The Battle That Was Against Me

In one of those moments
when a world gives way,
a street vendor of ice
becomes vice-president,
the marginal are exalted
and the rigid and the humorless
shun old traditions.
You can’t build a country
in a culture of fear, I saw,
or find solace
in the ranks of the despised.

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The Gift

Cut off in the dunes without bread
without meat
I never thought history
would turn this way,
that a Rhode Islander would assume the Presidency
of our Nation.

There was a time
when quahogs from the salt flats
were the only sustenance
for me and my fighters.

Now I share my bold delight
to learn my former nemesis
has watched my inauguration
from a prison cell in Job Lot,
his foul soul steaming.

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Last Legs

Will death come lick my face today
or scratch my shin in Zeta’s way?
Or lay two legs across my lap,
or signal with an elbow tap?

Will death be hungry, underfed
or want to climb into my bed?
Will I just growl “Leave me alone”
or show my love and throw a bone.

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In with the New

The contractor put black straps on our chimneys
and a new dormer on the second story
with clear plastic for an awning.

The backyard soon became a yawning pit.
Those old stone walls
will have to come down, he said.

I knew it was coming together I told him
but neither of us knew when.

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Your Holiday Fragrance Destination

I saw God coming
so I crossed the street.
I wasn’t smelling
very sweet.

God said, “Don’t worry
I’ve smelled it all–
every perfume
every stall.

After the Flood
it was pretty bad
but nowadays
I’m not so mad.”

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So We Have Heard from the Wise

My neighbor from his driveway’s gone,
he’s working for a living.
I sit at home in empty rooms,
disbanding my misgiving.

Allied, we cross the sea of death
without recrimination
and toss our seeds of peace and joy
in grand felicitation.

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Veteran’s Day in New Hampshire

I get up at seven
after feeding the gray stove
all night in a light rain,
gloves off for breakfast.
The whole lake is still,
the oak leaves fallen
Rattlesnake lost in the mist.

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Blanks

Drawing blanks
is my name O God.
The vacancy in my heart
astounds me.

You are welcome
to stay the night.
In the morning
we’ll see.

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Psalm for Gina

Why do I miss our puppy so?
She filled my heart with longing.
Why do I miss our puppy so?
She barked aloud at the oddest hours.
Why do I miss our puppy so?
Her growth was something to behold.

Why do I miss our puppy so?
Answer me, God Almighty.
So I am unafraid today
to enjoy a thing of beauty.

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Minutes of the Federal Reserve, 2015

Janet Yellen–
this gal’s so skittish,
afraid of pain
she’s hardly British.

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