20 November 2009

Better get inside the kingdom, and close the door

Lines on His 30th Birthday
~Everette Maddox

On a hill high above
the mild October day
I stand, heroic, hands
clasped behind my back,
as the last musket's
crack fades
and the smoke drifts away
from the place where the famous
Battle of my Youth was fought.

Who won? Who lost?
Who knows? My speech,
which I seem to have misplaced,
tells. Oh well:
myself and loves and grey
uniform were not among
the casualties, quite; though
a gold button dangles.

Now we'll bind the wounds,
free the slaves, and set up
(oh shrewdly!) a shrine
in the decaying mansion
of my body: post cards,
stuffed possums, and, out back,
whisky to be sold
such emissaries
from the glacial future
as have coin to spend.

One Day Out West
~Ralph Adamo

One day Jeremy woke up from a dream
in which James Dickey, Johnny Cash and Andrew Warhol
had spoken to him in the form of a siren chorus,
gowned and balanced on a ballbearing rock off the coast
of stormy San Francisco where he had been asleep
not more than a few minutes before Harmony
had gripped onto his legs and was about to drag him
down to the center of the earth when

Johnny sang "The earth is two foot deep"
and andy sang "and flat"
and James sang "But love
might put an end to that."

Wow, Jeremy said and he woke up in time to see
Marsha, in her pink robe,
looking out of the window.

It Was the Fifth Circumnavigation
~Ralph Adamo

I try to be a human being.
I've been taught plenty.
A kid with crooked teeth
learns to listen.
I've tried to be a human being.
I've made assignations at wakes.
I've borne the ticks gorged on mere possibility.
I've thought it was later than it was.
If I miss the point
a note is left
explaining it. I fly
higher than it
and through it.
I've seen murders fail to happen
tapping my fingers.
Whatever of mine gets stole gets
brought right back.
In my whole life
I never saw a thief.
Don't ask me about the storms I've slept under.
When I sleep
I need it.
Me and the things that have tried to kill me
we were joking perhaps?
There are women who bring us ancient dreams.
We're fooled.
We think the dreams are ours and begin.

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