Poetry

Down for the Count

Down for the Count

The Old Flames Rise Up from the Ashes

The Old Flames Rise Up from the Ashes

Elegy for a Sole Normand

Elegy for a Sole Normand

God bless this sole.  When he was just a sprat
he defied his fishy dorsal fate
by lying on his side on the sea bed,
and still lies in that posture on my plate,
which connotes to other fishes dead.
He conquered nausea and got it right.

Lullaby for the Bereaved

Lullaby for the Bereaved

Your hours of tears won’t let you follow
Those who’ve left you alone.
Tonight your head lies on a pillow,
Not beneath earth and stone.

The dead won’t be returning,
Not for all of your pleas,
Nor for all your candles burning.
Get up off your knees.

Face Down In History

Face Down In History

Then the gypsies abandoned their camp
and the stars sank down to candles.
All I could see was what could be
surmised from circumstance,
a dancing bear with a head scarf
and one gold earring climbing into a cab.
I was never so young again.
The banished Polish princess
who shared her orange
spit the seeds out on the floor.
She said rule number one was simple,
like the valley between her breasts.
There was no rule number two.

That Summer

That Summer

The roof burned continuously.
I passed long hours learning

the names of various shades of blue –
Air Force blue, cornflower blue,

Persian blue, periwinkle.
Night came early where I lived

with my mother and three brothers
and no one to read to me to sleep,

though the herd of clouds grazing
at the end of the street would always

lift their big, shaggy heads to listen.

On Cruelty

On Cruelty

Shall I be cruel to you, dear?
Shall I be ruthless and austere?
Shall I be blatantly sincere
and tell you that I hurt what I hold dear?

Shall I be gruesomely severe?
Reduce your essence to a tear?
Shall I be everything you fear:
a nine-tailed cat with boots that trample, dear?

My thorny arms will hold you near.
Elicit screams I meet with cheer.
Can I be painfully sincere?
I hunger to be cruel to you, my dear.

À la carte

À la carte

The salad’s bid farewell to muscle tone,
the soup sprawls apathetic in the dish,
the roast is spavined gristle, fat and bone,
the snickerdoodles aftertaste of fish.

The soup sprawls apathetic in the dish,
not caring whether it is slurped or sipped.
The snickerdoodles aftertaste of fish;
at least no one can call them nondescript.

A Snowball's Chance

A Snowball’s Chance...

Collapsing on the learner's slope at Aspen
I skied downhill into Hell.
I can recall as my aneurism burst,
Clutching snow; then an acrid smell.

The devil came striding toward me.
Still feeling mortal, I did as mortals do:
I squeezed the icy crystals into a ball
And, hard as I could, I threw!

It melted as it left my phantom fingers
Resolving into a dew.
Satan cackled, "Son! The fun has just begun!
Every cliché here comes true!"

Que Bella!

Que Bella!

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