CELEBRATIONS OF LIGHT

CELEBRATIONS OF LIGHT
various painters, 2002

Watercolorists try harder.
But the titles that they give
can sometimes seem amateurish
for fauve cows & photo realism.
“Moonstruck” stretches its rigging
across a silent sea groaning to the pull
of taught forces. Scenes of Venice abound
in “Reflections” & one more “Evening’s Last Glow.”
These conventional ambitions respond well
to alla prima, wet on wet, masking,
& stretching, beguiling us with “negative
painting.” “A Roma” is a pun on perfume
pinned to a study of shimmering decanters
of nickel & glass. “Face to Face” brings us
nose-to-nose with a grand-fatherly bull,
presumably toothless. Goodbye to summer
& unkept promises. Pears & stripes forever.
“Innocence Lost” shows us the cat that
ate the canary. “Make Mine Peppermint”
is the one that drew me in, to sit under
one of its red umbrellas, to wait, but nothing
happens. She doesn’t come. “Time
Stands Still” arrests a guttering candle.
“School’s Out” seems blind to irony:
these fish will never escape.

First published: Write from Wrong. (Sept. 2010). Web.
<http://writefromwrong.com/2010/09/14/poetry-september/>

 

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LIKE CLOUDS

LIKE CLOUDS

Like clouds performing
waves against the sky,
down sun dappled
leave speckled
fireball streets,
the children home in on their cartoons
the bus driver on his shot of hooch.

Frist published: Buffalo Vortex. William Sylvester, ed. (1 Feb 2009).

SUNDAY MORNING

SUNDAY MORNING

perhaps I will try to snap a picture with my poem
like this young married couple in Sunday summer outfits

do, her bare back striped with a tan-line, just before
gulls come, attracted by the thrashing in the water

we all go down, a squirrel has brought a bag of peanuts
to munch as it watches, but the ducklings seem unaware,

gathered about their mother, a shifting cluster of downy balls
bobbing atop the wriggling spiny weeds submerged & agitated,

up above singing comes from the church, organ driven
“faith of our fathers living still” in them who remain

“true to Thee till death,” but these fish know no faith,
when the drive is in ‘em they do not balk, they try themselves

against all obstacles, relentless, like the current flowing back
on itself while all strength lasts, massing together where

this concrete catch-all interferes with their dash upstream,
they are garbage fish, carp, the biggest fucking goldfish

you ever wanna see come to muddy the poisoned pathetic Scajaquada
with their spume and spawn, they are not great leapers & the water

is low, yet they heave their heavy bulks & seethe in slow turmoil,
but here, look, they are everywhere churning, spanking the water

with their mighty tails, sun yellowing their fins & sides,
they grip each other as they can, spin in sinuous desire,

the waters above & below the barrier are alive
with their slidings & rapacious nuzzlings, gaping their mouths

as if to devour one another, they whirl in corkscrew mixes
of fishy bodies suave & gray, glinting in the green-brown water

disturbed with many motions, in pairs & threes & fives, rising volcanic
from the underside of dark shallows always at most half visible

Frist published: Pea River Journal 4. (May 2017): n. p. Print.

A STIRRING

A STIRRING

the way the gas pours out of the
spigot in flames—
the mildness of evening—
though intense, copper moon astride the thunder cloud

(here we) have) the) daffodils again & the dogwood
the greenwood, the blossom, the leaf, & tonight
something has given me fever: a stomach
virus, too many ultra-lite cigarettes

the texture of early spring is the
texture of a lattice fence: laddering
out in all directions, with lots of
holes, diamond-shaped & hard

or a cheese grater
memory itself is like a soaking pot
left for a day in the sink & there will always be
another

the recognition that everything is
futile: the clean kitchen floor
the dogwood blossom—
gives what?

returns to us these things in the innocence
of their hope
the kettle boils, the spaghetti crunched
in half

I feel the fever in my hair roots—
wherever I have hair
my head, along my arms, something stirs
below the skin like pins—

First published: Puerto del Sol. Josette Arvizu, ed. (Winter 2007). Print.

