Human and Humane

in the face of such
evil the only human
is apology,
is listening to the stories
you do not want
to hear or believe
and accepting them
as part of the world
you do not know
and then making
amends--truly setting
things to rights,
truly liberating the captive
who has been so long
languishing through
a sin--
not commission,
not truly omission,
but complete inattention,

It is indifference that robs
us of any trace of humanity--
the willingness to allow
things to be, so long as
they don't affect me or mine.

Indifference tamps down the cobbles
with which hate paves the pathway
to hell for all of us. Indifference
is an invitation to inhumanity.

Poem--The Clock That Opens Time

Standing at the bathroom sink
brushing my teeth
I think about the time
my brother pulled the golden
glass-domed clock
from her desk
and she cried and said
because it wasn't cylindrical
but more oval, the glass couldn't be replaced.
And I felt her pain and said
I'm sorry,
and felt that moment that
I was really talking
to her wherever she might be,
but she was for certain with me
and without her I am not
and then spoke the truth I saw
you had
some share
of the blame--
putting a thirteen year old boy
who wanted nothing
more than to be left alone
in charge of his little brothers."

And I still love you.

A Most ReadJoyceful Bloomsday!

Your annual reminder that Ulysses is for everyone:  Will you read it? “and yes I said yes I will Yes.”
Longer excerpt: “I was a Flower of the mountain yes when I put the rose in my hair like the Andalusian girls used or shall I wear a red yes and how he kissed me under the Moorish wall and I thought well as well him as another and then I asked him with my eyes to ask again yes and then he asked me would I yes to say yes my mountain flower and first I put my arms around him yes and drew him down to me so he could feel my breasts all perfume yes and his heart was going like mad and yes I said yes I will Yes.”

Joyce was absolutely terrible at formal poetry, because his poetry is in his writing. ReadJoyce!


I I had a sandwich there And read the window and bronze plaque but it was not Gorgonzola.
II I passed the siren's tavern which I did not see and crossed quietly over the placid Liffey.
III You would have laughed to see my thrill at finding old Tommy Moore and his once-urinal.
IV Out past Dun Laoghaire where the chill North Sea meets the Forty Foot--the Martello Tower.
V James Joyce hopscotched every brick in Dublin to celebrate the date of his love.
VI Sirens and Cyclopes and Wandering Rocks all for a beer and some cheese.
VII Breakfast kidneys and chemist and Leopold leaves Molly abed.
VIII he thinks fine day for a funeral even if I flee and find my father.
XI A fine edifice and fancy facade for mothering maters about to bear.
X Ah rejoyce and rejoyce again that we readjoyce for doubling our Dublin.
XI While just inside Stephen proves by algebra he is the ghost of his own father, Leopold loses it for a moment.
XII And a toast to the place In Paris that gave the world Joyce's Dublin.


Did you hear me when
I whispered your name to the dew
that had not yet formed? When I
stirred the clear water of a sticky stream
and found in the eddies and whirls
a language only I could read?

I carried you
like the single breath of an ancient
bird preserved in lithographic limestone,
like all the salt of the sea bound and floating.

I read a poem and set
the book down in front
of the fan that is never
off and I let it turn
a few pages before
I pick it up and read
another poem

May Sarton "Salt Lick"

and it's time to go to work
so I close the book
and write this poem.

Sandhill Cranes

Their majesties--three Sandhill
Cranes, parents and a chick,
step out to survey their domain,
and pause their stately strut
to nod (noblesse oblige) at doting
subjects in their stopped cars.

When you

When you look at the beautiful
things of the world, what do you
see? How do they speak? What
language is whispered in your
ear? How do you know the loveliness
of the turquoise wave, of the pebbled
shore, of a marble in a vacant park
relaxing her robust nakedness against
the manicured green?
Like the dragonfly trapped in my car
I beat against the windshield
uncomprehendingly seeking the light
but barred from it by some barrier
I cannot see. Sometimes flying the length
of the window, sometimes perched
an inch from freedom, ignoring the indraft.
Oh for a Hand to guide me to open air!
How we feel
Is an illusion
we choose