Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Catullus 58 -- About A Mutual Friend

Caelus, our Lesbia,
Lesbia --  you know :
The Lesbia Catullus loved, 
More than everything he owns,

Even more than himself,
He loved her, her alone.

Right now on some
crossroad or corner,
goes down

on the generous,
venerous young men
of Rome.

          Carmen LVIII

Caeli, Lesbia nostra, Lesbia illa,
illa Lesbia, quam Catullus unam
plus quam se atque suos amavit omnes,
nunc in quadriviis et angiportis
glubit magnanimi Remi nepotes.

Monday, April 14, 2014


When he was born
my blood flowed over straw
And when he died
his blood dripped down like rain.

My firstborn.
I'm Egyptian now.
I prayed to Isis
at his feet.
He screamed.

Mary In Egypt

Our best times were in Egypt, when we fled.
I spoke a foreign tongue, and , yes, I prayed
to Isis, screaming till my insides bled.

then sat outside in heat and blowing sand
and watched my baby, mindless as he played,
the goddess his protector in this land.

And when I healed, the old man finally turned
and touched me, and beneath her moon we made
our second baby. Oh, I thought we could

stay there forever. I was still a child.


One day he came to me. He shambled, old,
into the kitchen where I kneaded bread
to make my family's dinner. When he said

It's safe, we can go home, that's when I died.
The baby in my womb still drank my blood.
The old man smiled. He always was so kind,

his touch at night more gentle than a bird.
I tried to tell him, but my tongue was wood
and Isis did not answer when I called.

The fatherless one, though, he rose and stood
alone amid his toys as if those words
had killed him too. How could he understand

what angels' whispering voices in my head
had always told me : he was not my child.

We had not run from Herod but from G-d.

My Father

Who finally walking
down a  checkered linoleum
corridor long, bright-lit,
in a nursing home just
after breakfast

sat heavy in his chair and quiet
breathing empty no one hating
whom the nurses knew
to call mister
and ask permission
before touching his things.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

The Ballad of Vlad

The Ballad of Vlad

Vlad,Vlad, he’s a very bad lad.
He wants what old Joe Stalin had
From Berlin out to Volgograd
An Empire like his dear old Dad
Grew up in back when Petrograd
Still went by the name of Stalingrad.
So, after the last Olympiad
He looked around and he got sad.
Ukraine was turning west, egad!
The Fleet was in danger. Vlad got mad.

In 1954, Ukraine
Got Crimea once again
Given away by that old pain,
Nikita Kruschev. Quite insane,
If you ask Vlad. He will explain
That what you have conquered should remain
Forevermore in your domain.
It went against his very grain
To watch Ukraine go down the drain.
The West would understand. It’s plain
As rain. He would invade Ukraine!

So he told his army, “Boys, I’ll see ya’
In two days time inside Crimea.
It won’t take long. It will just be a
Cakewalk. Crimea will be free. A
Couple days. No more, you’ll see. The
West will just have diarrhea.”
A couple days went by and he a-
-ttacked. And all the world could see a
Russian Premier such as he a-
-ssumed himself always to be: a
Star of a Tsar atop Crimea.

A day after Crimea fell,
The market tanked. The ruble, well,
Less said the better. Truth to tell,
Vlad’s whole economy went to hell.
And Europe, where he liked to sell
His oil and gaz au naturel
Decided that they could dispel
Vlad’s dreams of conquest and compel
Him back to Moscow, quick as hell
By pressure economical.

And so they told the Russian Bear
Hey, Vlad, bad lad, get out of there.
We don’t want your army where
It shouldn’t be. How could you dare
To gobble up more than your share
Of Europe. Sure, it isn’t fair
To circumscribe the countries where
The Russian bear may have his lair.
But, Vladimir. You’re not the heir
Of Papa Joe (who had more hair).
You’d best beware! Don’t linger there.

Now comes the question, will he do it
Or will he tell the West to screw it
And turn Crimea into suet?
It isn’t easy to intuit
His thoughts, his fears, his point of view. It
May be that he’ll come to rue it
If he persists. Perhaps he blew it.
He clearly doesn’t think that’s true. It
Seems that there there’s just one thing to it:
Vlad’s a mad cad, we always knew it.

And pretty soon we all will see
If Vlad will have his victory
Or if it is, as it may be
That, through his rude proclivity
To stretch the Empire, sea to sea
(Atlantic and Pacifically)
And from Ukraine, specifically
To gain again what used to be
The Motherland’s own property,
He’s started accidentally
What then would be his legacy,
The final conflict: World War III.

Too bad Vlad had the rad idea
To fuck us with a ruckus old Crimea.

Friday, March 1, 2013

A Doggerel on the State of my Body

My knees are arthritic
My eyes barely work
I'm near paralytic
And God is a joke.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012


We waited ten years. I wish that I could say
the slaughter at the ending was more sweet
for all that time. It wasn't. Oh it may
have been ambrosial for the kings, but for the

others, the low ones, born to feed the gods
in battle, strong backed men who manned
the oars of the black ships, whom war's bleak odds
disfavored and who die alone, unmourned,

there was just the bitter taste of blood
the wild keening song of slashing blades.
Know this: for one long moment it was good
to stride wide streets triumphant and to flay

our enemies until they were just meat
carved for the hungry gods, who swallow lives
like water on some distant mountain peak
where vultures perch and raptors swoop and dive.

And when our enemies were all dead, I joined
the riot, took a woman by the hair.
She cried and fought and writhed against my groin.
I had her in the darkness and the fire.

And that, friends, was my war. I died that night
although I lived to row my way back home.
I still think of her eyes, the searing fright
that pierced me as I lay upon her bones.

When I was done, her blood poured out like wine.
I watched the living light flow from her eyes.
I dream her now, a ghost built of my sin.
She lives. At night, my sleep burns with her cries.

Ten years we waited; one night we made death
that rots my  insides still. I hate this earth.  

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Daedalus To His Son

This is the song that we were born to sing:
As we grow old, we lose our precious wings.
The birds of heaven, boy, aren’t what they seem:
We’re tethered to the earth – we think; they dream
This ground, my child, was fashioned out of stone
While men, like birds, are made of  fragile bone.
Maybe at night, young men dream of flying.
I can’t remember: my dreams are of dying.
Live while you can; it isn’t meant to last.
Get in the car; I’ll teach you to drive fast.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

A Doggerel On The Republican Party

We’ll lie, we’ll cheat, we’ll rob you blind
But if we say we love Jesus then you won’t mind.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Catullus 85; Lesbia: A Lament

I hate I love:
      Why should I,
you might ask.
    I don’t know.
Still I feel
     myself doing it
and am crucified

Odi et amo. Quare id faciam, fortasse requiris.
nescio, sed fieri sentio et excrucior.