2 Fragments from Texas

Wheat & Tares

Suppertime at Congress Bridge

Anticipation is
a long file of fidgeting
watchers waiting for
the concrete-clinging
humans to dissipate.
It is a mamma bat
willing away dirty orange
clouds, chewing dry air
as she tunes her call
to the beating
of moth wings.

Facade of the Mission Espada ChapelMission Espada Facade

My eye, being single, will
never picture the mission new.
The builders must have stacked
the stones already smoke-stained
and weather-beaten—plaster
laid porous and patchy
even before three centuries’
of hail and sand made
their offerings.
They did this to teach
each passing era’s children
how beauty is a perilous
grafted thing.
I bear you my testimony,
as a special witness,
it was always old.


Poet’s Note

The first image is of the Congress Bridge in Austin, Texas, where a large colony of bats resides during the summer.  Crowds gather every night hoping to watch the colony fly out and off in search…

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First Man after First Corinthians 13

Though I speak with the tongues of Spielberg and Kubrick, and have not First Man, I am become as The Black Hole, or Red Planet.

And though I have the gift of Roddenberry, and understand Arrival and The Martian, so that I could span gulfs, and have not First Man, I am missing out.

First Man suffers long, and is our kind of kind; First Man envies not; First Man vaunts not itself, is not puffed up,

Does not behave itself unseemly, understandably seeks its own, is not easily provoked, and thinks no evil;

Rejoices not in iniquity, but rejoices in truth;

Bears many things, believes many things, hopes many things, endures many things.

First Man never fails beyond redemption.

For we know in part, and we worship the past in part.

But if that which is perfect should come, then that which is made great again in part shall be done away.

When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away many childish things.

For now we see through smart devices frantically; but then face to face: now we know in part; but then shall we know even as also we are known.

And now abides The Right Stuff, Apollo 13, Gravity, and First Man, these four; but the greatest of these is First Man.

5 Fragments from New York City

Wheat & Tares

MoMA Prelude
Urgently, I text my mother
from near Times Square.
I tell her I just ate
a falafel burger!
In Kentucky, she reads
my text and grins.
I know this because
she introduced me to falafels.

The Starry Night to Naked Eyes
From five paces away
I see rolling waves
of dreamy blue.
Gentle suns encircled
by curling breeze—
brushed flourishes
like cupcake frosting.

My Birth through Photographs
From a distance, I see
lots of nudes, walls filled
with snapshots in the raw—
probably one of those
in-your-face feminist exhibits.

Up close, I see I’m right.
But I also see fetuses
halfway to born—walls
papered with graphic birthing
portraits of mothers mid-
contraction. Breathing
before everything I’ve ever
wanted to say about life
in poetry, I feel won over.

The Starry Night through Glasses
From five steps back, I see
chipped lines of confrontation,
glinting starbursts contained
by abrasive…

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