Kill the fatted calf
For the prodigal's return,
His homecoming delayed
So that every Greek could learn
Of his great feats.
Thank the gods we just survived.
So many his recklessness
Plunged to nameless deaths,
As, against all caution and advice,
Athena's monkey strung out his far-flung stunts,
Ennui the only enemy he never tried to slay.
And meanwhile, here in Ithaca, my mother
(Open to every insult greed and lust contrive),
Has raised me from my infancy alone.
My mother, whom gray-souled Athena
Slandered to my very face.
How I wish that then and there I'd loosed the rage
That volleyed through my brain,
Use me as she might.
My mother does not follow Folly's footsteps.
Long have I stood by her loom as she wove and stitched
Depictions of our happy life:
Our rooms, our sheep and goats, my toys,
The hills and trees and birds that grace our days:
These she drew in threads sweetened by her breath
On the window's soft breeze.
At her side I learned the sea's infinity,
And to search in myself for words to praise its colors.
Not for me, a foreign hero's stinking shield,
Putrid with sweat and gore.
He worked his work, the master strategist:
Chop til you drop, destroy Troy, create Rome,
Listen how each story finds its close:
In one, the grieving father Achilles lets
Bury his slain son in regal state.
But in our tale, though now deciding peace,
The crimson-fingered goddess has Eupeithes killed:
Three generations--my rabid self--pummel him in turn.
He spoke too much truth: his rapier tongue
Impaled that maggot's maw, my father's selfish soul.
Though Old Endurance put much the same
Into a fictive mouth: "Carnage suited me."
And earlier, in rage to Agamemnon:
For us, life is war and war is life.
Well, he worked his work, and I will see to mine.
Enough the world will ever after know the sins
Of those who sailed to Troy on smoke-filled winds.
I listen to hoary words of protest,
They are mealy diatribes of straw,
A trip into the world of continuous flaw;
Standing on street corners all abreast,
Wearing American flags all neatly pressed,
With their strident loud guffaw,
Decrying for Obama to withdraw,
In the darkness of the moody night
While marching heatedly to an fro,
They yell and scream in panic fright
Trying to keep all of their green dough,
They keep all the truth out of the light,
In doing so, create misery and woe.
I'm getting old as dust
I'm cranky and I'm tired
My hair is gray and falling out
I have fallen arches and my
Wrinkles have wrinkles
My teeth are just fine
You can view them in a
Glass by my bed
I eat more pills than food
I wear trifocals and a
Hot pad on my butt
I watch retro TV
And my idea of being groovy
Is listening to old records of
Como, Sinatra, and the Beach Boys
My idea of dancing with the
Stars is watching old movies
With Astair and Rogers
However, I don't complain
Because I am told
That the other place
Go is hot as hell
Have you ever heard a symphony with deaf ears,
The floor moves in waves,
The air pulsates in your unhearing ears,
It is like experiencing
A painting when you are blind,
Colors and shapes, within your mind,
Creep across the membranes of your memories,
Like feeling a kitten, when you
Have no hands – softness enters your thoughts,
It is like tasting chocolate
When you have no taste buds,
Smooth and sweet,
But, of course, those things can never occur
When you have no senses,
Funny how one never appreciates,
Senses when you have them.
When all that we've ever been, and are,
Returns to our originating star--what then?
Surely the forms remain,
Whether or not there subsists a comprehending brain.
It's true, there seems no voice that to us de profundis speaks:
Our view is from and to, and over, barren peaks;
Yet even in--if--a final existential race
To an infinitely minuscule embrace--
How could the forms disappear,
Being simply, not in that way, there?
* "I swear I think there is nothing but immortality" --Walt Whitman, "To Think of Time," Leaves of Grass, 1855, ed. J. Kaplan, 1982, p. 106.
I am convinced by these random
Variables that constitute your
Statistic. My soul yearns to beautify
Your existence- the definiendum.
You're my sweetheart with petals
And thorns- still you are explicit,
Forthright and unreserved.
I want to put your countenance
On jewels and riches. Yet,
I fear my oblivion. Still I, being poor,
Have only my dreams. You will still
Reside on my deepest desires.
Your preservation, I do desire.
He used to flirt with me
outside my bedroom window
remove his top hat,
shake his red-haired leaves unabashed
let them spread across wet earth,
a blanket of color, tones of reds, rusts, oranges,
his fiery brilliance
quilting the ground
I used to rush out to him, bare footed,
dance in his tousle of leaves,
skip across browned grasses
throw myself down in the petticoats of color
stare at the night skies
count the stars
reach up with my arms
embrace my Muse
He used to frost my windows
with his icy fresh breath,
powder my walking path, icing sugar snow
I didn't want to put my shoes on
I didn't want to play in the cold, lay with him,
make snow angels
Saddened, my Muse pulled on his wintery cloak, turned,
cast his top hat downwards, and walked away.
His footsteps disappeared
in a blizzard of words,
As they flew off my pages,
unsure of how to please me.
Her flashing smile,
like dawn breaking,
honey brown complexion
her soft brown eyes-
window to a soul,
warm as spring sunlight
dispelling winter's frost.
Some beauty is skin deep,
some radiates from within
an outward sign of
Sitting on blocks
underneath the stars,
and the snow-covered pines,
Old Number 114, from the now abandoned
Chestnut Ridge Railway.
The cupola a sleeping loft,
and a old pot bellied stove for heat.
Icicles hand from the edge of the roof,
a fence and a gate
help root it to the ground
where it rests.
And the whistle of a train
sounds in the distance.
O cabin car, come home
So we may end our days
after many an adventurous journey
over many weary miles,
with peace and usefulness
to the last.