He Tastes Like

After a bourbon and Coke
and two or three cigarettes,
he tastes like the immediate after, or under, taste,
of barbecue sauce on juicy beef
just after eating a mayonnaise green salad
with sliced apples in it, a week over just-right.
Usually he tastes good, grape-sweet, and I like that,
but after a bourbon and Coke
and two or three cigarettes,
he doesn’t much appeal to me.

Little Man
(The Day My Father Died)

Little, little, little man,
how human are you now
that you suffer.
How above, aloof, forlorn,
how very removed from me
have you been all my life,
until I see you now—
how human, that you suffer.
How like me you are—
but only now that you suffer.
Of blood from birth, I am yours,
but how very far away from me
have you been all my life,
how very…somewhere else…
until now, that you suffer.
And in your suffering,
am I born again.
And in your suffering,
do I die a hundred times more.

Slanting Field at Cliveden

I sit in the slanting field,
watching earth’s life around me—
the mosquito rubbing his legs
in anticipation of my leg—
gnats mating in the air—
bunches of bushes blooming
yellow, white, pink, blue.
I sit with the slanting field,
trees singing long tree-songs
with the voice of the wind
swishing past vibrating leaves—
a spider, the king of a dandelion
as it glistens again in the sun.
I lay myself down in the slanting field
to sleep in warm green
before the shadows of Cliveden
bring cold dew—
to die with the words of a poem
I just wrote to a friend—
to be born again new,
out from the slanting field.