Sunday, March 18, 2012

Salt, by C.K. Williams

Abashingly eerie that just because I'm here on the long low-tide beach of age with briny time
licking insidious eddies over my toes there'd rise in me those mad weeks a lifetime ago
when I had two lovers, one who soaked herself so in Chanel that before I went to the other
I'd scrub with fistfuls of salt and not only would the stink be vanquished but I'd feel shame-shriven, pure,
which thinking about is a joke: how not acknowledge - obsolete notion or no - that I was a cad.

Luckily though, I've hung onto my Cornell box of pastness with its ten thousand compartments,
so there's a place for these miniature mountains of salt, each with its code-tag of amnesia,
and also for the flock of Donnas and Ednas and Annies, a resplendent feather from each,
and though they're from the times I was not only crass, stupid, and selfish but thoughtless -
art word for shitty - their beaks open now not to berate but stereophonically warble forgiveness.

Such an engrossing contrivance : up near a corner, in tinsel, my memory moon, still glowing,
still cruel, because of the misery it magnified the times I was abandoned - "They flee ... oh they flee ..."
I'd abrade myself then not with salt but anapests, iambs, enjambments, and here they still are,
burned in ink, but here too, dead center, Catherine, with her hand-carved frame in a frame -
like the hero in Westerns who arrives just in time to rescue the town she galloped to save me.

Well, I suppose soon the lid with its unpickable latch will come down, but the top I hope will be glass,
see-through like Cornell's, so I'll watch myself for a while boinging around like a pinball,
still loving this flipper-thing life that so surprisngly cannoned me up from oblivion's ramp,
and to which I learned to sing in my own voice but sometimes thanks be in the voice of others,
which is why I can croon now, "My lute be still ..." and why I can cry, "For I have done."

Saturday, March 17, 2012

"What time's my heart? I care." Roethke,WORDS for the Wind

You once wrote, in French, that I was your "first passion."
And why does that not count for something
today? All alone, I hunger for a
word of kindness, affirmation of my
existence. Especially from a
famous wise man like you.
You say the past is gone, then you comment
that Faulkner said all we have is past. Please note
that one second ago is already past;
at least it can be remembered.
The future? Anticipated, at best,
with mounting dread as it hurries on to
become the past. And so I am nothing;
nobody; a living monument that
past, present, future are equally lost.


Monday, March 12, 2012

Images (see Allen Ginsberg, "A Supermarket in California")

Allen, you shopped for images in your
supermarket in California.
I can imagine avocados,
kiwis, grapes even darker and fatter
than a mother's nipples. Images, Allen.
Were there drugs moving you along from aisle
to aisle, drugs that made you see beauty where
there was none? So today I went to a local
Stop 'n' Shop to see if I could. But I
only saw images of myself as I
used to be: Shopping with Jeff, who always
needed to go up and down every aisle
with the most practical intent; thoughts of
my boy sitting in the baby seat, when
I would lean down and press my cheek against
his. My boy! Where have you gone? My cheek,
where have you gone? You are sunken and
wrinkled and old. Is it a howl I need or kaddish?
O my G-d, where has my own steady self gone?
Where have the years to look forward to gone?


Tuesday, March 6, 2012

M. Sartre ...

... yes, there still are special moments:

An Existential Play

Act I, Scene I

Zach: Nappy!

Nana: Cribby or like a baby?

Zach: Like a baby.

Then come 150 special moments.

The End (or perhaps The Be-

Friday, March 2, 2012


Tube. Your voice (same voice);
Your smile: I heard it
in your short laughter.
Your brilliance. Ideas
that also were mine
once. Under dripping
cherry blossoms I
looked and saw your soul
even in the lit-
tlest corners of
your face. And tears. Both
of us cried to know
we gazed into the
other's soul, never
a hackneyed notion
in those early days,
when we thought we un-
derstood. We did not.
Today the YouTube
taught me brevity
and how much I miss
your long lost voice.


Thursday, March 1, 2012

"And hid his face amid a crowd of stars." W.B.Yeats

You, my darling, in the other world you inhabit now
Are safe within walls of ivy that grows
Around you instead of old age. You thought
The line was, "I walked with my head in
A cloud of stars," but that was yours, not Yeats'.

Fare well, my dear friend, first and hearty love!
You are so actually inside your true
self now; no longer the boy who took my hand
and put it to your face to feel the tears
that fell from your eyes after we had kissed;
right before we climbed our mountains and
sought to walk with our heads in their "clouds" of stars.


Saturday, February 25, 2012

Jingle Bells, for Zach

Jingle bells,
Jingle bells,
Jingle with Zachary!
Oh what fun it is to ride
And sing with Zachary-eee!

Dashing through the snow
On a one-horse open sleigh,
Watching Zachary
Laughing all the way-eeee!

Bells on bobtails ring,
Making spirits bright.
O'er the fields we go
Holding Zachy tight!

O jingle bells,
Jingle bells,
Jingle Zachary!
Oh what fun it is to ride
And sing with Zachary-eee!!!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

for Zachary, 2/5/12

You cried tonight:
big swollen tears fell from
your almond eyes.

Did you know
that five years ago today
your Nana almost died
from a brain tumor
that, once removed,
turned her into someone else?

No, you could not
know this because
your supreme goodness,
your premature empathy
and the purest of souls
makes me laugh
and play and comfort you,
although I bleed inside
my tortured heart.

When I am with you,
you make me feel
whole again.

I wanted to take your tears
and add them to my own
until water flowed
from the deep, deep well
that replaced my soul.
Your perfect face
so strained with pain
made me forget
that in a few years
you might not even
remember my name.

Only you, my darling, matter.
You, with your Dora's map of goodness
know how to reach our hearts
and make us praise each day
we can watch you at play.

So I tried to wipe away
those big bubbling tears
and cheer you the way
you clear any cloudy day.

But alas, I could console you
only so much
by patting your back
and counting the piggies
on your perfect feet.

Sleep well tonight;
and tomorrow be well
my sweet, sweet Zach.


Friday, February 3, 2012

Another Nursery Rhyme for Z., from Nana, 2/2/12

Our big boy Zacha
Has lost his cracker;
the peanut butter
stuck in-between
is not at all
to be seen.

Look under chairs
and beside couches
and near the machine
that goes BOOM.

Look through the room
and pretty soon your
preternatural eyes
will zoom in
and find it.

(Better idea:Take a new cacker that is not dirty from the little green bowl.)

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

poem, for Z., 1/25/12

If this is the last day that I live to
hold you so close and watch your tender sleep,
then so be it. I have known the greatest
love and joy this afternoon of my life.
You are a Rubens painting of angel
in fullest glory: from ten startling toes
to face so lovely I cannot catch my breath.

I, no Rubens woman, do not spill a
decolletage: I grow only bony and thin
and intensely withered and old.

But now I know what heaven would be,
and I thank the Lord who sent this day and
you to me. If I made you feel safe for
one moment while you slept and ate and played,
then I understand why I lived to see today.


Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Nursery Rhyme #11, for My Zachy, entitled Old Soul

Only someone who has been here before can
Learn so easily the
Daily things you do; the words you say.

Someone who is not yet two
Only can remember and
Understand just from the
Last time your soul came around.