Hole in Ohio

someone has gone and poked a hole through Ohio,
and all the rivers are circling, circling and
burning and rushing, down through some bottomless
insubstantial place;
and they’re washing us all away, all of us,
bitten through by fleas and asbestos,
we who sipped on sweet waters from ancient pipes,
washed away like particulate, like sediment,
settling down in some hole, somewhere,
where we can get by just fine,
i guess, just fine,
somewhere insubstantial and freezing where
someone important won’t have to see us, somewhere
dark and dreadful, dark and dreary, a real
place called “home” by the starving,
somewhere in Ohio,
and – who knows? –
everywhere else, too.

Is this?

Is this another winter day in Cleveland,
gray slush on gray street and
gray skies above?
Is this another sunrise, rosy and watercolored,
beaming down across the gray lake?
Is this your face, your smile, your
eyes when mine are closed
(and mine closed, when yours aren’t)?
Is this another wintry, gray day,
or is this a day finally worth remembering?

As Leo Sayer Sang,

“You make me feel like dancing,”
yes, I feel lke
I have become a part of the rhythm
that beats down from the speakers,
through the head and through the heart,
I feel like the sway of hips and
the harsh thump of feet on floor, the
slur of drink and the sweep of skill,
yes, I feel like
you are there somewhere in the riot,
other feet and other eyes,
other hands pushing through and seeking,
finding, joining,
the clasp of a warm embrace,
and the slow, stuttering swing of some
long-dead bandstand audience;
and we are there, too,
in the courts of old Europe,
and the fresh-born bustle of Kingston and
everywhere in-between and apart,
and you
make me feel like dancing,
like the first dancing around a cave mouth to
keep the demons of night at bay,
you make me feel like dancing,
like something primordial and natural,
like something eternal and refined, oh,
you make me feel like

Dead Seconds

millions of millions of dead seconds,
heaped like leaves beneath the punch-clock,
spilled, poured, discarded carelessly
and purposely;
and still, piling higher with the passing
of each afternoon,
more visible every day, and still,
no-one will bother
to save them.

a life lived in shade

What shadow is cast by the light of love?
and what people live in it,
unlit and beyond reach with
eyes rimed by darkness?

What worth is a life lived in shade,
hoping for a break in the sky,
aching for the hurts of adjustment?

What object can block the light of love?
some foul demon with
wings that span the sum of sky,
or is it merely the heart?

future stimuli

we build fires when we’re cold, right?
stimulus and response
eating when we’re hungry,
seeking others when we’re lonely;
But there are other stimuli, right?
things beyond nature,
things undiscovered but imaginable;
smoke clouding the starlight, but
dispersing a little every day;
and perhaps when we find the right combination of stimuli,
the perfect terror
the perfect bliss,
perhaps, finally,
we will seek peace.

it takes a village

some children don’t grow up, they only grow older,
and older, and perceive themselves as wiser,
without shedding their childish thoughts,
without putting away their childish things,
they look at others
and believe they know how these others think of them,
and think of the world,
without asking – or without asking correctly, these
children draw their conclusions, their inflexible philosophies,
ink spilled upon pages in places where
the moon dwells close to Manhattan;
they think themselves special from their peers –
they think themselves powerful when others are polite,
offering glad words at their scribbles, “ah,
beautiful work, a beautiful piece, we’ll go
hang this on the fridge” and
some children don’t grow up,
they may have mortgages and may
collect dividends, they may give orders and may
be called sir, but they are still just children,
clumsily stuffing their fingers toward light sockets,
being shooed or corralled at the last moment
and, beaming, effervescent,
celebrate their triumphs.

the caterpillar

The caterpillar is an insidious machine
all pistons and poisons and pincers, and pivotal
so pivotal to all: the caterpillar hungers,
always, devouring all good and green things,
treading them and ripping off shreds,
moving on, now, to unspoiled land,
until all land is spoiled.
And there it begins, toes on sour earth and eyes on sweet skies,
hungering more; a transformative hunger,
and so it spins, spins, spins,
spinning a silk of sorrows and suffering, swaddling itself in
all it has stolen, all good things regurgitated as
armor and arsenal; so it finishes,
hardened and uncaring, waiting a time,
brooding in a shell
and emerging with broad wings.
It alights,
and seeks new appetites.

Working with clay

to see you working with clay,
hands wet and sticky, leaving
fingerprints as you mold,
a tune of yours happies
the room, you
look to me and all dissolves to
sculpture and serenade,
the clay slopping over the rough spots
and mending them, the fingerprints
smoothed with song and scraper,
forgotten in the molding; now complete,
pleasant, soon to be dry and useful and
your hands, too, smooth and drying,
filled with softness and sweetness and
the promise of greater works yet.