Friday, October 31, 2014

Weekly Worded

       Zombie Poets

Maybe Ovid begins this day of the
unread, reciting Latin eulogies,
his waxy white skin luminous as the
moon, followed by blind Milton bemoaning
the paradise he lost, his eye sockets
sunken, his daughter thin as the wisp of

his tattered sleeve, tangled like a serpent
at his feet.  Wordsworth grey as the ash
in his fireplace, stirred by his sister
with the tip of her walking stick.
A graveyard of stanzas stumbling,
unstoppable, iambic pentameters

like the shuffling of weary feet.  Plath
with her gas, Hart Crane stepping off a ship's
deck into unfathomable ocean.
So many poets only half-gone, poems
crawling like ivy over a grimace
of tombstones crooked as yellow teeth.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Weekly Worded

         Mercurial

All summer I’ve hiked through groves of aspens,
listened to leaves rattle, rested in their shade.
Heat and drought shaped the trail wide
enough for one, and maybe one more
chasing a softer sun.  Now that fall
has turned the trees to cold fire,
lit by frost, the entire hill is
blaze.  If you follow me,
friend, remember
the fuel is light
and winter
white.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Weekly Worded

        Garden Gnome

Maybe it's a fox
in his pristine flower garden,
the landlord tells me,
ripping up the turf,
digging for worms.

And I know how ludicrous
it would sound if I told him
it could as easily be me
after the traffic has fallen asleep,
at a subconscious level

where a man duped
by his REM dreams
like a child again
of claws under the bed
or closets tangled in arms

that squirm to get out
but he shakes his head,
a full-bodied self-assurance,
and repeats his earnest prayer:
It must be a fox.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Weekly Worded

        On Leaving Oxford

Before I go
let me acknowledge all the dead,
leaving the churchyards littered
with illegible stones.

May the Alzheimer's of time
mistake you for loved ones
from a century of incalculable loss.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Weekly Worded

         Oxford Botanic Compost

The soil in the rose garden is dark, rich in memory's deterioration.
Hedged with boxwood, trimmed to a linear maze, a canopy of
eucalyptus shelters its entrance.

Below the soil are bones from a Jewish graveyard, a plot of earth
given by a medieval English king so their displaced dead might be
buried. The site must contain good drainage for roses, heaps of stones
mounded by hundreds of mourners.  And flowers too.  Who doesn't
leave flowers?

The layer beneath must be Roman.  Their ruins show up like weeds
all over England, an occupational hazard.  The difference?  Their
stones are grander, and like ambition they're difficult to obliterate,
unlike the bones, or the graves, or the roses which are clenched like
fists made of petals.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Weekly Worded

       Pegasus Earthbound
As an astronomy lesson from the Iron Age, early Brits dug deep trenches along the face of a high Berkshire hill and filled them with chalk. Thick lines shining white against the soft green earth, shaping a stylized outline of an enormous horse in full racing stride.  Three-thousand years it still gallops across the turf, so long a part of the earth, so intent on lifting like a constellation into the sky. 

Friday, September 19, 2014

Weekly Worded

       Higher Ground

When rain falls in the desert
the fragrance flash floods the senses,
unbraids itself like a garland
compelled to become a garden.

Rigid sandstone softens
and flows, as if stirred by the water.
The old lightning-scared piƱon
smells of black licorice,

and sage so full of sunlight
smolders yellow.
Against a ceiling of dark clouds
a kettle drum thunders.