ACT TWO - Sc. 4 - Guy Kettelhack - Poetry & Ephemera (continued)

an attempt to convey a private life in public

 

continuing from act two, sc. 3 - http://kettelhack.poetry.4.googlepages.com/home

(the train never stops.)

For previous pile-ups see

act two, sc 1: http://guyblakekett.googlepages.com/acttwo-guykettelhack-poetry%26ephemera

act two, sc 2: http://guyblakekett.googlepages.com/home

and to find out who Guy Kettelhack is, here's the google link:

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&ie=ISO-8859-1&q=%22Guy+Kettelhack%22&btnG=Google+Search

You can contact me via email either at

GuyBlakeKett@aol.com

or

GuyBlakeKett@gmail.com

Hope you enjoy my forays.

Guy Kettelhack

 

(when poems cease to appear on this site, feel free to continue here:

http://guykettelhack.blogspot.com/

================

October 11, 2007

 

Irritability Index

 

Are spirits for swilling? – or willing an outcome? –

or fostering kneeling and reeling on knees?

Should they freeze us at oxygen-lessening heights? –

are they toxic? – depressing? – unspeakable frights?

 

So much defies our deep measured breaths: so little

avails with steep pleasure – the depths of transcendent

intensity: should we be sexual? – or intellectual? –

silly contextual agony! – damnably flighty, these sprites! –

 

set on bagging a me or a you through abstrusely erect

resurrections: is God in the pew? – or in screwing

‘til blue? – which one of us seems to be barging or

sidling or dropping or floating or gamboling into the True?

 

I've only this index assessing the moment: it’s not

of my virtues or boredoms, esthetics or pains –

but rather of irritability’s losses and gains. I know

if I'm het up or not. That’s as much I can say as I've got.

 

 

October 10, 2007

 

Sewing Lesson

 

Fabric may turn out to know

more of what it means to sew

than the importunately jabbing

needle: consciousness is

greedy: it will wheedle itself

into thread – embed, conniving,

softly striving into cloth, diving

 

into yards and bolts of feeling,

stealing, hoarding: then, though

only when a necessary disbelief

suspends, will bloom, revealing

some dimension you had not

known it was secretly concealing:

everything – the room, the air,

 

the clothes you wear – reports

awareness: fright, despair,

delight, repentance spent,

new sentience lent – conduces

to surreal suffusing light –

requites: meticulously glows.

More knows than we suppose.

 

 

October 9, 2007

 

Oedipal Poem With Short Lines

 

Let’s speak

of my father.

Well, no:

don’t let’s bother.

 

Short lines

won't do for him.

Too much

over the brim –

 

a glut-

catastrophe

of back-

up to the sea

 

would flood

the delta plain:

we could

not find a drain

 

for his

excess largesse –

the lot

would make a mess:

 

rebel

like hell. Instead

let’s not

speak of the dead,

 

which my

dad is, but sing

about

love and its sting

 

through some

brand new purview:

let’s talk

about how you

 

make my

head flip and dive –

heart ache

to stay alive –

 

lungs care

to breathe your air.

(I'd be

your papi bear.)

 

Let's take

us to the mat.

Short lines

will do for that.

 

 

October 8, 2007

 

Pray the Chickens Will Behave

 

Capacities and aptitudes and talents are like

chickens pecking, screeching, running to and fro:

together, fried or roasted, feathered beasts

 

might make a feast; or fund a smorgasbord of

deviled egg – but try to peg them as they mostly

are, brainlessly attending to the silliness of Being

 

like the rest of all this billowing detritus of a star,

and all you've got is barnyard stink – and precious

little to avail your fondly wistful wish to think

 

transcendently. Resplendently unfazed, they

laze and fluff and strut and plop and catapult their

instincts anywhere they please: they've brought

 

your better judgment to its knees: no possibility

of wonder ‘til at least a few of them align,

and prickle you with something like the shine

 

of inspiration. So you keep throwing corn and

pray the chickens will behave – to hell with it:

suborn to save you with illicit choruses and

 

stolen harmonies – creeping pullets peeping

major thirds: secret fresh apotheosis of the birds –

some channeling of chaos into song – which

 

better happen before long: not far away – you

see the glint of golden hungry eyes across

that tombstone fence of rocks? – resides the fox. 

 

 

 

October 7, 2007

 

Sex, Drugs and Chiaroscuro

 

Sexual fixations – sweaty, taboo and exalted – ripe hot

from the id – amped up through additions of, addictions to,

illicit drugs – instructed you in color – bade you paint

from palettes of compulsion which permitted squeezed

access through quantum now-here-now-gone apertures:

whose prodded distillations of the sharpest-edged detail

 

made all undoctored sex seem irremediably pale: the outlined

velvet midnight blue and aubergine and dried blood red

and shocking shafts like Pollock lightning of chartreuse

orgasmically expunged gray from your head – and lay

a different bed instead in which you slept for several years,

all through the simulacra of a waking daze in which the only

 

ways and means you knew involved eschewing cloudy

ambiguity: a bloody royal purple was the hue – “have

a problem with that, honey?: nuts to you.” Chiaroscuro

of some signal subtlety has crept into your vision since

that time: a lift, all ‘round, whose source you cannot name:

has not, as far as you can tell, come on because you ever

 

wanted to be “good:” such things, you think, arrive like rhyme –

unbidden and subversive – as inevitable changes in

the neighborhood. So, though you now quite happily surround

yourself in gentler pigments and their consequential mists –

and life is all in all a larger thing than it had seemed when

you had listed rockily in druggy blasts and sexually driven

 

hiss, you're still a fan of bloody purple and the steep eroticism

of the greedily inclining line, the sharp punch of a darkened

red and its rich funk of dying in the mind. Clouds – sun –

night – day – brilliant shafts of color and a calm suffusing

gray: nothing, you suppose, is out of step: no’s not far

from yes. You've simply added to your rep – you guess.

