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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Fast Day 135 December 29 2009 {Three Kings Travel Light}

Three Kings Travel Light

zip open the black mascara'd night
and let fall the stars
like contents of cosmetic bags
before the wond'ring eyes
of King Herod's TSA:
the luggage of the Three Kings;
gold doesn't make it
through metal detector;
dogs sniff out
frankincense & myrrh.
so Three Kings backpack
the last ten miles,
totes and duffel,
club bag and valise;
garment bag shepherds
their samsonite vigils keep...
until the angels come
with their carry-ons,
singing in their sleep!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Fast Day 134 December 25 2009 {Christmas Snow}

Christmas Snow

Shovel snow, hearty lads!
shovel, pike, and broom!
This song we do sing when the solstice yawns
and blows too much snow for man or beast...
an over-measuring of snow... for free
a cornucopia of ice!
So much that old Man North, Boreas,
a well-known Scrooge and miser,
stingy and cold to the boney zero,
is now acclaimed by all
an open-handed and generous man:
the Clement, the Giving, magnanimous!
this the song of the scrapers,
this the song of shovelers;
little boys throw snowballs
at pompous men in top hats!
And all the world's gone
topsy-turvy, upside down,
at this our Christmas time!
Come, truckers! come, pilers!
come sowers of salt!
The drifts grow high, O, fathers!
as high as grandfather Pine!
Sing ye no dirges now!
sing joyful litanies in
this harvest-time of snow!
the lamps of dawn are lit!
Sing, ho! 'tis Christmas!


I am not sure what to say about this poem. It is what happens when one begins to think about Christmas and snow and presents and trees when one has been reading about ancient Greece: it is sort of an antique snow shovelling, snow harvesting type of poem Hesiod ( author of Works and Days and second in fame to Homer ) would have sung as he shoveled the snows of his homestead.

Boreas is the North Wind, and instead of being a royal pain in the wedge, he is seen as sending a white Christmas and snowy gifts.
pike to push the ice with pointed staffs,
scrape to scrape ice, or to scrape snow off the surface of ice.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Fast Day 133 December 19 2009 {Detroit Hawks}

Detroit Hawks

Night light, feathery and black
as ravens' wings closed
about the City of Detroit;
the lights that burned were few
and appeared to the naked eye
flicked bics in a concert
of a band
no one could get it on with.

People walk about like code,
some in the night, some of it:
viral and uncertain natures;
spectators at a buddy's fun'ral -
not the centers of attention...
they light a match
at a grave
no one could really dig.

Coney Island diners dream
of chromo lights all bright,
kongou beads and turmeric
and the armpit smell of old
latakia tobacco burnt:
but just flip a switch
on the drum
of neon plastique percussion!

A beer and peanut universe
dumped on the barroom floor,
and never resurrected
until the Days of Cashews
and Heineken on tap:
Paradise Alley
for a buck
in mem'ry's Edgewater park.

I do the buzz and do the flop,
smoke pacifico, too.
my girlfriend is a hideous hag
eating one them coney dogs...
she's my drive-thru kiss tonite!
a bucket's gasoline -
and a match -
my devils' night's desire.

I wish we had a hurricane,
or a lovely flood;
devastating climate change
or tectonic plate head-ons;
acts begetting sympathy,
instead of scorn
and scorch'd-earth
of unkind condemnation!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Fast Day 132 December 12 2009 {Reading Dead Men's Blogs}

Reading Dead Men's Blogs

He was a hiker.
He climbed mountains...
this I see,
speaking in the tongue of Grand Canyons
with just a hint of Denali;
bathed in Sangre de Christo;
married man...
like eating dead man's curry!...
yet I cannot stop:
and floods in Karachi,
visiting Mr. Jinnah's tomb...
dissolution in Calcutta
when Mumbai was yet Bombeeee...
yet nothing;
eternal Hindu Kush.

Walter Cronkite's gone
along with peace of mind
and no one's around to answer his questions
about his cancer...
tv set of unending despair
Mesa Verde of his adopted
home country, the USA,
no Yosemite of regret.
His blog does not increase now...
fallow, unchanging fields...
he climbs the same heights...
visits the same lands...and always
he asks his electric question...

Why me, God? Why a Colorado
of desire, dammed up in that enormous lake
that sediments your blessings in endless strata
and shall I die before the flood?
- this I know - oh, God!
before the freedom flood...
Or shall I fly away?
pic: richalyn marquez
A blog of a trevller from India. He died, yet his blog remains.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Fast Day 131 December 4 2009 {The Winter Always Rings Twice}

The Winter Always Rings Twice

Winter comes, and darkness
rings my doorbell twice;
headlight rhinestones smash
on my windshield...
lava of rain,
magma of ice;
when the heater hasn't heated up,
we drive-by people coloured grey,
dracula wanna-bees drinking
with sharp fingernails
their condensation
of ruinous decay.

Barking dogs keep me awake at all times
of the night, while we sit alone and
view internets that taste like the
absinthe distilled in pockets
of our private parts.
Barking dogs' foul rhymes...

Shooting guns keep me ticked off!
at the split of early morning
while we drink the coffee'd sleep
of insomnia and shattered glass
mixed like sugar
in the cappucino -
nexus of kalashnikov!
pic: catherine jeffrey

Friday, November 27, 2009

Fast 130 November 27 2009 {Cinnamon Girl}

Cinnamon Girl

I had some toast with cinnamon girl,
with a butt tatooed on her rose,
a back tatooed on her owl,
and a gem on the side of her nose.

We had a chat in pumpkin spice
and I met with Bill, her brother,
an artist of the ink himself,
putting "bicep" on his mother.

Who herself was high and dry,
and kept money in her sock;
she lived within an old age home
she called this "dern dry dock"!

Her granny was grafitti
of cul-de-sacking lips;
she carried rum within her purse
and had a monkey on her hips.

We did not toast for pleasure,
we did not toast for joy;
she had a butt upon her rose,
and I was butter boy.

I dunno. where does one begin with this?

I guess everything is pretty straight forward...a lot about "butts".
cul-de-sac, the French for "a dead end" road or whatever, literally means "the butt of a sack", only "cul" can be a bit more vulgar if one wishes referring to the human anatomy.

monkey on her hips     monkey on her back

toast     it's what you think it is....maybe french toast, too.

butter boy      originally, just "but her boy", but it makes an image that can go wild.

...grafitti of cul-de-sacking lips...  

If you know French, you have some idea how appropriate and inappropriate this is!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Fast Day 130 mistake!

Cinnamon Girl

Fast Day 129 November 18 2009 {The Straw Hat}

The Straw Hat

The wind blew your gramma's hat
and it landed where you are;
you put it on and smiled.
It will rain your mother's ring
which will fall in grass nearby;
admire it unbroken.
It will flood your father's boots
and sweep them in the general flood;
dork-like boats of leather!
It will dawn your childrens' smiles
when you garden, and they see
that funny straw hat,
that unbroken ring,
and hear you laugh at waterfalls
and rivers of your artifice!

pic: micmac

a little early this week.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Fast Day 128 November 14 2009 {Going To Imrikeeya}

Going To Imrikeeya

The sun comes up;
it shines like the teeth
behind your eager and hungry smile,
no longer hidden behind your aromatic lips.

