Archive for the ‘Ode’ 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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Ode to Feet

Kicking the tire of a new outlook
lead me to the ballet
counterbalanced by a new weight –
the half called Morgan,
Whose dainty toes preferred the feel
of grass or the hairs of a man’s beard.

After rounds of kicking the can
of a Saturday night,
rather than compromising,
we pushed each other
to cross the coals scattered
at the mouth of the Hanover theater.
My mouth was up to my ankles
by the time I reached the bar.

On Sunday we kicked back to relax
in the glow of the tv.
We crossed the tight rope
of shared experiences for the first time together.
Did you see the angles in their bodies?
What about those square shoes?
She laughed. She laughed as hard as she pushed.
So I knew she would always let me catch up to her.

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11 or More

A dark storm
descended on
the garden-
an old man’s
furrowed brow
under the weight
of a question.
Black skies
covered the town
that thought
heavens were too black
and high pitched laughter
tore the sky
like lightning.
In the absolute moment
we are defined
by our adversary
but while David
held court over Goliath
it was us
who antagonized.
The idea was never
to be there forever
but to make
us believe that
he might be.
So when he wasn’t
we left it empty –
silence hanging
like the number 6
after a question

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Getting New

(March 15 1997)

The old chair
complete with elderly woman.
A decorative vase.
Cat hair.
Pictures of relatives
we don’t know.
Floral wallpaper
getting yellow
and faded since
our grandfather passed.

and the milieu
will dance unnatural.
The last cigarette
she balanced
with still water
getting new.
That circling cat
and skulking
climbed ass first
around where
she sat.
Absurd enough
for a laugh.

Watch the years roll
off as it goes.
The sad years.
Familiar faces
becoming peers.
60’s high school sock hops
and a malt milkshake
she spilled on
Pop’s leather jacket.
A childhood
of wooden toys.
A baby crying
for its mother.

Instead blackness
and the heavy click
of the VHS.

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We met between parenthesis.
A silence just long enough
for a kiss.
It never happened.
The beginning and end
of the New England summer curving
like your hips.
Like your cheeks
on either end of a smile.
I awoke for a second
on your couch
and left what I saw unsaid.
Putting words to that moment
seemed apocryphal.
In all the worlds
where I held your hand,
none were real,
not to anyone else, at least.
I still revisit those nights
in the shadows of a train.
The way you presented
a hoppy beer
with eyes so wide
their parenthesis could
not be distinguished.

Until a blink
washes those memories away.
An aside in the story
perhaps more interesting
but only so
because it isn’t the story.
Would it have been better
if you stayed
and I tried.
Would you have gone
to California
where every day is summer?

I still wonder if you miss
snow and the knit wool
that caught falling flakes,
how warm your smile is
on cold nights,
and me. I wonder if you miss me.
I wonder if I exist
in those parenthesis
on either end of your smile,
my name on your lips.

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Because the cause
has a cause
has a cause
has a cause
there is a first cause.
For us, it was laughter.
Like an engine
that pulls
a cart
that pulls
a caboose
belching smoke
and together
they form a train.
At some divergent
everything dips
below the horizon
and joins the setting sun
as it dawns on
the very beginning.
Laughter emerges
like a Christian Geometer
carrying a green
Tempting to think
it was an accident
of accidents.
Tempting because
then we could be the engine
that belches smoke
and disappears
first beyond the horizon.
40 days in the dessert
like college students
after a metaphysics test
and sometimes before
a test the devil himself
couldn’t pass.
I remember the night
it began. A beginning
without definite cause
and without definitive end.
We tried to connect
things into a line
to make some horizon
of ink to disappear behind.
We failed to find such a line.

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We were cold…

so we built a fire.
Big enough to warm
God’s feet.

Or Consumed.
Either way it fed
on what we had
to offer.

In the offering
more was given
than appeared.
Pallets. Paint cans.
Two by fours.

More was gained
from their being lost
than what remained;
Charred pavement. Scrap metal.
They gathered at the tip
of a magnet.

We built a fire
big and round.
A swallower of worlds.
The gift of a titan –
our shadows thrown
against the garage.
Exploding paint cans
were cannons announcing our

We had returned to the native
tongue of creation. The language
that once bound us all
in the shadows of our own devices.
We beat our chest.
We danced. Our primordial Bacchic
hooting frightening the trees.