 

 

October 6, 2007

 

Gratuitously Numerous Varieties of Underwear

 

I turned the volume up on life today –

and tried to hold on fast –

but hoo! – the blast near blew me

clean away – and I began to pray

 

for just a few of my defenses back,

the ones that coddle me against

these jagged cracks and screaming

zaps – unexpurgated claps

 

of wonder – unsieved thunder of

Manhattan’s Union Square – too

much for naked human sensibility

to bear! – compound it with October

 

New York air – unseasonably

humid, rank with all the sexual

tumidity of street fairs – crowded

butts in denim, nipples shouting

 

out from T-shirts, mounded crotches,

rounded muscle, larded with

sweet sausage, charred pressed

lamb and watermelon chunks,

 

gratuitously numerous varieties

of underwear and a complete array

of bright accessories for everybody’s

evidently hungry I-pod – put me

 

on a tripod, point my dizzy lens

at all this fizzy amplitude and spin

me like a top and let my unchained

brain and vision mop it up and

 

when you get the pictures tell me

if you see the clue that I suspect will

be the key to understanding

anything remotely interesting in me.

 

 

October 5, 2007

 

He Likes the Fall

 

Realities, ransacked, reveal

the usual suspects.

He squeezes them enough, they squeal

the feelings he directs.

 

The template of somebody’s love

withdrawn, or never given –

the patterns of a fear above –

a lust below – are riven

 

to threads and skeins that he now weaves

into form-fitting fronts

and decorated backs and sleeves

of sweaters. Warmed, his grunts

 

now seem to be much softer than

the hard cries they had been:

they masquerade behind this span

of bright yarn: hushed within.

 

He likes the Fall, it helps him sweep

his madness up like leaves –

and knit from it a dreamy sleep

that comforts while he grieves.

 

But what does he grieve for?, I ask –

ah, there’s where there’s no luck:

I've set myself the blighted task

of finding out: I'm stuck

 

and smothering in autumn wool

and cannot speak or sing:

the season’s passing; I'm a fool

and do not know a thing.

 

 

October 4, 2007

 

Just Deserts

 

Bette Davis did great service

to the complicated heart. The 1940s

threw her into Warner Brothers’

gothic tugs and cantilevered

reaching towards a crash – heating

 

up the prospect of a bright inevitable

smash: but kept inside, imploding,

taking you vicariously on a ride

that if you'd had to do it on your own,

and in what passes as “real life,”

 

you probably would not survive

the strife, and certainly not generate

the grace that Bette Davis kept

fomenting, held in place – no matter

what the angle of the camera, or

 

whether she was in a sunny huddle

or a close-up, moonlit and alone. You

are a sham compared to her: slain

by how ridiculously fathomless your

lack of understanding is of love:

 

Bette Davis would have worn

your tearing splitting atom-blasting

bomb-scare like a glove. You want

someone so bad it hurts. Bette Davis

would have called it just deserts.

 

 

October 3, 2007

 

Conjured Form

 

I have a friend who, in

the randomly striated pebbled

surface of a textured sheet

of paper, says she looks for,

finds, then traces faces –

 

constellations of peculiar

subtle quick expression –

here a nose held high, there

a brow brought sinisterly

down to slyly squinting eyes –

 

a wryness in the lip which

switches, quips – a twitch

of hungry tongue: old or young

or tapered, squat – more

and more keep cropping up –

 

concatenated quirks and jerks

and drops and pops: suggestive

shadows, lines – trompe l’oeil

refines the welter of these flecks

of chaos into amplitudes

 

of mien, demeanor – edges

of the heart and mind. Today

the mainspring in me will unwind

if I don't find a face or two like

these: a trace or two of ease

 

derived from satisfying my

determination to see something

I can say – articulably intimate:

contrived, alive – warm –

responsive – conjured form.

 

 

October 2, 2007

 

Faculty of Attention

 

“You dig and you find,

but I think sometimes

your elation in discovery

exerts an extraneous

and distracting force.”

 

“You mean I overact?”

 

“Today, proceed as if

the world were knowable.”

 

+

 

“We should settle this like men.”

 

“’Like’ suggests uncertainty.”

 

“What doesn't?”

 

(Back to back, please.)

 

+

 

“The answer is always yes.”

 

“Did you say sex?”

 

“Yes.”

 

+

 

(Lights go out,

the college closes.

 

The faculty supposes.)

 

 

October 1, 2007

 

Ode to the Grape Lady

 

Somewhere near a Finger Lake I'm told this woman grows

her glorious apotheoses of the grape: this mistress of

the cultivation of blue, tawny, pale chartreuse jeweled feats

 

of fruit: this bruja I have yet to meet who through the magic

of a practiced hand in firm caressed manipulation of the land

commands its sweet accommodation: this conjuress whose

 

produce blesses tongue and soul: this wielder of bold cluster-

bubbled berries that split – pop – in mouths arousing new,

grand visions of the Whole: this stark provider of my trance

 

as I sit piled with these procured addictions, these enhanced

predictions of my powerlessness – these entrancements

from enchanted bowers which a friend who found them

 

in a Farmer’s Market slyly brought my way: I shall meet their

catalyst! – progenitor! – on Saturday, and buy her grapes,

and by that purchase, pay obeisance – exult! – and pray.

 

 

September 30, 2007

 

Through This Poem’s Body

 

Grant me this: a knack for bliss through peroration:

warm local picaresque trips through this poem’s

body – not the blasting hot express. Press with me

 

from its boy-thick woods-auburn hair down pinkish

English china neck – pause behind the ear to

glimpse the falling cascade of a golden shoulder

 

coursing into back: needlessly prove truth is beauty,

ruthlessly minutely check the texture of its pores –

unconscionably smooth and tender skin! – as you

 

slide toward the equally appalling youth of one bright

rounded biceps – accept the relish of a slide onto its

shadowed side – don't tickle! – to its chest, to lick

 

the faintest trickle of accommodating sweat – forage

through slow-thickening soft brush – more blazing red

than auburn here – to sense beneath and through

 

your touch a clear deep sweetness – and the blunt

erupting prospect of its sex. Glory in the incomplete –

exult – right here – halfway. Settle down to stay.

