Washington DC, 2011

The long escalator from the Metro underworld
of massive Piranesian tubes, ejects me upward into
the grey, light showery day, and the wide National Mall.
I walk, away from the Capital,  massive federal buildings on either side
like fortifications, defending themselves,  no longer public,.
and grand Museums, Art, Nature ,and Space for the people,
I walk past the grim WWII monument, a felangistic plaza
black bronze Roman wreaths on towers.

I escape, trudge on.
A black granite V penetrates the earth,
carries names of men thrown away,
plunges into the sodden surface,
blood splattered Vietnam fields.
Black granite walls, scattered flowers
umbrellas, glistening pavement,
glistening, crying black walls.

I flee to the small,
to the Phillips gallery to find  relief.
.          Bonnard’s brilliant green violet mixtures
.          Renoir’s boating party, Van Gogh, Cezanne,-
go smaller to a dark music room, rare De Stael’s,
suited diplomats from Slavic lands
large women, reserved seats.
A quartet plays Beethoven (Raz 3)
and a quiet wistful modern.

Kent Bowker    May17, 2011

Nine Haiku for my love’s big left toe

A sprung light wind
lifts a breath from the sea-
stroke your back gently.

After the spring rain
Daffodils reach up to you-
Dreams of love.

Lavender ruins
The garden erupts color;
A breath of smoke.

A cloud is a shawl
A linen streaked with rain-
Light trembling leaves.

Spring, grief and ruins,
makes it all seem pointless-
voices in the fog.

The dying old year
Ends in wild and holy days-
Frogs are sleeping.

Photographs of love
is as Spring’s water greening grass-
moon flirting clouds.

Attic to Cellar
Walls and windows make a house-
our naked embrace.

March becomes memory
The stillness of snow forgotten-
lips touch softly.

The Gryphon at the Mansion on Thursday night

How could our world change, become a  hostile place?.
Here at the mansion on the hill, a crowd of us
seeking fun, taking time out for happiness,
parking cars, rushing in, spreading blankets on the grass
bringing picnic dinners and forgetting for a night
the other garbage stuck in our worried minds.
It’s not  the end of it, our world,
It wouldn’t make sense, now in this middle time,
but we might destroy it by  implacable selfishness
the ‘I want’, before thinking
but not, not before the band plays.

The Gryphon on the pedestal
has glassy eyes and rapacious beak
but it doesn’t speak
or perhaps we didn’t hear it,
we make so much noise
dancing to a metallic amplified beat
Giddings’ big band underneath the stars
where we bathe ourselves in warm night air.

.        Listening to poets, a dancing in the stars,
.        Zukosky’s flow of words tumbling through 800 pages,
.        Jorie Graham’s rushing music, meanings compressed
.        and expanded, lines like accordions.

No oracle from above commands us,
though we think we’d like it to,
nor words in the songs we’ve heard before
automatic as drum beats, even as our hearts
repeat, repeat, repeat.
Words from above would not come
b‘cus there’s no one out there, or here.
We won’t listen if it just comes from us
no matter how wise.
So perhaps it will end
this time, this species
so beautiful, so pleasured
dancing here under the moon.,

Kent Bowker               4/4/2011