Friday, March 31, 2017

The Brightening

The Brightening

In the brightening
before the crooked pinch on the wick,
the good were fragile~
 the best, blind bonfires

 soon scattered to ash

around which we danced
til wind and time,
hate or the authorities
blew them away


to give us  blood and stormlight, 
the blister of wildfires, 
firebombed ruins

 burning jungles and napalmed skin.
Blame us because
we had to burn;
but first


put out


~March 2017

This summer will be the 50 year anniversary of the summer of love, 1967. Photos show what else just happened to be going on back then.

I have used photographic annotations, but also include some textual ones below.

Images of the 1960's courtesy of google, public domain: 
Two young women at a Viet Nam war protest; Robert F. Kennedy shortly after being fatally shot, lying on the pantry floor of the Ambassador Hotel in LA, heard asking, "Is everyone alright?";  Headlines in the NYT, April 4th 1968; Young woman dancing; Young men burning their draft cards; Students at U.C Berkeley demonstrating against Dow Chemical, manufacturer of napalm, used in Viet Nam to burn jungle areas, often resulting in high civilian casualties.

Some results of googling "how baby boomers destroyed everything' 

We can thank baby boomer[s]... for a nation that has no sound policy on foreign affairs, the environment, energy, social welfare, human rights, terrorism, technology development, education, debt, etc.  

The body politic rests on the slab because boomers put it there, because decades of boomerism produced the problems and disaffection of which 2016 was merely the latest expression.  

".. Though these circumstances are new, making the argument that a generation -- particularly boomers -- are to blame for society’s ills is part of a storied tradition, said Jennifer Deal, the senior research scientist at the Center for Creative Leadership..."There are a lot of people who like to blame the baby boomers for stuff and this has been going on for as far as I can tell since the late 60s,” Deal said.

"Dear millennials:I’ve been reading articles about how we baby boomers suck. And how your generation is going to fix everything mine screwed up.If you Google “baby boomers are bad,” you get hundreds of hits, including these: “Baby boomers ruined America.” “ ‘Disgusting, Selfish, Immature’: 10 reasons baby boomers are the worst generation.” “Who destroyed the economy: The case against the baby boomers.” And my favorite, “Boomer scumbag.”
Most of these articles were written by millennials.Their argument, in general, is that boomers are responsible for all of the ills of the past 30 years, including unnecessary wars, political gridlock, economic recession followed by economic stagnation and, finally, that they are responsible for creating the toxic, miasmic ideological swamp out of which crawled the malevolence that is Donald Trump.."

Yeah, right.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Spring Comes Home

Spring Comes Home

Spring comes home
in a dead dog's mask
old bones ask
for yesterday's rains
dust kneels to be made
tall wheat again;
clouds dry and pass
as the grackles grate,
too soon, too soon
and then, too late.

A dead-leaf kiss, 
a lover's knot
tied in a corner
the wind forgot.
You lit my face
for a fire in snow;
we glowed for a time
before the blow
too late to come,
too soon to go.

Now there is
a falling light,
no home on the moon,
stark flares in the night,
war news at noon
a flash of flight
that breaks the gate;
and the grackles grate
too soon, too soon,
and then, too late.

~March 2017

at real toads

Image: The Enigma, 1871, by Gustave Dore  Public domain.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

The Gardener

The Gardener

The landscape was empty; bleak
after so long abandoned.
The property needed work
from Cretaceous to herbaceous,
a great deal of work
for only one gardener;
but a job is a job
in these hard times.

So, I began the renovation
of the garden on the moon.

I planted frankincense and jade,
linen off the line, an impertinent patch
of plum-purple zinnias.
I turned the stoned moondust
with a diamond shovel,
raked the bed smooth with
Cernunnos' horns
to sow the bony seeds:
old fears, old loves, old enemies
pulled from their prickling casings,
sunned by litigant stars,
watered with Phryne's tears;

then I waited
for the display.

Summer was a ripple
and a roar of rioting color,
ivory skulls on fire and the smell
of burning roses. Smiling, I sat
on the edge of a crater
eyes dazzled shut,
palms turned up, each hand
an open vein to let
the fertile self bleed out,
pooling around the roots
in the rows of moongarden,
while each zinnia-head
was a purple balloon

in the utterly defeated

The garden is lovely now--
(if I say so myself, rebuilt by
a true gardener and poète maudit.)
We're in splendor this season--even into the Fall
all ready for the owner
who never comes. 

~March 2017

at real toads

Process notes: Cernunnos was the Celtic Horned God of life, fertility and the underworld, always depicted with the antlers of a stag. 
Phryne "was an ancient Greek courtesan (hetaira), from the fourth century BC...much praised for her beauty...Supposedly the sculptor Praxiteles, who was also her lover, used her as the model for the statue of the Aphrodite of Knidos, the first nude statue of a woman from ancient Greece...She is best known for her trial for impiety...[where she is described] as clasping the hand of each juror, pleading for her life with tears..." ~wikipedia
poète maudit "..( accursed poet) ..The phrase "poète maudit" was coined in the beginning of the 19th century by Alfred de Vigny in his 1832 novel Stello, in which he calls the poet "la race toujours maudite par les puissants de la terre" (The race that will always be cursed by the powerful..of the earth)..." ~wikipedia


Images: Portrait of The Gardener, Calvert Richard Jones.
Head on a Stem, by Odilon Redon
Public domain

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Flannel Perfume

Flannel Perfume

Some weeks after
you left me, panhandling
into the chile parched Mexican dust,

I unwrinkled your shirt
from the closet floor,
accused its clumsy plaid

white for weddings,
red for the factory moon,
black for lies.

It defended itself
with your incense--
old glue, old books, fresh blood.

Too much of you came to testify,
sandalwood hair hung long, flying
brows, the sawblade of

your crosscut smile
rusty but sharp enough.
I could smell the verdict

blowing off on the
highway's blistered back
windy-wild and away, 

feel the unsteady fall
of petal-pink walls, 
each day's rubbled brick 

lichened over in patchouli shadows,
hanging stale in the cell of
a convict's years to come. 

~March 2017

Note: this poem has been edited since originally posted.

for Susie's Perfume    at real toads

Images: Red flannel plaid, manipulated, via the internet
The Roses Of Heliogabalus, 1888, Detail,  by Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema
Public domain via