 

 

September 29, 2007

 

Ninety Minutes to Visiting Hour

 

Let the poem roll out quick – barter on the basis

of the psychic grammar you've been saving

in your ruminating banks: give your thanks

and stick the pin in blind: expect this time to join,

from instinct, all your catapulting rhyme-y mind

 

to efficacies of what you imagine is behind his pain.

Your friend is in the psych ward and you half

desire, with him, to swirl down howling through

the drain: but thinking is a privilege you've

gained: and while it probably would take a village

 

of neurophenomenologists to get the gist

of what in hell or heaven’s going on, all you've

got is just this wisp of moment to arrive at

someplace profitably strong or live or wise.

Bellevue calls you to its corridors. Use your eyes.

 

 

September 28, 2007

 

Friday Night Flights

 

Years are made, as far as you can tell, of Fridays

slipping by. Like a pack of thumb-flipped cards

which show a cartoon span of baby turning into

man – a home-made movie made unthinkingly –

and on the sly pretense that nothing’s happening –

 

each moment is a contradiction: falls and binds

itself to timelessness and tediously rushes on:

stasis of the instant vies with simultaneous

vacation from one fraction of a second to another –

from one Friday to the next. That would be sufficient

 

to perplex, but then you add the instrument

of death and play it to the drum of yearning,

and this business of the human breath continuing

has burning interest, force. Mince through delicately

as if nothing were amiss? – effect a blunt coercion

as if only that would change the course? No avail.

You're the blood a boxer spits into the pail. You're

the grunt spun off the punch. You have not

the slightest hunch what Fridays yet to come will

bring. What you've got is in the ring: the zing

 

and zap and swing and thud of glove which

constitute the prep for falling into coma or in love.

Sweat is the aroma. Birthday greetings are in order

to your long-dead brother. Someone who will never

be your lover gets a waved goodbye. Fridays fly.

 

 

September 27, 2007

 

Out of All Your Memories

 

Beauty is relentless: eats you like the sea –

turns your bedrock into sand. Beauty is

a scalding shock – too hot to keep in hand –

 

cauterizes: endlessly resizes you into

transmogrified wan versions of a man.

Beauty is beyond all being – brutal handicap

 

to seeing: traps your eye and tricks it into

blindness. Beauty is the fine mess you cannot

avoid pursuing, or imbuing with ridiculous

 

fascistic ideology. Beauty is biology run riot:

vain, insane, a diet of a feast of pains.

Out of all your memories, only he remains.

 

 

September 26, 2007

 

Tug

 

It’s subterranean – it saturates and clogs

like thickened oil beneath your psychic

geologic plates: oozes, slips so slowly

 

that sometimes you aren't sure you aren't

absolutely fixed: but it plays tricks –

unconsciously it baits and pulls – as if it’s

 

gradually plugging something deep and full

in you into a stupor – an insuperably

heavy mass that sends up subtle fumes

 

of emanating urges to stay indoors, all day,

on your ass: to shut the whole thing down.

You scout around for why: perhaps it’s that

 

someone you love appears to want to die –

not in the flesh, but in the mind. But that’s too

obvious, if true: there’s something else in this

 

that tugs at you – identifying, as you do,

with any instance of a human being opting out.

There’s a secret in your geologic heart:

 

it wants to do without. He is in the mine

rejecting all he can't define or swallow: maybe

you, in some inclining envy, want to follow.

 

 

September 25, 2007

 

Refrigerator Poem

 

Desultory verses! That

all you hoped for

would amount to these!

 

A handful from a jar

of olives-and-pimentos

and some shards of

 

cheddar cheese: more

gratifying, frankly,

than your writing’s psychic

 

stabs, licentious probes –

its billowings and liberties.

Has you back down

 

on your knees. Where

you’d be better off

deployed in sexual

 

perversities than

praying to the muse

for leads. Tired of olives,

 

cheese and all your

specious brands of

poetries, you think – you

 

think – you think –

you sneeze! Perhaps

it’s all a lot of allergies.

 

----------

 

Clairvoyance

 

We're told that it was not a foggy day

when Christopher Columbus’ fleet

approached the Caribbean Islands

and that people on the shore could not

perceive a single thing on the horizon:

 

save their Chief, who caught a glimpse

of unfamiliar shadows and imagined

they might be protuberantly branched

large trunks of tree – afloat – remote –

yet sliding slowly forward in the sea.

 

Unnerving news quakes – keening

and ballooning – bleak and full –

from ocean into view. Is this how

anyone makes meaning – swooning

at unspeakable new notions of the true?

 

 

September 24, 2007

 

Hung Out to Fly

 

Dry blue half-gale –

wet slap of a white sheet –

clothesline flaps sail –

boy dreams of a war-fleet –

 

flying galleons

come down from the sky – proud

milk-white stallions

roar out of a bright cloud –

 

childhood recall –

brief moment of rapture –

held in sweet thrall –

dreams he might be captured

 

by some brave god –

nabbed out of his back-yard –

join some bold squad –

and never look backward –

 

did this happen? –

yes, he would say, nearly –

there’s no gap in

what his soul loves dearly –

 

ships, gods, horses

still fly in their dream-dress –

run their courses –

help keep his life seamless.

 

 

September 23, 2007

 

Decidedly This Side of That

 

Orificially ingesting and discharging fluids and ideas

with dispatch through the morning (ingress, egress! –

so much is extraneous!) – you brush the drips away –

sit down to early afternoon – as usual, distracted

and compelled, yet only half-consumed by what

the blaring mid-September stun-gun of a sun looks

like through mostly blinded windows – city grit on glass,

diamond-bright – did it rain last night? – glimpse

 

of iron railing, gray concrete – you are decidedly this

side of that: that courtyard palace of two pigeons: as

your ears peruse the tiny ticks and pecks your fingers

make each time you speculate about the rising, falling

market in the alphabet today: as birds click claws

away outside: male in despair – the female doesn't

seem to know he’s there – but who are you to think

you could decide one thing about their psychic fare? –

 

you barely know what you are doing – picking through

and past the possibilities of good and bad: what’s

your grand standard of evaluation, sweetie? What

glorious entreaty would attract your ear and eye?

