Archive for category Poetry

Spring in New York

I thank Thee, Lord, for spring in New York
And for sidewalks scattered with gloves
For three new construction sites down the block
And for strangers to piss me off

For neighbors smoking on fire escapes
At three o’clock in the morn’
Life in a city that never sleeps —
A life of kind-hearted ignoring

I thank Thee, Lord, for the BQE
For buses of tourists hoping to see
Authentic Brooklyn
Which it would be
Were it not for them
(not for me)

Oh, I thank Thee, Lord, for spring in New York
Where writers in their 30s write memories
Eating 30 dollar sustainable pork
And drink Pinot Noir out of Ball jars

I thank Thee for the kids in Underwood Park
Who cry, “Let’s play Barack Obama”
I wouldn’t have experienced that today
If my neighbor had been a dirt farmer

Oh, Lord, one more thing, before I forget
I thank Thee for aerodynamics
What New Yorkers need, time and again,
Is to fly off and assess the damage

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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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Three Limericks

There was a man who never said Oops
They called him Putin the Russ
He ordered Quiche Lorraine
Then said to Ukraine
Move your border away from our troops

There was a man, Putin of Leningrad
Who read a newspaper want ad
He became maître d’
At The Cagey Bee
Serving Pie in the sky a la Vlad

There was a man named Vladimir
A cutting-edge buccaneer
With his new Putin app
He’d take a face or map
And make the lines disappear

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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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