Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Lark

The sky’s  last spark . The day’s first heat.
Crimped in the dawn, it sings a disturbed earth.
Bells in its breath and free on its way. 


Awestruck,  we kill it. 

René Char


at the stormy time of day
the ragged time of life
there are these scythes
swiping close to the hay 

suddenly everything cries  no higher
than hearing can climb 

Philippe Jaccottet

Thursday, May 12, 2011

In the Beginning 

From the KLM plane,
I watch the wind turbines in the polders
and come up with a simile:
‘kids waving to intercept an about-to-be-thrown-ball’,
but who’s throwing the ball?
I imagine the real (‘simile’) thing:
a bunch of kids doing jumping jacks,
trying to block the blockers.
That’s like a nuclear stand-off.
But I’m not sure about the mutually
assured destruction bit.
Perhaps the turbine farms
are like religions:
everyone flaying about to catch a ball
that’s never thrown.
God as pitcher.
Up here in the window seat
I feel like God.
Maybe God is like a passenger
flying above his creatures
on his way to Amsterdam.
Maybe God is the simile
for the world.
In this new Bible, we would read:
 ‘The wind turbines are like God
sitting in a KLM City Hopper
comparing  them  to ….’

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

By the Rivers of Babylon

The history of flight is
the history of crashes.
When the cleaning staff found
Bobby Farrell’s dead body,
in Saint Petersburg, in a hotel room,

they whispered

                    Boney M:
the first Western pop-group
to perform in the Soviet Union.

The stain on his pillow
was the hair dye
he never finished putting on…

His flight for Rome
left without him.
It slowly banked
over the Neva
on New Year’s Eve, minus
a backing vocal
that never was his.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Air Duct Day

Today’s not a bad day
for cleaning the air ducts.
We’ll wait for Jeanine
who’s been off her crutches
for a week and ready to help.
Sanjay will be late
but the rest of the team
is here, in the kitchen.
Last year we found a bird
in the filter. It’s leg hung down
between the metal grate.
Ken thought it was a twig
and pulled it, feeling resistance.
It didn’t stink. The wind
had dried it out. Ten months
since we last cleaned it. I hope
Nate didn’t forget the solvent.
Dirt’s not the main problem.
It’s the grease. The air’s lanolin.
The vent’s heat. The engine’s perspiration.
The fan slows for the first time this year
and stops. Jeanine’s arrived and opens
the windows, putting the flat
on bypass. She smiles and limps.
We climb into the ceiling
and start to clean,
padding on buckling metal sheets
in pitch black. Sanjay passes me
two mechanic’s lamps.
I hook them to the wall
and feel for the switch.

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