The Photograph

The photograph hangs on the wall by the window,
Three judges appear (one carries a folder)—
A tarot card reader, embalmer, engraver,
Without much to say and not much of it said
About the boot in the crib and the tire in the bed
The round faced man and the pot on his head
Painted with flowers and chipped on its edge.
And the cat near the door with its collar and bell
Flailing and airborne and mid caterwaul.
And the three-leggèd dog with her leash on
And sweater, jubilant, leaping— Mon Dieu! Grand jeté!
And the crow— O the crow! In its cage cawing “Fire!”
The crow crowing “Mayhem!” and “Murder most foul!”
The dog and the cat and the crow and the tire
The cage and the crib, the pot painted in flowers;
All in a frame with a sign alongside—
“Self portrait. Around the Ides of July.”
A ribbon is clipped and then hung for its owner.
It bears the word “Mention” and then the engraver
Makes a note on a form he hands to the embalmer.
The tarot card reader turns— She and her hat,
And addresses the room, “Ain’t no card made for that.”

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Ball Card Heroes

With bat and ball and gloves in hand and on our way
we’d pass by Old Man Finch where when he’d sit and watch the world
one of us would wave. Most times he’d look,
he’d say—Ever tell you boys about the game?

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He stole our breath away, sure, a hundred times.
We were fielders for him, basemen, catchers and every ball
split seconds from extra innings in mid-flight-
from-outfield-to-second-base-and-home-plate night games.

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Peanuts, beer, hotdog vendors shouting,
with every other voice, shouting!
Out! You buncha losers! C’mon cmon cmon! Safe!
Allow the call or fault it, either way.

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We were ball card heroes, just the same,
with bat and ball and gloves in hand and on our way.

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This poem tells a story. Life, imagination, games, spirit of play, youth, heroes and age. Baseball! When I was a boy we collected baseball cards. Topps I think. We carried them in our pockets, traded them, flicked them across the schoolyard in games of accuracy, attached them with clothes pegs to our bikes so that they hit against the spokes when we rode and made motorcycle sounds (we imagined). Cards were toys. I don’t collect cards now but if I did I’d collect the most played-with cards I could find.

Afternoon

It was the early afternoon of Infinity when we met.
I had called into being the forever of time
to anticipate your arrival in finite rhythms—
Knowing they must be the whitest of lies.

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The preparation, the perception, the recognition,
the intertwining and engagement of spaces,
their separations—all in the span of hello
and the impossibility of absolute goodbye.

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A Gentle Scent

A gentle scent surrounds me.  It eddies,
flows, reminds me.  I dream.  Look long
and away until just so and seeing you
and having only to say—  I seize upon
some flower, something I love, you see,
and say—  This is where I begin.  This is
where I am.  This is where I am re-awoken.
And in that span you hold me with interest,
with affinity.  You who can never end,
whose beginning was before mine—
From non-existence you rekindle me.

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Incandescent

I have fallen while the stars of endless
endless sucking skies have sucked me down.

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Here, I have lain broken on the burning
lawns of Hell— fingers, arms, soul— stretched
to the point of no return to catch a wind
that sings and does not sigh with the souls
of a million million soulless men.

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I have slept and dreamt of rising.
Dreamt the cool nakedness of space
beyond the shell of light that sucks me down.

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And I have spent my fists with the soulless men
against the blackened skies of Earth,
the blazing incandescent trails of souls
arriving— falling no further.

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To dream this night of rising
and the cool nakedness of space
once more.

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Enjoy the sunshine (when she comes)

Enjoy the sunshine when she comes
Enjoy the blue skies cleared of grey
And with a glad song in your heart
Enjoy the sunshine when she comes

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Enjoy the sun through dancing leaves
Enjoy her warmth against your skin
Enjoy the flowers and the green
Whatever else your day may bring

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Enjoy the sunshine when she comes
It’s been a while my dear old friend
Since we have walked and talked and laughed
Something we should do again

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Enjoy the sunshine when she comes
Until then—

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I am Freedom

I am the fulcrum, the base and the lever.
I am the space and the form and the game.

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I am the maker, the vessel, the dreamer,
the teller, the namer—though naming, un-named.

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I am the vision, the vista, the seer.
I am the lintel, the door and the frame.

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I am the lock, the key and the knocker,
the handle, the pause and the knocker again.

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I am the palm and the fist and the shoulder.
I am the sole and the road and the stride.

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I am the still—all that echo, and echoes.
I am freedom, my counsel, my guide.

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à l’envers

I rise from my body
My fall à l’envers
Through cold brilliant sunlight
And thinness of air

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Past floating ions
Into almost bare space
And I shift my gaze back
And I wish for your face

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I’ll one day return
With the wind in my hair
Some bright afternoon
And all devil-may-care

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With the kiss I’m left owing
Until it is paid
With our love I left holding
When I fell away

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Á l’envers is French for upside down or wrong way to. It is pronounced a bit like “ah lon vair”. The s is silent.