Category Archives: ORIGINAL FORMS

NIGHT DRAWS NEAR, BROTHER ASS

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Night draws near, brother ass
pale sister moon ascends the dark

brother wind makes a chill pass
from long ago and far away
where Francis dogs still bark—

they echo sorry old beliefs
that make you lesser than
a thing that’s called a soul.

As if some merciless sneak thief
has stripped you of your rigmarole

stolen all your oomph for dreams
of grasping the elusive carrot
and your fear of prodding stick

you slow a bit now, and seem weary
though you stubbornly as ever climb
the slope of each day, brick by brick.

You’ve been a good and faithful
servant— more than I can say

for parts that think and speak.
Yours is an understanding deeper
than all hope and pray. Are we perhaps

at last in sempiternal unison about
the moment that must come?  Then
let’s together bray..and bray…and bray!
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night-draws-near-brother-ass

MORE’S THE PITY

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The sheep have flocked to the water’s edge
and now they weep
not knowing how to swim.

Above them in the usual skies, a crow
caws mockingly:
Fools! You were herded here by lies!

But now the sheep have come to love
the melodrama of
their bleating cries. Don’t judge, wallow

in the comfort of a group-think nudge.
Sheep will be sheep—
still, it’s hard to sympathize.
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mores-the-pity

CONVERSATION WITH A CREEK

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I will slap your face
I said
and the water said
go right ahead.

I’ll beat you with a stick
I said
and the water said
go right ahead.

I will stomp on you
I said
and the water said
go right ahead.

I’ll cut you with my knife
I said
and the water said
go right ahead.

I will nail you in a box
I said
and the water said
go right ahead

as it glittered
in a zillion squints
of dancing glints
along its pebbly bed.

I may be daft
but that was when
I think I heard
the water laugh.
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conversation-with-a-creek

A CERTAIN AGE

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“Colors are the deeds and sufferings of light.”
—Goethe

It has been said the weather is bright blue
this time of year.  A tinge of cobalt cools
the contours, copper trembles, sounding true.
Red and golden maple leaves, the motley fools,
die dancing on a breeze of nevermore.
Those who must learn go back to schools.

The year was started long before
this current, nearer to the final, page
of curling calendar behind the closet door;
yet blood, air, the purple-kissed greengage
belie that paper rubric and bestir unnerving
promise in what’s more than come of age.

Cliché favors youth, the tight uncurving
blade of spring, bronze beauty at the beach,
the summer’s salad days all undeserving.
And youth favors cliché, believing each
grey hint of winter is a closing down,
smug in its grasp of things beyond its reach.

We’ve been there.  Now we’re here, my frown,
searching a spattered mirror for small clues
to an unsettling ripening.  We grope for nouns
to name it—for the way so many hues
exquisitely become a potent reticence of brown.
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A CERTAIN AGE

COME SEPTEMBER NATURALLY

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Come September
naturally we dry hydrangeas

all those mop-head pompoms
on the ancient hedge that keeps out
strangers like an overbearing mother
to the native sedge along the drive.

Naturally, the timing must be right:
late morning when the dew has dried

on a cool sunny day when blooms
no longer in their prime (not quite passé)
hint at new colors and a bit of stiffening like
paper in the petals gives a mild forewarning.

Catch it now
the ghost still breathing in the flower

whispers to a knowing hand—
strip off my superfluity of leaves then
stand me to repent in crystal water
so my cut stem grieves a bit

until all tears are spent
and I am all evaporated power.
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COME SEPTEMBER NATURALLY

UNDER THE DOG STAR

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Under the dog star, weary, wilted,
watching dark’s descent compress
all things to a lonesome distant barking
and a jittery sleeplessness—

I try TV for company
knowing I won’t find it there
but needing noise and light
against the stupifying humid air—

ah, perfect! Verdi’s Requiem
enters the room: air-stabbing bows
of violins, the maestro’s frantic waves
and all the choral mouths agape with O’s—

it is the final movement, the Libera Me:
“Deliver me from everlasting death…”
it screams, wails, rushes to a supreme hush
of sorrow’s softening under the breath—

and in the silence afterward, deliverance
from dark, and grief.  Hair of the dog, what
power this sad music has, to liberate
when other helps are absent and the need is great.
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UNDER THE DOG STAR

LOVE’S NOT TIME’S FOOL

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(We’ve just had Memorial Day, here in the USA, when we especially commemorate those who have died fighting our wars, and we place flowers, as well, on the graves of all of our deceased loved ones.)

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The wheel turns once again to this:
the image of your going
that appalling, horrid yesterday.
Old wounds stir beneath their scars
memories of anguish, fear, and disarray–
the sudden darkness
of your life’s closing parenthesis.

Yet anniversaries are not required
for our in memoriam
let those who think so
take their yearly flowers to your grave.
They’ll soon forget again. They do not know
the way you visit constantly
as earth, the air, the water, …fire…

as reminding, unseen amulet,
as the in-dwelling, the abruptly
disappearing dream at dawn,
the little pause over a cup at noon,
the lengthening shadow on the lawn—
in the gut-pull of gravity,
split-second, as each sinking sun is set.

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LOVE’S NOT TIME’S FOOL