Tuesday, December 23, 2008

*Poem: Blessed*


"Is Jesus still alive?" my niece whispers to my sister,
unconvinced by the pomp and ribbons
of the decorated tree before us,
o holy night carollers trembling song,
dark-robed minister and his simple good grin.
"He was a good man, and that's
why we celebrate his birthday,"
is my sister's ecumenical reply.
We have talked about this, and agree about
the man, the story, the not believing.
I am not guilty as this litany assumes,
wasn't born bad, have not gone,
owe no apology to some Great White Father King,
but the congregants recite,
in the glow of electric popcorn balls,
30-watt savior device in the popsicle creche,
their apologies.

My nephew and niece are invited to the menagerie,
handed a small stuffed donkey, plaster lamb
to add to the crowd in attendance at the celluloid babe's cribside,
after the second hymn, second verse, O Little Town tonight.
They don't know the words,
and we are so distracted by the lights and burgundy and
gold on the tree tumbling into our laps
that they almost miss their cue.

Yes, Jaimee', there is a Jesus,
and he lives as surely as Christmas returns,
with or without the snow you missed,
without blame, even without faith,
He fills the pantry for the poor that
the minister says is bare already, only December.
He carries the souls of the suddenly light into the next act.
He lays in the bed of straw, patiently waiting for his attackers
to come with their gifts, to cover the earth in gold,
surround the barn in a cloud of frankincense,
lubricate his small limbs with myrr
for the sleep of
the peacemakers,
for they are blessed.

CAR 12-28-01

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

*Poem: "Love Wants To Be My Friend"*

Love Wants To Be My Friend

On MySpace I get an invitation--
Love wants to be my Friend.
After all these years Love
has been waiting for me,
browsing the Internet,
and comes across my intriguing profile.
Love wants to be my Friend, and
we should start as Friends, I think.
This time, we should go slow,
exchanging e-mails, MP3 downloads,
maybe a little YouTube if things
seem to be progressing.
Love wants to be my Friend, for once,
after all the angry breakups,
swearing off for good--
it seems Love wants to start up again.
I am ready this time.
I have my buttons before me.
All it takes is one finger
to block it all, delete Love
if things start to go awry.
Love wants to be my Friend,
and what the heck?
It's been a slow week.
I accept the offer,
and already I feel that old electric rush
coursing through the keyboard,
up through my fingertips,
into the light.

CAR 11/26/08

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

*Poem: "Thanksgiving"


Nibbling on crackled turkey skin for lunch,
delayed Thanksgiving roast on my own,
plenty of sage to make it right,
surprise of granny apple in the homemade stuffing,
of course I remember you, Ma,
and the smells, the good behavior, the heat
of the kitchen spilling into the open living room,
big olives pushed onto my fingers
imitating Buckingham guards,
pound of mushrooms shrinking to nothingness,
tiny pile of savory at plate's edge,
nuts we knew by a dirty name,
impossible to open, then not worth the trouble,
green olives settled for when the black ones were gone,
parade on TV featuring an occasional Long Island band,
though somewhere in New York was enough to satisfy,
balloons and early risers,
Betty White and Lorne Greene days,
sometimes cold, sometimes wet, and relatives dribbling in
to squeeze around the picnic table, our kitchen table,
sturdy and large and red and cheap,
crescent rolls left to burn, annual sacrifice,
yams from a can heated through before serving,
ours not a marshmallow family,
the pumpkin, the apple pies, the mincemeat tarts
apparently only you and I loved,
all covered, all pies with real cream, whipped
and sugared with a careful hand,
my mother's giant iron arms
handy for such a task.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

*Poem: "Paul Newman at the Dodge"*

This is my latest, and a work in progress (aren't they all?) Suggestions and feedback would be much appreciated-- CAR

Paul Newman at the Dodge

At the poetry festival, passing from tent to tent,
no umbrella, my sister calls.
Without cellphones, we'd have no news at all.
This morning she says Paul Newman is dead.
I am hardly surprised. We media mavens
saw the telephoto snapshots in the raceway pits--
this spring Paul Newman was gaunt, stooped, unhandsome.

In this antique toy woods occupied by
allied forces of spoken and written,
Paul Newman's death, much as my own,
will be just another writing prompt,
a place for odes to go when nobody's home.

The poets here in their dollar store hefty ponchos,
Ren-fest capes, elbow patched cardigans
will beat Paul Newman's cunning eyes blue,
hang every sentimental maxim they ever read off them,
his long, beefsteak marriage fodder for sonnets,
his carved beauty beside Jackie Gleason's
rotund gentility the stuff haikus are made of.

Didn't we all want to sleep with him?
Or told that we did, obediantly half-believing
until we saw for ourselves.
Drizzle in the woods pecks at the canvas rooves.
My date for the weekend goes off to hear
the academics and their sauntering poses.
Since Paul Newman and I aren't well acquainted,
Paul Newman, to me, is alive as he was last night,
and will be come suppertime.

With so many stars shot from the Hollywood firmament,
it's hard to believe Paul Newman lived this long.
My date and I crawl back to the motel after a day's
bombardment of memoirs, pithy quips, occasional truths,
and out of respect and morbid curiosity,
we turn the TV back on after lights out,
and CNN continues live coverage late into the night
of Paul Newman's death, and nothing changes,
not the photo montage, the few details repeated
in the crawl at the bottom of the screen.