I hear the muttering
of my kinswomen sleeping
through the warfare of the long nights,
counting dowries, wond'ring how we shall live.

Men of honor,
just a handful, we are few;
but our camels were strong and brave,
now they wonder where we go without their admiralty.

A new land!
Far beyond Alexandretta:
we shall wear leather shoes, and we shall wear pants,
but shall keep the coarse shirt of Honor hid beneath!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Fast Day 127 November 7 2009 {Waiting On The Bed}

Waiting On The Bed

I wait for my brown-haired lover
like a ship of war resting at the quay,
lolling on  the flaccid waves;
arms behind head,
catching the breeze
within my hair.

She enters like the offshore wind;
cast off and let roam the trim white warship's sprit!
weigh the heavy double anchors!
head her to sea;
biting the bone
of the white waves.

Set sail upon the ocean wide,
seeking Circe's cave of intoxication!
Love's gasping halyards adorned with
naval emblems,
whole gale pennants,
hurricane flags!


offshore wind     blows from the land out to sea

sprit     the bowsprit, a small pole or spar crossing the fore sail diagonally from the mast to the upper aftermost corner, serving to extend the sail. In the picture above, you may see it extending out from the bow.

weigh...the..anchor     raise the anchor.

biting the bone of...waves     the white froth at the bow of a ship underway is often referred to as a "bone", as in the expression: "She (the vessel we are looking at) has a bone in her teeth", meaning the vessel is going fast and possibly in choppy water.

halyard     is the rope of the ship"s rigging upon which flags and pennats are hoisted. It is then the means of inter-ship communication via flag.

Circe     a lady Ulysses met on his travels.

It is a love poem, and - to my mind - is pretty explicit, so I beg pardon from anyone offended.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Fast Day 126 Octrober 31 2009 {Barn Raising}

Barn Raising

The Mandevilla vines do cost
a lot at Bordine's Nursery store;
wait a bit, just bide;
until the month of June
inventories are cleared out,
and you may pick it up for a song!

We took it to the barn-raising
planting it along a trellis,
where it will grow in time
to come, and shade provide
and sweetly cense the winds that
pounce the script of poems unfinished.

Newlyweds' life!, not burdened in debt;
we raise it today, and will it present
a gift to them both
and then to ourselves:
for the orchards of their lives will be
fruit of our determined husbandry!


pounce      a material for drying the ink on written documents back in the old days.

cense         to spread incense.

A view of life as simple and free; instead of debt and mortgages, the community invests time, material, and labor in the lives of the young, knowing that their futures will be the payback with interest.
The view seems totally mythological to us, but recall that we are a generation degraded from a golden age.

pix: lower: house:  Cindy Seigle

Friday, October 23, 2009

Fast Day 125 October 23 2009 {Hanukah, Christmas, and Miracles}

Irrigation Circles on the way to Denver

Hanukah, Christmas, and Miracles

Imagine Hanukkah and Christmas
strung together on a rosary of beads
of endlessly profound onyx black,
one after the other.
Imagine geld for Mom and Dad
and toys for Billy and Sue!
Imagine the magic snows of Medical Denver
that melt off by ten A.M.
as we dreidel: tee-to-tum!
to tinker-toy clinics,
model train hospice,
and doll
and toy soldier
Where menorahs hang,
scissored from
construction paper,
colored in with crayon;
and green paper Christmas trees
with lights circular red
and asterisks of yellow.

Imagine an aeroplane from Detroit
from ancient aerodrome where
people dressed to the nines
and all was holiday flash!
The high and the mighty! -
cruising at thirty thou'
all the way to Magical Denver!
The early ice on the Mississipp'
cuts my barefoot eyes
like sun-light shards
that fell into
the embroidered carpet
of irrigated circle crops -
one after the other -
green laid-work of silk
on the back of Grandma's chair,
that my brother and I
knocked over
onto the floor
on Lakepointe Street...
and no one spoke for 20 minutes,
or more...
did we ever speak again?

De-iced planes
are like candy canes,
sugared in glucose curtain,
of that I am certain:
sweet aeroplanes!

It was a quick trip to Medical Denver,
not caring if I lived or died.
Go right down into those green circles
and we
would be
always together
for eternity!

Get up at three A.M.
drive to the airport;
but before that,
decorate the Christmas tree ahead
of time so it will be ready when we return
on Christmas Eve
or so;
but before that, I bought geld  for the god-kids,
and forgot it;
melting in my pockets,
messing up my cashmere...
but before we did that,
we couldn't imagine how sick she was!
No...couldn't imagine anymore
but now we do.


Geld is Yiddish for "gold". Hanukah geld was gold for the kids, chocolate wrapped in gold foil.
If you do not disburse it to the children, it stays in your suit pockets with tragic results.

the candelabra for Hanukah

a top with four faces, marked N -nichts, G-ganz, H-halb, and S-stell ein

the word "teetotum" used as a song or invocation. A teetotum is a top, of which the dreidel is an example.
Edgar Allen Poe had a story of a madhouse where an inhabitant spun in his frenzy like a "teetotum".

a type of embroidery
Here we're talking about a chair with laid-work decoration on the front and back.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Fast Day 124 October 17 2009 {Venus Rising in Aspen Grove}

Venus Rising in Aspen Grove

We took the road to Aspen Grove,
and turned off where the interstate ends:
where the funds ran out
or where the vision stopped
like the Cinema Palace when
the projectionist fell asleep.

The earth and sky come together
here, as close as spit -
and the misty net of moisture
cools the fevered lands
where sticks and kindling
once were houses.

Inside the brims of our white hats
we are circumpolar stars
in a time lapse photograph;
we cut through heaven
like quantum mandoline
picking a steel guitar.

Wild trail, ocean trail:
prison of the morning sun;
warden of the misty glen,
saving all time's elements together
for Venus to rise up again
before we Hummer home.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Fast Day 123 October 9 2009 {My Own Private Falluja}

My Own Private Falluja

Cleave the Sea with a sword!
or pierce the Mountain's black basalt heart
with a lance that's stoutly thrown!
Spit and douse the fiery Sun
and light the passion of the eunuch Moon!-
with tender lies uniquely told!
The lies of love, unnumbered,
rise from my body's parts like steam and fog! -
burning like Falluja furnace! -
Like a cigarette whose smoke
I gulp down like Ramadan-starved men
who break the fast
with food...
with drink...
with sweets and more.

