On 57th Street
Do not think because I walk slow and
The world reels fast, or because my
Soft voice is destroyed by the metal
Detonations of the demolition truck,
Or because I can no longer brave the
Noon sun without my broad hat and
My black glasses, that I am not here.
Do not think because I no longer have
Lungs to laugh through the lunchtime
Roar, or lips always hungry to eat and
Kiss, that I have faded to pale shadow.
All my flesh may be ghosting away but
My step on this sidewalk is more solid
Than yours. You’re too busy living to
Notice much of anything. I feel to the
Molecule what this day, this light, the
Noise on this street, what my eyes and
Mouth and beating heart and the ache
Of the worn bones in my feet are worth.
The Grief of the Sunflower
On wings of
Now how heavy my barren head,
Bowed to my weary breast with
Mournful thoughts of September.
On this canvas
In a place and time
Now forgotten by all save
A few dry scholars. But these
Reds are proof of my living hand,
Colors as alive as the taste of warm
Wine in your mouth.
Come, take my hand and let us start.
That sun that sky are dawn not dusk.
The birds sing the new day and the
Sea draws its breathe to speak fresh
Words and the clouds will glow white
More brightly than heaven and sweep
Their shadows down the dew green
Hills and the far snow mountains and
All this world from horizon to horizon.
We were made to always be starting.
There is no dark before the end. Even
On a starry night we begin again.
August Rain, 3:00 am
The bright tattoo on galvanized
Metal, the pop from the eaves,
The soft gurgling content in the
Downspout, and ten thousand
Green hands clapping approval
Of the warm steady gentle music.
An Apology (of Sorts)
You must not believe I am unhappy.
How could unhappiness live in the
Same house, eat at the same table,
Sleep in the same bed as you?
You must not believe though I have
Given you cause enough and proof.
Those words are serpent’s venom
I suck and spit. Or else the serpent
Himself, whose fangs I’ve plucked
From my arm, and examined cold
Eye to cold eye, saying “Why hello
My dear. What can I do with you?”
I am a thousand voices of absolute
Ambition and I don’t much care if
The sounds are mine. They inhabit
Me and I use them for my purposes.
My work is not the catalog of my soul
Writ down to battle marauding time.
That work, love, I do with you alone.
A Cheerful Poem
I feel the panic in the
Drift of my days, in the
Wash of time tumbling
Me like a grain of sand
In a ceaseless wave, in
My old heart so full of
Joy and sorrow I can no
Longer tell one from the
Other, in the weary dark
Of every morning, in the
Legions of faceless dead
Among whose numbers
I shall fall uncounted, in
Mourned loss dull habit
Makes unmourned, in
The small corner where
Defeat exults over me
Whispering “Let it end.
What does it matter?”
Are there enough words
In the world to bleed me
Dry of this black humor?
I have learned what we
Are and that knowledge
Has proven useless. The
Last lie is wisdom.