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,
buffets bramble-buried mills.
It skins the fallen trees it trawls
across the humps of weir walls;
mere arcs of foul froth
that spun the wheels and the cloth
that covered both the backs and frames
of painters brushing up their names.

And, bled of all its umber taint
it still deserves its wash of paint
when spring emerges from the rot.
The settled river now is not
that naked, noisome, colic churn.
It glints like some bucolic burn,
pollen dusted, hatching wings,
mailed in fish-blown-ripple-rings,
shaded 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
and both of us knew that we’d have to pretend,
assuming she knew that I saw through the bluff;
assuming she thought me perceptive enough.

THE ENLIGHTENMENT. February 24th, 2017

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

which is itself a fateful view;
if I cast fortune as a force
that won’t distinguish me from you
and romps from every wonted course
I must be superstitious too,

but trammelled by a class of laws
I can’t construe as gods or fate.
For all I might commend my cause
there’s nothing to propitiate.

THE LEAP. January 26th, 2017

On bare and bifurcating branches
squirrels traffic news and food
shifting swiftly, deftly,
from the borders to the brood.

And in their automatic progress
neurons ply a like terrain
harvesting the senses
for the cradles of the brain,

adding novel junctions
to the matrix of a map
the way, perhaps,
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 proffered bowls of telescopes
receive the waves that wash and pound
this what-begotten universe
where sugar-spills of stars abound;
where dogged ears and eager eyes
detect in spectral origins
a point where comprehension ends,
and where the root of it begins.