The Year

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.




                          (after Yeats)


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



                       French Blue


                        I want

                        in the French blue of the room

                        to capture some feeling or meaning

                        as if it were something

                        poured in a teacup

                        stirred and gazed into.

                        Reflection 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,

                        blinking 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.

Moments follow one another as do, say,

sips of sherry, songs from the singer;

numbers in progression they become.

 So it is not the sip or song,

save for a savored, favored first few

           that linger

any more than time’s moment


  But the tremor in your core,

the warm burn of a flush in your face,

  the intertouch of smile.

  These are the animal moving,

the human knowing he is moving.

   Move and a mouth moves;

love and set two loves moving;

    green and bring brown coming.

              How soon?




       The swan of Tuonela

       swims in my head.

       It currents tear a crystal tear.

       Outside thunder

        says Summer

        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

          past memory

          in yellow street lamps’ light

          carefully coats the city

          with wax

          to hold it in its fright.                                     







   Rain brings            

     red rings

          green buds

             and round eyes

               between long lashes

                                     or branches.


              A blink

               or tremor

          Rain stops

       Sun spills out

           a sparkle,

              a blue iris shines


                    and imperceptibly

                       is gone.









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,

spirit infused

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.

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