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“…to the last syllable of recorded time.”

copyHeath Ledger’s Joker performs Macbeth’s “Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow…” for a captive and humiliated Batman at the most recent iteration of Cherie Peacock’s Shakespeare Party, held at the La Mesa home of Tim and Roisin O’Neill.

Two Short Poems about the Pacific Ocean

Nagoya, Japan, 1987
After college I was hard struck
with a severe bout of wanderlust.
I went East (directionally, west)
and there, with a kind of luck,
found that truth is yonder, rust
eternal, but the present blessed.

Bellevue, Washington, 1988
At dusk, I’d sit on the back porch watching bats flit
through the trees, which they never seemed to hit.

Two More Short Poems About Animals

Don’t Stir Up the Dust!
On the savannah, a spindly-legged,
galloping camelopard
dwarfed a nearby zebra, who begged
her not to trammel so hard.

So Not Happening at the Zoo
You’ll have to forgive the elephant,
if his manner seems a bit brusque:
imagine a runny nose in that trunk,
let alone a toothache in his tusk!

Burrito

burritoBurrito, bolus in my belly, fire in my breast. My dinner, my doom. Boo-rree-toh: the trill of the tongue wrapped before and behind by the osculating opening of the lips. Boo. Rree. Toh. It was lengua, stewed lengua, in the middle, morsels melting from meat to stock. It was beans and rice below. It was salsa de tomate on top. But in the tortilla it was all a Burrito.

Sext

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Park No Park

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I don’t often drink sazeracs….

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But when I do*, I make sure my Ticonderoga is good and sharp.

*21st Amendment, French Quarter, New Orleans, October 2013

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Upstate, a weekend away from college,
Your roommate’s sister joined our coterie –
What boys define as men. With foliage
For fashion, the sunlight fading early
Became her figure’s fugue – so perfect, picturesque
In autumn, earthy, delicately picaresque.

The camera, tomorrow says, can’t lie:
About her marble skin, her hair a nest
Of robin’s wings – her emerald eyes rely
Upon arresting candor, prepossessed
As bees that flirt with failing thorn and dying rose –
But stuck in time, she strikes an adolescent pose.

Each minute, yesterday replies, construes
The truth of lies and strips from silks to flesh
What Madison Ave. only rues
But cannot refute. Context’s textile mesh
Imbeds in memory the silken worm of love,
But head cajoled the heart – till both could not believe

The evening air, so sharp and tang with leaves
In burning piles somewhere beyond the light
Of bonfires. Flame’s dancing logic still gives
Her face the look of truth while smoke and night
Still infiltrate her sweater’s cabled virgin wool:
It’s cold. She shivers, holds her hands in twilit fall –

And suddenly she looked at you across
The flame. You’d nursed your whisky flask to death;
Your eyes surmount their diffidence and toss
A glance her way. October steals your breath –
But dropping hands, she lets her eyes return to earth.
You wonder now what mocking god had given birth

To time and seasons. Heading back to school,
You thought about what could have been. You saw
Her once again – a final time – the cool
Of autumn giving way to winter’s raw
Emotion. Bundled up, she walked the whitened quad,
Her eyes as green as ever. Wink had passed by nod,

Your mute and shared admission fall occurred
At all. You turned to watch her slip away
Through snow that fell across the campus, blurred
Her lines, and failed to capture or portray
What, later, flying colors testified with lens
And film: that time and seasons hold no circumstance

With beauty’s rising smoke that, metal-blue,
Had veiled the milky spray of stars back then
When whiskey, fall and fire were all you knew –
Her fickle fame and fey adrenaline
Were waiting for the future, undeveloped prints
That cozened marketplace collateral. But since

That time, her rites of spring draw out modesty
In pencil skirts; her winter duffle makes
Its quilt-lined obsequies; her summers free
Bikini, brief and thong. But memory speaks
At last and turns the page to whiskey, fall and fire. You learn
For the first time: she’s autumn smoke, an ache, that burn

Of pure emotion, spilling now like ink
Across the colored capture, blotting out
The years, renewing face and form. To think
You knew her once so young. Without a doubt
Her eyes retain that fabled age of innocence –
What took J.Crew’s fall preview to experience.

Paging Dr. Percy

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“English poetry and biology should be taught as usual, but at irregular intervals, poetry students should find dogfishes on their desks and biology students should find Shakespeare sonnets on their dissecting boards. The latter, upon reading upon her dissecting board, ‘That time of year thou mayst in me behold when yellow leaves, or none, or few do hang’ might catch fire at the beauty of it.”

— Walker Percy, “The Loss of the Creature”

Hermeneutics of Hygiene: A Squeeze of the Hand-sanitizer

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