Picture some old man trying
to say something profound about the year,
about its turnings, its seasons, its existence in the air.
Looking slowly up to the horizon, or wall,
his eyes parturient, pulsating
teared with his vision,
announce his soul shall speak.
His lips part, purse, then quiver
as he offers out “… the year …”
His stress is strong,
sends us flying across maps, faces,
lakes and skies, and patterns
not yet drawn.
His eyelids squint as they raise their sight,
his lips tremble as they feel the light,
and he, in a whisper to us,
reveals … “the year …”
And “Yes?” we breathe
as “What?” we seek,
from those dry lips or
twelve moon trips.
His eyes have reached their apogee;
they pause, then begin their fall;
one might say their eclipse.
His lips, as if to keep his eyes alert,
work up and down in silent track,
while his wind from leather lungs
does echo out, “… the year … the year …”
We wait for those thoughts to soar,
but then, alas, come face to face
with what we should have seen,
there is, as was, no more to hear.
Our hopes had risen with our needs;
We’d hoped he’d dreamt of something new,
had come to see the world afresh,
had embraced a wholly different view.
But all hope now has fled,
there’s nothing’s left at all.
We meant to please but something failed;
now we wish to apologize.
For in that gaunt face,
round those closed eyes,
it’s all too painfully clear,
there never was much for him to say,
nor much for us to share.
THE ELUSIVENESS OF LOVE
When I try to write a poem
It is to say I love you
When I search for the proper words
It is their feeling I want to give you
When I try to catch that feeling
I find I’d rather hold you
As I put my arms around you
It is your soul I hope to touch
in the French blue of the room
to capture some feeling or meaning
as if it were something
poured in a teacup
d and gazed into.
tion in the amber tea
of the ceiling and one corner
of my eye and cheek of hairs
I had not noticed before,
where sense of up and down tumbles
in the room shimmering this moment,
one day in a million among the endless stars,
ng in silent watchfulness,
or dumb as I meant to say.
And for what, I would have asked,
before this new sense enveloped me.
is our place, or mine, in this life?
Are we forever split as night ‘n’ day,
man woman, parent ‘n’ child,
mind ‘n’ body, life ‘n’ no life,
and never can be held as a teacup can,
being rather a being process,
an inchworm in the swaying trees,
or planet and moon, if you prefer,
in orbit, arms extended,
clasped in wild whirl ‘round each other, throwing off words like perspiration beads
that collect, if at all, in the morning calm
of a mutual center, that is, some say,
only a hypothetical point.
Time, the turn of the clock
must have a cousin in the life I lead,
or the one I see.
ts follow one another as do, say,
s of sherry, songs from the singer;
bers in progression they become.
So it is not the sip or song,
e for a savored, favored first few
any more than time’s moment
But the tremor in your core,
e warm burn of a flush in your face,
the intertouch of smile.
These are the animal moving,
e human knowing he is moving.
Move and a mouth moves;
ve and set two loves moving;
green and bring brown coming.
The swan of Tuonela
swims in my head.
It currents tear a crystal tear.
rolling over city roofs,
an unconscious bubble bouncing
gently off thoughts
of sleeping friends.
In a gilded glass box
by the silverware display
an iron spring unwinds
turning tiny figurines,
and rain falling
in yellow street lamps’ light
carefully coats the city
to hold it in its fright.
and round eyes
between long lashes
Sun spills out
a blue iris shines
I am lost in my own room
on a sunny summery day
when I should be under the blue sky
exposing dreams of the world to a glass lens,
or walking with my arm around her somewhere,
perhaps in the sand by the sea,
\ with the sea breeze kissing my cheek
and lifting her hair off her shoulders,
heightening the chill I feel at being with her,
being, as it were, fully alive,
hovering between heaven
and the inevitable crash to earth,
frightened and exalted at holding in my hand
the pinnacle of all that I have dreamed,
even if interwoven with a whisper of that breeze
lifting it all out of my hand again
and back up into the laughing beads of
But physical reality is a dark room and typewriter
and no prospects for anything more elevated.
And yet I am not despondent,
for this, much of the time here, has been my lot,
playing at the side of the road,
smelling its suffocating tar fumes,
and wondering how the few clear white stones,
like stars, got trapped forever in the black sea.
Or listening to the whir or strange rippling,
on the asphalt melting, of tires rolling,
rolling other lives, organisms from Mars or New York,
over highways that are all horizons,
carrying mysteries that vanish despite that moment
when for an instant we stare open-eyed
at each other,
faces and eyes like planets or marbles,
surprisingly round, unexpectedly colored,
before leaning on, or back, to tend to
some business or dream,
that keeps our minds and fingers moving,
like ants pursuing a scent,
desperate for its possession,
as if that would shut out the dark
and lift us magically over the walls
and windows, into the unending light
that we each so deeply deserve, or desire.
Christine’s St. Patrick’s
In the distance, drummers drumming;
their percussive waves come rising through me
as I imagine their legs lifting in lockstep.
Before me in my mirror, a face, pale bone,
stares out insipidly.
Classic, I’m told; striking, I’ve heard;
even beautiful like the moon.
Yet am tired of its surface sheen and same old stare.
How to reach where the drummers do,
within the lunar curve?
Now I hear the horns blaring above the drums;
the bagpipes begin their wail,
reaching for recumbent hope.
Can almost understand
why men march out to die,
called by a greater hope to be,
beyond the ancient gods who paced the sky
jealous of those who died for thee.
Cannot move, held by faces of early heartthrobs,
with features smooth and scrubbed
and gem-like shining eyes.
Did they share the lofty visions.
the souls I gave them,
the ones I loved?
Alone at night
day’s work done
light burning, street quiet
dreams begin their run.
They’ve come for years
the same old few
the dark-haired girl,
the moving image on the wall,
of Gods come back
for God knows what
I let them play again
until they’re through:
high hopes, great deeds
beauty and grace,
as if they’d come true.
Although those dreams
have their start in things I’ve seen
or matters of the heart,
they seem to me at night
as chalk on slate,
more tangible than those things
they would relate.
Once she spoke
with wise kind eyes;
everything fell away below.
A small gesture
in the course of a day.
Time passes; lives come and go;
people pay to see Antonio,
and what on my shelf
have I to show?
A picture, a poem, a game to play,
and dreams that run and rerun
one receding day.