POETRY PAGE ONE
COLUMN EIGHTY-THREE, JANUARY 15, 2003
(Copyright © 2003 The Blacklisted Journalist)
THE IDEA OF A UNIVERSITY
Thank God there is no Truth. Postmodern thought
forced all the pious dogmatists to eat
their words, and patriots, the flags they bought.
What crumbs are left, sustain the gay effete.
We really showed those damn Republicans,
And all those Catholics at the bingo hall.
Too bad Bill Clinton couldn't run again.
We got diversity, except in basketball.
So what if all our teaching is a fraud.
The pension checks are big enough, and dad's
estate means every summer we go abroad,
escape the creeps who mix their stripes and plaids.
Then finally free from deans and rabid wives,
we pull the earth across our dismal lives. ##
* * *
SONNET ON A POET'S AFFLICTION
When he was young and drawn by thirst,
he drank the poison of a love sublime.
The second drink was bitter from the first.
So now he sips the antidote of time.
The lives of saints will move in solemn pace
with holy wills beyond his love and hate.
Their bodies are like sunset clouds of grace,
but all he knows of this is how to wait.
The breath of God exhales above the land.
In this white dome he lives his length of days.
At times a glory cups his heart in hand
and shows him when he walks with heavy gaze--
as if there were an opening in light--
a world seen dark because it is so bright. ##
* * *
POVERTY, CHASTITY AND OBEDIENCE
I've got mine.
Some have it all, and girth to prove it so--
they drive big cars, live high, inherit wealth.
Some fasted once--but that was years ago--
and now their will consumes a sense of health.
All born from flesh endure the body's drag.
They say there is a grace that pays this toll,
but few admit the cost and rather brag,
"The body needs its meat, forget the soul."
The wind that is our will sweeps day to day.
We are a human mix of wrong and right.
The world sets out its gifts. Let beggars pay.
Ignore those tremors of the heart. Sit tight.
Not feeling well? Just waddle off to bed.
Then comes the damn surprise--you wake up dead! ##
* * *
COCKTAILS ON CLYBOURN
An olive, please, and not so much vermouth.
Remember, our desire is light not heat.
Let pass the blond parade of Saxon youth.
The drums of time will damp their orphan beat.
They come and go. We toast how soon they turn.
Dry leaves and cellos at the sunset hour
mean now that only ruddy embers burn.
The milky juice of dreams too soon goes sour.
Let's gather up the books. There is no more to learn.
Behold the child of grace who needs no cure,
as light as feathers in the vagrant sun.
Behold the man whose fault has bled him pure--
he will become what cannot be undone--
a knot within the web the world weaves.
The crowd is gone, so pour another round.
Gray banks of clouds above burnt orange leaves
is all the truth philosophers have found.
A toast! The breath that blew a kiss begins to wheeze. ##
* * *
GOING HOME FOR CHRISTMAS
My train speeds past the cloned suburban homes.
Their flags droop numb above the frosted grass.
It's only three o'clock, yet half light comes.
When you are queer you watch the world pass:
Look there, those wise men bend ceramic knees,
Antennas listen through the winter trees.
These prairie lots are all brand new---one day
Their frail rooms could simply blow away.
Out here some turn and never know they turn.
They flee towards light but only find the dust.
Alone in dungeons of their wealth they burn
Or sleep like locks in red arthritic rust.
Yet look with wide imaginary eyes---
Because a child is born, the dead will rise! ##
* * *
BALLOONS CAUGHT IN A TREE
They left the store puffed up with helium,
pink and white, with trails of ribbon like princess hair.
Then her foot tripped on a sidewalk crack, and her hand,
to stop the fall, released its hold on this gift of bubbles.
Up they went by law to bony fingers of the oak.
And there they stay, tied fast and left for broke.
All summer they waited, and now the tree in winter
still won't let go. Pale and gray, exhausted to a sack;
these gladiators from some birthday past,
haunt our little Appian way, crucified for all to see--
a dwindling witness to those who give in vain,
and wonder if their likes should float so high again. ##
* * *
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