Archive for February, 2008

Fourth Movement

February 29, 2008

I’m navigating Bloomfield Avenue
To Coltrane’s chronic prayer for saxophones,
A love supreme, divine and overdue.
Pedestrians behind the orange cones
Are waiting for their bus or heart attack
With coffee cups and modulating bones.
The melody advances front to back
And lingers at this corner where I stopped
to find an alternating rhythm track
beneath the cut of dynamite. I dropped
The flying highway with my other glove,
And now this sound, meandering, has cropped
The temporal continuum above
A love supreme, a love supreme, a love.

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41 Junior High School Science Projects

February 25, 2008

fatmantomars.jpg

Count ’em.

Psalm of Robins

February 24, 2008

A hearty winter psalm, the redbreast robins work
The holly tree from base camps in the bramblewood
Across the street. They disappear into the green
To pop out one by one and cut through icy air
En route to comrades waiting in the naked sticks.
And aren’t redbreasts thought to be a sign of spring?

Disturbing all the new-dropped snow, the branches spring
And wings unfold to flap above the dirty work
Of shovels through the hardpack and the slush that sticks
To everything, including cords of firewood
Left stacked beneath the vagaries of the open air.
Neglect and reckoning. And still, the evergreen

Resplendent in its alb convenes its wintergreen
Communion. Slings the laity. A constant spring
Of russet softballs, the preliminary air
Support for April’s landing party sets to work
Across the wires. It flips to diving patterns that would
Throw the errant angels earthward as it sticks

To February gorging. Crimson berries, sticks
And brambles, snow and sunlight complement the green
Cathedral and the mistletoe. The ice and wood
Will be here in the morning. Set the spring
Of winter’s clock to wind as slowly and to work
As unpredictably as cloudlines in the air.

They’re everywhere, endowing the suburban air
With Hitchcock premonition. Here’s a scene that sticks
With you and draws you in. Inspired by the work
Of Bruegel and Hieronymus—the devil’s green,
A pastorale of grey and white—these songs that spring
Across the lawn have sketchy harmonies, a wood

Ensemble hitting strings and tympani with wood
And wind that lift the redbreast to its hectic air—
Survival. To a resurrection at the dawn of spring.
But in its transit from the holly to the sticks,
It comes to light upon a crucifix. The green-
sward is a mirror of the heavens now, the work

Of a capricious God, a work of frozen wood.
The swelling in the green will flutter in the air
As, tentative, the sticks hold out a prayer for spring.

Souvenir

February 22, 2008

I.M. Ray Pospisil

We had our maps of Paris for November–
Ray would be vacationing with Anne,
And I’d be on my own. I don’t remember
Why we hadn’t thought ahead to plan
A rendezvous, in light of all the time
We’d spent in cites like Atlanta when
We worked together in the eighties. I’m
Haphazard when I’m on the road. But then

I saw him walking toward me through the crowd
Near Saint-Germain-des-Prés on Friday night.
I recognized him in the way you know
You’ve spotted a celebrity. The light
Preserved his step and shadow in a cloud
Of silver halide by Les Deux Magots.

Across the Grid of Streets

February 20, 2008

lehr.jpg

Quincy Lehr, a son of Oklahoma finding himself in Galway, Ireland, via New York City, has published his first full volume of poetry with Seven Towers, Dublin. It is called Across the Grid of Streets, and it’s available in hard and soft cover. There is also a companion chapbook.

Quincy is well known in the world of formal verse, though he is fluent in free verse as well. I have read much of his poetry and it comes highly recommended.

WHY THERE IS NO SOCIALISM
IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

At 4:15 AM, the city bus
Had pulled up to the curb, its silhouette
Marked dimly by the light that crept through grates,
Fencing in empty stores. I paid my fare
And squeezed beside a sleepy Barnard girl.
She moved a centimetre to her left—
Away from me—and twitched a pinkish nose
Below grey, narrowed eyes, accusing me
Of something, so I leaned against the glass
And stared at greasy, distant streaks of light.
Each one of us was tired, pissed-off, and bored,
Angry at the hour and with those pricks—
That fat-assed bitch, who muttered at a cell phone,
That rat-faced airline worker at the front,
That punk-ass hoodlum, glaring at his feet,
That stuck-up twat, that sad-eyed brown-haired schmuck
Gawking at New York’s predawn, backlit blackness.
And if we were united, our disdain
For every dumb-shit creep—in short, ourselves—
Had fused our isolations into one.

~Quincy R. Lehr ©

The Holiday Season


–Westmoreland Bar, Westmoreland Street, Dublin, September 12th 2006

2-14

February 14, 2008

pecking_order.jpg

All around the world,
every boy and every girl,
need the loving.
The humble and the great,
even those we think we hate,
need the loving.
Soldiers of the Queen,
all the hard men that we’ve seen,
need the loving.
Babies at the breast,
those in power and those suppressed,
need the loving.

