Aubade: Morning Rituals
Klezmer bands tuning up like chanting roses shake dew
a bursting tenor trills
o rise blistered orange, my ruby grapefruit
and sings no to rock hudson baptized in holy sweat
in the night of the soul's vomiting man
and at sunrise we were the hamsters of love
on the wheel of romance
among the still hungry in coffee shops
where the soft skin of sin reigns and theory, little iambs fear to go,
no northern logic,
no mimi sad singing then dead
no smelt eyes
melting water in ophelia's mouth.
Who jails the greased palm helping itself to the water nymphs
pan fried or flounder what was once liquid fish open-gullet
now flipping miracles of everyman's haiku saying good morning sunlight
to the crack of dawn crepuscular
a shadow through her gossamer gown.
O sweetest best rested o we waltzed exponentially a million ways
fandango-ed round the pantry's butler
o cereal o sugar o my morning star.
In Praise of Circuses
The old Duchess of Walsingham was, they say, a circus in bed.
She used no recognized thesaurus,
no safety net under her high wire act
and when she climbed onto the duke that night he cried out,
no more circuses bands no more clowns.
His famous family would never tell.
His poor arrhythmic heart couldn’t deal with her random changes
from anapests to trochees and back.
He died in her bed.
Eagerly she was courted by elephant trainers.
So many beautiful relationships since they all loved the big top.
Yet she brooded.
How was one to tell the difference between dreams
But need we inquire?
We're not doing high art--
called ruchings, darts and shutter pleats
masking all manner of faults.
It wasn't easy for you starting a new poetics from scratch. Before they used to think up a theme, clusters of images from the dull Western Closet of archetypal virgins and pretty flowers putting in so much stuff the floor sagged. These verses all had ludicrous and, in many cases, significant flaws emerging heavy with imprecision like cement mixers. I remember when you floundered and your mistress screamed at you:
Listen up Baudelaire, your mother never spoke to you sternly enough or you didn't pay attention. A poet can't live on tofu alone, a devoted mistress, begging letters to mom. Being syphilitic, dealing drugs isn't enough. Grow up! I can't stand this dry fuck of contemporary French poetry, the blah & the blah of it. Move on.
And you were ambivalent. But your muse comes to you in your sleep and you beget little poems of dangerous beauty, sexuality and mystery. She bore you many demons and spirits while all you wanted to do thanks to mom's poetical connections was live on the beach. But you never retired & played pinochle till dawn. For this we love you…
Dropping the Kids off at the Movies
Why We Are Always in Endless Wars
O they were mighty and the kids were on the edge of their seats in the Forum too supercharged to eat their popcorn watching a wild ride through time as Uncle Sam’s soldiers return home eyeless and armless and useless riding the grand arc of history having fought the evil god who buried yellow cakes of uranium and long bows and mace and super-duper armor ready to be disinterred to end all civilization storming the world in chariots with winged tires sweeping from land, air and sea into Mesopotamia, into the streets of old Baghdad dimpled by catapults
out-Hanniballing Hannibal and all the Goths. Meanwhile at home Ma and Pa are busy fighting the temptation to climb the neighbor’s fence to steal the tomatoes so you can understand how these grand events enchanted their children. But hold on. The market goes up on cold mornings if you are in a warm office near the Stock Exchange with the phones ringing and the money coming in and going out so fast you don’t have time to count it and you know it’s ok to hide behind the big chairs in the conference room and let someone else do the heavy lifting and break up the ice in the well at sunrise because man all they got to look forward to is a life of cold mornings and Uncle Sam in the end says fuck you cannon fodder like there is in this land of opportunity another fool born every minute while Petrarch makes his contribution dreaming up little art songs, his sonnets, marching through anthologies to the beat of abba abba hoping to get Laura upstairs under that goose down duvet where they could do the rhyming couplet.
it totally is baleful the influence of the ancients
on all the arts
Look what Homer taught little boys and grown men: travel, fight, don’t forget the trojans and return to faithful women. From this came the good life and the naked cupcakes of Ingres so thank god for the Contessa as she confronted her son, timid circus master, knees trembling, as she grabs the lion trainer’s whip chasing him from the big top shouting:
You little bastard. No man can be sure who his father was. Child of a drunken night you still had all the advantages but you squandered them traveling with a third rate circus through small towns that specialize in lollipops and mimetics. You could have been king of the world, made a fire of dead wood but all you do is peek into the dressing room of the hirsute lady when she changes to street clothes. You need some new metaphors but you continue the old routine of crawling through tidal flats looking for one-clawed lobsters dead under oily marsh grass or floating in deep green water where you were told all mysteries hide, a world always visible on tv after the unseemly has been cut out like you and Homer don’t want children to see crabs mounting each other in plain view of the minnows and adolescent sea turtles.
They all had agendas. They met leaving the theater. The king had a silver cane. The monkey a walking stick. He lost his keys. The day will be forever remembered. There was an animal looking out of each window of the zoo. Fertilizer makes the garden grow. That and love. She was wearing just a Stetson. He walks along the Seine with his ill-bred offspring dressed like little sailor boys. They salute each other. It’s all fugues. Throaty whispers.This is not new even in advanced countries. Yet there are discrepancies.
Showbiz: all you need is a good director, some cracked eggs. Humpty Dumpty to make it all happen which is once in a life time and the moon is waxing gibbous. Thank you and get him off the stage. Now you get off the stage. You need a safe car and stay away from the undertow. Like I say you can never be too careful of your health. You have it only once. Twice at the most. Actually I love you a lap. Another lap is too much in this small pool. But where else can a person like me make a big splash. Everything you will ever need to know is right there. All the magic potions that are the soul of romance. And that tattoo. That’s what honor’s about. The big leagues and all those chemical men. Blazing trails. I love you. We are all family here.
We run for the fire escape. Suitcases full. The future’s flat foot’s behind us. Dense is the loveless night. Stars like crushed lifesavers. The monkey and his wench, the gingerbread man and the tart aren’t dancing. The cookie tins are morose. Someone just striped the maid. The bed’s unmade. Statically normal. There’s only room for so many. I can explain. The earth was flat. They made the measurements. Now it’s round. You have your rights. There is a commission due. It’s the weather channel. It’s a tornado from Toledo. There’s El Greco. Tall and lanky. Lost his glasses. Can’t see a thing. Full of opinions. Marzipan.
You must know yourself to succeed in life. In death it’s different. When the wind asks your age don’t lie. What goes around comes around. The music of the spheres is everywhere. The stars stick together like the alphabet. They know moving furniture around and getting it just right’s difficult. They don’t give interviews. Don’t give up. Go outside. Let leaves tickle your ears, grass your toes. The grandeur of optimism’s everywhere. Fight irony. Find your rhythm. Roll the dog over. Peek at its genitals. Rub its belly. No time for flow charts, PR, sales targets. It could be this, that, nothing. Remember that room full of design ideas? Create a center of interest. Flying colors. Textures. Throws.
The window display was absurd. Just then the store closed. The manikins winked. Pulled down the shades. These were people without genitals. They didn’t have real eyes so the wink was off-center. We tilted our heads to get the message. It was not meant for us. We misinterpreted it. That was ok. Meaning is elusive. But we tried.