A Dream Dislodged

 [Poetry], The Sword Inside  Comments Off on A Dream Dislodged
Aug 292011

Disorderly love falls on our lives
Like a dream in which we die
And cannot awake or dream otherwise
And only this dream is before our eyes

Ritual and rote and stigmatized
Inescapable and inordinately stylized
A sleepwalker's temptless step's imposed
And we see only the dream and are blind

Prolog of a Dog

 [Poetry], The Sword Inside  Comments Off on Prolog of a Dog
Aug 292011

This is an epic: shrunk, crabbed, and small,
Full of false-effects, self-pity, the merely personal,
A Don Juan who lambastes not the passing scene
But all that has-been Juan may be, or is, or has been.
Where more loving looks would gloss a blemish
The critic's eye inscribes a scar to cherish,
For every jot that takes away from fame, frame, or form
Bolts the sniping critic thus much more above the norm.

I spy inside to sight with telescopic sighs
The whys of my feelings' reasons:
Interloper on a landscape without seasons
-- Why are such thoughts always such internal messes?
Insistent blots and bleeding
Awful as a Rorsach reading?
Or are summer ladies in their swaying dresses
The carnal cause of my distresses?
(Your guess is as good as I guess my guess is.)

Love's each word confirms what I suspect:
Disaster's the master, and we but the guests.
She sheds no sigh for any man's part,
Whether the nether gender or simply his heart.
On Time's high hill my glass house lies sheer,
White licked-together ice panes as thin as tears---
I'll throw nothing as improbable as rocks
But must content my anger by flinging dirty socks.

When confronted by the bare barbarity
Of a too-intimate, too-personal personal history
The titillating crowd contracts a gassy gasp
Into the actor's ruination of  a yawn.
Put away the hugs, unclench the hearty clasp,
Poke about for the folded rulebook on Badminton
Or dewy martinis not cleared away at dawn,
Any of last season's or last night's amenable diversions,
No worse for the weather on the party lawn.

"But I have a tale to tell you!" he told the mirror
As a minor chord played in the castle dreary,
And like a lawyer at a settlement
Between heavenly disputants temporarily hellbent
He unpacked his tale like a holy relic. 
He tried, when talking, talking about his happenstance
To concentrate Pure Mind from nominal Space.
Somehow somewhere something means something
As we fill with ephemeral words our eternal dumbness.

And ever the bleak bitterness of Love is present,
Awkward to forget, awkwarder to remember,
A golden goose whose taste has turned to pheasant:
Sour to eat, but the killing's pleasant.
Leaning with a highpower scope on my pickup's fender,
I forget at once who was the first offender.
A kiss is just a kiss, for all our wishing
And love is just another way for brains to say "gone fishing."
And yet what hopes are harbored in a sigh
To which all the pall of History can't manage to give the lie?
And somehow behind Love's final curtain
The essential something-nothing of ourselves is lurking.

To say that these things are only so,
That, in the course of life, such heinousness is usual
Is to dodge the lodging dart that conscience pricks
And with our green tequilas reel 
About the empty garden like a crypt.
It doesn't make much difference
If you're in the Congo, Buenos Aries, or France
Time can add no savor but regret
To what the hand has done, what heart inflicts.

Yet I may say, like the newscaster at six "Once
Upon a time, in a galaxy far, far away
I loved." Such a rare occurrence
Can't be measured by existential stirrings and segues:
It's the internal turnings of that monster Fate
That makes our mousing loves or hatreds great.
Is my mauve eagle of presidential pinion,
Or am I but a seraph's wingman?
Public puffs and public scrapes
Suck divinest wines back to earthy grapes.

The Sword Inside

 [Poetry], The Sword Inside  Comments Off on The Sword Inside
Aug 292011

A purposeless scrub plain laid before the sight,
Inarticulate, has nothing to offer;
Neutral evolution's meaning is neuter
Until interpretive man stands near.

Cool swaths and charts of haughty stars
Whirling infinite on a pin
To rampaging wolf and twittering lark
Revolve innocent of sin.

But one constellation-loaded look or angst-angelic glance
Cast up by blameful man
Can trace God's wrath in each twinkling coordinate
As plainly as a plan.

Until the intuitive outcast on the monotone plain
Divided the iterative day
Into the arrowy horror of arbitrative time,
Inventing vatic history,

God's mercy and His blood could not from the dust
Gather us to his breast;
Bhudda in his monk-smock howled the rice from his throat,
A proctor without a test.

