Saturday, July 02, 2016

North Queens



The quiet streets of Whitestone
keep calling me their way,
bidding me to trod alone
to the outlands
of College Point.

And ghosts
of long-ago movie starts
draw us
to feel the breeze
of Little Neck Bay
and skip stones
from the shady woods
of Crocheron Park.

We dip into some alien feast
with our worked hands
at all hours,
as the night life
of a thousand people
babbles around us
and the dreams of millions
chatter by.


Saturday, April 09, 2016

Revenge of the Blue Light


In the lush green
dream night,
bruised and stained
by the sweet chase,

we get to that
mysterious place,
that Daisy’s pier
in heavenly space

to find the blue light
is only a ghost,
a glimpse of dying star,
a sinister dream,
parasite
to our host.

We shake our fist at this, unfair,
ignoring the starry night,
the cooling air.
Burning with anger,
but we have no case,
trying to weave paradise
from a shallow place. 



Saturday, April 02, 2016

Alley Walk



strange light
from spring rain twilight
guiding odd characters
seeking refuge from the sun

spreading ethereal glow
across quiet rooftops,
and empty street corners
where wood-tar telephone poles
stand silent sentry

this light
brings the muses
to Earth,
it dances away
before we can give it voice
inspiring, torturing
the youthful heart
that burns to spark life
from all of it 

Friday, March 25, 2016

Rocky Neck



art plied honestly
in sweat and heat
hard wrought
beside the sun-kissed lobstermen
waving gracefully
to rough locals
and soft tourists

where joyous newlyweds
sketch their own future
panel by panel

muck deep
in tiny horseshoe crabs
scrambling in low tide pools
away from baby girls

where dogs swim
beside the private beaches
and the rich sands
are slick
with stubborn seaweed carpets

let’s be worthy of this place,
may we have the good sense
to live lives
as beautiful as this


Friday, February 05, 2016

Winter in Queens


in warren dens
of clutter
dust mist
swirls a dance
as needle winds
scream past
draughty windows

burrowed
above the hard streets
where America gets molded
one rough day at a time
the rough clay
drawn from hard lots
crafted
over patched blacktop
and spotted sidewalks

scramble down
teeming streets
stop-go, packed-hell
commute
lets us daydream
our way
to destiny


Saturday, December 19, 2015

Back Roads


the ways we go
will jumble and make no sense
and we’ll yearn
for smooth boulevards
to preen the dream engines
we don’t have time to shine

some of us
can’t avoid back roads
walled with trees
and spiked with odd life
our destination is always
out there, somewhere
just one more turn away

Monday, April 06, 2015

Impostor

They can see it
in the way I walk,
in the way I wear my tie.
They can tell
by the way I talk to the waiter,
in that I talk to the waiter at all.

The clothes don’t fool them.
I’m not one of them.
I stay my course
and get through my day
anyway,
go through the motions
and collect my pay.

They have no way to know
that I’m a secret poetry agent,
a reluctant punk rock dervish
and pied piper
to the righteous underground,
that I enlighten darkly
with a cold fist of truth
through scribbled secret lines
scratched out on the way
to fancy lunches. 

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Skels

like bison
that once roamed the plains
the skels are few now

their quaky eyes
no match
for the faster world
moving past them

they will always be with us
shoved into an ashen corner
of our cities
astride that shifty half-step
towards death

Thursday, June 12, 2014

On the Way to the Work Event

I am armed
to the teeth
with psychic defense.

I will face-melt away
all the bristling
and tense
and use firefly poetry
to billow my cerebral tent.

I’ll puff
my predator
terror colors
like a menacing
bullfrog
to chase away
Philistine gnats
in well-tailored suits.

Let our minds eyes
strike
with lethal
blue lightning.
Let no one
cross our
poetic trenches.

And we will
forge victory
after victory
seeping righteous
artistry and beauty
into the bloodlines
of future generations.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Call of the Woodsmen

Leaf-lush
primal joy,
a magnet
drawing woodsmen
step by wide-eyed step.

Forrest bound
and snug,
wound tight
but somehow natural
in tree-cloaked garb.

and still
in the magic
of the first light
the world
as we were meant to see it:
waking,
alive
without the glare
of a cruel sun,
autumnal

and ripe for the taking. 

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Point Lobos

Like an exotic woman
Flashing plumage
For a mate she’ll never take
The coast is beauty, unforgiving.
Indifferent to the good children
Marveling at the starfish
In the bristling tidal pools,
Mocking its own beauty
Choked thick with seaweed.

Wave after wave cascade
A gorgeous wall of glassy blue
Thrashing like a fist
Heartless foam on sharp sand

Lurking undersea
The currents keep the seals away
Hills stuffed with scruff of trees
No traction sliprock hike to speak
As birds gawk from faraway stones.
Squint into the wind
At the fleeting phantom unseen otter
But can’t tell the dolphins
From the weeds. 