Bodily forms from afar!
I sense the Boundaries of my affection! -
their circumference I invite.
Yet my eyes are empty;
your face has set into the West, and has
not yet arisen in the East!
Scatter the treasures of
Byzantium with phosphorous white delight!
Count the gold as sand! -
without value...
without hope...
without your jewelled arm!

written with more passion than clarity.
it is filled with desire and anxiety.
any meaning expressable in words escapes me.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Fast Day 122 October 3 2009 {Ramses Entreats His Coy Lover}

Temple of Abu Simbel

At Abu Simbel, Ramses Entreats His Coy Lover

Before I ever saw thee sitting there,
I sensed your presence,
the sandy ore of your chestnut eyes
that fall on me
like a meteorite falls
in the waste lands: fire and iron!
So much has changed; it was so long ago
that nations bent their dusty heads
and obeyed on bended knee...
They prayed to Great Rameses!
Ruler of all you survey!
I forget. I forget the fragile thread
of our lives together...
O, when the ibis took wing!
O, when the figs grew in the Fayyum!
O, when first I sought to break the gold
plate inlaid with lapis that lay glacier-like
upon your breast, I panted as Anubis
and hunted the fierce brown kernels
that lay symmetrical
upon that ivory ground!
A thousand years I wait in pain,
and then a thousand more
until you come up the Nile...
until Sirius runs his course...
until Geb desires Nut again
and heavens and earth combine
your beauty to create -
beauty so fleeting -
impossible to carve into this stone!
Let me be a servant of immortal Isis, and
I shall sweep away the flowing sea of sand
from the bourne of your cruel resting place!
O, come to me in spring,
Daughter of the Heavens!

Rameses was the pharoah who constructed the temple of Abu Simbel in Egypt.
The Fayyum was an area in the Egyptian desert anciently and modernly irrigated and bearing fruit.
Geb and Nut were the god and goddess of the earth and sky. Their embrace brings forth the world.
Sirius is the Dog Star.

Whereas Rameses could capture his grandeur and power within the huge carved temple for all eternity, he could not capture the beauty of his lover, whom he awaits endlessly.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Fast Day 121 September 26 2009 {At the Morning of Consciousness Cafe}

At The Morning of Consciousness Cafe

Kin I fix ya up with sumpthin' ta drink?
and a glass ah water...
all waters? Huh?
I don't like chemistry
may I milk fer my coffee?
Yeah, Hon.

Ready ta order? Huh?
Ya ready?
eggs...flapjacks 'n buckwheat.
Warm this up fer ya? Coffee? over cup like a retract
thunderdome over the stadium of life...huh?

Are ya still workin' on that? That concept there?
Still workin' on it?
Worryin' around the plate
like a dog with a bone?

no more coffee...please...two hands over cup
and the waitstaff pours it anyway
hot upon yer hands
you yell and
everyone wakes up, like, they had been
asleep and dreaming in a tocata state
and fugue...huh?
staring with wide eyes.
the tip is a tenth and a half o' that
and then a bit
added to the pre-tax subtotal...
and you think it's such precision,
and you think you got it knocked,
and you think no one has keyed your car
within the parking lot!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Fast Day 120 September 19 2009 {Ghazelles}


O, delight of the eyes!
dancing in the court of the sun!
dancing to the lyre of enchantment!
my bewildered thought...
my plain and simple passion...
beating my heart like a dhow upon
the Red Sea's storm!
the dynamite of touch!
razzia of devotion!
melt slowly...
into the ghazelle's soft, wet
tender muzzle!


razzia - a desert raid by desert tribes

Friday, September 11, 2009

Fast Day 119 September 11 2009 {Winslow Homer Sky}

Winslow Homer Sky

She paints where Winslow Homer sat,
looking out to cyan sea's green pelagic vastiness,
through mullions deftly drawn upon a net
of highlight cedars, and glass panes
filled with carandache soul;
dreams the waking dreams of watercolor
and wonders where her brush has gone...
where could she have put it?
Her daughter will soon be wed...
where could she have put it?
The outboard motor's chug is heard
as the punt swings into view,
blinding sun, shooting flowers
on plates of translucent chlorophyll;
her husband returning home,
clothed in sunshine harlequin and clown,
and she dreams of oil paints, layering
thick coats of patina
over umbral background
as he slips into the sea.
I was early with this, and I meant to save it, but Blogger had different ideas, and I just did not want to waste time editing, so there it is - one week early.
I wrote the poem yesterday for my wife's birthday.
The persons in the poem could be Penelope and Odysseus, or Georgia O'Keefe and Ansel Adams, or unknown wonders of life.
carandache - Russian word for pencil, also a brand name of crayon: caran d'ache.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Fast Day 118 September 4 2009 {On Watching TV}

On Watching TV

A filigree day on the filigree earth,
bound up in filigree and ribbon!
At home in a fragile Universe...
sit back and kick off a gaze at the TV
shining like a million crystal rhinestones
thrown upon a rug
of a garden
within a courtyard
of a palace
in Damascus
irrigated by streams with a pentagon
and their rest punctuated by armies
marching on the edge of chaos.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Fast Day 117 August 29 2009 {Happy Anniversary}

Happy Anniversary

do not tarry long in your lofty house,
trust in the fleetness of your love:
glory in your splendor of union,
hold high your heads - exult!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Fast Day 116 August 22 2009 {Tough Guy Poetry}

Tough Guy Poetry

I didn't get to sleep,
reading Ferlinghetti
and Bukowski, feeling that my love
was like two-buck chuck:
a dog from hell
that pissed upon the silks!

Silks! especially the moiré!
or watered silks and wall hangings...
watered! - or damask for grander things...
before the common and mundane
availibility of cotton
spelled silken doom...and washable chintz!

I forgot the dog
and dreamed of Brighton Pavilion,
ladies in silk, French and Egyptian;
the smell of silk against
skin that salivates an odor
of erotic chinoiserie!

My mind is not Frisco Bay,
nor the poet's urban garrett;
it's absinthe in my body's pockets,
the sphinx's head and clawed feet
like mahogany and rosewood
for the Prince Regent !


trying to write like Bukowski - or Ferlinghetti -
I end up dreaming of Regency furniture...
silks, carved sphinxes, tables with lions' feet.

"absinthe in my body's pockets" may be
a sweat from love's exertion...maybe not.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Fast Day 115 August 14 2009 {Da}


My grandfather came from his grave
sweat dripping from his hairy chest
taking great gulps of air as if
the air was Guiness on tap;
he stood in the rain and smiled
at me a smile so fair
and faery of enchantment - light
from amethyst eyes
and onyx finger joints
I gave
to him
my grandsire.

So it was ye who came a-singing
like a great powerful piper, Orpheus
and Cuchulain - give me but another
toke of whiskey's air
and find me one of Erin's fair
daughters - red headed with delirium
with green eyes
and ruby red finger nails
that I
will love
again, grandson!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Fast Day 114 August 8 2009 {Kick-Ass Mary}

Kick-Ass Mary

How great the pain that pierced your heart,
Mother, when they raised Him on the cross;
ceaseless furrows of your tears record the
tsunami of your loss!
Hammer and spear, thorns and scourge,
all life from your soul did purge?

"My pain blinded everything else, I could not stand;
I admit that in my pain I cried a few
tears and screamed in my deep despair... softened
by the mound of stones I threw!
from Roman heads came blood, their cries attest:
'Get that Jew bitch! That Jewish terrorist!' "

the Virgin Mary is usually depicted as silently suffering during the passion of Jesus. However, she fought for her kids like a soldier, and drew the blood of killers. She still fights for us.
(as I explain in a comment, I tired of Mary being portrayed as Our Lady of Perpetual Victimization.)

Friday, July 31, 2009

Fast Day 113 July 31 2009 {Too Many Co]ats...

