Let There Be Light Verse

When facts are scorned
And lies prevail
It’s Hell on Earth
And Heaven in Hell
 
For common sense
Is quite amiss
Where ignorance is
No longer bliss
 
We need now, people
More than ever
The blueprints for
The Tower of Babel
 
To build it high
And let those climb
Who poison the minds
With guile and slime
 
Good riddance, we chant,
Now truth shall blossom
And let there be light
It’s totally awesome

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The House of Dying

Here I am, in a Brooklyn backyard, reading Donald Hall,
A book of 1970s poems called “Kicking The Leaves”
From around the time when he moved back
To the old New Hampshire homestead where his
Great-grandfather farmed from after the Civil War

Until the year before the so-called Great War.
I’m told he still lives there, frail and old,
And recently The New Yorker published
What one could only read as the poet’s note of farewell.
Yet here I am, watching the birds in April

While the trees are budding and the difference
Between a male and a female sparrow becomes apparent:
The males marvel, posed but alert,
As the females shake their wings and asses,
A call for assistance from the reproductive branch.

On the pages, I return again to “the house of dying”,
A phrase written in the middle of life
And a terrific title for a book
That a person could write when he is done
Jotting down the lines of this poem and the next

With a cheap plastic pen from the Algonquin Hotel
And done sitting here, in this cathedral of spindly maples,
As cardinals, robins, finches, and brown thrashers
Descend from on high, like prayers
No one needs to answer.

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Elements of Style

I don’t use emoticons
Or exclamation marks
And I don’t capitalize words
To make them brawl and bark
I use italics sparingly
Like fish sauce or Danish Blue
Lest my paragraphs become
Potpourris or cheese fondue.
 

Language is like music
With precision, grace and mojo
Exaggeration makes the world
Pocket-sized and so-so
From Shakespeare to Updike
They never needed an air hammer
The real power-tool for the job
Is a little thing called grammar.

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Prayer

I pray, dear Lord,
To draft and scribble
Until the day You say, “Quit!”

And summon me to
The main library halls
To reassess my writ

Oh, let my work
(Wherein I praise Your creation)
Find grace when your angels read it

And let not St. Peter
That grouchy librarian
Stamp it A WASTE OF SQUID

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Small Poem Filled With Hope, Rain and Biblical References

In New York
It’s raining
Cats and dogs

But it could be
Exodus 8
And frogs.

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Limerick of Grass

There was a writer named Günter Grass
Who knew all about der, die und das
His ethics and morals
Won prices and laurels
As he spent a lifetime rewriting his past.

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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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