Posts Tagged Poem

Daybreak

Two mangy dogs down by the Claverack Creek

Insist that, on early spring mornings,

County Road 25 belongs to canines,

Not cars, silence or jogging poets,

So each morning they come at me

 

In all their dirty, furry little anger,

Balancing their pace with their courage,

Until I turn and jump toward them, arms out,

The sudden star of an Off-Broadway musical,

A move any crackpot poet knew was coming.

 

I’m no man of headaches and this one took three days

To take off, lifting like a flock of geese,

Clucks and double clucks,

A retired steam locomotive on the Fourth of July,

The coughing and whispering of pressurized air.

 

My furry henchmen, having exchanged glances,

Steal away, bewildered, as many an audience.

Then, conquering the moment, I stand by the river

Where the other morning I stepped in

And swam against the current, moving and not moving.

 

Writing is what happens while you’re sleeping

And at daybreak, it all comes floating by —

Familiar voices, a missing paragraph, this poem.

All the poet has to do is the living, the loving,

The exhilarating loneliness of typing.

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Share My Sorrow

For Leonard Cohen

I’d like to share my sorrow
I’d hand you this broken cup
I’d like to share my sorrow
But you’ve already had enough

You spoke so low in darkness
To brighten darker skies
You spoke candles burning
In a thousand angels’ eyes

I’m leaving for the hotel
I’ll pay a few more dues
I’m leaving for the hotel
To check in with the muse

You skipped the preliminaries
Your song is in the mail
A voice like a mountain
A pen hesitant and frail

I’d like to share your sorrow
And fill this broken cup
I’d like to share your sorrow
But you’ve already shared enough

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Nobel Limerick

Honorable Nobel Committee
When you award me for being witty
Don’t share the prize
With three other guys
Or my mother will say, What a pity!

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Sunset Park

It took me years
To start dreaming in dollars
Which I do, at six forty-five,
As the clock radio goes off

Announcing that the Dow is up
So I get up as well
And ride my bike to Sunset Park,
Past Green-Wood Cemetery

Where, last week, our landlord buried
His old brother, a man I’ve never met
But who used to live in this house,
A life as real to me as fiction.

The October sun penetrating
Feather-shaped leaves of oak trees
Makes it look like early spring
Which, in a way, it is.

Young people sing of broken hearts
Later, you marvel at the generosity
You since birth have carried
In the vaults of your chest.

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Moon

And while everyone on Earth
Looked to the Moon
For their own shadow
I stood on the Moon
As our fragile little Earth
Covered the Sun,
Praying, wondering
What on earth we have done.

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Superhero

The highway starts humming at four
The birds in the trees at five
And then I

Last night,
A neighbor called to say,
Could I move my Ford, a day in May?

For a scene in a superhero movie
They need to vacate the lot
I said,

“A superhero who can’t move a truck?”

In a heartbeat,
We will long for winter
But spring is the only season we hope for

And then I
Superhero of poetry, coffee, and all the rest.
Tug the pull chain, green light on the desk.

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Homework

Love left for another continent
And for weeks, the notebooks have been piling up
On the kitchen table.

Outside the window,
At seven-thirty, the cardinal sings his tune
To remind the world, I assume

That breakfast is overdue.
I’m reading the ABC of Achebe, Bukowski, Camus
Dotting down, in red and blue, sequences of particular musicality.

At sunset, the first glass of wine is exquisite
The second is the name on the label
After that, it’s like doing someone else’s homework.

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