March 2014


It is spring again. The spring is coming.
It is coming in
on crutches. Swallows nest in the ruins.

Someone has strung a clothes-line
in the graveyard
and a hundred diapers semaphore the wind. (more…)

Hog Butcher for the World,
Tool Maker, Stacker of Wheat,
Player with Railroads and the Nation’s Freight Handler;
Stormy, husky, brawling,
City of the Big Shoulders:

They tell me you are wicked and I believe them, for I
have seen your painted women under the gas lamps
luring the farm boys. (more…)

Oh the shark has pretty teeth dear
And he shows them pearly white
Just a jack-knife has Macheath dear
And he keeps it out of sight

When the shark bites with his teeth dear
Scarlet billows start to spread
Fancy gloves though wears Macheath dear
So there’s not a trace of red

On the side walk Sunday mornin’
Lies a body oozing life
Someone sneakin’ round the corner
Is that someone Mack the Knife (more…)

To thee
I have willed the life drained
in secret transfusions, the life chained
in a coil of restlessness, unaware, self-angry. (more…)

I’d never been aware how beautiful my house is
until I saw it burning,
my schoolmate told me, who had twenty pieces of shrapnel
that remained deep under his skin after the war.
He wrote me how at the airport he enjoyed
having upset the customs officials who couldn’t understand
why the checkpoint metal detector howled for no reason.
  (more…)

The obvious is difficult
To prove. Many prefer
The hidden. I did, too.
I listened to the trees.

They had a secret
Which they were about to
Make known to me–
And then didn’t.

Summer came. Each tree
On my street had its own
Scheherazade. My nights
Were a part of their wild

Storytelling. We were
Entering dark houses,
Always more dark houses,
Hushed and abandoned.

There was someone with eyes closed
On the upper floors.
The fear of it, and the wonder,
Kept me sleepless.

The truth is bald and cold,
Said the woman
Who always wore white.
She didn’t leave her room.

The sun pointed to one or two
Things that had survived
The long night intact.
The simplest things, (more…)

They shall not return to us, the resolute, the young,
The eager and whole-hearted whom we gave:
But the men who left them thriftily to die in their own dung,
Shall they come with years and honour to the grave? (more…)