making peace

July 26, 2008

the old emperor isn’t necessarily evil
he only hurts us when there is no other recourse
to chastise the unruly and to maintain order
the going rate brings the order within his grasp

the lawns are neat the thoroughfares straight
scrubbed bone-white and lined with cypresses
and the court falconers will soon succeed
in their effort to keep the pigeons in formations

remember delia how desperate we were
having lost each other at the war-torn train station
augustus has put a stop to mishaps like that
human folly is fleeting but the order endures
now that you are a cypress i always know
where to find you should steel clang again

in a state where not a single life is wasted
every citizen can aspire to a tiny monument
in his miniature memorial garden they say
the halogen sun is never eclipsed over it
we are his dream come true he must be dead tired by now
yet what glory it would be to watch the pigeons
marching abreast in such a peaceful space


the list maker

July 21, 2008

a man sits under a tree
compiling a lengthy list
of things that you can and can’t see
that do and do not exist
captive things and those that are free
some fixed some roaming abroad
and a subcategory of things that could be
but aren’t on second thoughts
he has counted every bear
every bee and is glad to see
things that do not exist are rare
most of them tend to be
it’s over with rocks and rains
every habit hiccup and hill
yet he has a feeling that something remains
which is not on his roster still
should he count every drop in the sea
no he doesn’t intend to cheat
but then he remembers himself and the tree
and the list is at last complete
and the world just pops in the air
it’s gone and will not be missed
if you doubt if something was ever there
you can always consult the list

black and white

July 20, 2008

all the pictures are scattered and the one
that was not among them even to lose
could have with an extra effort been you
my lady disdain skittishly doted upon
in that distant summer of yours whose elms
are all fallen now and the blackbirds extinguished

once in a museum store in boston
i bought a stuffed toy bat and named it bea
even though your actual name wasn’t
but those fitting the image were too generic
isn’t derision aimed at the departed
a way to sustain their post-existence
when every memory is akin to love
the quick and the dead we fade away together
inside the camera that seldom clicks

is an homage in an alien tongue still valid
and the bard allusion still operative
outside of its native jurisdiction

the next day i bestowed the unlucky toy
on somebody just met she may recall
and be my witness everything turns out true
in case you wish to know
how it was between me and your bat

those yesterbirds are sparkling black
all over the white sky and you are lost
stripped of all travesty staring at an empty photo
among the neverelms

living in a jar

July 19, 2008

the cardinal hurls itself against the glass
repeatedly a pity it would be
to have such pretty life obliterated
it must suspect some unexplored estate
beyond the obstacle it cannot grasp
seems somehow eerie that it is blood-red
the color of myself seen from inside
i’ll verify the truth of this conjecture
if it persists and splits itself in two
stains on the glass so far are not its fault
i could have wiped it clean from where i sit

i tend to think of it or rather him
for it is surely male as if it mattered
i fancy him a fish of the wide air
myself a diver in the sea of birds
shielded from their fierce curiosity
by this sheer membrane living in a jar
which must be also valid in reverse
except that i for once have learned to sit
tight sick of the futility of flight
once flat against the glass i learned my lesson
and when i tend to think i think myself
to be an unreliable eyewitness
to many things a chronicler of none

and yet this blood-red bird of introspection
still darts relentless in his separate space

running out of memory

July 11, 2008

the pity though is not that he is gone
has been for the last seventeen or so
years yielding them to someone’s separate life
detached from his to an autonomous person
an unacknowledged gift not his to pass
nor ours to keep for seventeen bitter years
turned loose and now entirely self-propelled

hold on i’ll tell you what the pity is
the time unlived by him is getting far
too long for us to trust the image claiming
our total memory within whose cells
his past unshapes itself there is no past
outside ourselves and what’s inside is ours
there is less room for someone else’s past
are we some fucking gods or what get real
he should have crossed that street with more discretion

now that i think who of all people is gone
he seldom comes to mind the crowd has grown
the pity is he’s dead again for good

gods know no sorrow in their blue demesne
being too eternal even to exist
they hardly bother to tell green from orange
come to think of it he was color-blind
leave gods alone we are the only problem
abandoned on the bitter winter pavement
cradling another’s life within our own

the spirit skunk

July 8, 2008

please do not lean on doors i never lean
on doors and barely tread upon the grass
but having shed most of my substance i
live at the outskirts of a zoo as yet
without full residence rights but with high hopes

the city visited by us while still
of blubbery mortal stuff is a half-way house
a thing to lean on tread upon and touch
urged not to but presumed to be enticed
yet once a proper coat of fur is grown
whiskers and wings and opalescent scales
one who may seem the very skunk transfixed
between the headlights is in fact a witness
from an impenetrable world apart

some of those canvases by edward hicks
have images of children in them bigger
than beasts themselves perhaps too full of pride
and blood emitting stale animal spirit
unlike the true spiritual animals
not predators or raptors anymore
yet game to no one either will they ever
settle themselves in plato’s bestiary
with the polonium lion the blue tooth
blue jay and oxen chiseled out of stars
the ghostly pastoral of time to come


July 1, 2008

those neighbors they were positively evil
their general bad nature soon revealed
in petty crimes like you recall the time
they drowned the litter of a poor stray bitch
and why they named their eldest one charybdis
search me they weren’t the educated kind
the next one balked though and was born a boy
good thing such opposite poles repel each other
or do they all that high school physics sucks
still his account of wickedness is void
could be they simply liked the sound of it
once overheard and with a little effort
wrenched the consent from a dumb registrar

the harm done by such vile existences
is soon erased vast is the earth the grass
grows over scattered skeletons bees buzz
on marigolds and bright red squirrels skitter
life triumphs of its festering evil purged
good thing she was without the proper sibling
or was she have you looked into the records
they could have multiplied once out of sight
what if a cry flies from across the straits
charybdis come and lo charybdis comes