After Work

First Night of the Full Moon

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Well look at you, overdoing it again,
dropping the popular clouds—and going
with that glitzy stream to enchant the shore,
while you await the waves’ ovation.

At least the rocks ignore you. Retirees
with high assessments are trying out
showy modifiers behind sliding glass.
Writing classes are cashing in.

Sure the Bard himself penned exalted
adjectives more than a hundred times—
gracious, fruitless, blessed, gazing,
modest, mortal, fleeting, envious
. . .

but you remain one oblivious orb,
our preening globe rolling through
systems and centuries, still
reprising this gaudy entrance.

Sixteen Shades of Gray

Friday, September 23, 2011

The angle opens, the horizon
vanishes. Still, for the ten-
thousandth time I work
separations onto a surface.

If there were some resolution,
I could understand, but nothing
shows, nothing moves from head
to heart to hand, but blood.

I stop, and watch intensity
diminish on the glass. Nothing
is detected, the screen oblique,
deflection of an artificial edge.

Return Address

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

“Submission, self-denial, diligent work . . .”
Bleak House, Charles Dickens

We are waiting for the moolah,
kneeling in reverent postures, in compliance
with village regulations and strict adherence
to Code, with constant entreaties & supplications,
beseeching The All-Powerful for their swift reply
to the Covenant— the sand anointed by rain,
the stone cemented by light.

Our display of fervent labor is waning—splitting
rose granite on heaped shards,
packed gravel and spilled concrete:
footings poured and billed, nothing to height,
disgraced mortar over rusted angle irons—
atoning for the unplumbed, the rejected rubble.

In contrition for the splays, the efflorescent faces
and discoloration, the variations in capstones,
we go on . . . go on, unworthy
penitents bowing and disconsolate,
knowing the wages of betrayal
and the ancient punishments.

Waiting, waiting for the supreme pages,
celestial tapestries, the renting of an edge
through the illuminated land—
the ecclesiastical dash and signature in our hands,
final bestowal and our submission.

Lauds, Vespers, Compline, and still Nones, nothing:
no banded altars of pressed green,
Elysian reward in all denominations,
your remuneration and countenance,
no pale seal of your distracted recognition.

The Future Form of Regular Verbs

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

for Laura Wainwright & Whit Griswold

We may be the last people we know to go, andare, to Florence,
and relax in the piazza, ever poised to respond in polite Italian,
piacere
, pleased to meet you, and grazie for thin proscuitto
and double, doppia macchiatos. So andiamo, here we go for
lightly fried zucchini flowers, tramezzino of roasted peppers
with pecorino romano and panini of sausage and goat cheese.
We walk, camminare, in the heavy afternoon through vines
crooked and robusto, on rocky hills, to witness the misty, rosa,
pink, aroncione, orange sunset on the Duomo, construction
on the cupola continuing for 16 years until 1436, the masons
laying the mattone, their wine diluted by a third high above
the nave on scaffolding; without Portland or cement mixers,
and missing by 600 years the woman in the Milan airport
in black-and-white checkered shorts, square red sunglasses
and tailored yellow jacket, six-feet easily, in pink knee socks–

And I want to say more in Italian than,
“Have you written the letters.”

In every cell of Savonarola’s friary, a Fra Angelico fresco,
austere San Marco, thin thread of spun gold on The Virgin’s veil,
swipe of gold on Gabriel’s wings—Annunciations everywhere!
Thin stripe of silver on the currency for automatic payment:
your ticket validated and your receipt, receipts for everything,
punched and stamped, torn and separated, receipts
to keep with your brochures, brochures with guide books.
And tomorrow, domani, the fast train, the Euro-Star
to Venice, banners and medieval festivals in the square, buying
a paper mechanical bird on the bridge, daccordo, we’re O.K.,
lugging home the cardboard carrier of Siena pitchers–

Bring me a party of cake; how much is the bakery?

Registration for Enlightenment

Friday, August 13, 2010

Quiet please . . . please, may I have your invention
of the universe in your own likeness. All applicants

anxious to overpraise your proudest accomplishments,
will find advisors available to foster presumption

and self-reverence, stances newly adapted to exhaust
The Transcendent Mind. For aspirants auditing

pretension courses from the Adjunct Professor of
Reluctance, undue credit for exaggerated exegesis

of innermost journeys remains transferable. It is
with the unparalleled solicitude of this institute

that channels are provided which proffer weight
to endangered theses and elective creeds. Never

before have so few meant so little to so many. We
offer an accelerated transition of the irrational

into an improvised dogma that inhibits revelation
through annotated programs of formatted paths.

Bear in mind that Sanctimony may be substituted
for Astral Influence only by remission of the unseen . . .