The Thundering of the Modern World

it is addressed thusly:
A vision.
it reads:
From the thundering of the modern world
Come legions, Romans with blank eyes
From electric light and countless lies
Philistines, but with lips yet uncurled
In the snarls such men preferred
Or so our betters had averred

But what is a dream of a better life
If that dream is not also a dream
Or rather, a type of what shall be seen
Beyond? Who then grips this strife
With both hands? And on his feet stands
And sees but sees beyond the lands

But always within them and through them
Birds, the symbol for spirits in flight
Of moving life and souls of light
Countenance, or those who depart when
They fly up, or is it too literal
Is it perhaps just apocryphal?

Or is this veil simply part of the game
This great contest which we forget
Or perhaps for our device don't admit
Goes on, and God awards crowns the same
To great and small who are heavenly wise
Though they remain their respective size?

And as this is uttered the men crowd on
Down the high walled streets they pour
Trod and trod with feet and voices sore
Sometimes up around the White House lawn
The jack boot, the shoe, perhaps a sign
Perhaps a thought of the blurry line

That runs between all races of men
Which makes them distinct and still yet
All Noah's kin must in truth regret
That race and tribe is a gift is it then?
For it is given from Babel on down
As a priori, though science has found

That we are all related, of course to one
Man, or a few at least - his kin
And the Romans keep on crowding in --
But this contest has little care for me
Though no Bohemian, disaffected man
For this is not a place we can

The White, consider ours originally
The Red had it before us all
About this none can begin to call
A word to make it all make sense
But listen, my Red friend to a word
For both our grandfathers like a bird

Flew here for their recompense
And with two others this land is ours
Not these Romans and their bazaars
Though use them when you can my friend
For like Princes their breath will soon depart
And who will have the more constant art?

Who can avoid this single end?
The two others of course, I say to him
As the Romans are crushing in
Each door and window blasted out
All others screaming in mortal rout

Are the Black and Brown - a mystery
For one gave sweat the most and did slave
And was of all us perhaps more brave
And who inspired us all musically?
He learned the Faith a simple way
Though the Aristocrats of his day

Fancied themselves in a Roman cast
As Rome had lost its magic grasp
Though was never to give a dying gasp?
It was given to them as though at last
It would be a mental chain
But for the Black it was immortal gain

And the Brown is just a master twist
His Latin roots are clear as day
But anyone with eyes can say
-- as we duck the flying bricks --
Not a Roman, no, there is no name
That for the Hispanic can be the same

For all language is older than he
His sweating is perhaps greater still
He too will one day work his fill
And say to the Roman, 'what of thee?'
But here the line is never race
For the Roman is without a place

In neither heaven nor earth was it found
And he is the cosmopolitan
Red and black and white and tan
Known only by his selfsame sound
And that his color is just skin-deep
Unless it be for him to keep

The prizes he can steal from us
O, what this land once was
His shame! His color is not dignity
But 'sex and shopping', my old chief
(And he chuckles for humor's relief)
And says, "Celt and Christian wait and see --
What from ashes reborn will be unfurled
From the thundering of the Modern world!"


The Orator Curses His Contemporaries

it is addressed thusly:
An ode.
it reads:
The poet's responsibility
Is not political nor can it be
He can deconstruct no thing at all
He cannot his hearer appall
For the fun of it - never
He must become one ever
Vigilant to The Beautiful Things
Until his own soul sings, sings, sings
Of what is, no mere floating text
No leering heart far over-sexed
No ax to bring down any wall
No cry for justice, unless God call
Through his words to stir the heart
This doing is never his own part
He is powerless, he cannot stand
He has no rights he may demand
And when this folly he does perfect
What happens, none may expect
Even the mighty are all brought down
Before the report of Beauty's sound.


The Poet to the Heavenly Void

it is addressed thusly:
An ode.
it reads:
When I gaze into the morning sky
I think upon the days gone by
And those yet to come to pass
I think of the future, yes
What man cannot consider it
Though it remains futile yet?
What color is then the sky?
Which bears all colors by
The day and by the month
I caught a glimpse but once
Of the whole of a being
More than two eyes are seeing

Though blue, every colored sky
Is every-colored, by and by
You may see it is the rainbow
Whose fewer colors than we allow
Ourselves to consider then
Has an existence so very thin?

This blue, though plain the sky
Has a subtle richness by
Which we know it has a depth
Layers unrevealed yet
Opaque is its azure wall
Only through time may we see it all.


How To (not) Write a Poem

it is addressed thusly:
For my wife.
it reads:
Poetry? One might say its mystery
Is which word affords a second thought
It belongs neither to is nor ought
And is but disaster mastery
A floundering task, dare we ask
Dare we uncork its musky cask?
And see what starts a sprig of vine
Though wilted, small and not the best
Marred by weather, gnawed by pest
In time does somehow yield its wine?
The best ideas will all die fast
For poesy's ocean is far too vast
For mere human ideology
The words themselves! They have a will
As thought itself wished to fulfill
Some order of a meal for three
With wine? We must uncork again
But think instead, if but now and then
That the poet is the diamond's point
Along the groove of words to wend
And wind, as the platter draws to an end
Sharpen your mind, or else, aroint!
For cleverness here has a place
Not merely a show of poker-face
For the grooves inside are infinite
The trick cannot be what you think
It's how to beach and not to sink
There is far, far less control of it
Otherwise we may say it cannot be
Poetry? One might say it's mystery.



it is addressed thusly:
An ode.
it reads:
The grayness of evening, the poet once
Beseeched in his ignorance
What manner of unspoken hints
Saw he in its dim countenance?
We can only guess that he like us
Grew weary of life's weary fuss
A call to something older, true
It must be thought that he might make
As perhaps a voice across a lake
Echoes like light between the blue
And catches every moving thing
In the sea and upon the wing
And draws its form in bright relief
Where the sky lights not the east or west
But both, as the defense a moment rest
Catching breath; foreseeing grief
And pray for courage, though we wince
And like the poet beseech our ignorance.


