Death & Camellias

The fence buckles

By a camellia’s weight

A cloying honeysuckle breath

Calls wilted petals falling

As if long drought surceased

In a tea cup’s avalanche

Jawbones prow the earth

A grimace clowned and sidelong 

As if this were once a circus tent

Not a marshalling yard

Where brays anxious met

The impelling silence

Of hammers and serrations

When the earth uproots

In trenchant cascades

The ivy hideous, shivering

A wave, bent on the fulcrum’s back

In upheaval’s raw display

I wonder what pretty monsters

From desiccate honeycombs

In husk pale efflorations

From the secret earth, arise

You are the poem I failed to understand

I nonchalantly threw your coat
From the couch to the floor

Thought how the trace
Of wilted flowers and old books
Crumpled like a poem

Picked it up again
Carefully smoothing sleeve against lapel
The faded ring around the fold of cuff
Snarkly whispering
Into your secret hand

As if you wore your dog-eared pages
And I in your almost unknown thoughts
Still lost

Cummings & the whale

Poems are hard
as atom bombs
e e cummings said
one day at the beach
wavelets laurels in your hair
when Lowell (et al)
decried his couth 
unstrictured voice
your words are gulls and there
a whale, beached 
promethean, slowly dying
watching its own death
with that naive, ancient eye
a heart so slow
it measures time
in intangibles like love songs
still, while you tear
at the monster’s side
tears like quills
hoping for the ambergris
of too studied convention
I will bend
my shoulder to a poem
in the returning tide
watch it
with an evening’s shadow grace