Poetry

from Beloit Poetry Journal Summer 2005
The Watchers and the Watched
Zeitgeists like this mean more museum heists,
yule logs the size of toothpicks, and a Rol-
ex on all our lists instead of Timex,
which, as Christmas wishes go, is not as
vain, not as opulent, oddly, as it sounds
utilitarian, the greatest good
the grandest goods for the greatest number.
Somehow somewhere sometime something almost
rococo burrowed in the soul not to
quaff from an empty vessel but, like a
psychological corkscrew, take hold, pop
open the bottle to release from its
nascent state the desire to be fulfilled.
Meanwhile, there are culture’s accoutrements,
like rescued tapestries of the past or
K rations in the form of film cans for
Johns and Janes Doe, who, in contrast to an
infinite number of names for numbers,
have not known nor sought the dignity that
goes ink in pen with an identity.
Face it, with film as the mirror of our
era, only the faceless can save face,
drawn to both sides of the proscenium,
characters like actors actors portray
benighted with pseudonyms for a blind
audience that cannot tell them from them.

from Beloit Poetry Journal Summer 2005
Shining
for Joanne Lowery
Zapped in the back with a Rayovac beam’s
yards of teeming mist, this live planetoid
X (that might as well be light years from us)
wedged in a fork of paper birch (inert
victim of blind, benign voyeurism,
unfazed by the likes of us lowlifes) lies
the cub porcupine, whose guise at dusk, a
scrub brush turned up (sans any chance in a
race from us, tortoise, or tamest of lame
quadrupeds), but with a gorgeous hue of
pewter so rare as to be the sheer form
of itself that (in urgent fervor to
name in order to more perfectly re-
member) a Plato might call angelware—
light the gown angels wear, their gossamer
karma aura’s alloy in the ideal—
jerry-built, as is always the human
idea of the beautiful, when our
history has yet to happen on some
godforsaken, lopsided moon on the
far edge of the farthest galaxy, where
eons from now sparsest particles rain
down in a mist of emptiness here sensed,
coveting the porcupine’s seeming o-
bliviousness to angst and bliss alike,
as hid in its caterpillar crawl—wings.