Archive for the ‘Villanelles’ Category

In a Taxi from de Gaulle

October 30, 2010

This morning the plaster-white dome of Montmartre
presents to the highway a century’s grime.
It hemorrhages clouds from a cold Sacred Heart

to color the city of Ingres and DesCartes
a boulevard gray. In the interest of time
this morning, the plaster-white dome of Montmartre

speaks not of its grand contribution to art,
but more of its neighborhood’s canvas of crime.
The hemorrhage of cloud from its cold Sacred Heart

calls forward the spirit of Camus and Sartre,
the pipe smoke that wanders and couplets that rhyme.
Of mourning, the plaster-white dome of Monmartre,

of man in the city and man set apart.
A neutralized palette of carbon and lime
is hemorrhaging clouds from the cold Sacred Heart

to vistas bequeathed by a third Bonaparte,
on steps of the Commune, the pilgrim, the mime.
This morning the plaster-white dome of Montmarte
bleeds into the clouds from a cold Sacred Heart.

Paris, October 3, 2010

Lovely Couples

January 11, 2010

The lovely upscale couples with their dogs
come dour and dressed for the apocalypse
on paths depicted in their travelogues.

This landing of the far-from-homeless slogs
across the square from alabaster ships.
The lovely upscale couples with their dogs

are not deployed by common demagogues–
a higher occupation never trips
on paths depicted in its travelogues.

Magogs in love with their Magog Agogs
prefer the choker with a chain that slips.
The lovely upscale couples with their dogs

come sometimes bundled up for winter jogs,
but rarely kiss each other on the lips
on paths depicted in their travelogues.

Accustomed to their antiseptic snogs,
and having said goodbye to Mr. Chips,
the lovely upscale couples walk their dogs
on paths depicted in their travelogues.

Tompkins Square Park,
New York City,
January 10, 2010

Salvaging Summer’s End

September 4, 2009

casa

For Marybeth and Nemo

Casino workers tend to reminisce.
The games are closed. But will the summer fly
and all this parkway hydroplaning cease?

Remember this: A kiss is but a kiss.
Suburban gardens melt into the sky.
Casino workers tend to reminisce.

I’m not surprised at all to learn that Cec-
il B. DeMille might turn a jaundiced eye
on all this parkway hydroplaning. Cease!

or is it Cut! he’d cry, the emphasis
on wrapping it and filing it on high?
Casino workers tend to reminisce

on briny white electric clouds that hiss
and lovers too cashed-out to say Good-bye!
Will all this parkway hydroplaning cease?

Unlikely, as the weather’s simply hit-or-miss
near Exit 38. Which tells us why
casino workers tend to reminisce
on parkway and the hydroplaning seas.

Mourning Doves

July 26, 2009

Two mourning doves inspect the mulch I tossed
across the ghost roots of an apple tree
to hide the scar and reckon with the lost

and longed-for body, with the shade that crossed
my summer grass, a grazing prophesy.
Two mourning doves inspect the mulch I tossed

into an ugly hole. It would have cost
me more to wait for a catastrophe,
to hide the scar and reckon with a lost

gazebo or a kitchen porch embossed
in tangled screens. I paid the woodman’s fee.
Two mourning doves inspect the mulch I tossed

exactly where I cut my losses. Frost
and thaw will cycle more reliably
to hide the scar. I’ll reckon with a lost

arcade, where now I wander albatrosssed
in sunlight, shadowed by a memory.
Two mourning doves inspect the mulch I tossed
to hide a scar and reckon with the lost.

Early Fossil Monkey

May 25, 2009

ida
This is the first link to all humans,” Jorn Hurum, paleontologist, Natural History Museum, Oslo

Her tail is longer than her trunk.
So what has she to do with me?
Please step aside while I debunk

the notion that this brittle chunk
of dirt and bones in Germany,
this trail of lug nuts in a trunk,

connects me to the lost homunc-
ulus in Darwin’s recipe.
Just step aside while I debunk

this “missing link,” this tidy hunk
of Eocenic property,
entailing lumbars up the trunk.

This end-to-end neanderthunk.
Atypical. (A travesty!).
Now, step aside while I debunk

this lemur-like primatoskunk
(can we just leave the lemurs be?)
whose tail is longer than her trunk.
Do step aside as I debunk…

Through a Glass Darkly

November 25, 2008

I’m planning, you see, to try to confine
myself to the truth
–Ingmar Bergman

Contemporary masterworks run backward-spoken.
Wrapped around the axel mast of Western thought,
the images that come across are badly broken

fractals on a monitor, a raft of token
rhymes. It’s everything the Penny Public bought.
It’s temporary poetry. So backward-spoken

into open mics from Athens to Hoboken
flow the line of hooks, the words we haven’t caught
and images we come across. So badly broken

roll our showboats on the rivers that we soak in.
Mississippi confluences, polyglot
conventions at the Theater von Hintersprochen.

Who loves a wall that keeps us from the killer joke in
foreign film? The lexicon of light is fraught
with images that come across so badly broken

that we drink in semi-darkness from the oaken
cask. We spew it back, an undigested haute
couture, a tendency in art quite backward, spoken
to an image on a cross so badly broken.

Aubade

August 13, 2008

No two days of ending August are the same.
The morning clouds prevaricate. How long before
one hears the stone and snap of amber Autumn’s flame?

An image moves across the lake or takes the name
I wove in vines and carved into the cabin door
in bygone days of ending August. Are these same

entanglements to whisper daily over tame
and heavy surfaces? To coil into some roar
I’ll hear? The stone and snap of amber Autumn’s flame

in watercolor runs to gray and fills the frame
with basic forms–the sky and bluff, the lake, the shore—
yet no two days of ending August are the same.

At summer’s end I start to open trunks that came
in late July and took up shadows on the floor.
I hear the stone and snap of amber Autumn’s flame

and close the lids. The wine and hour wash my claim
on any item, weather is a metaphor,
and no two days in ending August are the same.
One hears the stone and snap of amber Autumn’s flame.

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.

The Passion of the Bleeding Saints

November 2, 2007

We’ll pass the Padre Pio Cabernet
around this stained glass tank of piercéd sides,
repeating what those tiny voices say

from somewhere in their broken pots of clay,
petitioning the would-be suicides.
Hey, pass that Padre Pio Cabernet!

Impressive, how we put the grape away
and squeeze it through our tourniquets in tides—
Yet frequently we hear the voices say

they don’t believe our drippy passion play.
“Your pantomime,” they say, “of Mr. Hydes
will pass like Padre Pio Cabernet

through Mother Goose!” And just the other day
we heard novitiate cathedral guides
repeating what the tiny voices say:

“The bleeders’ oughta cork the damn Padre
and mop up all their sloppy old peptides.”
We’ll pass… The Padre Pio Cabernet
repeats on tiny voices anyway.