Thursday, February 18, 2021

Enjoy Selected Poems from The Shadow or the Leaf

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For you, My Liege, My Lord, my Irish wizard:
There isn’t enough of me to hold back your sea.
I can swim in it,
But I am tiny,
And it is bigger than the whole world.

The sun sets, and the silence is awesome,
And my heart swells with your tides
Under the wheel of the stars:
The hub of the eternal.

The rain whistles like a country whore.
It humps silkily against the war,
simple and sure, drippy and slippery,
but hardly an eyesore.

Fitly I take a shitly
while it bangs on the roof.
The ventilator above cries and squeaks,
the river floods and creaks,
the doomed debris aloof.

I can't rhyme.
I can't keep time.
There is little to recommend me,
only this lime.
I squeeze it over my guacamole.

I can't rhyme!
I can't sweep the clime!
The rain whistles like a country whore,
And beyond erodes the seashore.
Life bleeds like a fleshy sieve;
and even though I want to live,
it doesn't forgive.

Left of anything is a story.
I tell it to myself in my saner moments.
I drink it and bathe in it and
let it drain me of will and wandering.

Left of anything is a song.
I can't hear it,
but it can hear me.
I sing to it,
and I feel it smile nights
when the cold presses against my bare feet
and breath shudders bare against my scarred chest.

Left of anything is length.
But I am growing old,
and it stretches long,
too long, too long ...
Time bears away her young,
smiling over her shoulder at me,
beckoning me to follow.
Simply standing isn't enough,
for right of anything is peace,
and he's had enough and is ready for war.

Dump the numbness, and they'll dump you.
The numb.

Days are measured by decay.
Nights are measured with cigarettes between stubby yellowed fingers
and prurient confessions offered with a girlish titter on Facefuck.
Morning comes, and the flesh is feelingless.

Who believes in the soul these days?
Not even the religious.
Days are commute times and empty calories
and handfuls of antidepressants.

What is sleep for them but the fitful massage of the limp,
jumping, twitching bag of their choking hearts? What are dreams but
shopping carts filled with shit they don't need
and won't make a whit of difference to their lives?

Diets and boner pills and sleep pills and car leases
and handbags and the latest perfumes and Farmville and
eight hundred thread count and antibacterial toilet cleaner
and hasty handjobs and malls and traffic jams and two weeks'
vacation and the son's doing drugs and the daughter's doing her teacher
and the square footage isn't enough and the grass isn't green enough
and the mortgage is too large and his dick is too small because
the HuffingtonPost says so.

Time and space are known. Mystery is best served in paperbacks.
God is a butler, and that ache deep, deep down can be cured
with a sixer and a handful of e.

Numb the dumpness, and they'll numb you.
The dump.

For a true angel

In the retelling ...

May dawn breathe
The sweet scent of Russian olives along the county
Road. Beyond, to the furrowed horizon,
Rise, morning mist. Rise into the cold sky. Rise
Up! Rise, Mom,
To breathe freely this new day. Rise and
Meet your boy, now a man. Rise up,
You, and greet the sun, greet the son, greet the sum.

In the retelling ...

May the demons be slain; pray set
The impossible burden back upon each of them; invoke the
Wind of reparation and righteousness upon them, and let it
Be fierce in your defense. Grant
Always your health and wealth, Mom. Grant here,
At zero time—the reach of interminable existence since
Your death in the year of Orwell’s failure—space-no time,
Back without front, up without down.

In the retelling ...

May Mars charge to your aid, not a rail-thin 15-year-old boy, but
The battle-hardened man standing ready today. Under the desperate
Shine. Shine brilliant and pure; shine
Warm and radiant and free.
Upon this wide gray beam I sit under the bright rustle of cottonwood; here
Your suffering, extinct in the hard shadow of the diamond
Face of blue distance, do I forbear to forget, and to forget my forebears.

In the retelling—

And in the retelling,
The maid stands victorious; the stew bubbles richly; winter’s pine scents the
Rain. Fall is dead and Mozart lives on in your nimble fingers.
Fall is dead.
Soft is the whisper of blue spruce. Their eton needles exhale
Upon your wayward spirit, upon my basement dreams, upon
Your affirmation, your comforting vision: “I am all right, honey.” Thy
Fields lie fallow and glinting under a crunchy cover of lost snow. Spring is coming.

In the retelling—

And in the rebelling—
Until the final chlorinated sin has been drowned,
We lane through dolphinly, powered by intervaling agony. We
Meet defeat, plus to minus, unknown and
Again, we know.

And in the retelling,

May spring’s zephyrs set you aloft and adrift, and may
God cast his reaching shadows of autumn gold. It is within His
Hold blood, burning hot for justice, seeks
You, seeks those who celebrated your death
In hiding, celebrated while riding
The brick-and-mortar gravy train. His fat, greasy
Palm is extended, his other clenched in a faithless fist
Of greed and calumny and treachery. There is justice, yes.
His hand will give it to me. His

What came first, the shadow or the leaf
it falls upon,
the sunlight or the pain?
Painted yellow, what calls, and what echoes, and what cries
through the valley;
And what strains the surface of things
when joy surges and the depths reach up,
and the wet sand dries and blows unseen to the dune ...
And what settles over my head,
misty and mysterious, indivisibly fine ...