Appeal to the Ranger Rescue Squad

Is poetry a whipping-up

of something special, a

pulled voice

or a kind of trance?

I’ve never known what

a poem is.

My favorites sound like

nothing so much as

someone saying something


But that can’t be

enough for a poem.

The worst are about

poetry itself.

Maybe those’re

not even poems.

Maybe they’re just

a baffled boy

seeking a trail.

A most pleasant walk

I wanted to go when it wasn’t
raining, and it wasn’t.
I saw how all is beautiful
if you just let your eye
adjust to it: the anchor on the
houseboat, the well-wishing
at the door, the kid’s book-
bag and yellow raincoat.
I remembered visiting Father
Imbelli’s mother, before
he and I made that retreat:
the narrow wall with books,
her Sinatra record, the window
looking out over the Bronx.
Later, at Maryknoll, we ate
from trays in the institutional
dining hall (I love those, the trays
and the dining halls), and drank
Jack Daniels while looking out
over the Hudson. Isn’t that what
we’re meant to do, take
the God’s-eye view
and love the supper from our tray?

Property values under the poetocracy

I had my eye on a little place,

had stayed there many times

(prettiest place you ever saw!),

had come upon it by accident

after the hammer strike to the thumb,

marveling you could stand there and

feel no pain. Till you did – due

dilligence confirming what we all already knew.

But now with this new government

the fence on the fun has been flattened,

and the good times spill forth unhindered.

So I’ve bought in. And just in time, too.

For prices have spiked, and I’ll be damned if every hick

isn’t rushing in to punch his golden ticket!

Taking down the tree

One by one I removed what we’d so carefully placed,

the ornaments collected over twenty-five years,

each of which reminded me of some where and

some one – and, too, of the lesser Christmas had now

by those in trouble (in my family, I kept it to that.)

By chance or design (otherwise known as an

algorithm of Spotify), my playlist flowed into

one of old love songs, this tributary in turn feeding

the river that flowed once past our house, there where

Mom and Dad had done their best just

to hang on. “Don’t give,” David Soul sang,

“up on me, baby.”

I fell in love there

for the first (and second and third)

time. Where does it go?

Well, I guess just

back in the box.

First the heaviest ones.

Then a layer of paper.

Then the lighter and more fragile

treasures –

the skiers and seaplane,

the painted glass balls –

in alternate layers to the top of the box.

“It’s sad… ” sang England Dan

and John Ford Coley,”

as I wound up the lights

and put away the peak.

“I guess that’s all

that it

would ever