Saturday, February 9, 2013

I Can’t Believe it Either—Poetry by Request

Reading at an earlier event at church.

I read some poetry last night at the Haystack’s Coffee House Open Mic and Jam Night in the Unitarian Universalist Congregation in McHenry, in between set of actual musical entertainment.  Gave everyone an opportunity to go to the bathroom, I guess.

Astonishingly, I have received a request to post the poems that I read.  Having nothing better prepared for today’s blog entry, I am glad to oblige.  Each of the following have been posted on this blog separately at least once before.

 10:26 A.M

They are about to sing about Tomorrow,
            as fresh and delicate as impatiens in the dew,
            when Yesterday, desperate and degraded
            bursts through the doors
            barking despair and death
            from the business end of a sawed of shotgun.

Tomorrow will have to wait,
            Yesterday—grievances and resentments,
            a life full of missed what-ifs
and could-have-beens,
of blame firmly fixed on Them,
the very Them despised by
all the herald angel of perfect virtue—
has something to say.

Yesterday gives way to Now,
            the eternal, inescapable Now,
            flowing from muzzle flash
            to shattered flesh,
            the Now when things happen,
            not the reflections of Yesterday
            or the shadows of Tomorrow,
            the Now that always Is.

Now unites them,
            victims and perpetrator,
            the innocent and the guilty,
            the crimson Now.

Tomorrow there will be villain and martyrs,
            Tomorrow always know about Yesterday,
            will tell you all about it in certain detail.

And yet Tomorrow those dewy impatiens
will sing at last—
The sun will come out Tomorrow,
            bet your bottom dollar on tomorrow
            come what may…

How wise those little Flowers
            To reunite us all in Sunshine.

 Merlin Said

Love is the only magic—

It enriches the giver
     as it nourishes the object.
It serves the instant
     and washes over the ages.
It is as particular as the moon
     and as universal as the heavens.
If returned it is multiplied
     yet spurned it is not diminished.
It is as lusty as the rutting stag
     but as chaste as the unicorn’s pillow.
It comes alike to the king on his throne
     and the cut purse in the market.
If you would have magic,
     place faith in love or nothing.

The Vestryman
Ash Wednesday/Washington’s Birthday 2012

The Vestryman performing the duty expected of the local Squire
            attended chapel when absolutely necessary
            and when no good excuse like fighting an Empire
            or Fathering a Country was handy.

He sat bolt upright on a rigid pew
            contemplated the charms of Lady Fairfax
                        or later dental misery.

            When came the Altar Call, he would stand up,
                        turn on his heel, and march straight out
                        as if a legion was at his back.

            No filthy priestly thumb ever grimed
                        that noble brow.

How a Poem Came to Be

An inauspicious lump of gravel
            tossed in the tumbler,
            turned, turned,
            until gleaming smooth,
            handsome moss agate
            admired and mounted
on a new bolo tie slide.

A thing of pride and beauty.

But how much more did it yearn
            to be a geode
            struck once just so,
            split to reveal
            the perfect,
            dazzling crystal. 

It Came to Him in a Dream
August 14, 2011

“It came to him in a dream!”
The urgent, rumbling voice intones,
architectural letters scroll the screen—
            Beckon the Night.

This gift of Morpheus
sticking, as almost nothing ever does
when brought bolt upright
by an insistent alarm.

I’ll need a double shot
of Dashiell Hammett for this,
pulled from the second desk draw
next to the snub nose
poured into a greasy tumbler.

And a dame, gotta have a dame,
ash blonde and weeping
wreathed in Herbert Tareyton garlands.

A snap brim hat and trench coat,
’41 Ford Coupe headlights
to glimmer on wet pavement,
a bluesy cornet riff.

What else ya’ gonna do with
            Beckon  the Night?
Write a goddam fairy tale?

There you have them, like it or not.  By the way the first two poems were included in my 2004 Skinner House collection We Build Temples in the Heart.  The second two are among a bunch of strays lonesome for a new publisher, hint, hint. 

No comments:

Post a Comment