Saturday, June 29, 2013

Evenings in Versailles

There's too much of this damn double-bunking:
Squeeze us in and tell us to be quiet —
Put us on the top bunk, on a diet,
On probation (we've been double-dunking).
Lower bunk? We're going down, spelunking
In a voyage to the bottom. Try it,
Offer us a trip home, and we'll buy it.
I remember when I was the Sun King.

Evenings in Versailles were never boring:
Masques were constant ­— emperors could shirk it,
But salon girls always seemed to work it
Till the sun passed, and the moonlight pouring
Through the casement found us prone and snoring,
Waiting for the moon to end its circuit.

Sunday, June 23, 2013


I find I can't unseal the envelope,
Fearing the contents. Stomach in a knot,
I've been unsettled, nervous and distraught,
Since it arrived. I did give up all hope,
And started pondering the Tao of rope,
Deep knowledge, but of what things? I forgot.
I pulled myself away from so much thought
And acted: make a fire, and give it scope.

If ignorance is bliss, I will be glad.
All sense abandoned me, as did my wife,
Leaving me eyeing bathtubs and a knife.
A little knowledge? Yes, that's all I had,
And most of it was dangerously bad.
I'll trust the Fates to regulate my life.

Saturday, June 15, 2013


Regrets? Of course I have regrets. Don't you?
Don't you remember all those things you said
You wished you hadn't? Wasn't your face red,
Remembering the things you didn't do?
I watched the thieves come waltzing through,
I talked with playwrights asking to be fed,
The altar boys were weeping, filled with dread
And loneliness, and you and I cried, too.

I don't regret calling my friend a louse
When he shared gossip with me. What I heard
Reminded me I shouldn't say a word
About the weaknesses we share. My house
Is filled with bright regret now. I may grouse,
But I'm dismayed, and I have been deterred.

Sunday, June 09, 2013

Stand Guard

There's always war somewhere. With any luck
It's far away, not in your own back yard.
With any luck, no one you know is scarred
By shrapnel, or left face down in the muck
With other victims. I was thunderstruck
To learn that soldiers had been living hard,
Believing life is precious. We stand guard
For what we care about. Sometimes we duck.

I never joined the army, fired a gun,
Ate rations in the field, marched silently,
Rammed bayonets with fearsome urgency
Into a straw man, or a proper one.
I have stared vacantly into the sun.
I have my father's wit. I have stood free.

Saturday, June 01, 2013

Deny, Deny

Don't make the usual mistake, to think
That no one here remembers what you said
When you explained you wished that you were dead
And that we'd join you. You maintained we stink,
You wish we'd all quit and begin to sink
Into a grey oblivion of dread,
Abandonment, and grief, a watershed
Among us down-and-outs who live on drink.

Make new mistakes, original mistakes,
Egregious errors. Look me in the eye
And say you know my heart: a lullaby
As soft as dew, as light as angel cakes,
And say you understand how we're all fakes
And, like the rest of us, deny, deny.