Too Many Coats, Too Many Colors
When I went to see the Lord Buddha,
he was appearing in Denver,
so I walked one thousand miles -
and I thought, ah! I shall be as new and simple
as a new-born Amish, and wear a wide brimmed hat
and use no electricity
and ignore the internet
and salt my speech with words archaic...

When I went to see Jesus
he was fishing on the sea
so I walked the one thousand miles
and swam the last eleven, like an iron man competition
or triathlon, as young as when I was young indeed
and wore a Speedo
and acted selfless
and spoke in parables and shy smiles...

When I went to hear the Prophet,
and when I took a taxi
to Union Square to hear the Reb Akiva
I spoke Arabic and Hebrew like a real dākhil
standing by the Western wall or standing up above,
and wore a kafiya
as I strutted,
and a fine high shtreimel...

And when I arrived, I was too late.
Weighed down with the right clothes,
the correct ideas, and impostures of "holy" folk,
I had imperceptibly slowed to a crawl
as I dragged endless chains of beliefs
behind me across the desert,
raising a cloud of dust
into the sky,
as high,
as high,
as Hubble's high!

(Arab) dakhil: Arab citizen of Israel
shtreimel: a fur hat

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Fast Day 112 July 25 2009 {Living and Dying}

Living and Dying

six o'clock we eat;
then play cards;
someone on the tv
screams at us.

a giant man enters, talks to me.
I do not know him, yet he
seems to know me.
there is a vague aura of blame.

hey, dad! how's things on the home front?
you still playin' euchre with...what's her name?
the blond gal...

not bad, not bad.
and the blond gal's dead;
they cut off her leg...then the solar
umbilicus tied to the sun
that gives us walk!

get you anything? no?
I went by your old place.
it's still there.
same place.

except, he says, except
they painted the front door
and tuck pointed the brick
and put in a new sidewalk
and...oh, just about changed
everything inside out!
and there's a new family
down the street, some asian
types, I think.

six o'clock we eat;
then play cards;
someone on the tv
screams at us.

beyond tv screams, it is too quiet,
even when the giant talks:
at my house, there is a kitchen counter
to be made spotless,
and a carpet to be vacuumed,
and chores to be done
and there's a whole harvest of life!
...and life is just that, cleaning
up the mess of breath,
the junk of love,
the jetsam of a child,
and seeing god within
small, small desires
that are created
in 7 days!
picture: habitacion par daniel r

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Fast Day 111 July 18 2009 Xinjiang {Susan from Xinjiang}

Susan from Xinjiang, Central Asia

My saffron beauty -
spicy, spicy is your skin!
hot, hot - a Xinjiang meal!
I will prepare, I skewer the meat,
and turn it slowly on my spit! -
my spit above your fire!

Your yellow skin -
tangy, tangy turmeric
I lie disconsolate until you come
to serve me up my ardent food!
a juicy pomegranate spiced
with lemon makes my mouth pucker!

Your hot tongue
burns me like a fragrant candle!
cinnamon pepper ginger flames
dancing on my lighted wick!
Xinjiang meal is very filling -
soon after I hunger again!
pix: alan1954

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Fast Day 110 July 10 2009 {Desperate Summer}

Desperate Summer

the beat
on the street
and the heat
on my feet
If we go to the pool
where we can get cool...
and if I jump aroun'
and play like a clown
and go swimming
in your heart,
in your love...
that burns me to shout...
would you throw me out?
just askin', honey.

the train
in my brain
make me insane,
fallin' like rain...
and pomegranates to drink
leads me to think
of red silken dresses
and waterfall tresses
of your scent
of your heat
my rain wets and dries,
all over my eyes.
just askin', honey.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Fast Day 109 July 3 2009 {Birthday: Going 60}

Birthday: Going 60

When you're going sixty, I go shotgun.
Sixty is a parcel of years.
It's no time
for training wheels...
you drop those off
just like you drop
the sexy lies,
the videotapes,
of God
of country
of what is good and
what is bad.
I'll go shotgun if there ain't no potholes.
Going sixty once
Jack Wilson hit
a pothole big as a canyon:
when Stan look
he sees an empty hole;
when I look
I see king sun, queen moon -
maybe going sixty ain't so bad -
if you see the potholes comin' !
I'll ride shotgun, but
I'm no hood ornament!
no streamline, quicksilver babe!
no indian chief,
no german runes!
naked as a motorcycle,
streaking as the wind,
going sixty ain't so bad
when you litter the road
with your past sins:
I drop 'em like dead cigarette butts
and watch 'em tumble in the
rear view mirror !
Going sixty ain't so bad
Did I say I'll ride shotgun?

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Fast Day 108 June 27 2009 {Will and Testament}

Lace and Ribbon Heaven - vantiani on flickr

Will And Testament

If my voice should die on land,
take it to the shore;
fire it on a viking strand,
scatter ashes on the sea
with a broadcast quick and carelessly.

If my voice die on a mount,
take it to the valley plain,
and erect a strong redoubt
there circle bold megaliths upon,
as ancient treasures to Agamemnon!

If my voice die in ocean trench
raise it from that deep abyss;
stretch it on the littoral bench,
like a whale whose youth misspent
seeks Leviathan and will repent.

If my voice dies in the air,
then do not cry
and do not care
for I am but a step away
from lace, from ribbon...and eternitay!


strong ... megaliths - great blocks of stone, like that circle of stones in England - I forget the name - ah, Stonehenge. One megalithic monument in Greece was misidentified for years as the Treasury of Atreus - for which name I substitue Agamemnon, who led the Greeks against Troy.

Leviathan - I pretend the Leviathan of Genesis is a name for God among the Whales.

lace and ribbon - as I approached the end of the poem, everything became very Emily Dickinson and "lace" and "ribbon" not only seemed appropriate for her, they seemed a bit obscure as were many of her images. Obscure or not, it is still obvious they refer to a beautiful heaven.
I found a photo by googling "lace" and "heaven" on the first try, so it may be an image and metaphor more common than I think.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Fast Day 107 June 21 2009 {Fathers' Day}


Fathers' Day

I had to write a weekly poem for my blog;
having gone to my parents' for Fathers' Day,
I had risen early to write my poem;
no concentration.

My father had gotten up at four o'clock,
and he was in pain, and he felt discomfort,
I heard my mother say my name and suggest: think?

Reminding me of that year before of ills,
year of Katrina, we beat a doctors' path
back and forth to hospitals and procedures...
unending hallways.

Climaxing in iliac aneurysm,
and the first doc said he is old, let him pass
with what dignity remains; he is old.
second doc the charm!

The poem died and lay unresurrected;
we spent Fathers' Day without him, our father,
who lay in a fitful, dizzy bed with chills;
gnawing at our joy.

It was the flu, and Monday morn he was up
and feeling much better, thank you, and thank God!
and by noon, he was his old self once again:
making me wonder...

For he revisited those old, old complaints -
what's wrong with Obama, the neighbors, ...and us!
and we suspect the rosy dawn now changing,
Oh, his former self!

And this is human, oh, all, too, too human!
to rise so high, see so far, be so brilliant!
to spend to maintain our body illusion...
souls remain with chills.


I was going to stitch together a the remnants of my previous poem from the weekend, and append a note on why I was late getting it up - my parents' have no computers or internet stuff.
So as I booted up this morn, I thought to combine the two things. So here it is. It is a first draft, and took exactly 52 minutes to cobble together....and it shows it.

