So, I don’t really write poetry, but every now and then something comes out of me, a thought or an idea, which somehow seems best suited for blank verse, which is all I really do in the end. I mean, I do other stuff that rhymes and everything, but you really don’t want to read it. Anyway, for those of you who enjoy seeing what it’s like when I step beyond my natural element- as every artist (and lover, for that matter) should do now and then- I humbly submit: some poems.
A message to other poets
Please stop impersonating
William Carlos Williams
It was only funny the first time
Believe you me.
And soon will come a time
To worship he who walks
Unhateful and uninhibited
Under a sightless, ancient Sun.
He who has been blessed,
Though God is unknown to him;
And whose heart was once
In an ageless time
Wreathed with ever-burning stars;
And whose focused eyes in wakefulness
Have been lovingly kissed by the Moon.
Long night mid-monsoon season
It’s been a while, I know,
But we’re in the final countdown
Of the end of an age.
Bits of salmon are stuck in my teeth
My eyes remembering lightning
Over dark, dark roads in the foothills
A stupid Police song stuck in my head.
I have no plans for Saturday.
Some important phone calls have not been returned.
“Animals emerge in Arizona rain,”
Drone the birds outside my door.
Every step you take.
Every move you make.
Every smile you fake.
Something, something, la la la.
Stars are peering through the clouds
And the wind moans with dead cowboys
Splitting kegs with actors, singing
“Time will pass soon enough.”
Last Arizona Party
Aller- to go- but I’m not going there
I think I’ll have another beer
And spend another midnight here
Until the only choice left is one to move.
Watch college girls weave a weeping werehorse
Out of teenage sex and their folks’ divorce,
Smile and dream of using force
To finally have their way.
Go get high with Josh out back
Impromptu tango on a sidewalk crack
Count stars with Jay until we lose track
And fall asleep dreaming of Greece.
Mark of Cain
The last girl I kissed
Is laughing at me now.
She wants me to know
That this is how it felt-
All the things that happen to me
And all the things that don’t:
The martyrdom denied me
Drying on my Phaedra face;
The journey I don’t take
Getting slick and frisky
With the first and last
Worst lover of the year;
Things turning hopeless
Like potatoes being peeled
Like the color of dry
Or the sound of one hand lying
Saying it knows how to touch you
Without breaking anything.
Wolfe At The SFMOMA
You kiss me somewhere between
The portrait of two boys bathing
And a photo of three open graves;
At the time, we’re sitting down,
And our conversation has been clever-
Everyone knows we’re art savvy
And stupidly in love.
I look at you and think:
No one paints eyes like your eyes
Or can sculpt your shoulders
And I’ll never be able to write about this-
I am that happy.
You smile and kiss me again.
“I don’t get it,”
I say at some point
And you assume I mean the art.
Your wings assure me,
“It’s crappy and I love you.”
Our feet go echoing down the stairs
Past some good art, past some bad
Some silence, some conversation
Comfortable even at the coat check;
Your Frodo Lives hoodie, my old backpack,
These moments when we were princes.
Beatrice and Dante
At the end of the fourth age of man
Sometime after the shit touched down
There was nothing left but you,
Me, and that Billy Joel musical
Everyone just can’t stop talking about;
The world spoke Japanese
And as usual, we weren’t fluent;
Rat tails came back into style
On men and children and rats;
And everyone thought Hollywood
Made objective documentaries;
And you kept saying to me,
“Something good will come of this.”
And you kept saying to me,
“I promise you’ll come around.”
And I kept thinking,
“One step farther.
“One step more and I’m home.”
Heart Like A Star
Sometimes you get taken out of it:
This Heart Like A Star.
Sometimes it gets taken out of you.
I slept well
In the Days When You Loved Me;
Does that mean I took you for granted?
Water me down-
Even plants like to be talked to;
Nothing lives on Sun and Sun alone.
If there are lessons here-
Can I decline to relearn them?
Nobody asked for your heart like a star.
Shelter In Place
“If you speak to them in French”
I was once told,
Good luck was assured;
Them being seagulls
And I being in need of good luck.
April came and went quietly,
All sad and done;
I walked the halls sans company
And you were there too.
Stamped and stamped
Knuckled down in place.
Coffee goes best with stats:
Tea goes best with email.
Brandy cuts Zoom.
Outside, I hear sirens,
And car horns,
And fog horns;
“Bonjour. Ca va?”
Fourth Of July
Venus above you and I
All around a citizens’ symphony
Flash rolling thunder balls
Croquet cracking the garden walls
Sheltering our six feet of distance
Filled with cupcakes and whiskey
Wine glasses full so when
We four toast our time in history
On this precariously placed
Slow submerging Pacific shelf
Called from twilight musings
Like a long last Elysium
To vineyard varnish into home
In hopes of one day standing
Sort of like a Hudson surveyor
Caught between bays/beginnings
In search of steep dry land islands
Hollowed out with hobbit holes
Echoing orchestrations of genuine joy
Their faces pressed against windows
Glittering reflections of silver sparks
Blooming into the indigo like
The Best of All Possible Trees.
It was cold a lot-
That summer without-
And hangover upon hangover
Saw mornings of dry mouths
Forming affectionate hello agains;
Prologue to lunches a la park,
Shady with cheese and blackberries,
Coffee drown in puddles of milk
And her smile, a hyperbolic twist
Half Mona/part Sphinx,
Wedged in like a croissant,
As she Sibyl me The Future
No one can predict.
Perched with the pelicans-
He “watches the coats”-
Till the Sun comes out
The towels warm like lovers
And we bake like cookies
Local, organic, artisnal;
Under a sailboat blanket
Merseals and Manamaids
Peering their distance,
The folds folded, waiting
Souls we murmur like rumors
Sailors flying the Dutchman.
Afternoons shift the mood-
When the cocktail hour breezes in,
Shivering bone ribbons
Against cream plaster till
Window after window
(Listen to the Epilogue)
Each castle draws its bridge
As fog cigar smokes through
The last of the dog walkers
Hurrying home to turn the lights up
Turn the bed down,
Count the days till Christmas.
In the morning a line forms
Block after block of chatter
Intersecting the intersections
My windows ramparts hovering
Over women waiting watchfully,
To knuckle closer to a pear or plum.
In the evening a line forms
Bandanned banditos, giggling masquers
Rows of visored knights
Battle handed in a bottle
Sidewalk squared in liquor store light
As we ship with pint from park to port.
And the horizon glows August
Candling the evening with the future
While you and I strum the dusk
Fabling through whale ribbed chapters
Best played by the breeze whistled
Through the lines of a summer shirt.
Map out the epic of my youth
If you will
Upon these tempting, empty pages
That cannot help but ask
To be written and re-written upon
With heartfelt cry and Hamlet heavy anguish
Wrapped into words too dry
To be adequate packaging
And metaphors so cliché they lose their meaning
Dwindling into pop culture references
Adrift in a shallow sea too honest for irony
Of rhyme and wordplay and unfinished song
And thoughts cut down in the spring.
I really am much better at writing plays.