrow
in yesterday’s songs

I’ve gone from here to there
in the space of a breath
between measures of song

I almost hear
the silent songs of yesterday
and the urging of
tomorrow’s songs

but today
today I bless the present
reborn
with each new song

Monday, July 20, 2009

Some Kind of Epiphany

on the best day ever
the silent songbird soared into song
the blossomless bush
bloomed red and yellow thorns
and the starless sky raged with heaven’s light

I was a witness
blind and deaf and mute
I tried to see and hear
I tried to sing
about the unseen and unheard

I wanted to tell you : it was radiant

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Song

earth
rises into song
every dawn
every dusk
is song
and every child of earth
a rising song

bless darkness and light
bless falling and rising
bless the children of earth
rising into song

Thursday, July 2, 2009

My War

On reading Helen Degen Cohen’s Habry

My war was cartoon Nazis and Japs, rationed sugar, bubblegum a treat. It was Superman belting Hitler through a hole in the universe, John Wayne belting everyone else. It was Bob Hope and Bing Crosby cracking wise, Glen Miller and Benny Goodman. It was walking with my big sister to Cherokee Dairy for a hot fudge sundae. And it was walking with my cousins down Bardstown Avenue to a Saturday matinĂ©e at the Uptown Theatre—Hopalong Cassidy, Tarzan with his gorgeous Jane, his trained ape and elephants, and there were Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck battling Nazis. There was always a newsreel; I remember an odd little man screaming to a huge crowd, and planes screaming death, and marching men in high boots with rifles on their shoulders.

We lived on a street of tall black-walnut trees, brick duplexes and apartments, and sirens and blackouts. I remember Dad with his black helmet and black flashlight guarding Rutherford Avenue. I remember him laughing, “I can’t get old man Passamaneck to turn his lights off,” and Mom saying, “Leave him alone, maybe the Japs’ll get him and we’ll be rid of him.” How little we knew.

And so my childhood passed. How could I have known about distant cousins in Lithuania and Poland disappearing through a hole in the universe? That wasn’t my world.

Sometimes I almost regret my easy childhood. And I marvel that I was here, not there. I don’t think I would’ve been a hero. I don’t think I would’ve been lucky, whatever that might have meant at that time and place.

Now I live at my ease on a street of tall maples, oaks and sugarberries, old homes and quiet. There’s no violence, nothing threatening in my neighborhood—no sirens, no blackouts. We raised three children here in peace. I don’t know what I did to deserve my life.

I know only that I’m here in this tiny speck of the universe in my tiny portion of time, that I can only honor my childhood and my lucky, innocent parents.

I bless my days. I can do nothing else.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Blues in Black and White

Louisville,
that erratic
north-and-south town,

suffered Negroes,
(the proper term in ’53)
in their proper place

in the crowded West End
and, I untested son
of immigrants,

was warned
to stay away:
They’ll cut your throat

for fifty cents,
and I, untested son, was
trained to belief.

It was our summer
of bravado,
our summer of testing.

We were preening
little Brandos and Bogies,
artless and scriptless,

and one murky evening
in steamy August
a tattered carnival,

and there we were,
marks for the grifters
gaffs and freaks,

and the barker barked
fifty cents, gents,
she takes it all off,

a plump little redhead,
sagging belly and breasts,
her sagging BB eyes catching mine,

Only five bucks, she grinned,
I’ll teach you things
your momma don’t know,

and tested, I said no,
and the grinning barker
and two roustabouts closed in,

and tested, we ran to my car,
and I drove too fast
in the wrong direction,

lost in my own home town
in a forbidden quarter
of quiet streets,

neat cottages,
well trimmed lawns,
ancient elms and flower beds,

and I meandered till
finally I said
what’s this shit they tell us?

