Friday, February 28, 2014


Inspired by Cocteau
and Satie
music like day dreams
of the snow

From Darius Milhaud
and Louis Durey
playing themes
on violin,piano and cello.
( for Nelly Sachs in Memoriam)

Running from a dismal
place for the sun
in this execution den
when forms of persecution
had begun
in divers ways
finally but not out of place
your name is
shamed in a forgotten face
on rows upon rows
in a full furnace
life goes on
in human disgrace.

Hidden in academic lairs
Keynes and Strachey
sit in their wicker chairs
with chips on their shoulders
relax in unanimous chatter
over an economy's chart,
with grapes to their lips
covering up the latest gossip
telling us who really matters,

Too taxed today to tell about
their anonymous enemies
from their mind's full well
in a future biography's page,

Joined by Clive Bell
playing his engaged part
as modern art's scalpel
in his significant form,

When the Woolfs' depart
beginning to show their age
their shared words
scatter brilliantly
in the arbitrary weather
for another literary storm
becoming all the rage.

Thursday, February 27, 2014


When in Polynesia
jumping ship
composing Typee
as if in amnesia
or in a dare
voyages wave you on
for worship to nature
in a far country
over the South Seas air,

You too it seems were
Ishmael in exile of land
who could turn tail
at the drop of God's hand
when he sees the whale
and all his dreams fail,

You were there
as a scrivener in an office
in the city world of business
you confess like Bartleby
when you cannot cope,

With Billy Budd on the ocean
may cry out for a kiss
instead of a rope
for Melville's novels
swim in words of abyss
yet metaphoric hope,

At first unappreciated
in his early diaries
full of conflicted religiosity
later biographies
he pleases Jesus
then skeptically curses
demeaning apocalyptically
all his own life's atrocities,

Now Melville hangs
in his sarcophagus coffin
interred in his darkness
of blasphemies,
who turned original sin
into as a fulfilled athiest
not on a whim,
but as discipline
from a Calvinist like this
in his chapter and verse
sang his own miracle hymn,

We still desire to visit you
often thrilled by
this poet's profound way
of expressing our despair
smitten by your travel fire
on a journey to get away
yet your oracles and curse
do not soften us to this day
as we tarry here.


Practicing piano and violin
gives me musical peace
a Bach partita solo,
Stravinsky sonatas,
or from the opera Thais,

Facing an audience
remembering every note
sitting or standing
erasing the silence
with an arpeggio's quote.


At an early time
in sorry sightings
I knew my task
was to sum up
the age
in story and writings,
a poet is strange
so why ask
to be understood
by my language host,
this is a good friend
as spirit and ghost
who take off my mask
why do I pretend
or boast,

My muse
refuses to be lethargic
without courage or limit,
on earth and space
waging his diction,
to complete the race
with grit and grace
in aesthetic fiction,

Here at my critic's pace
an actor on every stage
cross a star's heaven
in wind and cloud
with theatrical acumen
locate my literary shroud,
and close the page,

Passing arbitrary leaven
with so much fun
over the crowd and masses
from a logical phenomenon,

Linking up with those poets
who gravitate to the past
or current avant-garde,
allowing every murmur
of fear and trembling
to haunt me as Kafka
or Kierkegaard,

outside this globe's stage
with a possibility of rumor
orating with a fearful
Shakespearian rage,
my hour disses
now dismisses with a beer,
into this abyss of a cage
and manage
a last spent kiss,
with some class
on this creator's last page,

we will expect to wink at you
in Russian- American humor
from the globe's stage
and proudly drink
a glass of kvas
to poetry's homage.


Would your belle lettres
be understood today
or would the censors
ask for a solitary stay
for your life style,
yet Chopin corresponds
as any great composer
art its own pretender
and there is no denial
that he has chosen her
as his concerto plays
its solitary notes
from gesture and gender
he is no sickly poseur
to George Sand's heart,
for culture is a contender
for his lover's quotes
in a romantic two- way part.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014


Eating a pear
touched by sunshine
Flaubert smiles to himself
with a glass of wine

Every phrase has style
aesthetic words in line
birds pass over this oasis
darkness in decline.


