Saturday, March 30, 2019

Give Us Stars

Daylight blares.

Sun like
a car-horn

consoles, heals the soul,
with gentle music:
Scarlatti, Debussy.

So many composers
have written nocturnes,
very few
meridian odes
to shrill high noon!

of light:
it likes us not:
the vulgar
overblown shriek
of summer heat,
the tawdry glitter
of rings and things
that flash and flare
and flaunt,
the bothersome din
deafening the eyes,
of advertisements
and cinematic

Give us the warm
of a quiet shelter
against all perils
of the venturous

Give us the soothe
of lunar lucency,
give us the gentle
truth of the
moon, its
swell and swoon ---

give us stars,
distant and shining,
of subtler magnitude
than our
noisy neighbour sun,
yes, give us those
timeless unfaltering
for which
no metaphor
however clever

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

But I Prefer


Reverend Jennifer
thank you so much
for your blessing
for better sleep

not immediately
efficacious but
deeply healing on
another level

you held both
my shoulders
as you pronounced
Gospel verses

and asked all
these things in
the name of
Incarnate Love



Roman Catholic fellow
approaches the Anglican
priest on Ash Wednesday
and cheerfully urges her
Smudge me up real good



Some of my
fellow RCs
would quote

Pope Leo XIII
at Episcopalian

but I prefer
to ask them
for blessings

Monday, March 25, 2019


heating water
for tea
the nightly
9.00 ritual


Snow this morning
by noon
a blinding sun


Old poets
dance better
than the young


Like April's
first blossom
or a just-discovered
place to explore
this newborn friendship


Building a shelter
hewing stones
for a chapel

twenty minutes
of silence


Sun's mercy
on bare branches
coaxes leaflife


She has locked
her heart's doors to me
pulled down the grate


[referring to Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, IN]

He taught himself
simply because
he could


with strangers
on the subway


can drowse me
if I drink too much of it


Smiling Muslimah
in a black hijab
sells me a Kit Kat
at a Government Center


March wind
like an ancient
and stubborn


"he'd celebrate
an Anglican Mass
so High only dogs
could hear it"

Donald Hall
Revd Jack Putterill
the communist vicar
of Thaxted


I walk seven blocks
to the Porter Square church
just to hear Hilary
sing in the choir


To my outward
I have attached
an inward


Ticker's afflicted
when I wake up
each night
before dawn

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Brief Description

Cold March sky

slowly goes
from a slab of black

to a jewel of lucent indigo

tinged with rose
at the tree-scratched edges

Scene in Early March

(for Elena)

Milwaukee bus-stop,
subzero wind-chill.
Steamy air emanates
from a sidewalk grate.

Two commuters
happily just met
share the square
during their long wait.


I light
this candle
of words

against all

all denials

of the light.

Monday, March 4, 2019


It is the word raspberry
that puzzles us
with its absence of rasp
and the word secular
which pertains to centuries
as fleet as milliseconds—
the word vehicular,
a Latinate hiccup,
and the word blithe
an embarrassing lick
on the end of a leash.

It is the word bowdlerize
that throws us for a loop.
It is the word boycott
wearing a two-horned helmet
like a cartoon Viking.
It is the word memento
that news-readers
routinely mispronounce.
It is the word margarine
hiding a priceless pearl
in its etymology.

Oblivious gets our goat
if it’s seen without of.
It is averse from
that goes about town
in a coat and tails.
Vouchsafe and deign
collide with a clang,
twin brazen thuribles.
It is the word silent
that rhymes with listen.

The word barbarian
bristles, ill-shaven
as a troll in a legend.
The word avuncular
coughs and smokes a pipe.
The word inchoate,
cold as March,
makes us search
for April’s burgeonings.

Friday, March 1, 2019

What Didn't Happen

Remembering the earthy-crunchy tie-dye girl from high-school
Last seen at a New Year's Eve party nearly thirty years ago:
Plain, long-haired, gregarious, and how I wanted to kiss her.

She walked from room to room, barefoot and carefree,
Inebriate on nothing more than the happy atmosphere:
I marvelled at her naturalness, her at-home-ness with herself.

She had brown eyes, and skin of a tentative brown:
Not the deep rich brown of the lively and fertile earth,
But the brown of half-lit rooms in a Dickinsonian winter.

Her smile was something fresh and rare, like sudden snow
In May, a blossom of white amid the full-grown lilacs,
A friendly salutation from a stranger on the MBTA.

To be candid and awkward, I was enraptured by her toes,
Ten wee pudgy nubs at the end of her "tolerable feet"
(If one may quote John Keats's assessment of Fanny Brawne).

Why should I remember this kiss that never happened
More than the rushed and smoky ones that did take place
On dormitory mattresses, in Orange Line subway stations?

Give Us Stars

Daylight blares. Sun like a car-horn honked: impatient, insistent, rude. Nightlight consoles, heals the soul, with gentle music: ...