(Oh dear, oh my.) All you've got are angles of another

New York City Sunday afternoon, and importunings

of two birds you do not understand. Oddly, though,

the Universe appears to have the thing in hand.

 

 

September 22, 2007

 

Scene of the Crime

 

Its surface yields like blue skin of a bay –

voluptuously rolls beneath your pressing palm:

something live, but gone as soon as felt –

a flow – a current – melts – too vague to

undergo: you grab for syllables: but no –

 

like fish, too glistening and swift: can't say

the thing outright. The site you've found

is now less bay than ground which someone –

maybe you – remembers digging in: what

did you bury here? Why have you hurried here? –

 

and what, in all its undiminished vagueness,

is the fear? Digging bare toes into sand

you feel the tidal lap of water coming back –

something’s waiting for you at its epicenter:

hurl a poem at it – chant! You can't: you care

 

for neither sea nor land: it will not understand.

You've been to this dream beach before,

and now are here too long: right and wrong,

profuse, diffuse – you sift between the lines:

obscene, sublime – scene of the crime.

 

 

September 21, 2007

 

The Silliest of Stories

 

He’s like a movie just one part of which you love:

so much, you garland grand bequeathing wreaths

of fantasy therefrom, blocking all the bare dumb rest

of him from memory or view: oh, not that you are any

kind of flawless flick yourself, but sometimes – well,

 

you see a golden glitter on the shelf and think – ah,

no work needed here! Steal that little bauble and be

in the clear! About as clear as that cheap rhyme – oh, be

reminded any enterprise that matters happens over time,

and love, if it exists, and it’s to thrive, requires paying

 

close attention to its hive: its honeycomb of ambiguities –

sweetnesses and stings – the paradoxes – swings –

that constitute “alive.”  Yes: that sweet crux, those nooks

of shadowed shoulder, chest that hint beneath his

shirt at every other part of unseen flesh refresh your blunt

 

capacity to block out everything but that oblique streak

of his poetry: that squeak of the divine which supersedes

each other lesser tendril on the vine, and here you

are again, forgetting that the next inevitable drop into

the glass will not be wine, but brine. Hoodwinked

 

cinematically, if only you could blink away the shine:

subject it to some scarifying test. Or is this all the silliest

of stories? Should you make the best of glories and their

disappointments – watch them flow – love the show?

You'd rather have it your way. That’s all you know.

 

At least you (wondering what your way is) think so.

 

 

September 20, 2007

 

By the Bye

 

Pouffy bouffant ladies! –

you are my Palladium:

sitting on the subway

 

like a frilly rack of lamb:

soft-helmeted – suspicious –

 

worried about destiny,

the matinée, and lunch –

grande dame suburban

 

matriarchs in on a hunch

that New York City has

 

a secret you should know.

Gossipy and glowing,

darlings, you're the show.

 

By the bye, so am I.

 

 

September 19, 2007

 

Under the Corporate Rubric of the Heart

 

Under the corporate rubric of the heart, the boardroom

ambiguities that keep the market grittily resistant to each

corner of the psyche's influence or art: the oligarchic

swiftness of the slamming door – the call for silence

when appeals are made from all those hungry supplicants

 

for more – under this system of recalcitrance – amid

exculpatory platitudes from CEO's whose shifting buttocks

seek a little extra comfort in their re-upholstered chairs –

within these locked and unavailing lairs – you amble in,

reveal the sin, expose the whole shenanigan – and then,

 

of course, are censured for your daring and unconscionable

airs. If I could leave with you, I would, but I am trapped

inside the angry gavel’s wood – strangled in its oaken

grain, addictive and sadistic woe, spirit aching to say yes

when all the body of the rest of everything requires no.

 

 

September 18, 2007

 

Soft, Now!

 

Not too much, not too much –

his receptivities require

the gentlest touch.

 

Lend petals all the room

they need to billow – cup desire:

don't spook the bloom.

 

 

September 17, 2007

 

In That Chamber in the Dark

 

It isn't love or woe or grief, exactly – it isn't that you've

held onto the past: it’s that despite each blinding bit of

evidence that nothing happens save inside a single

 

timeless blast, something powerful holds fast. Despite

conventions that will not convene: despite your having

weaned yourself off all romantic plans – despite

 

the mountains of those foolish pants-less errors and

discards – so many houses made of cards! – something’s

here that won't avail your expectation that it ought to go.

 

Maybe full of love and grief and woe – maybe ready, like

a canny thief, to roil your waters once again – stormier

since you cannot remember when – so it can slip its

 

fingers round your heart and in the chaos fleet with it

Mercurially to another far more secret part of your domain:

the entrance to the lost dark empty cavern you have not

 

despite your years and curiosity yet gained: that last

unlit compartment in which all this wonderment might

consciously connect to your poor mammal brain. Perhaps

 

you do have plans. In that chamber in the dark, and with

the burning danger of another brutally alluring partner –

and in your utter awkwardness – you plan to dance.

 

 

September 16, 2007

 

Walking Home From Pickle Day

 

Perambulating back, I thought,

the point is surely this –

that every rampart of New York

devolves into a kiss

 

that somebody refuses –

and others will pursue –

a wall goes up to crowd me out –

comes down to welcome you.

 

And then the thing reverses –

or doesn't, as may be:

you may feel blessed or venomous,

but no serenity.

 

That brilliant blue September

replenishes the air

does not mean magnanimity

is now the common share.

 

Immerse yourself in festivals –

that thrill you to the marrow –

on Orchard Street is Pickle Day –

on Mott Street, San Gennaro –

 

but try to read them as good luck

and shortly you will find

Manhattan quite indifferently

has other things in mind.

 

She offers, really, only one

solution to the strife:

a standing invitation to
partake of blinding life.

 

 

September 15, 2007

 

Arbitrary Symmetry of Silly Rhyme

 

They

decide against

the bromide and deride

the simple fix – as if the thing were

always too complex to warrant any less than

hermeneutic divination. You go along

with them at first, though note

your unavailing thirst

for something

clear –

 

and

wonder if

the answer is less

murky than it would, from

their anxieties and caveats, appear.