We’re the only
assholes here.
Well, asshole, find your way

home, Bobby said,
find your way home,
and I finally did

but home when
I found it was never
quite the same again.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Honeymoon Weather

anyone
can drown in a dream-deep sea
forfeit sunshine for
sea-deep eyes

forget
temperature
humidity and windspeed
when solitude’s
my weather

it was five below
on Central Park South
when she kissed me
and we turned to the wind

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Black Road

What a black road this is
—Franz Wright, Winter: Twilight & Dawn—

On this unshadowed street
the uncaged breeze
kisses the greedy leaves
of the ancient sugarberry
home to a universe of secrets.

And where is that sly black road?
Under my feet
or miles and lifetimes away?

I’m on the lookout
for a long black road,
and if I don’t find it,
when and where, I ask,
will it find me?

Monday, June 15, 2009

Entreaty

how quiet it seems
crickets and birds and dread bedded down
even the bone stiff moon
declines to sit up and sing
grinning voiceless
in the cool black blessing of night

and the stars
all that crackling energy
whisperless in the faraway ether
consuming silence

we’re all the same
I want to say
so talk to me
coo in my ear
rattle my longing

tell me you and I
and all our wondrous kind
live on somehow

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Inklings

they sing and dance
tickle sinew and viscera
and flash behind my eyes

and once in a while
they tug at my conscience
(which must be hiding somewhere)

I wait for instruction
interrogate head and gut
and try to read the signs

but something tells me
they have nothing to say
absolutely nothing at all

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Dumb Show

bless my memories
buried in a corner
of some windowless vault

somewhere something whizzes about
or plods along
peering over a rim or shrinking back

a tease I guess
a tiny glimpse

but the words
the commonplace words
the holy words
are lost

grinning perhaps
maybe chuckling
in their vanishing

I know there were words
(there had to be words)

but now only a cool white ice cream parlor
rich vanilla, hot fudge, sweet malt powder
and happy smiles
my pretty blond mother
my older sister laughing and teasing

a silent movie
a dumb show

maybe something precious was said
maybe something nudged me just a little
this way or that
to this road or that

the ice cream was delicious

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Windsong

The wind
must sing about
where it meant to be
and what it meant to do
before it spun away

to winnow grain
broadcast rumor
spray sand
shatter buildings
and drown old cities
and now it sings
of endless twisting
around and through
everything I never grasped

alone in stillness
I wait for time and April wind to churn
the deep gray days my way

and an April-soft wind
sighs down my red brick walk
to the blankest corner of my brain:

Take no chances
it sings
run and hide
I will tell you tales
you never want to hear.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Travel Guide for the Confused Tourist

Here I am

in uncharted depths;
I think I’ll hail that disappearing yacht

or reeling in the desert
flag down my endless ride to nowhere.

Seeking shelter from depth
I could drown in any errant riptide

or shrivel to dust and somber song
and vanish in a boundless heaven.

So I carry my compass and star chart
to show me wherever it is

I ought to go
though I wonder when

l get there how I’ll sort out
trackless desert from fathomless sea.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Ancient Wisdom

a low gray sky quickens into turbulence
as it yearns to refresh parched earth

and poems are yearning and
turbulence and I’m oddly parched

and blown about in a dithering wind
and I long to rise to windless heights

above the clamor of seasons
above my portion here

rooted in turmoil and muddle
the wind batting me about

telling me it’s best somehow
to grab my hat, bear down,

turn into the wind, stand rooted in the
ancient wisdom of ancient bewilderment

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

This Happy Day

It’s sunny and glad and green
in my zoned-for-happy neighborhood

and on this happy day I see the life I didn’t have:
miserable and poor, a creep in fact;

I reek from
too much booze and too little soap

but I compose such lovely verse
croaking hymns to beauty

and the wickedness of God’s
singular creation who shits his

nest and calls it art or truth or justice
but in one’s singular lifetime

it’s enough (don’t you think):
one single wicked beautiful poem.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Songbird

