Saturday, April 23, 2016

Silence

(04/23/2016 for National Poetry Month HitRECord challenge)

If you are quiet enough,
you can hear the books
conversing amongst themselves,

They rustle sentences
to each other made of paper and cloth,
trade witticisms,
anagrams,
and drop verse on the heads
of the shelving librarians
who don't duck quickly enough.

Friday, April 22, 2016

People think writer's block is a metaphor, but it's not

(04/22/2016 National Poetry Month HitRECord challenge)

It's a big wooden block,
perched on the floor
between me and the page.

You can see the grain,
patterned in loops and swirls,
that you can follow with your thumb.
Beautiful, really, but still a block.

You have to come at it with a sharp knife,
sharper than the one used to gut poetry
from the belly of the carp that lurks in the pool of your mind,
gulping verse.

Whittle it along the edges,
Distract it by humming,
Round it with your hands and blade until the corners smooth,
and your palms know the feel of it, inside and out, and it knows you
Better than your mother ever did.
Then: push.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Silk

(04/21/2016 National Poetry Month HitRECord challenge)

Smooth,
winding silk,
snug against
mercerized cotton.

When I use it to pull
our mouths to one another,
I can feel the
lift, the tug,
every moment
building toward
our mingling breath,
and the way your lips open before me,
so sweet
and so tender.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Government Center, Boston

(04/20/2016 National Poetry Month HitRECord challenge)

Clustered in a pack of six
around the seventh,
stood down in the hole
twisting that damn pipe thing
tirelessly,

The road crew, for one moment,
look so solemn in their day-glo vests,
as if, at any second,
the chief amongst them
will lift his head
and proclaim,

Brethren, let us pray.
Here rests Down-In-The-Hole Jerry
Gone on to his penance,
Fer not bringin' the donuts
Like he was supposed ta'.
Help him, O Lord.

Amen.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

The Photograph

(04/19/2016 for National Poetry Month HitRECord challenge)

The photograph is of a man
baring those teeth still in his head.

It is the picture of a man permanently hunched,
Crippled by the weight
of existing in a place
where he be no man at all
but a Jew, a deviant, a gypsy,
a category for eradication.

The photograph is of a skinny man who will die soon, no doubt.

In the photograph, he is bent,
Holding up the stripped-down body
That journeyed ahead of him into nothingness.

His dreams have reduced to the muted yearning
For someone to remember him when he is gone.
To say his name fondly.
To say, Jakob, he told that funny story,
You know, about the piano tuner and the rabbi's daughter?
He was a humorous man,
Who was kind to animals.

Surely, the blue number on his arm
visible in flashes as he tosses
another body into the pit,
to be buried in lime and forgetfulness,
is the least of his burdens.

The photograph is old.
But, when you hold it in your hand,
Remember him: Jakob,
Who told funny stories,
And was kind to animals.

Monday, April 18, 2016

l'odalisque

(04/18/2016 for National Poetry Month HitRECord challenge)

Never presume
to know the thoughts
behind the painted smile,
the coy tilt of one shoulder,
the bare back with its elongated spine,
and lines inviting the viewer's touch.

Even the Mona Lisa,
Though she gaze straight at you,
Keeps her secrets.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Apple

(04/17/2016 National Poetry Month HitRECord Challenge)

The apple that lured man from the Garden
Was not a Fuji, full and juicy,
Sending rivulets down Eve's naked throat,
Bursting with knowledge and flavor,

But an idea,
Made dense flesh:
Of horizons to reach beyond,
And limits surpassed.
The harbinger of epiphany can take any shape.