You grab the nearest glass and drink the water

from the sink: the tap’s sufficient to

provide the sustenance to

slake aridity: you blink.

Perhaps next

time you’ll

take

 

a

break

from their

insistence on,

propensity for, density

and pushing patience to the brink.

Amazing how the arbitrary

symmetry of silly

rhyme can

help you

think.

 

 

September 14, 2007

 

Friday Morning Gods

 

Press and roll – be master

of envelopment and involution:

a commanding creature

 

of such metamorphic gifts

that somehow you'll achieve your lifts

by taking in, not letting go –

 

as if existence were entirely

the fundament of helium: and your

baroque entanglements could suck

 

it into an ineffability: sealing

in: transmuting it to flesh

and muscle, bone and hair –

 

floating from it into air: a liveliness

ensnared like baboons in a zoo:

peeking out innumerable urgencies!

 

+

 

Hardly you. What do his pale blue

eyes want? Another mental

weather front – a gust to swallow:

 

destined for his indecipherable gut?

Are you monsters – gods –

or children: primates – angels –

 

sexually profligate or chaste as

any propagation of a monk

(you wonder if he sweats: you'd

 

like to taste his funk)? Well, he’s

of course entirely an apparition

made of loose admixtures cast

 

from you perfunctorily: all that you

cannot construe – project

as someone else’s aperçu: here

 

we go again! – fostering a fog

that anyone would have to be

a god (like you) to stumble through.

 

 

September 13, 2007

 

Let the living creature lie,
Mortal, guilty, but to me
The entirely beautiful.

 

from Lullaby, W.H. Auden

 

Oh man

 

Look forward toward a tender turning of the leaves –

persisting in their aging green for some few days –

perhaps a week or two or three – as if a publication

date were set for trees which hasn't quite been met:

the leaves of your life’s storybook now also seasonally

 

riffle into later pages, chapters: capturing the first soft

worried chill of psychic fall – provocatively calling

to proceed – a harbinger of gold and red and purple

grieving: breeding an unscrupulously velvet numbness –

slipping onto your heart’s palm and fingers like a glove:

 

you don't, except in some too general allotment of

a meaning, think it’s love: but who are you to say?

I'll tell you who: you're someone looking into pale blue eyes

and finding nothing whatsoever but too probable a cause

for lies and rue: oh, not the sort you'd drunk and eaten

 

by the armful long ago – but rather those quite innocent

omissions and commissions that a man sows utterly from

sweet disinhibition of his late-awakened sex and soul

(too infantile to be accused of malice – silly phallus!)

who knows there’s not too very much more of the leaves,

 

the trees, the book to go. Look at this young man

who doesn't know you've plucked him off the branch.

Your teeth already have split flesh and hit the pit: no

question that you've eaten peach – all of it predestined:

now entirely within, and hopelessly outside, your reach.

 

 

September 12, 2007

 

We've Won!

 

for Richard & Donna

 

Golden moment – sensate balance –

brimful chalice just before it’s sipped:

the day is dry and full – elliptically

sensuously coursing in its orbit –

voluptuous and sweet – smooth

 

and indiscreetly bountiful: you see

a friend, and he is fine, his grapes fall

in uncountable divine profusion – ripe

and perfect on the vine: you catch another

friend replenishing the universe again:

 

she bends and fuses – dances in

the end-of-summer breeze: tending all 

her Greenwich Village flowers –

pausing to imagine trees: the worlds

that these and you and we and all

 

the grand array of other souls you know

intend, right now, to give away – to

whirl – allow to play amid the starlight

of the sun! There is a triumph to be

had today which – oh! – we've won!

 

 

September 11, 2007

 

Influence

 

Gloriously gray and rainy day!

September comes in flavors.

Extraordinary how the darkness

shields the sun so cunningly –

afternoon: it’s one o'clock, and yet

 

it savors of predawn: the sky

is spattering as if it couldn't hold

its breath: now winds are sending

sheets of water east to west –

something in this quadrant of

 

the planet seems perplexed. Is

rain insentient after all? I feel

its call the way I register an influence

I love: my idols are the autodidacts

whose enthusiasms flood – who

 

cannot keep themselves from

garnering the pulse of things,

the blood. Emily – Miss Dickinson:

did you sit listening like this?

And was it ever thinkable that

 

language couldn't render what

existence always missed?

I see you bargaining with rain

and winning: harboring its sentience

secretly – criminally grinning.

 

 

September 10, 2007

 

You Saw the House Again

 

Days later, you reflect. More has coalesced – more

notions and objections and reverberant collections

of that mix of memory and moment which accounts

 

for thought. Moment more than recollection – all

is fraught with now: there isn't any other what or how.

But there is theater – there are plays – and they enact

 

the ways you conjure up what was against what is:

pop the cork of your imaginings and pour the fizz and

here you are – you impresario! – in business once again.

 

Segue from the drafty general to the resplendently

overt. Gather up your scripts like skirts, though they

persist in fluttering like dove-wings from your arms.

 

+

 

The house, you must admit, had charms. Your mother

had an eye. She'd managed to apply an atmosphere –

a cool and calm gestalt – which it is not too much

 

to liken to the vaulting Grecian dreams of early Georgian

England – seemingly inevitably planned, gracefully

proportioned and uncluttered – not one pompous note.

 

You barely even noticed it: so unimposing a design.

But now it gleams again, in contrast to the night

of missing it, like dawn. Everything she did to it is gone.

 

 

September 9, 2007

 

God Responds to the Headlong Prayer

 

You seek the tender finish – closing elegance –

the proof of singularity – the soft surrender

of an end: untangling all the fraying silken blends

of unexamined thread that constitute what you

imagine goes on in a head – somehow to let them

 

float – to sort themselves – as if angelically –

get free – so, then, profoundly to relate experience

to understanding, linking “do” and “be.” What

vistas you could see from that sweet vantage-point! –

that calm bright overview – that lighthouse facing

 

sea – companionable neural congregation: banish

mystery! Hasn't much to do with me. I am the ocean,

not the harbor glow: I am where air meets void,

I go – entreat the vacuum to fight, imagine somehow

thereby I might avoid my own inevitable plight –

 

prevail: I am the banshee’s wail just as she sees

her holographic tail reveal that she’s not here

at all. Gather me: you'll flail and fall like snow-flaked

winter, bare and unavailing – blasted, cold and

blank. There’s nothing in the tank. There is no tank.