Paul Newman's still dead, same film at eleven,
midnight, one a.m. and fo a moment we
look to each other from separate beds.
I don't know the color of my date's eyes.
His beard fades to red and grey in the morning.

Paul Newman could fuck the camera with those blue eyes.
We kept looking, hoping that perfect god
would descend from the multiplex altar
to fill us with his perfect, blue-eyed dick.
That's what we paid for.
The lengthy panoramas of sagebrush and bus stations
is when we people get to roll over, light up a smoke
(these gods encourage that sort of thing)
or run out to the bathroom, for popcorn.

The rain at the festival never ends.
There is no more Paul Newman for us to fuck,
but no less than most of us had before.
We blow out of Dodge when the big guns are empty.
We forego free mums, given by the organizers
to help clear the stage they've adorned all weekend.
We're like Butch and Sundance up on that cliff.
Where to from here? There's only one way down.
They, we, always decide to fly.

We like to believe we'll survive the fall, too,
make it to Mexico and the lucky senoritas,
soak up the sunshine and the tequila
under the blue skies over the border.

CAR 10/14/08

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

*Poem: "Strawberry, Unselfconscious"

Strawberry, Unselfconscious

Exposed, vulnerable to the expert tooth
of every unselfconscious,
the strawberry seed, much imitated part
in embroidery stitches, dabs of paint,
king berry al dente,
rides atop the mother fruit
for the coup, holding fire,

clings unselfconscious to the shiny skin,
sonar by the heart of stitches,
rides on the tongues of the
strawberry, passes its flesh through
ten other rabbits and men, dependent on
unselfconscious shortcake taker,
the patch green crew, portable,
part of the delicious strawberry experience.

Knolls exposed, vulnerable,
holding firm, unrinseable,
strawberry of paint nosh in embroidery,
strawberry barren, flesh tender or tart,
elves only ride atop,
dependent on picking
the shiny skin, woodchucks cling,
portable orgy, seasonal strides.

The strawberry passes itself on,
takes rages, meant through discount,
green crewcut hulls for handles,
raw berry equal to ides,
aces, unafraid (yikes!), no channel
through us, through the rabbits and woodchucks,
seeds on a tear, equal to the patch,
unafraid of electric discouragements.

The tracing knife, seeds on the outside,
one owl, alms freed of cream,
one on the counter, freed by the slicing knife,
plumber, some left in another,
several in the bowl, returned to other.
Under a memory of cream and sugar,
sun's harried heart, summer's tongue of straw,

some left in the farmer's palm,
shortcake or luscious stone,
returned to earth another spring,
the uncut hull, sun's harvest,
inseparable orgy, berry skirt,
another summer's harried heart.

CAR 9/13/07

*Poem: "Conquistador"


Now is the time for a cigarette,
but my asthma won't have it.

Before waking, the bathroom,
ears ringing before breakfast and

the treacherous course of the day,
again I fight so desperately, for what?

Again I scratch my sister’s chest,
red scrape, red gash, jealous apostrophe.

The pink scar shows in her prom pictures,
pink gown, red satin jacket

my mother made at the kitchen table,
sewn with the grey Kenmore

Santa brought her one year.
Again the necklace, shattered,

Shell hand-painted over Schaefers.
Again I press my ignorant, knowing body

against thin shower curtains.;
Again I drop straw hat, fedora pretender,

from the car on the way to the Catskills,
held out to feel the rush of the mountains.

Safe, awake now, no two points alike,
no phone chords connect my orange quilted throw

to the plaster conquistador lounging
in somebody's second-hand life.

CAR 5/3/08

Monday, November 10, 2008

*Poem: "Superstitions"


Say "rabbit, rabbit, rabbit" on the first of every month for luck,
or hold a buttercup under your chin.

If it reflects back yellow, you like butter.
Salt over the shoulder we brought to the table from Bugs Bunny,

and the fantasy that stale pepper from a tin could make you sneeze.
A bruise from a pinch could bring on cancer,

and dandelions gone to seed, then blown apart
could carry a wish to completion.

The first robin seen in spring had the same magic ability
as the first star each night, to grand any desire.

I never saw shooting stars until I laid among the rocks at Cragsmoor,
far from the expressway, the malls and international airports.

Over Ellenville, perched at the edge of the Borscht Belt,
faded to a TV test pattern, all that was left there were the stars

shooting like marbles across the play yard of the night sky.
An occasional plane below teetered into the landing field

where LBJ once landed, civil rights in his left pocket.
Blueberries at Sam's Point, sweet stars of June,

fenced in for safety now, on posted lands surrounding town,
bad luck no rabbit triplets can dislodge.

CAR 4/13/08


Well, better late than never, as someone said. I finally thought of a good reason to start a blog. I can post newspaper and magazine articles that I've recently written, and give more people access to them, especially those that live outside of the Hudson Valley area. I can also post recent, classic and seasonally appropriate poems. In other words, it'll be like my own little online press. And for you, Reader, it's free. It's great to be here in the 21st century.