Saturday, November 28, 2015


      Graffiti Slouches Toward Salem

Commuter Rail rattles toward Chelsea, Lynn,
Swampscott. It was in Ipswitch, north of Salem, 
Lionel Chute and son James switched nations, 
emigrating from Dedham, County Essex, in 1634. 
Along the tracks houses turn their backs. We 
pass junk-packed yards and storage sheds. On 
the right, in a ragged marsh, beds of cat-tails 
stand stiff in their washed-out winter shades. 
The train ducks beneath an overpass, rises, 
passing boarded second story glass windows.
Taggers with their spray cans, like busy dogs, 
have had their say on blank walls with cryptic
abstract designs — on walls above shore wrack 
left by social tides for art abhors a vacuum. 

(Lionel's great grandson, Thomas  moved to Maine in 1735.)

Thursday, November 5, 2015

What Can Poems Be About?

           Universal-Rundle Aqua-Flush (3.8 Lpf *)

Many have said "Anything may be the subject
of a poem" — well — In the curved chrome polish 
of the urinal's universal valve my
reflected face is twisted to a fun-house grin. 
In the deepening pool a candy wrapper spins

reminding me of rats tested for memory 
in water made opaque with milk swimming,
seeking the small rest platform the rising flood 
concealed. The forgetful circle, scrabbling the slick 
stainless steel tub 'till a gloved hand comes down

to save them before they drown while the rats
that remember where the rest platform was
rest and wait until God, in his write lab coat,
shuts off the flow, drains the flood. Wet rats shake. 
The discarded candy wrapper relives it's fate. 

* 3.8 liters per flush