I’ll take any adversary against this August heat.

That year, you were the connoisseur of the water,

The summer we swam

As if our reverences were in each stroke

And meant to take us to the final niche

At the end of the pool.  You turned to me once and said,

“I’ll never drown again for love.”


As we got out of the water

Your bathing suit dripped a parable,

And I was reminded of the slums in which

I’d grown up, the maximum death that was there,

Like an oxide to rust souls,

An antipathy among all things human

Which had rubbed out my childhood of joy.


And if the boorishness of my self approaches

Again those times, either that chlorine arcana,

Or the dregs of the shanty hovel,

I shall dismiss their natural dialectics,

And move on through this life, knowing

That my future shall be one I can apportion

To better things.  That will be the dandy dance,

The chromatic move through cathode lights,

Scintillating vapors.


THE HORN OF HIGH PITCH



LINES IN AUTUMN

I have faltered again

In the brine of what I thought once

Was very shallow water.

Any kind of surprise comes with sinking.


 So you mustn’t look to me

As being one of the strongest lifeguards

On the beach.  I’m not so sure


That I even know how to swim anymore.

So instead

We’ll walk the dunes together, you and I,


And think then of swimming among the stars,

And how the moon shall be the buoy

For our sight.


 Or you can go for a swim in these, my tears,

And I for a swim in yours,

And we’ll see which tides are the strongest,

Where they carry us, and to what islands may exist

Along the way, in our simple strokes across the coral.


The fact is

That we are of one mind,

And that’s ocean enough for any princely ship,

For any heavily burdened cargo,

Or for any slow or barely moving,

Hand-made ragged raft.


A BURGEONING PRAYER

I knew a man who was disgusted for

Almost all of his life.  Should a leaf fall down:

Disgusting!

When someone would sneeze, or cough, or sniff:

Disgusting!

A bird could build the finest nest

In a nearby maple tree:  Disgusting!


    Such a man would take the wine glass

That was filled with hope,

And turn it into a tin can

That was filled with despair.  Such sadness

In his eyes —


It was where the “collected” part of us lives

And breathes all that is of human sorrow; where

The dread behind our lids is a curtain descending

All of the way to the death-knell.


And that was what was his music:

Where he threw out all the harmonies,

And the sweetest cadences, the peaking paraphrases,

And even the final resolution.  It was hard for him


To start his life, on any day,

To know it through mid-course, all of the way

To the end, at sunset, which carried no codas –


Those tags that must be built with mirth,

With fondness for life in general,

For the true sense of satisfaction, which then


Should lead us all to pleasant, and memorable dreams.