Poem: Exchanges

July 6, 2020

 

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 29, 2020

 

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

June 22, 2020

 

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

June 15, 2020

 

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

June 8, 2020

 

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

June 1, 2020

 

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

 


Poem: Memories Are Made Of This

May 25, 2020

 

 

filters of memory

crimp images from forgotten

edges.

 

tread carefully

 

down these pathways of the past,

canyon-like corridors,

chasm-sided walls

tiled with jagged notches

of previous wants.

 

tread carefully.

 


Poem: Are We There Yet?

May 18, 2020

 

feeling hot and sweaty and

ridiculous in a suit

 

— its sole function to establish my

bona fides with the customs officer —

 

I emerge from an infinitely long

flight of fancy

into a different

world

 

remarking that intercontinental travel

evokes the neurotic

in even the most ordinary

seatmate.

 

 


Poem: From Here To There

May 11, 2020

 

the wind wound round my legs,

changed direction, wiping my face

with a salty slap as it whistled away.

I veered with it, swinging south

along the strand, grinding my heels

into the beach to stand my ground

against the tempest’s growing bloom.

And though I’ve felt the lash

of fortune’s back of hand before,

never before did I assume the depths

of despair I felt that day.   No,

not even close. I looked ahead

as best I could through the spray

that pebble-dashed  my view.

The future spread before me,

flat as prairie, expressionless, gray

and drab, devoid of interest, latent or

exposed.  I sighed the sigh of the

homeless man;  then,

like a seasoning sapling,

I bent with the rain and trudged

on to Desolation Sound.

 

 


Poem: Aromamore

May 4, 2020

 

was it the jitterbug perfume

she poured on my soul

— the fragrance of an everlasting kiss —

that keeps me staring

into the dark?

my neglected work

— lying angry like an abandoned maiden

scattered across my desk —

shivers with jealousy

as I part the curtains once more

and stare into that scented slice

of memory

 


Poem: Redress

April 20, 2020

 

after,

we drifted back

through the apartment,

retracing our twin trails

of panties and socks

sweaters and jeans

boots and belts

redressing

until we were

as we were

before

 


Poem: (Lo)ve

April 13, 2020

ecce homo
this Jew ex machina
who’s purloined Pauline
aphorisms
crashed the Whore
of Rome’s machinery

— a sudden stoppage
in the
constant(ine) gears
which had weathered
the (st)orms
of barbarism and buffoonery —

died on a tree
say it
(s)aint so
devoid of (e)motion
qui(e)t, silent even
as the public gawked
and prodded
pierced
b(lo)ody hands agape.

Agape! he cries,
Love!
through the tears
renting his b(lo)ody flesh
almost as ba(l)dly
as we have
rented his b(lo)ody
super(ficial) image
through the years

perpl(ex)ed
(conf)used
gored
in the
par(ox)ysm of death
he begged
his go(o)d forgive
those who
(k)illed him
with their fears

 


Poem: First Date

April 6, 2020

 

it’s dark and smoky in the back

of the old Lincoln;  smells of old leather

and cheap perfume, nostalgia for the old

days sweep over me like the steady progression

of clouds wheeling around the planet.

And there she is beside me, showing me

more thigh than I can possibly handle;

an immense superstructure peeps

from the straining buttons, and I see

with the clarity of hindsight how this present

future follows the paths of the past.

 


Poem: Fireside

March 30, 2020

 

The tension seemed to fuse

his spine to his neck

and he found he couldn’t move,

bracing himself for the words he knew

must emerge

from the smudge-faced fireman.

His brain felt hollow,

as if all the matter had been extracted

to make space

for the cascade of new information,

fragmentary and wounding as it would be

at first,

that he anticipated momentarily.

 

“Your wife, sir.”

“Yes?”

 

Even as he answered, he recoiled with imminent horror;

and even as he recoiled

he hoped – inanely – that his reaction

would not form part of his

permanent record.

 

“Your wife, sir,

said to tell you,

she’s at her mothers.”

 

He wondered if he’d ever move

his neck again.

 


Poem: Just Like In The Movies

March 23, 2020

they circled the building on foot

once

twice

as the rain pelted down

hard like hail

 

on the street

they mugged as tough guys

in the streaming glass

of shop windows

images bouncing from the curved edges

of drops

 

in the back lane they each had time

to be shy with themselves

wish themselves luck

to be quiet and to suck up

the fear

 

the third time round

soaked to the skin

they had had enough

headed for the door

she had on a false nose and a hat

gap-teeth and a grin

he had a honey-blonde wig and a gun

 

the bank was silent

no more

 

“Hands Up!”

 

 


Poem: Southern Comfort

March 16, 2020

 

It was a slam bam thank you ma’am kind of night.

“It’s alright,” she said with a slight frisson of uncertainty perhaps

as she unwraps and taps the money-box on the dresser.

He pays to caress her, to possess her as she bumps and grinds

and too quickly finds the kind of passion paid for.

He wants more before he’ll leave: sixteen and still hard.

But she’s on guard, body barred against free love.

Push came to shove.  Above his pleas she screamed and screamed

until the apartment teemed with neighbours and passers-by

who wondered why this nigger came by and by to be in a white girl’s room.

 

It’s a warm, hormone-rushing, mosquito-swarming kind of night.

Fox-fire bright, passions tightly wound and sprung.

No brass bells are rung, no masses sung, but masses gather to enjoy

the black boy toy with the last of his time on a slippery slope

as the hempen rope grips and gropes for his hopeless neck.

 


Poem: In The Time Of The Dying

March 9, 2020

 

In the time of the dying of the leaves,

when summer’s solace is a memory passed,

and deepening shadows of evening cast

their pall ‘cross rich man’s roof and beggar’s eaves,

colours primary, raw, blast out a last

spectacular fanfare:  embroidered sleeves

to counterpoint the widow’s darkling weeds

shows off to the night no matter how vast

eternity approaching, no matter

no one escapes the black hole’s pull of doom,

and each lifes’ cloth will be cut from the loom,

no matter this, ‘tis only now that matters;

the now that paints the tree with red and gold,

regrets nothing, wants only to stay old.

 


Poem: Harvest

March 2, 2020

 

It’s raining;

trapped in the house again

with a bottle and the balance

of the sandwich

from yesterday:

I’ll stretch the bread from here to tomorrow.

Harvesting the crumbs

from carpet and cardigan,

I will not be worried

in the midst of such plenty.

It’s raining again.

 


Poem: Instructions For This 3 Minute 15 Second Poem

February 24, 2020

Read each word slowly.  Think about each word for 15 seconds.  Read the next word.

 

 

resemblance

impression

façade

masquerade

exhibit

display

vase

vast

obscure

mist

hazy

remembrance

resemblance

 


Poem: In These Days

February 17, 2020

 

in those days,

when we had nothing to lose,

when a shoestring would have

busted our budget,

you wouldn’t have been mawkish

if we’d lived in a belfry;

you wouldn’t have been angry

if it was ringing with bats.

you’d have loved it, and loved

life and loved me while doing it.

 

but these days,

when we have everything,

if it’s not designed by a consortium

of the better known architects

we don’t even look,

don’t even disturb our coiffeured

minds for a moment

unless it has the imprimatur

that others love it

and is, therefore, worth loving.