However, what is interesting is the use of the Sapphic verse form - at least, I think it's interesting. Sappho was one brainy gal.

Anyway, as I thought of doing this particular thing at 4:30 am, I also thought, why not use haiku? Then I immediately flashed on a potentially long poem of haiku, which would be a tower of small objects ready to fall down any moment.
So, why not Sapphics?
The traditional Sapphic verse is two lines of eleven syllables, followed by a third which starts with eleven and adds on five more at the end...for good measure. For my purposes, I wanted something like a haiku...only I used three lines of 11 syllables, then a fourth line of 5. The fourth line should stand alone and sort of make a commentary of what's gone before - much like the third line in a haiku.

Two examples of Sapphics:

So the goddess fled from her place, with awful
Sound of feet and thunder of wings around her;
While behind a clamour of singing women
Severed the twilight.

Allen Ginsberg
Red cheeked boyfriends tenderly kiss me sweet mouthed
under Boulder coverlets winter springtime
hug me naked laughing & telling girl friends
gossip til autumn

notice that Ginsberg's easily transforms into my version of the Sapphic - if we scan it like:

hug me naked laughing & telling girl friends ;
gossip til autumn

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Redraft Fast Day 106 {Head like Seaweed Braids}

I did a re-make of the previous week's poem.
If anyone has time or inclination, let me know which form of the poem you prefer: original (1) or this re-worked version (2).

When My Head Was Like Seaweed Braids

When falls the rain, I join - I shriek from fear of heights and spires;
we overshoot misty tarmacs of
aerodromes of clouds; we stream on, pell-mell, to the lake,
like the water-pals we are!

When fire-flies come out, I start my motor up with ardor
and burn the black sheets of night, chasing
all girls and boys back to roasting marshmallows on the beach,
to bon-fires richly burning!

When they go a-fishing, I cry: beware my finny friends!
beware wood lips painted tawdry red:
meretricious bait! for it will make you sometime soon
a deadly trophy on a wall!

I gossip with crickets, and swap stories with the buzzing bee,
and sat up all night with the merry,
drunken lark of morn, with slurried voice, who sang his song:
all top gallants to the wind!

Dear Life! did I hold on for, when I had split and cleaved
the head of grass! lithesome, silky seed!
blue and green gramineous escarpment, from whose top
I madly rappelled to earth!

When city-side, I do not rise, I cannot freely fly
as naked as fire-flies burning
scrub, and till, and bush. In city-side no one sees
my glow - oh, Lord! - my glow!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Fast Day 106 June 14 2009 {When My Head Was Like Seaweed Braids}

When My Head Was Like Seaweed Braids

When falls the rain, I join in, shrieking from my fear of heights;
and we bounce off the quilted hills, and tumble down
and run pell-mell to the lake, laughing
as only water-pals could!

When the fire-flies come out, I start up my motor and ardor
and burn the black sheets of night, chasing
all the girls and boys back to our glowing
marshmallow bon-fire!

When they go a-fishing, I call out: beware my finny friends!
Do not believe that meretricious bait!
It'll make you a deadly
trophy on a wall!

The river reflects the sun with a million mirrors
and each one tells a tale to my frantic eyes,
hanging out the car's window
panting from delight.

I did gossip with the crickets, and swapped many stories
with the buzzing bee; sat up drinking all night
with the merry, sodden lark who set
all top gallants to the wind

In high water I swam over the submerged county road
with the silver bass; we laughed at the tarmac
beneath us, from dust to dust
and water to water.

I held on for dear life when I split and cleaved the head
of grass when I was a lithe and silky seed!
From that blue-green height
I rappelled to earth!

In the city, I cannot bend and I cannot blow, I cannot freely fly
naked as a lightning bug; it's not where everyone can see
and know: there's that desire that - Lordy! -
makes him glow now!
It do make him glow!

top gallants to the wind = drunk, as in four sheets to the wind.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Fast Day 105 June 5 2009 {Works and Days: Autumn}

Works And Days: Autumn

orchard, apple trees, blueberry and gowan everywhere one looks.
cordgrass and big blue stem, queen anne's tatting
the thousand blooms launched in Troy
and given to Achilles;
but he would none of it,
and went in exile amidst the general camp
and only brave Hector's blood could call him forth to fight.

of apples: the cole, the pippin, alexander and hawthornden
codlin, the hoary morning and the pearmain
tell us the date and time of year
when the builders moved
and destroyed the one square mile
of reinette land...of rows of trees...the great die-off
of the species of the land with a sign as sure as iridium.

It was just before the bottom fell from out the housing boom,
and left a scar of land, untimely ripped like MacDuff,
from the nurturing mother's love;
yawning between arid hummocks
until that future age and small perchance
when Birnam Wood does resurrect and clamorous comes
to Tel Aviv - as we sit blinking, blinking, in our cage of glass.

I miss the fruits globular, the oval, and apricots of sweet
and bitter kernels both, and the wild hyssops
tall as royalty, wearing original blue
and fleur-de-lys
wild camomile, costmary, chive-
rough diamonds undiscovered - like the value
of all human beings, cut down like trees, crushed like weeds.

© 2009


generally, a meditation on the destruction of large areas of land during the housing boom. Just before the end, there was an area one square mile destroyed nearby. I can never drive by there anymore. Nothing so far has been built, and it is an open wound as well as retribution.

there was an apple orchard at one time, and the names of many autumnal apples are used.
when I was younger, people used to tell me that Inuit peoples had a couple hundred words for snow and ice in its various forms. what I did not realize was that English speakers have hundreds of words, not only for ice and snow, but for all the things which grow.

{gowan} Scots word meaning wild flowers

{ Achilles } a reference to Achillea Millefolium, or yarrow, and sort of an old-timey invocation to the muses who guided Homer's song of the Iliad.

{ iridium } the element marking the KT geologic boundary which is part of the argument establishing the great die-offs of that age as due to a comet strike.

{ MacDuff } Scots thane who defeated MacBeth; we speak of his birth by Caesarean.

{...arid hummocks } a tasteless pun on something of Horace.

{Tel Aviv } where Adolf Eichmann was tried.

{ last stanza } all mankind has value - none are to be considered as collateral damage.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Fast Day 104 May 30 2009 {Miracle of the Loaves}

Miracle of the Loaves

I didn't expect pizza with
crazy bread, too -
too many carbs I think
but the doorbell rang, hot 'n ready
and there was delivery guy
with oven mitts,
a determined campanologist
he rang and rang until I came
to the door and asked what number
he was looking for?
and it was mine
but I had not ordered pizza,
and certainly
not pizza with more bread aside.
I shut
the door
and he started to change ring
Double Plain Bob Minor.
So I opened again, and it was
like an angel there, who said
and said yes, no pizza -
and there was no bread -
and I don't owe him nuthin'...
he wanted to mark the hours
at the monastery, when
I looked around, and I was indeed
before the refectory door, and
heard a lector reading.
So I said yes.
And today he rang Matins, Nones,
and Terce - and tomorrow,
and all our futures.
The pizza never gives out, and when
I turn quick like I see monks
running to hide themselves
within my pantry...but the
garlic bread replenishes itself:
strange miracle of the loaves.

