A Bitten Rind

 [Poetry], Unimagined Things  Comments Off on A Bitten Rind
Aug 272011

Because I am old and refuse my death
I have been bitter and I've been kind;
Skeletal bitterness my enmities shook,
Kindness flowed from head to foot.
But of all those wind-gaunt faces
I have worn as if strapped in the traces
I most adore the look
Of an old withered apple, its withdrawn glance,
All sweetness concentrated
To an unrelenting taste:
    An old bitten rind, bitten rind.

But because I am bitter
And dislike the taste
Of joys overblown in any wind
I have come to sing in the waste
Of an old bitten rind:
"Bitten rind, bitten time,
Under stars or under sky
The right emotion of a dirty crook
Has nobleness to bless or curse,
Confirm or rescind the pledge
Made by our bodies as they lie
Under this dirty hedge."
    An old bitten rind, bitten rind.

Having tasted thus
The fruit of an obscure look
Or the sharp meaning of a song
Under dull words in a book
I laugh at all awhile
And I myself forsake;
For nothing's worth the riddle
And no man's worth his wake,
I stole a blind man's fiddle
And sing what I forsake.
    An old bitten rind, bitten rind.

I have nothing but am a queen:
Monstrosities sworn must heel
Forced by a hand unseen
As dog to its master's whistle wheels.
And although I am a great queen
With stars on my fingers for rings
And although I dance like a drunk
And with the seen and unseen wink
I am driven by passion to sing:
    An old bitten rind, bitten rind.

Matter of State

 [Poetry], Unimagined Things  Comments Off on Matter of State
Aug 272011

We have many problems,
Both violence and drouth;
Plagues upon our people,
Plagues stuffed in our mouths.
Democracy abandons men
That lack remembrance;
Behind us another mountain
Crowds a fresh sky.
Day in, day out,
All the businessmen are stout.

Politicians of utopia
From every gutter shout:
'Join hands against the common slope
A better world will out.'
The strong man has his answer
To the dream of a perfect state:
'Strike him without swerving,
Lay him out upon the slates!'
Day in, day out,
All the businessmen are stout.

Arjuna on the streetcorner
Sipping at his smoke
Knows the daily death of friends,
Knows it for no hoax.
What of all that rant and hiss
Will strike him as sense?
What blue Krishna whisper
He died before for this?
Day in, day out,
All the business men are stout.

Dark Voice

 [Poetry], Unimagined Things  Comments Off on Dark Voice
Aug 272011

We've been shooting strangers
Over waters and the wild;
But conscience is forgotten
In the tearing wind.
We stood up in battlements of dust
To cut down what would live:
"Worms and tyrants all must die---"
Nothing was as pleasure is.
    Said a dark voice hid in the bush.

The mob is filled with insane joy,
The banners in the street
Hang from pole and lamppost
Hang ripe like butchered meat.
What happiness or bliss is there
In conversing with a face
Uncle Sam has painted blank
For every circumstance?
    Said a dark voice hid in the bush.

In a folded tent there's room
For filching treachery;
Standing near, the slaughter's done
We'll collect an oiled fee.
Dead men lie face down in bed,
A hole in every spine;
How goes the empire's rate
When we to cowardice decline?
    Said a dark voice hid in the bush.

What if great washington lived,
That stern face breathing near,
What thoughtless sentence then
Transform to pleas our cheers?
Nothing was as pleasure is,
And God's a neglected child;
We've been shooting strangers
Over waters in the wild.
    Said a dark voice hid in the bush.

Lee Atwater, RNC

 [Poetry], Character Poems, Sonnets, Unimagined Things  Comments Off on Lee Atwater, RNC
Aug 272011

"Wheeled cradled, blank-faced and blue-brained
to the hospital chapel, I watch the ivory pastor's hands
trace shadow rabbits in the air under the florescent cross
and list my sins in silence as he drones redemption;
maybe St. Peter will greet me in heaven with a new guitar.
Something babbles into static as my stroked-out arm relaxes...
A tumor dripping ink now fills my mind, a black bud
swelling to blood-blossom, ready to costume me in blood---
Stalking back from the guillotine like a 50s zombie
blitzed on my first part in the Bs, I wake
socketed in the nMR chamber like a bullet
waiting for the green light to flit my diagnosis
on the big screen, the chart a map of Europe.
I lay enlarged; drugged and irradiated like a fallen fruit.
I still laugh when I hear a democrat's ill.
I was worse: my perennial, emboldened
humor ramping like a bull, I crooned Dukakis is bald
from my black marshall stacks for the innocent fetuses
at the Republican convention, dating Miss America still....
I'm sorry I kicked his Greek hynee. Sorry for all that."


 [Poetry], Unimagined Things  Comments Off on Statement
Aug 272011

Not the politician in his coterie
Surmounting an elaborate chair---
A simple, elegant glass
Choked in his unconscious fist,
Nor revolutionary lunatic
Standing tip-toe on the quay
To out-face the beating sea
(And has not the courage
To stand half at ease)
Has a fanatic eye
Or golden stomach enough
To sweat out the divine
Night after night, or lick
From all this tragic human stuff
Some shrinking taste
Of the glittering sublime.

After the War

 [Poetry], Unimagined Things  Comments Off on After the War
Aug 272011

The cardinal his scarlet vigil keeps
That had no sin but singing;
How much more should we march in grief
That have said and done such things?

The azalea extends its wild branch
Against a wild sky; nearby
Some libertarian pamphlet flaps
Ignored by some more sodden door.

A child is singing in the bright march air
Some tune his father sung---
Abstracted with the politics
Of that disastrous, forgotten war.

"The soldier will soon be waking
That fed on dreams before;
A man kills a man that killed;
All happens as before."


 [Poetry], Unimagined Things  Comments Off on Blacksmith
Aug 272011

Toiling in dawn's orange forge
I hammer at the gorge
Of silent kings and laughless queens.
They come to me for pretty things,
Pretty things;
I have imagination's means.

But the farther that I thrust
That art I cannot trust
Into the aching spirit's pyre
The more my hand is burnt and hurt
By earthly fires.