TAMARIND

The fruit of tamarind trees
flavors the soil
of bitter graves
waiting for their dead

to return

from the other side of silence,
the other side of nowhere,
the side of dust and ashes
and the upturned palm
and empty pocket.

The lone bird cries,

“Fly from here, for
the tamarinds are opening.”

Fly away home
with the lady bugs
and burning children
and bits of string and paper
blowing in the wind,

an ill wind,
a still wind,
a wind that blows them all

home.

MY POETIC CREDO

               ~ “Please do not understand me too quickly.” ~ Andre Gide

Writing a poem is an act of surrendering the ego to the Unknown. Each new poem, if it has any power, drives us deeper into unpredictable, incomprehensible and unsettling territory.

It takes courage to go there naked with a blindfold on (i.e., ego-less), trusting only the muses to guide us, with no guarantees of what we’ll bump into or bring back — and knowing that whatever it is, it isn’t ours but theirs; it doesn’t come from us, ‪‎but them

Ultimately, the mature poet must come to understand and accept this hard-to-take fact: he is not the writer of the poem….it is.

A MASS OF SERPENTS

Their bite will last
past midnight,
past the present
past the future.

past the old man snoring

and young men hoisting serpents
on petards and crucifixes
and the rood of Moses
lifting up Nehushtan
in the wilderness.

Stuttering.

YAKOV & THE NIGHT VISITORS

I heard them in my ear
last night. Disjointed
words and phrases

(like a poem)

with a sort of sizzling sound
like onomatopoeia in a poem,
or frying bacon in a poem.

Popping out the head,
through the ears,
into the dark
surrounding my bed.

Do you hear what I hear
when the closed gates are opened
and the dogs let out?

Who let them out?

Let whoever let them out
let them in
and lock the paddock
of the heart, the mind,

before the winter storms begin.

CHILDREN OF THE LEAVES

“Go, said the bird, for the leaves were full of children.” ~T.S. Eliot, Burnt Norton

Children fall from leaves
like pennies from heaven,

or the bones of lost men
seeking a way out
of the Aegean alleys
where rats still run the maze
and Gods wager on the outcome
who shall live and who shall die

according to Caesar’s thumb,
up or down, as the rats run
and the centaur laughs
around the corner,

and the boy in blue
blows a hunting horn
for the child in the meadow,
the child in the corn,
the children of the leaves,

fallen and torn.

OLD RAGS & IRON

      ~ For Zaydeh, the “Rag-and-Bone-Man”. (ca.1880-1940)

The rock falls from the window,
the leaf from the branch,
the glass from the hand,
staining the bed sheets.
Outside, the Rag-and-Bone-Man chants:

“Old rags and iron! Old rags and iron!”

and the hours mock him
and throw down their spears,
as he wanders to and fro
among the half-deserted alleyways
where frightened children play.

(And a dead bird on his shoulder.)

while I and a shadow
squatted in the doorway,
singing to the stranger
in grandfather’s bed.

STREET OFFAL

STREET OFFAL
by L.G. Corey [yakov]

Strange breathing.

Like air swallowed
in large lumps, and
sticking in the throat
like a bone

or an index finger.

Blood smells like a bite,
tastes like copper,
and forms a scab
over sweet old wounds.

They see, but are not seen,
these sweet old ladies
whose faces resemble scabs
on the knees of bruised children,

or drifters who kneel down to pray
in the traffic of a busy street.

Rage to the road!
Rage against the dying light,
against the silencing of

tweet, tweet, tweet

to dirty ears and dirty hands
and dirty tongues that split the night,
and curse the bitch,

and then lay rotting in a ditch.

NOT A SONNET

here and there.
here. here.

and there.
and here.

and where

cicadas are in bloom,
where cicadas loom
behind every corner,
every can of Campbell Soup
falling from the shelf

with a bang! and boom!

and cicadas flying,
flying all around the room,
here and there

and where
there is no there,
no anywhere,

to rest.