Archive for March, 2007

Tuxedo Tag

March 23, 2007


The Catholic schoolgirl on the number 2
declares I look like Uncle Penneybags,
“Monopoly!” she yells. Her friends in blue
St. Michael’s uniforms endorse the tag.

It happens when I shuttle in the tux,
my rented Mariachi rig, this suit
of penguin torpitude, the million bucks
routine. But Uncle P? That’s pretty cute–
the Parker Brothers Millionaire. I wish

I had a quarter of the attitude,
a quotient of the automatic swish
Manhattan subway Catholic girls exude.
Their impious affront would not prevail
if I could come back quick with: “Go to jail!”


My Shot at Jesus

March 20, 2007


When Tom Delvecchio demurred—they say
He didn’t want to wear his mother’s gown—
I got my shot at Jesus. We were down
To just a week before the Easter play.

St. Rose of Lima’s pageant was about
As close as you could get to by-the-book.
The script was written by a crew that took
the Bible to my room and knocked it out.

I’d wear a sheet. When Judas kissed my cheek
(Delvecchio objection number two)
I’d be uncomfortable, but I’d get through.
I’d drag the cardboard cross. I wouldn’t speak.

Then Andrea Tartaglia would lift
The face of Christ drawn on a handkerchief.

Paint it Green!

March 17, 2007

The Pogues With The Dubliners

Be Careful Out There

March 15, 2007


Vincenzo Camuccini, Mort de César, 1798.

Amity After the Fire

March 14, 2007


My muse returned from war, her swollen stumps
Were wrapped in rags and paper as she pumped
Her arms and pushed her yellow skateboard down
The sidewalk. Amity is back in town
And living in my basement now. I hear
Her crying softly every night–I’m near
Exhaustion, with my inspiration stuck
For benefits despite her service. Luck

Would have it, sleep is not among her needs.
There’s constant feeding, though, and when she bleeds—
it happens intermittently–my heart
contracts and ices up. I have to start
compression on the remnant of her thigh.
She gently stokes my hair, and then a sigh
I never heard back in her teasing days
Accompanies the unfamiliar gaze

From eyes that used to tell me something strange.
They’ve lost their mystery. As I arrange
A knee-high desk for Amity, prepared
to take dictation, I am made aware
She’s crossed a line. I used to chase her form,
Those perfect thighs, her arms and hair would storm
Into my life and leave me nights of sweet
Fulfillment or frustration. God, her feet,

The perpetrators of the vixen’s trick
Of disappearing for a week–a stick,
Now, and that slab on wheels. I couldn’t touch
Her then, yet here I dress her wounds. So much
Has changed since Amity embedded with
The wind– “Before the Fire!” her shibboleth.
It echoed to my soul, the soul that longed
To lay with Amity, the one so wronged

And yet rewarded. Now, I want to sleep.
But I’m on call, her needs are dire, and deep
Into the night my ministrations plait
A prelude to the work that she says fate
Prefigured. “Canto I,” her voice, without
Its old élan, surprises through a bout
Of smoker’s cough and red encoded warning,
“Engines That You Heard on Tuesday Morning.”

Painting by Niko Angelis

Inside Poetry

March 7, 2007


My new “Mipo Radio” poetry review with MC Jim Knowles.
Here’s the latest show, featuring poetry by Camille Dungy, Edward Nudelman, and Kim D. Hunter.