what frog should dance
beyond the golden eye
that opens on the glassy skin of now?
what cardinal should,
with bended wing,
break toward the stream’s clear source?
what leaf should fall
from spring’s first word
spoken by a rain driven wind?
i do not ask you, you self-righteous wretch,
this is not your garden
this is not your time
every word is desperation
every note a plea for love
the hat is laying empty on the ground
the passers by are passing
the standing few chew ennui
the hat is laying empty on the ground
another song another riff another moment gone
a buck, a buck, just a buck,
the music ends, the night descends
the hat is on his head
All of the birds in my yard are angry
perhaps at me, perhaps at the cold air
They are angry, violently angry
chirping and screeching and causing
a scene. I watch them perched on the roof
next door looking into my yard
as if all the denizens of hell had come
and taken away all the sacred holy things
that held them once closer to my heart.
There are no words to share from man’s mouth
to bird’s ear — no wren, no sparrow, no finch,
no chickadee can comprehend the madness of a man.
There are no notes to share from bird’s beak
to man’s ear — no white man, no black man, no woman,
no jew, no gentile can comprehend the sanity of birdsong.
What else can I do, but beg forgiveness
my ignorance has left us here staring at each other —
I am heartbroken and they are angry. The birds are
violently angry perched above watching me.
the last day i left the store
i looked over my shoulder
at the closed door —
i knew i’d never be back
to browse the books
scan the pages, search
through all the words
for some clue as to what this means.
i mopped the floors, of course
because no one wants an empty store
with filthy floors — i cleaned the toilets well
wiped down all the counters, said
do you need anything else
to no one in particular — i knew
i’d never be back
to sip the coffee or say the words
of encouragement, offer to find some book
or point out some illustration
on some nearly forgotten page
to a stranger who might have someday
become a friend.
the last day, when I left the store
i knew I’d never be that me again
nor would i read those books
thumb through those pages
or say those words to anyone at all.
i would tell you how odd things are odd
if you wanted to know, but no one wants
to know the source of a difference
i would advise you that becoming odd
is even more odd than being even
nothing. don’t take my advice
i would tell you anything if it would help
me find my way back from this asymptotic descent
from near the line across toward near the line along
i would advise you that i’m less than helpful
really, this is me seeming greater than
I am really am. don’t take my advice
I would tell you why odd things are even
less odd than you believe, but no one wants
to know the source of equality
I would advise you that problems multiply
and divide into products no one can sell
to anyone. don’t take my advice.
I would tell you when odd things become facts
it’s best to factor out the lowest common denominator
and leave. but really, please, for the love of God
Don’t take my advice.
Les moineaux ne me chantent pas.
Ils volent. Ils volent. Les moineaux s’envolent
Et laissez-moi prier pour une chanson.
I see the sparrow
perched upon the roof
next door watching me
watch him. Waiting
for the kindness of hello
or the gentle touch of sweet goodbye,
he leaves. The sparrow leaves.
I start to cry,
at the emptiness of branch
and sky — he is gone
and there is no song
no song at all to remember him.
I want to whisper
in your ear a maybe
so desperate for hearing
you ache. I crave
the unwhispered maybes
and you crave the craving
too. This is the music
this is the dance
this is the poetry of quietude
and life upon a turtles back.
To be filthy with sex
and dark earth below our feet
is nothing to brag about —
but we should brag. Desire
and passion, even in the darkness
are holy things to the brazen
profaners, blasphemers &
heretics. So wait, wait there
beneath the eagle’s beating wing
in the face of the western wind,
wait there, and wonder
am I the muse from which all creation comes?