A Bunch o’ Poems

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For days I couldn’t get the movie title “Revenant”  off my mind. Then one morning I picked my old copy of Charles Baudelaire‘s Les Fleurs du Mal (1868) off the shelf, found by chance and translated

Le Revenant

Looking like an angel to the wild eyed
I will enter your lair,
Gliding about you silently
With other shadows of the night.

To you my dark one
I’ll give kisses cold as the moon
And caresses of serpents
Slithering about a ditch.

And as morning’s greyish haze arrives
In the place where I did lie
That iron cold night,
You’ll find an empty space.

For as others may out of tenderness
Revere your vitality and your youth,
I would rule by fear.


Strange word
When relativity gets you.
The ant’s strong
And fit.
And how does fitness fare?
Well, strong’s fit
And the fittest survives
Doesn’t it?
And the poor;
They’re strong too
Like the elephant.
Like the ant
But are they fit
Without wealth?


She insists her eyes
are irrefutable;
And I eager to comply
say I’m fooled.
Play oblivious to embarrassment
Don pointed cap and twinkle toes,
Assume a character void of schemes
Play whatever seems
against sense.

Physicians may chortle diagnoses
Psychiatrists trace
My subterranean pedigree;
Say I’m mad
Solicit sympathies;
Still miss the intricacies
That complicate to free.

Tiny Man with the Big Voice at the Derby

Short gentleman with the booming voice
You’d run up to the stage like a batter to the plate
Beaming as though the whole world loved you
Never complaining as they goosed you off the floor
When you hit the “Oklahoma” chorus.

Hey! I haven’t seen you in ten or fifteen years.
You probably don’t even recognize me.
And you, scarcely able to step six inches at a time
Even with canes,
Your poor long jaw almost too heavy for your tiny legs.
And your coat’s hangin’ on one button,
Half your flesh stopping the New Year air.

The Cave

I came upon a cave,

An opening in a wall

And saw men seated watching

Shadows on a wall.

Shadows of varied shape

To a soft-sounding bell,

Flowed with a dark mysterious grace

Reflecting things eternal.

“Mama’s Pizza”

I see a Mama’s Pizza sign up ahead .
And I wonder who the real mama is
And what kinda pizza she’d make?

And there’s a picture of mama
Right there up on the sign
Kinda 50’s hair,
Sorta broad slightly smilin’ face,
Class of Ernest Borgnine maybe.

But I can’t stop thinkin’
What kinda pizza mama’d make
Would it be like the first pizza I ever ate
About an inch thick with just some tomato on top?

Does mama make that kinda pizza?
And if she does would they still be sellin’ it in Mama’s pizza store?(10. a.m. September 6,2012)

A Night

Sam talked to Joe
Cymbal hissed
And the drink man
Mopped the counter top.
Joe slumped toward Sam
The guy beside cried
And Sam saw none of it.
And I asked Bill if he didn’t think knowing one thing for sure
Implied the certainty of knowing all of it.
And the horn man sailed a string of sounds over top
And the guy besides eyes stared blank as stars.
And the night lady sashayed
onto an empty stool
Whose to know she’s not just another lady?
So Joe told Sam to get her a beer.
And she laughed her thanks to Sam.
And the bass man traded 4’s with the horn:
Tobacco smoke traded space with a gust of beer.

Sun and Phosphorus

Antique children of endless spring
Gaze blithely
Over timeless sands,
Mindless of their abandonment
To the fiery light,
Stilled before the flickering
Phosphorescent night:
Wizened visage
Powdered portraiture
Mildew blight.

A Park

At dusk scarcely audible, crickets twitter invisibly.
At dawn above scattered wrappings, a squad of Monarch Butterflies flutters menacingly.

The Mean

What one knows is what one thinks is so.
Only by deciphering principle amidst competing egos
Can one hope to act ethically
Spotting the moral mark like the archer aiming at the dazzling eye of the bull.

Only with eternal vigilance can one claim adherence to reality
Lest agitated by desire
We say a cat’s a lion,
A wolf’s a hound.

“Once Upon A Time”

A grove where a now forgotten
Deity was said to dwell
Maintains its fascination.
Mindless of anthropologists’ explanations
Generations retrace the spot.

And in a moment sipping tea
Or through an early morning reverie
The sound of time and coffee
Graced by an unseen wisp of straying sun
Fashions spells in light-caverned leaves
Hallucinating Halcyon.

Youth’s tasks, false starts
Lost in the years’ spinning
Grow wild in their seasons
But through an Adonian ambulation
We return to replenish
High on a vague familiarity
A faint fragrance of ambrosia.

Seemed somehow obscured.

Fare Forward

Don’t think that ease is man’s natural state
Don’t expect old joy as a prize that awaits.
He has no interest in what you say
When you curse his absence:

The moon follows the sun
Just to borrow his light
And never falls when there are clouds around
Nor should we
When what we’re watching
Evades our design.


Sky’s so blue
Water and mind seem one
Love leaves garlands for the ground to wear,
Feet flying
None could deny deity,
And for him that would
There’s no trusting
Just conniving and seeking his own,
No time to stand back
Mustachios twirling
Watching some sweet thing
Make the eyes of Venus shine.

Aphrodite II

Venus laughing sways summer branches;
Birds sing sweet-scented Cyprian air.
Lynx-eyed cat and fawning-grey wolf
Follow to Idaen pastures.

In Anchise’s hut, Lady Love,
Lovely face turned shy in desire
Is stripped of bright garments and girdle
Shing jewelry of broaches and beads
And reclines on the backs of beasts
Her lover has torn from the forest.

In Rome’s seething streets,
Cynthia tumbles her gown to the floor
From shoulders like marble for her lover’s eyes.

Above dust from his brother,
Paris plays with his lady;
And he knows she’s so pretty
She must be Aphrodite
For Helen swears she’s in Egypt.

Here in the moonlight branches bristle;
Birds sing sweet-scented Cyprian air.
Lynx-eyed cat and fawning-grey wolf


It’s clear
That where a smile appears there’s pleasure .
When eyes a’mist with want
Contend with clouds
Sadness stares.
For surface says
Nothing less than what’s seen;
Anticipating what’s hidden
Gives meaning a merry chase.
And when with child-like innocence
One speaks one’s soul,
What twisting of the heart says
What’s said in full munificence
In truth conceals malevolence?

I Remember

Two men with cankerous faces
And dressed in the same sad suits-
One assisting the other-
Blind leading blind through the door
Oblivious to, or sheltering each other
From the curious.

A Horse On Christmas Eve

Guess who I saw today,
This icy eve of Christmas:
That lone brown horse who lives by the tracks near Guildwood
Snow grazing
Happy to be free
Of the icy wetness that fell upon us yesterday and held him hidden
And warm in his horse house.

Wang Wei( Early Tang Dynasty 699-759)

This man’s from my old home town

Must know something about how things are back there.

When the sun comes up shining through my silk window curtains,

Can you see the winter plum tree flowering yet?