Results for category "2009"

20 Articles

On the Steps of Eternity

The steps are white marble, marble plate
   There is graffiti washed and faded on the walls
The building smells musty
   old soup and onions
This is a neighborhood of poor people now
There are glass and metal doors leading from the sidewalk
   through which you can see
   the marble steps and graffiti walls
There are five steps and a plateau and five steps up
   to another plateau
There is a black rubber rug and another set of glass and metal doors
   where the floor is dark brown and smells of polish
To the right on the marble plated wall are black buttons and
   an intercom into which you may talk
Here you push the button of her apartment
   A buzzer sounds, you are expected
You pull the metal handle of a glass and metal door
   You enter
I had never seen a shooting star before my
   father pointed one out to me
The sky was black and clear over the beach
   the moon a large yellow circle
the star a white dot flickering across the sky
   past the moon, its tail past the big dipper
Now a father and his son, stand on the beach
   stare  at the sky—
“A shooting star” dad said,
“that’s lucky”
These are the steps of eternity
   covered in false marble
They were built in the early thirties and then
   were all the style
The graffiti on the walls
   mocks the majestic gravity
of her building


With his back to the ancient
   Chateau de Maintenon
He stares into the grayness of the day
   past the sculptured gardens over the
pond with its brownish gray water over
   green manicured lawns
past the initial of a queen
   sculptured in green bushes
      bright flowers
Grandma, the trees sway in the distance
   the branches of the trees sway
      their leaves tremble
In this fine mist
      in this fine rain
Like her daughter
      who also died of cancer
      she died Thanksgiving weekend
I didn’t go, it wasn’t my turn
My two younger brothers, Matthew and Jonathan went
   by bus from New York carrying with them delicacies
   from Zabars because of the holiday and because there were
   things she still liked to eat
When they arrived she did not respond to the intercom’s buzzer
   Still, they got into the building
Generally cautious, this time her apartment door was open
They walked in, closed the door behind them and called her name
She was in the bathroom
   After about a half hour of talking to her through the bathroom door
   they overcame their reluctance and opened it
She was naked in the bathtub, the water having long since drained
   unable to lift herself out while refusing to admit
   that anything was wrong
“Boys, I’ll be out in a minute”
Nor did she understand why the ambulance came
   to take her to the hospital
I explained this to Jonathan
“She does not understand why she is here
   and she blames you two for all of the trouble”


It grows colder
The trees have lost their leaves
Winter is early this year
Only the bushes show green
It was mid-August in a hot seedy neighborhood
   in which the police don’t give a damn
that a building caught fire
   a block away from me
Screaming and sirens, flames burst from windows
   firemen shout to each other on the rooftops
Homes of the poor burnt homeless
I walk my way forward in the cold morning
   the white mist of my breath in front of my face
In everyone of us is a sadness
   nothing can touch

-December 21, 2009-

Her Apartment

Her apartment is decorated with dry dead flowers
   Her boyfriends can’t sleep with her under the covers
Some dreams never change
   she won’t allow it
and never come through
   Stark ineffectual wishes
You never get over it, you go on
Coincidences of happiness...
      lucky numbers
Unless we throw off our fear of death,
      coincidences of love
we’ll never be free
      Her stark implausible dreams
but she won’t allow it...
      go on

-December 15, 2009-

Burn ’em

Burn ‘em
   burn the cards you find
   that call you lover, playmate, amour, soulmate
Burn ‘em all
One nightmare ends so
   another may begin
The pearls you rejected shine delicate
   and white
   with the moon
“I’m so glad you’re here”
She lies
“Tell me we’ll never stop doing this”
She lies
The currents of memory flow back
She brings my head to her breast
   and I suck her nipples, then
She sucks my cock and then
   I take her from behind
Clearly, this is paradise
Only one direction
Part of me still aches for you
I’ll take my love
   where I find it

-November 30, 2009-

There’s persons…

“If a lion could speak we would not understand him.”

