Monday, December 31, 2012

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Black and White at The Fall of Night

It's all shades of black and white out there
snowing diagonally at dusk, and
the people from the church stand on the
sidewalk where they always do weekends
dishing out warm food and hot soup
to anyone who steps up - the poor -
you might call them.

This scene never seems to change, but the givers seem
warm and joyful, and their church is down the street
so they don't look like they're out doing good works,
they look just like everyone else here doing what they do,
wearing hoods, waiting for buses, walking on slippery sidewalks,
some  of them with such quick and searching eyes.

A few blocks later, it's coming down at a greater rate
in bigger flakes and everything is now white
except the cars and the buildings and the people under hoods.

A car goes by on the left headed in the other direction
and I glimpse a broken bicycle somehow attached to its back door,
while to my right a black hooded form lies in the snow white street
on its side, small hands pressed together in between its knees.

Someone on a cell phone stands over the form
from under his hood a human face shows
an earnest plea for emergency services, 
and on the sidewalk stand small children, also hooded,
watching, not knowing where to look, trying not to be
swallowed up by the snow coming now horizontally.

I want to say - I love you, but it's really turning to
New England's winter version of shit out here fast,
maybe the best thing to do for all concerned is
watch where I'm going and get the hell off the streets.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Jaques Brel - Ne Me Quitte Pas


He sings of the possibility of two hearts
twice igniting which seems, from here,
as difficult as running one hundred miles
which my feet know for a fact can be done.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Far From Me

First Things First

I've been thinking lately
that I need a writing table
which is a real crock-of-shit thought,
don't think I don't see the game
you're trying to run on me
because I do, demons, I do.

I don't need a writing table,
I need to sit down and write.

I don't need props, I need an idea.
And some human feeling, I mean something
other than contempt, and just a small spark of energy,
a little discipline, and an internal iron fist.

I sure could use those manic wings
which flew away and left some time ago -
please write me if you see them.

I probably do need to shake this
lavender and white polka-dotted
plastic table cloth though.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Oh Lord, Please Don't Let Me Be

It's one of those cold clear nights
good and holy, quiet and still
featuring plenty of moonlight and stars
walking under it for a moment
after the trials and festivities of the day
I remember her asking me
if I even like Christmas
because after fifteen or more spent
together, she never thought I did.

The moon is silent, cold and beautiful
and this moment here, stopping now,
has something to do with what your heart is
and why no one else can see what you mean.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Auld Anxiety

Anxiety doesn't take holidays
everything's overdrawn, unmaintained,
too spread out, and it has now fallen dark
on Christmas Eve, and there are many
things I have to be that seem to give
Joy more than it can handle.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Zat You Santa Claus?


It's someone's popularized interpretation of Doomsday today,
but elsewhere, it's already tomorrow, so I'm thinking
we're not getting off the hook so easily.

Let's call it a new beginning
along a different trajectory
cleaner and unencumbered by
our history.


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

A House Is Not A Home

Broken glasses, a meltdown, an aborted, highly anticipated Christmas
Concert - Don't freak out, that's the only rule - and you tell him Don't worry
It takes a life time to master, meanwhile she (Number 1) thinks ghostly fingers
Are changing the settings on her clock radio in the night and the other one
Says slyly that no, he might not see me Saturday, not if the world ends
So you quiz him on his vocabulary and he does pretty well then falls
Asleep listening to Harry Potter tapes for about the five hundredth time
And then the two of you compare notes on the Christmas shopping and plan
The weekend then you drive an hour home, Burt Bacharach is asking you now
What do you get when you fall in love?

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Clock, Furnace, Monkeys

You're listening into silence half sick with thoughts
of all the things you cannot protect your children from
it's not advisable to go down this path, but there's no alternative,
it's chatter more than thinking really, and your crossed fingers
and clenched jaws, they are really prayer directed to who knows
what or who knows where, but you feel you must direct it on the off chance
it'll be heard and responded to. Let's not forget to celebrate.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Because Tenderness Abandoned Me

Silent and black tonight with everything encased in ice
Remember when winter meant snow?
There's no wind, a blessing keeping the trees from cracking while
Today the funerals for those first graders and their teachers began and
We are arguing about gun laws, mental illness and what do do about it, or
Talking about football as though it matters, but I am remembering
Old friends, thinking that I didn't keep very much of their hearts at all.

Friday, December 14, 2012


Look at this latest madness
twenty tiny bodies
and the ripples of pain
spreading out and away from them
as high as mountains.

Look at this madness
and rage or shut down or despair
and write us off, all of us.

Look at this madness
without blinking, give no ground
oppose it with all that you are.

Burn brighter and longer
will it into existence
it's light we must become.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Trying To Make It Smell Better

Burning a candle of balsam and cedar
in this quiet house
with very little sense of how things
will go from here.

Those I love most are living
I am listening for them
trying to send light while
leaving this arrangement nameless.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Hearing Winter's Song Distantly

Waking now
to winter and darkness
without the heart to
walk anywhere.

Remember when I said
I'd walk anywhere?

I would have.

Winter is violence
tonight in silence
your mouth
without meaning now
pressed shut.

Forget the meaning

I'm only playing at this
it's not time yet.

Remember when I said
I'd walk anywhere?

I did.

Sunset Mission

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Winter Opposed

Central New England
After midnight
Positively balmy
At 55 degrees Fahrenheit.
Your body appreciates
And dreads.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Yet To Make It To Kotzebue

Once I cast my mind's eye
toward Kotzebue,
to the Island of Saint Paul.

The sound of
Siberian Yupi'k spoken,
the smell of seal oil,
the taste of dry fish.

A sky that went on
over my strong body
through my young man's

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