he saw them stream out
of the winding mountain trail
& onto the camp on the plain
where they made their beds
of twigs, stones & leaves
with their safari of animals
who dug up holes like earthbound nests…
Then, at the sun’s final gleaming
they pulled up their blankets to their chests
to sleep the sleep of stars.
He saw her at the mountain top,
soaked in the flaming red
of a dying sun —
& finally he reckoned
the distance between her
& him sitting under the sycamore shade
is the Derridean differance
between morning leaves shooting up
on the branch
& evening leaves falling down
to drape his bony feet.
(Sleepless in Manila)
The mornings startle
with the patter
of rain on the tin roof
like small feet of children
gamboling on cobblestones —
& suddenly they’re gone,
by the rush of murky waters
that drowns the dusty memories
of summer games.
grown old before their time,
have perished in weather of diseases
that flays the mortal flesh,
but their tears & voices
keep getting like mischievous demons
in his hair.
This must be the tribulation
of old age, he quips,
when the silence of his mind
is violently broken up
by familiar people who chatter & laugh
in the smoldering mists.
O, sleep no longer comes easy…
There are so many dead people
inside his head.
(Again & Again)
It’s the usual dog-tired poems
of rain relentlessly falling
& the sadness of centuries
that infests loafers
warming up like tea
inside the old café…
Yes, where failed lovers seek cover
from the heavy downpour
that soaks the fever in the bone:
but nothing seems to have changed —
drunken hearts remain badly
At first drop of pestilential water
she hovers in his mind’s horizon
like the battered orison
of chronic sorrow & desolation.
The interview with a functionary
in shirt & tie
coolly exuding liminal authority
makes her tremulously anxious:
Is her hair properly coiffed?
Is her voice on an even tone?
The curriculum vitae
is impeccable—she’s damn sure —
still everything hangs in the balance.
The gods cultivate the secret pleasure
of making her subalternly cringe
& ruffling her elegant demeanor!
O why is it so difficult to live!
She’s not out to grab center stage,
escape ha-ha! with the corporate loot.
She simply wants to procure books
& girlie stuff,
& contribute to mama’s household…
Now she feels
like a Viking oarsman rowing to the drumbeat —
to be a member of the working class
is to be a can of Warhol’s Campbell soup:
designed graphically like a million bucks,
marked with expiry date for the cupboard.
(Living la Loca)
A secular Carmelite is she
living in the concrete
the blood & tears of the streets
where the real of saintly flagellation
doesn’t happen inside cloister walls
that wouldn’t keep her from imagining
the banal evil that attends
all the world’s missing children…
She must grip the devil by the horn
like Christ come down bristling
at the market of a temple!
O never has living wedded
the devilishly turbulent
& the divinely serene!
(Father & Son)
A strange smile
bubbled up from his father’s heart
& broke like seafoam on his face,
the troubled night
of his father’s intensive care.
“She’d find the time
to fix her sked, she texts,
so she could make it
to the appointed hour.
Yes, she’s trying her darn best
to range her busyness
& arrange her life forthwith.
O how generous is she
with her scoundrel time
that chips so slowly at her beauty.
She’d find the time
of which she calculates she has plenty.
O the sweetness of this fantasy!
He’s in the autumn of his years,
she in the very spring.
The secret of the patriarch’s comatose smile
is his then, too:
father & son bonded five fathoms’ deep
in their desolate lover’s-fate.
There must be laughter in old age
lest you grow old quick & grumpy:
so counsels best-selling Mike Pritchard
to all mourners & sundry who grieve silly.
Always a night full of merriment
in a world heavy with forlorn sentiment.
So sayeth, hear then the grief
in the thunderous heehaw of Becket,
this here on planet earth of a theater
that’s comically absurd & stone-deaf.