poems as hand- and foot-holds on a glass mountain

April Sonnets (cont’d.)

12.

A plaintive cry, a bit of blond rope hung
from a tower window a passing prince
broke its low door found a panel flung
it open pushed a button; stairs appeared

hinged to the round wall, hanging until now
they leaped like soldiers to attention
horizontal; as he climbed they fell row
by curve-tiered row faster than intention

springs from impulse he ran winding stairs
into the top-most room whose open door
closed silently behind him in a chair
a svelte blond harrowed ravishingly bored

“Hope you brought lunch,” she startled with a grin
“Three hundred pounds in six months, maybe three
it’s not a diet I would recommend.”
“Such sturdy hair, Rapunzel! Show me.”

They swam to beaches rinsed with sparkling sound
they raised the tower’s flag and took it down.

13.

That one. On the end. No doubt, she allowed
Lookit those dead eyes, broken teeth
cruel sneer twitchy fingers stained yellow
scarred receding forehead withered crow’s feet
shoulda heard what we wanted me to do
bet he’s got a record long as Boardwalk
Alley twice as dark a pistol in his shoe
hands cold as a witch’s ass nasty cough

That’s Detective Sgt. Phillips from Purdue
works Vice says you’ve the record you can squawk
says you’re well known working the Red Dog
Saloon just off the Alley he can prove
he’s been in Houston on vacation off the clock
two weeks. (It’s spring; the scent of pines in fog.)

14.

Silence beneath words; everything happens
there before we know what little we do
the words aren’t wasted, sharpened
to an edge the next one wears in use
to unspeakable bluntness circumspect
about the word-grind making things other
than they are; open, tiered, direct
they link; there’s no no-bother without bother

before we see or hear or can expect
a bobolink has bobbed or linked its brothers
in the cosmic stew, the wash, the rampant stink
we share with it but can’t smell or reflect
with our life-size mockup muddy mirror
or can we, must we, do we? Try to think

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