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
Der Einfall, Remaining Light In Duino
[Beginning with two lines from Duino Elegies by Rainer Maria Rilke]
'You that fall with the
thud only fruits know, unripe, '
here wait to be shaken.
Here we carry, or ought to (driven so much past
bitter root) , sugar,
not for selves but for the gods to sweeten their too
(at least they have tongues/mouths,
we know they have teeth)
to open them into our subjectivity which, secret told, is
what they crave, our realist sufferings, such are sweet
to them, makes them, too, more solid -
what they seek - solidity beyond our capacities to reify
but for Imagination which conducts/births them into material
Our extreme suffering compensates for, gravitates their
too refined coldness toward heat.
They, like scattered flour, having no leaven,
dream/desire us-the-leaven; they seek/swell
into what we have, what we bring, we, the most baked,
to be torn into, eaten, too, for yearning gods' sake.
They come/fall compelled to colors, palettes, ours, upon
worn pallets, these acrobats, as yet enfleshed lovers in
not yet felt world and literal sense, they
do balance, risk, stumble, break, stutter/cry, utter
such further dimension into
desire's bodies, breath, ashes,
importantly, always just arriving
forgetting the arguing seed's
previous vertical discontent.
Such skies already known
limb by limb escape
slowly their shaping.
They suspend, extend then
into their felt fall,
hard land into waking.
What uses for tears there
are gather there from
the eye, pour upon the
cheek from which miscreant
tongues may most drink.
Think again upon these things which go about
in darkness and stumble against us begging no
pardon, intent still on passage, confused for words
or Ibn Arabi's 'Black Light' no light at all, or
thing, but a gnossis found, or given.
Gnossis, most striven for, in minutest motes, is.
All this to say, Ready.
further beyond (yet into)
unsaid street corner,
into inarticulate cathedral,
into unutterable mosque,
into wholly other loci
dependent upon uninhabited
blue field, crust, what
passes for, or has, Light,
just overtones 'beyond the fiddle.'
Now here must stop
in what is remaining light to cook
must bend to the purple cabbage at hand,
the courage of the knife
the helpful drive of hunger,
marvel yet again, it's faceted pattern when
halved, same as the onion, the leek
Such facets in me too reveal when
I dare to be loved in two
**The quote in the poem is from the Duino Elegies
Erotic Lullaby For Bedding, After Roethke
Belly belly the hard boiled egg.
I map out of a dream.
Love a long necked boy.
Dance lips! Leaves of legion.
Jelly, yard dog! Leap to June.
Suckle me, honey,
long necked, boney onion.
Why cry when peeled?
Count the rings of a tree,
the circles of a breath.
The nose is a love.
Press me, press me.
Iron me soft.
A breath leans,
nape of jeans falling.
Wedge me, wedge me.
Be an ax.
Clap me, trunk of calcium,
bone of need.
Sing, throat, puller of weeds,
I day your arbor.
You arbor my seed,
egg of sway.
long necked, naked boy.
Lather I'd rather thee.
All egg is joy.