villein, a poem

Comfortable inside a pleasant garden
at the wrongs done to me

I’ve set up
thick walls with a bossy surface
that repels the very notion
of hospitality;
get it –
stay away from me.

It’s my neighbors again
as the shadows begin to descend
up to old tricks,
windows open to the moonlight
leaving me
with glimpses of sparkling chandeliers,
ceilings painted in decadent colors;
I don’t know what they do in there
but I’ve had visions
of great balls,
unmentionable games,
love making –
in brilliant rooms
I’ll never see.

nihil nimis, a poem

nihil nimis
Dry in speech,
queer perhaps,
but disabused.

I hide my private life
like a miser;
I make my consumption
not conspicuous.

I govern outward display
by putting my austerity on the line,
economy of effect,
a sparse world prevails.

No, ma’am, I tell her,
you already gave me alms today
and I’ll beg
but only so much.

love: stratified and strained, a poem

love stratified and strained
Draw attention to specific basic terms
while avoiding both
their strict and novel connotations;
grant the exact significance
you attach to the term
but be careful
to make it less clear;
choose the distinction between
being and becoming,
action and actuality,
fundamental and diffused,
yes and no and maybe.

Out of the results
you will in fact obtain
that single atom of clarity;
cover it up carefully
leaving it beyond her grasp –
that abstract feeling,
distinct and certain
which you are too afraid to tell her;
the one that would have saved you
on those lonely nights
when your heart beats alone
and all you can hear
are the fading echoes
of the empty words
you choose to hide behind.