Meditation for the end of the world

When the last fireball comes trundling through,
earth on its list poised to be crossed off,

try to find the platitude in the boast,
or see the plodding repetition in the sunset,

or the sheer tedium of mortality,
as if fear were a mere sauce for eternity,

for the certainty that in an infinity
of worlds all will have come to pass

over and over and over,
and even that, over again.

Righting history

Another bride, another June, another sunny honeymoon
Another season, another reason for makin’ whoopee

~Cole Porter

It’s hot. The folding metal chairs
we sit on could at least make toast,
if not fry eggs.

We offer up our copious sweat
to the new, pulled into being
amidst the passing of the old.

The bride and groom trip happily
through their vows, and voila!
Two become one; the groom kisses the bride.

Later, at the Cutting of the Cake,
the inexhaustible cameras re-appear.
“No more kissing,” says the lip-weary bride.

He kisses her anyway, for good measure.
No one mentions dying.
We go home, fat and content.

How we are tricked by memory

My poems come from pith,
just below the hide of me,
from the circus trance of
living the long moment,

the split between inspiration
and expiration, blue with envy
of the sky, such security!
We’re doomed, aren’t we,

to just missing it all,
to the rear view,
to always thinking,
“So that was it?”

Never mind.
It orders itself soon enough
into personal mythology.
You know the stories,

how this and that
caused something or other,
you either played a part
or didn’t. Nevertheless,

a certain wistfulness,
thin as a spider’s wiry grip
and as strong,
betrays us every time.

The old country

They say in the old country
that lighthouses are for keepers;
better make your own way.
They say eyes are like knives piercing your heart;
better stay low and move fast.

They say in the old country
that hopes are like lovers;
better check your promises.
They say dreams are fragile
and fall from heads like autumn leaves;
better watch your step.

They say shelter is for beggars;
better nail your secrets to the wall.

Occasionally, in winter

Occasionally, in winter
I take a turn into some vast space
–an empty parking lot, a parade field–
shorn of summer frippery

and I’m there again, there
where each single blade of grass vibrates,
where every grain of sand trembles
and the sun,

terrible in its wintry beauty,
fights back the clouds,
never mind their insistence
on seasonal priority.

Hard to stay home on such days,
all the triviality of existence
concentrated in a mote of dust
poised by the window,

ready to make a run for it,
unaware of the relentless
inescapability of it.