Three crows and I
going about our business,
the day a crisp retort.
They mock me
for pushing snow
from here to there
When all you have to do
is wait for spring.
Maybe they envy a little
My opposable thumbs
that can work the zipper
on a goose down jacket
But their feathers, shiny black,
are perfectly ingenious
beyond anything made by man.
For Paul, who is a fan of Dvořák and sometimes of my poetry
The final movement
of Dvořák’s Ninth Symphony
makes me feel
small as the mouse
that skittered across my path
in the last hour
of another shadowless day,
and that’s okay.
It was a good temperature and humidity
for casting tire tracks
onto the snowy road
with four parallel tread-ridges
perfectly preserved with cross-hatches
in a herringbone pattern
expressing the negative space
of the grooved rubber.
The mouse and I hesitated
ever-so-briefly — a near miss —
and then each went on his way
on mammalian feet
into night, making quieter music
without horns, just cello breaths.
Bitter winter mornings, in my head, shoulders and down my spine, my pain
is hewn in the shape of the cross. The cold pounds my hands and feet like nails.
Is that how it went for you, Poeta en Nueva York, self-exiled from sun-baked
Andalucia, hard against the frigid East River wind? Did you know in your bones
there would be no paradise, no loves that bloom and die? Where are the bones,
do they dance beneath the orange trees, do they sing Gypsy ballads to the moon?
Did your heart pound like the hooves of the pony the night of the Blood Wedding?
Did you have to die for love, or did love die for you, too heavy a cross to bear?
It seemed like such a good idea
to sweep away the tangles of dusty cobwebs
but like you used to say if you give a moose
and come to find out
that was the glue
that held the whole damn thing together
and so down came the house
cradle and all
not to mention the spider.
I am deeply honored to have a poem accepted for a special poetry anthology to be published by Sibling Rivalry Press to coincide with the impending U.S. Presidential Inauguration, a protest issue of Assaracus, the preeminent journal of gay poetry, titled “If You Can Hear This: Poems in Protest of an American Inauguration.”
My poem is called “Oh America.”
Details to follow.
These are notes for a strange poem that wants to be beautiful.
It starts, you will not be surprised to learn, with the full moon
behind broken backlit clouds, shining through in a pattern
that reminds me of the Crab Nebula, words you will now
Google Image Search, and in the process you will learn
it is made of stardust, remnants of a supernova explosion
whose light reached Japan in 1054 A.D., and now we are thinking
of your Samurai poem and wondering if stardust is made of fragments
of old poems that have echoed across space since the Big Bang.
What’s the difference between naked and nekkid? Nekkid, you say,
is fixin’ for trouble. What’s the difference between violin and fiddle?
Fiddle, I say, smells like beer. My hand is on your damp back
as we push through the crowd to the dance floor. The moon
is high above the clouds, a single pearl on the black velvet sky.
Three crows were on the road this morning, signifying what?
10 p.m., starry sky, autumn chill,
winds buffet the van like waves on a lifeboat.
Returning from the film about Neruda,
warm inside our craft, filled with poetry
and the sad rhythm of miles. You beside me:
talk of love, of a certain face, of the subtle
slurred sound of Beatrice, of your sister’s first kiss
and when I floated on my back in the pitiless sea.
We know we are editing our words, our thoughts,
our dreams, our lives, and we acknowledge this
and more. And then there’s this: How do we
polish the sacred surfaces, as Neruda writes,
to reveal the dove who is born of light?
How do we, with our hands, make the world every day?
Mile by mile, with a firm grip on the wheel?
Exit 298, adrift in the balmy space of words,
I watch you slip away, your red hair floating on starlight,
into the cool, deep ocean of night.