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Archive for the ‘poems’ Category

Tanka Peter Galen Massey The Dragons of Poetrythe wild dark waters / the vast uncharted oceans / sail from the firm shore / to the world’s end and there find / the dragons of poetry

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Tanka 132 Peter Massey Butterflies Built From Scrap Metalall these failed machines / these poems like butterflies / built from scrap metal / by incompetent robots / wings clanking on barren ground

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Three Blues on The Delaware

The soul of the world sings in blue, sapphire
Midnight cerulean stone periwinkle Aegean
Egyptian steel, shadow shimmer, silver glint,
Flow tide breeze and sun, musics of smooth
Chaos soft violence restlessness dissolution
Concord mystery beauty revelation change,
My blood singing back to the singing waters.

Furious machines burning anger, fume and
Rage to the choke point, ferocity of sound,
From here all silence and twinkle, sweeping
Slow rise and fall, rust blistered blue towers,
Harp-strung, Buddha serene, light and heavy,
A mountain of stone and steel engineered to
Rise like thought and dance in the delicate air.

Spring has uncorked all her bottles, pours her
Sparkling vintage into the coupe of May with
A liberal hand. Winter’s damp gloom is swept
From the vaulting sea and a convoy of cloud
Blusters at full sail. I will fill my pockets with
Rubies and expectations, book passage on a
Perfect merchantman and trade with heaven.

.

Thanks to Philadelphia Stories for publishing Three Blues on The Delaware in the Summer 2016 issue.

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How The Day Began

I dreamed I was young and could sing. My
Voice not this three-note croak but mighty
Sound and how easily my soul soared from
My lips into the vibrant air. Then I woke up
And I was old and had no song, just these
Words, grey dawn and no soft sleep again,
Grief so strong that even I thought the old
Coconut of my heart would split and spill
Its little milk. Outside, the trees in shadow
Were mystery and the traffic noise mystery;
Mystery my hands and mystery my teeth;
Mystery the tasks of the day and mystery
All the days gone in mourning. The radio
Broke into a pitch and I rose to silence it.
Might be a cup of coffee is the fix? And
I heard in my mind my grandmother say
No complaining and my father Find a use.
My mother said Be kind and my wife said
Remember your mother. God said I made
You a soldier who goes to war with himself.
Call Me Son of a Bitch and ask My blessing.

Thanks to the Seminary Ridge Review for publishing this poem in their Spring 2016 issue.

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Acts of the Apostles

I know you’re a preacher from your black coat,
The lady said and I smiled and told her Almost.
To what strange lands might we fly if I spread
My black wings, from what strange texts might
I speak if I took the pulpit? Would I please her
Dancing my exuberant heresies on the Rock of
Ages? Perhaps. Her face said she might take.
My mysteries for faith, my wonders for reasons,
My beauties for redemption. She might grant me
A God who is all whirlwind and no ash heap, who
Suffered so He could say We are the same now.

Or would she ask me What about love dear? and
Smile at my blank look. Love is simple as a child.
You shuffle Her to one side with your words and
Your rules and your thinking. Then I would sweep
Off my preacher’s coat and settle it on the majesty
Of her stooped shoulders.

 

Thanks to the Seminary Ridge Review for publishing this poem in their Spring 2016 issue.

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Thanks to Referential Magazine for publishing my poem about Levon Helm.

Levon Helm

Lie down and rest, Levon, in the green
Unspoiled country you sang into being.
How did you hear what we could not?
The strong secret pulse of the soft dew,
The fresh peerless morning, the plowed
Fields, the warmth of the blessing sun,
The cut wheat, the lovely shimmering of
The leaves, the bright moss on wet stone,
The grey mist hanging over the old snow
You voiced and told with skin and wood.

How could a flame so pure consume the
Candle? Tell me youth and joy in making
Are enough to stun time and free us from
The ticking clock of flesh. I will not believe
Age and sickness ravaged you though I saw
Them with my eyes. You will always be on
Scorsese’ stage, in your Woodstock barn,
Before us swirled in beat and harmony,
Songs intensely blue like a summer sky,
Luminous, invincible.

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“Texas” (Three Fragments)

Turbines tumble tumble through the hot air,
Like the wings of the archangels who chased
Night and chaos over the rim of the world in
The wrath of God’s creation, and came to rest
In the soft light of the first morning of Texas.

There today the light before light with everything
Quiet except for the birds screaming in the dim
Trees and your thoughts wandering after those
Who have died or who are serving overseas or
What you’re chasing and what it pays and why it’s
Necessary, before you rise and dress and in your
Car rushing rushing with all the rest eight lanes
Of impatience furious to eat the endless distance
Between bed and the towering diamond-blue glass
Fortresses of wealth, the office parks with graceful
Trees and glittering fountains, the new merchant
Plazas on the new black roads, the box stores, the
Strip malls wearied by sun and subsistence, the
Cinder-block workshops, steel-tooled and machine
Oiled, the trailer-offices squatting on the site of
New prospect or old defeat, ragged air appliance
Rasping out feeble cool against vinyl-metal heat,
The heavy industry fairie kingdoms cracking crude
To naphtha kerosene paraffin diesel sulfur and tar,
The glinting purgatories of health, the dingy rooms
Machine bedded and ravaged age, the grey cubicles
Of counseled grief, kitchen, corridor, laundry, house
Children, house children, house children, eight lanes
Of hunger blood throbbing through interstates and
Access roads, vivid desire and dull necessity in metal
Boxes rushing everywhere, life mind heart rushing,
Until day ends, retirement eases, or death comes to
Tally his final accounts.

***

Nature loves all her children hard, but she loves her
Texas children harder; sends them with a laugh and
A kick out the door to find something for supper.

This rich land will wrestle you, take your youth, take
Your strength, give you cash in cattle, cotton, corn,
Sorghum, and wheat. This hard red earth more scab
Than skin will yield hard living if scraped, pierced,
Worked in dust and heat, through relentless sun,
Asphalt fume, with truck and tool and no excuses:
No one to catch you if you fall and no one asking
To be caught.

***

There’s no fair fighting for our hard machines:
Time and earth will take them, concrete, circuit,
Polymer, steel, with one puff float all into endless
Mind, soft seeds blown from the dandelion head;
No fair fighting for our tender bodies, time frail,
Flesh blood bone souls man woman child, all
Floating, angels tumbling tumbling through the
Cooling air, the soft light, the last evening of Texas.

Thanks to Blast Furnace for publishing “Texas” earlier this year.

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