31 March 2013

Palm Someday

More miracle than the camel
through the needle’s eye,
someday i

will be tugged through the arrow loop
in my saviour’s palm,
coolly calm,

a hanky the size of a shroud
from the third magi's

black box.

Image credit:
Blue Ball, Pennsylvania (vicinity). Mennonite funeral. 1942.
U.S. Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information.
Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Division.

29 March 2013

Something, Son

To stand before that Pilate man
To stand and speak
with my heart

in my hand ―
To beg the body,
the broken body,

the body of the carpenter's son ―
Now that would be
that would be something

to beg the body of God ―
That would be something, that would be

something, son

Detail from Il trasporto di Cristo al sepolcro
by Antonio Ciseri (1821-1891)

27 March 2013

Role Playing

You do have to
wonder ― don’t you ―

whether dolphin
endorphins surge

whenever one
pod intersects

another ― Do
they sigh inside,

in delphic-speak
:(after spying

that special one):
what. a. god. ― Do

they double back
with a double-

take ― reversing
their coursing ― Or

do they swim on,
remorsing and

rehearsing their
almost reversing

25 March 2013

Power Outage

The sleet had brought down the
limbs which had brought down the
wires which had brought out the
big utility trucks

Stacked neatly now, the limbs
on the ground ― all their sawn-ends
on one end ― all their swab-tips
on the other:

Silver with impending
Spring, mossy-soft antler nubs ―
Spongy, fuzzy, undone
buds ― icy glazing gone

The deep ruts left by the
heavy trucks, they shimmer
with windy pools of water:
blue-eyed with clearing sky

24 March 2013

Dyin' to Ride

Pats him on the head and says, I’m ready to ride
Leans into his mane and says, I’m ready to ride
He’s the World’s Greatest Cowboy, ready to ride

He says, My little one - don’t be afraid
The crowd may be loud - don’t be afraid
Just step light, lightly, proud - don’t be afraid

He’s the World’s Greatest Cowboy, ready to ride
No shoes, no saddle, no bit, no bridle
No bit, no bridle, no shoes, no saddle
He’s the World’s Greatest Cowboy, dyin’ to ride

How’s He gonna ride with cloaks and branches in the way?
How’s He gonna stay on down Mount Olive Way?
’Cause He’s the World’s Greatest Cowboy, come see Him today

Pats him on the head and says, You’re doing fine
Leans into his mane and whispers, Mighty fine
You’re the World’s Bestest Bambino, you’re doing fine

He’s the World’s Greatest Cowboy, ready to ride
No shoes, no saddle, no bit, no bridle
No bit, no bridle, no shoes, no saddle
He’s the World’s Greatest Cowboy, ridin’ to die

create a gif

Image credits:
Undated Postcard from the collection of Brett Payne
Yelena Cherkasova, The Entrance of Our Lord into Jerusalem 1 & 2
Roy Rogers and Trigger, photo from Life magazine
Hippolyte Flandrin, Christ's Entrance into Jerusalem

23 March 2013

How this poem ends

Maybe with something pithy
or witty (they’re not the same)

Or, something coolly ironic ―
a twist, a pun, some Famous Name

Perchance, some learnèd allusion
containing a multitude

of meanings. Or just a safe & simple
platitude ― on loving and/or grieving

Could be something s)edgy or (exy
or shocking ― if (at all) possible ―

But there’s nothing new sub-sun
so that may present a problem

and even look a little desperate,
or just plain ol’ ill-informed

So how will it ― should it ― end, this poem?
Maybe in the beginning, where the stars were born

22 March 2013

Rock Paper Scissors

Moon in the morning:
aspirin in the clouds ― both
swallowed by the sun.

19 March 2013

Like Bluebirds in

We fled the City – but we’re still Scared
of our old Neighborhood
my Mother prays a lot – out Loud –
I’ve got my own Bedroom

My Brother looks – a lot like me –
my Sister – not so Much
my Father? Oh – I can’t recall –
his Life – a loaded Gun

The light Rail – yes – it cuts both Ways –
the Planners sold but One:
the Banker to his Office – not
my old Gang to our front Door

Like Bluebirds – in – an old Cartoon
who’re hanging out – the Wash –
we pinch the Sheet – at each Corner
and – we cover – up – my Face

16 March 2013

Honour Guard

The young bugler stood
on a hill in the snow and
played Taps for my friend.