The Sage Sings of His Many Aches

it is addressed thusly:
A song.
it reads:
The problem of pain is quite simple
It's that it's not a problem at all
But that makes it more like a pimple
Or an issue we'd certainly call
Complex, since it's not what it seems
To pop it just provides some relief
While what is beneath then still teems
And takes your peace like a thief
Which makes it somewhat of an onion
Making use of it makes many tears
Is not pain also the pinion
Which turns the machine of all fears?
These images are not at all helpful
Nor are they intended to be
Getting your head around it is doubtful
But getting around it is free;
For each pain is an excuse to remember
The flaws of one's own estate
To turn 'round the accusing finger
To consider the hour is late;
It melts like the frost on a window
When the sun's rays do finally enthrall
The problem of pain is quite simple:
It's that it's not a problem at all.
a postscript is here written:
Apologies to the Don.


The Sound of Silence

it is addressed thusly:
A vision.
it reads:
The sound of silence, a caveat
Spoken as though it were prophecy
Of glowing screens, of periphery
But not once had the prophet thought
Had Daniel, or those who first heard
That there were two meanings to ev'ry word?
Turning away we all shall digress
From speech and song and camaraderie
Away from the city and toward the sea
And into that great solitude we press
Eventually these earthly songs all fade
And even the television's cavalcade
Beyond them if we then find no speech
Who can make a case against us?
Who shall pass a judgement on us?
If even no more the muses beseech
Us to raise a voice in poetry's song?
The loud ringing of your words is long
Long rings the sound of passing road
Long rings the howl of the orator's declaim
Long rings the liquid down every drain
Long rings the hum of communicated code
Long rings the strikes of worker's blows
Long rings the list of society's woes
And loud is the cash register's ring
And the sounds of thousand feet anew
If there were any to sell it to
Come one, come all and bring --
We would disburse all our speech and sound
And maybe rise, quiet weather balloons
Past evenings, mornings, nights and noons
Until at last our peace we'd found
And found finally that it was not
The sound of silence, a caveat?



it is addressed thusly:
An ode.
it reads:
Great towers rise like beached ships
Bastion lit bright against cold and rain
With farm and field plucked and beast slain
But beyond gate and door hushed lips
Tell of deserts dry, forests tall and far
Oceans fathomless under wandering star
Abandoned riches beneath crag and rift
Icy reaches, tombs and temples long-lost
Old fortresses sunk under seas wind-tossed
Fire and moon gates, each eye does lift
to speak of endless dark in night and deep;
And amid blind treasures, horrors creep.


Spiritus Mundi

it is addressed thusly:
A thought.
it reads:
Should we expect to die in peace
In this time? The sense is just, no
As those young may vaguely know
Witness their hurry to find release
And how our betters think to take
From the future, to perhaps now make
A present worth living for them
And they have fewer presents just left
Before their boat should arc the cleft
And fall, all now secretly wonder when
Not if, things should fail and collapse
Perhaps, they are wrong, anyone snaps
Under so much pressure and stress
And we see even youth crumble down
Or what was youth, back around
A more golden time, but meaninglessness
Of mind-religion, of every empty word
Absurd, but visionary, they say for the third
Time, but we are pulled taut to find
Any meaning in the erratic soulish text
Expressionist, libertine, we, perplexed
Now look to death, past the grind
Which now holds no breath or release;
Should we expect to die in peace?


Fear Not Those

it is addressed thusly:
A thought.
it reads:
God begrudges no being its being
Which is goodness, which is madness
And love, and impossible unless
You're God; Our power stops at seeing
A body move, when in graves they lie
But only God can make it never die.



it is addressed thusly:
A thought.
it reads:
The paradox of prayer must be
Much like that of man's speech
Of whither and how it should reach
And make real what he wishes to see?
The measure of these words it is not
As treasures sold and those bought
A count, an amount, but if they do repeat
Themselves, such as others quite irrational
Like pi, which infinite repeats not at all
But the repeat of each word is a digit
And best, as the rest, if not from the head
For such words are at best dead
Being but mind's twitch or a mere fidget
But from where? Forget that for now
We may ask, if, if you'll allow
If it is in your thought to compel
My God, who yet may be yours
To withdraw from his heavenly stores
Things which vainglory swells,
Sells low to buy? Why think because
You know his name - take pause
Anything should be granted to you?
What do you know of that man Job
Did he not wear ash and torn robe
For day and night and moons too
And I, the wretch, for a moment saw
A loophole perhaps in cosmic law?
I am not a skeptic for I truly know
My prayer is received, every word
For before, foreknown and foreheard
And the one always present below?
Not always felt for certain and sure
No dewy fleece faith's need to abjure
Or to permit firm courage's lack
Or discretion and temperance to fail
Or working justice to not avail?
You must consider a different tack
And not expect what is simply a wish
This! And none other amiss
alack, alas, a loss or any other cost
For to speak with the beloved is just
Enough, must it all come back to trust?
You may yet get back what is lost
Poet, but not and never for free
This, the paradox of prayer must be.