 

 

September 8, 2007

 

Waiting for the Train to New York

 

Like random pale transparencies of over fifty years

of summers-into-fall, soft Caribbean breezes waft

across – disturb – this bare Long Island Railroad

platform – as if, for your delight in the surreal,

 

Bermuda had transplanted into all this stiff suburbia:

you've gone back to the place you come from:

slides go by too fast for any single glimpse to last:

proof there is no time. Everything’s a glimmer –

 

elegant and silent and appalling as a mime – whose

gestures blind – exasperating quickness – bright

unfathomable tricks!: you think you've caught

the gist and then the whole contraption of your

 

memories collapses: slightly, not uncomfortably

addled – off your axis – you relax as if into the gentle

chaos of an ocean beach’s breaking foam: a tiny bit

aghast that you're this glad there is no going home.

 

 

September 7, 2007

 

“Hunger Get What Hunger Want”*

 

Lightning flicks – a humming glimmer of midsummer –

dusk, as if dusk were a kind of musk, a scent, perfume –

more smelled than seen – the kind of trick the mind

plays when it conjures up from who-knows-what

an apparition of the dreamed-for – oh, the passionately

schemed-for!: sudden deluge of belief which surely,

psychically, you've rushed to pour as refuge and relief –

 

the momentary certainty that what you've always wanted

you have found. This is when the dusk becomes a sound –

a Mendelssohn slow movement from a string quartet:

rapturous and slightly odd – grace notes captured from

a minor god – brings senses just precisely to the juncture –

sweet intoxicating point – where they imagine they

have punctured through to something like a breathing,

 

jointed whole: a truth: a soul with corporeal muscle,

bone: companionable tone: voluptuous, ethereal – that

smell of dusk again: finally a habitable zone! Write

a book and fall in love, and in the framing of that miracle,

experience a joining of your disparate centralities –

below, above: dichotomies release and cease, and

you've the first sense in your life of an illumined peace.

 

+

 

Fast-forward through the decades: fumble with the lock

and key to your now long-familiar door: stumble into

your bright-lit imbroglio of glaring middle-day – too clear

to miss this boon of noon – blaring out an enterprise

you can't dismiss, this mission whose demands you've

 

taken up, this antidote to easy bliss: yes: hard to strain

from all this blinding light alternatives to that soft

long-gone musk-besotted night: there are no books to write,

no love that you could possibly requite: a different order

in your living heart obtains. Losses, and peculiar gains.

 

 

* Ballpark Franks commercial

 

 

September 6, 2007

 

Somewhere Over the Brain: Go!

 

Stand up to the arcane – show it who’s boss!

Give rabble-rousing mysteries a toss.

Enough spelunking through your weary brain –

it’s time to pour debunking down the drain.

 

Oh, tell the whole shebang of it to drown

in several mocha milkshakes: clown around –

and have a lot of sex: or simply sleep –

then herd about insensibly like sheep.

 

Flatten that last pea beneath your pallet:

check if you've the wowee in your wallet

to vacate your vicissitudes and fly

to somewhere no one ever wonders why.

 

 

September 5, 2007

 

Nap-Poem

 

Little tugs and skirmishes – scurrying like

baby lab rats in and through my nap –

drop my mother in a London flat – scheme

with Lindbergh – fly his plane to get her back –

all against a soundtrack of Roberta Flack:

 

sentience left to its remote devices spices

and deceives the day – severs it from time

and disbelieving: forward motion is imagined:

wake – and I resort to rhyme. Sleep and poetry –

oh, mend their rift! – unending gift! – if only

 

I can stay with it! – allow its lift to make at least

some simulacrum-sense of all this density:

overcast internal sway of sky: clouds that gently

fray the inner eye. The apparition isn't death:

the thing that fills the nap is breath – and so

 

entwined with memory and fantasy it almost

might be mine – or some odd quantum

tandem-random sleight-of-hand: bright grand

flapping trap!: something seemed to bring

such care to it. I guess I couldn't swear to it.

 

 

September 4, 2007

 

Resolution

 

His beauty is a beast: feasts

on you until the only thing to do

is ride it – trick it – trap it –

clap it to you like a sidekick: ah

but just as quick, it’s off again

 

(gone to all its other pimps) –

and there’s no telling when

you'll get another glimpse.

Resolve: collect yourself – dive

hungry into intellect: attain

 

whatever satisfaction may obtain

from tossing ‘round conundrums

in the brain. Aggress through

mental vegetation like a bolo.

At least you get to do that solo.

 

 

September 3, 2007

 

God Doodles

 

Solipsistic split.

(My slip is showing!)

Half of “it”

(my grip is going)

 

is I

the other half is T.

What's that got to do with “it”?

Mystery to me.

 

If I ruled,

which I do,

what would I be doing?

What I do.

 

 

September 2, 2007

 

Tag Team

 

Today September climbs into the ring:

as if a skinny auburn-haired recalcitrant

shy teenaged boy decides that it is time

 

to fight the preening and annoying "Hulk,"

who at the sight of this unprepossessing

kid mysteriously sighs – then starts to

 

sulk:  summer muscle heat regards,

now, in a glimpse, its imminent demise,

foresees the rise of yet another champ,

 

whose autumn cool and damp will win

by seasonal default. And you? I'll see you

in a sweater growing pale, delicately

 

leaning closer to the moment, darling, when

we both might summon up the courage

to prevail, and take each other’s hand –

 

remand ourselves together, bravely, to

the ring and face its center – and maybe

be the tag team who will win in winter.

