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Archive for the ‘Eulogy’ Category

A rose flattened into math
under the weight of a book on Ingres.
All the pretension of depth and curve
shown to be illusion
by a French master’s authentic love of deception.
Her petals, hips, and stem
all numbers determined by logic
no matter how wild, majestic, and unpredictable
their beauty.

Her history from seed, to plant, to flower,
to a cut beyond death and into a vase
can be viewed as destiny or chaos.
The words you water her with determine
how you will see her. Why this one, of the dozen
bundled at the foot of a coffin.
Babies breathing in soft white bubbles
singing, if not commanding you into the rocks.

The meaning of the world,
is the separation of wish and fact.
A flat rose. A dark smudge
on a yellow book. A mouthful of dirt.

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June 8th, 2018

We pulled our lawn chairs close together
onto the flexure of the world
and into the hanging light, that often falls
at the same time of day as the failing of our beer supply,
whispered our deepest concerns.
A lot of people die without knowing anything truly happy.
A lot of people die without knowing anything.
A lot of people die without.

A lot of people die.

Occum’s flattened earth is taut, and doesn’t give.
Where do rivers go if they don’t run in circles?
When they come to the edge of an unfolded map
do they fall into wine-dark space? Or rise above, finally relinquished
from the gravity of indecision. This space between
spaces is so thin, and haunting. Is it worse to be angry in a bad place,
or lonely in a beautiful place?

Larry Walters knows. Our last beer is for him.
Poured into the abyss, floating ever upward
above the mountains, passed the lanterns that
hang from an antique bronze cloche
and into heaven where he sits with St. Anthony
outside the pearly gates. They kill time. Talk about travel.
Food. Wine. Tattoos. But they don’t go in. They never go in.

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She gave her weight to my arms.
It maintained the semblance of a hug
even while she heaved like a struggling car.
Having become the opposite of flight
the ground was her sky
and I… and I… was gravity.

One hand had already taken flight
jewelry jingled as the tethered charms
soared – each a ring of an easily organized sense of age
now having become folded and tempered
into her Escher body.
Her mind was her hand, and her hand her eye
and I… and I… was fire.

We were alone among people
yet it betrayed the intimacy of her pain
that my head angled. Time was a single point
pushing down and it was not enough
that I alone pushed back.
No, I kept her from flying. I held her down.
Her lips had forgotten the word goodbye,
and I… and I…

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Diagnosis

She was too old for everything
but this.
Her round form pleasantly
occupying that grey space
between lists of things to do
and things left undone.
She had always been a mother
it seemed,
but not grand, not yet, not in the end.

She was not young enough
for anything else
but filling a church
with people that bracketed her
like a hug.
Always a competitor,
she always had to be first
quipped her older sister.
The congregation laughed
for what seemed like the first time.

And in the back
the monster on my shoulders
compresses facts
into a history
rather than tragedy.
I feel only my heavy, fleshy body
rather than the damned river
of emotions.
These things, once part of me,
have been labeled symptoms now –
so the word possibility is removed
of its youth and grows into manhood.

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Tonight was a lifetime.
Slowed until
eternity was a prison
with dancing immortal
specs of dust
distant ancestors
composing a cosmos
deep and infinite.
You told me in the attic
and now I’m afraid of heights
the same cosmic rhythm
throbbing to the beat of blood
in my ear
removes air, moisture, and time
from my mouth.
Tomorrow I will breath and drink
and remember again
if it ever comes.

if it ever comes.

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Honor, it seems, has been transcribed below
written into the shadows under the stone.
He dared to go where we did not follow –
Content to stand watch as he went alone.

What good will come from this last addition
when in adding we find less.
Our Valkyrie, heir to wars tradition
has no strength left to confess.

Nature remains as silent as the flow’rs
who strongly number the fertile bed
Call to arms our sons and daughters –
Perhaps they can fight for us instead.

How can we be content to mourn this ghost
At the hour when we need his strength the most?

