Saturday, August 27, 2005

Poetry eight (Sestina: A Soldier's Song)

Sestina: A Soldier’s Song

All young men as they feel Solitary,
Find their hearts want for fame, thus they Hope.
Seeing life’s daily news excites always War,
And like bread and sleep unreported passes Peace
Thus a soldier’s name might fan across blue Sky
To satisfy his call to glory, a wish in all Innocence.

Can we blame for this Hope?
Hometown boredom can’t compare to War,
Where stars inspire desire set in the Sky.
What can life offer to souls not at Peace?
Looking ’round he laments: Passing, my youth’s Innocence!
Thus excitement lures lives so Solitary.

And so they are sent to foreign War.
In the life of nations none retain Innocence:
States and economies profit not by Peace;
In business and competition none can remain Solitary.
While greed and ignorance like clouds cover Sky,
Our son thus off to battle- not to die, his first Hope.

Mission after mission praying first to the Sky:
If this be the day I might find death’s Peace
Before our maker also my enemy calls in Innocence,
Each alike in task, and before fear, a soul Solitary:
Just a death complete is my secret Hope
And not half a man returned from this War.

Yet sadly, received home he rests in final Peace.
A family grieves their tattered Hope,
Yet consoled: he’ll always be a hero of War.
Though in each passing year, a grave’s cross Solitary:
Earth, by her indifferent Innocence
Forgets our soldier lying silent under the one Sky.

And now- where are songs of Hope?
Bombs and mourning still score the Sky!
Our nations divided, truth is hardly Solitary
Where the choice of violence reigns over Peace.
Brothers fight brothers on the fronts of War:
In the sand runs equally their blood red Innocence.

Thus, where be found true Peace
When tongues spoke many a different Hope?
War never plants love, though love remains under a yearning Sky.

Bologna, Italy August 27, 2005

Monday, August 22, 2005

Poetry seven (for Cindy Sheehan)

(click on images to enlarge)

sending your sons to school
Where were you
when they learn allegiance to a flag
in the schoolyard they choose sides
Where were you
Daddy is downtrodden at the supper table
Were you there
Your sons lonely on the bus
they feel baited and belittled,
bullied and beaten,
with fists
learning things men do
heroes killing, glorious sacrifice
Where were you
They’ve become hard and cruel
your sons
What did you tell your sons
softness, the ways of compromise
Did you show them

to be proud of tears
patience and tenderness
When you went off to work
coming home tired
filling your empty houses
giving your best
or just enough
'till hearts drained vacant
waiting for your men Mothers
Was there time to teach them
Did you buy them guns for play
With no stories passed from your Mothers
in their stead you gave them TV
Surprised were you
they speak of adventure
hearts dreaming exotic places
exotic women, celebrated missions
I‘m not blaming you
But of warmth from your breasts
remains barely dusted memories
Your sons have chosen
did you not warn them
You’ve lost them now,
Mothers, your sons
Your sons are killing now
in foreign lands
sons of mothers killing
killing sons of other Mothers
Here at home too
Only grief is winning
tears unseen
and the dead are silent, blind forever
may your moans echo far
to the palaces of states
to peoples
Awake: daughters
and their sons
O new Mothers!

Bologna, Italy August 22, 2005

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Poetry six

Stuffed Tunisian Salad


towel wrapped
salty wet sticky
blown and bodied
glancing that shadowed
Balzac figured robed
severe unoccidental trying
brow beaten desires
light on Tunisian forms
he eats pizza pondering
piously encamping
solitude against pronouncements
of loneliness
while Bon Jovi raves in Djerba
some intoxicating elixir this


and these
Ulyssesian lamentations
untrue Penelope
unloving love in lovers too many
unheroic glories
unacknowledged rescues
people’s TV’d stories
silence of deities
a Muse’s indifference
unfollowing ‘cept in death
yet blooming thunder
in ears of dark men
jasmine scenting reminders
in pleading songs of sorrow


she watches him watching her watching his train leaving her dry field animals and black plastic sacs take veil in two corners of mouth fronting teeth heat grimacing porting piles unbelieving sticks weighted bented watching future training by her slow heavied past present swimming in full dress flowing fullness and flesh signalling stranger eyes deep green pure or black recognition longing escape to sink slip toward virginal safety bloodied night sheets waiting the passing of youthful momentary gasping flopping on freedom shores new shopping list his-story leave what behind you take the rest


the pragmatism of
men who build sloppily
brick edifices to cover
most elegantly in surfaces
a smoothing over of
a spiritual base not of
platonic form
toward appearing
grace endures


for you
john’s descendents ours
clients of Africa
seduced your french franc strong
forthing smiles goods and graces
she lifted her asshole high
for us seemed to enjoy
plunging her continental divide
any position servient you like
(don’t touch that part)
her pink dignity retained yet
in spite all enticements
last laugh who
capitalicking progression toward
that intimacy over
no thank you now out
still have babylonian guards
you’re finished when
oh tourismo evermore
buying selling
how much for
who’s the whore


a son
to a father’s no more
his playful graces
turning on bestial punishments
by the child mirror
haunted he
kindred blood race unto death
fleeing the follower

and the filial launching
finding father’s same markers
arriving visions of sameness
heeding grieves
mistakes regrets
a thousand river and sea crossings
all one hell
codified tongues of ghosts
in shallow ports of call
from wind
extracting answers


all white his garments
sun leathery lined faced
millennium wisdom
grandfather’s double
reaching out he
non parle franchese timid me
refusing his cig shaking my finger
he takes my water
I drink after him

Silence and
scorched journey
parched rock sparse paled plants
mountainous vistas monotonous
cinder block villages
dust and waves of heat
children barefoot smiling dirty faces
arriving we share separation
placing hand on shoulder
an eternity
pasts rush meeting presences
futures backsliding
death’s call stalled
turning toward it remembering
tearful goodbyes many


waking in 45 degree night heat
hooded drench
sweater jacket shirt pants socks
chills revolving on hot vomiting
closing in
ephemeral slippery consciousness
battle waging
sotto terra
his body a field
trying to watch
in the wake of images
corporal records
Rome destroys Carthage
Isis dodging Osiris
revenge of sons
immortal’s tormented pleasures
captain’s Penelopian doubt war
electron captive to nucleus
cells’ outputs coded hieroglyphs
hot bath Vivaldi back to bed
tremor unrelenting
elemental icebergs in desert mindstorm
he’d hope later death’s arrival
not like this
power driven auto-viral-pilot
utter chaos
a fortnight passed
or only hours
then blood and pain
furthering remembrances


And the world before him
I don’t say that John will realise all this
same old story Aleous
universe never ending
carded four times in one
face of fear in every
power prestige and caste
blown to smithereens
hell US push peace talks
viva Italia magistra artium
we shall overcome
evil I fear though I walk
Imodium AD don’t leave home without
those dark Aitalyians
go where the wind blows
the mind’s wanderings
bounced him right back to where
nothin’ good t’say don’t
how the other half lives
take your medicine
grin and bare it
such soft spoken women
loud Americas
I felt like an object
do I see you really
Pole Star frigerator in every
donkeys are embarrassed by their
a stuffed camel
Palm Sundies
your profession wait here
tangled web
mia seconda casa
m’casa dove
the grandyear that was Rome
money is time
I don’t say John will
we tolerate incredible dullness
it looks poorest when we are richest
wandering ’til the truth be know

Tunisia and Napoli August 1-9, 1997