Thursday, January 30, 2014


Is there a shred of decency
behind the marble shroud
that cloaks your comely form?

Within your crystalline breast,
the near warmth of virgin
idealism must beat its adagio
of distant impulse, its forgotten
whisper of modest perfection.

Somewhere deep within
created form a message
must escape your silent lips,
a signal subverting masculine
logic of your portrayal.

If goddess you be, confound
this metamorphic hardening,
licentiousness unleashed.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014


Beware of a crown seen
in another's liver. Emotions
not cleansed from the blood
are deadly to the soul. The liver
knows the liver and speaks the words
of ever-renewing passion. Control
is forfeited as hubris reigns,
and the Promethean scourge
burns in unceasing destruction.

The Layoffs

Words like doppelgängers hang
in the head. Two swinging bodies
on time-burdened ropes. Forced
retirement meant to mask the eyes
that look backward to purpose
and meaning, the swing of routine
woven into productivity damned
by unfettered nihilistic chaos.

Bodies stiffening, no longer
aware of the breeze that disturbs
the hair on distended heads.
Minds floating above the initial
shock of uselessness, crashing
against glass ceilings whose
identity is no more than figments
of deteriorating imagination.

The stench of released fluids
wafts over the cognitive fight
for reason. The phoenix sleeps
on chilled ashes behind the water
cooler. Yesterday's sardonic quip
gurgles in the clogged pipes
about to spew outrage and disbelief
on yet another unsuspecting victim. 

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Testing Cicero

Anxious to hone his rhetorical skills,
the ambitious eighteen-year-old
pored over the dialogues of Cicero.

But it wasn't form but function
that shaped the intelligence
of young Augustine. Looking beyond

classical discourse, the student saw
into the mind of the master of rhetoric
and hungered for the wisdom

that reason held. In reason's circle
time is a never ending dimension
that brings the student toe to toe,

mind to mind with the master's
best assumptions. The challenge
is waged, the refutation laid.

The Knell

I tripped down the broken sidewalks
past the vines choking shrubs once
trimmed, grass once mowed. Gyrated
broken steps and creaking porch
to push against the peeling paint
of the door where dream began.

The settling house refused to yield
its hold, but I was determined
to enter its drafty rooms, be where
dust and cobwebs illuminated
what seemed so easy to attain.
Feral cats scurried from stained

cushions of the sofa whose once
royal blue clung to my inner eye,
a partly knit sweater, tattered
yarn clinging to the needles,
Middlemarch its edges chewed
by daring rodents dreaming

of nests deep within the walls
where feline paws could never
reach. My mind swayed, hoofing
the discords of internal music,
the might-of-beens grooved
in the hoodwinking wainscot.

The house groaned and the door
left ajar shuddered in laughter
at the dumbshow within, the irony
of return. A long black snake
slithered, soundlessly across the mantle,
mouthed an unsuspecting mouse.

Monday, January 27, 2014


A legend so delicious
could hardly have escaped
the excesses of the Romantics.
No king, living or imagined,
could exceed the lascivious hunger
ingrained in their decadent art.

Sardanapalus was sumptuously
ripe to beguile Lord Byron's
fecund pen, the lavish strokes
of a Delacroix brush, and the nihilistic
excesses of a Berlioz cantata.

Imagine Augustine's appall
had he time-travelled
to the salons of European aesthetes,
those who reveled in debaucheries
as old as time, as new as recently
uncorked, yet aged wine.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014


How wrongly Augustine
reads that myth. Perhaps
flirting with Manichaeans
in his youth left him
with a residue of crippling
dualism that occluded
the light of legend,
prevented his seeing
Lucretia for what she was.

The mythos of shame
avenged in the headwaters
of creation, the internalized
emotion firing a nation, a heroine
of lore cannot be discerned
by the reason of either or.
Accommodation to saga insists
on the artistry of ambiguity.


When the rage
for death is all
we can see,
can we be blamed
if its our choice?

Rage blinds us,
the  bag over
our eyes waiting

The mind
is inside,
but the body
is its connectivity
with life.

is desecration
that goes beyond
the mind to the soul.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Limits of Honor

Regulus, what were your thoughts
as you stood in that narrow box,
the points of a thousand nails
pricking your skin when you relaxed
your stance? You, who lived
with ultimate civility, did your spirit
weaken? Did you second guess
your honor in that last hour as
your life flashed across the celluloid
of your sleep-deprived eyes?
Augustine leaves you to be a foil
in his debate. But you were a lost pilgrim
who may never have known
what the gods could not tell you.
You leave us to wonder 
whether the questions of a lost soul
could be broached by Transcendence.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Tobit's Song

Augustine could argue either way
for the burial of the dead. Since the dead
knew not the state in which they were left,
the point seemed moot. Yet God's recognition
of Tobit kept the argument alive.

The Ninevite who received the ire of Sennacherib
for burying his casualties, Tobit was exiled and robbed,
blinded by bird droppings while asleep in the streets.
But his marriage to the shrewish Hannah
produced a son that would carry God's blessing.

The angel Raphael guided Tobias to cool his feet
in the Nile,  catch a fish with his toe, extract
the organs and make a potion that healed
his father's blindness. To seal the deal, Raphael
cast the demon from the wife bequeathed to Tobias.

Aware of the marriage-bed deaths of seven previous
husbands, Sarah's father had already dug the grave
for Tobias, but he hadn't reckoned the presence
of Raphael nor the grave blessing God intended
to preserve in Tobit's lineage and his song.