Tuesday, January 10, 2017

POEMS TO FORGET



Empty mind
filling empty time.
Haydn on the radio.


***

I prefer the company
of my cat to
the company of pretty
much anyone
else.

***

Keep typing,
maybe a miracle
will happen and
this poem will
end.

***

Slowly decomposing
while composing
this poem.


***

Little Pushkin,
someone yelled
from a rowboat.
Meaning me, little
me, 5 years old standing
on a bridge somewhere
in St. Petersburg, with
wild curly hair and
skin too pale for
Pushkin.
Malenkiy Pushkin!




Sunday, January 8, 2017

Leaks: Natural, Human & Mechanical

Raining in New York,
and I've got a bad cold to
welcome the New Year.
The bedroom radiator hisses
and suddenly breaks, 
leaking almost as much
as my nose. 

I run down to the Greek landlady
who lives downstairs.
She oohs and aahs, in
a Greek kind of way--
they invented tragedy, after
all--and tells me
she'll call someone
to fix it. 

An hour later
the heating guy
shows up with
a bevy of minions.
"I've got the whole team
for you," he says after complaining
about climbing three flights
of stairs.
"Only for you," he adds.
For emphasis, I presume.

He wheezes and huffs,
says he's about to have
a heart attack. 
In jest, I presume
and hope.

The minions stand around
my bedroom, ogling the dusty books
and posters, as the wheezer
bends down with creaking knees
and adjusts a valve
to stop the leak. 

Well shit, I think, 
why couldn't I have
done that myself?
And who, pray tell,
will fix my nose and stop
the rain?

Poem in Lieu of a Phone Call

In lieu of a phone call,
this poem just to 
tell you that
I'm really not good
on the phone.

Don't like to talk on
that contraption
that much, if at all,
at least not today
or most days, really.

"Hi, how are you?
How's life?"
And then, "Great" 
or "Good," or "Lousy," or
just "Okay." 

Pedestrian sentences
leaving mouths
faster than thoughts,
bouncing off satellites,
flying through all kinds 
of walls.

Of course I want to
talk to you. That's a given.
But the phone, the fucking phone
steals all the magic
and distorts whatever poetry
we have left after
all these years of
breathing.

Imagine talking to a 
cat on the phone. Ain't
gonna work. Not because
the cat cannot speak,
but because
it's not there.

So here I am,
and there you are,
and we will meet
soon, and talk and talk,
and plant that magic bean
that will sprout and
help us climb
a little higher on 
the evolutionary scale.

But for now, please
accept this poem
in lieu of a phone
call, and forgive
my crotchety distaste for
modern conveniences.

I think I'll go and 
have a word or 
two with my cat, 
who doesn't care at all
about evolutionary scales,
satellites, magic beans,
or poetry.

Friday, January 6, 2017

The Business of Business

Drove up to Boston yesterday,
alone, just sitting and
adjusting the wheel
for 4 hours.

Kept the radio off; the rattling of
the car and the whoosh
of passing cars opening up
a space for not thinking.

Today training for a new
job. One must eat and
pay the rent.
Poems just pay the soul.

Big shiny building in
Kendall Square, Cambridge,
a city I used to know well
but no longer recognize.

They say we get a new set of
atoms every 7 years, 
essentially becoming entirely
new. 

So with cities, I suppose; 
whether it takes 7 or 20 years,
sooner or later they all become 
different places from the ones
we remember.

Squeezing this poem in
while my trainer makes
an important call. 
A business call,
of course. 

It’s all business all
the time. Business must go on,
eating into time faster than 
people or cities can replace
their atoms.

You need a strong soul to 
survive this business of
business, the gentle and not
so gentle art of getting
value out of...what, exactly?

But I think I’ll 
be alright if I 
keep up with the poems,
keeping the business of 
business out of my
business.