DANCE OF THE STARLINGS

DANCE OF THE STARLINGS

not in the air
on the broken concrete walk
near remnants of January ice
wings at it
flailing rapid circles
like grounded hummingbirds
twisting & bedding, twisting & bedding
one black ball of feathers
beaks at it
twisting & bedding
on the broken granite-hard walk
still for a moment
for a moment more
one black ball of wings
then off—
toward opposite
corners of sky

First Published: H. O. D. (Winter 2011). Web.
http://hofd.files.wordpress.com/2011/02/hodissue3lfinal.pdf

THE ZEN OF SELLING

THE ZEN OF SELLING

The Zen of selling was told by a Venetian girl:
She used to sell swords in San Marco. She never
sold a shaving mirror, till one day she sold four.
There’s a kind of energy, you see,
the kind that brings us together
this evening, spontaneously. Another
time she was selling expensive bible sets,
for weeks without luck. Then she took
an intensive training course. One must learn
to read the dream of each person from their house,
their character from a stray photograph—
& convince them that fulfillment is in what
is being sold. It worked! She enjoyed
visiting many families, as many as 20
in a day, reading their dreams. Then
one day a man answered the door
who had been running the vacuum cleaner.
The Venetian girl had always wanted one like that.
No problem, the man’s brother-in-law sells them
door-to-door. She must have one!
It was the Zen of selling.

First published: Buddhist Poetry Review. Jason Barber, ed. (June 2011). Web.
<http://www.buddhistpoetryreview.com/archives/issue-one/peter-j-greico>

A FABLE

A FABLE

the birds were next to gain intelligence
their feathers had fallen
except for a patch on their enlarged heads
and down under their wings

they took to wearing skins of animals
but continued to walk upright
to waddle the streets of earthen cities
when they started to speak
they lost the gift of song

of course
not all birds evolved this way
some continued much as now
and were called angels

bird science excavated our future
and found our bones
they diagramed our anatomies
and copied our forms
parliaments imposed taxes

worms were no longer a staple
three chambers could not get enough
blood to the brain: jealousy
emptied the skies

First published: Blood Lotus. Stacia Fleegal, ed. (Jan 2009) Web. <https://issuu.com/bloodlotus/docs/bl-11>

TAROT

TAROT
for Ken

Our best ideas fit
on index cards. Yet
what of the blankness
of the unwritten, where
the possible remains?
The full sketch of its movement
requires so much more than thought—
having seen the lively colors
when she flips it
& the skeleton comes up
when all this talk begins again
but the two debaters
stop.

First published: The Cynic Online Magazine. (1 Mar. 2008)http://archive.cynicmag.com/archive.asp?articleid=2063&cat=Cafe

WHITE OUT

WHITE OUT

The perfect suicide is surely
one that fails—the overdose
that under does it—the wrist slasher
who passes out before she can find an artery.
In Japan, where “it’s easy to become a nihilist,”
the trend is to die with strangers
in nondescript grey sedans
parked off the road in semi-wooded areas
not far from town, three in the front,
three in the back, in their 20s by the hundreds
each year. They meet on-line to discuss
their fate—no girlfriend, no boyfriend, no job,
money running out—surfing the Web
from childhood bedrooms in their parents’ homes,
looking to “die together with someone
garbage like me.” Moon was her screen name—
excited by the fantasy of an easy death.
“Moon-san, we die tomorrow, there’s
one seat open. Would you like to come?”
As though on a road trip to Hokkaido,
she claimed a spot up front. They bought coals
& a brazier at a home-center, pulled off the road,
taped shut the windows from the inside.
One of the too shy young men wanted to
compliment her on her perfume & her
lace dress. They shared out the sleeping powders
& slipped on ski goggles to guard their eyes
against smoke. As Moon eased into her last dream,
the head of the boy next to her slumped
onto her shoulder. Everything turned white,
rice paper bleached of calligraphy, fog blown in
over quartz crystal beach of featureless ivory.

First published: Confrontation: A Literary Journal. Martin Tucker, ed. (2008).