The frost hasn’t finished
with the kill. There’s time,
still — to feel the ground
give while you silver full
into too-late middle years,
your nights, murmurous
their way into your deepening
sleep. Claim what is restless
to last, even as your sight
like a snow cloud thickens,
and your breath, exhausting
its missed but heart-paced
rhythms, catches on these,
my brokered words of love.
This poem was first published by John D. Blasé at The Beautiful Due.
A Fault in the Light ~
A good cop never wants
to be taking
a code 7 at the scene,
needs his eye
for detail, a body
to put a finger on.
No house mouse,
a good cop wants to collar,
be a closer, stake out
truth from lie.
The right tactical
gear to ram
a bolted door, a warrant
to search and seize
keep a good cop in the bag,
not chasing lost time.
A good cop learns to know
a stalker’s MO,
track a snitch’s mate
and motive, probe
a person of interest
with a history
and time to give
up a statement.
Even when things go
sideways, a good cop
never goes down
not knowing where
the bright blue line’s
...you always have to find where the boundary
is in relation to the context...
~ Richard Serra
You could be polished,
put on a shiny face
but for that alchemical mixing
of oxygen with the elemental,
leaving you earthy and russeted,
uncosseted: more your own style.
Your steely Cor-Ten skin corrodes
Itself eating browned orange to amber,
a matte time duly applies
to tone your iron-ored heaviness
as you tilt and sway for emphasis.
I see you for what you are,
a hulking tactile multi-ton torque
shedding one look for another.
That spring at the Dia, a train’s ride
out of New York’s claustrophobia,
your massiveness moved me
inside your insides. I could
have come unfurled,
climbed your walls curling
and sinuous and closing in
the farther I go in. Your curves
wrap their sinewy rustiness round me,
impressing on me their muscle
meant to make me weigh
the arcs of meaning you achieve
even while standing perfectly still.
Your path takes me deep. Not
till I look up do I get how
the dark and the light work in tandem.
Precious Few Words~A Villanelle ☊
I have few precious words to grind,
to work through meaning cold lips deny.
It's time, you said; you changed your mind.
I urge you stay. You rush to go, to put behind
my mourning long from quick goodbyes
that leave no precious words to grind,
to parse how love could track so blind
and barbed to make me red- and redder eyed.
It's time, you said; you'd changed your mind,
found others do where no oaths bind.
To me your promise once gave lie,
such precious word I grieve to grind.
No riddle solved, no reason find.
This heart you took and broke; but why?
It's time, you said; I've changed my mind.
From you I turn; I speak, unkind.
This bitterest root I plant yet cry,
Leave me some precious words to grind.
No time, you said; I've changed my mind.
Consider the Pomegranate
All I have is a voice / To undo the folded lie . . .
~ W. H. Auden, “September 1, 1939”
Consider the pomegranate
this winter, peeled back, crimson-lipped
against gleamed teeth, each an ivory-handled knife
slashing to pith, loosing the fruit’s elixir,
staving hunger freed. Persephone’s mouth Pluto stained,
sealing her fate that she might mime not
spring but his own Hades six months of twelve.
Think of the Nile, candles on the water,
luminaries jewel-cut, heat-polished,
fit to a crown for mourning’s wear. What fabled
kohl-eyed queen might stake, her sinuous
path to desert ends. Sphinx her secrets none
betrayed, the asp held high and striking quick
her favors’ protests, white jasmine veils so summoned, stilled.
Regard the signs that bullets make
of dreams still falling in Cairo’s streets,
rejoined on a bridge of martyrs, relayed
in Alexandria split seconds before white smoke
succeeds the sound of metal against dry bone pierced,
pieced, and quelled. What round of arms
in arms begins with chanting sweet street songs.
Imagine the taste of orange crossed
with pomegranate, scarlet-jacketed,
seed-plucked, the juice half-blood-blushed, too
soon anti-oxidant thin, a watered-down
wine dizzying bandaged heads held where desires
mapped before lockdown, fidelity trapped in gesture,
rock and stick in hand, breach barriers in season’s coldest month.
See who cannot be counted, their numbers
tolling with every step advanced
before spinning turrets, their breaths, hoarsely formed, rising
as hints of their morning selves, revealing code
in a fluttering of hands, tri-colored flags making
their own love poems, streaming as water in a garden
in Babel, wind on the bridge carrying hopes like confetti.
Fix fast. The pomegranate once straight razor
slashed becomes itself in pieces. Passed
hand to hand in Tahrir Square, its sections sweeten
lips’ loudest demands, bear fuel for the burning
on the ground; its skin, peeling away, discarded
with the silence remanded in evening prayers
no longer holding firm.