Five Poems: Progress, All in a Row, Wasp, Day after Day, Meteorologist



Since the highrises and the fancy dock 
went in, Byzantium looks like Florida 
or the coast of Spain—

working people on holiday 
with palm fronds and sickly drinks.

A lot of concrete.

After three hours on the beach,
carrying a small volume of Yeats,
I don’t care for exposed flesh anymore.

I just want my little flask
and to never take off my sunglasses.
It’s not pleasant to expose myself 
whenever I want to.

I want lapus lazuli and priests,
birds of prayer and gold leaf. 
I want Isaiah and the fervor
of Greek or Russian Orthodox, 
stone walls, exclusion and mystery.

I apply zinc to my nose and slowly get drunk.
Tide is out.
No sailing tonight.
No Byzantium.

All in a Row

I adopt two cows
and like a dilletante walk them to slaughter.

Buildings made of hay bales:
Manhattan a farm.

All in a row,
everyone’s cows.

Mine wait brainlessly,
don’t try to escape.
                      They hang their heads low:
bovine depression.


I’d been drinking
in the kitchen.

A wasp on the landing looked lost,
its nose pressed
to the painted wood.

Its wings hummed along
to a private philosophical problem 
or maybe it was waiting out an exit.

My foot in the expert’s shoe
squared off above it
cracked down
killed it. 
                         A kind 
death, I thought, 
no delusions 
no rage.
No one got hurt.

Day After Day

Miserable still, though different, 
the morning sun rose into sight.

Inside the hospital I was recovering
from a dailiness quite severe 
something lost somewhere
or too much of me all around 
or not enough.

Like medical Houdinis, the doctors
looked down, smirks
sealed into their sympathy

"If we asked you,
could you talk about this 
more directly?"


             "Could you write it
in these margins? 
Is it rhythmic?"

            "Does it have sound?"

it has
repeating sounds, flashes and strikes.

             "It has two parts then, 
the facts and the flow; 
numbers and voices.
Would you like to make a recording?"


I’d like to make amythyst


I'm getting my PhD in clouds

                   I don't care
the way she did
hanging her desires
on knitting needles
                 knit one   pearl one   cast one off

           Preserving her virginity
in a glass box

            I smash my box with a fire ax

So lock me up

                      I'm silver, I'm rain, I'm gone