Monday, October 29, 2012

Rattlesnake Mountain


Carved
Like paradise
From alabaster glaciers
Birth trees like
Like stubborn soldiers
Raise the bright fall canopy
            To heroic skies

Hunting for moose tracks
Among the pine needle carpets
Climb and sweat
In the fall breeze

Sloug up rocky slopes
Jagged hills with slip-leaves
Just for us tourists

Climbing …. Climbing…

Serene clearing
To spy Crescent Lake
And miles of Maine trees and skies

Not another soul around to share
The treasured stones, the good musty earth
The dreamy majesty of land
Of the America that still is, at least here.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Health Care Bill

With apologies to Wallace Stevens.
I.
Among fifty failing states,
The only moving thing
Was the cost of the health care bill.
II.
The CBO was of three minds,
Like a hopper
In which there are three health care bills.
III.
A health care bill swirled in the cloakrooms.
It was but a small part of the Big Lie.
IV.
A Reid and a Pelosi
Are one.
A Reid and a Pelosi and a health care bill
Are one.
V.
I do not know which to prefer,
The folly of the deceptions
Or the folly of the desperations,
The health care bill passing
Or just after.
VI.
Snowmounds filled the Capitol steps
With muddy puddles.
The shadow of the health care bill
Passed them, to and fro.
The mood
Traced in the shadow
An unfathomable doom.
VII.
Oh wise men of Congress,
Why do you dream of wonder cures?
Do you not see that the health care bill
Stoops beneath the feet
Of the system around you?
VIII.
I know high premiums
And frightful, inescapable long lines;
But I know, too,
That the health care bill is involved
In what I know.
IX.
When the health care bill moved out of sight,
It marked the start
Of one of many scandals.
X.
At the sound of health care bills
Read into the deep night,
Even the frauds of K Street
Would cry out sharply.
XI.
He flew over Connecticut
In a white bird.
Once a fear pierced him
In that he mistook
The shadow of his presidency
For health care bills.
XII.
Obama is speaking.
The health care bill must be losing.
XIII.
It was evening all afternoon.
It was snowing
And it was going to snow.
The health care bill sat
In the Speaker's chair.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Wo Hop

Walking a crowded single file

down more crowded streets

past the fish mongers

with stores like aquariums

strange fishes with scribbled Chinese writing

past courthouse

streaming tired defendants


walking crowded

crowding one another

all of us pile down the steep steps

for delectable Chinese food

twenty-four hours

we’ll take one or longer

on our expanding lunch hour


speaking and dreaming

of a Czech breakfast

of whiskey and beer

or Belfast rain

to lure us away

from the teeming millions.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

The Remaining Snow

I have seen enough snow
To know that some leaves
And some remains.

On warm mornings it falls like rain
From eaves and shrubs that shrug it away
To glisten and flow to tinkling drains.

On frozen days it stands its ground,
Glowing blue as a resplendent cowl,
Chilling its bearer, yet thrilling her, too.

But other times, the snow melts soft
And hardens clear when darkness falls
Casting leaf and lamp alike

In glassy prisons, where we await
The moment when the light will break
This fearsome paralytic mood.

Conjuring in our captive minds
Alternate climes where cold is kind,
We cannot glimpse the coming glow,

But glow it will and free it must;
The selfsame craft that gave us ice
Did also make the loosing flame.

And still, in May, I'll find in shade
A shadow of the snow that made
The world its slave for hours and days
And wonder where else the snow remains.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Blackout Walk

past the mobs of downtown works

and tourists popping flashbulb shots

vulture-ing for window positions

to clip a snippet of the end of the world,

wet with August sweat

foot-stepping on blisters for home, home, home


joined the draft of passers-by

re-routing loutish drivers

firing back pouts and surly shouts

at cabs, trucks

and Fifth Avenue regulars,

helping wage the losing war

against the choking gas machines


past goddesses in relief

with sweat-moist flesh

that blesses haggard horny eyes,

past vacant cabs

and rip-off vans


edge past

half-naked Spanish women

and shirtless men

drumming salsa tunes

under sparkled skies,

watched by tired cops

among the smoldering flares


up, up again

to where men in tank tops

slap down dominoes

over beer and oranges,

a sad sack poet drinking up the darkness

and looking for good times

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Waiting in the Conference Room

I’m in an office-

sitting with a very dignified face

among the dignified stuffed chairs

and polished wood and glass


And the people I meet

may never know

how weird I am,

or how I sang

loudly and very badly

to myself on the way here


Our discussion

will not broach the subject

of my drunken strolls

down Broadway

or my screaming pleas of mercy

to the blood moon

and all the women of the world


They think I am studying

venture capital

or the stock market

while I scribble

chaotic poems

and dream of swinging naked

from White House chandeliers…

Monday, January 11, 2010

Blizzard

patter of smitten flakes

showered like flowers

on everything


burdened against the chill

stare fire-eyed

at the soft white blanket

new earthly moonscapes

unspoiled


stone-grey trees

trace their cool layered fingers

against the angry wind


all so dangerous

and light

and fleeting