Saturday, July 9, 2011

How Long You Have Been Drifting*

Circe 590

in providential matters

we find our way home together

this evening

on horseback

we sat at the shoulder of princes

and made our way sober

through the hanging streets of nighttown

past unheeded drownings in the gloomy goings-on around us

past a laughing leer or two

as we make our way

up on to the scaffolding where

the wind blows by and songs are made

after the somewhere hearses race by and the

cars and the towngirls all fold with grief

after the eye is blind with drink and old gods

we land and in landing,

lift our spirits home.

Circe 591

I believe in the hand of mirth

as handy as any belief can be

breathing in stars

all covered in sand and chips

night closes in

my money broken

my heart in my hat

outside our plight is dropped

in awkward mournful reply

mute we pantomime

the morning's arrival

we stand on the corner

jingling change in our pocket

a stray thumb getting us where we live

and lifting us, just a tiny bit.

We rendezvous with the dead

and they harness us with caution

as we join the gloom.

Circe 592

What is seen in the morning trash:

an apple core, cut in a perfectly shaped cube

obviously executed by educated hands

irresolute in gratitude

this perfect vampire

this name you call hurt

stretched taut a pound of shoulder

shavings of skin on bobbing palms

clothes now made of flour

woven in vowels these breathing words

gently holding need

in a constant sigh

this memory of distant autumn

Circe 593

A barking dog with blooming eye

sound covers a distance

kissed by ivory shore to sandy sea

we are thoughtful in our secret suits

we gaze downward,

revealing our blindness

unseeing smiling

our helmets are no protection now,

our books have left us

we no longer understand their meaning

our pockets are empty

our diamonds and rubies

turned into stones

hailing rough wonderstruck masters

spat out on breasted beach and

gazing fairies in crystal shoes

dreaming of some shady wood

reaching into their night pockets

to finally take out their eyes

and catch the art of war

against their dark lips.

Goodbye, Circe

*John Ashbery Wet Casements


Rod MacGregor said...

The last one (no.3)..such a powerful composition..

Mike Tracy said...

Thank you, Rod.