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At the Concert

There! He’s one of the first onstage! A less disheveled crowd than usual . . . Under those lights he probably can’t see us. His son took his place on the top row of risers. . . . sheepishly enduring the scattered applause until the other choristers had filed on. The conductor is grey-haired. A . . . . Continue Reading »

War Games

Summertime on Mama Bell’s back stoop,it always started with someone saying, “Your mama don’t wear no drawers”—school kids playing the dozens— and we’d fall over laughing, pretending to look up some lady’s skirt, until a boy would say, “Well, your . . . . Continue Reading »


Up and down the oneway streets of houses huddled deep and close together, sycamores, live oaks brace up to the concrete, break through, their dark roots surfacing, disrupting the order of a New Orleans neighborhood. A block away the laughter, the games belong to black . . . . Continue Reading »

Olive Bed

“There was a bole of an olive tree with long leaves growing Strongly in the courtyard, and it was thick, like a column. I laid down my chamber around this.” The Odyssey, Book XXIIIWhere but in bed does the world begin. Where man and woman know, like children. By touch and taste, by gentlest . . . . Continue Reading »

Victory Near the Plaza

“Sherman Led by Victory” Is a St. Gaudens statue, A cast-bronze allegory. With Victory as a woman Pulling his horse’s bridle Out of a sculptor’s stable. Leading him off the pedestal Into a bronze fable. I used to think Sherman A beautiful . . . . Continue Reading »

When Lilacs Shake

Now, in April, when lilacs shake in gusts of rain, the crown-like buds Waving thick and green on sceptre tips, I ask myself: What have we been. We two curled tight in winter’s dark? And when lilacs fully unfurl themselves. Their heart-shaped leaves. Their fragrant . . . . Continue Reading »

Careless Flying

I I have been considering the ravens, who live without worrying and have no bins or barns And have no reaping machines. Yet they are fed well—their bodies sleek, gloved in black silk. With what a minor tempest They startle and settle, yet they are the poets of motion. Like folk songs their . . . . Continue Reading »


the wind's blown stars to powder in the sky's blueso the morning's pale and clear, soft as breath,those are storms' leavings,these horizons swept clean.      we fill, we empty      we connect and retract      and sometimes each dream, every cell  . . . . Continue Reading »

An Old Radio in Atlantic City

It drew people to it like a fire,The needle floating up and down its dial,Fishing for the news. It was a horror house,A band-stand, Europe in flames,A dummy and his master.AmongThe cloudy mirrors and calendars,The radio knobs are toys now,The beasts have been dragged out;No tankers hug the coast at . . . . Continue Reading »

She Turned to Me

She turned to me one night as if to say: “I know.” And though I waited for her words as we Walked along the outside path of cobblestones And grass, her eyes instead made effort to Explain her inner thoughts and fears. Pain, I knew she’d meant to share aloud. Had . . . . Continue Reading »

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