Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Telling the Truth

If I were dry instead of spilling over
A stemmed rummer: Chardonnay or port
If I were bare instead of drunk with clover
Wisteria madly climbing o’er my fort

If I were fair instead of robust swart
My limbs each a shaded branch
If I were willowy, but nay, I am short
Burning thoughts the world will stanch

If I were a vicar, not stuck on this ranch
Prayers launched unto the Promised Land
To face the Almighty, I’d surely blanch
My intractable ship by Him be manned

If I were willing, I’d spread my arms and die
But my arms stay folded; I bow and sigh

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Canis Lupus

Mimi’s waiting patiently for a blood-red
moon, an eclipse that starts past
midnight, that starts with a wolf’s
muzzle pointed skyward, its lips
making a howling lament, a rumbling
moan until it’s joined by a rough pack

Fellow canines, sister bitch, form a pack
friendly to none but the other, their red
focused eyes wait until a train rumbles
far down cold, steel tracks, past
farmhouses where prayers on lips
form, children breathing like a pack of wolves

Tangled like a litter of whelps-to-wolves
Tussling for their place in the pack
Tough and snarling, their bristled hair, lips
turned back in a sneer, yet their red
tender hearts bleed of memories past
today and tomorrow with the past rumble

By 1926, the last wolves were rumbled
back to their graves in Yellowstone, No Wolves
became the mantra, this shameful past
beholden to government control. Yet a pack
beneath the radar, sheltered on a red
bed of secrets, grew in Minnesota, on the lip

of Lake Superior—those wolves’ curled lips,
open teeth, and crouched haunches, rumble
outside where they sleep, no predators with red
objectives will attack them. The alpha wolf,
only betrayed by man, runs in tight packs
or strikes out solo in search of a mate. In the past,


no wailing wolf could be found. “That’s in the past,”
newspapers claimed, but Mimi still believed, her lips
not opening, not even mouthing the truth. A wolf’s pack
need not fear, Mimi’s tongue will not wag, nor words rumble
nilly-willy. Mimi sets salt-licks for the deer, knowing a wolf
nearby will soon down one for its dinner, under the moon, blood-red.

Wolf-packs survive despite past histories of scourge
Mimi, so unlike Little Red Cap, licks her own lips
As thunder rumbles and her wolves wake for the night

Monday, April 14, 2014

Telling the Truth

If I were dry instead of spilling over
A stemmed rummer: Chardonnay or port
If I were bare instead of drunk with clover
Wisteria madly climbing o’er my fort

If I were fair instead of robust swart
My limbs each a shaded branch
If I were willowy, but nay, I am short
Burning thoughts the world will stanch

If I were a vicar, not stuck on this ranch
Prayers launched unto the Promised Land
To face the Almighty, I’d surely blanch
My intractable ship by Him be manned


If I were willing, I’d spread my arms and die
But my arms stay folded; I bow and sigh

Monday, April 7, 2014

She Looked Pale


At first, she only looked pale
But didn’t we all, it was the middle
of winter with less than eight hours
of sunlight to toast our cheeks
Tanning beds were verboten

Unless one was Glamour-Gal
At first, she only looked pale
Not even as  wan as her sister
who lived in Memphis,
which was two zones warmer

But then we noticed her baggy jeans
and the belt notched to the limit
At first, she only looked pale
We thought nothing of it, we all
looked like ghosts coming out

Of the winter solstice, the tepid sun
making a show in the western sky
but unable to make a dent in degrees
At first, she only looked pale
So when the light finally shined

Brightly enough for the truth
Our hearts sank for there could be
no other reason for her meek demeanor
her listless pallor and papered hands
At first, she only looked pale



Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Two Bird Poems to Consider

Birds in History

I am a feathered dinosaur
A partridge in a pear tree
My hollow bones account for
My life as a feathered dinosaur
My thrust and lift, my drive to soar
Breaking free of gravity
I am a feathered dinosaur
A partridge in a pear tree


Flight of the Boastful Bird

You could fly if you wore feathers
And cannular bones
In all nature of weather
You could fly if you wore feathers
To live a life untethered
Around your neck, no stones
You could fly if you wore feathers
And cannular bones

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Which one strikes you more?

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Hearing Voices


If I'd followed his advice
When he learned there was a baby
He didn't flinch, think twice
To keep it, he thought crazy

When he learned there was a baby
"Snuff it out," he blithely said
To keep it, he thought crazy
"We'll be better when it's dead"

"Snuff it out," he blithely said
His words came as a shock
"We'll be better when it's dead"
A hard place and a rock

His words came as a shock
Then I heard her lusty cry
A hard place and a rock
With love, I said goodbye

Then I heard her lusty cry
And yet I set her free
With love, I said goodbye
Her new parents, they make three

And yet I set her free
My desires, I deferred
Her new parents, they make three
I listened to God's word

My desires, I deferred
I didn't flinch, think twice
I listened to God's word
And I followed His advice

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Memphis, Anyway


“I’m not concerned about that now”
said the mountain that spoke with his face,
down from the edge of an unsheltered sky,
and King went to Memphis anyway.
Excerpt from Memphis Anyway by Dan Collins


When he was born in 1929, he was named Michael like his father
But concern for the great religious activist compelled his dad
To change both father and son names to Martin,
Martin Luther. Sometimes I wonder if I would accomplish
More if I changed my name, too. Maybe I could be
Eudora Welty or Sally Struthers, but somehow
I don’t think that would make a difference. What compels
A person to rise above their earthly bondage, to lash
Their focus onto ethereal goals, onto Life’s prow
“I’m not concerned about that now”
King made that speech in 1963, the year I was born
And yet in my mind, I can hear his voice pealing out the words
Oh, the wonders of YouTube and a good memory
I still have one, you know. I’ve not lost my mind’s
Facility. Mount Rushmore. I’ve been there twice,
Have you? Once when I was two years old, that place
Was captured on film and I can watch my small, blond
Self holding a snake in Reptile Gardens; it must have
Been along the route. Back then, life was all grace
said the mountain that spoke with his face
Martin was assassinated in 1968, when he was 39 years old
I remember being five then. I owned a dog named Trixie
I had a birthday party with my friends Cheryl and Carol Wold
And Dan Matthews and Jeanne. But I don’t remember any-
Thing about Martin. I wasn’t too young to recall that time in
My life, my grandparents’ farm, my old Aunt Prisca, so why
can’t I remember Martin’s death? Did anyone die when I
was five? I was still living in grace. God still hid in the church
rafters and sang the incantation during High Mass, way up high
down from the edge of an unsheltered sky

The first murder I genuinely remember happened on West 72nd street.
John Lennon was old then, I was seventeen, he was forty. He was old, right?
Did you know, at the moment he was pronounced dead at Roosevelt Hospital
The song, All My Loving, by the Beatles began playing over the sound system
When I die, I wonder what song will be playing, what song do I want?
I like music from Godspell, the musical. Somehow I’d arrange for Day
By Day to be playing if only in my mind. “To see thee more clearly,
Love thee more dearly, Follow thee more nearly, day by day…”
King knew what his future foretold, but there was a voice he had to obey
and King went to Memphis anyway