Monthly Archives: November 2010

The Anti-Beatitudes

Curséd are the nice, the ones who

don’t get in your way, who

open doors and don’t expect a

thankyou.

 

Curséd are the small of voice, the ones who

don’t dart up their hands, or butt in, who

see a space but don’t see themselves

inside it.

 

Curséd are the generous, those who

don’t take credit but give it and get

nothing in return but

forgetfulness.

 

Curséd are the myrmidons, the

hard workers, the al-desko set:

someone else enjoyed their

lunchtime.

 

Curséd are those with talent but no balls

watching those with balls but

no talent rise effortlessly

above them.

 

Curséd are those whose work gets farther away

as the roads get rammed earlier and

later until jam going meets jam

coming back.

 

Curséd are the worriers who

churn in their hearts’ syrupy valves

the clogging cares

of others.

 

Curséd are the Mothers and Fathers,

each feeling the other neglectful while

neither has anything like

a life.

 

Curséd are the children who wait at the gate

for a late parent whose tears, heard

through the wall, will eviscerate

their youth.

 

And above all curséd are the people whose

goodness drips off your life like

beads of rain off an

impermeable.

Gemini

I see them face to face,

conjoined somehow,

sick of each other’s sight but

constrained to stay:

eternal catamites, prey to

sex-starved wanderers who

lust conjunction with each

or either.

When randy Jupiter swings by, or

cruel, surly Saturn comes, can

the one read or sing or knit while

the other’s rictus purls

from pain to pleasure?

Emptying the Attic

If, instead of a hatch,

there was plug and I pulled it

what would I save from the gush?

A tiny jumpsuit, ABC

dribbling down the front like

spilt milk;

old “Paris Match”, older photos;

letters from lovers long gone;

a letter never sent;

a tidal wave of books, some

effervescent with old obsessions;

The ms. of an unpublished novel;

badly-painted World of Warcraft toys;

oodles of bears (did they breed?);

juvenilia—to burn if it weren’t so wet already;

“Rocky” the rocking-horse, lame now;

cards sent to my children to say

sorry I’m not there—I’m away,

busy, working, sorry;

cobwebs, dead bees, dust

damp and cloying

sticking to my breast as I try to hold onto

everything?

Omerta

Put the radio on—anything

to shut up the silence, anneal it,

squench it’s essence,

eradicate it’s soundlessness.

Faces over Time

She gave me birth, he fathered me;

he turned down the Croix de Guerre because his

donkey got one too;

she descends from Joan of Arc’s bad brother;

I held her still bloody from her mother;

he died a few weeks back, and at his

funeral I saw him, and her, and

those two (bickering);

he’s bigger than me now, but his first school shirt

still sits in my drawer;

she is as beautiful now as when I

caught her then, unaware of a lens.

 

Us, our children, our parents and theirs,

sisters, brother, nephews, nieces: all adorn our

dark hall, framed against time but still

silently fading.

In Spain

“Faster, faster!” you shouted at the

toiling donkey straining at the hill.

You were 3 or 4 and we laughed, as parents do,

at our budding bully.

We still have the pint-sized flamenco dress

and the castanets and the fan over which

you already knew to bat your eyes: because

children practice all their lives to be adults,

and sometimes they succeed.

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