Today's poem is by Richard Lyons

Morning and Night

It will be at least another hour before the sun comes up.
At some point a phone rings—dream scrip snipped and that's it,
a wet straw of breath on your lip. To clean up your act,
use a Kyoto water cannon. You're starting from scratch.
Anything said now would be true on its own laurels.

Paradise is not your milieu, footnote the New York School.
Givens aren't given, they're withheld, and you have to accept that
whether you can reach them, these facts primeval,
catching the red eye express, catching the deadly commute,
whether proximity is relevant, whether action is called for or not.

A grudge is a nest egg you shouldn't nurture,
the center's volatile enough.
You've struck out on your own so many times
impatient clocks keep time with the wick in your heart,
the quick and the dead on the same muddy pavement.

Isn't every consciousness a dark buzzing of neurons?
The porch light pinches the house across the way,
the crape myrtle a shadow broken away from its lover.
You have to dip your hands in chaos. You don't have to like it.
Dip your axe-handle face. That's the way Howling Wolf,

a.k.a. Chester Burnett, would sing it, as if fresh from a fight.
But someone like Chuck Close stretches the subject's face
into a mural of cross-hatched fields and bays, his own hands
stiffening after the stroke like two exquisite lilies
violating one or more of the aboriginal integrities.

You can't say you've ever taken your time, your own time,
the othering so strong tonight your blood sings with it.
Time passes. Or it doesn't. Say a bird is roused from its nest.
A train-horn cuts a distant crossing. An opening door
shoves a yellow wedge into the prickly backside of night.

Copyright © 2009 Richard Lyons All rights reserved
from Cimarron Review
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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