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Friday, April 24, 2015

That Dreaded Question

You were the cool
but eminently approachable
dark-haired ambidextrous biker gal
at my now-ex-girlfriend's birthday dinner
that sublime July night
of moderate heat
at Christopher's in Porter Square.

Nursing a ginger ale
or some such drink of dampened effervescence,
you made bold to ask me
That Dreaded Question.
"So! What do you do?"

Intuitively I knew
you were a woman
of capacious sympathy
and of generous understanding.
Therefore, I answered candidly:
"I'm a poet and a curmudgeon
and a sluggard."

Your smile (oh, blessèd soul!)
was warmer than a kiss.
You raised your glass
in gladsome salute:
"Dude! More power to you! Cheers!"

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Scollay Square Sonnet

O lovely cocktail-mixer without rival,
Concocting Rob Roys at the Bowdoin Bar!
Quick wit and lively smile, my tart-tongued star,
Friend to the lonely, thirsty, quirky, idle:

Bellissima signorina! well-versed at
Rebuking Sapphic suitors, lustful drunks:
Queen of the shot-glass, Absolut autocrat
Chatting with poets, mailmen, jocks, failed monks:

My Beatrice in knee-high boots, my joy!
Good Catholic girl, tough as a brass knuckle
(Accent pure Boston, seen-it-all brown eyes):

Pardon the glib praise of a gray-haired boy
With beer-gut held fast by a strained belt-buckle,
And dim sight dazzled by your bright surprise!

Monday, April 20, 2015

Tenth Letter to a Poet

Rays of sun fan out,
breaking to brilliance from beneath
gray-blue masses of cloud in a sky
like an evangelical photograph
of uplifting intent.

Underneath the nimbus,
one can almost discern
an italicized verse
from the 23rd Psalm!

I drink instant coffee
and wonder if my prayers
(while I stand or sit,
while I kneel or lie down)
are case-sensitive passwords
dependent on my posture
for their acceptability.

No, I suspect that even when they're careless,
sloppily presented,
articulated crudely or in haste,
Someone gets them, hears them,
and approves.


first draft 2012
revised 2015

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Our Lady of Cambridge

Virgin of Harvard Square, gendering grace,
watch over Holyoke Center, the Garage,
Chameleon Tattoos, and the nose-ring place.

Pray for the pink-haired waif of wistful face
and ink-sleeves on both ghost-white arms. Take charge
(Mother of winter roses blushing with grace)

of Raven, Grendel's, Peet's; and, just in case,
tend to hungry undergrads at the large
pizza-palace beside the nose-ring place.

Keep the Yard safe and sage. Make it your space.
Send down, María, pardon from the stars;
expand this city’s heart! Lady of grace,

shelter the sleepers crouched in church doorways
against the cold; protect the crowds in bars,
the punks in the Pit and at the nose-ring place.

Gather us all in your clement embrace;
hasten with healing for our wounds and scars.
Bless Newbury Comics, bless the nose-ring place,
spare-change Madonna, prodigal of grace!

Out for My Walk

Arlington, Massachusetts, 5.15 am, first morning of summer --- air cool and dewy: sprinklers, sparrows, squirrels; a wide-awake rabbit o...