The stars we made envious
eventually disappeared in the rising sun.
We cleaned the next morning.
Not a soul knowing.

I drove to work smelling of smoke.

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During the hot summer she,
tempest and teapot
steamy teasing of
the pool boy,
gently wheezed
as if overexerted,
a cool sweet tea
in her hand. Both
slightly covered with
summer breezing
necklace on her chest.
Heavy lifting has her upset
so she let him see her
easing into a hammock
swing set.
Gently waning
a body’s weight
bathing suit barely
containing another
man’s miracle,
expensive exercise,
and New England’s
ironic fake tan.

Aluminum net,
muscular man
taking his shirt off
so his work clothes
don’t get wet.
He pushes an imaginary
gondola across clear water
in large majestic strokes
like Charon delivering
another load.
Between her lips
Archeron chokes down
sun brewed southern soul.
He looks as thirsty as he can.

If we were honest we would tell the
man whose miracle lost
was found as a chess game
between two masters. But if
we were honest we wouldn’t be
watching from a safe attic window,
where we go to pretend the spiders
we study are black widows.
Webs stretch

between asbestos
daunted gathering flies
taunted by a thread thin passion
for flight.
Our adolescence shows in our voices
as they creaked like the aging
wooden floors.
Blind seer binocular
prophesies, ushered adulthood,
premature but productive
united by the games adults play.
I spill my coke a cola when we
laugh too hard. A cuss words
exit between giggling
distracts us long enough to miss
prey getting caught in the web.

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Her Eyes
There is a green pasture in Italy
littered with Vestal columns
-broken and profane
they point back to a community
that no longer remains.

That greenness surrounds obsidian
with its verdant Sylvan bloom
with more authority than kings or even Gods.
The center of this garden recalls a deeper doom:
A rock from which flight is impossible
The child of Tarpeia’s womb.

And when she blinks poetry is silenced.

Her Skin
There is Dresden porcelain in her skin
forged from Augustus’ private stock
of the cleanest white and softest soft.
Her heart beats shyly within –
I trace the master sculpture with an eye
if not a hand. A brief passing by
to sooth the conquering demand.

When we touch, she averts her eyes.

Her Lips
She never blows bubbles but
She chews cinnamon gum
So her words come fromVolcanal.
It is a brief reminder that she is ancient
and naked somewhere under there.
Sometimes she sings to the delight of the world
and her heart pours from her mouth
with the molten golden words.

She doesn’t smoke because it gives you wrinkles.

Her Hands
Her hands have the curious habit
of touching everything –
They are constant vigilant explorers
searching for any light
to break the thick dense fog
of unimaginative reality
that clouds her sight.
They are so cold even in summer
that I can only imagine they search
for some towering lighthouse
to steal some warmth.
Ten tiny promethean digits
that can tickle ivory or children.

She plays with her gold ring when she’s nervous.

And could you imagine that
Heraclitean furnace at her core.
The way she worries that it
burns out of control.
She is anxious often but never sad
like energy itself
and to look at her you would never
understand how she couldn’t adore
the way she laughs uncontrollably,
sighs absent-mindedly or
snores only when she sleeps alone
and presses her pillow so tightly to her face.

She prefers the company of humans.

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Ours are the only lights in downtown Worcester
Electricity is a fragile touch at 40 miles an hour.
These are the nights of youth for young inventors
With drinks and smiles, like us, and the three ladies at the bar.
Simplicity is the power to resist holding tongues,
to ignore ethical necessity, to allow change to rout
the phalanx of lightless office buildings. We’re the ones
made of stories, eyes of hallow grounds, we’re figuring out
distance means being flightless in our feelings and honesty
means being selective with our sounds

Our night was filled with worlds of swirling smoke,
poetry if not honesty, and memories that fade like city lights.
Ash falls on our outfits, burning from our cigars as we spoke
about health nuts who would never live thru these Worcester nights
with any sanity or soul. We talk about where we’d rather be;
Israel, Germany, Florence (with a lady sleeping next to me) –
But mostly we talk about going back in time and just doing this more often.
Outside, a different building, a different person, a different whole watches
through eyes without curtains too dark to see.They count off
ten orange cones marking a different route home. In their subconscious
they’ll recall 3 men exiting a bar who entered as boys at a birthday party.
Their shared victory would be timeless as they drove back in the dark.

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