When we are young
and soak up
the sun and rain
and even walk on ice
with guitars for peace
posters for justice
with every good refrain,

Then in the park and woods
as seasons age as stars
and spring welcomes
its birch trees,
our love compacts run away
as in a breeze of alabaster,

We will read you
and not cease
until we have understood
on our moving knees
the Russian master.


Who would have believed
in the twenty first century,
you Gogol, of all people
called a dwarf at school
and worse,
who wrote about a nose
and overcoat
would now be the most cool,
you who wrote a literary
"Diary of a Madman,"
cursed and burnt
his manuscript
licked with thoughts of Hell
and reactionary tool
is now a comic rebel
once laughed at
as a holy fool
now with elan and publicity
you,yes you,Gogol ,rule.

By choice Chekhov
felt language as speech
between souls

in countryside walks
by sky and under trees
as sunlight reaches
from the Black Sea
reading Goncharov
at Turgenev's knee,

in a voice
with stream
of consciousness
only dreamed of by Joyce.

This political prophet
expects the supernatural
in church-state alliances,
even suspects
natural socialism's profit
to be dismantled
as social sciences,

The Decembrists taught
you well from your ego
by the bell tower,
even in the Siberian snow
you fell for a flower.


Scenting the birches
of two centuries
spring is like resin
the days are uneasy

the country house
has no visitors
yet enough light
to write by the doors

A letter from Henry James
to correspond with
a warmth by the fire
better be undisturbed

Remembered Flaubert
at a cafe in Paris
James called him a votary
devoted and not embarrassed

for a novelist takes care
of every phrase to control
in hazy margins he dares
to reveal the sins of a soul.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014


I read you
when the lamps
go out
bound to your novels
with silence
in transparency's doubt.

Vast shore outlines
on the vine's abyss
in your belle-lettres
as the past is mist

over the earth-wise
on sand green leaves
we know a bird's cry
and a lean word grieves.


When dawn
by the Gulf breath
tames its waves
bodies fall from skies
you salt their graves

With veils of words
as sad mourning clouds
capturing the names
of hunters and fishers
in pale swan shrouds,

Weep to save a lost bird
in troubled rain
from the bridge's crowds
by a sail's yawn,
keep us, Hart Crane
in unbowed knowledge
from the faults of death.


I found myself at a free lecture
about Hobbits and the Rings,

this ardor of fantasy literature
has its own peculiar kings,

its Arda and middle earth
with Tolkien's serious philology,

and I am deliriously taken in
by this culture's rebirth trilogy.


Four loves to humanity
eros and charity
under your cross,
you write with clarity
and not indifference
or disparity to impress
you have retold Bunyan's
Pilgrim's Progress,
and to express Dante's
manifold creation's story,

From outer space novels
man also fails his idolatry
and in his brilliant rants
in Screwtape Letters
about the human race
we are no betters,
in Narnia and other tales
humans are but two-faced
and in the Great Divorce
a bus from 'Purgatory'
without a chance in Hell
to Heaven's glory,of course.


You were traditional
in your passion
once Bohemian
as is a poet's fashion

Form and formal
in your time of promise
Orphic yet so normal
yet no doubting Thomas

Loved by Tom Gunn
and John Wain
critics know your life
was not in vain.


On New England's
small acre
I read your
"Mind of your Maker,"

we scan your creation
of detective stories
in brilliant ratiocination
with Lord Wimsey's follies,

in all library stations we find
your rewarding Divine Comedy,
now you are too translated
beyond living parody and folly.

Monday, February 24, 2014


We reach out
as enthusiasts
savoring a poet's life
as our own mirage's past,

Enamored of your words
in a Spanish language journey
a memory will not vanish
attuned to courage.


Reading your diary
insights like plums
tasting at your table
even the crumbs,

Cesare reaches the valley
in a solo book world apart
searching from a poet's galley
to take your own life to heart.

