Thursday, May 31, 2012

Working Title: Mother

A dragonfly beats
its body against the pane
of the cabin window.

Bees violently
flirt under the eave.
A daisy breaks
its neck toward a humming-

I'm remembering your
pansies and gladiolas doodled
during church around rose
bushes under the eyelashes
of your color-penciled gardener.
The impressions of violets over
stone raise a greater
ecstasy in you than Paw-paw's
sermon in neighbors in pews.

These fragile fliers and flowers remind me of you.

Especially this dragonfly flailing
against the pane.
A tenacity of spirit, not body,
keeps it afloat and fighting.

Friday, May 25, 2012


Her feet sang across
the bricks,
toes splitting over the gritty
sidewalk along the park, and
sirens silenced her laughter.

"Your mom's a bitch," she
sang and skipped,
"She's a bitch, a bitch."
Her hips shift.
She stretches a dress already
too small to fit her sorrows
at sixteen.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Thoughts at a Sidewalk Table

There is beauty in watching a facial expression
that doesn't know it's being watched,
but I have no taste for persons always trying at
catching who don't know they've been caught.

Though it's stereotypical to place a suit
and face on first impression inside a case,
we know that each has a life outside
our mind's easy arm reach.

To a jazz connoisseur I once sheepishly said:
I don't know what's good, just what moves
my head. Silly now to think: I'd like to unthink
poetry and just move to its music.

Few things are as romantic as hand
movements in familiar action: pie
maker with dough, farmer and hoe,
a jeweler with metal and stones.

A family of three sits beside me.
The younger, a man, slouches over coffee;
the middle, a woman, sits prim with toast;
the older, their father, dotes over both.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

4 a.m.: The Only Note Mozart Never Played, Or There Are No Birds Singing

She fingers the sweaty keys, her
sweat is on the keys, creating (re-creating?)
Fantasy in D minor to
block or mock the noise outside
the window. Her mother quilted
quilts while rocking in her rocking
chair when she was young and
practicing Fantasy in D minor
on the family baby grand piano.
Now, a family is grandly wailing
up the air shaft outside her window:
the mother's wailing is
dancing with her baby son's
wailing as she beats him
for rhythm. The pianist, who
fingered music to her mother's
fingering quilts, cries for the
wailing to stop with feverish
fingers sweating over the keys,
Fantasy in D minor. The
wailing mother fantasizes blackness,
has no fantasy but blackness,
hears no music because she's wailing and
beating her son to the rhythm
of Fantasy in D minor.

A Poem a Week for 10 Weeks

Steven threw down a challenge for me, so I'm going to write a poem a week for 10 weeks. My goal is to take a full week to write each poem, beginning the new poem immediately after I post the last.

As always the trick in writing poetry is deciding when to stop editing. Now I don't have to decide that. Till I go back to rewrite.

Here we go. Wish me luck.

Pound's eviscerating Eliot's "Wasteland".

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Text Messages to Steven

Prospect Park hates itself in spring. Change is pain. This is cliche. Hi.

Dark roast beans are bitter, not stronger. I didn't know that.

The laughter of drug dealers echoes our stairwell. A gun was pulled last week. Not fired though. I don't really want to hate anyone.

You know Jack Gilbert's "Meniscus: Or How the Heart Must Not Be Too Much Questioned". I wish I wrote that.

In my head subway cars rattle, Prospect Park congas conga, neighbors scream, radiators hiss, and Halal street carts crowd out Oklahoma: native stone, blooming redbuds, church pews, clotheslines, thunderstorms. Can you still smell New Orleans streets?

I romanticized the Beats. They romanticized Rimbaud. But I don't like drugs or squalor. Silly.

I'm not sending these texts to you. Just posting them on my blog.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Ode to the Weehawken Public Library

Hold on
for dear

Photo by Denis Finnin.
Every time I pass this library I think it's funny, sad, romantic that it hangs off the edge of a cliff. No need to reach for a metaphor.

This Moment of Heaven

They doused the night in whiskey. She
hugged him and the bouncer. The three sang,
"How can you mend a broken heart?" to the fog
that tackled the traffic on 44th and 9th. I'm
not ready to cry myself to Brooklyn,
she said. I'm not ready to end this moment of
Heaven, he thought. A feminine Bob Dylan
twirled her dreads across the train, and eyed
them. A man in denim and gold rings stared.
She cried on his shoulder -- the fog kept
breaking and breaking her heart. He gloated
for the beauty snuggling his shoulder.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012


6:20 --  Open notebook. Look around the library.

6:30 -- Watch the guy walk to the fountain. Watch him drink. Look away when he looks at you.

6:34 -- You've been here 15 minutes and have only written: "Sex is beautiful and messy". Look around the library more.

6:40 -- The sun has sunken low enough to cast light directly into your face. Move to new chair.

6:52 -- It's been 30 minutes. Cross out "Sex is beautiful and messy".

7:05 -- Sip water from bottle. Flip through previous pages of notebook. Make random grammatical edits.

7:15 -- 5 more minutes.

7:20 -- Close notebook. Go to bar.