the last poem

pipeline in flood

at the end,
i don’t know that we are any better off.

the rains have stopped
and everything green
is growing, but we still don’t
have travel plans,
and tomorrow is anyone’s guess.

the squirrels got the first
strawberries, and the red
rose is set
to open its first blooms
any day now.

i got through without owing in taxes.
i can hear church bells
with the front door open.
sometimes you return my texts.
some nights we sleep like lovers.

it is the first of May,
and the river calls.
you told me yesterday: three
cars tumbled in, spilling
crude somewhere

upstream. i don’t know
if it was a result
of the storms, or
our negligence.
it will reach here,

they say, but not when.

Sitting

close-legged in the James Center Starbucks i

channel my inner alchemist writing

molecules into dreams

and posing painfully

as another drip in the puddle

of humankind, my best sad delusions

melting into visible air breathed

over a single blade of grass

crowned with a frozen halo,

a

yearning or a universe trapped

there in the mud beside a stream

that flows where herons stalk

lost summer and only the

indigent and the inspired

tread the river-paths. The truth is i

love this place not two skips

from hell’s half-acre but

sometimes, lost in the ebb and curve

between railroad tracks and

monogrammed yesterdays i

wonder if the whisper

of the Devil can still be heard

above the hum of the wi-fi;

if those who sojourn in the

Burnt District of this

numbed century still

feel its scars and its sunderings

although

some things it seems haven’t

changed at all: men

are still shaped

by the subjects they should have learned

in grammar school and poets

still prefer windows and the

real truth of it is, i guess,

that here where the trains slow

and the James flows on uncomplaining,

herons have always stalked

lost summers, and ice,

like mankind’s worst

delusions, will always

melt

one sad drop

at a time.

 

at the river’s side

a rumbling screech in the background troubles
the stillness in its flow.  stalwart reeds stand their
ground in the eddies; beer cans
litter the pools.  rock breathes its heat
up through my skin, siphoning off pain dammed
for decades and centuries: graffitied faces and
iron piercings, a railroad’s refuse. i pour my salt
water soul back into her drop by sad sticky drop,
the miracle of rushing waters salving both our
senses, smoothing our edges while a
midday heat hunkers down, sodden
steaming blanket with an odor of regret.