Roger Williams Park

The poem resists
the intellect but beauty
escapes from the mind

and leads the poem
on a wild goose chase. That’s called
a happy ending.

Yesterday I broke
my promise to myself to
never enter the

park. Useless trees, me-
andering streams, carousels,
hill over dale, I

found myself in
the labyrinth, pleased as a
child with the beauty.


I avoid the news.
I read Aristotle The
Poetics but here

too terror, pity.
Even this cool customer,
thinking to save the

poets from Plato,
not to mention Nietzsche, says
pity is called for.

In Retirement

Defined by places
where I served the written word—-
Berkeley, Boston, Pro-

vidence—I became
deaf. Now, no longer paid by
the word, I listen

to the low, spaced-out
notes of mourning doves, the squeals
of gulls over wide

waters. The word flows
through me into nothingness.
I too am passage.

Song of Origins

No one gets to choose
his parents or the place called

Memories haunt us.
So it’s true human being
as such is excess.

Be true to yourself.
The most intimate nothing
of your song, sing it!

My parents were sweet
people. We lived in a hot
climate: figs, oranges.

I loved winter skies,
uncountable stars, cold un-

Looking back, I praise
my origins, the things, the
luminous spaces.

Soft Day

“I am just one who, when
Love breathes in me, takes note and then goes on
showing the meaning that’s ordained within.”
Dante, Purgatorio 24 (Kirkpatrick)

On soft days like this
I cock an ear to hear the
inland ocean of

the estuary
breathe in and out. Silence of
the white gulls floating.

Walking the peri-
meter I get no closer
to the source of that

intimate sound. More
original than the light,
it casts no shadow.

The wind shifts: hard rain.
What brought me out leaves me hap-
py as a dog’s tail.

Face the Music

What of the quickly
aging youth across from you?
It’s goodbye now, right?

Blandest of beauties.
That post-coital glow sex-
less gift of mirrors.

No surprises left.
Call it a night. Go home a-
lone. Face the music.