Best Poems From
(04/23/52 - xxxx)
Dear Goodfew, Regarding the Poems I Sent
Don't worry about reading them.
If good enough they will keep.
If bad they will linger like old garbage
placed outside a neighbor's door
in the middle of the night only to
wrap tightly around when opening
a morning door to leave for work,
pushed back, turned off, sour,
5 flights of breathless descent
cursing the occupant in 5A.
The front door slams behind.
Stepping into sunlight and shadow
the day is won, has worn away the
mal-odors of morning. Burn now
instead to live, to leave a strong
rot when put out a lover's door
because of laziness,
a partial rejection hung upon a knob.
'Dear Low' - Upon His Leaving Mountains For Manhattan, circa 1981
For Lowery McClendon
You did it. You left the trout behind.
Sunday the corn was cut down. Apple trees
in the nearby orchard were felled which explains
the screams I heard a week ago, and the droning'
of wasps. That hill was exposed this evening at
sunset, reflected pink in the sky. Reminds me of
the women I always saw through your eyes,
their large lips and eyes, the dark thighs particularly,
fields without their corn now shedding a purple
light like Stevens' Hartford, and you there tonight
forsaking the school yard we'd walk beside
stopping to comment on that view of hills
at our favorite wall where 'Nigger's Pandemonium'
stalled on hot nights to break beer bottles for your
poems broken glass, curtains you'd pass in the
dark where your wheels would splay the stars stuck
to tar bubbles on the street when Hart Crane beat
his words against your rhythm running down
to Montford Park.
Be quick about it then, your departure:
I walked through your house.
You left behind that crooked frying pan.
Your steaks will never taste the same again,
and that espresso pot there, too, black stains
stuck inside like little Lamont's words,
'Are we lost yet? ' Just thrown out like that
plaster of paris bone from the kitchen.
No dog would chew on that, some kind of
sentinel to Arborvale Street signaling something
fragile has passed on like Mr. McKnight's
roses given over to winter, Indian summer
an old squaw, packed up her warm skins
and vanished like a wife or lovers.
It's like that, you know. No magic but our
own so often like that old white bone's intention
to be art, our poems strung on the page like
slip over chicken wire, words expiring from
our clutching at them -
'You will be beautiful, make meaningful our days.'
What are our names anymore, Low?
The corn is all cut down.
An old scare crow remains.
Apropos. Poetry's worn out image
stretched out on the hill forlorn in the ice,
forgiving no one, especially ourselves,
alien corn of a foundering century.
Delusion of One, A Lunar New Year Reprise
Born: Year of the Dragon.
Horoscope: 'Today's the lucky day.'
Luck, you say? O.K. Once. In a small town
on a snowy road, the scenery spinning round.
When it stopped you were pointing toward a good
place - Home. The message: Go back.
You can decide again to begin again
or stay warm there: Wombtown, population: 1.
No Lions Club or local Jaycees.
No chocolate bars and brooms for the blind.
Free room and board. It's kick and dream,
kick and dream and cleanliness more efficient
than a space suit. Talk about luck?
You're here aren't you? Don't say good or bad.
It's no accident the year's the Dragon's.
Chinese or no, the year has a tail long as a river.
Peel the scales behind the ears
you'll still roar for pain o roaring boy
spinning in the world, the recurring dream
of vortices whirling pink and red, a large
mouth with teeth spitting you into
an even muddier river. You'd fish it
if you could. More likely you'd dam it
at the source. The occasional catch is
more likely snag in undertow.
It's undertow that matters.
The real power's there.
Ask the undertow, you'll get answers.
Don't say need. The bottom's filled
with old cars, tin cans, bad seed.
All you'll ever want. Get lucky.
This is the day. The glass on the window's
steamed. Outside's a blur. What's that gone by
spinning with rustling wings, roaring like wind,
glint of mirrors hurling down? You'd swear
there was a splash. Something's pointing,
Dusk At Princeton Station
man on the platform
waits pressed against
rush as only
sun slants/the dark slides easily in
tree clusters red, yellow
tinged, early October, top
limb silver shine leans
downhill over-catches the
man leaning on a rail face
to late sun, worker, dirty,
pants torn, catches it
in the ear (so it appears)
he does not move, think,
fears what might occur
from such a limb
at this late hour
sun and shadow slide
away from each as I wait
the train here more mine
to outrun what is left
chase a horizon
toward gold then red to
Magic 10** never old or
worn as am I rush
rocked by track
lilt wheel tilt
a permanent one
hang some where
it is a song once
upon a star all
child's play now
the sway at day's end
shall not hold back
these tears for fear
of no press to return
but to sway
**Magic 10 is that name photographers use to describe
a quality of light past sunset but not yet fully dark
which is 'magic' to photograph as there is a visible
dark blue/black shine not seen at any other time.