Saturday, April 26, 2014

King Tiger to Rose Arcade

And then the battle began.   It’s not
a pretty fable, this time the lord
of plenty up against the dark of
nothingness, indefinable unless
you’ve seen a dead body or stood in any
cemetery.  For a long time there was

nothing, some vague threats over the radio.
Even the Apricot trees bloomed.   There were
always rumors of war when we were young. 
Nothing now but old swords swinging
in the wind. In a county not unlike
ours each little town is an armed camp

of rifles and the miles go by
on highways built for tanks and heavy trucks.
If you see the pictures there are
young men holding each other
hostage.  Imperial Moloch and
solitude have brought them there.

Famous Science Fiction Novels

In the end the earth
dies, of course, and either
the detestable aliens
offer us a new ugly
religion or we are
simply ash, our
buildings empty,
on fire. Usually
the humans who are
left learn to sigh
and may even
forget the old
god who got them
into so much
trouble in the first place.

But remember
in some books there are
children picking
weeds and dandelions
from front lawns
all across America.
No one mentions
the wicked step-father
who takes literally
his little patch
while the ghost
of an alien satellite
plays tricks with
his brain.  He will
eventually drive
to the desert
leaving his car
and his jacket
on the road
and no one will
know where he went.

Al fin del siglo,
the largest and widest
of these volumes
echoes off the walls
like a bad opera,
too many notes and the people
really don’t know what
they’re doing, except
that they have special
guns, horses, and parades
like we do here, only there
the masters make clear
their plans, their
domination of the solar
system, the large rocks
that fly by our little
planet, not knowing
we’re here at all.

Midnight and the Jack of Spades

Are you any
busier than you were
twenty minutes ago.
If so, I'd like to know
the secret of your
departure, what
time you left your
room in search
of an awkward
feeling wafting along
the byways
like diesel smoke.
In fact, that must
have been you
speeding by
like fast freight
train, so full of
energy it would
take you miles
to stop.  Now
the years are
just as heavy.  A friend
asked what happens
when we outlive
our dreams, our ambitions.
I said I'm being courageous
enough to get out
of bed in mid winter
at five am to scrape ice
from the car.  The
one my father
wanted me
to own, sometime
in a future he knew
he'd never see.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

H. Is Dreaming Again: Herman Kahn Writes a Letter to the Rooskies

Let’s say the war’s
Begun:  our massive
Machines girding under
The weight of the Rockies
Ready to fire.  Our sleek

Submarines floating somewhere,
Could be the Baltic, could be
Anywhere the cold-free
Burst of neutrons,
Of plutonium and

Lithium 6 over your heads.
Let’s say the war is on
The radio:  the crack
And static of unknown
Commands, the halting

Tone of your comrades
As they see the missiles
Come in, shattering Moskva
And creaming the Urals—
All you’ll have left, all

You ever had left
Was Pushkin and vodka.
I know by now my
Radioactivity surpasses
Yours.  The might of

The laser and microwave,
My citrus screwdriver--
Between the different
Things going on today,
I forgot to call you back.

Monday, April 07, 2014

La Sonnambula

That'll be the day:
the spangled memory
of you in your sunglasses
like Doris Day--
sometime after the endless
long stairways and beautiful
spaces you'll wonder why
there wasn't music playing,
say Brahms or Strauss.

In the Miami
Valley apple blossoms
are counting the days--
up on the hill the last
strains of La Sonnambula
are playing while
I explain my life,
everything in it.
I am moved by your simplicity
and the small decorations
telling me so much. You know

I like the sun too.