Art Others

The power of art
to call us out of ourselves
into a commun-

ion of others—
it’s a sign of charity.
Will you allow that?

We could start over
right there, in acknowledgement.
But these others, can

you name them, count them?
You and I and something be-
tween that flows between?

So it’s a threesome?
The last Trinity differed
from each other yet

communicated well.
As I sit here writing this,
the last may be first.

Retinal fatigue!
On the corner, Wheelchair Bill
talks to his lap dog.

To A Philosopher

Does the other now
bear the weight of God? Cavell,
ingenuous man,

wants to know, does not
want to be alone but shrives
the specious present.

Glorious talker!
World condescends to you if
only you’d maintain

silence and not pray
so hard to your silent god.
Grackles grackle shards

of light. World commun-
icates to itself in words
even you can’t know.


Dad’s final bocage,
above the vast Pacific,
blue-grey forever.

The rocky hillside
of Palos Verdes, pale stone,
miniature pines,

the artificial
falls. Day and night you labored,
perfecting it. Ache

of beauty. Between
us and heaven-and-earth once
threatened by wild fire:

you hosed down the hill-
side, the Eucalyptus wind-
row helped save the day,

the peacocks screaming.
You were the artist, beside
yourself, your last stand.

Polka Dots

A woman I knew
once in a polka dot scarf
and without may well

feel like a goddess
or a bird for the sudden
praise heaped upon her

from time to time by
me and no doubt others. Sub-
lime she’s not. She laughs

when she sees common
things, making them uncommon.
It’s contageous.

She’s a blessing in
disguise, that polka dot scarf,
on or off, a sign.

On a Riff by Sarah Coakley

Let us say love shapes
our ways, that as we age we
love differently.

Let us say God is
love, and as we love each o-
other our deep desire

will change who or what
God means. All-patient desire,
being between us

and God, makes us love
each other as our desires
beat our boundaries.

Keeping Shop

I maintain a shop-
keeper’s mind, my get up Bre-
ton T’s and chore coats,

lime, navy, lemon.
I count my syllables, cross
my T’s and dot the i’s.

Much poetry is
just bad prose. Let it be said,

kind, the muses would
visit him from time to time
to his amazement.

Over the Moon

I read Nietzsche, self
pulsing, wild Dionysos,
like a wave building,

like a wave crashing.
I walk home under the stars.
Orion shows off,

his story stars the
moon whose arrows cripple him.
Schoolboy myths but now,

in my weak dotage,
most beautiful. Chaste and free,
sing Ben Jonson’s song.