Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Once Upon a Bed

Tracey and Lou owned a PosturePedic mattress
You’d never know, to look at them, they weren’t married
Most telling was Lou loving Tracey with a light caress

They shared two children, a dog, with great success
Between day-care, school, and work, they often ferried
Tracey and Lou owned a PosturePedic mattress

A trip to Dr. Bahrain, lymph nodes he did access
At that precise moment, they began to feel harried
Most telling was Lou loving Tracey with a light caress

Where does one go when one seeks to convalesce
With family? Alone? The choices were varied
Tracey and Lou owned a PosturePedic mattress

Lou said to Tracey, “Back to your mother’s, I would guess.”
But, “Tsk, tsk, tsk, it’s a shame you never married.”
Most telling was Lou loving Tracey with a light caress

Two rings turned up on that last day along with fancy dress
Into the crypt went mother’s tears; the rings regretfully they buried
Tracey and Lou owned a PosturePedic mattress
Most telling was Lou loving Tracey with a light caress

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Our Bliss

The requiem of our bliss begins
as I unlock the birdcage of my heart,
freeing all kept promises, cleaning out
the spent seeds and stale water.
You know my gestures intimately;

you’ve watched me dozens of years.
The requiem of our bliss begins
as I open my mouth to mourn,
recalling the chariot of our wedded life.
See how it trundles along, broken and squeaking.

So, too, has our love passed from ecstatic trills
to shrill whines—a dismal threnody.
The requiem of our bliss begins
as I unclench my hand, releasing our love
to find its resting chamber.

Our certificate of vows must slip through
bent spindles that once bound us together.
Let it pass.
The requiem of our bliss begins
as our bands fall onto shredded newspaper.

I lay our photo upon the flame;
the edges curl and blacken.
Your face furrows as I snuff out our attachment.
I am burning you out of my heart.
The requiem of our bliss begins.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

The Last Fugue

That’s the way it sounds to me
My hand dragging in the water
As you bow her violin in key
We laugh and drink Vichy water

My hand dragging in the water
The contrails in the sky
We laugh and drink Vichy water
You say her name, but I don’t cry

The contrails in the sky
Hang like my heart in stasis
You say her name, but I don’t cry
I give you my last quarter with two faces

Hang like my heart in stasis
Until it bursts into a fistful of coins
I give you my last quarter with two faces
Throw it in her grave, I enjoin

Until it bursts into a fistful of coins
As you bow her violin in key
Throw it in her grave, I enjoin
That’s the way it sounds to me


Tu ne seras pas oublié.

You were not ready when you flew from earth,
snatched, like a bird in a storm.

Now I sit at your desk writing the last words in your journal.
I pour out your shampoo, sudsing my hair twice a day
until there is nothing left.
I paint my nails while emptying your imported bottles
of Le Rouge Foncé and Rose Scintillant.

Birds feast on your half-eaten bag of Cheetos I shake,
salting the wind.
I burn your cinnamon candle down to a nub,
leave on your night-light until the bulb burns out,
open to your bookmark, finishing Baudelaire’s final verses.

Then I lay my head on your pillow,
inhaling your lilac memory,
pull up the yellow cotton sheet,
and dream your last dream.

My aching heart hears you whisper
Allez à Paris.

When I land at Charles de Gaulle
every face I see is yours—
blue-gray eyes
chestnut hair
fair face dotted with freckles.

And then I see him:
the Frenchman in your dream.

He smiles at me, steps forward.
His cheeks press mine,
right and left.
I feel the rasp of his peppered beard.
But I know you want more.

Standing on tiptoe, my arms wrapped around his neck,
I look into his brown eyes, pleading
“Une fois plus pour Jacqueline?”
I hold my breath.
“Avec plaisir,” he replies.

And we kiss like old lovers,
lingering on
until the taste of his lips cannot be forgotten.