© 2009


Matins, nones, and Terce = 3 of the daily prayers of the RC Church observed in monasteries.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Fast Day 103 May 23 2009 {Blind Michael and Sidi Mahmoud}

Blind Michael and Sidi Mahmoud

Before the shrine of Sidi Mahmoud
blind Michael sat,
forest clearing,
mountains of the Lebanon.

Each pilgrim dropped a coin
into his bowl;
pleasing to God!

Blind Michael said thank you!
munificent one!
oh, prince of gold!
oh, daughter of grace!
father of beneficence!

But when Joey and I came with
our aunt to the Sidi Mahmoud shrine:
falling coins,
flashing sun,
grass green in a magic circle...
thanks, oh, young hero of the clash
of arms
and rider of the neighing of stallions!
That was to Joey, and my aunt did not
like that name,
never having known blind Michael to wax
so eloquent over alms.

Then the rest of our coins,
I let my small coin fall:
Oh, Madeed! thanks!
Madeed al Halm....
far dreamer!
dreamer of welfare,
dreamer of far away dreams!
falling through the air
to bless us,

My aunt gathered us and ran
all the way down the mount
and locked us in
the house.
The neighbors ladies swam into
view, within their pools of tea
and gossiped about mad Michael
and what madness all was that?

But Joey to the war did go,
and heard the calls of horses
and the clash of arms;
and I became a dreamer...
and both of us had to die
before we found our tongues
within that bush of ghosts
that spreads far beyond the creek
at the bottom of the gully
beyond the meadow of our youth.

© 2009


Sidi Mahmoud = a man named Mahmoud at whose tomb prayers are answered.
before entering, coins are given as alms to the poor.

The poor man bestows blessings upon all who give alms, but my aunt thought he went overboard one summer, when we were visiting.

Madeed al halm = literally: stretched out or extended (of) dream. It is not an easy translation.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Fast Day 102 May 17 2009 {The Final Video}

The Final Video

when Aunt Serena passed away
she had a video eye sunk
within her memorial stone,
which played the flash video she
had made years before, to everyone
who visited her grave, like an
ancient mariner's tale:
hello, there! I am in Beulah
and free from all my worldly pain!

it went on and on to all who cared.
And after that I came to visit
and when I darked her grave, she said
hello, nephew! and I ran like sixty
'cause i knew there was no" nephew" in
that flash memory video em-
bedded in that memorial stone!
I sat a long time at the river
to see if it were truly cool
beneath the willow trees, but
I crept back to Serena's grave and
she welcomed me again!
she said the dead are come again
to help their kids in times of stress, there
is no cutting of the line of life, the
lines of nurture...and here they are!
all your ancestors standing by,
gathered by the river here,
whose name is "runner", and who
goes to the "great-water" nearby;
the first stand of poplars to our south
is the "wide-eyes-gang", and they are
"height", "crest", "great-lament", and "bends-in-wind".
Wow, I thought, does God almighty
have a name for everything, for every
blade of grass: stick, shoot, sharp, tib, and scrim!
You'd have to be nuts to remember them all!
And, she said, to the north, how truly grand
the pines; the first is "clotho" ,
"the spinner" of fate, who spins
the thread of mankind's days; and who gave
birth in time to the middle pine,
"lachesis", or "the tailor", who measures
the length of of every thread; then
the third tree "atropos" who cuts the thread,
"atropos": "who-will-not-turn-aside"
in any wind or urging.
She said all named beings would
spring to our defense.
But what could go wrong, my friend? thought I
Cousin Joey was getting prepared
to visit Phantom Fury in Falluja, but
that was like shooting fish
in a barrel of water, wasn't it?
Was it not 2004? What predatory drone
was there that sought us out, rich as we were
and immense as is our proud tradition?
What had been spun,
what had been measured,
and what will be cut? what suits of many-colors?

Beulah land = heaven

In ancient Greek mythology, the Fates were Clotho, who spun the thread of life, Lachesis who measured it, and Atropos who cut it.

Phantom Fury was the second and final battle of Falluja.
After all the talk of Falluja, you probably have never yet heard that it was anciently Pumbedita, which was the site of great Jewish learning and where the Babylonian Talmud was formed.
"The days grow hot, oh, Babylon! 'Tis cool beneath thy willow trees!"

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Fast Day 101 May 9 2009 {Mothers' Day 2009}

Mothers' Day 2009

Mothers teach us how to pray before we
go to bed, kneeling beside white sheets
and using the currency of our innocence
to try to set the world upright again,
and save us all from atom bombs
and things that go bump
in the night.

Mothers teach us how to dress before we
go outside - we who want to naked run
and throw our clothes in a thoughtless pile -
she buttons up the surrounding collars;
and orders the chattering teeth
of shameless zippers
to subdue!

Mothers bake yet are not bakers; mothers
heal yet are not doctors; they open eyes
to art, many never having held a brush;
design pillow forts, yet aren't architects.
the grace of God they
dispense, yet are
not priests.

Mothers are an ancient holy order,
taken vows of silence, crying why? but
never speaking, door keepers of God's grace
that beats upon our shut monastery door:
she bids enter! the divine
visitor to wash
and eat!

Mothers sit shiva upon their dreams and
never let us know the shipwreck of desires
they had for the princes and princesses
of their fruitful bodies, for mothers yet
may resurrect the hopes and dreams
of mankind grown old:
young harts leaping!

young harts leaping:
from the Song of Solomon.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Reprint for Levine {Culinary Succoth}

This is a reprint from Oct 2008 for Mr. Levine, who asked that I reprint it, since he could not go back and find it himself. You may be familiar with Mr. Levine, whom I refer to as der Engel Levine - a reference to a Bernard Malamud short story.

As a reprint, it is not this week's poem.

Culinary Sukkoth

We had a gingerbread sukkah,
resplendent in design;
the gum drops were from Wal-Mart,
the inspiration, mine.

Our harvest was enormous,
of wheat and tares combined;
gathering in by hands full,
hushing them while we bind.

Some we threw in fire,
some we threw in graves;
some we cast on water,
and some in silos save.

Some we kept in sugar,
to keep and crystallize;
to roof it as our skach,
and eat it with our eyes!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Fast Day 100 May 1 2009 {May Day}

May Day

It's Lady Day again! Come Spring!
Come all ye patience handsel blooms!
Bring forcing gardens' flow'ring quince!
Bring hot house bulb and lilies, too!
Bring Holy Mary's crown again,
a flow'ring diadem - come Spring!

The cold and rains of April past;
come unnamed flowers all!
together with your namèd kin:
the rose, the daffodil, and pink,
and sweet those fragrant dandies in
the lawns so newly green;
this crown of May will last!

May God Almighty bless us all!
Conserve us safe from harm!
And all the Saints step forth! Attest!
conjoined in joyful choirs and lit-
anies assembling, breaking forth in song!
Pray save us from our Fall!

Mom Mary strides forth like Orpheus
and takes hell's subway ride
to stand beside her faithful folk
in Time's still darkling fields of War,
to nurse the bleeding, wounded souls to health;
restore the World to peace renown!


a gift or reward; here a reward for enduring winter; a Scots word, I believe.
Sometimes I use it with the sense of mitzvah, or a blessing: a divine reward.

