River

A plane touches down
At Sana airport

Taxis past broken lives,
Dead dreams,
Opens its bay and accepts
A stream of humanity
And departs

It’s an old river
Its drainage is ambition,
Pride, retribution.
It has flowed in torrents
Since all of time

See, here, on this map
The deep gorge it cuts
Through history
Its course so familiar
It is forgotten
By every new generation

Some seek power, wealth
Others, only refuge.

Journey

Through the train window
Flashing eternity
Rolling, rolling, rolling
The hillsides by.

Later, I’ll say
I’ve been there,
Traveled through that place
Convinced and mystified.

Later still, I’ll return
And say
That’s not how it was

All skewed and modified
By isolation from memory
Disappointed
By lack of congruity
Deflated
By the irrefutable

Rhyme, this time

I know you might say
Upon glancing my way,
“If you’re such a poet,
Why don’t you show it?
There’s not a rhyme anywhere
In your usual fare,”
And for this I extend my apology.

I offer this sop
To prove I’m no fop
In the hope you’ll accept
That at rhyme I’m adept.
To ensure that you’ll like it,
With humor I’ll spike it,
And fill it with gosh and oh, golly, gee.

Burma Shave

Diptych for a late Spring

I

You are meaningless, it is said,
without those who went before
in whose long shadows you strive,
in whose helix you twine
inextricably.

Ghosts, you call them,
wraiths with no claim to substance,
until, in a mirror,
you see them bounding through
your fate,
great feet tramping up the path
you thought was yours alone.

How can you be so like them?
How can it have gone unnoticed
so long?
Is nothing left to separate you?

II

Fine, let’s have it, then.
I’ll be the last witness
to poll the seasons.

But you’ve lost your will
to power, haven’t you?

Would you think your
reflection grotesque, off-putting,
if you saw me now?
Would you see an empty mask,
devoid of all you held dear?

As you wish.
We are both powerless
to divine our true meaning.