 

 

September 1, 2007

 

Garbage Day on West 73rd Street

 

Torn black plastic trash bag – vast array

of spill: its pink and yellow, white and sky-blue

baby bears and bunnies, doggies – mashed –

 

contorted – laid bare on the sidewalk, stuffed

for play: appallingly astray. An upper west side

childhood thrown away? – a fond array of small

 

pretend friends, here upended – once owned

by a crazy lady whose mad disbelief her death,

or right dose of Welbutrin, now cannot suspend? –

 

some tortured academic’s bête noir habit

heaved outside – in desperate hope that this time

he'd be able to survive without resorting to –

 

cavorting with – his zoo of twee? (disgusting

cuddly-wuddlies!): someone’s loss, at any rate,

defines this mass and toss of terrycloth and plush,

 

foam rubber, cartoon eye, bright grin: this heap

of echoes – embryos of loneliness – dropped

here like an unforgiven sin, destined for the bin.

 

 

August 31, 2007

 

Curmudgeon’s Labor Day

 

Let the Fall fall down, let

November become the next

course in the feast: fomenting

the moment by prizing

the least of its prizes – stiff

fist of a grim frigid breeze

that reminds you you breathe:

 

sift February into the slew

and renew your acquaintance

with gray: dive into the opal

of nothing to do but look

vaguely out windows at leafless

tree limbs: be a monk. There’s

gold to be found in your funk.

 

Plan a Bergmanesque day

and convey your regrets

to the crowd. Stray to the soft,

most remote side of loud:

the sweet senseless cloud of

a muted Tchaikovsky despair.

Labor to dare, and to care.

 

 

August 30, 2007

 

Calliope

 

So drawn to you!

What to do?

You are the window

I must walk up to –

 

I crave the view: again,

again, so drawn to you!

I’m not by any means

convinced it’s love.

 

More quizzical: like

physics: electromagnetic

force: the melodramatic

course my iron filings run.

 

You haunt: ethereally

steaming tunes –

hooting like a mad calliope:

you come from

 

circuses and riverboats –

you are an ornate carved

and organ-piped

contraption meant

 

for Christmas –

months and months away.

You are a hunch:

an isthmus in the Adriatic Sea:

 

the promontory that

beseeches me in dreams

to sail. Inevitable gale:

you wail and soar.

 

On your shore,

would there be more?

What to do?

So drawn to you.

 

 

August 29, 2007

 

And So, My Darling

 

Grabbed the day – or thought I had –

but what I'd nabbed was this idea:

that if I made a stand, and called a halt,

my soul’s gestalt and psychic brawn

 

would be just strong enough to thrust

a hand into the All and crush and stall

at least a little of it: make it crawl, then

(please – for just a millisecond!) stop.

 

This flopped. Welcome to the brutal

grinding force! – this blinding metamorphic

Universe beyond all human measure –

cursing – blessing – disappointment;

 

looming – gleaming – in and through

the energy and matter of the rest resides

no test, no dare, no prayer: the mess

around us doesn't care: far too busy

 

dressing in its is. And so, my darling,

pop or fizz or press or flow – you cannot

kiss it into yes or chop it into no. What

maybe you can do is watch the show.

 

 

August 28, 2007

 

Bat with Bacon

 

Severing connections –

looking here not there –

is how we think: no wonder

 

everybody’s in the clink –

gasping hard for air. Choose

a focus – therefore opt

 

for blindness: skin, de-wing,

behead a fuzzy bat and

cook it up with bacon: in the fat,

 

and shaken pan: nothing’s

good: worst food since

your hungry tongue began.

 

Add a crazy salad made of

wordy woody tricks-and-treats:

now you gotta lotta lousy eats.

 

Choices must be made,

but prices paid for them

rent very temporary space.

 

Rambling like a banshee.

 

Trying to forget his face.

 

 

August 27, 2007

 

Outside My Bedroom Window on the Air Conditioner

 

Pigeons –

only two –

monogamously

making do –

 

cadging

pigeon love

androgynously:

who’s above? –

 

who’s below? –

hard to tell

the ardent beau

from willing belle –

 

coupling

as they are –

clicking claws

in their bizarre

 

boudoir.

 

 

August 26, 2007

 

The Barnyard Array

 

They say you are single and gay:

makes you cringe, yell and bay at

the moon with dismay to be so neatly

packed away – as if all of the happily

 

lunatic masses of you could be paid

off with such a suggestion! – you're

about as unhitched as congested

processions of witches all clamoring

 

over each other like shrews who

outdo with their spells and their telling

repellings and lures: and check out

that hot spunky bungling jungle

 

of monkeys: it’s yours – each night

your head beds in a nest, by their

special request, with the crest of

the best of those apes – scrambling

 

gamboling funky crew who gape at and

bunk with, enjoy being you. As for gay,

sure, well – part of the day: but that’s

just a whiff in the barnyard array.

 

 

August 25, 2007

 

Lacto-Epiphany

 

Cold and full-flowering flood! –

that you lug from the market to

glug-glug straight out of its fat

gallon jug – no pirate drank rum

 

from a keg any better than this

fluid bliss: coursing kiss of

a rivulet makes love to thirst:

first dispenses a sudden relief:

 

then steals all the rest of your

mugginess – fresh blessed thief! –

condensing the dense August

air: each swallow’s a dare –

 

always new – follows through –

to another, another – and more:

the shores of your lips beach

an unending sip – sweet dip in

 

the sea of this bovine amenity –

paradigmatic rejoicing in white! –

requitingly wet jubilee! (Not to

mention the milk is fat-free!)

 

 

 

August 24, 2007

 

Olives (New York, August, 1937)

 

Proust's madeleines become for me sixteen

Mount Athos olives, pitted, packed in garlic,

Grecian expeditions through the mouth that

linger after startling – then draw me as if sharply

south: down into time, back past my own overt

existence into hers: first she demurs and then

relents: past lips she darts a nervous tongue:

 

and finally I see my mother young. No – more

than see, I freely feel what she must be, have

been: her physical impatient hungry walk through

Nineteen-Thirties bristling and unconscionably

hot New York: work at Macy's toy department,

school at the Art Students League – unwieldy

beauty striking passersby like shattering

 

and scattering bright shards of Grecian urn:

painted shadows – red and black – against

the baking granite grey – ripening from green:

odd to feel so 'seen' – I pop another olive

and the garlic sticks between my teeth – and

there she is again, at home now, tiny studio

apartment, scalding August, Woolworth's whirring

 

fan, wriggling out of her new discount Macy's

sheath – her untried body slender from not

twenty years out of her mother's womb: I see

her in her room – as cool as she can bloom in

her imagination – out of reach, her mind

accomplishes a beach and sea: and briefly

thinks of what she might just fathomably be –

 

I swallow yet another shard or two of Grecian olive/

urn – return through seventy weird years to me.