She sings of
deep sad seas and cold black suns
measureless mountains
lost angel heaven
and all my vanishing dreams

tell me
songbird
what is the meaning of song
and why does the silent black sun
deafen and dazzle

there are puzzlements
I’ll never understand

Sunday, May 31, 2009

The Promise of Dawn

sunrise sun fills my eyes to overflowing

it tells me that whatever follows
will be thin and pale

that promises aren't kept
that silver and violet and pink

melodies sing but a moment before they fade
into dense white noise and high bright light

concealing everything they promise to reveal

Friday, May 22, 2009

Dancing in the Light

at sunset in Lincoln Park
falling light
a scarlet diminuendo
sings to shadowed towers

and somewhere someone
dances in a measureless light
sitting or standing still
someone dances in light

and in this final bar of light
singing to night
I dance to the music
I taught myself

I dance to the
music of light

to the rising and the dying light

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Spring Again

today it’s a wind-song spring
green and blue and lavender

at 4:31 p.m. she was there
gone at 4:31 and 30 seconds

and my world had turned away
from wholesome greens and blues

I’ve lived many years since
through all the colorful seasons

and my world is green again with
a trace of crimson confusion

I bless my palette of bliss and pastels
all that’s green and blue and lavender

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Poem Written at 4:15 A.M. or Thereabouts

early this morning I wrote
a scarlet, fuchsia and sea green poem
yawing and spinning in blinking red lights
and clanging and banging
like an overserved party of oversized angels lurching about
in their celestial rock’n’roll saloon

it was also a quiet poem
that false dawn
when startled crows take their last deep breath
before warning of another dangerous sunrise

and now this poem just
stumbles about wondering
where crows light in windstorm
and how hungover angels atone for their reckless fling at abandon

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Lullaby

After Auschwitz poetry is impossible
—Theodore Adorno—

here’s to my imperishable cousins
whose unsung lullabies moan in my dreams

whose bones were scoured beyond empty eyes
beyond stench and ash and poetry

let my bones call to these unmourned ashes
unsung graves in a high indifferent sky

I wake to the singing sun
and the world dances into dailyness:

it rolls on and on and on

Monday, May 18, 2009

Silence

Oppen’s God has the decency not to exist....
—Norman Finkelstein—

Silence
in the starless night
rattles windowpanes
grinds soul to gristle.

O! where’s the thunder
and silver lightning
in my silent black night?

The sky’s a windy black riddle:
Why the cold black wind
and the cold black heart of man?
Why the aching and sobbing?

O! dear lonely
silent
forlorn
and absent God
may I please
interrogate your silence?

Friday, May 15, 2009

Deep Sleep

There are dreams deeper
than death

winter nights
of deep black dreams
and summer nights
of honeysuckle longing and sunsong.

Late last night
I dozed in my easy chair
waking to sunburst and laughter.

a glad domestic scene
but I knew
I’d never know
where I’d been that night
so far away from
my strange
uninvited
body.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

The Highway

but for me
in my powerful sedan
the road is silent and empty

and the fleeing red horizon
lures me forward at speed

I pursue disappearance
just beyond belief

no one
in front
or back

on this high-speed highway
to a nowhere
I chase forever

Essay on Beauty

In the gold and scarlet morning
the dogwood explodes into whiteness
and the brindled cat
stalks the red-breasted bluebird
fallen from blossom
to the spring-masked lawn

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

If I Sing of Truth and Devastation

will I crack the world
into rocky little dreams
and applaud each tiny explosion?

An early April sun
sings its silver joy
in the sigh of morning

and the skeletal sugarberry
must wonder if it can flower
in April's ascending sun.

Don't worry about tomorrow:
the world falls into the waiting void
or bravely spins into orbit.

Maybe I'll live to sing another crystal dawn;
and though I bless my chances
I can't number my days.

Here I am
singing my way into and out of
whatever glows and glowers

Weather report

tonight
the twilight
is a docile shimmer of silver and green
but a gathering storm seems about

to savage
the peace
and it could be a
widdershins storm

sucking up
birdsong and blossom and sunrise
and I wonder (don't you?)
about songbirds and storm

and gentle green
lawns fenced off
from storm and what
I did to deserve

a fortunate old age
and why I dodged
so many storms

and at my near
horizon a terrible wind
and I slip on
a jacket and amble out

to the swirling black night