Lacking sin's spectacle or anticipatory hope's
Human ability to fail
Life spins in a bituminous bubble of unbecome,
A whereless, whenless exile.

Narrow animal and expansive man both hunt world and sky;
Anxious and inscrutable they rave.
The one with tooth, paw and blind beak will kill,
The other with inner glaive.

The Ardor for Order

 [Poetry], The Sword Inside  Comments Off on The Ardor for Order
Aug 292011

Once I was happy just
To flabbergast and gust
Over incestuous Thanatos and Eros,
My impulsive pair of heroes.

But now my erring mind
(Arranging, jury-rigging jigsaws night by night)
Surveys the surrounding social scene
In meditative fright.

The president imposes order,
The pope imposes hope;
Which one has the right to expedite
My sonnets with his ardor? 

Every rhyme with law and order
Is enticingly narcotic,
But to impose them on the Zeitgeist
Is damnably neurotic.

The windbag of a fascist
Hoots and emotes in Life's emporium,
His whistlework's that of the serious artist,
Envowelling society's consortium.

His graves are all so neatly done
They lie down in counted rows;
The bones obey coordinates;
Above, there blooms a rose.

I conceive a magic bag
That holds us all together,
Or perhaps simply the spurious
Convention of "the weather."

There's no God, or need be none
(Intrusive into our intimate "Scene A")
Who's got to plod, or descend
Deus ex machina.

Draw instead in dreamy eye or fable
Something constellationish
Shared with elbows tucked at table,
A grace passed round or handed down,

The substance of a wish.


 [Poetry], The Sword Inside  Comments Off on Aims
Aug 292011

Bullets 'oft gang awry'
When we squint with lying eye
At the target we had thought
To level with a shot;
Somewhere along the barrel
Our curving expectation falls
And what is becomes a part
Of what we hope to shoot,
Or perhaps an intervening wind
Has changed beginning and the end.
The future always lies
Somewhere in the 'is,'
Or so the marksman's maxim goes
Hunkered in a bush of rose.
The future always lies
Somewhere in the 'is'
Our eyes are scouting now;
Hope and here intermix somehow,
Nor get pulled apart
Unless our killing art
Delivers to the shaping thought
The dead end we had sought.

The philosopher with his carcass
Dispenses with his guesses
- What would be now is,
And this is happiness.
Nor does he as he eats inquire
"What if I had not fired...."
Or if a speck of dust had interposed
Between his sightline and his nose.
All the dedication of his thought
Goes to digestion of what he's brought
From the wild field, as able,
To his domesticated table.
Not until quick hunger comes again
Will his thoughts curve and turn 
To all the 'Ifs' of chance
That can cancel out his choice
And send aim or word awry
In the hunted day.

My Beloved Enemy

 [Poetry], The Sword Inside  Comments Off on My Beloved Enemy
Aug 292011

My beloved Enemy
Confronts my chaos to define
My anger out of emptiness,
A solid hatred from rash wish.

My beloved Enemy
For my arch-arranging eye
Designs an aching target
That I must miss or hit;

Gives to my wide-range stagger
A more local, focal goal,
A sharpness to each dagger
Unfolded from the soul.

My beloved Enemy
Incinerates Laws like xmas-trees 
And from a dwarfish, brutal bush
Grows adored as Truth.

Without my beloved Enemy
--Alone, or made by mirrors three--
No matter how I writhe and twist
My very self would not exist.

My beloved Enemy
Radiant with joy and energy
Looks out from my own interior,
Puts on my scowls and powers.

My beloved Enemy
Alight with hate and ecstasy
--Fevered cheek to cheek we dance
Heedless of our circumstance.

Now my beloved Enemy
Made naked by wind and time
Arrives with a stricter chill:
My Enemy I must kill.

My beloved Enemy
Must learn now how to die,
And my beloved Enemy
In blood before me lies.

Burning the Vail

 [Poetry], The Sword Inside  Comments Off on Burning the Vail
Aug 292011

Let Love's lukewarm body lie
Drained of every lover's sigh;
Put up the crepe, pull down the bunting,
Pack in boxes the matrimonial trumpets. 

Rescind the secret thought, and cancel hope.
Let marriage feasts go up in smoke;
Let the lover, loved, display
Independence to the end of days.

Heaven's research into love's prayers
Recommends ascetic despair;
Despite longstanding and accustomed use,
A gander's not as good as goose.

When the mirror spots in morning's face
No room for absolution or for grace,
Every constellation seems
Evidence of God's complicity.

