Sunday, July 16, 2017

Sunday Poem

Takotsubo


The octopus glides through the inky darkness of the deep
While the traps float deceptively meek
Like shells, like planter pots, a garden of skulls,
A fleet of ironclad hulls.
You think you’re safe inside,
You think you’ve found a place to hide.
The creature slides in, curls its arms in an infinity sign
And never escapes its pocket of brine.
Hollowed out cove carved from fathoms of vastness
Inviting, alluring, harmlessly banal
Disarmingly curved, quiet and small----
A perfect shelter for an octopus.
Without locks or doors or gates---you’d think it a flaw.
You don’t know you’re snared, like you would
If you triggered a bear trap claw;
Jagged jaws that snap down crack on bone
Shattering the silence of the wood
With the wails of a beast caught alone.


Inside your own head, it’s all dread and doubt.
You swim back and forth.
You’re caged--- it’s a closed space---
Impossible to know south from north.
Pressure builds, the bottom balloons out.
(There’s a little give, just in case).
You act fine but I see it in your face.
Chest hurts, can’t catch your breath.
The water floods in, it’s a sudden death.
No one ever told you the stakes;
The pressure mounts and your fragile heart breaks.


Take my hand, let’s leave this place and swim to shore
And build a more stately mansion.
Open all the windows, let the breeze through the door,
Let sunlight gambol in the peaks of vaulted ceilings.
This is a sanctuary, a place for healing.
Look out yonder, our yard an endless expansion.
Wander through the twilight, as far as you can see.
If I lock the door, you’ll always have the key

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Weekend Poem

Poem #1

A poem is the rotten branch or fallen stick
That, whether real or just an optical trick,
Catches the corner of your eye without fail
While scranching along an overgrown trail.
The way it was bent or broken
How its shape conjured, like a cloud or ink blot
Something unsettled, unspoken        
You absently pick it up; you’re non-committal.
Take it home and try to whittle
The wood into the thing you thought

But the vision is ephemeral  
Your honed words, cleaved from their moment of conception,
Left alone are just a projection.
All that’s left of the flash of the seminal
Is just what you hold in your hand
With shavings of wood on the floor where you stand

At some point you have to put it down
It’s finished, you’ve moved on to the next thing found.
Verses are crude ventures to create a lifeline
From a lifetime of millions of half-glimpses of the sublime.
A dour collection of nouns, adjectives and verbs
Piles of sticks bundled on curbs

7/15/17

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Off Day Poem

Wrecked

“There was no alcohol involved” the spokesman said. “The child just ran out into the street”

The world went and got itself wrecked
Shards of bone and flesh flecked
Into mangled sinews of metal.
Once we had to settle
For tonics and salves and gods
But then a 3 year old boy wandered into the street
(What were the odds!)
As a tan sedan sped past and knocked him off his feet

Blond, blue-eyed, pride of the Chicago South Side
Sacrificed for nothing; wasted filicide
He arrived lifeless, limp and blue
He had no vitals, there was nothing left to do
(In nomine Patris et Filii et Spiritus Sancti)
We stood there in our yellow gowns and gloves and masks
There was nothing to say, nothing to ask

Turn the monitors off, the attending surgeon said
This boy is gone, he’s come to us already dead
Someone pulled a blanket over his small crushed head
But none of us moved, no one said a word
(Father, Spirit, Son)
All names reductive, every one of them absurd

The monitors went dark and the trauma bay filled with silence
As quiet as a cathedral before Mass--- apse, nave, steeple
Just an accident, not an act of violence
Bad things happen to good people
Bless us this day
Now let us pray
Bless this child
His body has been defiled
He is in heaven now, he is with his savior
The things someone would have to say later
When the mother arrived
When the father arrived
When the world found out a Son had not survived

I had been awake for 38 hours
My bones ached and I needed to shower
I went home and tried to write
But the words broke into sounds, squelching and trite
No way to memorialize.
I scratched my heavy eyes.
I could not pray
I feel asleep,and straight away

7/4/17