Time Makes Tourists of Us All

Exasperation!
Watching the weir, green Avon
slipping by. A pint

lasts only so long.
Then I too must go. Time makes
tourists of us all.

Foam at the bottom.
Citizen of the world, be-
hold your nothingness.

There are Places

I’d leave the hotel
early, the Nazionale
fresh in Autumn sun.

The piazza where
I’d read and write in the sound
of tumbling waters.

And above timber-
line in the high Sierra,
I’d nap in tawny,

unnameable, soft
grasses. Mother Earth, City
Eternal, say it–

sacred!– places where
far from home I’ve forgotten
heaven is not home.

The Desecrations

High summer, low tide,
the estuarial pond
out to sea. I see

the desecrations.
Plastic bottles, beer cans, a
bicycle. All shine

in blistering sun.
“God is there in the instance
of death” (a Christian

friend). These things don’t die.
They don’t add up to the whole.
The tide comes and goes.

In the Dark

Lacrimae rerum
reduced to the memory
of my first love’s eyes

shining in the dark.
How separate guilt from the
image of beauty?

50-60 years
have passed, her gaze holds me in
thrall today as I

write a little song.
Those eyes follow me through dark
to creative dark.

Rice

Neither cook nor ty-
rant, I know the difference.
The Tyrant does not

distinguish between
self and other; his feelings
stretch from sea to sea.

The cook stands over
the pot of risotto, stirs
and tastes, tastes and stirs,

now and then tipping
in a little broth, the rice
his only concern.

The Tyrant is not
invited to the feast but
may come anyway.

Long Island Sound

Wind thrums in the sail.
We’re on a reach, Long Island
Sound, I’m a young man

and beside myself.
Today the café is loud,
the spray in my face

just a memory.
Under it all, a flow, a
sustaining patience.

Our Black Maid

Yes we had a black
maid in the Fifties. Petite,
silent Geneva.

When we drove her home,
I could feel my Dad break up
inside: past the tracks,

the fetid canal.
We were American gnostics:
love of Christ, country,

and paranoia
towards the Other. She was
other, beautiful.