June 27, 2006

In a Pawn Shop Window

Made in China,
the upset vase,
in disgrace, hides
its fragile face
and its sorrow
from cut glass eggs
that will not hatch
in nests of wire
and pewter fish
with ruby eyes
that cannot swim
in tattered lace.

June 21, 2006

We're Caught in an Ancient Pattern

Yesterday, a hundred billion years ago,
patterns started there, Amiga.
Contemplation seems self-indulgent.
We're caught up in a rush. Parasites,
a series of false selves, color our behavior.
We're caught in patterns. In open spaces,
we find ourselves calling resistance
achievement. Fear is the impulse to deny
patterns. Caught in confusion, in this
circular spinning, the ancients are family.

June 11, 2006

A Little Giddy (for T.S. Eliot)

Critics won't die from explication,
though the burden of their explicating
is to arrest what others stargazed
and recognize the pizzeria is the Promised Land.
Past the unkennelled gastropod
whose earthly remains encourage
turf wars between beggars,
through the soup kitchen of the lollygagging ritualist,
around the vocational school of the hidden water cooler--
unacknowledged and unwanted
by all but headstrong stigmatists
who thrive between waterworks and scuttlebutt,
here, now and forever--
in this condensation of complete single-mindedness
(costing not less than everlastingness)
illusion and allusion suffice;
all mankind's thimblerigs suffice
when bits of bone and flakes of stone decoupage
can be crafted into regal knockoffs
to be studied by freaks and fools;
fine art and the Rorschach test are one.

June 06, 2006

At the Supermarket

Because Mother raised a gentleman,
I try not to laugh at you sitting there
in a puddle of chocolate milk--
dairy-section centerpiece.

Only minutes ago, I saw your same
wide-eyed, gaped-mouth expression
(pain or bewilderment?)
gracing a trout in the seafood case.

Like any gallant knight,
I swallow my smile
(I will not laugh)
and hold out my hand to rescue you.

But you, demure damsel, will have none of that.
My only warning is a blink, as you grasp my hand,
then give a fierce jerk, and reel me in
to land with a wet thump at your side.

I bite my tongue,
taste blood.
But I will not cry--
because Father raised a real man.