TWO RIVERS. May 11th, 2017

The risen river’s rolling news
exposes us in what is spews
along its matted, flattened bank;
the trace of us that never sank.
It hiccups into filthy frills
and buffets bramble-buried mills,
skinning fallen trees it trawls
across the humps of weir walls;
mere arcs of foul froth
that spun the water wheels and cloth
that covered straining backs, and frames
of painters brushing up their names.

But bled of all its umber taint
it might deserve its wash of paint
when spring emerges from the rot.
The settled river then is not
that naked, noisome, colic churn,
rather, a bucolic burn;
pollen dusted, hatching wings,
mailed in fish-blown-ripple-rings
dappled in its lay of green.
And there the wrack abides unseen;
dug in, sharing with the rats
another of their habitats.

FRIEND OF A FRIEND. April 12th, 2017

I’m certain she knew what she hoped I’d infer
though she stopped euphemistically short of a slur.
You’re earthy, she said, and I knew what she meant;
sophistry couldn’t obscure her intent;
I wasn’t the sort she’d have sought for her friend

so both of us knew that we’d have to pretend;
assuming she thought me perceptive enough
to filter the message and tumble the bluff.

THE ENLIGHTENMENT. February 24th, 2017

I balk, as superstition’s arrows
wing at snakes and hit the hiss,
knowing fortune simply farrows
as it will, and will not miss,

which is itself a fateful view.
If I cast fortune as a force
that can’t distinguish me from you,
that romps from every wonted course,
perhaps I’m superstitious too,

though trammelled by a class of laws
that do not bracket gods, or fate;
how then to commend my cause
with nothing to propitiate?

THE LEAP. January 26th, 2017

On slick and bifurcating branches
squirrels traffic news and food,
between the outer reaches
and the nestle of the brood.

And in their autonomic progress
neurons ply a like terrain,
parceling sensations
for the cradles of the brain,

forming novel junctions
in the  creases of the map
the way, perhaps, a darting squirrel,
leaps across a gap.

INSIDE MAN. January 20th, 2017

More, perhaps, than it appears,
this, the sum of fifty years;

the content of a spotless room,
the net, and nest, of one for whom

an analgesic order brings
relief from all disordered things;

a meagre scene to contemplate,
were it not the world put straight.

UNIVERSE. January 5th, 2017

The tilted bowls of telescopes
pan the particles and waves
that arc off far coronas
or slip the grip of stellar graves.
They sieve atomic signatures
that glimmer in the static sand
adding weight to what we hope
to live to come to understand,
for ours is a contingent claim;
the dust we are is all we hold,
and prone, amid the cosmic wrack,
as stars ignite and stars grow cold,
we dabble in a heedless stream
that could wipe our encampment out,
before the scouts we send out roving
find a suitable redoubt.
And some promote this untrod Eden
claiming we should be prepared;
that exodus alone will let us fix
what cannot be repaired.
They’d slough this soiled planet
for the prospect of a fitter one,
for some unsullied frontier
humanity can settle on
that wants for governance and flags
where none supposed they flew before,
and novel fruits are waiting
to be eaten to the core.