Monthly Archives: July 2014

The Fiery Thrill of Dylan Thomas

This fine morning deserves some Dylan Thomas. How can one not feel reborn when the universe produces a poet such as this?

YOUR PAIN SHALL BE A MUSIC

Your pain shall be a music in your string
And fill the mouths of heaven with your tongue

Your pain shall be
O my unborn
A vein of mine
Made fast by me.
Your string shall stretch a gully twixt the thumbs
Whose flaming blood shall rub it at the rims

Your pain shall be
O my unsown
A ragged vein
Twixt you and me.

Your pain shall be a meaning in your lips
As milk shall be a music in the paps

Your pain shall be
O my unknown
A stream of mine
Not milked by me.
Your pam shall not unmilk you of the food
That drops to make a music in your blood

Your pain shall be
O my undone
Flesh blood and bone
Surrounding me.

–Dylan Thomas

Public Library

People at tables in long rows
Receding faces blued by computer screens

Overhead a symphony of light fixtures
hang like glabrous fruit

The homeless have taken their stations
cursing to their vacant companions

An owl near the Swift collection
calls to Coleridge’s birds

A coelacanth in natural history
stalks someone by the creaking radiator

Ophelia’s lament echoes
up the grand marble staircase

A switch has taken place without people knowing it–
magnetic north has been replaced by a wind sock

A Note to My Children About Money and Time

Scratch, jack, bones,
skins, buckage, bank.

The nicknames change over time.

Did you know your distant ancestors worked no more than four hours a day to earn their living?

They did not need a twenty four hour fire hose of tin toy distractions, though.

Living was distraction enough.

If you find yourself addicted to electronic distractions in the interstitial time between work and sleep, try saving a third of your income. Your income is the congealed life energy you traded your time for. This practice will help wake you up.

And don’t forget to write.

In These Times

We have scaled back our ambitions, you former poet laureates of these United States. We no longer ramble through reams of stark white paper stacking up metaphors like cordwood, laying up assonance over consonance, setting the keystone analogy in place to build bright temples of the foraging mind. And God forbid no more rhyming.

With Mr. Bukowski we are through with all of that. Have no time for it, in fact.

We now amble through the leavings of our days looking for tin diving bells to sink our tea leaves into roiling water.

Yes, we leave marks for the times to come, no less than you did. But these times say, don’t bore, don’t be difficult, unless you are trying for Literary and the New Yorker in which case you can make it read as though the lobes of your brain aren’t speaking to one another. Oh, and for God’s sake, be brief.

In fact, this has gone on too long already.

Warm Croissants

Embittered, weary of living,
An acre of sand in your shoes,
A hatful of indifference
Trying to cover a sky-wide broken heart?

It’s nothing that a warm croissant
With butter–the butter is important–
Won’t cure.

I like to peel them like a fragrant onion,
Each new layer steaming with new beginnings.

Eat it very slowly and imagine your nemesis
in ill-fitting granny panties,
a tuxedo jacket and lime green leggings.

There.
Don’t you feel better?

River Day

Our four fishing poles lean over
and listen as a cruiser, like a fat
white fiberglass duck chugs upriver

In between, the wake waves
remember for a while
then don’t

A house skeleton
crouches by the far bank
A kayak blends water with sky

Cormorants use the river
for an air cushion, heading downriver
for urgent appointments

Duck Weed

Steely green match heads
of innocence,

they came with the long gone water hyacinths
clinging to their roots. Viperous hitchhikers.

Now the backyard pond is clotted with them,
overgrown like kudzu.

Defiant with no ravenous koi fish to eat them,
they are the blackberry vines of the watery world.

I muck out the pool, drain it and say
“take that!”

Of course they are perfect little globes of DNA, cellulose and teaming mitochondria
and do not listen to my ranting. A week later they are back.

A zen master would say they are here, learn from them.
I say, does the zen master have a nice backyard pond?