Best Poems From
(04/23/52 - xxxx)
Poem For Caravaggio - Contemplating 'Conversion On The Way To Damascus' At 4 a.m.
In the shorter light,
in the extended night of
cold and star-bright questions,
may you cast
clumsy net forward
into what it all might mean
to fretted you,
to me, stretched
canvas, though I will
not thrust these
words upon your
paint or palette but
make offering for
your own work
to feed us through
to remount the horse
and soldier on,
or to fall again,
gain Damascus perspective,
back watch vision
into a God
see what may form in the spreading dirt,
what resurrection there is in the smell of paint.
The Icarus Of Housewives, Circa 1981
From ashtrays he rises
when birds in backyards
have been fed their seed,
a dove amid the starlings.
In smoke filled stupor we stare.
Icarus climbs our stairs,
waves his muscled arms
in doorways mimicking
the starlings in stocking feet.
He feels his way blindly
down hallways, a whirlwind
of feathers trailing behind.
And one day like any other day,
bedroom windows open,
he is gone into the sun to
make his movements golden,
to steel his flight a monument
of silver in the sky over Cleveland,
over Chicago, the Dakota plains.
And we are still reeling.
Come back, Icarus.
Plead our case to the sun
but do not fly too close.
And it is a day like any other day
we lose him to a solar flare.
All our litigation cannot raise him up again,
our curtains closed in protest to the sun.
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
David To Jonathan, A Lost Psalm Recovered, Recent Translation, circa 1978
'And it came to pass...that the soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul...Then Jonathan and David made a covenant, because he loved him as his own soul. And Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that was upon him, and gave it to David, and his garments, even to his sword, and to his bow, and to his girdle.'
- 1 Samuel 18: 1 - 4 King James Bible
The Lost Psalm
Abjuring flesh of necessity,
this, my peace, is false.
This ancient tonguing
betrays some fault
disdaining the human world -
which occurred first,
the birthing or the wounding?
the music woos,
swells me up.
It is my sleek, bleak hour
remembering Bathsheba's girth.
There is some mirth in remembering her,
those skirts and veils like a cadence of sweet cakes
but knowing your ungirt, perspiring embrace
so near to the Lord's tent,
makes the sin sweeter
for sweet is the intent
to only love
for now it is
the building up,
the engulfing in flame,
unconsumed in a hardness of
flesh against the hardness of belief,
no relief of vision's ken within himself
or fire but in arms and legs thrashing
out creeds to live by.