|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.
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
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.
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.
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,
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
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.