Through a veil against the coming day,
bare tree limbs protrude from the smoky white.
Lifeless trees stand yet reach out for the sky.
Some stubborn brown leaves like skeletons hang
to little limbs caught in night’s caresses.
The sky seems tired of being so high,
so throughout the night she must have fallen
to the earth where she remains entangled,
still here — her laced crown and diadem
do keep my thoughts to stolen nights with you.
Like a shroud keeping out the day, you stay
Near to my heart, and envelop my limbs
with heat from your tender sweet caresses.
I remain like the stubborn leaf, a shell
of my former self, soaking in your sky.
The white chalk blocks
The wicked electric blue,
The molten orange beneath
And the entrance of you.
I had to offer two beers
In peace when you walked in.
I also threw more wood on the fire.
Two rather skinny pieces as kindling along the sides of the already steady log cabin.
And one long quartered piece besides a small hunk of a mistake,
A split of a split diagonally sliced.
So I looked down at the fire once more,
And saw only shapes and colors and times of day,
And that scarf I picked up
— chartreuse —
The night of our only date.
Someone had left that scarf
A party or two before
And I assumed ownership of it the following morning.
The morning after when I recalled your leaving —
after my rather lascivious display.
I would’ve liked to have been able to tell you how much I enjoyed our date,
But we don’t talk anymore
And I’m too ashamed to say anything
And see only colors.
The white chalk blocks,
The wicked electric blue,
The molten orange beneath
And the fire’s hottest hues.
On this hill facing east. The falling sun warms my eye to stop and notice a fat little Robin walking upon the marble base to this large rectangular rock, this gravestone. There’s Carr and Thomas on either side of this Colonel and Cross and Fuller below. Robinson, Sullivan, Griffin, and Reed. Homer and Klein and Hull and Stokes. Names upon names and stones upon stones, rows upon rows and me upon one hill. One little hill, of so many. One little me, and so many of them.
Everyday this little rose
Stretches for the morning sun.
And soon to come when no one knows
These petals dry and start to fall
One by heavy little one.
Take heed in this life.
Give and shine and grow until
All the songs you want to dance have come,
And perchance you sat some out
Or if perchance you sit too early
Know the faces in your mind
That broke with everlasting rhyme
Those men and women even strangers
Coming going in your life
How many smiles did you encounter
How much happiness did you give?
Frozen angels stand guard over the Dead,
While speeding cars on rainy roads bring dread.
Long green or freshly brown they watch the ground
In silent remorse with no one around
But the constant onslaught from up above
Softly falling, slowly washing away
The sins and sadness, stories and madness,
And acid rain in time erases all
These names, while the Lord of Time does his dance,
Locked in his embrace, lost within his trance,
The World spins and reels, stumbling and mumbling
Its philosophies in any language
It knows to any open orifice,
Through hatred or acceptance, bigotry
Or love or carnal competition it
Screams from giant L.E.D or neon
Letters burning through to you telling you
What to do, what to buy, what to feel and
“All is nigh!” “Now is the time!” “it’s all yours!”
“Take it, it’s your right.”
Lost in time and frozen in time, Angels
Guard over the Dead.
DOESTOYEVSKY. the quote that started it all.
They sometimes talk about man’s bestial cruelties, but that is being totally unfair and unjust to the beast. For a beast can never be as cruel as a man, so artistically so picturesquely cruel.
This door once swung between childhood and sweaty nights,
Soda shop fountains and cigarette kisses.
Touching on dreams on a rooftop in Brooklyn
seemed so far away on this porch in your arms.
For dreams seemed as far as the stars
and now I have everything I need.
This door once swung between my fingertips like the sands of time.
And now the time between my fingertips have sagged for years.
Like the kite we flew in Prospect Park that Memorial Day Picnic
when we first met.
Skin on tethered bone.
I had the pleasure of coming across a lot of Cole Porter my senior year in college when I did their production of “Kiss Me, Kate.” I played Fred Graham and he played Petruchio, but when I auditioned I just wanted to be one of the hoods who approaches him, threatens him, and ends up stealing the show with a little soft shoe. I did however get to sing some beautiful material, one of them being “So in Love” after my ex-wife just leaves me up center and I stayed relatively still and sing this ridiculously painful song. I’ll never forget that song. The moment on stage was gone as it was happening, but I remember feeling invigorated. Alive.
So then comes a few years and many miles from those boards, and I’m barefoot on the cooler hardwood (vinyl tile) boards of Brooklyn on the first floor hearing the S train go by, opening up my little book of songs and coming across this one in the still of the night.