Meditating with Davie
yet convulsed by the age
in the not so gentle
English academic halls
we turn over a page,

Burning with your Muse
to inflame words on fire
unraveling language
as a lily flower,
your glance rises
with a gentle desire
for a dance of the hour,

With proverbs
mounting over
each creation's stage 
(in experimental
with a traveler's wish
not to age,

Yet to be cast
from small iconic fragility
and last beyond
your stations,
now you too are translated
beyond all used bookstalls
in hundreds of nations.


You make language
during the blitz night
soaking in your age
absorbed as light

With blood and energy
crossing straw and bricks
so many losses
in elegy and panegyrics.

Sunday, February 23, 2014


On wintry days
you sing to yourself
along the snow kissed Arbat
in enigmatic tenderness
for the clear exiled sun
bread rolled up
under your arms
with ripe fruit
scraping through
another Decembrist day
through acrobatic shades
of elemental vision
exhausted from trusting
the weightless shadow
of your last composition.

An effete poet chose
to live as an aesthete
his 20's generation
rose to war,not defeat

A nation's bodies scatter
from low or high society
stations do not matter
in a dead bones variety.

(For W.G. Sebald)

Sent to the East
never returning back
no one spoke of it
not the least Party hack

At the Gulag or Treblinka
no one passes a smile
history lags like a beast
on these snowy miles

The barracks are gone
where sister died
as a motionless swan,
no room on the ocean side

We cannot find her
in so much airy snow
searching everywhere
by a crushed doomed crow

Feeling a bit weird
here on this earth
watching a bird,
what are we worth?

There is only death
without a kin of hope
even to wash
dousing potato skin soap,

We know the powers
of the ruling states
for God's sake,flowers
on a faceless fate?


Pop or high culture
wears its own mask
as it merges and mixes
in its own bees wax,

What drones it swallows
in mass media's hive
with buzzing tone sounds
on loan for tomorrow's dive.


Those Augustan influences
especially the satirical Pope
through Yeats and Auden
desired AD Hope to be modern

Witty intelligence and elan
of the gracious Australian
in poetic brilliance of his age
the critical language gentleman.


A Muse on the literary side
decides on a mark of the Beast
chooses the Spanish military
riding with a vanished priest,

He expects no Loyalist loss
from dark pain and trouble
won't connect a double cross
in Republican or Royalist rubble

Campbell prefers a Marian lyric
to glory in a sectarian story
in civil war, it's only Pyrrhic Victory
retelling an Orwellian history.

Saturday, February 22, 2014


No pleasure wakes
without scant survival
from erasures to take
granted in a poet's revival

You know nature's faith
to rejoice in God's outback
in this voice of Australia
there is no failure to track.

Following Marlowe
he told us not to lie
but risked his life
for gold was in his eye

His death was formal
in Elizabethan times
the tower for a man
with political crimes.


In the 30's poetry bin
everyone held a Party Card
Pound heard in Rapallo
on the radio like a bard
yet swearing in theories
which made his solo line
of politics and economics
sound crazy
yet his poetry divine.

With TS. Eliot's sound ear
he is able to make his place
like Lancelot
among his peers
yet around the round table
there was a King Arthur
a rival for a poem's loyalty
the estranged well known Pound
like a pretender to the throne
plotting to change the thunder
of "The Wasteland"
scribbling on
Eliot's first poetry paper,
wanting him as a protege
among pagan dry bones
to reign in a Hades underground,
yet a new Vivienne as a lover
the lady Valerie, Eliot's defender 
appears on Royalty's scene
like a wonder woman Guinivere
who is under cover as a queen.

Friday, February 21, 2014


Those passing in chatter
over private plays
gone public
as an involvement
to speak in acts
and torpid scenes
of resentment against
downing st. speeches
against the exorcised
capital and labour
sickness in London's
moment in post war
theater confronting fiction
from Georgian left overs
of mouthing sentences
with sterility in movement
those lines of consciousness
emerge with conviction.

