A N T H O L O G Y 1 ___________________________________
ALFRED STARR HAMILTON
Give us time
Give us crickets
Give us a clock
could you build this wonderful town house in the grass
and put a cricket in it by this evening?
For a Happy Girl
She is like a cricket:
singing all night
With her legs.
On the Death of Theodore Roethke
The papers say he died in a swimming pool,
but that's not the way that poets go.
A poet's exit is terrible: as his hour
approached the wind began to blow,
rattling the windows of his study.
Below the lake shuddered; fish grew still.
Above the light soured like spoiling grapefruit.
He listened and heard the awful rupture
of petals and stems and a chorus of worms
singing in the compost. He laid down his pen
and went out, feeling the weight of his flesh,
sensing his time of singing was done,
he who had turned the world into honey.
And he moved through his garden like a heavy bee,
his dark suit gathering a bloody pollen.
of the nature
riding a train
looking at homes
desiring a home
in the light
on the floor
TU FU is long dead.
Leaves have fallen —
leaves will fall.
thing in his words
on a far lookout.
I sit alone
in the bamboo dark,
In deep woods,
with no one aware,
the bright moon
comes to me shining.
I will sleep
in my little cup
How do you keep
while you work?
save the ranch
john wayne saved the ranch
killed three white men
fucked the banker's daughter
drove the steers north
killed four indians
paid the mortgage
married the schoolteacher
drove the steers south
built the railroad
killed five chinamen
saved the widow's ranch
fathered six sons
ran for county commissioner
killed seven democrats
drove the steers west
saved l'amour's ranch
killed eight sunsets
bought texas national
drove the steers east
saved bob hope's ranch
killed nine black men
invested in toilet seats
killed two millions japs
died from a cancer-gun
killed ten angels
drove the steers up
found god in a sheepcamp
A passing winter, fallen timber.
In scents of carrion bloom wake-robin.
Leached oak leaves cushion lady's slipper.
Amid decaying branch, wet loam,
Marsh marigold, wax trillium.
Petaled suns, a faint profusion.
in a past
to be now
and out of,
cups, pieces of
Faith Partially Restored
the sprightly old man from iowa
who is with the sprightly old woman
says to the sprightly old woman
who has just taken the seat between them and me
at the bar,
"what do you do for a living?"
and she replies, "I'm a drug dealer."
he says, "you got any on you?"
and she says, "i just plumb ran out."
and even though it later turns out
that she was raised in iowa also,
and the conversation turns
to relatives that might have known each other,
I decide it's not quite time
to give up altogether on bars.
He was the first
One ever to show
Me anything, and
Make sense, about
A garden. When he
Called me down into
The fenced half-acre
I walked through the
Wire gate and found
Him shoulder high
In the early morning
Blossom of peas.
And snapping a pod
Open, with the same
Hands that cut timber,
Mended fence and
Milked cows — who
Came in here every
Morning before he
Went off to chores —
He put everything
Into my hands
When he said,
Now taste this.
Purple Japanese Iris
Where you stand
They just about
Touch your lips
jasper texas 1998
i am a man's head hunched in the road.
i was chosen to speak by the members
of my body. the arm as it pulled away
pointed toward me, the hand opened once
and was gone.
why and why and why
should i call a white man brother?
who is the human in this place,
the thing that is dragged or the dragger?
what does my daughter say?
the sun is a blister overhead.
if i were alive i could not bear it.
the townsfolk sing we shall overcome
while hope bleeds slowly from my mouth
into the dirt that covers us all.
i am done with this dust. i am done.
Children running from a dragonfly
as though its wings
spanned two feet
in the kitchen
On our drive out to the country
in the back seat
Finding the way blocked by utter gibberish
I turned back
Snakes know the ways of snakes so well.
A Shooting Star
Wow! You recognize me.
Early morning with the
happy dogs —
I forgot the Path
The raindrops have plenty
There's no Buddha
There's no me
Night I've slept between faces and words,
Bodies bent by the wind,
Lines I watched spellbound
At the edge of my dreams.
Freezing European nights, my body in the ghetto
"I'm Going To Sleep"
Teeth of flowers, bonnet of dew,
hands of grass, you, lovely nursemaid,
turn down the earthen sheets for me
and the quilts of weeded moss.
I'm going to sleep, my nurse, tuck me in,
put a lamp on my headboard:
a constellation, whichever you like;
both are fine; lower the light a little.
Leave me alone: you hear buds bursting open . . .
An unearthly foot rocks you from above
and a bird sketches you a few beats
so you'll forget . . . Thanks. Oh, a favor:
if he calls again on the phone
tell him not to insist, that I've gone . . .
translated by Lauren K. Watel
Stroking her cheek,
mirror image arcs
in the baby's brain —
Our topiary space.
Poems from various anthologies, small press journals, friends books et al.,
I have jotted down for years and kept in a notebook to share, as I do now
[ BA ]