52 SONGS

...the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life...

Friday, October 22, 2010

Me & Binka

Separated in Minsk, lovers since Nice,
we'd met in Bath. The trash Binka combed
through there, looking for earrings,
belonged to the man who arranged
abduction half a continent away.
I had no money. Still don't.
I thought I had wits. My late 20s,
I liked my looks in the mirror, and on paper:
Two degrees, I'd predicted the response
to my report (My lover, I said
[I wince recalling the word], is kidnapped):
They acted like they didn't hear me.
So I looked for her myself, and I looked.
I'm looking for her always. Like the Holy Ghost,
her spirit is the dome under which Europe breathes
for me. I await manifestations.
Despite my faith, they never show.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Wright: Autumn Begins in Martins Ferry, Ohio

In the Shreve High football stadium,
I think of Polacks nursing long beers in Tiltonsville,
And gray faces of Negroes in the blast furnace at Benwood,
And the ruptured night watchman of Wheeling Steel,
Dreaming of heroes.

All the proud fathers are ashamed to go home.
Their women cluck like starved pullets,
Dying for love.

Therefore,
Their sons grow suicidally beautiful
At the beginning of October,
And gallop terribly against each other's bodies.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Plath: You're

Clownlike, happiest on your hands,
Feet to the stars, and moon-skulled,
Gilled like a fish. A common-sense
Thumbs-down on the dodo's mode.
Wrapped up in yourself like a spool,
Trawling your dark as owls do.
Mute as a turnip from the Fourth
Of July to All Fools' Day,
O high-riser, my little loaf.

Vague as fog and looked for like mail.
Farther off than Australia.
Bend-backed Atlas, our traveled prawn.
Snug as a bud and at home
Like a sprat in a pickle jug.
A creel of eels, all ripples.
Jumpy as a Mexican bean.
Right, like a well-done sum.
A clean slate, with your own face on.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Plath: Rhyme

I've got a stubborn goose whose gut's
Honeycombed with golden eggs,
Yet won't lay one.
She, addled in her goose-wit, struts
The barnyard like those taloned hags
Who ogle men

And crimp their wrinkles in a grin,
Jangling their great money bags.
While I eat grits
She fattens on the finest grain.
Now, as I hone my knife, she begs
Pardon, and that's

So humbly done, I'd turn this keen
Steel on myself before profit
By such a rogue's
Act, but--how those feather's shine!

Exit from a smoking slit
Her ruby dregs.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

In Media Res

The sword, if a sword,

gleamed beneath breath


of cold morning, exhaled

by the man whose neck


would soon be irrecoverably

gashed. Soon's not soon


enough to convey its

quickness. Movies wrecked


us, revealed us: Image

followed image faster


than words, and mind

understood.


Who is this man who is

about to die? Events


have led him here.

The meaty sound


of metal on flesh rings

from speaker to ear.


Crumbling figures vanish

with the cut of the scene,


the credits’ upward scroll,

the car walk, the quiet


in the drive home snapped

at the question you fear


asking but do: So.

What'd you think?


The answer rings in

the cabin, or doesn't—


the voice low or voluble,

depending, but, I speak


here only for me: one

puts forward a word,


helplessly, and one

can't help but not get


what's wanted in return,

when it itself is not


what's wanted.

What is wanted?


Saturday, October 16, 2010

Review Up

Overwritten review, actually. Here.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Poem Up

At Denver Syntax. Here.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Crazy in Reasonable Language

Or a reminder of why, despite persistently getting bad grades on the tests, I regard astronomy as one of my best undergraduate classes.