Thursday, February 20, 2014


to pierce the shadows
with reality
no make up
singes the scene
of a post war ego
to pocket our ironies
and nerve endings
from all the prey
of iconic pretense.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014


yet dangerous
if we really  exist

across the self-reproaches

of your extinct

twice removed footnotes

No pardon
or parsing street- wise
words, taking down
the reality in a web
with no fool's quick spell
abating in love
exchanging outlets
thoughts tempt a dialogue
of no doubting memory
nor escaping any obituary
falling for fame
when justice bars
your own interpretation.

Still life rains flowers
in death fragments
no indifference
on your chance
acts to ignorance
in acts of your art,
perceptive to the grave
at seminal arrangements
an absence of words
fills in tearful laughter
in terminal estrangements
at perspective, save
 what plays
after a metaphorical glance.

Face the lines
of leitmotifs and ask your
characters are not they
in the post-war films
suffering a stiff interrogation
of obligation to what
a century perceives
is human in humiliation.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014


Greyish clouds
close the day's wildness
syllables from Lolita
light up your repose
a light rain
in Northampton
gives way
to a casual sun
by hapless fields
of blueberries
your expression
beguiles a tenuous
teaching hour.

Monday, February 17, 2014


You listen for memory
breathing in words
as if by glistening snow
we become enraptured
in all mystery
by a hint of spring
we cling like birds
captured on branches.


What new spirit
of buildings you erect
with the elan
from a dreamwork
of clippings
made you the archetype
of an architect.

Sunday, February 16, 2014


Justice's mortal embrace
to help make peace,
Muriel Rukeyser's choice
as a political ambassador
and polemical adviser
her voice was prayer
in a critic's poetic grace
we are more than wiser
for a world without war.

Saturday, February 15, 2014


a night
of Bach's French Suites
dry throated
inveterate echo
in a silver age.

On a West End bench
reading you,
later you became
a life long friend
with every book ending
you were campy
before camp,
so why the pretending.


The city dresses us up
with a snowy windshield
the lost operatic tenor
rehearses his lines
anxious to get to his
operatic rehearsal
watching bewildered birds
on a church window
hoping the Prague spring
will last longer
than our Mozart miniature
on my prewar piano.

I cannot run
from you
even at a marathon
you are with me
in Grecian splendor
seeking freedom
from drawn nature
whether in Spain
or in Canton
with warrior's bane
around you
my cap goes flying
if not for the poet
the world is abandoned.

A Blakean angel
dreamed with me
on a romantic underground
by lovers of freedom
on the tall grass
and with an anarchist kiss
washing sartorial heavens
to ask the skywriters
for a time capsule
of universality.


The light Fauves
on the easiest sun
wishes hang
on your horizontal frame
as a colored canvas
of fragmented complexity
with monochromatic colors
loving your "Violin and
and imagining the poet
Saint-John Perse
reading you "Order of birds."

Friday, February 14, 2014


Few expect to view
genius on their own
so are renewed
by reviewing art or music
outside their home
those respectable
set apart with pride
choose such audiences
in stride
as an unknown genius stood
in their midst and died.

Far from the nameless
far side of history
there was a vast shame
in the age's trajectory
even the religious
had no less blame,
yet a man sure of voice
when a choice became clear
as government dictatorship
requires its scam
by giving out its stars
on coats for the damned,
culture was a mad veneer
even dissenter collaborators
could not worship,
only fear,
as Hitler's supporters
prefer to steal the art
of Rembrandt and Vermeer,
yet there was a loss
in the double cross
who found strength
in the cost.


Asking a tenor sax
to play on the boulevard
for a few francs
during your occupation
by your colorful prints
and masks
of blue and gold,
how sad in a notice
during your collaboration,
announcing your paintings
with a no thanks, undersold.


An exhibit of Kokoschka
subjected out of breath
of butterfly colors
gathering glass
of pumice and ice 
a mix of bougainvillea
intoxicated with light.

We leave the movie
with Minnelli, York
and Gray
here under the stars
by a street corner marquee
in our neighborhood
thinking of any good
in Weimar back then,
here dreams too dry up
as belly dances and songs
overturn the pens and lines
from Hollywood's own children.


