Friday, August 28, 2015

Draft: August 28

Summer is getting
tired of himself.

Leaves droop and wilt.
Heat makes a lot of noise,
but wavers in its resolve.
This morning, for instance,
at 3.32, we find ourselves
at sixty-one degrees.

Summer is getting sick
of the sound of his own voice.

Oak tree next to St Lucy's,
elm beside the Unitarians,
are those splashes of red
I see in your green hair?
And are those backpacks
attached to students
returning for another year
to Harvard, to Lesley, to Tufts?

Summer, you will go,
gentle or otherwise,
into that good night.

Your recent evening breezes
give moonlight walkers joy.
In aestu temperies,
as the old hymn has it:
"grateful coolness in the heat."
Buzz, you bees of August;
know what lies in store.

Summer, do you think
you can last forever?

Rage, if you will, into September:
blare and blaze and blister away.
It is all for naught. The calendar
will overthrow your tyranny
in a few short weeks, will grant us
respite from your hyperbolic rants,
your epithets, your incivility.
To celebrate your overthrow,
all foliage will don its finery
and I will thunder Dylan Thomas
to the chestnuts and the lindens,
to the squirrels and the sparrows.
I even suspect that some of us
will dance as gray-haired children
at the longed-for armistice.

Summer, that crisp whisper
is your blessed requiem.

Monday, August 24, 2015

August Fragment

the one pulsating wingvoice
insistent in the August heat
of thousands of unseen crickets

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Asperges me hyssopo ...

Sprinkle me with hyssop
or with the second rain
windshook from wet leaves.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015


on what I hope is an awesome new poem (it's definitely new, not sure yet about awesome!), but I cannot post it here, as that would be considered "publication" for a contest that I'm thinking of entering ...

The subject is: candles at church.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Not About Me [being revised]

This hapless animal, ill-shaven, weary,
Gets out of bed at quarter after two:
Life gathers dust. So dull. So ordinary.

Dressed in pajamas, spirits less than cheery,
He looks for something, anything, to do:
This hapless animal, ill-shaven, weary,

This grumbling lug, mind blurred and eyesight bleary,
Implores the fates to fashion him anew
But must endure the plain, the ordinary.

His days all seem so mercilessly dreary:
No seraph, wings aflame, shall swoop down to
Surprise this animal, ill-shaven, weary.

No lissome nymph, no ghost benign or scary,
Will charge into his world out of the blue
To alchemize his nights -- so ordinary!

He sighs and groans, too numbed for joy or fury.
Once, he could love and laugh and dream and do.
This hapless animal, ill-shaven, weary,
Disdains the grace of what is ordinary.

Where Are The Days [being revised]

Where are the days
of Hart Crane and train-rides,
where are the nights
of wide and endless skies?

Where are the star tunnels
through cold October forests,
where are the flaming leaves
and the pretty girls' ghosts?

Where is the vigor and rage
of the slender obsessive teenager,
where is the hope and the trust
that tomorrow will be ecstatic?

Where are the silver yesterdays,
bright dimes on memory's asphalt?
Where has the purple room gone,
the eager poems of 1982?

All here is a fading Polaroid
kept between pages
of a long-neglected book,
stray scraps of newspaper
from late administrations,
the scrawl of rust upon the skies of morning.

All here is the mildew of prudence.
All here is the dated text.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Storm, July 2012 [revised]

Oak-cleaving thunderbolts,
as King Lear called you,
ripping age-old maples
and sturdy elms in sunder,
knocking down power lines,
smiting rooftops, sparking blazes,
terrifying fretful elders,
stunning the eyes of the young --
oh! the chaos you've unleashed
this rainy and unruly afternoon!
making Mass. Ave. impassible,
making the 77 impossible,
cleaving the oaks as a child
might snap a Popsicle stick.

I sat in the Scollay Pub
as you did your worst.
I waited out the storm
with a couple of Newcastles
and chatted with Gabby
about Current Events:
the follies of politicians,
the scandals of celebrities,
the quirks of the locally famous.

You did not quite manage to
strike flat the thick rotundity
o' the world, but you did
lash limbs from the sockets
of spruces, batter leaves
off chestnuts, clog storm-drains,
and drench the steeples
with their weathercocks.
Worse than last August's hurricane --
in my estimation, more fierce --
yet one could perceive
the furious nobility
of the mad king on the heath.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Short Takes


August night
porch door open


cold water
against summer

on the mug


languid sway
of vertical blinds
fanned by a breeze


something in the dark
is practicing
a two-note violin


air conditioner's thick
insulating whisper


I tell the beads
from fretfulness
to peace


grace & gift
this moment
each moment