Saturday, May 20, 2017

The Dead Are Holding Something Back

“The dead are holding something back”, he said,
But I knew not what he meant.
Do those who have departed harbor secrets they won’t share?
Or did he mean to say that they stand on guard, preventing
Some evil from entering here within?
“Holding something back”, the way a dam holds back a flood,
Or the way a spy refuses to divulge his source,
The way a curtain blocks the morning sun from intruding on my sleep too soon,
Or the way you don’t tell me the bad news?
Do we, the living, owe the dead a debt of gratitude
For sheltering us from some devastating disaster,
Or do they conceal from us some truth that would
Ease the pain of this tragic existence?
Or is there, perhaps, no difference between the two?

Saturday, May 6, 2017


It may have been treason,
or it may have been a great escape,
depending on your perspective.
He might have jumped out while the
flight was only halfway to its destination,
or he might have been ejected before the
inevitable crash, depending on your point of view.
Standing on the outside it’s easy to judge,
but sitting on the inside nothing is clear.
What seems profound and life-changing
in the moment that it occurs can be revealed
to have been inconsequential with the passage of time;
while the seemingly mundane things that happen
every day only reveal their significance after the fact.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

In Any Language

Mi Corazon bonita
Makes everything sweeter
And every time I meet her
I sing, “mi Corazon bonita”

La mia bella donna
You’re the only girl I wanna
Don’t need no Joan or Donna
Only you, La mia bella donna

Mein schönes Herz
I miss you so much it hurts
My heart beats in fits and starts
Mein schönes Herz

Ma belle femme
I don’t know where or when
But I’ll love you til the end
Ma belle femme

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Caressed by the breath

Caressed by the breath of her
lover of a million kisses, her
lover of a thousand and one
nights, nights without end, and a
story for each
(stories upon stories,
piled like the pillows on her
bed, or nested one within the
other like Russian troika dolls with
a beating heart in the center
of the smallest)
she answers him
as an equal
(though he looks
at her with the worshipful eyes
of a pilgrim at the end of
a holy quest who gazes at last upon
the face of his goddess/queen,
for royalty and holiness are as much
in the eye of the beholder as is beauty,
and in his eye when he
sees her there is that, and more)
and she breathes herself back to him.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Sleeping Man

Listen, sleeping man,
Last week you were here trying to nap
as I was trying to read (I forget what, maybe Eco’s essays),
but you were angered and disturbed
by someone else’s loud conversation.
True, there’s something fairly obnoxious about the
private cell-phone conversation in a public place,
but the thing is, it’s just that: a public place,
not your private napping room.
And now, today, as there is no one speaking loudly on their cell-phone,
you sleep, snoring louder than last week’s disturbing conversation,
keeping me from reading these poems I’d looked forward to (Ferlinghetti’s Coney Island).
And listen, I don’t begrudge you your rest,
perhaps you can’t sleep at home due to
or perhaps you work a second job,
stocking the dairy shelves from 5-10,
or delivering newspapers before the sun comes up.
I understand, I’ve been there, and I’ve napped here.
And really, I don’t even mind the snoring.
It’s almost musical, in a Phillip Glass/John Cage sort of way,
“Opus 3, Monotonal Monotony in C-minor, Lead Septal Drone: Sleeping Man”, (whatever your name is).
No, what bugs me is the impression you give of some sort of perceived ownership over this space,
A common space, shared by us all,
The attitude that others shouldn’t disturb you,
without concern for whether or not you might disturb someone else.
I won’t wake you, I won’t interrupt your sleep, you’re obviously in need.
But the next time I see you being angered when others use this space, our space, in a less than silent way, I might just read to you.
“Goodnight, Moon”, maybe.