Great red parables
as marbles
in an uncapped canvas
cadavers of dead hair
in the elevators of air
a strangled sunset
in a regretted image
engraved as shade
in the embodied
hand prints
on forearms
into stone faces.

History like a play
can change in any act
in summary execution
from an understudy
or an inconvenient error
as in the denoument
of a political revolution,
as an ormolu sky
suddenly will have snow,
Robespierre with dreams, 

as an innocence of Rousseau
until the reign of terror,
sometimes French rolls
simply fall from the table
like a couple of napoleans
devoured in creams.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Smooth Jazz
has a dizzy discovery
with sax improvisations
making our love tremble
in a night's echo.

1. The day before the Anschluss
2. Frau D with her cat
3. A Jewish gentleman dines in a hotel dining room
4. Announcement of a Mahler concert
5. A man speaks of the nobility of the soul
6. A woman writes in her diary of her beloved.
7. A Jesuit changes his suit.
8. A Jewish doctor saves a life.
9. Luger, the former antisemitic mayor has his picture put up.
10. " I told my neighbor,go to America, Russia or Palestine. Good luck."
11. "It says in the paper quoting Herr Hitler, Conscience is a Jewish
12. It's no time to dance.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014


1938 The Landsmann daughter
         Julie put in her final piece
         of her doll house
         a miniature of a green sofa

1939  The doll's house removed
          by a neighbor

1940  Sold to a collaborator
          in Rotterdam
          by a Nazi soldier
          for his daughter
          at Christmas

1941   Transferred to another
           by a transit station

 1942   Delivered by an art dealer

 1943  Missing

 1944  Located in Vichy France

 1945 Found by an American G.I.

  1946  The doll's house
            with the green sofa sold
            to a New York City pawnbroker

   1948   Julie, the only survivor
              of the Landsmann family
              walks by a doll's house
              and notices the green sofa
              yet cannot bare to enter
              the shop or come back

Monday, February 10, 2014


on geometric lines
fearsome columns
in the clear lines
of your working time
by airless windows.

Explicit human head
in the shade
I'm bespectacled
by my own melancholic
hovering over you
in exquisite stone
of modernity.

A cadence
of stone
"The Thinker"
outside the white hair
engulfed by time
on slender stands.

Eye forms
on your water colors
history reveals
its monstrous reality
the distrust of nature,
even our own.

Saturday, February 8, 2014


Taking a sparrow's flight
from the day's abyss
leaving a tiny flower
to save a rain kiss
on your Amherst grave
at this Maypole hour
before nightfall,
at tomorrow's downpour
you will certainly not miss
being consoled or recall
when my once brave shadow
first turned away.  


What noon light resounds
in your grain of speech
a language almost French
in exposure
here as an adolescent
on a bench of pleasure
finding you by Brattle St.
from a used bookstore
not alien to scent
pain or pleasure.


Days seek out each other
in their accomplishment
moments of nature
cannot run of words
nor whispers by rain
on stones of a monument
still the sky offers clouds,
we do not step over
any handiwork which remains.

Justice here searches
in the haze
on the Boston Common
near strangely familiar ice
by revolutionary graves
of the invisible sun
we recognized a bird
fallen twice from branches
in the cold unaltered pond
watching its wings
pulse like your love for words.

Friday, February 7, 2014


Enlightened in cubism
your sculptural voids
of sliced stone
on a visitor's day
to the Metropolitan
a winter sun admits me
wrapped in snow
to view the bronzed
untangled in my praise.


A moon's eye opens
the Factory by daylight
as a runaway sleeps
on Andy's doorway
in a muscle shirt
wounded in 1966
from too many shots
in a shoeless artist pose
with his eyes circled
dresses and shaves
because life tells Andy
art is more about souls
and the dead sky
cannot speak
of a police state
a kid expects to die
in a used overcoat
near the cherry bomb politics
with a No Parking sign
over his sleep housed apparition.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

(1901 -1973)

