Full Text Poetry

My reading at Florence Poets:

Here I have several poems for you to enjoy:

Eulogy for the Costa Rican Ghosts

Summer Reunion

Counting

For J.M.W. Turner

On Michael’s Being 15 in England

Vespers

Elegy

The Process

Breakfast

 

E

ulogy for the Costa Rican Ghosts

Eulogy for the Costa Rican Ghosts*

One was young, losing himself under a motorcycle.
Another escaped by her own hand.
Another held on to life through suffocating breath
and piercing jabs in the chest.
Another went unceremoniously in his sleep.
The artist ghosts linger beyond the throbbing beauty.
They land in unforeseen places –
by an empty table or bed stand at night
as confused as the living about
where they’ve gone and what they’ll do.
Knocking bamboo ushers in their moans.
Neither missing nor white,
they wonder who you are and what you are doing
and why life has left them and spared you –
imperfect as you are.
I feel their aching in the night air
their souls shaking in the tropical trees.
I remember their presence here
and bear them closer as time goes by…
my years stealing to inevitable death.
Their tenderness hovers through all the grandeur.
Sanguine flowers evoke their blood.
Vultures fly their memories in the clouded sky.
Arid earth recalls the ash of their decomposed bodies.
Inscribing a silent mantra, I honor who they were.
*Nominated for a 2016 Pushcart Prize (Banshees, Flutter Press, 2015)

ummer Reunion

Summer Reunion*

Remember the reservoir?  A glass

glistening surface stretching from verdant

island to brown stone shore.

Strands of algae and water lilies.  Our

paddles dipping and slicing streams of

gliding water and reed pulls.

A sly white egret flies

indifferent to our chatter

without caw or concern.

Soft swims in clear water to

abey the sweat on

heat-stroked arms and legs.

Aching abs bathing in the sun

pulling to the next beach,

our prows high on the sand.

Late afternoon we rest,

sitting close on shore,

quiet  now from the day’s labors.

How many summers of paddling

holds our alliance together?

Waters rise from the dam’s release.

*Published Avocet Summer 2011

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Counting

counting*

3 blind mice

5 de mayo

6 degrees of separation

7 wonders of the world

10 little indians

12 days of christmas

23 skiddo

50 ways to leave your lover

67 beans in the jar

99 bottles of beer on the wall

101 arabian nights

250 megabytes

568 suicide bombers

1700 dead in Iraq

*Published in Potomac Review 2012

2926838-811528-silhouette-of-counting-hands

For J.M.W. Turner

For J.M.W. Turner

You screwed your countrymen

by giving your watercolours

to the museum in Dublin.

Your ironic laughter

can be heard every

In January the show

occurs in lowest light.

Your implausible colors

live anew as I write my

verses and try to

follow the path

you opened in your canvases.

The words, like watercolours,

erratic.

As a word bricklayer,

I spread my pages on the floor

eyeing them from the distance.

I wait for them to spring

up like Rockets and Blue Lights.

Instead of sparkle and poof.

my lines of type take on a life

and trail up the sheet

unpredictably from the floor,

choking me in hues of

blue and brunett until I cannot

breathe. I hear your guffawing

in the space between the lines,

posturing the distance to the page

impassable.

On Michael’s Being 15 in England

On Michael’s Being 15 in England*

I wanted to show my son England.

A different way of being, seeing.

Like when he plays his stringed instruments,

Or bounds two miles without stopping on his bike.

At 15, my father in a Black and Tan prison, not far,

enduring unspeakable atrocities.

So I showed him the antediluvian ruins.

And the reeds trailing in the current of the Avon.

And the fireplace’s warmth after riding through the downpour,

And the cadence from the lutes and flutes

That made the dancers skip.

And the sky during the eclipse from the wall

of the ancient city.

And the sheep that laid down because they thought it was night.

We cycled the Wiltshire countryside,

as if the circling of the wheels could make the world a better place.

*The Blind Man’s Rainbow, Volume VI, Issue 3.

Vespers

Vespers*

The ornate darkness of the shrouded statues by candelight

The lullaby of hushed conversations

the infallible voice of the priest

the comforting sound of the congregation in unison

the rich songs of the choir the sweet smell of frankincense.

To stay in the proximity of this heaven one had to

be impossible the bride of christ

a virgin before, during and after birth –

pure, passive, submissive.

Secretly preferring the forbidden Eve, the temptress,

the destroyer of paradise, the one with

knowledge, choice, sexuality and power.

Forgive me father, for I have defined my own truth.

*Published in Pitch Fork

Elegy

Elegy

I think maybe it wasn’t

a horrific way to goA saline drip gone awry,

no angst, no lingering pain.

Assured by the doctors

you would teach, your love,

the following weekend –

falling asleep looking forward.

I just never thought

you would die in the nightjust leave without an adieu.

I expect to see you

at your typewriter

reading your latest poem

or ruminating your memoir

or railing against the 6’clock news.

Death isn’t rest but empty space –

I prize what you wrote

And meet you in what I write

The world is less without you.

Process

Process

Unsolicited come my words

in June’s dazzle sunbugs carrying leaves

pointlessly

without consideration, uphill.

Phrases skulking scumslops next to bed stand

dregs of climbing walks

keyboard letter vomit.

Bad, bad only bad

they prance back and back

surplus mosquitos

they take wing unguent.

I brush them aside

and howl frustration.

Still they revisit steady rain my poems

come a Costariccense afternoon.

Breakfast

Breakfast

Your door was ajar when I came-

welcoming my mislaid soul,

a cup of hot coffee in hand,

in this light, many-windowed house with the

Steinway that holds the promise

of corresponding notes.

Your lissome fingers on the ivories and black keys,

melancholy music midflight in your rose of Sharon garden-

a striking minuet balancing the newfound words on my keyboard.

This air still in our early morning September encounter

as if the world of care outside had stopped

to acknowledge our friendship.

How easily our alliance is formed

over scrambled eggs and hot-buttered toast.

I form an unseen poem around you

to seal our bond from today.

The ghost of your architect -lover hovering

after his solo crash into a cement wall-

gone too soon for either of you to accept.

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