Ode to the Immigrant

Ode to the Immigrant, Cast Off
From Foreign Sands

Off on long and distant ways, the
Days across oceans and waters
That sink deep to trenches
Without sound. I

Think that songs sung out at
Night in quiet towns by rivers
That flow to
An endless sea must
Mean something more

Than scribbled words in
Windowless rooms. This or

A cancer that festers and we
Do not remove it
In time… Just,

All those who come and came
Across time and oceans and
Who whispered hope to winds
That were to carry them to lands
Where all are welcome to till and

Raise up words that fit into
A clear, blue and patient
Sky. Where do

We go next?

4 Stanzas on Old Things

Deep shadows of history fall
On pavements trodden well in
A white city on bluffs that look
Over such quiet hills. Of

Signs and patience. The cries
Of voices that refuse to be
Silenced by feet tapping down
Corridors we cannot find. Still,

They come and march and
Say what was once said as truth,
As wisdom beyond censure, beyond
Hands that grope, in the dark.

So come. So raise fists to dark
Skies that hold rain that cannot
Fall on songs that are spoken
Aloud…. always

Black Birds and Mountains

January, 2017

The black birds come
Down and by large, white
Windows with views out

To mountains that back to
Mountains that stretch to
Lakes up tall pine roads.

These black
Birds. They do not
Stay but squawk and perch
With such menacing eyes. While

Out beyond are hills and
Streams and paths that line
Up to mountains that stretch
To mountains I just
Cannot see.

John Brown

I wonder what he meant, among
Other things, by writing in
The past tense. He was
Still alive, still wild-
Eyed, but writing in
The past tense.

Did he know?

The pale moonlight.
The sudden nightmare of
Piercing church chimes that
Quake up a limp leg
Twisting round
And round…

An ashen tree,
In dead December.

Did he know? Man
Alive man so

Eaves – Dropping

Two rows back on the
Opposite end of a train
Car that belches and roars
Out a thick, bewildering
Ash of pastes and particles
You seem to over-hear-

“Taney and James – they’re in
On it they are in
Cahoots. Conspiratorial
You might say.”

The steel train grinds-grinds-
Grinds bolts and bars and
Breaks down coal with a
Hiss a loud-loud hiss-
Of delight.

“And a friend told me
That a friend of his who
Was there heard from a
Man that Lincoln had said that
He makes a chestnut
Horse a horse

Your bolted-down seat
Shakes from the pound-pound-
Pound of pistons screeching
Out steam that clings to
The misty panes of pale
Glass that you, buffeted and
Blockaded, squint through and

“Like the roar-roar
Of Chicago when Honest Abe’s
Nomination came through.”