poems and poems-in-progress

Friday, October 5, 2012

from "Glamourous Life"

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Two Franks


Broads
Birds

Booze
Stigmata

Fedora on a tilt
Zucchetto.

Trench coat in the rain
belt of rope

Francis Albert
Giovanni

Rat Pack,
Lepers

Rapt bobbysoxers
Forest dwellers converted

Old Blue Eyes,
Old brown cowl

My Way
The Way.

Witchcraft,
Grace

The Mob,
The Church

Friars Club
Friars Minor

Voice like an angel
true saint.

Rags to riches
Riches to rags

Hoboken
Assisi

Italian
Italian




A version of this poem appeared in Hanging Loose 78

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

From "Black Irish": Atonement: I Swing This Bird in the Shape of a Halo ‘Round my Head

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For all the times I discarded oatmeal and cheese,
for all the times I asked St. Anthony to locate my cell phone,
for all the times I yawned as my husband
spoke in over-precise detail about Drudge or "The Wire,"
for all the times I allowed my eyes to glaze over
as girlfriends went on about their cretin beaux;
for all the times I threatened my son
with cessation of Spongebob
privileges, or visited “greatest living poet.blogspot.com”
when I should have been roasting a chicken or
when I should have been helping the boy with the bludgeoning
7th grade homework illiterate borderline personality
Frau Doctor Professor Fink assigns,
when I could have been teaching him something proper,
like Latin,
or practicing "Scarborough Fair" or "Cockles and Mussels"
to impress the hot piano teacher;
for all the times I talked to boys about poetry
as if they were geniuses, at parties, because they were “easy
on the eyes”; for my overall immaturity,
for all the times I put newspapers in regular trash,
and left the lights on, or brushed my teeth with the water running,
or failed to supervise nightly flossing, or blew
off 
Le Petit Prince or Catcher in the Rye
even as the spawn importuned
“Please read to us Mommy!”
Or employed high fructose corn syrup
and brain-masticating cathode rays to reward —
for all the times I couldn’t push away the trauma
to which those I’ve loved have subjected me;
for all the times I haven’t been sacrificial enough,
for all the times I throw myself a “pity party”
about housework, for all the times.
“Get off the cross, Mom; we need
the wood for the fire.”
For all the times I might have jumped my spouse
and failed to follow through;
for all the times I grew impatient with Bernadette;
for all the times I declined to purge
the red folder and peruse knapsack contents,
to attend P.S. 321 Pot Luck events
and execrable Entenmanns bake sales;
for all the times I eschewed necessary nagging
so as to remain beloved in the moment,
or ragged on the hedge fund Stockholm Syndrome Princess;
he’s not mean, just trapped;
for all the times I’ve gossiped;
for all the times I hide from my family in the bathtub,
or laugh at Howard Stern or Sarah Silverman,
or wear black bra with a white blouse,
for all the times I fail to be brave,
I swing the revolving fowl—
for all the times I say “wassup” or “girlfriend”
hood-style in the presence of my girls,
for all the times I’ve blown off bagging cans at the Food Pantry,
or watched “Sex in the City” reruns
when I should have been
marinating a chicken, I swing this bird
in the shape a halo
‘round my head.
For that time I ruined 13-year-old Maria’s life
by dancing with my accomplice,
AKA her father, at Jane’s Bat Mitzvah,
to the 80’s R & B of our courtship years,
in front of kids she knew,
for all the times I fulminated on Day 24,
or sought revenge, or made love
to a grudge, or luxuriated in my
disgust for real estate developers and flaks
and ad execs, and republicans;
for the time I ogled firemen
on the Communion line at the 911 mass;
for all the times I wrote to Fuchs in French
(
Vers la bas, Garcon!);
for all the times I referred to a woman’s
“married name” as “the slave name,”
for all my vanity — How the Susan Sontag
streak I suspect underlies
my H2 O2 hair
fills me with terror!
For all those transgressions, I swing
this bird round my graying head,
in the shape of a halo, recognizing how
close is “poultry” to “poetry.”
For my fondess for near occasions of sin,
for all the times I wrote the names of culprits in my book
and sealed it shut like a shallow god,
for all the times I take your various names
in vain; for all the times I pray
even when I am not sure
you are
not a fiction—
the mere fruit—
fragile as an egg —
some hopeful
woman
bears
into the world
full
of so much
maternal
material,
anguish
and so much
light.



*Kapparot / Kapparos is a ritual performed on the eve of Yom Kippur wherein a live chicken representing one's sins (and the shedding of sin) is swung in a circle around one's head. The chicken is generally given for charity afterwards. Sometimes other objects are used in place of the bird.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Caught Red Handed in their Own Ink

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A pair
of poets
are

spreading
open
their 2

notebooks
atop bales
of rotting

rubbish on
Canal Street
across from

Sea Wing
Seafood
Corporation.



This poem appeared in in Mudfish 8.