THE DEEPEST WOUND

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 

Female

 

noblesse giraffe
                      lured to her boudoir
 now what?


                      impenetrable thought
                      impossible grace

                      grazing indifferently
                      on her morsels


                      scrupulous
                      critical
                      aloof


                      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 

Winter

 

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
 knotty-haired
                     ulcerous
                     of inalienable stink


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


                     embodies bone and blood
                     the past holding us
                     apart


                     Rover and I
                     two old dogs
                     waiting to die 


                     his love
                     constant
                     unconditional


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


                     and if our future's
                     dissonant
                     intransigent


                     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
                     running
                     out of memory 


                     corrupted data
                     sectors and clusters
                     in slow, soft meltdown


                     dreamers and homeless wayfarers
                     still missing the comfort
                     and joy 

NIKE

 

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
 

                                  now
                      they're hauntingly
                                  clear
                      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 

Tempo

 

  not in your speed-up time when everything must be done and won
            in passionate seconds-- now! now! now!-- and whatever beckons
            to go next always blunted, vexed, on verge of breakdown meltdown
            crash and smash...
 

 but normal time
                    where you're not obsessed
                    with missing
                    your prime
                    and don't feel pressed
                    can let months go and flow
                    in the rhythm of washing machines
                    lawnmowers and other
                    ordinary things 

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. 

GAIA

 

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 

Bliss

 

  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
             now 

Riddle

 

you feel me
               when I'm not there


               but when I am
               you don't dare 

Lessons

 

  singed wings
               teach moths
               the lesson of the flame


               agony gains
               insight
               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

stunning

 

still

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

transparent

without exit 


like a sphere 

Still Life

 

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.