Thursday, February 26, 2009

A Modern Poem

It’s time you wrote a
modern poem;
forget these songs and stories.
(Nice, perhaps, but do we need
more strophic allegories?)

You need to write a
modern poem
to elevate your station.
(No poet, friend, is worth his ink
sans vaunted publication.)

Why don’t you write a
modern poem
that’s brisk and faintly knotty?
Something that will captivate
discerning literati.

You should write a
modern poem,
like laureates deliver -
furtive, dark and delicate,
streaked with gold and silver.

Why won’t you write a
modern poem
that’s bold yet enigmatic?
(Ensconced within a paragraph,
opaque but still emphatic.)

Please, for me, a
modern poem,
a lingual whirling dervish!
(Modern poems do not rhyme.
It’s trite and amateurish.)

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Letter to Rae

and byzantine,
what people mean
behind the veil of choice;

if you worry
what they’ll say
they’re less than friends
and if someday
you turn to find
they’ve gone away,
that’s how you’ll find your voice.

The tire swing
is full of rain,
the moon rose like
a whooping crane,
between the waxing
and the wane
we drink the purest light;

the brink is sudden,
sharp and steep -
summon courage
just to leap -
you’re nothing
gravity can keep,
that’s how you will take flight.

And when those bright eyes
cloud and leak,
spilling tears
all down your cheek,
don’t think it small,
unwise or weak
to reach for me in doubt;

if ecstasy
should ebb to ache
and love roar like
your worst mistake,
lift up your heart
and let it break -
that’s how your songs get out.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Blood & Irony

When we woke
the golden beams
of sunlight fell
in cheerful streams;
the laughter rang
the fruit was sweet
the music moved
our nimble feet

We were certain and courageous
we were captains, kings and sages
holding court in revelry
drunk on blood & irony;

We snatched all that we could take
dropped the rest into a lake
that seemed deeper than the sea
black as blood & irony

As the clouds were
across the valley
we were waiting
for a dawning of
enamored with
our own reflection

We were focused and unflagging
as our purse grew strained and sagging
shackled to prosperity
coughing blood & irony;

Struck the brass and cast a bell,
threw our silver down a well
trying to buy our wishes free
drawing blood & irony

When the lightning
split the skies
we were taken
by surprise
as a flash
of revelation
dampened all
our jubilation

We marched out in rigid ranks
as the river claimed its banks
climbing fast and steadily
raining blood & irony;

Plunging through the maelstrom
still convinced we’d not succumb
losing bodies and debris
rushing blood & irony

We retreated
and indicted
one another
as shortsighted;
we demanded
and debated
as the keep
was inundated

We were gripped by desperate fears
charged the mystics and the seers
nailed them to their prophecy
spilling blood & irony;

And still it came, torrential
bitter cold and consequential
split and flowed through each levee
spewing blood & irony

We absconded
toward the hills
wracked by colic
cramps and chills;
a muddy surge
cut off the highlands
as the peaks
sank into islands

We turned and watched the dim cascade
dismantle everything we made
until all that we could see
a flood of blood & irony

Clutching anything that floats
children crying in our coats
as our hope and legacy
drowns in blood & irony

[with sincere gratitude & flimsy apologies to confessional, who (graciously) allowed me to (blatantly) steal the amazing line which is this title which became this poem.]

Thursday, February 5, 2009

The Killing Tree

It is misplaced
or misplanted,
the killing tree.

Clinging to the outer edge
of an arc,
a transition,
from one frantic freeway
to another,

at ninety degrees
and leaning,
a handful of weeds
(not even a curb)
from the ground down

The killing tree is high and gaunt,
caked with exhaust
and rubber
and brake dust,
a haggard, hovering
chimney sweep
shrouded in soot
from ceaseless fleeting fires.

leathery leaves
clutch the stems
against the gruff
and harried howl
of flashing sedans
and sparking coupes,
thundering tractor-trailers
and box trucks.

The killing tree
is waiting.

No medium can unravel
the moniker
or the moment
within its rings.

The killing tree
is patient.

In a city of bassinets
and winebars,
of double doors
and bureau drawers,

there is a killing tree,
rooted in providence
and rising from dust,

there is a killing tree,
and unhungry,

a blameless
killing tree,
limbs outstretched,

to welcome