Monday, September 19, 2011

What Happens on Sycamore Street

She waits in a house at 743 Sycamore Street
where the sun shines so brightly on the sidewalk
it looks iridescent and pink morning glories bloom
all day long in shadows, where a cat prowls silently
between houses, terrifying song birds, and at last
she admits she is waiting to die.

“My sweet potatoes, planted this spring, didn’t die
even though we suffered drought, but up the street
Mrs. Hoover’s fall-bearing raspberries didn’t last
the summer,” she says as she looks down the walk.
What she doesn’t say, what remains silent,
is how she wonders about her own fading bloom.

Her groom holds her hand, a mottled bloom
on his cheeks. “Nineteen years and…” but his voice dies
away as he thinks ‘til death us do part silently.
The cat chases a squirrel across the street
just as a Honda drives by. Squeals, then driver walks
around the front of his car, looking at the last

chase Fresko will ever enjoy. With effort, at last
he leans over and picks up the body, lays it in blooming
asters growing in the boulevard, wipes his hands on the sidewalk
as if the roughness will cleanse his palms. His is a die-
hard attitude, no need to find its owners; cat was in the street,
what can they expect. In 743 Sycamore, they watch silently.

“Do you think,” she asks, breaking the silence,
“that our neighbors will come to the funeral, my last
big show,” she adds with a tepid smile. “I’ll throw a street
party,” he says, “but I am a madcap, my love, my blooming
rose. Let’s us a party today, tonight before evening dies!”
Outside a small girl cries, kneeling on the concrete sidewalk

skinning her bare knees. Her father lifts her up and walks
down the road, crossing Sycamore, while mother silently
trails behind holding a blanketed ball of cat, now dead.
“Wrap me in a shroud like that cat when I die,”
she claps a hand on her mouth, shocked by her last
comment. He wraps his arms around her, sniffs the bloom
of her hair, freshly washed. “Tonight, babe, we party in the street.”

All things living will die, but how long we walk
on this Earth, how many streets we silently
traverse until our last is a bloom that cannot open until it drops.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Reclaiming My Poetic Muse

I am ashamed to admit, I have lost my muse
I suspect my muse—I shall call her Trix--
wandered into the forest, lured by a wreath
of myrtle and roses, a laurel upon Erato,
but a noose on the neck of Trix. What
am I to do? My patience wears thin

I have called out loud, I have whispered thin,
“Trixie, dear, you are my voice, my only muse;
without you I am an oiled chair, dampened firewood. What
else can I say? When you return, my trixiest
Trix, we will eat dictionaries and tattoo ‘Erato’
on our breasts. I will weave snapdragons in a wreath

circling your head a dozen times with wreaths
of lavender and jasmine. On your tongue, thin
slices of crystalized ginger and we’ll watch Erato’s
favorite movie six times in a row. Trix, my muse,
my dear, come back to me.” In agony, I wait for Trix,
but not even a bird’s twittering…I hear silence…what?

Someone dares toy with me? Baits my heart? What
beast are you to fool me! To wrap my mouth in a wreath
of thorns! I implore, I beg like a leper. Do not trick
me with illusion! Trix, could that be you: a murmur thinly
slid under my tongue? Unscale my eyes, unloose my muse,
step out from the darkness and face me. Is that you, Erato?

My confusion soars. I see my Trix kneading bread with Erato.
Trix turns to me and asks, “Did you bring yeast? What
else would make this wheat rise into words?” My muse
stands there, askance, hands on hips. A wreath
of questions she asks me, but waits for no reply. My thin
hand holds no answers, but a pinch of leavening. “Trix,”

I say in my smallest voice, “Come home, my Trixie
lover.” “I am only on loan, you know, from Erato,”
she tells me sadly. “But what must I do to gain you?” I thinly
whisper. Trix smiles then, spreads her arms wide. “What
must you do? Only this: write an epic, write a wreath,
write a mountain and an ocean. Then I will be your Muse.”

And so with my thin pen and a pocket of tricks culled from Rogets,
I write daily. My trixiest muse shares her secrets, out of Erato’s earshot,
and together, come what may, we write words to wreathe our fates forever.