Sunday, March 27, 2011
I could not single out the day I knew
That Jamey wasn’t well. The eighties were
Our time of innocence. A teenager
Who didn’t come to school was simply too
Exhausted from a night with someone new,
Unbuttoned hormones raging, and the cure
Was simple as a long bath. We were sure
He would return as students always do.
But he had caught the new “slimming disease”
A strange affliction that was ravaging
The special boys like Jamey. Secretly
I wondered if this kid who liked to tease
Me had, beneath the subtle bantering,
Been dying to declare his love for me.
Monday, March 21, 2011
White bathrobe princess, with yourHair twisted up in cinnamon buns,
You are so brave, resourceful
And quite short, really –
For though your secret crush
Is frozen in a block of carbonite
And your twin brother has lost a hand
You still have faith in the future
And you can fire a gun.
I know I said you were just another
Holographic trust-fund woo-woo telepathic airhead
But now I’ve seen you in a garbage compactor
I take it all back.
(with a grateful nod to poet Aaron Belz)
Sunday, March 13, 2011
I am fascinated by icicles
The way they come and go with the weather
Rather like Canada geese, only slower,
Drop by drop, migrating from roof to ground
Sometimes in the pleasing form of wind-chimes,
Others, in one great sword of Damocles,
Begging the life of those who pass beneath.
My fourth grade teacher had a big blue house
With two stories and a fairy-tale roof
And every winter, when the birds had flown,
The biggest icicle in the whole world
Would form under her eaves, a full eight feet
In length, pointing straight down at the back door.
None of us expected her to survive
But she did, year after year – with a smile.
She embraced that threat and named it: beauty.
And as I think on her now, I wonder
If we all don’t live with what others see
As slow-dripped danger hanging overhead.
Maybe they’re right; then again, maybe not.
My teacher died at last – but not from ice.
Monday, March 7, 2011
(The Caernarvon Castle, Camden Town, c.1984)
They were called
The Radical Sheiks,
Five tall men
In blue jeans
Who took the stage each Friday
Wailing smoky blues
While the crowd
Jostled for their pints
At the bar
Half-plastered above the din.
It took half an hour
On the bus
But it was worth it
Just to be
In that great unholy sea
Of Marlboros and booze,
A good boy
For three hours as drunk
As a lord
One small cork
Carried away on the swell
Of hard times and dreams.