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Thursday, February 23, 2012

Weir Trinkets


In one field, camel, llama, and bison roam
With a fence-high mournful array of cattle.
In mild, lingering, winter afternoons
We wish the steam of their breath made a ghost
That has broken free of the grave and most
Other claims of the earth, of suns and moons,
And in their lowing, mooing, bite and battle,
There were song, though not one of their heads are home.

After a phrase of Paul Celan's --
"wir trinken"::"we drink" -- from Death Fugue.
There's a field near Frankfort, Ky that owns this amazing array of animals.
And, of course, after paintings by Marc Chagall.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Time on His Hands


The octopus has a different eye and doesn’t resolve
The world to an internal map. We look and feel pity,
Fear, curiosity. He looks back and feels … cold.
Were we a moray, he’d be a lionfish. Otherwise,
He’s content to bide his time. Two eyes, eight thighs.
And a plan. He doesn’t see himself as getting old.
Doesn’t panic or regret or fear that past sixty
One night, he might blink and the world dissolve.

Some species of octopus can mimic the lionfish.
The presence of certain eels can prompt the octopus to hide.
And the octopus eye evolved differently than our own.

Don’t Rap on the Glass


I’m watching the octopus, with his ominous
Eye slit. Behind his tank is a gas cylinder,
Silvered so the octopus could see … an octopus!
While my phone flash winks back from the other side.
It’s like my childhood dream of God’s TV – He’d decide
If I was good or not by what He saw, mysterious,
Of me watching Him watching me. Forever!
I rap the glass and the ink makes me oblivious.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Left Behind


Even for 5, he was small, like a bomb,
And knew from the start people could be killed.
He could stand before you, fierce and rigid,
Smelling of sugared cereal, BO, powder,
And the sour tang God needs to find the poor.
4 teachers in succession listed the things he did
As if to break your heart was all he willed.
A little boy so recently sprung from Mom.

for Special Education teachers everywhere.
Frontline, trench warfare.