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After Shock

We stood in shock.
Our city in flames.
Praying for rain.
Until the flood came.
We took shelter in the church.
Hallelujah.

We died in shock.
Laid to rest by
our shocked friends.
Pennies on our
eyes trembling
from waking terrors.
In nomine Patris.

Wet ghoulish faces
sipped soup from cracked
bowls on those Lisbon night
too shocked to care about
its salty broth stinging
like sea water in their lungs.
Amen. Amen.

History connects
like an equator.
That costal giant
and those of us
on this island.
The same Latin
songs from soggy
hymnals comfort
us until we can get
back to our normal lives.

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My God, I am dying
and with me goes
my God. My God,
can ashes catch
an image other
than of death –
Of death,
of what we
have come from
and to what we will
return. My God,
can I be with you
without being you
and what of
those I leave behind.
I told them I would
be back.
My God. I have lied.
For I am dying.
Without a last edict
a final word
without my home,
my family,
my God.

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Nature knew I would later write about her
in the context of some Mercurial poem –
One that before collecting some dust
just barely missed the trash barrel
that had collected the more ill-formed siblings.
It’s a rather Spartan practice I suppose
to dash such children against the rocks.
It wasn’t their fault their feet were uneven,
that they lacked sophistication
or intelligence.
But we can afford to be totalitarian with ideas –
they are just ideas
just words, just images, just fears.

Needless to say Nature knew all this
so she donned a newspaper gray dress
and unleashed a dull cold rain.
She knew that I would rather concentrate on her.
To linger in the land of inhuman objects
objects devoid of necessity or individuality.
I suppose that’s why I love words
more natural than every raindrop, every cloud, and her hair
far more natural than her hair –
where does she think she is going with that wretched hair?

It was one of those days, or perhaps one of those occasions
where human contact feels unnatural
as if this should all be endured alone like an apocalypse.
Or maybe it’s just me.
I suppose Art has her hand in that
because she knows it’s more meaningful
to have impalpable, unquenchable pain –
it’s more heroic when you do things alone.
Or maybe that’s just me.

Comedy is ugliness without pain –
that’s called philosophy my dear friends,
eloquence, meaning, passion, yet
in no way reflecting the actuality of things
this moment, her hair, the weather.
Perhaps its because we are false,
perhaps we are the untruths in a truthful world –
but no, such is not heroic, such is not natural.
We are the actuality, the history, the ugliness without pain.

Who does philosophy think she is anyway?
Not entirely unlike any other lover –
just more seductive.
The kiss she takes is always better than the kiss she gives.
Wisdom when possessed cannot be desired.
You can only desire what you don’t have.
Like time. We never have the time.

Her horrid beehive hairdo eclipses my vision.
I spent our time together writing poems
that will never be read. Trash – by all accounts.
I loved them all and wanted the best for them –
but desire does not always make something true.
If it did it would be sunny, this would be a birthday party,
the woman in front of me would have a long raven tress,
I would allow my wife to console me with her hands,
and their would be no such thing as poetry.

 

 

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He Never Spoke…

His voice, captured in ink
Knows not time on the letter
Too old to fold.
His thoughts could do no better
than to leave his mouth and sink
through the paper he gave his life to.

I had just told you, I had just said
my father was a silent man
His word sold for gold
A tongue tied Calaban
Emotions trapped in his head
like a cave. I had just told you.

What else could I have thought?
His hands were bigger than my world
too bold to hold
a sinewed story to unfurl
about a lesson too important to be taught.
I never knew what to do.

Now a letter, one of maybe thousands
written for the woman’s ear,
a soul to make whole,
Praises she could never hear
Deafness, decreed by the Lord’s command,
struck her when she was two.

That same beloved woman died giving birth
to a boy, too young to be without a mother,
They stole my soul,
No tears from father. He knew I would be worth
the sacrifice of the other.
She was the reason I was never spoken to.

Now a letter tells me this, after he had died
an old man, joining his beloved wife,
too old to behold
He’d been waiting his entire life
“Amen” was all that I replied.
The first word I said that was true.

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