Death of a Romantic

for Kurt Brown

Soul is the first to go,

followed by Love, Longing, Desire.

The moon is untethered,

sunset mashed under a boot heel,

all rainbows bled, constellations crushed.

Forget the firefly, dragonfly, butterfly, moth.

Singe the ladybug’s wings, pluck the bluebird clean.

Uproot twining roses, jasmine, willows that weep.

No alabaster or alpenglow,

nymph pink, madder lake, Wedgewood blue.

While you’re at it, 86 the ballads of Berlin,

Gershwin and Kern, the Late Show,

flowered china, French perfume.

Day rolls into night, unquestioned.

There is Fire, Air, Water, Earth.

And Truth, perfect and terrible,

cut in a mirror which is no longer a looking glass,

swallowed whole down my throat

which is not a golden flute.

* * *

Love Poem to my Chiropractor

Bless you for bowing to these bones,

this mazy staircase unstrung by time,

a child on each hip. Now this bank of bones

sways, a crazed pendulum.

Bless the heels of your hands that knead each swale,

fingers that kiss each crest, each relic hollow.

Beguiler of this gimcracked column.

Charmer who mends this whittled pillar.

Who tends me like this? Rends me

fluid as a girl in arabesque? Rig me,

lull  the muffled throb, render me lithe,

restore adagio, glissade and glide.

Unlashed, I stretch on your table

then rise, ductile a gold.

Bless you for your hallowed hands.

Who else loves me to the marrow?

* * *

Practicing Atheism

And what if there is no God?  No

homunculus with a shock stick

sparking each neuron?

What if dead is dead

and all the prayers you ever huffed up to heaven

only whittled your backbone to wishbone?

Yellow would still be yellow

and by the time you finish this sentence

50,000 cells would still fizzle out.

Shrug.  Then muster.

Drop a dime in the meter.

Your feet flex.  Your lungs pump

though the left will always

be smaller than the right

to make room for the heart.