Andy Partridge (XTC)_____
Image: Patricia Wallace Jones ©

Belfast City Reel

February 14, 2008

Three pints, a calvados, champagne and wine!
That’s counting from the bottom of the deck
And stepping to the reels, sweet Kerry mine.

They’re spilling on the counter in a line
And Allen dear is picking up the cheque—
Three pints, a calvados, champagne and wine!

The whistle, drum and mandolin incline
Marie from Queen’s to Jim from Georgia Tech–
They’re stepping to the reels, sweet Kerry mine.

You catch the barman’s eye and make a sign
(It’s all about the craning of the neck)
“Three pints, a calvados, champagne and wine,

Sir Allen’s tab!” His copper’s got a shine
Like coppers on the bagpipes—Irish craic
And stepping to the reels, sweet Kerry mine.

So set ‘em up again, I think it’s fine—
I’m just across the street, an easy trek.
Three pints, a calvados, champagne and wine,
And stepping to the reels, sweet Kerry mine.

Belfast, Northern Ireland, Feb. 13, 2008

War Games

February 12, 2008

These thin, gray woods were once a Southeast Asian swamp
Where all the boys on Cutter Drive would re-enact
The news or World War II, the atavistic romp

Of kids with maple sticks and dirt bombs, all the pomp
And circumstance of war. When Cedar Street attacked ,
These thin, gray woods became a Southeast Asian swamp.

It took a half an hour for our troops to stomp
Across the skunkweed, dodging all the dirty flack
They threw in World War II–our fatalistic romp

To claim the hill. We’d charge and dive and belly whomp,
We’d make machine gun sounds, rearming at a stack
Of thin gray wood. We had a Southeast Asian swamp

Behind our houses and you had to play. It’s com-
plicated. Part of growing up a boy. In fact,
The news from Viet Nam, the late ballistic romp,

Conscripted us to fight. Contending with the stamp
Of masculinity, my buddies never lacked
For thin grey wood, a sweaty Southeast Asian swamp,
The news from World War II, the cold sadistic romp.

Just Talkin’ ’bout Shaft

February 8, 2008

It has been approximately one year that I have returned to writing poetry seriously, and in that time I have achieved…

The following name drops:

Caroline Kennedy, Pat Matheny, Louis Armstrong, Ernest Borgnine, Mark Twain, Garrison Kiellor, Leo Kotke, Danielle Steel, Ray Kurzweil, Victor Frankenstein, Richard Harris, Rich Uncle Pennybags, Parker Bros., Charles Mingus, Cormak McCarthy, Carl Djerassi, Ebenezer Scrooge, Miles Davis, Jacob Marley, George Rouault, Rembrandt, John Coltrane, Ephraim Bueno, Buddha, Rochmaninov, Jesus, Russ Tamblyn, Ahmad Shah Massoud, Rudy Giuliani, Poco, Cheap Trick, Bob Dylan, Yoko Ono, John Sloan, Sid Viscous, Virgil Thomson, Thomas Wolfe, Brendan Behan, Paradise and Moriarty, Vincent Van Gogh, Tony Soprano, Fluke Girl, Charlie Parker, The Clash, Fernandel, Wilco, Marylyn Monroe, Thomas Aquinas, Sir Isaac Newton, Isaac Hayes, Thomas Hobbes, Albert Einstein, Fritz Haber, Padre Pio, Dr Jekyll, Mr Hyde, Chaim Soutine, Max Beckmann, Monty Python, Joe Louis, Lena Horne, Oscar de la Renta, Vera Wang, Cannonball Adderley, Paul Gauguin, God, Za Zu Zaz, Duke Ellington, Jim Harrison, Joan Didion, Bill Evans, Gil Evans, Richard Manuel, MacBeth, Rilke, H. Bosch, Edward Hopper, Alfred Hitchcock, John Pellecchia, Roy Orbison, Winston Churchill, Junior Soprano, Jorma Kaukonen, Federico Fellini, Charles Darwin, Rick Santorum, John Shaft, Mickey Mouse, Krazy Kat, Ignatz, George W. Bush

The following product placements:

Google, Monopoly, Guinness Stout, Newark Star Ledger, New York Times, Financial Times, Rexall Drug Stores, El Quijote Restaurant, Sodini’s Restaurant, Fender Precision Bass, I-Pod, Pfizer, Exxon, Coca-Cola, Chevy Cavalier, Field and Stream, Chock full o’ Nuts, Book of Jubilees, National Public Radio, Playboy Magazine, Polaroid, Pabst, Ford, Eisenhower, Buick, Garden State Parkway

The following spelling errors:

Listen, time is money.

The following classical references:

Echo, Narcissus, Ganymede

Thank you for your continued support,

Your Old Pal.
____
Cultural Note: Microsoft Word allows the spelling Santorum, but no Fellini.