Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Elastic Sparrows


Elastic sparrows
Verging on a branch, a
Galaxy of
Mulberries, squirrel-gods
Jouncing the red-eyed constellations.


Scholar of terrible plastic solitude
I carry a bag full of brown
Feathers
And rectilinear daydreams. Observe
How the plump pigeon pokes its beak


Into a puddle-filled pothole.
The mudslick of March has
Officially
Begun, per order of the Deputy
Sheriff of Prestidigitation.


I have prepared an operation
Which will turn pennies into
Pocket-watches. "I must get
To my repast directly," spake
The temperate ant beneath the driest


Of grassblades.


The tasteless power of rainclouds
Cramps the heart and makes the brain convince itself
That surviving a damp late Saturday afternoon
Involves pushing and shoving adamantine moods
Into a mousehole of a closet.


The syntax of churches
Like needles in the white mist, classified
Ventilation, anti-corrosive rituals.


She was wearing a pair of lunettes
And a red question was posing itself
Between her brisk stature
And the solemn texture of the sidewalk-colored sky.


1990

Sickness and Health


New stirrings lie ahead
For the last great apostle of rugged individualism.
Sixty-five years in captivity
Slide by, having engaged themselves in writing
Poems about the imprisoned seagull, the clockwork
Sea. The grim stamp of validation rises
Like a daisy-colored moon
Over the lackluster heath, over
The mechanical pond where plastic ducks fulgurate,
Quack and flutter, brushing
The surrounding air
With minimal, bombastic strokes.
Validation, revenge, clear-eyed
Retribution: these are the simple things
Which clutter our dreams.


What do you hear, what do you say?
I think I shall do nothing
For the rest of my life but listen
To your breath
And breathe your airs and glances, your
Subtle magic, your style. Suppose I asked you
To have a heart, would you
Think it a rude request?


No one speaks. The river
Continues to sleep. The ocean sleeps.
The poet puts down his pen
After sixty-five years of dismally
Blissful captivity
And coughs like mad, and coughs like nobody's business.


1990

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Libertarianism, anyone?

I like much of what Libertarians (and lowercase-l libertarians) stand for: peace; liberty in certain personal choices (the legalization of marijuana wouldn't trouble me); economic "conservatism" of a kind that is often more sincere than that which is proposed by the GOP.  But there are a couple of things that keep me from joining their number "officially."  The demeanor of many libertarians seems infected with a kind of unattractive ideological absolutism, a sort of "those who are not with us are against us" mentality. Not good.  Also, to be frank, the economics concern me a bit.  Without a doubt, bureaucracies can be cut, and some even eliminated--but I do believe in a "safety net" for the elderly and the vulnerable among us.  On the moral issues, there's a kind of agnosticism I find troubling--but at least a libertarian government wouldn't be funding Planned Parenthood, or coercing Catholic institutions to pay for contraception.


Libertarians are honest, though, and they're thought-provoking.  And I gave them a vote 16 years ago.  And as for voting Libertarian this November, I wouldn't rule it out. But to become a card-carrying member of the party?  For now, dear friends, in the words of Samuel Goldwyn, "Include me out."