Friday, November 25, 2022

Thursday, October 20, 2022

One Morel



One morel thrust from a patch

of processed mulch on Grove Street.

What mushroom thinking fruited

beside this busy sidewalk where

the post office crosswalk tempts

pedestrians to risk their lives?


We’ve just collected our mail,

a trash of advertisements. You note

the mushroom’s grave immodesty

and demand that I photograph it

before some greedy dog eats it

with a clumsy tongue-dangling smile.


In the cloudy light its colors

perfect themselves. The angle

of its attack looks slightly awry,

but its motive seems clear enough.

We’ll email the photo to friends

who appreciate mushroom-thoughts


in autumn, when so much nature

seems in retreat. We’ve never

seen a morel downtown where

lawyers and realtors conspire

to bare the local landscapes

and build shabby houses for gain.


Maybe the planted river birch

nearby will shed enough leaves

to safely conceal this fungus

until it has finished spreading

spores unlikely to flourish

in this busy little downtown.


You hope the mushroom’s aware

that we wish it well. At least

we’ve captured its portrait, posed

in thick but flattering light,

looking as we hope we would look

deep in the grip of reason.


Friday, September 30, 2022

Origami Attack

 You trimmed your shop window

with a thousand origami cranes

folded in blue, red, and yellow.

You expect this flock to suggest

that peace might break out sooner

than later, the flickering wars

on three continents snuffing

and their ashes blowing away.


I try a photo but reflections

of the bank across the street

and passing cars and pickups

muddle the crisp flight of birds.

The bank looks officious today,

responding to your frankly

socialist vision with a sneer

of brick and peeling wood trim.


The bustling vehicles ignore

your display because running

the stop sign requires focus.

Once I counted for a few minutes

the drivers who stopped and those

who blasted right through without

owning the right of way: five

scofflaws for each one that stopped.


You think your floodlit aviary

can discipline the human race?

The cranes beat against the tide

of indifference, their colors blazing,

but their living figures droop

with a thousand years of exhaustion

imported from Japan before

atomic warfare began.


Friday, July 15, 2022

Something After Sjöberg



What to make of a landscape

that won’t maintain a pose for me?


Shattered lines, effaced shadows,

archaeology of sky-creatures


burrowing head-down into earth

gangrenous with watercolors


the artist deploys in squalls.

As if a nebula descended


to rebuke our wayward planet.

Accounts of Bertil Sjöberg


and the mania behind this scene

underscore his grasp of shards.


Such an honest disconnection

can’t go unremarked. Therefore


I respond with tinsel and scrap

to accompany and critique


his gaseous sharp-edged figures.

If I look over my shoulder,


they form, deflate, and reform

without his or anyone’s consent.