Poem Trumps Hate


April 2017

To My Daughter

control (v.) Look up control at Dictionary.comearly 14c., “to check, verify, regulate,” from Anglo-French contreroller “exert authority,” from Medieval Latin contrarotulus “a counter, register,” from Latin contra “against” (see contra) + rotulus, diminutive of rota “wheel” (see roll (n.)). From a medieval method of checking accounts by a duplicate register. Sense of “dominate, direct” is mid-15c. Related: Controlled; controlling.


I have no interest in the settling of accounts,

For I brought you into the world of my own free will.

You owe me nothing,

Little one half-formed in my body,

Fatherless so far.

Only, owe yourself.

We are the ones who broke the wheel,

Who insisted on our selves.




Once upon a time, they packed her full of rocks, and sent her into the world

lumpy and heavy and inexperienced.

Then they wondered why she came back near-drowned, blue-skinned, angry, late.


Two Kinds of Dirt

It was awfully intimate

To watch his foot twitch in sleep

As he spread out on the subway bench

In the sea of deep dark navy blues,

The broker above him.

Their bodies stripped to nothing,

What would the difference be?


Nocturne III

We’re discussing it at dinner that night:

You were writing like you were possessed,

Says he.

That’s because

I was

Says I.

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Nocturne II

I caught my poem creeping

Across my hand at night

Like a millepede.

That’s where they come from,

I thought.


Nocturne I

I caught my muse at work in the night

Crawling the millepedes we’ve had of late.

It was a pair of them, the phrases, a joke:

All else being Deutsches gleich,

Is a Faustian bargain the same

As a Prostian one?

They sped back baldly to my unconscious

As I got up to attend my bladder,

As my partner asked me

What was the matter.


The Girls Are Getting Married To-day

The girls are getting married to-day;

They are nineteen, or twenty-two.

Their hair is red, under the hats and veils

And don’t their faces shine with Hope?

The attendants couldn’t comb out

Fear crouched in weavy trellises, I guess.

And hark! Here’s Honor

Standing with a manicured hand

On the base of the spines that wind up the aisle

Away from awareness,

Toward sacrifice with no end,

To applause and organs bellowing,

To what




I was not born with good or evil,

I was only born with need.



The taxis on Fifth Avenue 

Are only two lanes of tulips

Passing by the park and zoo.tulips-on-fifth-avenue

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