Poem: Grandmaster

June 17, 2019

 

The plush vermillion drapes

were pushed aside momentarily —

a passing shoulder, perhaps,

or a microphone cord —

and a brindle shadow fell

across the hushed room.

He looked up from the false ivory,

looked out through the frosted glass,

and one tiny corridor

of his labyrinthine mind

wandered at the sudden, shrill, iridescent glow

of life outside.

Moments passed,

and this moment passed;

the drapes fell back,

and his full deliberation returned

to the quickest kind of death

he could inflict

on his opponent’s queen.

 

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Poem: Exchanges

June 10, 2019

 

Needle exchanges

are just

stock exchanges     really

 

stock exchanges

for those

dispossessed

those on the

margin

 

like over-stretched

brokers

in a bare    market

 

leveraged hedges and

currency options

are

derivatives

no different

than heroin from opium

 

stock exchanges

are just

needle exchanges

juicing up

a different

clientele.

 


Poem: Hard Times

June 3, 2019

 

It’s hard to distinguish the fragrance of Geurlain

from that of pan-fried potato latkes

when you’re beneath a barstool

amid the boot-crushed butts and spilled beers.

 

It’s hard to carve an eagle when the tempest

of emotions coats the back of your throat

with a cold glue that no creative

surge can moisten nor free up nor reduce to tears.

 

It’s hard to say what tipped the scales, what failed to

gel, what failed to gather to you the crowds

you needed for your performances

since you screwed up so many times over so many years.

 

 


Poem: Care

May 27, 2019

 

To enter into

the castle of her mind

 

— a private place adorned

with the illuminated thought

of past centuries —

 

was an adventure

she allowed to few.

 

The gate into

that world of reminiscence

 

— a veil ornamented

with the beauty and vacancy

of a divine smile —

 

was kept firmly shut

to all but the hardy.

 

The key to

that locked-up voice

 

— a brittle stained glass window

etched and impacted

by the meteors of time —

 

was inspiration

affection and love.

 


Poem: House

May 20, 2019

 

 

She always kept olives in a glass jar

In the cabinet above the pantry,

Amid the fluff and dust of decades.  Tar

Paper lived elsewhere, with the iron gantry

For lifting meats, the turpentine and wax.

Everything else she threw in the dark cave

Of the understairs;  all things that would tax

Her strength she threw on the floor, and this gave

The house the appearance of a swallow’s

Nest built from found goods.  But always she had

Irises, quivering on a cold rad.

 


Poem: Triage

May 13, 2019

 

Losing a lover is like

losing a limb

or a necessary organ:

take whatever drugs you want

to ease the pain,

it still hurts like hell

in the morning

alone.

 

Taking a new lover is like

another transplant:

the dose of anti-rejection drugs you need

just grows and grows.

And as the skin thickens

it takes a harder push

each time

for the needle’s point to pierce your cover;

and each drop of blood seems redder

and more precious

than the last

until you decide

at last

that the payoff is not worth the pain

and you consign that part

of you

to an oblivion

that is not complete

to a decision that is not whole-hearted

to a diagnosis that hurts

like a lover leaving.

 

 


Poem: Before Time

May 6, 2019

 

In a time

once upon a time

when time was fluid

and not restrained

by time zones

invented for train

schedules

 

in a time before

Columbus tripped over

the Americas,

before Marco Polo

invented China

 

in a time before

the pyramids

and writing

and agriculture

and fire

 

in a time before

dinosaurs and

the time before

the first fish

in a time before

the earth moved

when continents shifted

and mountains lifted

 

before the time

when green algae

was the top of the heap

before the time

when green algae

had an empire

wider than the Romans

or the British

 

before the time

when green algae

gripped both poles

with both hands

before the far away time

when green algae

grew from the heat

of the furnace

that the earth was still

and the under-earth was un-still

bubbling and oozing

through the ground

 

all the time

 

in a time before

asteroids banged the earth

in a regular beat

as a drum

keeps time

in a marching band

 

in a time before

the rocks fell

from the spinning disc of gas

to create the earth

 

before that time

maybe then

I didn’t love you