Ludwig Wittgenstein

There’s persons worse insulted than you
   They even hurt more,
and though we may come to love them
   we will never see things quite their way
And if they learn to speak truly
   we won’t understand them
Here’s some of the jewels of our lives—
   the bright white moon, whole, in winter’s predawn light
   your hand across this table touching mine
   our glasses of wine in a summer evening’s half-light
      “to us...”
Mourning, as everyone knows,
   spontaneously ends
True joy is spontaneous too
On a day like today,
   can’t we let the raging lions go?

-November 25, 2009-


Oblique corridors
   below ground links
   structure to structure mazes
Angular corridors
   link memory to memory
   tortured underground days—
   the rudimentary mind
Corridors of menace
   obtuse, stubborn, strange
Some things you get over...
   Some things
When I love
So I lost them—
   some by fire, some by drowning
I don’t let go
Virgin, consort, hag
I had hoped for more time, earthly wonders
Soft things with no place in this world
I was happy 
When you finally see this tattoo, this distinguished old mark
   you’ll find me

-November 8, 2009-

Papa Bach

A garish Fall—
   strident, blood colored, dangerous,
      its burnt leaves curled,
   came early that year
We don’t know much about him—
   The official records show
      just a few bills, a few formal letters
         of application, appointment
      and resignation, some formal
         complaints and a few reprimands
I can’t be honest with you
   because nothing in this world is true
No diaries, no memoirs, no personal letters
He was confrontational
   and insubordinate
These are the scars of the heart stung
Distant from the world and its pleasures
   covenants, rules and rulers
He wrote music for “the glory of God
   and the recreation of the soul”
Injured as you are
   you’ll never get off this rock
   without some kind of song
But the dark roots show
   beneath all that gold

-November 1, 2009-

There’s still…

Mine is a winterish soul
   so cold, so cold
I worried about a lot of things
   but your shallow extremes, your perfidy
   were new to me
I don’t worry that much anymore
Experience becomes memory
   so fast, so fast
I was naive
Separated from all by invisible catastrophes
   a critical mass of cumulative blows,
   spiritual concussions
   so cold, so cold
Happiness in an instance
   so fast, so fast
The loss of self
   in a delirium of infatuation
These bright hard eyes
   in the after-math of rejection
Childish smiles from the small one, six months old
There’s still a lot of love in this house

-October 18, 2009-

As for the clothes…

She quietly blazed
   through taciturn days
It seems to her men
   can do anything they want
His heart is a battered thing
They can’t—she’s wrong
   crazy wrong
Seeds grow differently here
   wild, luminous, unfazed
The drug makes him amorous
   and helps him sleep
All his old guides died this year
   except for one
   and he was no guide at all
The bruised heart trapped in glass
   They laugh and laugh
As for the clothes
   wrap ‘em in plastic bags
An old battered thing
Send them to charity—
   get rid of ‘em

-September 28, 2009-

Her Strength

She stands in front of the waves
   won’t dive under them
   won’t dive over them
Our bodies touch all night
She refuses to dive under or over
Tone deaf to the diplomacies
   the dishonesties of the human interactive
They knock her down
Defiant through pain
Wild and gentle with each other all night
In this weakness is her strength
Fight beyond all sense
They knock her down
   or complaint
Heavenly fight
   Fiery clouds
Cuddle together all night
   so warm
For the Roman soldiers
the difference between the real fight and their exercises
   the real fight and their practices
is the effusion of blood on the floor

-September 13, 2009-

The Farewell

(after the Chinese Mong-Kao-Jen and Wang Sei)

The sun retreats behind these mountains
Evening descends in sweet shadow
Silver bark floats into sky
The sliver of moon rises
Dark fir trees shiver gently
In the breeze
I wait for my friend
To take our last farewell
I hear water move
The earth breathes deep
with sleep
Tired men have stopped working
The birds are silent
The ground grey with sleep

He left his horse and handed me
   a drink of farewell
I ask him where he goes and
   also why it must be
He says
You my friend, my life has not been fortunate
I will travel these mountains alone
   seeking peace
I am an old man, tired
There is stillness here
Everywhere the earth breathes spring
The land is green forever

-Revised September 4, 2009-