“I’m happy,” she says, and means that happiness
Means that she’s married, no more and something less.
Born in the cradle, married out of there,
She chose her husband as she combed her hair.
Ego bred aggression, and aggression spite,
Thus in others humaneness became prerequisite,
And a mask to put on, to force others to don,
While she can take hers off if others keep theirs on.
Her mother programmed her to be clean, to wive,
And keep the world reminded that she was superlative.
The best of everything, the dots on the dotted line,
A self-possessed and persevering Frankenstein.
“But I’m not perfect,” she admits, thus liberating her
To chop the other fellow into hamburger.
Her husband’s personality fled headlong to its lair.
To dominate completely a comfortable chair.
Thus father and mother to her children, she
Provides them with loves in times of adversity;
A kind of three-layer cake, wherein one can infer
That she moulds her children, as her mother her.
Acquaintances are mirrors, emotions a hoard,
And all existence must conform, or be ignored.
I am a passenger in the shipwreck of time
And a bizarre symptomology
Upon my understaffed body
As a vulture on a long awaited meal
And if you think this mode of expression
Rules out poetry, I assent.
And I invite you to supply a wretch
Of your own
With as impressive a salvo of symptoms
To salute the world with
And snatch despair from the imaginary
Jaws of hope
But for me, hope is a defective
In a Stygian darkness
So please all your good pleaders
Roll upward prayers on my
That I might have some remission
And if not, then remember me while
This my poem
Is eminently forgettable
And at this, this work declares
August 30, 2009
When the frost is on the pumpkin
and in blossom’s the pawpaw,
Then a mighty herd of yoghurt comes
thundering through the draw,
And all the birds in cages get out
To spray the passing yoghurt, and
catch them as they fall.
When the clams are wet with ardor,
and all card-carrying krill
Dance at their union gala in
tuxedoes, as they will,
On vacation hard-worked pinnipeds
try their best to get away,
And the whales come up like
thunder on the trams to Baffin Bay.
When the schools are closed forever
and education’s rife,
Then you, my child, my soul, I hope,
will graduate to life;
When the gloaming gleams with
wonder and awake the day dreams love,
As your father loved Sharonah,
and the hand longs for the glove.
A bowstring taut with afternoon
The cricket cello deep within the walk
Where russet refuse frosts before the musing moon
Where waving weed surrenders shrill the strident stalk
And rustling reed reverberates with locust-talk
Goldenrod is squired in beggar’s splendor
And races through the tree-boles in a tippling rime
Heavy is the hickory and easy is provender
And gentian’s pensive cups resound with rhyme
When, in their depths, they space the cricket’s chime.
Note: This poem was written under the pseudonym Harry Charles ( Harry was Roger’s grandfather, Charles is his brother).
In the darkness, in unfathomed depths,
Silent, self-absorbed does the cicada lie
Awaiting its brief moment to emerge, and whirr and die
And so do I.
High on a thistle the gaudy swallowtail—
The collector’s apogee—sits ready to take flight,
Not to be caught; while on the week
The wingless aphis, causative of blight
Looks upward, like me,
In self-scorn and delight.
All about me mate and whirr, taking delight
In the brief moment that this their summer’s noon
While I live along by reflected light
In the midst of midnight an unnoticed moon
Whose day has flown too soon, too soon.
Neanderthals were awful knaves
That had their domiciles in caves
And slew their prey with barrel-staves
To gulp it red and raw
They most resented rude intrusion
By big bears with malocclusion
And not a few effected fusion
With the ursine chaw.
Howe’er this state of things, I ween
Thought rather rugged, harsh and mean
Prevailed throughout the Pliestocene
And one can only muse
That ‘twas through this did fate contrive
Their end—there’s not a one alive,
But only broken bones survive
As Neolithic clues.
Upon a time prison bars
Went clank! Together—a hundred stars
Alarmed, lifted to sail in flight
Tilting toward more distant coils of night
To regroup noiselessly in braids of light.
Well, all the rest were gone, but I
And uncommon skill in one so young
Held in my hand
A phosphorescent firefly.
The evening was growing in a purple yawn.
The bats had other business
So the lawn
Had darkened faster than I thought
The time allowed—Perhaps I ought
To be inside away from all this strangeness
The indignant glow
Wrestling in earnest enmity against its jailer
Reminded me of what I had brought plummeting
Down from where the winds are delicate scarves
That are half jewel and song half
And that didn’t want to come
Getting along nicely just a flicker above the grass tops.
How does one dare
To pinion the wings of thought?
So I was confronted
With my hand again
The sharp points of the star scalding my hand
And sticking out through my fingers
Disturbed me. There were no more constellations
Diving between the knees of the apple tree.
I let the firefly go and went inside
And I think the stars returned.
With gaudy hues and happy honks,
The glossy ibis invades the Bronx.
The damn thing’s lost, he’s way off course,
To go anywhere near the Grand Concourse.
He’s seeking food, he needs a lesson;
He flies into a delicatessen.
They greet him there with ribald jibes.
They won’t believe he’s a glossy ibis.
The inhabitants of the concrete boredom
Ken the sparrow and know that at Fordham
The Roman eagle nests, and all over the prowl
Are tracks and roosting posts and rookeries
Of kosher fowl.
But the iridescent incandescence of a
Symbolizing “rarity” should know better than to light
Within the range of BB-brains whose “Hark”
Brings more with BB-guns; so to the park
He flew, not sighted yet
Nor in my rhymes
Depicted. Lost, revolted, sick but still
His telescopic eyes sight an executive.
“Please, sir” he says, “I’m no faker;
I’m a glossy ibis, how can I reach
The bird finds out—
He catches the F train.
He won’t go to the Bronx again!