The Writer's Life: Film & Book Reviews, Observations, and Stories
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Posts from — September 2008


A shower of birds
Crosses the black widow’s walk
With eyes to the sea.

September 28, 2008   Comments Off on 97

No Poet Laureate, He

We watched him with the fascination we reserve
For stricken soldiers, dying animals,
Birds caught in traps, and tightrope walkers.
Never sober, pretending to like young women,
A former postman and lifelong drunk,
No poet laureate, he
Read from his works like a benumbed oracle,
Slugging gulps of alcohol between sound bites.
We tacitly ignored how well he played us
And worshipped his rise to literary genius,
Thinking that if he could do it, anyone could.
Only in America, only in Los Angeles,
Could a writer so vest himself
That his work didn’t matter,
Because that, too, was part of his charm.
I don’t know what to think any more.
Maybe this:
Though he was not Welsh,
And no Dylan Thomas,
He was still a cut above Charles Simic,
Rita Dove, Elizabeth Bishop, Karl Shapiro,
Joseph Brodsky, Stanley Kunitz, Robert Hass,
Donald Hall, Robert Pinsky, and Billy Collins,
Because, although he was an unscrupulous showman,
And flimflammed thousands of marks,
He never lied about it.

September 24, 2008   Comments Off on No Poet Laureate, He


Pinching dead flowers
From the massed shoots, leaving space
For new buds to bloom.

September 22, 2008   Comments Off on 96


ShutterThe shutter opens
Revealing things as they are
And quickly closes.

September 21, 2008   Comments Off on 95


misc-042.jpgTurning squares of sod,
While wild turkeys search for seeds
Just beyond my reach.

September 21, 2008   Comments Off on 94


The sumac has turned
Phosphorescent red, and I
Am sick with sadness.

September 19, 2008   Comments Off on 93

Amorphophallus Titanum

I ran into him today, my young friend,
Who’s not so light on his feet these days,
After two kids and a failed marriage,
Thinner than I remembered, cold and polished,
But with the same quiet smile and twinkling eyes.
I don’t think he knows himself why they divorced—
Two attractive and very likable people—
And I decided not to press him.
“Everything’s good,” he said.
I wished him luck and told him
How much I enjoyed seeing him again,
Thinking none of us are what we appear.
I supposed that one or both of them
Possessed an inflorescence—
When the poses wore thin
And their true selves emerged—
That attracted carrion-eating beetles and Flesh Flies
Which threatened to devour everything in their path,
And being reasonable people
They did the reasonable thing,
And let it die a natural death.
It made me like him even more.
“See you later, David,” I said.
“Yeah, bro, see you later.”

September 17, 2008   Comments Off on Amorphophallus Titanum


Distilling my life
Into just five syllables:
Learning to forgive.

September 17, 2008   Comments Off on 92


I have ample time
To do tasks in the Zen way.
Why do I stumble?

September 16, 2008   Comments Off on 91


Whine of cicadas,
The raging sound of Klaxons,
A child’s wailing cry.

September 15, 2008   Comments Off on 90