Sep 142011
An old-time, small-town hardcore "con"
polite enough to jigger mint juleps in tinking silver cups
rubbed smooth by lips ribbed smooth
with talking.  Politics, aesthetics, jeremiads,
history's candid tangle of catastrophes
--any subject that nights ripen and split
enough to show the sense of meaning 
at the snapping seams;  thought stretched taut
until articulation sang.  O the million nights
chattered ruefully through to human truth!
Rhythm's doubled thrubs send the heart-beacon out
beneath the boards, like your troubled and beloved Poe
moaning lonely for his Annabelle Lee, lovely
ideal resurrected from the dead real.

Your life-plot's coiled as Rosencrantz',
a labyrinthine mind of steel and twine
following each God-doled bread-crumb clue
to God's appointed apotheosis;
intent as a atheist pimping out a principle.
You loiter with stories forever unfinished,
once started, not knowing "how way leads on to way."
Each enunciated principle's broadened
with tributary amendments, altering
precursor and course upon reconsideration;
Rabelaisian babble nipped and tucked tidy
by a laser-guided philosophy.

Long ago in your yeoman youth you started
dreaming past the dragon's hiss, the dragon's tooth,
to inner virtue's unvarying, vibrant truth.
Now an earnest father gone haggard at the world's lies--
you sit a spastic Little Hamnu down to talk--
and finish grinning and whistling in the dark,
stuck, like Coleridge with his quaint Constancy,
or an aim-awry Orion facing West,
stark as a marker in the stars' fixed rigging.

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