Blues for a Wednesday Morning


last night I told her
                         just leave me alone

 still dark
                        in lighted kitchens
                        coffee, toast, cereal
                        train whistles on the dawn run
                        engines firing in the parking lot

 last night I told her
                        just leave me alone

 sky won't give up
                        it's iron cast
                        to sunrise...
                        mist turning to drizzle

 you don't need me
                        you got a man at home

                       you don't need me
                       you got
                                    a man
                                                at home.

Fleur de Mal


I planted radioactive seeds
                     picked from the cancer lab
                     in flesh-thick soil
                     sprinkled with heavy water

                     soon luminous flowers
                     with day-glo stalks
                     and petals infrared
                     stretched to the smoldering
                     incandescent sky 



noblesse giraffe
                      lured to her boudoir
 now what?

                      impenetrable thought
                      impossible grace

                      grazing indifferently
                      on her morsels


                      but turning toward
                      the scent
                      of her fingers 

Lost Children


allegro vivace
 we cannot reach
                     down perjured time
                     through bars of heaven
                     behind the luminous years 

                     song birds on a stave

                     theatrics of evening
                     our dusty star's
                     cool amber, not
                     the warm flesh of dawn--

                     left with each other
                     decoding words 



a faded vaudevillian
                     dreams of contortionists
                     and chorus girls 

                     at the Brighton Beach Hotel

                     a stone monument
                     fronting empty boardwalk
                     raked by Atlantic winds

                     between brick walls
                     a paved yard
                     fills with the sunlight
                     of weak tea 

this dog


standing between us
                     loudly panting
                     of inalienable stink

                     which I will never
                     live with
                     and she can't let go, 

                     embodies bone and blood
                     the past holding us

                     Rover and I
                     two old dogs
                     waiting to die 

                     his love

                     mine cooling with time
                     as heart seals off--
                     a wounded animal

                     and if our future's

                     perhaps the old dog
                     guards her
                     one last time 

Carolers Sing "Melancholy Baby"


calendars shedding bleached leaves
                     garbage trucks clanking
                     steam rising from sewers

                     programs of the mind
                     out of memory 

                     corrupted data
                     sectors and clusters
                     in slow, soft meltdown

                     dreamers and homeless wayfarers
                     still missing the comfort
                     and joy 



Who identified the victim--
                      established time of death? 

                      Who was the lady in scarlet,
                      the child playing under the moon?

                      Below the troubled surface
                      schools of spearing
                      fled the marbleized shadows
                      hunted by sea-birds from above
                      snapper beneath.

                      From the aimless drift
                      the red eagle codex
                      the dragon book
                      diagrams of the crossbow.

                      You stood at the prow
 as they dragged the river
                       where hecatombs vanished
                       in a lightning flash.

                      You dropped from the clouds
                      eyes like lanterns, skin
                      folding like foil,
                      a falling star. 

Years ago...


you gave me
                                  love poems
                      I wouldn't admit
                                  not understanding

                      they're hauntingly
                      in my love
                                 for another 

"Got It Made"


  my daughter sang for the president

                my car has automatic windows
                my eyeglasses are snug, unbreakable
                my home is clean and warm
                pantry well-provisioned
                in front, geometrical lawns
                in back tall grasses dance
                people like my poetry

                my girlfriend says I'm killing her 

A Sailor: After the Sirens


Then our great chief
             shook in the night breeze
             tears tangled in his beard
 crying and whispering
             like a fevered child
             till slumber soothed his brow

             and we unstopped our ears
             pointing our carved prow north
             under bold constellations...

             but sometimes on the night wind heard
             or thought we heard
             enticing music
             charming to the gods
             echoing of the tawny hills of home
             children and wives

             and then we wept
             yes wept. 



this season
              fire in the trees 

              glittering flood tides lifting
              things long forgotten
              crusted with barnacles and moss

              rush of these glassy currents
              raging streams

              islands clinging to roots, rocks
              swept past the three-headed dog
              and the bleeding thing
              torn in its jaws

              it is your body
              song of my childhood
              landscape of my mind 

              whose dark rivers echo
              a low, underground murmur

              night mists
              melt in the sun
              your realm 

              where creatures swim and fly
              and stalks leap
              from the soil

              shaking their joyful rags 



  talking into the tape
             I feel less alone

             arthritis keeps me from crossing
             right leg over left

             a friend tells me to pastel
             my only life
             with bliss

             you love me
             but live with him

             that's what I
             live with



you feel me
               when I'm not there

               but when I am
               you don't dare 

Lessons #2


  singed wings
               teach moths
               the lesson of the flame

               agony gains
               or goes insane

                     there is no end
                     to learning
                     or to pain  

You, Plural

   For my friends at the LIPC workshop. 

you come here

to read us your poems 

and, yes, 

that's you across the table--

brow-line of concentration

fretting a fumbled word

voice undulate

with flowing syllables 

but the words, I think,

singing the pheromones 

of flesh




not why we come here 

nor as astonishing 

From the Outset

 your voice quiet, direct, intense

 leaving the restaurant you

 were looking down

when I kissed you

 inside together we asked

who are you?

sliding deeper


those nights were seamless


without exit 

like a sphere