Thursday, March 29, 2007

Field of Lilies

Exhilarated, we dove from the sky
Into a field of lilies, daffodils,
And daisies, underneath some rolling hills
Where vines, crabapple trees, and broad ferns vie,
A rural dreamscape of the inner eye.
You told me it was the result of pills,
Herb tea left too long on the windowsills,
And other things I never meant to try.

But we were there together, and I took
My time, some trouble, and, yes, I took care,
But pills? When I discovered drugs were there
I turned away, and I refused to look.
I wasn't high; only the rooftop shook,
And I was standing on a folding chair.

Monday, March 26, 2007


My heart is made of clapboard, though it shines
Like ice-cold water in a mountain spring,
And bristles when it ought by right to sing.
My inner world, built to its own designs,
Meets no one's standards, and has faulty lines.
I was awakened by a hornet's sting,
Which burned, and itched, and made my poor ears ring
Until I heard buzzsaws among the pines.

What do I know? And what did I forget?
My circulation isn't very good
(My heart is made of clapboard), and the wood
Is dark, cold, savage, terrifying, wet.
Are you still happy that we've never met?
And what else have we both misunderstood?

Wednesday, March 21, 2007


You're terrified now, right? I know I am:
The people coming round with cigarettes,
Writing bad poetry, and taking bets
About which fruit is really in that jam,
And whether "cured" describes this ugly ham
You served the captain and the majorettes
In final payment of your social debts.
The captain glared when he said, "Thank you, ma'am."

Confess that you don't love me any more,
And I'll forgive that chicken neck you bought
To make bad soup, and those postmen you shot,
And whisky dumplings, and the way you snore.
I'm hoping something; I forgot what for,
And now I'm terrified. Of you? Why not?

Sunday, March 18, 2007


You might dispute the apple on the head
(Did Newton say it actually fell,
And how adept a shot was William Tell),
And you could even argue it was said
That some folks really loved Procrustes's bed,
But please don't throw your pennies in this well.
I have to drink the water, which I'd sell
If magic fish swam here, alive or dead.

What do I mean, about dead magic fish?
I met one, in a pond down by the wood,
Who didn't treat me quite the way he should
And ended up in an enchanted dish.
He sniggered when I tried to make a wish,
So I threw apples, and my aim was good.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Cut Along the Bone

Avoid the little increments of pain
That come with chasing after bitter treats:
The bad relationships, the sticky sweets
That sat for too long on your tongue again,
Like that old girlfriend who drove you insane
With jealousy and longing that repeats
Like a sad song of long-ago defeats
And melancholy, long walks in the rain.

If you want pain, take up the kitchen knife
And cut along the bone, then put your hand
On the front element. Your wedding band
Will melt, and that will aggravate your wife,
But as the blood flows out, so will your life,
And in one gushing moment. Understand?

Monday, March 12, 2007

On the Power of Prayer

I've started worrying about the smell,
About the way the world revolves these days,
In odd directions. It might be a phase,
But I think that we're going straight to hell,
Allowing for the tolling of the bell
You're not supposed to ask about: the blaze,
The smell of brimstone, the averted gaze
Of your parishioners, and the hard sell.

You used to be a terror, scolding me
About how grand the world is, and how vast,
How full of vanities that never last,
And now you talk about the boiling sea.
You feel I should have acted gratefully,
But I've stopped worrying about the past.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Note to Plaintiff

My first indictment was some kind of joke,
My second was a tad more serious,
The third was rather deleterious
(My reputation just went up in smoke),
And at my fourth, when the attorneys spoke
The judge began to look delirious,
As if I'd claimed to be Tiberius
And offered him the chance to share a toke.

I didn't worry much, as the defendant,
About your attitude, which made me sad,
But plaintiffs, like cheap grifters, can be had.
My star is once again in the ascendant.
As long as I could still feel independent,
I didn't mind the aggravation, Dad.

Sunday, March 04, 2007


Please speed things up. We're mourning the old bitch,
But we've got tired of standing in the rain
While some queer parson, clearly gone insane,
Disgorges platitudes about the rich –
Stick him with needles, douse the fool in pitch,
Run over him with camels, score his brain
With salad forks, and talk about the pain
While throwing his old body in a ditch.

Yes, we've grown weary, and would fain lie down,
But she did that, and look what happened then.
So we'll continue to ignore the men
Who followed us when we rode into town,
And warned us not to burn her wedding gown.
She's dead now. We're still in the lion's den.