Daily Archives: May 7, 2004

Town and Country


I would to some far-flung county go
except for the threat of winter snow
and loss of things to occupy
these tangent thoughts that fill my mind

for in some quiet, rural place
where you know every name, and face,
behind the greetings and the prayers
lurks something else, and it waits there

until you find some cause to fight
against the old, established right
and question how the world was made
and kept to just that shape and grade.

And then, the rugged space and wild
you need now more than when a child
right there in reach, or just outside
becomes a threatening divide

that separates you from what else
exists beyond your cupboard shelves,
and beckons, using memory’s tools,
demanding more from kings, and fools.

There in the vast expanse that rings
you in, one morning, a bird sings
a melancholy tune of woe
and in an instant, you must go.


I would to some great city fly,
save for the noise and lighted sky
and little time for the small things
that feed the soul with songs to sing,

for in some bustling, roaring throng,
the questions, whether right or wrong
get shuffled off behind the door
or left like scuff-marks on the floor

removed, in time, by faster dreams
ill-built, botched jobs split at the seams
constructed not with love, but greed
and satisfaction guaranteed.

And then, when you require a breath
the bar stools clear, a pall of death
descends, and you find you’re in trouble
having pierced some happy bubble.

Far too much this, too little that:
your hair is wrong, your car. Your hat
is last year’s fashion, out of style;
the line forms left, stay single file.

Safe in your homes, tucked warm and dry,
a murmured hum your lullaby,
Despite the drama, and the arts,
you’ve got to leave; a longing starts.

06 MAY 2004

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Two Poets Lament, Part I

for W.B. Yeats

Some silken strains of angst-encrusted verse
or mystic message wrapped in words to woo
designed to part the patron from their purse,
or charm one’s snakes…what can these small things do?

An audience that can be misdirected
by such a simple ruse, where is their strength
and will to fight against being neglected,
their pleasures sought but found beyond arm’s length,

kept quiet in their apathetic lives
with promises of wealth in thirty days
empowered by not thoughts, but things and dreams
of avarice beyond the arts of gods to grant?

What good is such a crowd in praise of art?
Their graces can be bought at no large price
and the default rate on their loans is high,
conditions changed by fickle tides of whim.

And other poets, what use will they serve?
Since Hemingway, the writer’s world is filled
by just observing without much discourse
immersed in life’s most raucous noise and swill

to find escape from the plane of the mind,
absorbing and reporting vibrantly
the commonness in everything you find
without exploring or a need to see

the symbolism in a glass of beer
or archetype in the mad dancing crowd –
a study for some lost cerebral mind,
now deafened, needing life both large and loud.

There is no solidarity among
these artists; they lead strange and lonely lives,
each wrapped inside themselves and their own song,
producing reams of work that won’t survive

beyond even their next insipid phase.
and past their lifetimes? But then, no one cares;
the history of this time lasts just days –
a photograph, and not a flight of stairs.

And patriotic or dissenting lines
(it doesn’t matter much which one you choose)
may strike a chord or seem to redefine
the culture where you’ve chanced to pay your dues,

but really, what are these few sparks
against the bonfire of bombarding news
that daily forces all who live to choose
and blurs the lines between the light and dark?

What source do you imagine could resist
the Siren’s song of culture, breathing low
and whispering false promise of a kiss
to ease a mind engrossed with need to know.

In which new forum do you think your words
against the bread and circus, could succeed,
when books are used to line cages for birds
and seldomly for any other need?

The days for words are dead; they are no more.
Against these odds, you write and think to change
more than the channel, opening the door
to revolution of the soul. Deranged,

that’s what you are to dream of goals like these.
A job, some mindless task, that’s what you lack;
some visions are not blessings, but disease,
whose quest to is to consume and not give back.

06 MAY 2004

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