Orpheus descended even into Hades to rescue his beloved Eurydice.
So does Mary hazard all for her children.

The meter is odd and seems to change, the 5th lines lengthening in the last two stanzes.
I'm not sure why I did this. It's pretty much still hot from the oven, though.

Today I was helping my father with his gardening, a chore which he makes exhausting because the plan is in his head, but it comes out piece by piece, and there is a lot of walking about and talking about the ravages of winter, the harm the snow plows have done, the water level of the river, and so on.
So I have to pray for patience and humility, being by nature impatient and demanding.
While walking under the cherry tree, it dawned on me today was May Day. I stopped walking and he looked at me. He asked me what I was doing. I said I was praying to Our Lady, because it was May Day, and I had forgotten. I forget what the prayer was. I just stopped and prayed something or somehow - I don't really analyze it - then started back walking.

He is a church goer, but I don't think he's used to people suddenly stopping and praying.
When we had finished, I started to think about the poem for this week, and this came flying by - a handsel or reward for being a nice guy.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Fast Day 99 April 25 2009 {Scooby Doo Lunch Box}

Scooby Doo Lunch Box

My father was a steamer trunk,
my mother a valise;
and I was born a duffel bag
my mother back-packed about,
fed me fat on shoestrings
and white wine with soles.

My grandfather a garment bag,
Granny a bargello
carpet bag from the Civil War;
They were at rest beneath
a Pullman suitcase stone
with their names inscribed.

I met a cosmetic case,
so hard, so fast, so zip!
shiny as unbroken mirrors;
she had a silver lining
and a special treatment
to make her spill resistant!

I played loose and free
with a black portfolio
whose locking envelope flap
she'd open only for my curiosity;
and then she'd say do not
write that check you cannot cash!

I wanted to be a club bag,
so louche, so beat, so hip;
I sang McCarthy's Mare and bade
McCue to stop the wilfull horse -
my heart was spinning like a top-
and the devil in wheels behind!

I ended up an appartchik
briefcase full of pulp
and papers better left unread.
I'm folded in half and fastened, then
unfastened - ouch! my velcro eyes!
velcro lusts! and all my velcro members!

My God is a matreyushka doll
layered inside itself;
an enigma wrapped like mystic teas
in tins from Cathay's labyrinths;
a puzzle carried in a humble hod
all the way from old county Kerry.

Quickly, quickly, Oh! to be
a faience colored thimble
upon the prick of noon! Not too late,
not too's time for lunch,
and peanut butter and J. on bread
from my lunchbox with pix of Scooby-Doo!

I woke up this way. So I wrote it all down.
Maybe it related to the tea parties of the clamorous hordes.
Maybe not.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Fast Day 98 April 18 2009 {Jimmy Tomorrow}

Jimmy Tomorrow

The morning news on the cable,
plasters over everything like snot
or whatever nauseating lubricant
of economic theory
foots the bills
Conservative, bleached
blond bombshells sashay on screen
like Jessica Rabbit
and cover the news like cocoa butter
sunscreens with a rating of 15 or higher:
tea parties in Texas, and
who is Barney Frank?, and
criticise Obama, and
asian markets overnight, and
schemes and scams of
the poor and
the homeless, and
- for a breath she tarries-
another bank closing, and
the total is 25 for the year...and...
I go and shower and shave.
I don't need no news no more.
I feel which way
the wind is blowing...

..for when my daughter announced
she would wed her long-time friend,
I thought:
at last!
for just as this is
no country for old men,
it is also true that they need
to be
to each other...
especially now when
I measure time
from the engagement ring
that would have cost thirty K-
paid for by the timely sale
of an extra Jaguar he had hidden
against that rainy-day when
he'd absolutely need that Jag!-
to now, when they sense they'll need
no such extravagance...
and from house hunting for a place
nearby her mother here, where he would
would ask his boss to transfer him...
to apartment hunting in Capitol City:
first two bedrooms,
and then but one...
no chance of transfer,
since they let other people go...
and placed four hundred on forlough;
he has to stay on to do the work of four...and
they're wond'ring about the honeymoon
and that problematic
Caribbean cruise.

It is a commonplace
one's parents are perfect saints
until that time when you discover
that they are no saints!...
they're not even
very good at Santa Claus
or the Easter Bunny.
And this is growing up.
And growing up can be sad,
as sad as I
who watches my baby and her guy
slowly learn that the stories
about princes and princesses
standing upon a peak in Darien,
surveying the Pacific and Atlantic
wondering at the promises of America!
find the tooth fairy an old sea hag,
find Santa drunk with stolen loot,
and see Easter Bunny porno
on stage and screen and internet.

So I finished shaving and went to my job,
part time gambler and player
of black jack at the casino...I
got a system that can't lose.
When I get a bit ahead,
I'll go back and ask the boss
for my job back, and
they'll be glad to see me.
I'll stop by the cemetery
on my way
and visit my parents' grave...
now that
....spring is here,
( a short staccato of sobs)
I'll follow the horses, yeah,man!

Jimmy Tomorrow knows the truth, but lives the pipe dream where he pretends to believe that things will straighten around, and he'll see his grandkids. But it is a dream that ends when he hears the sounds of slots, and lights of the Big Casino hit his optic nerve!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Fast Day 97 April 11 2009 {Ulysses}

Ulysses Coming Upon His Old Dog, Argos


i am standing by the water's edge,
here i am,
here i am.
i am waiting for the sun to rise,
here i am,
here i am.
i am feeling the wet upon my feet,
it is not cold and I do not wish to move,
for she said she would find me here;
and here i am,
here i am.

i have been gone one thousand years
but here i am,
here i am.
paler than the dewy grass,
here i am,
here i am.
i shall leap into her arms
like a hungry sailor shipwrecked
jumps into discovered isles;
there i'll stay,
there i'll stay.

the wind has dried my naked body
where i stand,
where i stand.
more a reed than any man,
where i stand,
where i bend.
i shall go now to my palace
and seek that scarlet tunic that i love
and let it warm me thoroughly!
where we lay,
where we lay.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Fast Day 96 April 4 2009 {Aunt Serena's Temple at Deir al Bahri}

Aunt Serena's Temple
at Deir Al-Bahri

Hatshepsut, she, egyptian pharoah
built a house of wilderness, a temple
like a folded protein, laced left-handedly
into the cliffs of father-mother Nile,
into the red face of the desert.

Ladies with eyes kohl-laden,
danced with intensity necrotic
at her father's wake; and when he was laid
to rest, all the sands of all the deserts
buried him and she, lady of barriya.

Serena honeymooned on the Nile,
lived in Shepheard's and loved erotic;
ate fustuq in the year nineteen forty-eight
while the fellaheen discovered
hidden temples of long dead queens.

Slim girls and passage to Egypt!
where flows the Nile's aortic
water from the highly placed heart of Ifriqiya!
and sail a felucca above the cataract
to visit at Hatshepsut's palace!

Now she descends into oblivion
and becomes an Alzheimer stuffed
toy to plop without much thought into a chair,
to sit all day, slightly askew,
slightly atilt, within an endless hall.

