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Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Impulsive

The most impulsive thing I’ve ever done
Was not to spread some butter on a bun
Or steal a pencil from the Boardman School
Or break a strict pedantic grammar-rule
Or give a beggar a five-dollar bill
Or walk au naturel up Beacon Hill
Or swim in the Atlantic with the sharks
Or chase big dogs while mimicking their barks
Or scamper through the grass with manic squirrels
Or dress in Vera Wang with a string of purrels
Or send fan letters to Drew Barrymore
Or drink beer till it seeps from every pore
Or run the Boston Marathon (it's doable!)
Or swing at curveballs with a bat from Louisville
Or join in circles with my favorite Wiccan
Or flap my arms while clucking like a chicken.
My most impulsive deed, if truth be told?
Hell, I forgot. I must be getting old.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Magnificat

(1995)


My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord;
I praise him, for he has done wondrous things,
And in me grows his everlasting Word.

Of all sweet syllables my ears have heard,
The angel's Ave is the best of songs:
My soul, proclaim the greatness of the Lord!

If peace prevail, if sorrow bring a sword,
My heart shall trust in heaven's governings:
For in me grows Love's everlasting Word.

Humility: the sparrow, slightest bird,
Announces grace with the quick tips of his wings!
All things proclaim the greatness of the Lord.

I bless our God whom Abraham adored,
Who loves the poor and rights the proud man's wrongs,
And in me grows his everlasting Word.

Heaven's omnipotent Spirit has been stirred;
The harpist's fingers vivify the strings:
My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,
And in me grows his everlasting Word.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Roxbury

Bright lilacs grace the trees of Roxbury.
They sport in the warm breeze of Roxbury.

St Patrick's Church looks out on Dudley Street.
Nuns and priests pray for the needs of Roxbury.

Trucks lumber toward Blue Hill; small cars crawl.
The faces that one sees in Roxbury

Are sad as sunshine, joyous as the rain:
Lampposts wear dungarees in Roxbury.

Ten-hour work-days, Sunday celebrations:
Heaven, bless the days and weeks of Roxbury!

My tricky ticker thrills from top to tip
Whenever my soul speaks of Roxbury!

Hip-hop blares from a brick apartment-house.
No flower excels the weeds of Roxbury!

A kitten jostles the hill-top pussy-willows;
Cold ghosts of preachers sneeze in Roxbury.

Make holiday among the triple-deckers,
Wake up the stones, the streets of Roxbury!

Is this a congenial corner?  Paradise
Shines from the souls you meet in Roxbury.

The Number 15 bus receives the sun
Of mid-morning.  Come, please, to Roxbury.

Dandelions, let your yellow hair down;
Daffodils, grow from the seeds of Roxbury!

Spring, the sweet spring, is the year's pleasant king:
It's over sixty degrees in Roxbury!

Schoolgirls shout for joy—class dismissed!
An imam quotes Hafiz in Roxbury.

The holy women of Fogo and Porto Novo
Say litanies in Portuguese—hail, Roxbury!

Politicians pamphleteer, shake hands;
Blushing roses bleed in Roxbury.

O Thomas, attend the blithesome liturgy
Of Maytime; buzz, you bees of Roxbury!

Monday, October 12, 2015

Eighties Soundtrack

We snuggled ugly, the saucy biscuit and I,
under the lampposts of Noddle Island in August.
We fumbled through Hitchhiker’s, played Depeche Mode,
until September deep-sixed our adventures.

We lived, we did. We wrestled, wrote poems, dozed,
feckless and dopey amid exotic triple-deckers,
subversive sophomores in a sensual summer,
daffodils in the boxing ring, monks at the circus.

Musty sunporches! Mope-rock symphonies!
Falsetto sobs, androgynous archdukes!
Sparkle in the Rain. Low-life. Hatful of Hollow.
Aspirations wrecked in a premature equinox.

My nightingale, my siren, why did you take flight?
When will we drop books, bundle up and nudge?
You've run off with my reason, split with my wits,
jaybird of the fire-plugs, buxom bundle of whim!

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Where Are The Days

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.
The dated text. The dead letter.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Head Over Heels

Niles chases Daphne with a bumbershoot;
Urkel offers Laura his bouquet of slapstick.
O goofy lovers of unrequitable ardor!
Opéra bouffe of abject infatuate clowns!

Dante wrote of sweet Beatrice, his blessing,
"Here is a deity greater than myself."
On VH-1 Classic, the singer from Tears for Fears
starts serenading the pretty librarian.

Morrissey wants the one that he can't have;
and Stephen Fry at age fourteen, verbose but
bold, pursues Matteo through the quadrangle.

Cole Porter's got someone deep in the heart of him.
And I, gobsmacked busker on St Patrick’s Day,
strum a mandolin as I dream of her smile.

A Young Woman of Boston

Elegant as pi to the hundredth decimal, beautiful as a quadratic equation, close as Cambodia, distant as winter, precise and mathematica...