five poems

Thunder and Wine
“I answered you in the secret place of thunder.”
Psalm 81:7

thick fog clearing
as thunder echoes
across Casco Bay

on Cushing Island
lights go dark
then Cliff and here

in this dim sanctuary
the cathedral bells
won’t stop ringing

no one sees
the stained-glass smeared
by the blood moon light

once again wine
turns to water bread
back to grain

 

Of God
Can you lift up your voice to the clouds,
so that a flood of waters may cover you?
– Job 38:34

what are my chances
when your words
linger and scratch

like wool uniforms
quietly removed
when the orphan

and widow flinch
at your whispered
good night

I’ll promise to lie still
if your light but touches
the water’s edge

there an egret
white as the moon
hunts in the reeds

 

Creating Myth
Notes on Jack Spicer – 1978
A really perfect poem has an infinitely small vocabulary.
– Jack Spicer

make myth by
destroying myth

then explain
what came before

one final embrace
before departing

into meaning
or a hell of meanings

everything slipping
or sliding

haunted by the poetic
and the laughter

the duplicity
of words

and how they replace
the historical

with an empty
vessel

and though we struggle
to pull them back

our hushed shadows
will not be closed

simply by stating
their closure

 

My Final Thought of You

It happens often now, forgetting
the words but not the thing
itself.

This week alone the words cilantro,
Curtis Mayfield, actuary seemed
lost, erased.

 You, too, are there in a slight daydream,
a glimpse of a waning moon
on a sunny day.

A thunderstorm rises from Mount Blue
not 20 miles away. The birds and I
find shelter.

The stream is silent, hopeful. My breathing
slows as I count to measure the first
strike of lightning.

 

Three Halves
(in which the seeker discovers
he is that which is sought)

I am on a motorcycle
say a Triumph yes
a Triumph tearing

out of town on a moonlit
night Friday or early
Saturday morning and say

I am passed by a truck
an electrician’s truck
that has no business

passing a man like me
all in black leather
you’d understand

when I pass again
looking back to threaten
the driver flipping

the bird say or sneer
my surprise
that the driver is me

and all those cables
spooled on poles
by the breakdown lane

are mine to connect
or repair or destroy in this
the third half of my life

 

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