"We're getting ready for the Y2K,"
a sign outside the bank tries to assure
our customers. But Management's away,
no Personnel's in sight. A Presbyter
might say the Rapture had swept the vaults
of everything but office furniture.
"Getting ready" before the angel calls
our clients to that audit in the skies?
"We're getting ready" to confess our faults
before we transfer to a paradise
as empty as the parking lot out front?
The very quiet of the day implies
an answer to the blurb, sublime & blunt.
"Go on," it says. "Take all the time you want."
Fragment of Poem on Cylinder
Walt Whitman's ghostly voice is strong.
If only the cylinder had proven ample
for his America, it wasn't fair
that this century-enduring
artifact proved incapable
of holding more of his rich
poetry in his own rich
rendering, his own strong
intoning of his own inescapable
words. A forty second sample
survives, the only enduring
record of his poetic fare.
Wonder. Was the weather fair
the day that Edison, already rich
with his penchant for enduring
patents, his light bulb strong
enough to provide ample
produced a cylinder capable
of replicating a quasi-fair
copy of human speech (ample
market, was there, among the rich
businessmen?) Was his casing strong
enough to encrypt a more enduring
memorandum, as enduring,
say, as a great poet is capable
of making, a dictation so strong
it makes the laissez-faire
bon-mots of the nouveau-riche
fall speechless beneath its ample
diction? Only Walt was ample
to the test, the one enduring
poet with a patently rich
reputation, only one capable
of capitulating. O Cylinder of fair
America, a billion poets strong
you steamrolled over Whitman's song
after a long string of adjectives "strong,
ample, fair, enduring, capable, rich."
High up, the pelvic crunch of Bourbon Street
twelve floors below, we couple in the bed,
a steeplechase in the crux of our suite.
You ride me as the local Loas ride
a mount into the nether regions, where
the track we race threatens to run me mad.
I spread my knees. Your knees clench together.
The pommel of my saddle penetrates
me. I have no idea where we are.
Up from the pavement, a cheer celebrates
this barebacked & heroic cantering.
We pick up speed, fast approaching the gates
of dawn. We leap, together, centering
the sky, a centaur, we are entering.
Penfyr: Juice of Love Girl
My redhead pureed a pomegranate,
ate the seeds. A modicum
of bloody alluvium
stained the fringe of her sheer-lace bodice,
distressing her a half a year.
No rinse could absolve her fear,
no bleach restore to her virginity,
erase the aftertaste, purge
the evidence of her urge.
Therefore, she wore medieval crimson
in monogram, swore to believe
herself as guilty as Eve.
She feasted on the old testament psalm,
pomegranate sweet flesh blessed
the contours of her breast,
& I, like the serpent Lucifer, hissed,
kissed, coiled myself into a noose
to lap her red-headed juice.
Rhymer, before we leave the earth behind
take a wanton look at the road below,
as we ride the back of the milk-white wind.
It seemed a certainty & ever so
enlightened before it dissolved in air.
Once designated the Straight & Narrow.
Is there another, a darker one here?
Now every bard who wandered it is gone,
you say it is too far beyond repair.
Let's braid these two opposing strands to one
& make of both a route to fairyland,
a road no rude, unfeathered feet can run.
But never sing its name. Understand.
Not every word is meant to have a rhyme.
Not every tune is honored by a band.
Be silent. Watch the silver chariot climb
as we ride the back of the milk-white wind
& circumvent the penalties of time.