 

 

August 23, 2007

 

Love Poem

 

At first – like marsh gas phosphorescence –

light suggests the evanescent sprite

and fairy – tiny gleam and glare egests, ingests

all dream and care – enchanted by the forest’s

chorus – breezy whispers too internal

and endearing to endure – then suddenly:

 

the smashing punch and unremitting lure

of the intolerably beautiful: you hear Fauré:

the bloom and wreck in him – the Requiem –

bespeaks and sings the killing heat of the divine

in human life: the looming knife – prepare,

my dear, to be assassinated once again.

 

There may be a final couplet here –

but God knows when.

 

 

 

August 22, 2007

 

Every Last Hope

 

Take over this movie –

make us believe!

Snake into a groove: be

all we perceive!

 

If you were the emblem

of a pure heart –

would you not suspend, then,

questions of art –

 

and lend the sole measure

down or above

we'd need for all pleasure,

thinking, or love?

 

Oh, be the first sharp breeze –

cut through the mist –

fascistically clear, please –

we're tired of this

 

ambiguous circus:

weld something strong –

that won't jolt and jerk us

but stream along –

 

and squeeze to distraction –

blind to one scope –

and grind to a fraction –

every last hope.

 

 

August 21, 2007

 

Washington Square, August Rain

 

The dripping moment comes to me as if I were

an obstetrician – pleading, pregnant, imminently

dropping – deaf – bereft of anything but urgency

and pliancy, distending belly stretching out until

 

its contents surely have to spill – but just as I have

tendered my agreement – reassurance – that it’s

fine to fill me with whatever it portends: the moment

ends, and my umbrella plumps again against another

 

moment flooding from the sodden laden branches

of another tree, with leaves that seem to want

to cleave to me, searching for a father. I'm home

and dry now, blocks from all that bother, warm as if

 

I had a fire: looking for new fundaments to sire,

trying not to glance at other plopping moments

on the windowpane – renegades of rain – welling

into dream: full of hungry embryonic gleam.

 

 

August 20, 2007

 

Funky Zoo

 

Proceeding on the blunt

assumption that no feeling

is immune to the predation

of a poem, take this gut-deep

 

moan for contact at its hungry

prompting pumping grunting

front-face value: tease –

manipulate – its malleable

 

funky zoo: provoke the pig

and horse and monkey, hippo,

rhino, stag: taunt the creatures,

get them mad, swell and brag –

 

take them stomping rutting

butting right up to the gate.

Dangle love like bait. Tell

them they will have to wait.

 

 

August 19, 2007

 

Three Oblique Angles

 

I

 

Sleek tech-man – dreadlocks flap as he redacts – tackling

gadgets at a Starbucks: iPod, lap-top, cell-phone bridge synaptic

gaps – croaks escape his throat like poetry-reciting goats.

 

II

 

At first you notice only one: a little girl curled in her father’s lap –

sweatered-pink and on the brink of dreams beneath her lean

progenitor’s crane-body – arcing over her by reflex as he nods

 

ambivalently: tries to keep from losing consciousness himself: then,

on the shelf of subway seat across from them you see the other

twin: pink-sweatered, too, and at her plump, appealing, slack-

 

jawed, dozing mother’s side, napping like a kitten on her thigh –

voluptuously unaware her mommy’s drifted off to her own never-

never land: a family sleeps deeper; the subway is their keeper.

 

III

 

Short Mexican in urban black – chic restaurant garçon

striding up Sixth Avenue at noon downtown – bottle of Red Bull

swings from its neck in his right hand – Poland Spring,

 

bespangling in the sun, dangles from his left: Soho Zeitgeist

meets a Mayan Prince-turned-waiter: water from the well flicks

asterisks of light – to savor in your recollection of it later, later.

 

 

August 18, 2007

 

Grand Shenanigan of You

 

In that adroit fantasia that arrays

itself like foreplay, or a 1930's newsreel,

or a vaudeville dog act just before

the diva flourishes herself into ovation –

in the tensile pink and amber air

 

of that peculiar lair in which you find

yourself precisely – if unrecognizably –

completely bared: quite like the last

time you were there – that is to say

in that regaling part of evening yesterday

 

before you thought to summon up

the wherewithal to flip the light and take

another flight – in that augmented

wake-to-sleep state that you navigate

with odd dissociation – though perhaps

 

the slightest hint of fright – as you let

go that fragile kite – and watch it float

right out of sight according to some

pull of gravity whose physics can't be

known at night – you hear a voice erupt

 

into the phone. The grand shenanigan

of you impels a mushroom cloud of

violent blue-violet hue – impending utter

break. Your delicate regalia quakes –

and falls. It happens when he calls.

 

 

August 17, 2007

 

Charm Guard

 

Luddly-duddly-doo!

You are my baby bottom

that’s what you-you-you-

are so unfathomable

I resort to arsenals of snow-

jobs full of cotton candy-

affectation and affection –

you confection of my

 

misbegotten yearnings,

expectations: you're

the nipsy-dipsy-woodle

in my aching head:

you are the nudel-kugel

in the spread of angst

I call my heart: you are

the virulent compartment

 

locked away to which

you've nonchalantly

tossed me up the key:

you will annihilate the best

and worst and last and first

of me: you are the deedly-

sneedly-bee whose sting

makes masochism taste

 

like honey: you are on

the money, bunny, and

because of you I'm broke

up like a tricycle stomped

on by a triceratops

or two. I have no guard

against your charm or my

projections, doodly-woo.

 

Screwdly you.