Saturday, March 31, 2007

Mr. Salty

Mr. Salty

He’d shake peanuts in his fist
To remove excess salt.
His slap, salt saturating
My cheek, calmed his ghosts
Birthing mine.
Dad was tortured by his
Demon, dead, descendents.
Was not in his hitting language.

Van Gogh

Vincent Van Gogh said, "I have a terrible need of — shall I say the word — religion. Then I go out and paint the stars."

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Poem: After Thanksgiving

After Thanksgiving

When the Christmas tree
Was brought indoors; tall
Yet to be sawed and shaped
A second time, we filled
A galvanized tub rested
The cut end in water
And waited for limbs to settle.
That same tub we filled over
And over and dumped on the only
Flat place in the alley to make
An icy patch. The water
Flecked with needles.

When the tree was put in its
Red and green stand
Water was again poured
And sugar added to prolong its life
We never saw taken away.

I think now that the smell
Of apples and oranges
In the same room as the tree
Were its first ornaments.
The dim light above
Its first crowning star.

Henrik Ibsen Quote

Henrik Ibsen (books by this author) wrote in Act 2, "I almost think we're all of us Ghosts. ... It's not only what we have invited from our father and mother that walks in us. It's all sorts of dead ideas, and lifeless old beliefs, and so forth. They have no vitality, but they cling to us all the same, and we can't get rid of them. Whenever I take up a newspaper, I seem to see Ghosts gliding between the lines. There must be Ghosts all the country over, as thick as the sand of the sea. And then we are, one and all, so pitifully afraid of the light."

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Poem No Decision

No Decision

My dad could never live
Vicariously through pugilists
He would listen, allowing
The imagination and the voice
Of Don Dunfy to move his fists,
bob & weave in the din of his car.
Occasionally he’d put his mitts
To his face; a Floyd Patterson
Stance, then slowly rest
Them to his sides.

As he got older he’d discern
A boxer from a fighter-
The grace on a grainy TV screen
To a plodding palooka
Who moved only when
The horizontal went out of whack.
Cassius Clay is a boxer, he’d chime
As Howard Cosell pushed a sweaty
mike in front of the animated boxers face.

I had no difficulty telling that dad
Was a fighter, the way he hit
With stick or hand, had no grace
Like a head-butt, or a low punch
I had no chance, and no referee.


Pimp out of Place

The brother is walking down 40th, on the east side. He is smoking a cigarette and wearing a coat that shines out of wear. It goes just below his knees to expose a pair of baggy blue pants. The beard is gray but not white; on his head are a pink hat with a white feather in the brim.
He is a pimp dropped off on the wrong side of town, no girls to hassle or slap high fives. No one to shove to a street corner or to smooth hair, no distant lover sung by Marvin Gaye. When he is finally aware, the embarrassment of habit will find a bus to the city and look for a bitch to blame.

Saturday, March 10, 2007



When hubris struck
I pulled myself
Above all
Because I was all-
Bud bursting
Never ceasing.
Over and over
Delirium to elixir.

The language was plain
Incantations spoken
And things moved and shook.
Frocking the ordinary
Into Midas gold
My body a dervish
Of action, eventually


I could not undo
Protecting my sweat-soaked
Body from objects
Of my actions, and not
Knowing the exit
Incantations. Spiraling
I caught a glimpse
Of Icarus wing,
Melted and gooey.

To wallow in the hubris
Of my own insecurities
Was to die.

Iris Murdoch

Murdoch said, "Writing is like getting married. One should never commit oneself until one is amazed at one's luck."

Sunday, March 4, 2007


Framing Eve

From a viewing
Of a Margaret Jamison painting

Her head tried to imitate
The apple of her demise,
But with all this knowledge
She could not decide-
Delicious or transparent?

Her form is laid on leaves
Not as a means of modesty
Highlighting her torso
Already decomposing
In the sin of enlightenment.

Having relations with a hidden
Adam, being accused
And used, made the seeds
Under her tongue, sprout.

T. A. Delmore

Anne Sexton

But suicides have a special language.
Like carpenters they want to know which tools.
They never ask why build....
The impulse to suicide would lead to death by carbon monoxide poisoning in 1974, on her forty-sixth birthday. Sexton's other compulsions -- alcohol, cigarettes, pills, and men -- made life for her and her family a harrowing experience, if her daughter's memoir (Searching For Mercy Street, Linda Grey Sexton, 1994) is any measure. Still, they could cause a laugh: Sexton once discovered that her purse was so heavy because it contained 55 Bic lighters.