Monthly Archives: May 2011

Spectacles

You in glasses, and the poem I promised
wouldn’t come, just wouldn’t. Yet how wondrous:
you wore glasses but it was I who the better saw
how splendid you are, how dear to me
you always were, and are, and shall ever be.

Now, today, you without glasses are
as you were before: as striking, as fair!
Yet I still the better see your beauty, your soul.
No longer heedless of the everyday,
I beg forgiveness for the routine of my manner,
for my blindness though seeing,
for the promised poem that wouldn’t come,
but now is finished save for this:

Do I make sense, love? Come, my dearest one!
Let’s laugh! Let’s end the day with a kiss!

*        *       *

(c) Gregory V Driscoll 2011

Memorial Day 1984

In the sweltering midst of this crowd
sweated I stand and think upon such sang froid,
reptilian to the core. Weighed down by debts
financial, moral, social, cultural I am
in the midst of these others likewise burdened
and think upon such levity, so near frivolity.
Dry-eyed, self-possessed I stand here mute
in the midst of my brothers and sisters
also self-possessed, unweeping
and ponder such mourning, as if upon the stage.
The Leader dedicates a shrine
to this unknown mortal’s bones.
The Leader speaks, intones.
Weepy-eyed this Leader sleek and groomed
is like a stealthy crocodile.
The Leader lets his voice falter
on the brink of tears, as if upon the stage;
but dreaming of his summer
jaunts on horseback in the hills
and smiling in his heart
at the charm of his deceit,
dire art, sure artfulness. His mind’s eye sees
the dinner party and he hears, faintly,
the elegant laughter of his guests in the grove.
He touches the wreath upon the tomb,
so convincingly we almost cannot sense
the sang froid we know is there,
that thinks that murder in some foreign night
is freedom’s very force,
that napalm is synonymous
with the phrase a noble cause.
For him we are among the disappeared.
For us he is our myths personified.
For unknown mortals in their graves,
here and by the sides of roads,
he is the certainty of lies.

*       *      *

(c) Gregory V Driscoll 2011

Unknown’s Prayer

Pick at some other bones, poor god.
Mine are for the eagles and the vultures.
Yesterday I was the world’s tomorrow,
today – the present’s rump blown off.
Vulture sinew now am I.
My bones grace eagles’ nests.
So choose some other relics, lord.
Mine are hallowed in a better way.

*       *      *

(c) Gregory V Driscoll 2011

The Collector

Some collect rare gems or monarch butterflies,
their wings of color and grace forever stilled.
But I gather memories of lilacs
and roses and jasmine whose perfumes draw
rapture from wells of longing; of night;
of shadows, gently tracing
warm designs of wonder in the lamplight;
of flesh, naked, roiling,
a kaleidoscope of purple lust,
rumpled sheets, promise dawning;
of kisses; of eyes dancing in starlight.
These are my gems of rare esteem,
my butterflies still fluttering their wings,
wings of color and grace that are never stilled!

*      *     *

(c) Gregory V Driscoll  2011

Your tears (for Lan)

When you shed tears the moon weeps too.
Beyond the purple horizon,
even the sun begins to tear.
The mountains groan and the breeze
sobs on the shoulder of a pine.
Even the stars sigh in the void.
Fountains cease their joyous leaping;
rivers, their ancient flowing.
Even the clouds refuse to rain.
The lakes veil themselves in mist.
The sea steels itself in silence.
Loosed from heaven, your tears are watery dreams.
Where each tear falls, winter jasmine grows.

*        *       *

(c) Gregory V Driscoll  2011

Tempest

In the shadows I stood, just inside the screen door
that lets out onto the deck I built myself,
each board caressed by my hands
in a dream of laying you down beneath me,
of your shameless bucking like wood against the saw,
of your smooth white coolness, your firmness and your strength
under the hammer of my body.

I watched the storm dance with the twilight now,
the whirling wind clasping the rain
in the light from the sky’s quick blade,
that with a CRACK! cleaved through the oozing air,
like an axe that fells the pulpy dreams of trees.

I opened the screen door and stepped out on the deck.
The storm drew me into itself,
but you it was who enfolded me in supple limbs,
who slavered and soaked my shirt and shorts,
who pulled with devilish fingers of wind,
who touched a thousand bursting mouths of rain
against the nerves gone mad within my skin.

But then the wind left off. The rain
slithered away across the ground.
The sharp light of the sky’s blade
moved off swiftly across the world
to strand me in the dusk among my dreams.

*       *      *

(c) Gregory V Driscoll 2011

I am maker of verses…

I am maker of verses for the breeze
that bears the butterfly away
through this world of shadow. I am poet
of the shattered looking-glass.
Now listen to the pieces
as they fall within my dreams,
like stones into the well that holds the moon.
Oh, moon! Sorceress! Oh, beauty!
You who dance within my eyes –
I am become parched earth thirsting for the rains…
Oh hear the drops falling – each a sigh, a kiss!

*      *      *

(c) Gregory V Driscoll 2011