Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Chadesh Yameinu

I listen to your music
in March---
fittingly, as your name,
means springtime.

Let the sun see you,
your voice urges.

Your song is light to me,
the Hebrew words
are balm and blessing,
grace and gift.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Young Woman on the Bus

Young woman on the bus
sitting toward the front.
From several seats away,
her sleek black hair
appears to be a wimple
framing her holy face.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Chasing the Waves

i. m. Thomas DeFreitas (1940-2018)

With Dad. Revere Beach, 1972.
My three-year-old legs would scurry to pursue
The beast of the Atlantic in retreat.

Of course, its watery paws would soon rush back
To maul the shore. I'd run from their attack
As quickly as I could on toddler feet.

Delighted, Dad would look on, and would shout
Encouragement and warning: "Hey, watch out!
They're gonna getcha!" I would shriek and laugh.

I'm older now than Dad was then. No son
To teach this excellent art of having fun,
Of chasing waves for an hour, or a half.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Vernal Sequence

of politics,
the birds
of Mrs Álvarez.


Do dials yawn?
The waking treetops
with silence.


Old poet
with winebibbers.


While I breathe, I hope --


Heavy thumbs
on a dumb drum:
late spring rain.


Trust the day
and its thousand


Who would not
embezzle bliss from
April's treasury?


Forsythia, Elaine,
New Hampshire:


Flowers, bees,
strawberries, joggers:
joy! joy!


A statue of Ignatius
among the lilacs
and the undergraduates.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Something Else

I cherish the sparrow
in a world of traffic.

I applaud cloisters
and quiet wisdom.

I prize the frail light
of six in the morning.

I hold to the human,
the flawed, the hurting.

I reject television:
the standard, the fake.

I tiptoe to approach
small lives in the hedges.

I wish upon several
immeasurable suns.

I embrace the common,
the near, the warm.

I yearn for the palpable,
I ache to embrace.

I crave consolation,
pockets of silence.

I sit in this life,
a shabby chapel.

I hurt to recall
my dearth of mercy.

I hear the clock tick
in the sheltering dark.

I drink cold water
and wait for April.

I remember tomorrow,
I recall the future.

I name you promise,
I call you joy.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Midnight Snack

Thompson Twins, Friendly's ice cream, furry kitten slippers!
You invade my doleful precinct with your slapdash insouciance!
Wasilla, Flagstaff, Oconomowoc, Hoboken,
when will you come to me, wring my heart, ravish my eager flesh?

It's February 11th. Can Spring be far behind?
Ask any New Englander, with memories of snow,
two feet of the stuff, on April Fool's Day,
twenty-odd years ago.

Pepperoni pizza, Depakote, baseball cards!
Nine-year-old opera enthusiast! Audenesque reality shows!
St Thérèse of Lisieux! Philadelphia Eagles! Ron Virgin Rum!

Frank O'Hara, this poem's for you.
I remember when I found your poem "A Step Away from Them"
in that paperback anthology when I was 16.
I liked the way you slipped Italian phrases
into the prosy chatter.

I remember at U Mass Amherst a few years later
how the bearded librarian tittered
when he saw the cover of your Selected Poems
(a drawing of you in the nude, equipment front and center).

I don't know, Frank. To be perfectly honest,
I'd much rather write a poem for Hart Crane.
He was more my style. Turgid iambics, oceanic, lush,
sturdy as a stevedore, monumental as a mountain.

It's 11:24 pm.
And my junior-year English teacher, Mr Halloran,
wouldn't even give you the time of day.

Glaswegian soup-kitchens! Eighties synth-pop!
Isn't the gladiolus the worst kind of John Hughes film?

Senescent sophomores admire you endlessly,
Caedmon of Coca-Cola, Homer of ham sandwiches.
But I being poor have only my Dylan Thomas,
whose poems you once dismissed as "Welsh spit."

O transcendental ten-speed! O metaphysical Massapequa!

Artsy-fartsy, schlocky-wocky, itchy-kitschy Frank O'Hara,
I wish you were one-tenth as comical as Kenneth Koch.

Monday, February 5, 2018

A Rouse for Roethke

Big Ted Roethke, what's his game?
He can buss the butterfly,
He can snow the blushing rose,
Call Dame Ladybug by name.

Count of creaturely delight,
He can herrick with the best:
Married to the wormy earth,
He's the swain of gladdest girth.

When he dances, Bedlam sings;
Barmaids pluck their silver strings:
Joyful bodies rub and budge
To his red-blood psalms of love.

Watch him garland up a page!
He's no mushroom, he's a sage!
He can coax the daffodil
With a single syllable.

Theodore, my robust rhymer,
No one bards a garden finer!
You're the heir and princely son
Of Clare, Carew, and Campion.

Chadesh Yameinu

I listen to your music in March--- fittingly, as your name, Aviva, means springtime . Let the sun see you , your voice urges. Your ...