New Poem

This was just published by the Loyalhanna Review.

Your Birthday Would Be This Week

 

Just past the tunnel

the road rises,

and from its crest

I see the lights

of an entire city

shine like memories

of a life left.

 

When did we last

really talk,

my brother and I?

Even here,

we settle into roles

enshrined by childhood.

You play the tough guy

in a bad B movie,

and I become

​​​​​​​​​​the simpering sidekick.

Our patter is so to script

we manage not to mention

the hospice team,

the feeding tube

and morphine drip

that keep your heart

barely beating.

 

It is nearly morning

when I reach the turnpike

and the road

seems suddenly unfamiliar.

It is only then I realize

the lights of the city

have gone out.

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New Poem: Reunion

My poem, Reunion, was just published by the San Antonio Review.  Here it is:

 

Reunion

The night we decided
to meet, no matter what,
on Winter solstice, 2018
Artie got so wasted
he couldn’t figure out
how to get out of the stall
in Shadows—our local bar
and tiny Alice,
lithe as a gymnast
had to climb over and free him.
We carried him home
to a fourth-floor walk-up
on Calder Alley.
I kept dropping his right leg
which left glyphs
In the fresh snow
to be interpreted
by those who’d later pass.

Those were glorious days,
the future—left unsaid—
was on everyone’s lips
and seemed somehow undimmed
when Ray’s F-4 Phantom
belly flopped into the South China Sea
and Barbara lost her life
to a mole gone rogue.

I never made much of my future—
never left this College Town—
worked every odd job
you might imagine.
How I loved the calls and cards
from New York, LA,
Paris, Singapore—
mates, careers and kids
though they dwindled through the years
to the occasional surprise.

How I longed for our reunion
though I should have been forewarned
when Shadows closed last year.
I stood beside the raw construction site
that frigid solstice night
stamping my feet
and blowing on my aching hands
as the whole gang arrived
just before midnight—
youthful, apple-cheeked and
full of the future.

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New Poem: I Remember (November 1963)

Here is the second poem just published by Misfit Magazine:

 

I remember November 1963

It was the Saturday
after they’d gunned
down Kennedy.
Too cold for b-ball,
we huddled
in the schoolyard
and talked
at half voice.

We didn’t notice Joel
at the corner of the chain link
until he began to kick
it and scream,
“I’m so ugly.”

And he was.
It was as if
he was sculpted
from a single piece of granite
by an indifferent artist
who said—
“This is good enough,”
and put it aside.

We didn’t see the gun
until he put it
to his head
and pulled the trigger.
We all heard the empty click
and the wail of utter despair.

I remember that click
as clearly as I remember
that last motorcade.
And, I remember,
that even after he dropped
the pistol,
not one of us
ran to help him.

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Home Front—new poem

I had two poems published in the current issue of Misfit Magazine.  Here is the first of them and the link:

http://misfitmagazine.net

The Home Front— 3/16/68

She couldn’t have been
more than 19 or 20.
When I looked closely
I could still see
the little girl in her.

She’d spent the day
recruiting for SDS
and now,
was holding court
in the basement bar
on the avenue
that separated town and gown.
The evening’s
protest had dissolved
into beer and peanuts,
as it always did
for our group
of graduate students
dressed in radical drab.

She was smiling—
her hands speech-rhythmic
in the half light
as she presided over
a dissection of my life.

She pictured me a coward
nineteen different ways—
my research evil—
my deferment a cop-out—
as my former friends
sat drinking and smoking,
and shaking their hairy heads,
as if the gift of great wisdom
had been miraculously
bestowed upon them.

I was no match for her—
she was sharp
as an acid etch.
My stammered protestation
sounded—even to my ears—
like a confession.
And, of course,
she was right.

At 2, we stacked the chairs
on the tables and filed out.
It was cold and clear—
a million stars seemed
poised to tell us
something magical,
as that wisp of a girl
marched them off—
a ragged band
of the righteous
in combat boots
leaving me
to the silence
of the streets.

I turned up the collar
of my beat-up corduroy coat
and began to walk
cross-campus.
It would be mid-morning
before I’d finish
this set of experiments.

 

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I Lost Summer Somewhere

great book. you should get yourself a. copy

days of stone

I love this review of the recently released collection of poetry by my talented friend, Sarah Russell – Scintilla review

I’ve read many of Sarah’s poems individually, and also this collection as a whole. It’s a powerful collection, nicely summarized by this review.

Purchase details and lots of beautiful writing can be found on Sarah’s site, here – Sarah Russell Poetry

Congratulations, Sarah 🙂

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My Poem First Kiss

My poem, First Kiss, was just published in the Spring/Summer issue of the Mojave River Review. Here is the poem and a link to the issue:

First Kiss

 

Back in the early 60’s 

you didn’t need a crystal ball

to tell the neighborhood 

was going to hell.

Even the children knew

acquiring a wariness

like some sixth sense for city kids

 

In the summer of 62,

I sat with her

for as long as the lengthened

evenings allowed,

on the stone steps

that served as a front porch.

My friends and hers

buzzed about us like gnats.

 

We talked about the future.

At twelve, every thought is of tomorrow.

I remember our knees would touch

now and again

like a promise

 

The neighborhood spawned

moving vans and U-Haul trucks.

Those with any money at all

were fleeing to the South Shore—

to brand new split-levels

with three bedrooms

and a bath and a half.

My dad, a master of irony,

would strike a pose 

and intone: 

“To a little bit of heaven

on a quarter acre lot.”

My family stayed.

 

She left in August

just before the start of school.

I’d like to tell you I kissed her goodbye

as the overloaded van

sat idling on the Avenue,

Mozart played Requiem on our baby grand,

and the Brooklyn sky

sported both sun and moon.

But, I suppose, you might not believe me.

 

https://issuu.com/mojaverivermedia/docs/mrr-vol5no1-spring-summer2019_final

 

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New Poem: Hiraeth

My poem is in Pure Slush’s seven deadly sins volume Pride.  Here is a link to the book. http://bit.ly/PrideBk

and here is the poem. Fun to write this one.

Hiraeth

Sure, Moses qualifies
but it’s hardly a stretch
to include those
DNA ghouls—
lanced and shorn—
who purpose their lives
in finding
some fabulous
ancestor—
hoping they might puff
up their emaciated chests
like frigatebirds
in heat
and point excitedly to
an illustrious branch
of their family tree—
but seem, always,
to come up with
monkeys.

 

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