poetry

“The Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock”

“I have seen the moment of my greatness flicker,” says T S Eliot’s Prufrock.

He goes on to say that he sees the “Eternal Footman” holding his coat, snickering, suggesting that even the personified death figure would find Prufrock an amusing irrelevancy.

Later on, he admits that he is “no Prince Hamlet,” but merely “an attendant lord….Deferential, glad to be of use.”

What are we to make of Prufrock’s draw? Why do English teachers seem to love this poem? Why are we attracted to a guy whose life is without drama or vitality? A guy who seems to huddle next to the inconsequential; to revel in a world of what-might-have-beens; or to languish in a life that has never been completely or satisfactorily consummated. Continue reading

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Poem, “Memento Mori”

I will die on this side
Of my silenced breath,
Not the other side,
Where stories scramble
In traffic-stopping
Marathons of panting
Joggers, frantic,
In their drenched bodies,
To win my dazed
Mind over
To the simple truth of
What will happen next,
When I close my questioning
Eyes for the very last time.

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Poem, “Play it again, Sam”

So, if I get it right
The first time,
I’m not required
By any dusty law
To do it again.

Repetition doesn’t always
Work like fearless
Branches stuttering
In chatty unison
From an aging trunk,

Some curling
Towards the sun,
Others, insecure
In their laziness,
Weighted with memory
Of last April’s
Freezing rain.

They’ve all been
Somewhere before,
Some yearn for the sky,
Others for the
Grumbling earth,
As they did
Last year.

If I repeat the right thing,
I become the surly branch
Scanning the wrinkled trunk,
Defeated by the
Crusty chance of
Being too common
In my frantic mimes,
Just another water-logged
Dog paddling its way
Back with the same
Haggard stick in his mouth
He had twenty minutes ago

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Poem, “Texting Iphigenia”

A text-message was discovered on an ancient Blackberry found in a dumpster behind a Greek restaurant outside Athens by a group of roving teenage scavengers. The message was sent by a girl named Hermione to Iphigenia, the classic heroine, who was sacrificed so that the winds would begin in Aulis harbor, allowing the Greek ships to set sail for Troy.

Although Hermione was believed to have been illiterate, Anthropologists and Linguists both agree that the message contained some brief poetic possibilities. Upton Simpson, a philologist from Greenland, has even suggested that Hermione’s text message “most assuredly, contained a tone of formality and high seriousness.” Continue reading

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Poem, “Change”

You will, of course, change.
We all know it.

From ragged-edged coat,
Smelling of beer and car oil,
Tested every day
In the blustery wind, near
Old, dank harbors,

To rose-odored concert-goer,
Your main of hair
Waving with each breath
Of lush spring air,
Not wild as the wolf,
But tender, as the pliant,
Nipple-sated child.

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Poem, “Another One-Night Stand”

Meeting, as we do,
Under the shoals of
Silent blankets,
We hear a simmering
Gideon from a motel drawer,
Whispering warnings
Of scalded souls
Writhing in regret.

We, after all,
Require infidelity to a fault,
Staggering in the rinks
Of our desires,
Welded to our transience,
Baffled, at times,
At the world’s indifference.

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Poem, “Morning Chatter”

Some marching-band cadence
In your voice this morning,
Candied, like
A fresh apple,

Jaunting talk, really,
Of tasks to be done
From scraps of
Stainless papers
On a refrigerator door,

Or jobs completed,
Not curfewed, but
Cashiered, coffined,
Into the glazed silence
Of a dead grandfather's
Gray eyes

 

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Poem, “Sturdy as the Kitchen Stove”

I am, today, steady as a
Mushroom rain,
Even regal, I think,
Holding court
To sibilant rumors
Of my demise,

And feeling sturdy
As the kitchen stove
In its unburnished
Solitude,
But weary as the old oak,
Or the aging Labrador
Attacked by children
With lightening-rod
Fists against their
Favorite punching bag.

February 20, 2011

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