To begin ...

As the twentieth century fades out
the nineteenth begins
.......................................again
it is as if nothing happened
though those who lived it thought
that everything was happening
enough to name a world for & a time
to hold it in your hand
unlimited.......the last delusion
like the perfect mask of death

Friday, August 15, 2008

Uncollected Poems (2): Two for the Cockeyed Queen of Poland

1965-1970

THE LIGHTBULB & THE COCKEYED QUEEN OF POLAND

There is something
following you . . .

But when I looked
behind me
the two women pointed –
at what?

The sun in the bowl
isn’t cautious.
Why should she wonder?

No dignity in that.
My shoes?

A turn of the lock
equalled death.
The two women pointed.

There is something
following you . . .


The sun in the bowl
isn’t cautious.

But when I looked
behind me –
a turn of the lock
equalled death.

No dignity in that.

The two women pointed –
at what?

There is something
following you . . .

My shoes?

A turn of the lock
equalled death.
Why should she wonder?

The two women pointed –
at what?

The lightbulb
& the cockeyed queen of Poland.

No dignity in that.


A SUBTLE WOMAN OR A QUEEN DRIVES EACH ONE CRAZY

She is not a queen but trouble
comes to her. Bread
rises so slowly
she sees it & thinks of a black hand.

She was learning to cook.
Her favorite foods taste strange to her
soggy not fresh
pellets in the back of her throat
she could choke from.

I have given gifts to those subtle women
who are a step above me
always. A thrill
comes from long endurance
their sense of outliving the world.

We need ornaments.
We need nothing so badly
as time.

Like presidents we can never not smile.
A subtle woman or a queen
drives each one crazy.

[These poems were recovered, along with numerous others, in the process of assembling a volume of otherwise Uncollected Poems, scheduled for publication by Mark Weiss & Junction Press.]