4 Poems

Mirage Magnate
He leads them through the desert
with a mirage of water,
promising an oasis
toward which they scramble
on hands and knees as if supplicants
only to find the shattered statue
of Ozymandias
strewn among the blank desolation
of the American Dream.
Their thirst goes unslaked,
yet they praise him with hoarse voices.

The Moon’s Glow
He was as jolly as the Summer sun
in a clear sky above golden fields
and so she seemed, too,
beaming with the light he gave
in unconditional generosity,
but however bright she glowed
with borrowed light
she herself remained a cold place
hard to inhabit.

Sylvian Psychoplath
A clutter of stemming words
in search of fruitful meaning;
clusters of inchoate imagery
without the thinnest shade of
sense,
like a drug-addled hypochondriac
thinking herself a dryad
at the mercy of a logging company,
lost in her own fussy blooms
as she traces the trifurcating twigs
during a whirling tornado
without an eye of calm.
The heartwood bleeds sap,
obviously,
yet one wonders if the
axe
taken to the trunk
was merely trying to cut straight to the
point.
The burl-knotted bosom
unburdens itself
in warty bunches,
and even when chopped up
and stacked in ricks
the woody worth of it is
dubious,
the dryad’s blustering smoke
a deliberate obfuscation
on whatever illuminations might reel
from the hearth
such tangled brush feeds.
And yet
there are mushrooms growing
along her thoughts
which I think quite fine,
even if poisonous as a
gas oven,
every single one.

Stone Dreams
Cleaved shelf of stone
jutting out from hills heavy-headed
with shaggy pine;
cleaved shelf of stone
rugged with old thoughts
like a giant’s brow troubled
by dreams that trickle in icemelt
as the sun rises unseen
behind a pale sheet of snowfall.
I have known dreams as steadfast
and bare
as such stone,
dreams blasted long ago by dynamite,
yet have not worn away
in skirling winds
and seasons of thunder
and tantrums of quakes.
Time wears on
and the stone dreams remain,
more silent than beds of snowfall;
more lasting than the roads
that divided them.

Primrose Hill

She saw that electroshock spirit once more,
watching Ariel dance about the Holocaust fumes
while kneeling herself down before the oven door
so Gretel and the Witch could at last lay in matching tombs;
and since she believed in the luck of the Irish
she channeled Yeats’s Leda in her time of need
and took a deep breath and made a bell jar wish,
foretelling that oblivion would finally succeed.

Epigrams For Luminaries 1

Jorge Luis Borges
He stumbled through a labyrinth without walls,
blind, as we all are, as he walked those twisting halls.

Virginia Woolf
She rode her stream of consciousness wherever it went
until she sank in the waves, pockets full of rocks and sediment.

Charles Dickens
His expectations were not great at the start of his life,
but they grew more expansive, as did, too, his wife.

Douglas Adams
He did not throw in the towel—rather it unfurled
as he hitchhiked elsewhere, to another world.

Philip Larkin
He sang a song to the gloomy morning hues
when all he wanted was to listen to Jazz and the Blues.

Ambrose Bierce
As a lexicographer he sought to define many a word
from the perspective of the Devil, so as to not be absurd.

Anne Sexton
It was not a fairytale life for someone of her kind,
so she hopped in the car to leave it all behind.

Sylvia Plath
She had Nazi boots always pressing down on her chest
and marched herself into an oven, wanting to rest.

Terry Pratchett
Though a jester, he disliked drama, as does Death,
and so he merely nodded upon taking his final breath.

Diana Wynne Jones
Not always living a charmed life, she still wove magic
to transmogrify resplendent joy from what was tragic.

Robert E Howard
He imagined himself better, a throneless barbarian king,
and crowned himself with a pistol when he tired of living.

HP Lovecraft
He dreamt of horrors lurking in every sphere
and died, eventually, of a lurking fear.

Edgar Allan Poe
His career was buried prematurely before he hit his stride,
fame meeting him on the Plutonian shore like a deathbed bride.

MR James
Like an academic scrapbook, his life seemed a bit dull
so he inserted into it mezzotints most diabolical.

Sheridan Le Fanu
How dark with murk was his drinking glass,
through which his green Irish tea came to pass.

Flannery O’ Connor
Lupus reminded her that faith was not a friendly dog,
but a wolf that hunted you through the dismal fog.