Sunday, February 7, 2010

Three Wishes

Wish for something mundane:
A raw fish with little bones, rusty
Drainpipe or sprig of maple.

Wish for something trivial:
A faded washcloth, three-leaf
Clover or miscut postcard.

Wish for something transient:
A whiff of mown grass, rainbow
In drizzle or taillight glimmer.


Saturday, February 6, 2010

Magnanimous Prometheus

The weakest god and strongest man:
Prometheus, his arm in chains,
Is splayed across a rocky hill
Reliving his recurring fears.
The cog in Zeus’s nasty plan:
A monstrous eagle hungrily tears
His sallow shell and fragile will
Until a writhing fool remains.

An awful fate befalls our prey;
His daily anguish makes me weep...
A single tear. Pajamas on:
I contemplate another day,
Ignite the wood stove; then upon
A cozy bed, I drift to sleep.


(Peter Paul Rubens' "Prometheus Bound")

Friday, February 5, 2010

What I Recall of a Message Delivered at 9:52

Tacitus asserts: “Kindness is welcome to the extent it seems the debt can be paid back. When it goes too far gratitude turns into hatred.”


I’m much stronger than my small frame betrays.
Don’t estimate me by the size of my footprints.
My corrugated lips are not yours to kiss.

Forty-eight hours hence, I’m gliding on silently.
Don’t stuff the dumpster I leave behind with moments we never had.
I may be stubborn, but not as thoughts of air when you are drowning.


I must leave now; I must find home.
I will lose myself in a wilderness of solitude
To find home in the faces of those who care about me.

An unexpected wind pushes me off a soaring skyscraper; I free-fall.
I brace for impact; I land in a net woven of human beings.
There are a few lost teeth, a few broken bones, and I am home.


Thursday, February 4, 2010

An Antique Sand King

I mocked the words of a wrinkled traveller
Who met Ozymandias, the sand sculptor,
Beside a lone pedestal in the desert:

     “A wreck of a lifeless heart
     Lies sunk in the vast sands.
     Two things fed its shatter’d remains:
     A bare hand and a colossal despair.
     Those stamp’d passions tell that
     Nothing is boundless in its decay!”

A decay whose command is cold and level?
I stretch my lip in a mighty sneer.
Ozymandias, read well the frown on my visage...
My heart is stone and yet I survive.

(Note: All of the words in "An Antique Sand King" are recycled from Shelley's famous sonnet "Ozymandias")

Ozymandias (Percy Bysshe Shelley)

I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shatter'd visage lies, whose frown
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamp'd on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear:
"My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!"
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
The lone and level sands stretch far away.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Ekphrasis: The Disintegration of the Persistence of Memory (Second Iteration)

A (curvilinear) waterline
Disguises the remnants of
A disbanded civilization--
A world that teemed with
Life, progress. Submerged
Below the surface, reversed
Inertia coolly rips apart old
Civil War ammo, the tallest
Building on Wall Street, six
Russian rocket ships and
The Golden Ratio (≈1.618).
In essence, these forms
Acquiesce...Steadfast above
The surface, tranquility
Flatters a barren crag with
Exquisite detail. They fail to
Note the fractured limb, a
Mocking finger, interjects.


(Salvador Dalí's "The Disintegration of the Persistence of Memory")

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


I can sit anywhere,    on a chair.
The squawk of your incessance.
Ears unclogged:
        of cotton.

Today was a two out of ten.    At most--
Among the shards intact: jagged
Capsules of pillowy hope
In bile, swimming    clockwise.

Rapidized pulse, clenchedbreath.
Smothered under a Lincoln Log cabin of
You, until some kid    kicks it in.

If I stand somewhere to think:
Staticky oblivion, just    a headache.
So I intend to retrace, embrace
A quiescent moment,
    I retrace.

This is me.    And until tomorrow,


Monday, February 1, 2010

From Birute Hill

A lifetime since the widely nights in Vilnius,
Alone today I lean upon your chest cold wave
Your power granted, as aspirations to the heart
Expressed so powerfully, you are My Baltic!

How you have grown longer, infinite and wide!
And as you listen impatiently to mysterious voices
I dream of you alone to receive my earnestness,
Upon each stillness your wave ferociously strikes!

Sadly for me! Have you turned? Why - I do not know;
Alone, would that the storm collapse me more acutely:
Forgetting between your calm and not seeing me,
Yet desiring yourself to the side closer to the Gulf.

I long to be your close friend: I believe in you;
It’s like a tidal storm pain in my soul;
Secretly you betray this dark face
And ever leave, like me, restless.


Nuo Birutės Kalno (Maironis)

Išsisupus plačiai vakarų vilnimis,
Man krūtinę užliek savo šalta banga
Ar tą galią suteik, ko ta trokšta širdis,
Taip galingai išreikšt, kaip ir tu, Baltija!

Kaip ilgėjaus tavęs, begaline, plati!
Ir kaip tavo išgirst paslaptingų balsų
Aš geidžiau, tu pati vien suprasti gali,
Nes per amžius plačių nenutildai bangų!

Liūdna man! Gal ir tau? O kodėl - nežinau;
Vien tik vėtrų prašau, kad užkauktų smarkiau:
Užmiršimo ramaus ir tarp jų nematau,
Betgi trokštu sau marių prie šono arčiau.

Trokštu draugo arčiau: juo tikėti galiu;
Jis kaip audrą nujaus mano sielos skausmus;
Paslapties neišduos savo veidu tamsiu
Ir per amžius paliks, kaip ir aš, neramus.

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