Monday, May 21, 2007

Ok, here are more poems from NAPO.

April 6

Tree Man

He rises from a misty bog cloaked
in sludge and peat, hair a nest of twigs
glimmered with dew, barren tree branch arms
flung out like wings.

He only appears in the fog. Some say
he roams the moors seeking food
and places to lie comatose and undisturbed,
invisible to the world of steel and machine.

Time matters not; his internal clock
is set to eternal night and he knows not
the warmth of light, nor the vision it affords

but seeks the ooze of bayou beds;
the forgotten places tossed aside
and serenaded by water song, loon call,
frog grunt; and relishes the process
of organic decay, the cool slime of it.

He shuns human eyes, directs his towards
the infinite spin of constellations
bright above the lifting fog.

April 7

The Sad Tale of Annie Handy

All year she festered in that flower papered
room; pink and heavy-headed peony blooms
had rotted there, their lurking stink profuse.

Daily she lingered in the half-lit gloom,
bed tied and helpless, while catbirds and jays
sang gay tunes just beyond the window.

Different maids came and went, delicately
swept and fluffed, and sometimes wept
at her coarse click of tongue and subsequent
toss of china. One by one they’d fled.

Then one hot day when the room was rank
with the sourness of her sweat she rose up,
gathered herself and went downstairs
then out to the green beyond.

The sunlight dizzied her as she groped
around the ground in search of stones.
Damn you birds! she cried out loud,
I’ll rid you of your idle chitter-chat
and endless saccharin songs!

then tossed the stones and shook her fist
until they all had fled.

April 8

Late March

The land pauses now in that moment just before
waking, its repose almost at end. Already,
birds call for mates and tight-fisted buds
relax in the kindling warmth of lengthening days.

I’ve come again to the furthest point of this pinetum
to sit awhile on my favorite silvered bench
and lavish myself with the sight and scent of forsythia,
splendid in her showy lemon blast.

So I sit and ponder life for awhile and give my knees
a small respite. I watch a handsome pair of Canadian geese
preen their brown and downy fleece, then drowse a bit
in this clement sun and dream of you gone far beyond.

April 11

Executioner’s Song



hear my guillotine
halving scrawny necks


the catch-basket blooming
with crimsoned heads


long tongues lolling
slack in repose



hear my hangman’s rope
estranging necks from bodies


faces dimple-puffling
in its tight-wrung noose


bulging lightbulb eyes
permanently burned out


hum-a-crackle, hiss
hum-a-crackle, hiss

hear my electric chair
kiss-sizzling skin

hum-a-crackle, hiss

bodies jolt to attention
face-hoods steam

hum-a-crackle, hiss

body still moving
aftershock twitch



hear my firing squad
metal peppering flesh


bodies crumpling, oozing
like opened sacks of grain


red tide blooming
gutter-run red

April 12a

Covered Roaster
-for Mom, wherever you are...

Many times I watched her lift its
large bulk from where it simmered
on the lowest rack of the oven.

She respected its scorch
ready to bite an errant fingertip
if misplaced, its vent of steam
when she lifted its lid to check
the turkey simmering within.

Tinny clink of enamel on steel as she
stood back, reached out and removed
its cover, careful of its hissing belch;
she was good at dodging danger.

She’d test the bird then, stab the meat
thermometer into it’s colossal leg,
sigh and say Not yet then clank
the lid back on and heft it back down
into the oven, arms quivering, back
straining as if giving birth.

April 12b

Mission - The “Un” Poem (an experiment and a bit of wordplay)

Listen, question; vision undone;
unction woken.

Option given; beckon fortune,
certain heaven.

Reason seven, sudden notion;
doctrine chosen.

Thicken diction, straighten section;
version written.

Hot Java

Grand elixir; drip fuel; cinnamon dream
stirred into a steaming mug. I breathe
your flavored air and my engines rev.

Caffeine heart-kick hard as a mule’s; rough
edges polished with cane and heat-foamed cream;
cappucino sloshing down my lemon scone.

Vanilla latte, you smooth lothario
so slick and silky down my throat,
teach my engines how to hum. Sweet music,
wet slurp, sprinkle of nutmeg.

Boogey-woogey bugle of mocha jazz
razz-matazzing on my tongue,
you gotta gimme dat zing
or it don mean a thing.
Do wah, do wah, do wah.

April 14

Marsh Pond

There by the marsh pond, its surface limed
by algae scum, three paperback turtles
crawled out of the oozy muck onto a bank
covered thick with moss to sun.

The scent of waterweed and fungus hung
ripe in my nose; skunk cabbage and lungwort
grew profuse; sunlight dappled down
through bud-laden beech and maple.

Now and then a bird would warble
and add some sweetness to the day,
but mostly the silence hung softly
like an ethereal wreath, disturbed only
by the snap of treebone beneath my feet.

Then it started, a foreign sound
I’d never heard before - a guttural chorus
of clicks that grated in my ear; and then more
answering from the opposite shore.
Before long there sounded an obscene
symphony that quickly rose
to a crescendo that did not recede.

The turtles startled, quick-sloshed back
to their morass of decayed leaves and mud;
away from the seeming thousand croakers
belching for mates; those horny toads
spurred on by the urgings of spring.

It was a frightening, otherworldly thing
so I hurried away, changed somehow;
disgusted by their bloated excess of need,
soured by the damaged day.

April 15

Bird Talk

I’m absorbed by my computer screen, my focus
so intent I don’t feel Baby flap over until he flops down
on my shoulder. Pretty soon he’s jibbering away
in conure-speak, words that only I can understand.

Baby demands I stop what I’m doing and converse.
We mimic each other’s tongue clucks, clicks, high-pitched
rolling brrrrrrrr’s, followed by sweet little helooo, babeeee’s
and wanna take a bath?’s, end with a couple
of soft spoken haaaaa?’s all mixed in between
assorted tempos and flavors of raspberries.

Pretty soon he’s rubbing his lime green head on my cheek
and muttering what-what-what’s - always in sets of three
and in rapid succession - his signal to me that it’s time to go to sleep,
so I ask wanna go to bed? and he does his little bead-bobbing
voodoo dance back and forth across my shoulders
and lets loose a few loud jungle squawks, which means yes.

After he’s been put to bed, just before I cover him, we both say
goodnight, Baby. Sometimes, if I’m lucky, I’ll get
a love you when the light goes out, a tiny taste
of what it must feel like to be a mother.


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