To exercise the lover's part
Seems the only answer to retreating hearts:
Mechanics of hydraulic hand
Give no ease to loves lorn gland.

Modern convenience should make us fit
To enjoy the air-conditioning, and forget;
Yet still in every neighbor's bush
Lurks the same distempered wish.

Every kiss but seems to mock
Those lips no kissing will unlock;
Snipers crouch on every roof
To put an end to lovers' truth.

Ransack every inked-out line
For furtive hints of peace-of-mind,
Time the healer will not dispense
Relief when every breath is grief.

To be a ghost and blow unmade
Through drawn and yellowed windowshade....
What aught occurs, there is no stop
To distraught hearts or lovers' hopes.

What may mere continuance teach,
Stalwart survival of the leech?
Let pain cease, and let cease pride
When love's soft cause has died inside.

Intellectual despair
Indulges 'The Unrepaired',
While Hymanaeus Io wont console
Particulate memory, 
                                the ripsawed soul.

A Double in the Dark

 [Poetry], The Sword Inside  Comments Off on A Double in the Dark
Aug 292011

Ideal and disposable, the idea of you
Rustles beyond my moony shoulder,
Amorous shadow of fictive love,
A dream demanded by the dove.
Shapeless bloods within me, grant
Dark nurture to this faithless plant;
Heart, beat on in dreamland to create,
Where a pink and rumpled pillow lies,
Nerves that throb in sympathy;
Create, heart, until I in moonbeams see
A second dreamer dreaming cordially.

New eyes open, asleep yet silvery.

Confessional moonlight's idyll
Which previously had bridled
In dry daylight's talk and squawk
Now lets our human arms console
Each other till the feeling's whole.
Let rosy midnight flicker on
Neon until the ending dawn;
Together in our sparkless darkness,
Exchanging jokes and mental missives,
Our only soft defense against
Outer Nature's rage: This is not this
Is wishing, wishing, wishing
Against compelling consciousness.
And our breaths' most secret heats,
Sirocco on rose-darkened sheets,
Whisper the stories of our souls
Where conceptual contrapuntal kiss
And simpler carnal lips may meet.

A new moon glimmers in the room.

By careful compact with the night,
Tangled breaths and traded hands
And tangoed bodies no longer stand
But lie as loving strangers might
Acquainted with mysteries of delight.
Side by side let us abide
Before that darling blonde, the dawn
Explodes and leaves in shards
The love we worked on oh so hard--
Let us have a meeting without an edge,
Nor wrestle with our conscience once
But play pillow-talk, be each a dunce,
Two drowsy loves, pale and veined,
A pair of frangible spirits' vessels
Laughing out the candles.

A new day glitters at the ledge.


 [Poetry], The Sword Inside  Comments Off on Unawares
Aug 292011

I lived unaware for a time
(I have to admit it)
Unconscious in a casual castle
Sipping livid Glenlivit;
I was deaf to the daily curses
Of incontinent scullery maids,
And recognized not the stable boys'
Disingenuous praise.

As lazy time lolled on
From here and now to gone
A private contentedness
And not extant catastrophe was
What I secretly counted on.

And all that time, you
Looked over the lifeboats
Tested and prepped the crew,
Gauging the drop-height
From the second story window
In case of fire or flight.

I was smoking cigarettes
In bed, getting girls up for a chat
While tanning in a deckchair,
Eyeing the hostess on the sly,
And all that.
But you had long before departed.
The hallway echoed with your passage
As dawn or noon or night invited
The memory of your visage.

You had left like a bell
That rings only in memory,
Or how a tale told in childhood
Retold is a story today.
The hearing ear is fooled
By a wrongful kindness of the mind
Whose generous assistance molds
Everything it finds.

You are silent, absent and afar
Indifferent and unreachable
As a collapsing star.
Quietly busy ostensibly
In an alternate universe
For your light still spills
Some length of years at ease
In at every sill.

Ships and compasses
Still rely on the light,
Having been forged in your presence
And wandering still in the night.
But one day your light, having left,
Will leave us of light bereft.

And yet you return, return
In all the days of my thought
As if there were no now and then
As if mercury cornered stayed caught.
And yet you return, return
Like an agile ellipsoid mobile
About your own center you turn
Presenting new angles the while,
New facets and faces revealed,
But really always and beautifully centered.

Maybe I too am centered, I too,
But more orbitally arranged
Fixed on a spar of you
From your central largeness estranged
As when Earth to dawn has come
Halfblind in the sun.