At the Wadsworth

On a crisp, cold, T.S. Eliot kind of Sunday,
Prufrockian to the max, some of New
England’s most chic met in the Museum Cafe
to partake of the sacrament of Sunday brunch.
The Colt Exhibit two floors above bore
incongruous testament to man’s violent side as
perfect multi-chambered cylinders of burnished
blue steel glinted smartly in their glass cases
offset by meticulously lettered placards.

Showcased against a fine specimen of mono-
chromatic cubism, a society matron with spun
lemon chiffon hair sipped a mimosa and picked
parsley from her teeth.  Her consort, natty in glen
plaid and understated tie, tackled a frittata with
andouille sausage and baby asparagus spears (oh no
my dear, it simply wouldn’t do to call it an
omelet!
)  and sipped black coffee.

Mere blocks away in the shadow of the armory,
in a modest diner, the hoi polloi with great robust
gusto gulped slabs of bacon with hash browns and
fried eggs and read the sports pages.  The
homeless hovered outside wearily waiting for
a handout, oblivious to the art patrons spinning
in their own peculiar orbit, agog over Fauve
beasties and the vagaries of gouache and tissue
paper collaged onto cardboard — a.k.a. “mixed media.”

Bulletin!!! (News at Eleven)

Where will you be the day the poetry dies? Will
there be anyone with you and will they notice?
Will they say, Oh My God, this is simply awful!
This has to be the end of the world, we can’t
possibly go on without poetry!
?  Will it be like
the Kennedy assassination, where all will remember
with a clear fixity, where they were and what they
were doing at the very moment they heard? Or will
they just go on watching Wheel of  Fortune and
eating buffalo wings dipped in ranch dressing?

If the poetry dies, how will the headline read? Or
will it be just a few lines in tiny print with the other
obits?  Will they interrupt the soaps for a live bulletin?
Will they send a crew with a minicam?  And who
would they talk to?  Maya Angelou?  Or maybe they
could bring back Emily in some wondrous technique
spawned from Cryogenics, and ask her!  Would it inspire
Don McLean to write a song, and would it be a hit?

When did you first notice the Muse was sick?  Did you
observe him (ahem, but does the Muse have gender?)
greenish and suffocating from the smog-filled air?
The mask he wore, just like in Bangkok, should
have been your first clue.  Did you try CPR?  But
how, exactly, do you bring back imagination?
Somehow, I think defibrillation is not the answer.

 

Mythic Dawn

In that gauzy interlude
Between sleeping and waking
Beige archetypes
Cast spells on an unsuspecting slumber.

Wickedly do they dance
Now caroming like dervishes
Spectral and muted,
Substantial as clouds,
Now clear, now murky,
Prescient, on tiptoe,
Wary and watchful.

And in that tesselated
Pattern cast through the mind’s portcullis,
They creep like chessmen
Intent on military stratagems
Maneuvering mightily and moodily
Summoning courage to launch
Yet another interlude spinning
Off  into the incandescence of tungsten.

Soul Food

Until I have eaten a rainbow and
slaked my thirst with damp spider
webs after an August rain, I do
not wish a place set for me to dine
on destiny presented on a stark white
plate against a crisp black linen placemat
in the ambient lighting of a chic
Manhattan eatery that offers
nouvelle cuisine for the soul, life
squeezed out through a pastry tube
and called minimalism.

Write My Biography

When you write my biography, do
It in a song lyric by Dylan or Seeger
Accompanied by a blues piano.

Throw in a saxophone’s
Squiggle and the shimmy of
A twenties flapper anesthetized
By pink gin.

Add the optimism of Whitman and the
Purr of a kitten.
Set it against the solitude of a
Trappist monk’s smoldering thoughts
On the feast of St. Jude.

In my middle years, segue to the tremolo
Of a bluegrass mandolin
And let me have a few hours
In the amber grasses of a Kansas field,
Where a German farmer
Once grew wheat.

And lay me down in the shade
Of a weeping willow, not far from a
Lake, where I may hear the
Cries of loons drunk on the beauty
Of a kaleidoscopic crimson twilight.