Best Poems From
(04/23/52 - xxxx)
Ars Poetica Redux
Dying trees fall easily.
Poems, too, as they should.
Dead wood rots from which
One good poem may grow,
The better to hear in the higher
Branches, the creaking lower limbs.
Sequestering lovers late afternoon
Whisper. One is carving the bark,
A crude heart with names within.
Now unread, unspoken but for the overgrown
Path, a bark-less scar now where was the heart,
Without thought, without desire, write only this,
'How arms entwine, how branches break'.
Dante In The Laundromat - Journeys Further Into Hell With Two Lines From The Book
After midnight, beneath bright florescence
I read Dante, his Inferno, of Hell's seven
rungs, my last quarter gone, and clothes,
two baskets, still to dry:
'At some false semblance in the twilight gloom
that from this terror you may free yourself'
posthaste, gracelessly cast out, the closing
hour is now come caught in 'spin cycle' after
'hard rinse, ' an entire bottle of fabric softener
cannot unstiffen these mythic threads,
the ancient weaves fray, displace, are
'undone, so many' beneath the winnowing
rotors that beat-beat with hope
slosh-wash all sins away.
Yet gathers the dirt.
There's more sin ahead
heady in floral scents.
The guide book sums:
You have come to a place mute of all light,
where the wind bellows as the sea does in a
tempest. This is the realm where the lustful
spend eternity. Here, sinners are blown around
endlessly by the unforgiving winds of unquenchable
desire as punishment for their transgressions.
The infernal hurricane that never rests hurtles
the spirits onward in its rapine, whirling them
round, and smiting, it molests them. You have
betrayed reason at the behest of your appetite
for pleasure, and so here you are doomed to remain.
Cleopatra and Helen of Troy
are two that share in your fate.' **
Not bad company
but no quarter to pay
for Virgil's rude company
here, now, grizzled,
uncensored keeper of
the Seven Stories of Suds.
The lousy dryer tears
my shirts, cycles for
only seven minutes as
is the seven rungs a
quarter, just one quarter
more, one thinks, prays,
hopes, seeking upon the
dirty tiles beneath metal
folding chairs for 'just
one more' to stay warm
enough before venturing
further, slog through
Level Two with damp
laundry, a sleety night
in cold Manhattan,
a view of distant
bridges busy with light,
the spanned river,
dark, spins toward
the deeper East;
a Star there was
once a great matter,
one of the better
nights of the world
it is believed.
Virgil tightly keeps
to schedule, lights
die a sudden death,
glass door solid
with blackness locked,
metal gate rattles
its chain, slams shut,
the sidewalk shakes,
a cigarette lit,
he bolts away
the better route) .
I am plunged
of guiding light
wet clothes upon
my back cursing
all clothes, the need
of them, calling in
the empty street for
a break from woven
bondage, for return
to infantile nakedness
unspoiled but for
first shock of lumped
into redundant mangers,
the maulings to come
not yet at the door
but foretold of old
in some night sky
of the world.
I haul forth then,
but called out,
but cast out,
shed needles on
walks' edge thin,
tree limbs naked
but for tinsel cling,
shades of a Bethlehem
to gutter, sticking
the heavy human round,
night slowly unwinds.
pass time till dawn,
hung laundry strung
out dries over chairs,
in dim basement room I
turn another page, red handed.
To companions in Fate I
read another passage 'to keep,
or return us, on track,
in this long night where we wait in flagrante.' ***
I have broken my back lifting
all these my loves up to heaven.
**Quoted from this website:
***Latin: in blazing offense. A legal term meaning
'caught in the act, ' 'red-handed.' Also is sometimes
used colloquially as a euphemism for someone being
caught in the act of sexual intercourse
Jack Spicer Makes Me Weep This Morning
Jack Spicer makes me weep this morning
waking up, bitterest espresso and heart's
tourettes, expostulations against what is
trying to enter in through the window...
workman on the roof across the passage,
shirt off, sweats, gleams, banded brow,
suddenly a cry erupts unstopt past my
mouth & ears, 'Snow man! Upon the bleak pitch! '
then hear, he is singing out loud in
creosote, the sweetest song, of black
hands, black eyes wet, black brush
tar thick in slow rhythms,
'Coo coo roo coo coo, paloma'...
then Spicer breaks to shadows
across the page, a fruit fly
insists upon the sweetness this poem,
'I am going to ask Christ to give
me back my childhood, ripe with sunburn and feathers and a
to come to terms
with what happens
18 years of age
piercing metal violates
turns into something
burns to vapor
still each canvas
encased steel-plated Virgin
takes a cyclops for a lover.