He wore white gloves and
a black beret — and melted
away at the end.

15 March 2013

Sense and Marcescence

Among the last of the last
Leaves to leave — like a Guest
passed out on the Couch —
they scratch along the Sidewalk
where there is no Itch.

And the very last of the last
Leaves — those still clinging —
having clung all Winterlong —
they will walk the Plank beneath the Prod,
the budding Rod of Spring.

14 March 2013

Aesthetic Theory

So. Shall we talk about the bodies? Those
lying supine in stubbled fields, their toes
all pointing toward the same decalogue of stars,
forever uninterred in the art
of their brethren with the most vivid memories.

Or, perhaps, the old man crucifixed and steeping
in his own urine, on permanent display,
shivering in the hallway — unchanged, unremembered.

Or, maybe, the Ukrainian runaways baring
their pixelated breasts over the internet,
promising something hotter with an email address.

So. Shall we talk? Or, had we rather not —
speak of the long dead, the dying, the desperate?
Heart to heart. Tête-à-tête. Herod to Herod.


Noch das äußerste Bewußtsein vom Verhängnis
droht zum Geschwätz zu entarten.
Even the most extreme consciousness of doom
threatens to degenerate into idle chatter.

Ich starb für Schönheit - aber war Kaum
I died for Beauty - but was Scarce

Ethik und Ästhetik sind Eins.
Ethics and Aesthetics are one.

...nach Auschwitz ein Gedicht zu schreiben, ist barbarisch...
...to scribble a poem after Auschwitz is barbaric...

13 March 2013

A Sonnet: By Heart

I watch too many movies. Seriously. After
awhile they begin to run together like those
finger paintings of that kid — you remember —
who tried to use all the colours and whose roses
always turned to muddle puddles. Dangerous?
Not really. They make no demands — and the death
distraction? That is short-lived, along with
the thrill of bare skin stroked by cameras.

But a poem. Is always dangerous. By heart,
it’s poised complete, the thing itself, with all its parts.
Undiminished. At your fingers. Both comb
& geisha, mirror & vase, fuse & bomb.
And you can rewind them at any time:
to where a kiss got out of hand is still a sigh.

12 March 2013

Lullaby: Little Puppy

Now you my little puppy.
Pat your head.
O, that feel good don't it.
Are you my little puppy?
My little puppy in the cave?

We keep warm in the cave.
You keep me.
Me keep you.
We find food I promise.
We find us some food at first light.

Are you my little puppy?
They be food after breakfast.
Just watch out for the cars.
O, rub your belly. You like that.
And your ears.

We got to beat the gulls though.
The gulls can dive bomb.
Don’t be afraid.
You my little puppy.
You will bark at the greedy gulls.

No bark now though.
We go to sleep. We got new candle.
You my little puppy.
My little puppy in the cave.
We go to sleep till morning.

11 March 2013

Construction Site: Grey on Grey

The I-beams are grey
because they're painted.
The trees are grey
because they're not.

My hair is turning
more greyly daily.
The sky is grey
until tonight.

10 March 2013

So) why am I

surprised at sufferings —
at either yours or mine?

Since) they are my closest teachers toward
the faintest understanding or

the most distant standing
under of

the long shadows of the valley
of the carpenter’s cross.

08 March 2013

Variations on a Theme

do the leaves
cling to the trees
do the trees
cling to the leaves

and then
there are, of course,
the third and then the fourth
new tunes borne from
this theme:

the clinging leaves
to the wind
to the leaves
the clinging wind

07 March 2013

Daughters 1

on the last
half mile home
the older
does (meaning
two or at most

three years
old) clump with
their young ones
just above
the gully

waiting for
me to pass
their white tails
torched up with
warning their

young ones
half behind
all their lights
now suddenly

flooded with
their borrowing
like the moon
from the sun's
high beams

02 March 2013

Emergency Room

once the laser
bracelet goes on

you're in a whole
other world one

where nurses float
in a whirlwind

and every needle
stings just a little