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.

In winter days toward twilight

In winter days toward twilight
Supper looming and the long call
Of parental care avoided
Like spoonfuls of castor oil

We’d set off on grand adventures
Down the alleyways
Championed by dogs, evaded by cats,
Amid the fine scent of burning garbage

Hunting urban treasures:
Radio parts, discarded syringes,
A cache of vacuum tubes,
Ground glass whiskey tops,

And once, an entire television
Bereft of its fine cabinet,
Emptied of all diversion,
And cast forlornly, contemptuously, aside.

That winter in Palavas

That winter in Palavas
We pulled our coats about us
And stamped our way
Along the bundled beach
Brisk wind whipping
Through our young hearts
Sparkles gleaming from the prancing shore
We caught shelter
Among the sun-slanted shadows
From the slow cadence of the surf


Down the beach
Two hale young men
Germans by the look of them
Dressed in scantly painted
Swimming briefs
Tossed a medicine ball
Back and forth in rhythm with
Weathered waves
Determined beyond all reason
To return to work
All a-dusk and rightly trim

Later, some chance-encountered lads
Suggested an evening in Grand Motte
“We’re not rich!” I laughed

But we were

What’s up

A paean to the tres hipness of the tres hip.

Sorry, toots, I’m no longer interested
The fun’s gone with the sundown
The after all and the waking
I can’t seem to make sense of it anymore

I want a life of leisure
One adventure stinging another
A whole crop of writhing sunrises
Pleading insanity

As if the clowning were trivial
The combining convivial
Too many adverbs for my taste
Give me action or give me breath

You know, I could be trolled
By anxiety, whacked by whimsy,
But I’d like to choose otherwise
And pretend it’s destiny

Sweet, stinking destiny
Are you with me?

Summer, then

Surfing the faint, tireless breeze
Music from a distant park
The last half-hearted song
Of the sparrow
Fireflies like paper lanterns
In a far-away twilight

Long before conditioned air
In the hot, moist summer
Even clocks stopped running,
Too slow to mark
The interminable hours,
The memories, the sweat

Whole eternities passed
In the too long days
Of the too short summers
So entirely gone

There is no stylus so precise
As to record the passage of a soul
From one moment to the next