Out of Bloom
and Bloomsbury
before the Appeasement
when the government
and public school
started to lose
their private achievement,
Joyce nearby
disturbed literature
uniting the suburban
with an Irish proletarian voice
handing in their culture
on a silver platter
with Pernod
and the morning papers
showing a showy profit
once thought prophetic
now going all sectarian,
what does it really matter
it's all fellow traveling
W. H. with a peripatetic wink
calling everyone "mother",
"It's time for another drink"
from your sunken braided face
longing for the American sun
to set in a cold Icelandic space.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014


My brother
in harshness of bones
in wintry sleep housed
it was this way
beginning in the Fall
at the silent hours,
a cry from an oven bird
of solitude
was heard on the ash tree
the woods
in the Black forest
a sackful of skeletons
hungry and young
on a Fool's Day
and full of ordinary blood.


A poet self exiled
from Germany
once a citadel
of musical Kultur
undaunted in banishment
from the Assyrian hordes
on horseback
breaching the walls,
then one sunny
but pitiless day
a new mortuary
long in the making
of twenty centuries,
with dens cohabited
by finger printed
and appointed guards
with Party cards
a den of iniquity built up
branch by leafless branch
by half -baked historical
and rhetorical beasts
recalled by outfaced thugs
"National Socialism"
stashed and cashed
with trilling criminals
by closed
undisclosed windows
breathing out terrible air
of murderous rhetorical ink
on the very brink
of Moloch fires and ash,
Ilse, your voice sipping
from the same cup
of bitterness
drunk by the nations
culminating in tragedy
by deliberate
death chambers,
you escape a buried spot
in the somber winds
of Jerusalem.

Sunday, February 2, 2014


Footfalls of grassland
to hear you read,
a doctor of nature
by crippled waters
even sunshine may walk
in a frieze of ourselves
by an elegy
at the bluest water
still speaks beside you.


They have knocked
you about
collaborators, thieves,
enemies of your light
in the quiet of your house,
yet you never slip away
from your smooth canvas
though your nascent memory
drifts like wind,sun and dust
between international eyes.


Papa Haydn
reaching out in harmony
welcoming your children
thrusting our hands
from breathless timpani
and first violins
on your tall shoulders
playing "The Farewell"
inclining your voice
surging from the symphony.

A blanket of angels
blue,grey and white
across the sky
from heavy clouds
from pale Vitbesk
surprising us
from sudden sunlight
tiny children
whose black eyes
wish only to reach
Jacob's ladder
from wider sorrows.

Your origin
like mine
of my mother's
Sephardic side
you entered
the world of art
hidden in the crucifxion
of your Zion time.


Posters of liberation
in tongues startled
over Paris
there is an artful face
in the typed out verse
to embarass
those who collaborate
with a death fervor
of the flesh made
crammed in universe
with bodies as stone
taking another century
to atone.


The disappeared
granted a return
a respite from pain
with fervor and favor
making a solitude
in a grain of words
close to your hands
on time to recall
your metaphors
in all the sorrow and joy
of tomorrow's nest
in the alleys and fields
of the city's neighbors
and countryside poor
as sparrows and birds
rest,Neruda, rest.

An echo still heard
in unceasing wind
as if the first ray
tracing the sun
never singed or shined
on the snowy hands
over Mayfair England

Morning radio jazz
not Charlie Parker
after a sleepless
vision of dead letter files,
a golden retriever
losing his walker
on an unexpected gazebo
in a photograph
at Brighton as a bird
hovers by
a ditch water sea

No city speech
is ever a body language
of an cursory speaker
announcing a bank holiday
shadowing forth
his all-out optimism
as he ends his day
at a three star hotel
in a medley
of ill composed lyricism
as a bar tender
name Karaoke Tuesday
a former soccer player
who changed his sex
for his social affectation
passes out poppies.

Saturday, February 1, 2014


Reach for a ripened tree
to honor him
for the pulsing time
we hear the last leaf
by the spare rod
at Soweto
covered with memory
with freedom anointed
on the consummate ground.

In the presences
of cities
by angels
posing as strangers
by stammering dreams
of hungry cihildren
and adolescent revolt
by waterstones
breathing in the body
of fire consumed
by mirrors and monuments
to Paz.