Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Kim Jong Il's Body

Kim Jong Il's body is corrupt and
following his spirit into corruption

Kim Jong Il's body is similar to
tens of thousands of other bodies
silent in the last days of autumn

Kim Jong Il's body can no longer
take nourishment as millions
of his neighbors
can no longer sustain their own lives

Kim Jong Il's body witlessly
stills to freezing like the Yalu
like the Chosin like the tractor
factory faces like the cabbage
in the can in the alley in the sooty air

Kim Jong Il's body cannot thank you
tries to bow but does not
wants to hold back each page of each book
but will not
wants to collect the last won from every
grandfather grandmother shoeless ghost

Kim Jong Il's body is smashed
in the bill of the oystercatcher

Monday, December 12, 2011

Mahler in His Middle Period: Symphonies 5, 6 & 7

The train schedule is indiscernible:
some nights two or three horns in long morendo,
some silent while cold stars twist into the hills.

Our linden wood bed keeps the dreams of Kalist
that neither the burned chapel at Worthersee
nor my overly-anointed nerves can dispel,

half-waking reverie where I race to the gateless
rail grade in the now-dark morning,
wondering if we will ever meet, the freight and I.

Here was the trade off: a summer house
for beautiful Alma; proper caps and aprons
for the children; all at the cost of voices

and the years of organizing tone:
one wants the folk songs of childhood
sung in one's own tongue,

the translated feelings that flee to me
out of the day's meal, a shoulder-shrugged blouse,
these scuffed boots now covered in graveside mud.

Someone must write the kindertotenlieder,
directing the audience to inflect
in the presence of the intoning angels;

bow to the principal and the final A minor;
to a portrait of fever under weakening poultice;
this calling bell by the sea bringing today's need.

Roused out of the winter quilt's weight with
family embraced to my marionette frame,
I try again to teach the divine how to love us.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011


Light weakly tunnels this cavern alive
with whipped and grabbing trees,
snow-bright stone verging shifty road,
a whole night whiteout wheedling doom.

From culvert-piped mud-shape shoulder,
congregated by cackling overpass, up the gravel
to stave pavement fall-off and tell on treachery,

little orange cone people string along,
big orange barrel people stand aside,
white striped companion horses
steady in their orange net paddocks.

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Only Seeing What is Near Clearly

There was no plan, there were pickets
leaning on the pool house;
and bordering the lawn, leaves
dense with the smell of working worms.
I put those things together,

didn't consider pending vines on my
pilgrimages to the compost heap,
satisfied to find the fence in snow,
and so stop throwing decayed food like
bilge into the open sea of the garden.

I wanted no confusion in the future,
having hallucinated half of childhood.
Some runaway boy packing pajamas
landed on the neighbor's concrete stoop,
stopped between home and farther.

Now, older and not home,
I wonder where the morning glories grow
but can't look too far into it -
such gifts may find and wreathe me
grieving the short-lived trumpets of dreams.

Friday, December 02, 2011

Early Snow on Scarlet Ivy

I see Peekskill Hollow deepen
as I roll over Hamburg Mountain,
ignore the pressure against my inner ear,
tricked eyes resting on the lesser Catskills
until the plunge past Breakneck Lane
curves an undercut stone bridge,
a lunge like sun down the ridge,
or your long slalom schussing a flurry of t-cells.

We are from a family of cancers
gracing early snow on scarlet ivy,
our relentless growth the same
as locust and sumac stacking chlorophyll
against every storm.

When the weather warms,
I'll hack at the light green sprigs
with a rush of blood
I just don't feel tonight,
all the pull of gravity and tomorrow
dwindling into the flats
below Heaven Hill Farm.