Friday, April 7, 2017

WHITE NOISE

Owning is fearful, lost.
Things are lost
From the first moment.
We cannot find ourselves,
Even in mirrors.


The future is dilated pupils
And elevated heart rates.
Porn will be virtuals
Of starving children,
While we eat fabulously.
The guilt will be thrilling.
All will have all that they need,
but most will not.
Billboards will proclaim
certainties about which we will
weep in private until
death, never out of style,
walks the runway.
Fashion will numb, as it always has,
with new talismans.
The paparazzi will
shoot to kill.
There will be no escaping,
Though many will try.
Everything will be electrifying.
Boredom will be available on the black market.
Nightmares will spread like malware.
Dreams will be bought and sold..
Drones will follow us like shadows.
The thrum of their engines
will fade into the white noise
we will have become.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Ode to Raoul's Bar

walking down prince st. in new york city,
I past west broadway,
and reach raoul's, a bar
that is two years older than me –
when it opened its doors
to the Soho of 1954. 

next door there was
a bakery called vesuvius,
across the way a tailor called Mack's
and on the corner, a news kiosk 
called NEWS for generations,
all long gone.  Raoul's green awning
still shelters poor, reservationless souls,
from the rain or snow.

Warm inside, covered with laughter
and tablecloths bright white 
even in the dim candle light.
The bartender's been wiping down
this pink backlit mahogany for thirty years.
He keeps his martini glasses
on the bar filled with ice, 
and knows more than he tells.
Always order the steak au poivre.
The tables are sardine packed. A rickety
staircase spirals to the second-floor WC.

The main wall of the small dining room is
a huge oil painting of a languorous, reclining,
nude woman of indeterminate age; 
various and sundry other works,
like members of an imperial court,
are crammed around her, for she is the queen.
The artists of old Soho traded works for meals
before they all fled the encroaching armies
of  Armani and Starbucks.

There is gilt on the chandelier 
and that one sconce over there.
with a faded elegance that likely never was.

Raoul hides here and never ventures too far.
He is clever enough to know that an old gentleman
presents best in his own library, 
where he has read all the books
twice, and knows the just one to recommend
for your brief sojourn in his home.


..NaPoWriMo 1917 #3

WHITE STATIC

In 2nd grade I learned
Kennedy had been killed
in Texas. They waited
until the end of classes to tell us
so as not to spoil the school day.
Our parents gathered on
the neighborhood sidewalks
and smoked
into the evening. The red tip
of my father's cigarette danced
from conversation to conversation
in the evening gloom.
My mother watched from
our porch.

In seventh grade I learned
Martin had been killed
in Georgia and Bobby
in California. Our parents
voted republican. Had
cocktails. Complained at
backyard picnics about the war,
but only because we weren't
winning. My mother lost her
brother in the Battle of the Bulge
to a mortar round.
The flag from his coffin
was somewhere
in the back of her closets.

We stumbled into darkness
when my grandmother died,
sunrises came
slower. My mother
began to lose her footing.
She haunted herself.

Eventually, she asked
for a divorce,
but didn't follow through.
She found solace in
pharmacies around town.

In the summer before she died,
Mom listened to the television
on our porch each day
until it went to white static,
while staring out into the night
as if reading a very long, dull book.

When I was a freshman
in college, she killed herself
In the garage,
we sold that car.
Once the last shovelful
of dirt fell across her casket, we never
discussed it again, he and I,
the white static of her absence
was simply too loud for us to talk over.

Still I heard him strike a match,
it flared my father's face
into existence, swirled his
face in a long, blue exhale,
the red tip of his cigarette
so close to the edge
of her grave that
I grabbed his coat sleeve
to keep him from stepping
through that dark door,
because I knew she
wasn't waiting there,
across that threshold,
with forgiveness.

LAST HOME

When I was a little kid in grade school, 
the summer rule was simple,
you had go home
when the streetlights came on. 
Countless games of hide and seek
were ruined in this way. 

The winter rule was that you had to go home 
when the skating rink turned off its lights. 
We skated every night you see, the rink
was just across the street.
Countless pick-up hockey games
were won this way.

At sixty, I am wondering: does this 
holds true for life,
is the signal lights on or lights off, 
and just how will I find the house
that then becomes 
my last home?


...

NaPoWriMo 2017 #2

CLOSETS AND DRAWERS



in these days we know, 
that down is not out,
and buttons are doors,
while nonsense sleeps
in closets and drawers.

by the moon,
I watched spring snow pile
up like life,
but then melt away
like a love just not right.

I keep my head 
above clouds and
simply don't puzzle,
why the sunshine did sleep
yesterday in a puddle,
while today's poker game 
deals nobody in 
and the ante
is up to all of your sins.

thankfully, now, for sure
we all know,
down is not out,
and buttons are doors,
while nonsense sleeps
in closets and drawers.

...

Day One NaPoWriMo 2017