Sunday, January 18, 2015

Memory

Restless specters in the dark lane of Memory
Turn happy days into the bane of Memory.

The stained attire, the vestments of yesteryear --
Out, out, damned spot! exclaims the thane of Memory.

In care and worry, I have lost my mirth,
A kindred soul to the royal Dane of Memory.

A quarter-century ago we taped our windows
Against fierce Gilbert, hurricane of Memory.

Now sweet with joy, now bitter with calamities,
O winds that batter the weathervane of Memory!

Captive and thrall to Daphne's raven tresses,
Behold, the lovesick Niles Crane of Memory.

Where did I, what did I, who was I going to -- aargh!
One more bit of info down the drain of Memory.

The nagging truth-ache of Embarrassment
Doesn't respond to the Novocain of Memory.

Limbs of trees march forth from Birnam Wood,
Converging upon the Dunsinane of Memory.

Our maculate past, defaced by many regrets ...
Will it vanish in the acid rain of Memory?

It is, the sage avers, deeds left undone
Exacerbating most the pain of Memory.

While Thomas breathes, he hopes. The soft gray dawn
Rises above the spacious plain of Memory.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Of the Moment

I am Time's charioteer, the Ben-Hur of the moment:
I race through January gales on the spur of the moment.

Protesters clog Copley Square, create a disturbance:
Who can stay aloof from the urgent stir of the moment?

Johnny & the Windchasers perform for the Royal Family:
Will their manic keyboardist become the Sir of the moment?

Pictures on 24-hour cable-news disorient and sicken:
Dizzy in cyberspace, I'm lost in the blur of the moment.

Lady of light, Woman of wisdom, rescue us, bless us:
Dante sings to his muse, hymns the Her of the moment.

Unleash the dogs of war! Unmuzzle the bloody hound!
Death keeps a growling beast, the rabid cur of the moment.

O talkative neophyte, O blathering trainee, basta! --
Be still, hush now, clam up, you beginner of the moment.

Sang Solomon to Sheba, and kissed her dusky face:
I praise you to the skies, beauty's arbiter of the moment.

In seventh grade, I was wild for the music of the Beatles;
Older now, I meditate to the dulcimer of the moment.

At Baudelaire's Café, satellite radio plays the Cure:
Wonderfully pretty lovecats give us the purr of the moment.

Flags of the sandbox regiment fall, and white flags rise:
Unconditional is our surrender of the moment.

Sirens enchant the man of the broken stones:
Is Thomas worthy to be the listener of the moment?

Friday, January 16, 2015

Your Majesty

What scurvy loser would abhor Your Majesty?
Your awesomeness I do implore, Your Majesty.

Poets and punks give props to your noble heart
In Lackawanna, in Labrador, Your Majesty.

Your splendour shines on sage and ragamuffin,
On base tycoon, on blessed whore, Your Majesty.

Behold, the apples from your charming arbour
With seeds of grace wombed in the core, Your Majesty!

Bums and bedlamites seek your remedial glance:
Look upon Lazarus, heal each sore, Your Majesty!

From your proud footprints, vivid violets spring:
Acolytes genuflect. Wretches adore Your Majesty!

Sweet tyrant, lissome potentate, pronounce!
Command me, I shall not ignore Your Majesty.

You have ravished me, O Wednesday morning star:
I forfeit all my strength and store, Your Majesty.

I've seen no features comelier than yours
Since the April ice-storm of '84, Your Majesty!

I fling rose-petals before your kinetic tread:
Where you have stepped, I kiss the floor, Your Majesty.

My golden words are spent, my wit's diseased:
Pray, reign in my soul's Elsinore, Your Majesty.

Poor Tom, he has not art to reckon his groans:
Mock not this feeble troubadour, Your Majesty.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Limericks, forsooth

There was an old Poet from Arling
Who exclaimed to his bartender, "Darling!
You're as sweet as a scallion
Speaking fluent Italian!"
Oh, that insolent Poet from Arling!

*

There dwelt a young gal in Wellfleet
With ten toes on her frightening feet:
She would paint them dark yellow
To attract every fellow
Within seventy miles of Wellfleet.

*

Over beer, grits, and blue tortellini,
Old Tom would recite Yeats and Heaney
To Penelope Slaughter,
The minister's daughter
Who refused to eat blue tortellini.

*

A scholarly Doctor from Birming
Taught an earthworm his exquisite squirming.
"Now you must learn to chat in
Gregorian Latin!"
Said that curious Doctor from Birming.

*

A winsome young lass from Revere
Had a cricket who sang in her ear.
Cried the girl, "Please don't chirp!"
But the cricket would burp
In the ear of that dear from Revere. 

*

A baldpate from Boston's North End
Could persuade peanut brittle to bend.
So bizarre were his tricks,
They would beat him with sticks,
All the rowdies from Boston's North End.

*

An enjoyable woman from Brighton
Worked with yarn, and liked readin' and writin':
She'd compose silly rhymes
And would suck on sliced limes
As she knitted her mittens in Brighton.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

December 23

It is the eve of Christmas Eve,
And cities move in breathless haste
Looking for some space to relieve
The mind's distress, the spirit's waste:
Veni ad salvandum nos,
Domine Deus noster.

We count the hours until the day
When wisdom shall appear enfleshed
Within a manger thick with hay
To make the wounded world refreshed:
Veni ad salvandum nos,
Domine Deus noster.

O come, Emmanuel, O King,
O Dawn that scatters darkness drear:
Come in the silence, whisper, sing,
And bless your children far and near.
Veni ad salvandum nos,
Domine Deus noster.

Love all poor sinners back to grace;
Gentle the hearts of sage and fool;
Make tender now the scowling face;
Bring potentates beneath your rule.
Veni ad salvandum nos,
Domine Deus noster.

O Mother Mary, sweet and mild,
Noble St Joseph, chaste and strong,
Pray that we might be reconciled
To God's embrace before too long.
Veni ad salvandum nos,
Domine Deus noster.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Our Lady of Guadalupe

Virgin of Tepeyac, pregnant with grace,
watch over Holyoke Center, the Garage,
Chameleon Tattoos, and the nose-ring place.

Pray for the pink-haired girl of pleasant face
and ink-sleeves on both ghost-white arms. Take charge
(Mother of winter roses, pregnant with grace)

of Grendel's Den, of Peet's; and, just in case,
tend to undergrads studying at the large
pizza pad, not far from the nose-ring place.

Cambridge, magnet for scholars of every race
and creed! María, look down from the stars
and make this city wise! Virgin of grace,

protect the poor souls crouched in church doorways
against December cold, the drunks in bars,
the punks in the Pit and at the nose-ring place.

Gather our hearts in your clement embrace;
hasten with healing for our wounds and scars;
bless Raven, JP Licks, the nose-ring place--
Guadalupeña, womb swelling with grace!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

A Poet's History

When I was sixteen, I would scribble verse
On what we called math paper, in blue pen.
I'd work the lines over and over again
Till they were dark, obscure, opaque, perverse.

When I was twenty-one, simplicity
Was my bold slogan and my living creed.
A stoic terseness. No roses that bleed
Or hearts that bloom. Just straight veracity.

When I was thirty, I regret to say
My rhymes gave in to the pious urge to preach.
A stern-faced God, all answers within reach:
This was my Muse for many a dismal day.

Now I am forty-five, with weakening eyes.
My mind's grown lazy and my belly ample.
Content with first drafts, I'm a bad example
To younger poets who'd ignite the skies.