The Dark Waltz

 

Vacant dance hall

Dark music

Echoes from oblivion

A slow rhythm

Like a dead foot

Dragged across a sidewalk

 

My own feet

Fall in step

 A waltz

That circles inward

Muffled, old tunes

Never fade

 

Just me

And the music

Squirming

Cool worm

Channeled in the hole

Of its’ own creation

 

No eyes

To find light ahead

No up or down

Blue Danube drone

No river, all roots

 

Then I remember

To make tea instead of coffee

Take a walk,

See a friend

 

Blinders off

My hands push

The crash bar

Today and tomorrow

Step from the shadows

 

Outside

A bird is singing

Not for me

But I like the tune

Eulogy

 

Here lies

The child stolen

Buried in the space

Created by the rib

Given to Eve

 

This child

Died a pitiful death

Biblical in nature

Learned shame in

False sins

 

Made to believe

History taught by victors

Infinitive

Math problems

Adding up to nothing

 

The child was good

Dutiful to a fault

The fault being

He obeyed

 

Got in line

Like others before

Dull servant/robot consumer

Hair greyed, teeth yellowed

 

‘til the day

The child vanished

Vanquished

To the small space

Haunted by the ghost bone

 

Close to the lungs,

The shallow breathing

Of the monster it had become

Near the beating heart

Where the soul

Was last seen

Folk song

 

Every night

We made love

In her Yonkers apartment

The tenant above sang

“Where have all the flowers gone?”

 

She would laugh

I would a little although

I was well versed

In loneliness by then

The all too familiar

Polar vortex of emotions

Gone to seed

 

Every night

We loved and laughed

He sang himself to sleep

The three of us holding on

In the random accumulation

Of apartment lives

Like dandelion seeds

Cling to its head

Before the wind

Pries them away

 

I was a winter stray

Stayed to see the melt

Of exhaust blackened snow

The unveiling of candy wrappers

Rustling down avenues

Empty beer cans rolling

Tinny hollow echoes

Bottles not busted, whistled

A tune of absence

Soldiers without a war

Folksingers without a cause

 

Come dirty spring

I was a juror in White Plains

Listening to wire taps

Scratchy recordings

Of a mob attorney lying

Reading Yeats on lunch breaks

Retreating at day’s end to the

Transitory home of a young girl

That gave me all she had:

 

Her cramped city apartment

Nervous laughter

Sweet, purging love

Lullabies of protest

Between paper thin walls

Amid rentals, vacancies and perjuries

Where we once lived

And sang

from The Adventurers and other poems

Status Quo

 

I appear content

To you,

I am satisfying as tepid milk

On a summer day

You ask what do I want?

I have no answer

 

I have no answer

To me and you,

About the choices on the menu

Dropped at our table

I choose the first dish I see

The way I picked you

 

And here we are

On a restaurant patio

By a babbling brook

Near a village green

Where an old cannon sits

That children hang and leap from

 

Wars seem far away

But one is right here

Raging within

It is a cold war

With entrenching tools

We are dug in

Trench footed and starving

 

Through this interminable war

Peace only comes at Christmas

Climb from our holes

Cross battlelines

To smoke cigarettes

Play a harmonica

Dream of the home we left behind

 

Then the waiter comes

Asks if we decided

You answer quick

Warm milk on a summer day

I am clueless

Here

 

Rain is a big deal

It arrived this morning

Hesitant and shy

Barely audible

Taps on the shoulder of

this red desert dusted land

Streaking the massive saguaro

Where generations of cactus wren

Carved out their homes

 

They and wandering quail

Make the rain a reason

To huddle and shelter

Just like the doused sun

Which is too often the guest

That stays after the party is over

Laughing at nothing

Burning his drunken presence

On your tired head

 

I make a second cup of coffee

Take in the sepia air

Earth and sky

Blend as one

As do my thoughts and breathing

Not caring about clocks or calendars

Taking in subdued nature

Caressing a hot cup

A moment of grace

Can seem eternal  

 

This rain

Will do nothing to sooth

Withered brush

Fill the Colorado river

But it is rain

With its’ bashful peace

That transforms

Makes obsidian mountains shine

Makes the second cup

Taste all the better

Day Life

 

Birthing sun

Dispels dead of night

Pre-school morning

Children temperatures’ taken

Hug teacher’s knees

They scratch and peck

Like hatchlings from Easter eggs

Striped legging girl

Dark curls and eyes

Hops on one foot

Sees her little blue-eyed beau

She will draw

Crayon hearts for him

 

Mid-life day

No cover, no shade

Power lunch martini’s

Sharp attire professionals

At the five-star restaurant

But under tables

Matchbooks balance uneven legs

Band Aid bleeding heel of the Stiletto lady

The executive’s Italian leather shoes

Scuffed, the shine gone, soles worn thin

 

Old man sundown

Walks scruffy mini poodle

Crosses the intersection

Traffic paused red light

Breeze picks up

Billows light white jacket

He is a wrinkled sail

To the dog’s undercurrent pull

The tightwire taut leash

 

White beard stubble

Knotted brow

Senses the umbilical cord snap

Into indifferent night

Knows he could fall

No safety nets

With a dog at the helm

Sniffing for god