Thursday, April 01, 2010

2 For Today

The Children's Hour

A lonely kid, like most other kids, stuck
inside an omnipresence I didn't know;
always on edge, searching for clues to show
me how the rules work, show me how to make

my self touchable, teach me how to fake
being part of what I was attached to
by a trick of blood. How could they be sure who
I was if I did not remind them, take

them to the bed they gave me? Off a hall-
way, a pentagram of sounds, thick and hard,
a plot to kill, so insignificant

the sounds are swapped like jokes to pass a dull
day among deeded rooms, I am not barred
from or asked to enter. I move my scent
to other space, my chant

unheard. Space is made for me but none is mine.
I look into my eyes and check for signs
I'm here. And when I win

I tell them. I have to. Tell them. If they
forget my name, I will forget it too.


A Villanelle Variation For My Last Duchess

Dedicated, with much admiration, to the memory of Browning, the Master Poet

They tell me my painting remains on the same wall.
"My last duchess," he repeats to each father come to
his pubescent child's worthiness to succeed me

to imperial riches and papal honors, and to be painted.
The Duke has had several Raphaels and Berninis moved or
but, they tell me, my portrait remains on the same wall.

Does the Duke consider, you think, how Fra Pandolf
may color her cheeks and drape her gown to highlight
the lovely child's worthiness to succeed me?

She will revere, unfailingly, the Duke's 900-year old
name; but should she falter she may, perhaps, be comforted
by my portrait remaining on that same wall.

They say the Duke has grown fond of my glance, the same
glance that so distressed him and must be guarded against
by the chosen child, however demure, who succeeds me.

I wonder that I have ever been happier than here in the
I bestow my glance as I desire, including to my dear Duke.
They tell me, again and again, my painting remains on the
          wall. I pray
that will give solace to the father of the worthy child who
          succeeds me.