Tag Archives: omens

Two Murders

Two murders I witnessed in opposite trees
across the canal, voicing cacophony;
a trial of wills between territories
resulting in blackened skies, as the light breeze
of morning and rain brought a chill to my knees.

Not often such numbers are gathered this way,
suggesting an omen to christen the day
accompanying storm clouds hung heavy and gray,
their pregnant, expectant rough edges in fray
awaiting the hour when havoc would play

on all thoughts of picnics, or sunlit parades.
I watched as the black wings formed out of the shade
there in the tall cypress where their nests were laid;
and just for a moment, felt cold and afraid —
then sipped from my hot cup of coffee, just made,

and drew on my pipe, let the thick smoke surround
my head, and then slowly, not making a sound,
rose from my chair, let my feet feel the ground
cool underneath me, and looked once around,
and thought of myself, quite small and unprofound.

Two murders I witnessed in opposite trees
this morning while killing time quite patiently;
and though it was quite unrelated to me
I pondered some moments on the irony
that such things should happen, and that I should see.

04 DEC 2004

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When I reach the age of Elvis crucified,
two years and small change from now,
I shall have been 33 years a missionary:
singing love songs to the deaf;
painting pictures for the blind;
copying manuscript parts to hand out
to a toneless, voiceless choir;
dancing for a stoic crowd
of cynical philosophers.

At that time, like Rimbaud,
I shall have been a serious poet
for seventeen years.

And like young Arthur, who cast aside
his disillusion and grandiose angst,
I shall endeavor to never preach
another sermon.

The prayer book from which I read,
the liturgy crafted lovingly from my own sweat,
whose matins I have sung at dawn,
its vespers whispered to the fickle fingers
of twilight,

I shall renounce.

My voice, that grows tired of its own echo
in the empty hall;
my fingers, that have worn down the ivory keys
of life’s tempered clavichord;
my mind, that seeks to claim some vain energy
by which to transform, incandescent,
the darkness —
these tools I will abandon.

In these score and thirteen years,
with the coin of Caesar I have been paid:
the pennies of disillusion,
the nickels of apathy,
the dimes of indifference;
and within the span of the next 700 days, or so,
I shall have accumulated
the postage
to return to sender
what talents the gods have sent me,

Unless, of course, I win the lottery.

Because, as Hemingway observed,
the rich are different from the rest of us:
they have money.

19 AUG 2004

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The Black Druids

At seven ten this morning
as the night gave way to dawn
a band of three of black druids*
gathered out on my front lawn

I heard them last night singing
in the dead calm, loud and clear;
but did not recognize their song
until they drew more near.

Drawn to my house, I might suppose
to offer me some clue,
and sip with careful wisdom
from the lawn’s supply of dew

Three travelers from the Otherworld
stopped by to check the fire
beneath my recent relit forge
and kindle my desire.

“Recall your smithy lineage,”**
they spoke, and then took wing.
Against this synchronicity
I dared not say a thing.

How odd that they should now appear,
as strangers to these lands,
and offer this encouragement
to my oft idle hands.

And yet, these harbingers whose song
last night I failed to ken
have come to stay among my trees;
I count them as my friends.

05 MAY 2004

* In Welsh, the blackbird is known as “Druid Dhuhb” or the “Black Druid”. While we are fortunate enough to have wrens, crows, bluejays, robins, cardinals, sparrows, starlings, pigeons and an occasional parrot among us here in New Orleans, in the five years I have been here this is the first time I have seen an actual black bird. Perhaps there is some significance to this, as the black bird is one of the totem animals for the Druid — a communicator between this world and the Otherworld, a piercer of the veils.

** There is an area of the old city of Philadelphia that at one time was known as “Cooper’s Road” or “Coopersville”, in part due to the fact that my ancestor, Simon Litzenberg and his five sons set up shop along that stretch after their arrival from Europe in 1741 as blacksmiths and wheelwrights.

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