The hieroglyphs of temples!
writ large on limestone walls!
Serena now reverses the archaeology of time
and deconstructs and un-construes the sacred
words, reburying the Temple.

Where has Abu Simbel gone?
Drag the Nile for poor Philae!
All drowned, all buried, like forgotten memories
of Cairo in the postcards of her desire!
Every face is photoshopped.

The Ramesseum that was Serena
receives a cup of sand a day
to bury it again, no more to see bus loads of tourists
with her kohl-laden ancient eyes,
she dreams a language again unknown.

protein folding

notes:this is a poem on my Aunt Serena's experience with Alzheimer's. She had been in Cairo after WW II, having married an army fellow who had spent most of the war in Alexandria.
The image is the beauty of Hatshepsut's temple and all Egyptian antiquity is like the mind of Serena...and now we bury it into the oblivion of Alzheimer's disease.

Hatshepsut: ancient woman pharoah, who built the great temple at Deir Al Bahri . Deir al Bahri is usually translated as "northern monastery",but the name literally means "monastery of the sea".

wilderness: I read "bahri" as meaning "barri" , or "wilderness" - a pun

protein: the temple "folds" back from the Nile into the surrounding cliffs, as does a protein fold - left-handed or right-handed - like a biological fan.

kohl: eye make-up of ancient Egypt

barriya: wilderness again

fustuq: pistachioes

Shepheard's: very famous Brit hotel in Cairo

fellaheen: poor working guys, shoveling around the archaeological excavations

Ifriqiya: Arabic for Africa

felucca: a Nile sail boat

Abu Simbel, Philae: temples rescued from rising waters, and some not

Ramesseum: a temple, palace, or even a large burial place of the Pharoah Ramesses.
Ramesses is the Greek form of Ra Ms, which is the name of Ra, the god, and the root "m(e)s" which means "giving birth". It also is the root for the name of Moses, or Musa.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Fast Day 95 March 28 2009 {Intoxication}

A Poppy Field in France


Before Dionysos created wine,
before Gaia of the poppies
gave dreams in Crete of intense delight,
your love was the intoxicant.

Before Apollo's sunbright beam,
before the flight of Eos, who
shot arrows from a photonic quiver
your smile was the dawn.

Before the Sibyl's book.
before the Delphic sage,
and the sensuality of wisdom,
your touch was my intuition.

Before Atlantis sank,
before farthest Thule,
and caravans to Samarkand,
you were the unknown land!

Before I drink the nectar-draught,
before I sing my endless ode,
once more a weary nomad trek
across your lovely threshhold!


Dionysos was the ancient god of wine;
ancient Crete had a goddess - whom I call Gaia - who wore a crown of poppy heads;
The Delphic sage was the ancient oracle of Apollo at Delphi;
Thule was Ultima Thule, the most far away in the world;

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Fast Day 94 March 21 {Marcy Forgot the Doritos}

This Super Bowl Sunday Marcy
Forgot To Get Doritos

the road runs above the quilt of fields
and cool whisps of fog are the batting
of this Super Bowl Sunday from dawn to dusk;
from lehigh to dresden is but a hen's race
and we'll be at the convenience store soon
to get doritos marcy fergot to buy -
she's only twelve years old - and some beer and smokes.

we wish the damned fog would lift, and the weather
would get warm; it hasn't been warm since oooh-8
and 'lectric bill run way too high
and consumer's cooperative power is mighty happy,
making money like the bank of han'over fist;
we can't make out the lights at brewster's store yet,
damn photon-pinchin' miser!

oh, the store is warm, is warm, and ole brewster's too!
and we're buzzed in the aisles of delights
and delicacies, see a packet full
of smoked oysters- imagine- smoking oysters!
like we'd eat in New York City - if we ever wanted.
and caviar at thirty bucks a snifter full;
no bigger than my chewin' tobacco tin!

great panoply of groceterías
whither flow the aquaducts of beer-belly:
jim crow an' old grand dad an' famous grouse,
and it doesn't ever cost much more than that!
we spaced out and didnot want to leave.
brewster got a funny look, and asked if we're ok?
the colors of the jujubes boxes were like eyes of newt!

brewster said, it's best time you'd be goin' an' kin
ye drive yersel'? we had the munchies and feared
the constant weep of rain and dark of clouds.
we looked for brother bill to come running across the
far fields, newly resurrected, his chest hot and
steaming with life, but no one came across them
fields no more...spittin' with life's full fury!

the roads piss out a marijuana fog from lungs
empty of all except the cancer,
and candles light the empty houses' windows like elmo's
fire, gleaming points of golden coins upon the eyes;
there be broke down tractors rustin' in the fields,
where willows rattle and rasp like hands o' glory... drove
back home for the superbowl- damn, fergot the doritos!


groceterias: grocery stores
bank of han'over fist: a bank making money hand over fist
a hen's race: not very far
jim crow and old grandad: cheap whiskies; the first is actually 'old crow'
famous grouse: moderately priced scotch
hand o' glory: hand of glory from the dark arts

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Fast Day 93 March 12 2009 {Home Thoughts From Abroad}

Home Thoughts From Abroad

Oh! to be in America when the Bubble is in bloom!
and have a pension fully invested in bonds and equities!
To be in the Boom! A house with emblem picket fence,
round which chestnut, elm, and ash bud
in the rainy, juvenile spring
in America now!

And after the 4th quarter of 2008,
there follow the quarters of oh-nine;
I see the foliage of trees become as sparse
as my aging hair; trees victim of unceasing
flux, and blight, a full panoply of agent-orange
to drive the hedged row to extinction;
no bird stops to sing, save the dove in mourning.
Boom and Bust! Go hike, young man, in newly verdant
fields, and view nature gory in tooth and claw!
nature! - determined by evolution's invisible hand,
just as our markets optimized by Adam Smith
and his long dead throttling grasp! beware the bear
rumbling by, who hasn't slept all winter, and
who wanders to the stream, lean and ugly of no cheer.

farvos madoff ? play by the flowing bourne!
enjoy and fill your heart with joy, momento
mori, steal away before the Bust's return!


I guess one would call this comic or satire or something along those lines.
It is about the idea of capitalism being a system which cycles between boom and bust.
The poem is based on Robert Browning's Home Thoughts From Abroad "Oh, to be in England..." and sort of blew up from 18 lines to 22.

line 4. chestnut, elm, and ash are trees endangered by blight and disease.

line 10. agent-orange = Agent Orange the anti-foliant used in Vietnam.

line 16. Adam Smith, the Scottish economist, referred to the invisible hand of markets that efficiently determine prices. There is a parallelism here to some "unseen" hand that moves evolution.

line 17. throttling may mean strangling or to increase speed, the two opposite meanings reflecting boom versus bust. Sort of bi-polar.

line 17. bear - financial markets going down.

line 20. farvos madoff? why (are you) so (like Bernie) Madoff ? Neo-Yiddish for something like don't be a shmuck. It is bi-polar, like capitalism's boom and bust: it could mean to fly high as a financial genius, or to be a goniff and end up in jail.

line 21. a momento mori is an indication or symbol of death - a reminder that from dust to dust.

line 22. steal away: to escape and it also recalls the original meaning of madoff.