Selected Poetry: 1974-
THE NURNBERG ZOO 1974
Orangutans in cages in the Tiergarten
never look us in the eye.
Perhaps they know too much
and cannot bear the pain
of our human circumstances
trapped as we are,
within the cages of our specific bondage.
Giraffes peer down at us
standing boldly in the February wind,
as we struggle up the knoll
on our way to the Dolphin Show
still shocked at being bitten
by the graceful llama
that raced up to greet us in the snow.
Published: Jump River Review, Issue Five, September, 1980
THE SKELETON ON GALLOW'S HILL
In moonlight circles on Gallow's Hill, a skeleton
labors with pickaxe and shovel, digging frantically at
the graveside of a lost love lately departed.
Clods of sod and clay he flings at the starry mantle.
Moonlight dancing along the convexity of the skeleton's
spade is reflected like pale sunlight in a faded mirror.
He unhinges the roof of her narrow cell and stares
into her half open eyes, but alas, she remains whole.
Many long nights will pass before he can accommodate her being.
Love is long delayed on Gallow's Hill.
But he will sit patiently at the side of her grave
hoping the raindrops do their part and force into view
the beautiful bones of her face.
Published: Dew Magazine, Volume One, Issue Three, November, l993
THE SPIRAL STAIRCASE
Peering lazily from the banister,
after making love,
the primitive form of the staircase
spirals toward me,
evoking images of an ancient nautilus
lying encrusted on a wind swept beach.
As my mind recedes
into the enigma of the distant past,
double stranded spirals sensuously dance
before my eyes,
swaying to the ancient rhythms
of the stars.
My otherness ascends the staircase,
her breasts matronly full and bouncing.
"I'll get the wine," I promise,
as we brush aside
the liquid sheen between us.
She smiles demurely.
She rises ethereally.
I descend, a thinking creature,
Step by lonely self-effacing step.
CAPTURING THE ANGEL OF JAN VAN EYCK
He came to me…
an angel, with streaming tendrils,
clinging to aspects of my reality,
vibrant in the power of his being here.
I, poor creature, could offer only prints,
containing flawed aspects of his reality,
hidden in the pages of splendid books.
Perhaps it was some primitive strain
that he perceived in the faded elegance
of those creations…
But he smiled on me,
the smile of his Madonnas.
I noted a cautious groping
of his hand.
He asked for nothing…
save the rustic substances of paint.
FROGS AND PENGUINS
Frogs and penguins on leashes run by
Call, call on the darkness
Scream, scream at the worm
Like the winds we've all felt
The little swarming leaves
The sickly smell of Spring
When we taste, taste of the dew
And the feel, the feel of the night.
Lonely, like scarecrows,
We hang on like flies
To the bones, to the bones of our interview
Then come, come like a mist
Up out of the bog
Where the frog silence of the damp prevails
And the penguins, the penguins return to the South.
I am a human encephalon.
I laughed about that--nervously--at first.
Then came a strange epiphany:
We are not people contemplating brains.
We are brains, contemplating people.
The dark approaches,
the final encompassing dark.
When life seems fullest,
an anniversary feast perhaps,
the dark creeps up the waxy walls of a candle,
in an erotic, suggestive embrace,
until the flame eats into its enthusiasm,
the way Death carves a path
into the substance of the heart.
A SISTINE REFLECTION
The beveled edges of a mirror
shy and blushing
embarrassed to be caught
within the revelation of the light.
Reaching out a tremulous finger
like God to Adam
in the chapel
I probe the interstices
of the thing.
Tiny stars spin off my skin
into the cold and silent emptiness
In the soft red light of the sun
When anticipation hangs
From the antlers of stags
I bury my dead
And speak of each of them:
Dwarf, Embryo, and the Pregnant Omen.
I reach for a proximate cloud
Which smacks of softness and substance.
A sheer drapery hangs from the world.
Horned owls in triangular groups of nine
Conduct ceremonies up on the plateau,
But the night wind always returns
To faithful she wolves
Whimpering in the darkness
Outside my lair.
Heaviness oppresses the bottom leaf's position.
Moisture seeps slowly through the loam.
How can leaves put on such colors?
Who do they expect will see them?
My eyes embrace the intricacies of such leaves,
trace the tributaries of sustenance and sorrow,
and then celebrate the fall,
the rustic Autumn dignity,
the regal presentation of trees to the surrounding hills,
the stately presentation of trees to the flowing streams.
The red is blood.
The yellow is marrowbones and twisted hair.
The green and black are skeletal forms uplifting.
The orange is the embrace of the earth by pumpkin.
These things show us the emptiness of fortune.
They show us the vast hollow losses of the harvest moon.
I learned from the fields the nuances of flowers,
of their pistols and stamina.
I was able to forget the funeral flora
and the hollow socketed mockers
encased in vases.
I now love the ones with thorns
and languorous green leaves.
These I would climb
if flowers were large as trees
and I was the size of bees.
I would seek my own azalea
during a summer storm on the dark horizon.
Or I would climb a bleeding heart
and bask among its cups.
I would shake its loving stem
to bring on the pollen rain,
an erotic effusion quietly descending.
Lying very still, my eyelids sleepily open
the immense bees would lick flowers of the future
from the sensuous curves of my vibrant body.
A pinpoint expanding infinitely into space
A raindrop exploding on a forest leaf
The fragrance wafting on the air
That reaches silence
Alone in her room
Mourning her lost innocence
As the light years pass like seconds
And the birds cry at twilight
As they circle
Around the darkness
Near the moon
When wisps of fog creep
Like grey serpents
From the dank edges of the underground
Holds a small lifeless animal
Points to the sky
And then questions
The prophecy of the viscera
As she--an ancient priestess--
Reads the organs and the signs
Piece by piece
Tile by tile
The mosaic rises into space
The pattern emerges
Like a bloodstain spreading
Beneath a silken robe
Or a shadow at work along a window pane
An orgasm leaves the halo of its breath
A large O embedded in the glass
Like the jaws of a ravenous shark
Upon the incertitude
Her hand aloft
Questions the lessons of the day
Insects peering from crevices far below
Witness her discomfiture
And bellow the names of
Heisenberg and Kant
Two who affirmed that we can never know
At least in part
Why lips are soft and moist
When duality embraces unity
And the church bells sing
A simple village song
As you cling to me
Like moss upon a massive pier
Of the void
The delusion becomes complete
In the last seconds of existence
We know we have arrived at last
At heaven's unresisting door
Like flies landing on a field of blood
And for vast stretches of imaginary time
We peer like seaweed
At the agitated surface of the sea above us
Caressed by a summer wind
Atop an adjacent hill
The death in us watches the last glimmer of sunlight
Searching for nightmares
Lost in the darkness
They are lost sheep--these nightmares
Bleating helplessly as lightning
Stuns the clouds of madness
Driving them from the summer sky