Poetry

Poem, “I am here”

Je suis ici

I am present
Like a confused cat
Circling its
Full water bowl,
Rejecting the
Unscrambled obvious
Of what is given,
Not like a wrapped gift,
But as the raw,
Naked sun
Opening its glazed eyes
To an ungrateful earth
And then lumbering,
As I do,
Across the slow
arch of another day.

February 20, 2011

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Poem, “My Right Hand’s Response”

I am, you know,
The elder child,
Having refused
A long time ago,
To abdicate my duty
To protect my sweet
Owner’s assets
Against the lithe advances
Of the puerile sibling
Who would own
Father’s prickly advances
When he stole a
Luscious red apple
Or touched Mrs Garrison’s
Unattended breasts
On any day in August
When she floated naked
On her supple back
In the blue-tiled
Condo pool.

1st poem of 2010

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Poem, “Always a Bridesmaid”

I was told by the orthopedist
That I would eventually
(Read inevitably)
Favor my left hand
If I didn’t have surgery.

I never knew enough
About my left hand
To give it a monarch’s
Supremacy or even
A gilded moment.

Nor could I say
That I would have doubts
About its latent competence
Against a hearty sibling,
The self-assured strutter
Among the unelect,
Not ill-favored, exactly,
But just not chosen,
Over weary time,
To lift the lids
Of the hottest
Teeming pots

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Poem, “Last Call”

It was four in the morning
When he called his friend.

Bending over the phone booth
With five quarters in his hand,
He wanted to be rescued
One more time, to hold his hand
Pouring the scotch down the drain.

For one brief moment
He remembered his mother
Talking about the first night
They brought him home
When he was born.

She had stayed up all night
Listening to every spastic gasp,
Every rustle and creak of the crib
The chiming hours of the clock.

Mortality followed him
Again,
In the languor of women’s hips
The slow ticking of the cabs,

Pigeon feet on city sidewalks
The wet air of the August night,

And the sour
smell of levis

Clinging
to
his
thighs

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Poem, “I wait”

I’ve been told to be patient
Among the shards
Of my quick pulses
And galloping thoughts.

Not having been trained
To covet silences,
I am drawn to
To wistful spectacles,
And unbridled words

That leap into the grainy
Alleys of snoring dogs
And uncluttered nurseries
As I uncork the raving chaos
Of all my loud urgings
Wanting to dazzle,
But fearing, after all,
The ancient reprisals
From those who would
Grudgingly prefer
To sit turtle-still

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Poem, “Fear”

Can’t say I’ve
Sequestered myself
In more than three
Or maybe four
Caves of fear.

But lately, outwardly mute,
I’ve been mind-pacing
In my bed like
A frenzied rabbit
Hemorrhaging all kinds
Strained possibilities,

As I hang from a cliff,
Naked to the burly,
Hissing caps of
Wind-driven waves
Waiting carelessly to
Swallow me whole.

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Poem, “I am Old”

I am old
In my brief certainties,
Destined to short debates
And blemished toilets,
Once brazenly clean.

I am a one-pair-of-shoes guy
With lazy underwear,
Two missing combs,
Ivy-growing nose hairs,
Mounds of pills in orange tubes,
Toe nails hard as turtle shells.

My ties are too wide.
I cough at movies.
My body slides out of chairs,
Reluctantly. My pen hesitates.
Headlines will do for today.

Television shadows invade
My bedroom.
My mind wanders
Into my father’s garden
Or into the basement
As I hear his fingers
Rattling through
His tool box.

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Poem, “A Boy with Huntington’s”

I was afraid for you
As you twisted your face
With your cupped hands,
Your right foot jabbing
The unsuspecting wall.

Arguing with the opposing day,
You said your dervish prayers
To Shiva of the dancing arms
To stay your frantic legs
And thighs buzzing like bees
In a lidded jar

How would I hold you
In sweet contentment?
After, in your feathery calm,
You were like a lazy lizard
Sleeping on drift wood
Or a string snapped from a shoe
Laying limp on a wood floor
Too tired to talk
As you gazed into the
Summer glaze of daffodils
And castles along the Hudson River,
Watching impish, howling cats
And two spastic squirrels
Darting across telephone lines,
One running from love.

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Soldiers Returning From Iraq

They had learned
From desert stars
That nothing matters.
Now they are asked
By ancient mothers
Trained in doubt,
To turn their heads
From the arbitrary dark,
Once dripping in shadows
And fresh blood,
To turn towards
Unsuspecting love,
The dusty marriage-vow world,
Before the clanking war
Danced its death-beats
Against the sifted ground
Of mangled bodies
Like slim, pale puppets.

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Teenager’s First Date

Showing up on time
Is the easy part.

The dashboard of
His rented car
Free of dust,
Wax-clean,
Vacuumed carpets
And a lemon smelling
Tag dangling from
The rear view mirror.

One more look
In the sun-visor
Mirror, an angled glance
At the straggly sideburns.

Fly firmly zipped.

Spitting on his closed
Index fingers,
He drags them along
The creases of
His black pants.

He pulls out a hanky
To hoe-shine the tips
Of his eager shoes.

Gently tugging
The bottom of his red tie,
He firmly wrestles
With the knot
To shield the
Top button from
Strangers looking
For flaws.

He opens his sport coat,
Tilting his nose
Into the dark corners
Of both arm pits.

He turns off the
Impatient ignition,
Opens the door,
And looks up at
The scoop of a moon
Glancing down at
The familiar.

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