Archive for category Poetry

Twelve Bar Blues

Feed the cat
Feed the birds
Glance at poem
Change a word
 
Boil some water
Grind some beans
Brush your teeth
By all means
 
Turn the dial
Morning news
Lover’s kiss
Twelve bar blues

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As The World Kept Falling Apart

As the world kept falling apart
And I had no words of solace to offer
I went to buy roses for my lady

I passed houses being demolished
Houses being built
I crossed bridges of steel
Rivers of ice

And while it was cold
And hostility hung in the air
Like a breath withheld

The bouquet resting in my arms
Turned into a shield of humanity
And then back into roses

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Thanksgiving Limerick

The Europeans followed Hernán Cortés
And made a new world of freedom and show biz
Oh, that sweet American thing
Where thanks we give and bring
And remind turkeys of La Révolution Française

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Umbrella

Umbrella

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Rockaway

I was swimming the other day
Along the coast of the Rockaway Peninsula
When a flock of hundreds of birds
Came in low out of nowhere
Eyes dark and determined

And then I thought of François Mitterrand
How he served thirty Ortolan buntings
For one of his last meals, how they are
Caught alive, blinded, force-fed and drowned in Armagnac
So as to be killed and marinated in one fell swoop

I have never been this close to so many birds
See how they dare make themselves available
In the silvery, silent end of season
So majestic and yet so at hand
The significance if which, I have decided,

Is more than just this

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Made by Human Hand

Open doors distract me
Closed doors confine
It’s hard to find a door
That I don’t seem to mind
 
I like the simplicity
Of these ancient quarters
Walls white as snow
Floors dark as water
 
Revolutions take all colors
Even hurricanes have names
Dictators claim the benefit of doubt
But their dead are still the same
 
Searching the stars above
Led to only earthly treasures
So I read my King James Bible
For its smell of burgundy leather
 
It takes such limpid rhymes
Regret comes second-hand
Man’s search for tangible beauty
For things not made by human hand

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Sonnet 1

The Great Molasses Flood of 1919
Killed twenty-one men and a closet queen
It was ten years before the stock market crash
But stuck in molasses, you don’t think about cash

Horses were trapped in the sticky mess
And very nice people shot them to death
Even the elevated train was destroyed
What a let-down for Sigmund Freud!

The tank was filled just to spite Prohibition
The country, like the booze, was in bad condition
It’s amazing what a population will entertain
To keep their supply of fermented grain
But the lesson to be learned is that tacky goo
Should be in kept in small jars labeled “George W”

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Sonnet 2

It’s a blind date, and they say lovers don’t eat
But I buy crustaceans and bake bread, whole wheat
I cook a stew in this huge oven of mine
While you’re on your way, taking your time

And then I see your face—you’re a vegetarian!
So I whip up a feast quite unbarbarian
Made of the choiciest organic ingredients
Just to show I adhere to experiments

I may not be the man of your dreams
But I know how to sizzle ‘em Boston baked beans
I may not be tall and handsome enough
But I serve Champagne Pierre Leboeuf
And if this night doesn’t end as I planned
At least I’ll have won your digestive gland

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A Prairie Home Companion

A brief note: I have been invited to make an appearance on “A Prairie Home Companion” on May 10, 2014.

The show is live from the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee. I won’t even try to explain what the Ryman means to me. Tune in and see what we come up with.

You can listen to the show live (and later) here:
http://prairiehome.publicradio.org

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