Seclusion smells of grapes suffused with loss.
Its sweetened undertones seduce post-sunset.
Alone’s an acquired taste, like strong cigars.
She’s Pinot Noir once fruited, sugared in August
with hints of currant and cherry or raspberry.
Her sweet appeal first dances on the tongue
like Maduro smoke, swirled with brandy, refined,
but left to dry, ferment, until
acerbic, soured. Bitter wine is she,
Alone, to drink; and lord, is she a hard
damn mistress. Slips inside a paper bed
and slides herself betwixt your loins and licks
of cold. She sings of barriers from winter winds.
She lies, you know. Alone’s a whore who sleeps
with those naïve enough to call her name.
We feel her wet, cold breath, the bitter tongue
of her. She’s sexing us, keeping memories near
and friends at bay; attention hound is she.
She likes her drink, Alone, and so do I.
And in the winter winds, she needn’t share.
Was back in ’69, when first we met
outside a shabby bar near New Orleans,
my breath then fouled by a three-day binge
with Old Grand-Dad and good friends Jack and Jim.
Alone, she bid me sleep and concrete benches
sang their accommodations. Lay your head
to rest, she said; it fell, so gently on
her soft, left breast. Alone, she called herself
and stroked my dirty hair. Her sister, winter
winds, she would tuck me in with her, and love
we made that night – Alone, and me. She pledged
her faithfulness, to have (not hold) ’til death
would find her dancing on my grave down home.
I begged Alone to go away, but Jack
and Jim, they liked her company. And lord,
her sister winter’s lovely winds, they played
such lovely dirges; my dear, sweet bride Alone
looks so enchanting draped in widow black.
Been by my side these long, damned years, Alone.
And love we do, in solitude, Alone,
and me, forever.
David returned to the theater
of war Saturday night, an encore
performance held each weekend
in his small flat east of Broadway.
The show was held over, again,
his mind searching for peaceful Sundays.
There were once such days –
spent in Central Park with a dog too large for city life.
There were weekend friends abounding, and
hot, reckless nights of too many beers and the
shared cold-pizza morns that followed. Then
called to duty, no goodbyes,
proud to serve for God and country.
No time for curtain calls,
for gathering of roses (or bits of sanity).
Woke up one Marine Sunday,
shot two enemy combatants. Watched
a sixteen-year-old girl with lovely eyes
pull the pin
on a handmade grenade
and blow up his platoon leader.
(Plus bits of his best friend Stan.)
David shot her…
was home on Thursday.
Like clockwork, now,
David get wasted. Tries
to find the piece of himself
that didn’t make the trip home.
Stan was lucky …
he only lost his legs.
No Room on the Streets
“No room on the streets for no poets,
said she, with a look
that forbade drawing near.
“Your words, well-intentioned,
won’t give me no heat,
don’t bring me clean clothes,
bring nothing to eat,
and when you are gone,
and I am still here,
there’s plenty of company –
Darkness and Fear.”
She abandoned me
turned to the winds
alone save her hunger,
her duo of Friends.
Her raggedy, wrinkly, putrefied dress,
a shuffling, hunkering, tatter-full mess.
Legs twisted akimbo
back full of bends
life’s flowered beginning
now weeds as it ends.
“Don’t worry none dear boy,
‘cause I’ll be alright.
I’m hot in the daytime,
but cool in the night.
God always sings me to sleep
in the dark, well,
leastwise whenever I gets to the park.”
She turned ‘round the corner,
passed out of my sight
her prayerful eulogy
sounding just right –
a daytime of Darkness,
her Father at night.