With a psychedelic sun in our eyes
why flinch at any fulminance
why fear the dark by governing time
why detach shadow from light
or singe the transparency of words
into the mirrors of other minds
why fear death when we’re the fuse
and can see with the light of reason
the stars girandole and brocade
the galactic chrysanthemum blaze
with rising tail and falling leaves
with candle clusters of celestial fire
and the grand finale of the eye
to be the light into which it dies

Correspondence with the Moon

I grow old I grow old
I will depart with my shadow untold
I will walk in the footsteps
Of a black moon
Does erasure censure
The meaning of a venture
Does anyone’s demise
Do more than exorcise
Body from light
I will depart
But will fragmentation impart
More than closure
Or do we return
To resume this correspondence
With a new moon

My Teammate Albert

Like Albert I was a goalkeeper.
Like Albert I stood alone
And proud in my solitude.
Like him I considered suicide
The only important question,
And like Albert I saved, nonetheless.
Like Albert I chose love,
I was flexible and forgiving.
I saved, regardless of absurdity,
Fighting against ignorance.
Like Albert I felt responsible,
Like him I caught the moon
And punted it back into space.
Like Albert I held out a sphere
And showed what’s possible
When you turn the earth over
And see paradise on the other side.

The Poetic Debt Collector

There were sunrises in which he felt the divine
And without knowing it crashed into the sublime.
On those days and in his own way
He would have forgiven all of them their debt,
Handed back the lease to their land
And driven back to the office emptyhanded,
Giving notice by the smile on his face
That beyond money he had touched grace.

Baptism by Motor Oil

I was anointed with motor oil in 1959
The baptism was in a Detroit factory
With a foreman and a priest
And some people from the same factory
They poured motor oil on my forehead
Saying something about man god and war
To this day I grin when I hear an engine
To this day my gears are oiled and aligned
But who knows after so many miles
If those drops of motor oil
Which sanctified my ride through life
Cleansed me of original sin
Or stained me all the more for being human

Sudden Death

Sudden death walks through a wall
And like a flash, it illuminates eternity.
It’s on the other end
Of every phone call we receive.
When we first hear its voice
The shock leaves us speechless.
I’ve also known it
To knock wildly on any door,
Crying out for help
In solving a riddle already solved.
Don’t hate sudden death,
It divulges the mercy of a temporal god
Who spares us from prolonged suffering.
Without sudden death
Who’d know humility from hubris?
Because it exists
It is our only hope for a sane future.

Adirondack Chairs

They remind me of cottage country
Of Andrew Wyeth the group of seven
Of the Allman Brothers and barbecues
Of being sun high and sleeping late
They are sovereigns of the garden
They are old lovers and friends
When Adirondacks face water
They’re engulfed by the scene
But can catch a sail and even dream
Relaxed by nature they invite
Contemplation to be at ease
On a beach they sink into sand
And seem to settle all demands
They can grow old together
And keep company in any weather
Sometimes you’ll see a solitary chair
Where the moon comes to rest
On the dock of its own tears

Photo by Brigitte Ala

The Cyrillic Wars

False friends fight to the alphabet’s end
Brothers muffled on roadsides
Soon to be cognate in ice
Parsed by the grammar of days
Fate covers them in common ash
They’re familial only as information
They listen for the drones and moan
They’re muted by a shared gun
And then washed away by time
They’ve broken the bread of flesh
Into language and starve
Laying waste to the present tense
A battlefield of Cyrillic characters
Mangled like twisted smoldering alloys
Wars begun in shared languages
End in babel and begin again

In Memory of a Friend

RIP to my old friend,
Too many stories to attend,
Late night discussions,
Love life repercussions,
Readings and road trips
And memorable quips,
Surviving a fire bombing,
Living for poeticizing,
Other wild and surreal times,
A few misdemeanor crimes,
Hilarity and sadness,
A touch of divine madness
That defies death,
Friendship its frozen breath.