The deeper we walked into the dark wood

 The deeper we walked into the dark wood
the more distant, the car buzz-sawing
the perimeters, the more the forest
sounds came. The crickets came in soft
crisp wooden lisps and cicadas shrilled
out from deep within their hollowness
and the bulls of the lake reached down
deep and bellowed out the last chords
of their massive loneliness, a leaping
fish makes circles on the surface
of the sound and then we heard nothing,
nothing save the sounds of the glassy
spheres whistling in their orbits.

To My Ascendant

To My Ascendant
 
Lay the day broken
at my feet by laughing
loud and leaping
from my mouth and streaming
round my face
with the slow red
combustion of the rose
and I'll die to rise
wide circle in the ether.

Mistaken For Morning

 Mistaken For Morning
 
Dream‑drenched in last night's
pleasures, uncooked as any
raw baby red and mother wet;
feeling my day will go any way
I choose and coffee comes,
the Daily News and me.
I'm stepping slick
and quick out‑notching my clock
and then these debts
and digital threats that fill
my friendless mailbox.

Portrait Of A Lady

 Portrait Of A Lady
 
Frozen rivers reduced to landscapes
of shattered blocks and boxes by steel
headed ships in your orbit and yet
you seem to stare off to where the snow
is blue beyond a further shore and yes
you are strong, your missiles blast and burn
the blue sky black as yellow metal insects
suck the soil's colors while you recline
and dine upon your daily feast of peasant
blood and blood is your color despite
the draping liquid silks you use
to fool the bleeding bulls that adore
you, heartless one, your heart is like
a diamond's core, cool and void, whose
splintered light gathers cargo, game and gold
to you, your flesh so cool and dry and yet
beyond this show the soul you don't possess
is a warm and dank Sargasso; take care,
the eels you've spawned don't turn
again to slay you, O modern Madonna,
Queen of Capital,
  mannequin
in a Fifth Avenue window.

Kvetch

             Kvetch
 
            No one in the Kosher Deli
            on 47th Street, noticed the Hell's
            Angel eating Matzo Ball soup, even
            when he called it, “too salty.”
            The cashier counted handfuls of change
            without breaking stride saying, "kvetch,
            kvetch, kvetch" into the phone
            stuffed in the folds between
            his cheeks and his shoulder.

To us the Indians made good use of the land

 To us the Indians made good use of the land,
paid their due respects to the dead, raised corn,
bore the spirit of their meat, roamed the prairies
nobly, snorting frost air like buffalo, staring
from hills at the swollen moon with silver eyes.
We are told of the elegant hair of the 7th Cavalry,
that they were brave, nourished ideals and held
love lifes of epic grandeur, yet we persist
in thinking that they mercilessly killed a graceful
nation, we imagine with brutal detail the sacking
of an Indian camp and our imaginations are fueled
by the news movies of Vietnam and perhaps we
imagine too much, perhaps it's that, but we do
and yes America our hearts are bleeding.

The bag lady in Walgreens

 The bag lady in Walgreens
sips her coffee through teeth
of black straw; slips her hand
beneath her shirt and sighing
sobs about something.
 
Maybe her breast feels
cool like blue stone and never
felt that way before.

Warm and fish dank

             Warm and fish dank,
            Canal Street's an asphalt monument
            to cat breath, with its
            small soft-shell crabs on crushed ice
            snapping out at you, mad as hell,
            petrified really,
            not a chance in Hell.

14th Street

 14th Street
 
The swelling street unfolds itself;
each face focused on some distant point
or meeting. Moving past the silverfish
in crushed ice as half dead crabs click
at kids with taunting sticks and teeth
come down on globs of pizza and fast
hands rummage through sale shirt piles