Formaldehyde on fatigues
green on this bald-headed league
– full of vigor, shorn like sheep –
that sweeps the dorm and soon sleeps.
Only to be awakened
by reveille earaching
the tortured troops to withstand
more demands: crazy commands.
Marching to classes in file,
tamping down the urge to smile,
but can’t check the teary dusk—
the eve brusque, full of male musk.
My pate scratches like boar hide.
Will this snowflake get outside
unmarred by rusty wing nuts
with jackboot strut and crew cuts?
The ball. The death.
A shibboleth: Here we go round the mulberry bush
so early in the morning.
A customary fall, a sheep asleep:
a pull to the deep—safety in numbers
of the turning baitball, the teamwork of predators:
dolphin, tuna, sailfish and shark;
gannets, cormorants, terns and gulls:
death from the sky and death from the sea.
edge of measure,
amorphous: dwindling like incandescent kindling;
the scarlet ribbon courses:
tragic drama of pelagic
runs, an attrition of sardines or herring.
A singular fish
dives perpendicular to the piscatorial
emergence against predation:
a divergence from the rest
(reticular loss of lives), primordial.
text: be dexterous, quick, jump over the candlestick.
The hollow of the rocky nook
swallows the gifted swimmer:
A hammerlock school overtook—you rock fish—
That’s just like what a cloud would do:
to feather into marshmallow
and popcorn with butter highlights;
to coast on thermals and billow
into shapes large, larger, largest;
into a beast hurling lightning
drawing the four winds into storm,
these changeable clouds so fickle.
When a cat is held by nature
with flowers and flipping butterflies,
whatever is the vision that enters
through trained ears and slivered eyes?
Of course, she can see much better at night:
a chiaroscuro scene, brightly lit;
but less colored, blurred, when daylight
pries through her subtle iris slits.
to be marked up
with lines and stanzas,
verse laid down with guidelines
strictly observed without fail,
the cadence of syllables met,
just the right word at just the right time—
a collage of phrases all puzzled out
for aesthetic effect when quoted out loud
or inside the mind that marvels at connections
between ideas and metaphors that draw meanings
of subtlety from some overarching theme or motif,
employing the tools of craftwork, literary devices
that jazz up the poesy and highlight the vision with precision
and with lyricism that reverberates like bells in a courtyard,
the toll floats on the late breeze toward sunset and fades out into echo.