Best Poems From
(04/23/52 - xxxx)
A Grief Earned - An Ode Beginning & Ending With Lines From Shelley
Here, on one fountain of a mourning mind,
I have been taken up into grief, the strange
relief of clouds. Soon departed, I shall be
once again returned to disquieted prayer,
the proud monk to his rites rejoined such
are covers for disjointedness.
Adroit is the spoiled self touching only
late that of Other, of Beauty, Adonais
'dead then' when Mr. Shelley, once young,
now always, has clung 'moderne, 'as much
as, as soon as he can deny, spurn, return
a Vision 'toward the vital air.'
He has the advantage of an Eastern detachment.
I, meanwhile, to walls stick, to
sheets, this cup, full, cannot release.
I step, my foot remains to boards
stuck, must walk inwardly restrained,
halt, try to, misstep, the usual tread
of, with, my heart.
With heart will I to Guatemala go,
a Mayan lover do some good, to active
volcanoes, deepest lake there with
creatures strange - axelotls, pink,
and one fountain send where I need
to go - there, continually letting
go the hollows, release the tread
following, and the after-flow;
feeling grief's all, I
follow to where all is fled...
A Shabbos Poem Beginning With A Line From Zukofsky - Upon Finding A Book Of His Poems On A Street Corner Manhattan Lower East
for Gerald & Shirah Kober Zeller
Lord, lord...why are our finest always dead,
prayer is oil the dead come home to
two Hassids young bring candles
for Shabbas only a few hours till
perhaps even in this cafe they
watch books gather on the familiar
corner where shopkeepers' decades
pass hurry home before dark with
candles, cares, the wares of religion,
the Book & dream, a distant land
made close by old songs kindled,
finest ones still kindred made the
stronger by fire and voices-one
mingled with Mendelssohn
and the later oranges
from traffic to street corner
1st Ave. and St. Marks now
here 'Z' is lifted up pages
gummed literally spit out
years of countless Chicklets
spat 2-per-box-a-nickle a
lover's quarrel with the
shoe-and-should what good
come of the chewing masses
hurrying home or to ferry
over river/bay to old brick
even the convent on the hill
just up from the undocking
crowd is dark for want of mercy
ramparts lift by Chambers above
African graves, the slaves of
South Ferry sentinel terminal
near ferries' toil as lower Manhattan
lights a menorah towering despite
what is now worshiped there knowing
that home, the one sought(even now)
more resides in words aflame reciting
the Name, One alone, then of
patriarchs the bearded whole lot
of them who murmur still for all
our want and next year next year
will be different for we shall no
longer be here but in Holy City
cabs blur yellow/gypsy
in angular winter light
now dazzle before Spring
when raises dead bulbs to
jonquils potted pretty in
windows, on stoops and,
wild, strayed in parks
do not, O, pass us by or over
for all our patient harping
come morrows under willows yet
we shall hang up our loves again
get back to work
honest scrub and clean
beside the avenue
stand recalling willows
and grieve still an old
yet present eviction in
the cities of men
After Folly - An Aging Poet Addresses One Who Wanders In Mountains Remote
'Now I've broken my ties with the world of red dust;
I spend all my time wandering and read all I want.
Who will lend a dipper of water
to save a fish in a carriage rut? ' - Han Shan, Tang Dynasty, China
There's a hairy Moses in the distance counting pocket
change to give to the ferrier, coins that fit the eyes.
I'm hanging at the back of the crowd. There's manna
enough for pockets. My Red Sea is long parted but old
Pharaoh's got a new army. Each day is a scrape in the tents.
Prayer and fear is sustenance dragged further out by pillars
of fire. A volcano rumored to be God publishes 'Mandates for
a New Junta', led by a well-bred stutterer (prototypical politician,
it seems) . In odd limbo there trail reluctant murmurers.
That 'Golden Calf 'Incident' was a silly mistake,
an overreaction, but there were agreements made
at the outset, sealed in blood, first born sons threatened
or worse, guaranteed real estate for dairy farmers and
bee keepers, oodles of milk-and-honey futures, money
to be made in hopefully greener pastures. Now it can
be said with certainty, a 'promised land' comes with
big catches - I've exchanged one for another, same
mistake - the barbs are plenty, mostly mistaken people
thinner than scripture loudly staking claims to land
and deity in long meander.
It's a luxury, sure. Some choose to wander. Some don't.
Water is scarce in deserts. Wheels are few but for
chariots of war, not many ruts though there's thirst aplenty,
not the bounty promised before the journey.
A penny for a wet tongue.
I'm of that hung up crowd forced to flee, a victim of unleavened
fate, or is that too Greek a notion? The question begs asking.
Unintended impertinence must be forgiven. That's the theme,
right? the long march of history, that of redemption in time though
each and every has an opinion. Can't be helped. Much to explain.
All's a seeming washed in blood.
How passing strange is life in old age overwrought by
too much thinking. All is not yet lost but merely tossed
and scrambled in this ramble where etymology is everything.
And good boots. I'm then to poetry and books a-sundry,
an attempt to keep a horizon. Above it. Not under but
the dip is soon enough. Humor with others is still intact.
Alone I manage to laugh out loud.. After a life of folly so
much frivolity empties one out. I cry out in the night but
remainder to Silence.
Old friend, I've been reading zen, the 'death poems' and
'Sayings of the Desert Fathers, ' in many ways the same.
These orient. One can still lift a head up amongst the stars
while swatting flies, be silly, for what care stars at all
but for eyes, maybe they're wanting to be seen?
Reading remote poets and prophets purposefully hiding
out to 'draw nigh unto' is ironic, remove the eye of the
perceiving other and it will show up upon the sky, mountains,
all things between, universally; perhaps even TV screen static
between channels links here/now with beyond; easier to
be in subtle presences sublime than these lumps in solidity
which are the material, a hard father's boot-steps on the stairs
just out the door sends one packing, a shy Desert Father
beneath his bed to hide, a wilderness of sorts.
From there I pray,
'Abide with me, Father,
give sons a safer world,
bring them gently into it'.
Many sons are ill-prepared,
'not yet, not yet, ' they bray.
I'm flung further into the fray though I sway up 5 flights
of stairs, long in exile, dizzy with the street, the human
beauty and brokenness there, all those flower pots in
windows, on stoops, the blossoming tree brightening
between darker bricks to truly dwell. It is for me, a shy
son, to see in spite of big chunks missing or torn out,
to remake the world as it always is for angels long to
be bread to dwell in our finitude. To them, then, I am
'the Dude', a daffodil in my lapel, gate of heaven and
h*ll open at the end of the block. I skip forward singing,
'La La La, ' poems a'pocket. If questioned at the gate
I'll blame you, meandering still, granting permission
the entrance to boldly storm.
Between St. Marks and the horizon my fingers still work.
Annunciation - for Cesar Vallejo
Arriving late to love
the broken tower
mourns its ringing ruin.
Long drought of air
stills the clapper.
But one breath, Trembler,
Muteness falls away.
Frightened doves scatter.
Annunciation of rafters:
how to sway.
Who pulls the rope
fly up from
Poor in heart, scatter.
Bread, swell upon
for the dead,