Wednesday, November 30, 2011

In Lieu of "Three Red Pigeons"




XXIV 

Here end the works of the sea, the works of love. 
Those who will some day live here where we end— 
should the blood happen to blacken in their memory and overflow— 
let them not forget us, the weak souls among the asphodels, 
let them turn towards Erebus the heads of the victims: 

We who had nothing will teach them peace. 

—George Seferis, from Mythistorema (My translation) 

(Music by Ilias Andriopoulos, sung by the late, great Nikos Xylouris)

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Mythistorema


Though no past shall ever be 
Perfect, we thought we knew 
Enough about it to keep us hopeful, 
Unraveling its myriad rules, ever mindful 
Of how we were told not 
To look upon ourselves 
As exceptions, lest the sovereign sun melt 

Our golden rule. 

Monday, November 28, 2011

That’s a Tough One: The Muse Strikes Again


Where do poems come from? 

I’m not sure, 
But now that I think of it, 
Your question reminds me 

Of the time when I first asked 
Mom where babies come from 
And she said they just popped out 

Of women’s kneecaps. 


Sunday, November 27, 2011

Myrtle Vinca Minor under Cross-examination

Sure, you keep repeating 
You’re not trans-gender, 

But what’s that coy chick doing hiding 
In your shrubbery 

Feeding on your seeds? 

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Surreal Sleepwalker


Rising ever so 

Slowly but still mesmerized
In deep sleep, I see 

The moon waxing 
The blue ocean floor 

At my feet. 

Friday, November 25, 2011

Logorrhea


You run off at the mouth
Whenever you say whatever
You say is what you have
To say and nothing’s going stop you.

Okay, logo-masochist, have it your way but
What’re you going to say when you’re sinking
In deep shit and nobody’s going to stop you?

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Ornithologists' Organic Breakfast

—for Ans and Peter 


gingerly nibbling, small feathered 
friend preening on 

thin 
seedy 
stalk 
of 
sweet 

smelling 
wild 
fennel— 

early birds, 
feast your eyes

for what we have 
here is a natural, 
a real honest-to-goodness 

con 
nois 
sir. 

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Last of the Adobe Kings


 



















On my way, I pass by
The remnants of another day—

His weathered visage
On the knoll—I see 

He sees me not,
Nor does he look away.




Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Opportunity is a Window on the World

The sea, the sea, who will be able to drain it dry? 
—George Seferis, from “Mythistorema” 

In this small house 
On the bluff that is being 
Inexorably eaten away 
In front of the large bay windows 
That let in the light, 
Pray your eyes take in 
As much as they can 
Before running out and down 
To the strand, your hands cupped 
Round your ears so you can hear clearly 
The world’s beckoning, inexhaustible

Song.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Egocentric


On a world that turns round itself only 
Once a day, what on earth are you doing 

Turning round your self twenty-four hours a day? 

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Dead End


Poem after poem after poem
Made up of one sentence—
I’m climbing up the wall.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Mnemonic: A Memento of Forgotten White House History


Can’t remember that mouth piece right 
On the tip of the tongue? 

Forget the sax, man— 
Try playing with, um,   

Harmonica!

 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

This is the Color of My Dreams

(title of a painting by Miro)


I don’t paint but I know enough 
About colors to dream about them 

Painting my dreams. 

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Glutted Market


The last thing we need is still 
Another poem offering 
All it has to give us 
All we need. 

Monday, November 14, 2011

Socrates the Athenian

…somewhere round about here where we’re groping— 
a little nearer or a little farther
 —George Seferis, from “Mythistorema” 

Surely 

That deviant worm’s left 
Further damning evidence 

Of our advances, let us dig 
A little deeper. 

Outline of Abstract Expressionism


• Freely created 

• Purely American


• Concrete prison

• Full of subterfuge


• Profusely colored 

• White lies

Saturday, November 12, 2011

The Naked Truth


Meaning I suppose you need 
No patching up when 
It starts 

Wearing you thin. 

Friday, November 11, 2011

Hold On


Stop me if I’ve told you this before— 

Whatever you do, don’t do it 
In the spirit of one sentenced 
To listen to friends pretending

He’s interested though we know 
The minute they start talking, 
He’s miles out the door. 

Thursday, November 10, 2011

On the Road


On top of blighted cypress, old crow appears 
To grow larger over centuries; 

Small figures walking by disappear 
In a minute, year after year. 


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

To a Friend, Unhappy with Herself


If I were you, I’d think twice about being 
Something other than you are. 

Unhappy with your present lot, 
You might be thinking of being 
A perennial flower or even a queen bee, 
Or something even more farfetched, 
Whatever that may be. 

But let’s get serious— 
We know all that’s impossible. 

So why not be yourself 
And make everything possible. 




Tuesday, November 8, 2011

A Plague on You, Shylock


Wishful thinking Rosy 
Rat gut package twine of course
There’s no such thing but 
Metaphorically speaking if
Bill hadn’t let the cat out of the bag 
Back in the Globe we could all be
Tying rings round parcels 
Of fat cat operators

With no strings attached, 
Sending them all packing.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Visionary


What is it with you? 
You want everything under the heavens

Even when nothing’s in view. 


Friday, November 4, 2011

Vitriol: The Plutocrat's Payback


My dearest Lady Jane, 
We know it’s a shame and rotten 
But really, there’s no need to explain the obvious 
Farewell of your well-off infamous snotty 
Obnoxious proboscis—you see, we’ve heard 
Rumors of a vicious tumor and it’s plain
As that snippet of a snub gracing your face, 
Making you now look so innocuous. 

But still we wonder 

Is this really you? If you could 
Just give us a clue, pretty 
Please with sugar on it— 
For old times’ sake, 
Before you depart 
Give us your best parting shot— 
No need for formalities, dearie 
Dispense with the snot.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

One Possible Remedy for What Ails Us



Invigorating 

Scent of wild spear-
Mint meant to pierce 

The heart of all 
That has turned 

Tamed and docile 
And has stopped 

Making sense.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Mirror on Wall Street


Go on— 

Satisfy the mob 
Mentality, keep good 

Looking at yourself 
Through a glass 

Eye darkly. 

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Evening, towards Night

In this mean neighborhood, 

Under the light cast by 
The streetlight opposite 

The derelict house, a lone 
White horse shining, a lamp 

In a vacant lot.