Monthly Archives: October 2011

ALWAYS FOR THE FIRST TIME

ALWAYS FOR THE FIRST TIME
for Andre Breton

Mary Oliver has written another great poem,

That is to be expected you say
she is a great poet after all

It’s only Houdini
getting out of his chains again
no big deal, he is Houdini isn’t he

Oh no my friends

Notwithstanding there might be
a little less effort each time
a little less pain and pushing
at the beginning and the end
a miracle is still a miracle
no matter how often it happens

Take birth for instance

JOHN AND MARY

JOHN AND MARY

John Berry writes a poem
for his dear departed Mary
and reads it at all the open mics

It is a lovely poem
about parallel universes
and all the other ways
they might have met
or never met at all

He tells me that it changes
every time he reads it

which makes sense
since it is well known
that you can never step
in the same poem twice

I hear that it is also true of rivers

TEMPIS

TEMPIS

In the caves there are paintings
thirty thousand years old
and the Sistine Chapel has been
around for a while

In Tibet and Arizona
they paint with colored sand

A Cordon Bleu feast
beautiful for a moment
then brushed away

For those who would judge
one as better than the other
I offer
A poem or a psalm
in a long remembered book

Reading it is in column one
hearing it in column two

Or how about a whispered
“I love you” in the ear
is it gone or is it here

WHAT THE HELL VILLANELLE

WHAT THE HELL VILLANELLE

I thought, oh what the hell
Since everything is but a dance
I’ll just write a villanelle

Though I may not ronde half so well
As the spinning peasants of old France
I thought, oh what the hell

Left footed stories I can tell
Though you may laugh I’ll take a chance
I’ll just write a villanelle

Though it may not cast young Dylan’s spell
around his father’s fierce-teared glance
I thought, oh what the hell

Though it may not a million copies sell
It may win your love perchance
I’ll just write a villanelle

It may not toll Gray’s churchyard knell
Others have failed in that romance
I thought, oh what the hell
I’ll just write a villanelle

IF YOU CAN HAVE YOUR OWN TALK SHOW

IF YOU CAN HAVE YOUR OWN TALK SHOW

IF you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs for blaming that you do,
If you can trust yourself when wise men doubt you,
But make offensive all their doubting too;
If you can wail and not be tired by wailing,
Or being lied about still deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t blame it on your hating,
And yet still look too good, and talk too wise

If you can talk down to crowds and call it virtue,
‘Or walk on Kings – nor lose the common touch,
if neither foes nor losing friends can hurt you
If all men count with you, but not as such;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of drivel spun,
Yours is the air and everything that’s on it
And – which is more – you’ll be a rich man, my son

LEFT BEHIND ON THE CONCORDE

LEFT BEHIND ON THE CONCORDE

You get to DC an hour and a half before you leave London
and Rod and I talked most of the way

Maybe it was the ‘69 Dom Perignon
they poured as soon as you took your seat
or the Chateauneuf-du-Pape and Pouilly-Fuisse
they served all through the meal

I do remember there were Arabs in
flowing white, and Burgess Meredith the movie star
and I showed the pretty brunette
my pilots license and got invited to the cockpit
where the pilots greeted me as brothers
even though the fastest thing I’d ever flown
was and Aero Commander 680E

Maybe it was the Taylor’s Special Reserve
twenty year old port they served with
the Cuban cigars (it was 1978 after all)

Maybe it was going more than twice the speed of sound
but I can’t remember a damn thing that either of us said.