Friday, February 10, 2017

Grounds for Divorce

You are un-directing the passage, right?
You are non-navigating the ship.

I feel, in long hysterical drifts
     that I am on the formless threshold
          of an enormous room without walls

               and that you are slamming doors.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

The Crisis to Which We Now Refer

It’s just that
coming home around six a.m.
I knew this place was Rome
four days after the sacking

I imagined the rescue of the children
hustled out of a crashing courtyard
in an old, blue Ford
Your crossword puzzles were everywhere

Like a bomb-shocked ancient citizen
returned to an unsettled wreckage
I stooped to finger what remained
kicking away impediments to see beneath

I bruise myself in recognition
of what’s been lost. I long
for familiar charged things
but am relieved at the devastation

Split, I lean and tremble
on what once was a kitchen table
I rake fear over my chest
I embrace myself 

I will not let go

Thursday, January 15, 2015


Our guests had gone home, hours ago.
Dishes done, drying on the rack,
you lounged in one of our old chairs, 
reading God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater.
A lamp hung a lemon umbrella above you.

Across the room, I sunk into Robert Lowell,
interrupting you all the time
to read out loud verses that stung me.
Rimsky-Korsakoff met
the rustle of summer at our window.

It was one, two, three, four a.m....
You started to say something.

If there was one thing more
in the world worth living for,
I didn’t know it.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

That Critical Summer, 1975

we wait for snow at a barn dance
brave men on some god-forsaken bridge

we wait for snow where a gas jockey pumps
a stream of pink horses into infinity, 1920

Monday, December 22, 2014

You Look in the Mirror and See Ulysses S. Grant

Take Grant’s Union Army, for example,
lumbering south through Virginia
trampling everything good and decent
chasing Robert E. Lee’s
magnificent killing machine

Graceless monster with an alcoholic head
discarding dead and wounded in its wake
like waste after a rock concert
scars that grow over, young trees coming
grass fed with bloody nutrients
rain and wind massage the damaged ground

Like Grant’s murdering army, we
leave char from supper fires
bottle caps, strips of fabric,
lies and mysteries, loved pets
temporary governments and brothers
spontaneous in battle.

Detritus spilled like milk,
some lost in battle, some in excess
rusted and dirtied, even some pure,
all fall behind us as from a leaky truck
with an insane agenda for what’s discarded
sloppy and hurt by inadequate consideration

Archeologists learn nothing from examining
the dross of our passing stages, 
dross once gold, dross once on fire
You look at it
like the vast universes of useless DNA
unable to decipher the lost language
of so singular a life as yours.

As each of us treks southward
driven by passion, commitment 
or the absence of something else to do
the debris trail of wasted condoms
diplomas, truth, beliefs, power,
lives and deaths partly digested,
books and movies, lost hours,
people loved and injured, our
autobiography dying with us,
as each of us moves along,
with or without grace,
we lose so much
we lose so many
Fresh ideas murder resistance
We can thank evolution,
personal and un-private
for our hopelessly messy 
unintentional diaries, written

in parallax from where
we expected to go

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Time Passes

Saturday morning
the aging veteran of romance
smokes alone, still in bed
his coffee almost needing a refill
thinking about it
There is sun in the window
neighborhood sounds coming up

He has just taken up a new career
having begun to seduce
thin Jewish girls
who belong to other men

Here she comes now
She is leaving the bathroom
Her long legs are bare
Her beautiful hair brushstrokes
the curved upper rim of her ass

He thinks this could become the perfect profession
provided, of course, her husband never finds out