The Flesh Between Their Teeth

A decade of teeth eating hearts,
You can feel vileness spewing,
Like being unbaptized into hate
By aspersoriums of acidic waters,
By words used as weapons,
The determined dissimulation
Of propaganda into vox populi,
Garbled garbage recycled
As word meat for the ravenous.
Can’t you hear the gibbering
Of the ape stuck in the man?
Can’t you hear the road rage
In the cataclysms to occur?
Teeth eating hearts, eating money,
Eating the flesh of the earth…
All of us, enemies of each other
And enemy of one’s own self
In the language wherein we’re born.

My Olympia

The weightlifter fails
Under the weight of whales.

The pole vaulter
Climbs a ladder of water.

That beautiful physique
And yet being’s hide-and-seek.

With all that training
The spirit is yet straining.

At the limit of plasticity
A gymnast attains divinity.

To the stillness of speed
A sprinter must concede.

Against the elements
The athlete seeks a settlement.

The fencer feigns a thrust
And the foil turns to rust.

On the balance beam
Equilibrium’s extreme.

The wrestler finds
He grapples with another mind.

For Javier Sotomayor
Height was a metaphor.

For Mike Powell
Distance was conceptual.

In stories that are told,
In shadows that are gold,

On medals that are made
Transcendence is engraved.

Boardwalk Eden

Here the reeds breathe us in and out
Like the green lungs of a Godhead whale
And on the waters the wind lays down
Its face like the imprint of transience.

The boardwalk steps under our steps
On its way to where we’re going,
Like the marsh’s rolling, nudges the root
That keeps the stillness flowing.

Where every step goes into nowhere
But observation’s proximity to nature,
The waters reflect us, the reeds open,
We’re comprehended by inclusion.

Three Easy Pieces

Irish Magic

Seamus Heaney placed his arm
Around my shoulders
And whispered in my ear
Something about the wonders of poetry.
He’s gone but his arm is still there
As is the wonder.

You Can’t Get There from Here

I drove to Vermont to visit Galway Kinnell.
I saw a man who looked like him
And I called out and he called back
And I embraced him, and he embraced me,
And for a moment we could have been anywhere.

Bless His Heart

Someone in Kentucky told me
Wendell Berry lives over yonder
And that he’s old as Methuselah.
I looked into the aging distance
And drank in the sunset’s bourbon,
Resting in the grace of his lines.

Roundels

A plum plops
Into a rain barrel.
Night spills over its rim.

Plum branch
Reflected in a rain barrel
Like a woman with plums.

Before sinking
Even a plum ripples
The moonlight.

Bird singing
Above a rain barrel
Amplifies fair weather.

Plum splash
Rings the bell
Of sleeping rains.

Three faces
In a rain barrel
Like Emperor and sons.

One after another
The water clocks
Of summer rot.

Plumb imperfect
The rain barrel
Rounds out nature.

Moss to the bilge
Sinks a barrel
Deep into summer.

Washing its face
The rain gazes
Into its own eyes.

From the spout
The green wine
Of the sun runs clear.

Hate

Hangs heads
Hardens hearts
Has holocausts
Hinders healing
Humiliates humility
Harasses heroes
Honors hubris
Highjacks humanity
Heeds hogwash
Hatches hoaxes
Harping honesty
Hurling harm
Hastening haemorrhaging

I Live in Her Smile

My wife’s smile is like two apples,
Her smile smiles with courage,
Her eyes smile inside her smile
Like the echo of love between lovers.

My wife’s smile opens Spring windows
Like the flowers for which we wait.
Her smile is the peace of the house
And the sunlight after a storm.

Her smiles elevate me to higher ground.
They are like kisses from afar,
Negative test results for my anxiety,
Poetry awards to prise my heart.

Windows and Mirrors

    faces of sad and happy life 

      lightning in crystal

   thunderstorm traps

frost-seed granulations

     water at freezing and melting

sunlight through museum panes

    the glare of volcanic glass

a bird’s reflection in its shadow

pearl of time in the face of night

    last looks at last faces descried

the binding of souls

bridges over limitless waters

view from a window at Le Gras

 time driving backwards

     mannequin transmissions

the vague “she” of poetry

nakedness dressed in its reflections

   sunset in Emma Bovary’s eyes 

blue mirrors of Shallot

the soaring of Zeno’s stillness

the flight of the alone

the surgeries of Dr. Glas  

the surface of vertical

the spaceless dimension

of duration

buried in glass

flower store windows bare

barbershop empty

travellers on a Greyhound

morning     the breath gone

Three Keepers

Rinat Dasayev

Dasayev’s save against Scotland
Off a glancing goal-bound header
In the 1982 World Cup
Was like a release in the fabric of space
And a save I now save, in tribute.

Gordon Banks

How do you save the shadow
Of a bouncing ball?
Raise your hand up to God.
How do you save a moment in time?
You save it forever.

Thomas N’Kono

Le chat noir had to save his team
While saving his race
In Europe’s arenas of racism.
He gave hope that hate could end
A goal worth saving.