I have chosen
Not to speak to you
Today, of all days,
Cowering, as I do,
In front of simple truths,
Stark revelations,
My coliseum’s nakedness
Before the crowds
Of thumbs down,
Blossoming towards
The front rows
Of your rage,
Those forgotten wounds,
And fanged cruelties
Spiraling into
New memories.


“Winter Sleep,” A Review



Winter Sleep, 2014
Nuri Bilge Ceylan

Interiority, Pathos, Survival

There are many things to like about Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s exquisite film, “Winter Sleep.” (Palme d’Or winner at Cannes Film Festival, 2014).

First of all, it is a very interior film. Ceylan manages to create a strong inner sensibility of pathos, an aching sense that life, in the end, is cruel, relentless, and merciless. Inside of that psychological cosmos, however, is the other half of Ceylan’s Sisyphean fatalism: people do manage to survive in spite of the quiet desperation of their lives.

There is little question that Aydin, the central character, is the personified form of Ceylan’s world of pathos. And he is also a survivor, not unlike Hidayet, his lower-class assistant, who does all the managerial tasks and is Aydin’s personal chauffeur. (Hidayet’s constant, but strong background presence in the film appears to be Ceylan’s way of reminding his audience that the poor and the service class, in their uncomplaining stoicism, will always be with us.) Continue reading


It Was There in the Past

It was there in the past
Like a static barn
With its aching wood
Rippling through
The seasons.

Then a memory
Of cemetery walks
And tulips bending
In the spring sun.

Youth walking firmly
On anointed ground,
Not arrogance, exactly,
But pliant sails
Pulling things forgotten
Into the steady stream
Of what we once knew
To be true.

More than true.



These words are mine,
No other’s.

On mornings
When I hear your arms
Tumbling through
The shower spray,
I wonder if it’s worth
My while,
To keep still,
Holding my breath,
Reluctant as I am
To hear strangers
On subways
Spewing curses and odd
Remnants of
Schizophrenic tales:

Mothers left on ships,
Sons in thick forests
Of their ambitions,
Daughters bartered
Through every truce.

Secrets catch us
By our shirttails,
But they are ours,
My love,
They are ours.
























I Missed Your Funeral, Yesterday

I missed your funeral yesterday
Not convinced I could gather
Enough solid grief
To moor me steadily
Into wanting to
Remember you.

But then again
We were married
For a time
When the earth,
By your own admission,
Did not move
Beyond its dry rituals
Of undizzying speed
And long corridors.

I read your obituary
Sufficient in its dryness
Of names pulled from
The family files.

Mary, George, Anna,
Siblings who died,
I am told,
From boredom
And unkempt gardens.

Eric, Vince, Julia,
The children,
Who left our nest
Grateful to breathe
Their own air.

I continue
To cross-reference you,
Hoping, in the end,
That some bleak category
Will open a rusted charm
I gratefully missed.


I Cannot Tell a Lie, Sometimes

I said yes to you once
Because the angle
of the sun seemed right
At the time.
But now, in this
More cordial season,
Formality requires
My truant distance.

Remembering our
Backyard sandbox
Below the dining room
Windows, observing
The sweet chaos
Of your hands, I knew
You, even then,
As one requiring
Royal loyalty
I could not give.








Love, Passion, Ecstasy, and the Ordinary

Love as Constancy

Let me not to the marriage of true minds/Admit impediments,” says the bard.

So, my friends, are we to believe about “true” love that it is constant, as the poet would have us believe? Or, if you are a cynic, relentlessly constant?

We are consistently reminded in this famous Shakespearean sonnet that love does not change; “it is the ever fixéd mark/That looks on tempests and is never shaken.” It is the stable “star” in the heavens, the guide to every lost ship (“wandering bark”). Continue reading