This is some of the poetry I have written over the past couple of years. If you like it, tell me so and why; if you don't like it, tell me so and why. I really like it when people tell me why!
Photograph at Dusk
She stands in the garden's goldfish pool like some imported lily,
delicate wavelets radiating from her calves
and her grey pleated skirt blooming in the wind
that flaps glossy leaves and plucks at close-folded jessamine.
In this evening all is blue: the water is blue,
the vines are blue,
her hair is blue
and wafts about her smooth moon face
one moment after turning, one before
she smiles and says, "Hello, friend.
You're here, too?"
Most trees are bare, brown. The others are dim.
No fish flicks the surface of the lake.
Warmth does not rise in water.
The sky is no color at all. Not gray, not white.
Perhaps there is a duck swimming somewhere.
There usually is.
No bird noises. Only the crickets, who unknowingly sing
their own requiems from under wet leaves
and thickly twigged shrubs.
Slowly the longest night of the year
darkens the sky between the stars
and makes the crickets colder.
And though the maiden's ribbon was a gash in his pure white throat
seeping yellow satin blood
he bore her no ill will
but silently his eyes spoke to her
of cold rainbow mist off mountain waterfalls
and the fire-hearts of stars.
His horn was spiralled opal-ice
that she was not afraid to trace with her fingertip.
She glanced away and saw her father's arm raise the spear.
For an instant, all was motion -
she rose, the spear flew, there was a wild swirl of white -
and the unicorn had vanished,
plunged once more into the forest's shadow-bright sanctuaries.
As her life bled out around the spear,
her eyes held her father's and said
Because he was beautiful
and he had done no harm.
There is a whirring behind me.
Turning, it is the purring
of a little air-whale
nuzzling about the walls
A silver balloon with motor and propellors -
tails with three fins.
It is as smooth as black pianos
and as bare.
No place for eyes
staring through nighttime water
at slowly swimming divers.
Placid rover, a whale,
bred miniature and airborne
but a whale, still,
with the ocean's vast serenity.
In the barn-shaped kitchen
it nestles at the high ceiling
and is silent.
The boys scowl upward, shake the control,
growl about ladders and batteries.
As they move away, I see
a rubber-gloved hand stroking rubber-like skin,
divers riding a flipper as a silent glider,
a darkness heavy as curled-up sleep,
long flukes vanishing into deep blue caverns.
The twins, boy and girl, hold each other
as they walk through the woods. Their feet are soft as rabbits',
their eyes dark as deer's.
An owl sings to the mouse in its talons.
The children find a hollow, nestle in dry leaves like eggs.
They sleep, still holding each other,
and the owl sings again against the moon.
Walking to choir I hear a mockingbird
and halt in my robes, listening to him sing
from the shadows of leaves. He sings as water flows,
simply, knowing his purpose.
I could not sing with years of study
as he is born to do.
Whales sing as well, in the cold of the ocean.
are best known, their tunes
shifting as currents shift.
Their moaning notes echo off coral as they swim
beneath the abacus of stars.
Take the beauty of the numbers that made the abacus obsolete.
Roman alphabetics were never so graceful.
For instance: 8. It is elegant, the
twirl, the twin
moons kissing. What swirls of sand, what
sinuous dune inspired this Arabian curl?
Schubert's Ave Maria plays in the night,
when I am too tired to be distracted.
The violin is a soft dawn rain, so sweet.
If you've never heard it,
it is like the music made with the stars' turning,
with the intricate minuet of moons,
with the tilting of Saturn's brim of rings,
with the slow glide of the glowing sun,
with the drawing and spinning of all circles.
A veil of dust cloaks the doll,
prematurely graying her walnut curls
and dimming the splendor
of her sparkling pink ballgown. Long
she has awaited the touch
of a human hand, to be
played with and admired, and her hair
brished and the folds of her dress
smoothed, as she first was.
She gazes hopefully at the approaching girl - whose hand
positions a statuette
amid clumps of adorable porcelain toddlers
and miniature beribboned carousel horses,
never straying to those already
installed, paying them no mind.
With watery eyes the doll and her consorts
cheerlessly greet the new addition
to the ranks of relics.
She sits alone, posed
like a mannequin, her only movement
quick eyelash flickers.
Her eyes are seeing something else, a daydream
Her lips are firm, as unnerving as a fang
in how they never bend, never tighten, never part.
They whisper: She got like this
after that tragedy; you remember.
She's heartbroken, poor thing. But still...
She was a little unnatural even before. So still.
Look, you can't even see her breathe.
A new-grown man once thought her beautiful,
like a serene caladium
dreaming off into nothing.
He wanted to paint her portrait.
He wanted to kiss those lips into a smile.
He wanted to marry her.
They whisper again: Wasn't it horrible, that
charming young man
being murdered? She must be devastated. They even
called a few condolences over,
observed no response,
murmured: How well she's taking it.
But they didn't know.
That it was she who had slipped the knife
between his ribs, she who had precisely sliced
his adoring portrait into passive snakes
coiling on the rug.
Then left the apartment and walked to the subway,
purse over shoulder and smile on her face.
Those who saw her shuddered
as though seized by sudden snow,
for through that smile they could see her soul.
Tooth-tearing crusty skin off pasty meat
no longer shielded by a deep-fried shell
slick with the steaming humors of the skillet
bending bloodless joints backwards to fracture
and slurp in muscle near toasted bone
--with the ease of dying.
To disassemble a hand:
slice on the lines of the palm,
peeling skin to the wrist;
caress the sleek muscles of the palm
before severing with civilized steel.
Again, slice: on folds of knuckles.
with the gentleness of a fossil-handler.
Quietly obliterate the whirls of identity
through smoothly rolling blood.
Keep fingernails to bead a bracelet.
It is as easy as dying.
The Glass-blown Sky
Nothing came of my summer. I hated the days I spent
forcing words on paper, the bulky grotasques
I hacked from fine marble.
A disfigurer of loveliness, I tried to refigure myself,
my mind, to create beauty instead of destroying it.
I whipped myself with musts and shoulds:
This poem must be perfect, I should be able to do it!
An idea came: I had no spontaneity.
If I let words come on their own, oerhaps they would be better.
But I scorned that down. Writing is work!
Poems don't trot up and sing, please write me!
Let words come! Let sheep
form democracy and overthrow shepherd and sheepdog!
Is that sensible?
But I had forgotten the mother of all words,
that moment like a night tree suddenly brought to light
by a crack of lightning,
too quick to see the branches dip with the wind, but
you've seen it, the white branches, the
sharp shadows, the startle,
and you'll remember how beautiful it was for the rest of your life.
I didn't see it. I was crouched
over the coffee table, agonizing over synonyms.
If I had seen the lightning-tree, I might also have seen
the clouds sail east two hours later
leaving silence and stars in the glass-blown sky
after their wake had rippled away.
And each star might have been a poem,
and I might have found one,
shining perfectly, that I loved,
and kept it in the private inner library of my mind.
And, in silent sleepless midnights when time might have vanished,
have whispered it
back to the glass-blown sky.