On the Death of Hart Crane

You hadn’t written a single line
of poetry throughout your stay in Mexico;
a trip made possible by Guggenheim.
Was it alcoholic despair, the blackouts,
the tremors? A loss of inspiration?
Or unrequited love?

Your compelling verse was masterful
and visionary; an inspiration to many. And
the loss has been felt since that April day when,
on a steamship heading home, you decided
that you’d had enough; joining your muse,
the immutable sea.

I lament the day, so long ago,
when you went to the fantail of the Orizba,
took off your topcoat and climbed the railing.
Then jumped.

What’s Requisite

What’s requisite
is water

and some shade
moving to a time

as slow as roots
along a stream

where trout
swim slowly

in a dream
of knowing

not caught
but foreseen.

Ant Bite

Ants move hurriedly on the cement
walkway with their cold, oblivious
unconcern for the human world.
Looking back I see
my 3-year-old daughter,
squatting on the sidewalk
leading away from our home
in the California desert.

“What’s wrong?” I ask her.
“My finger hurts.”
She wonders why, and I explain,
looking down at the black insects
she thought were her friends.

“Ants bite, sometimes,” I say.
Surprised, she says, “Why?”
“I’m not sure,” I say.
“They’re afraid, I guess.”.

We hurry to the house for first aid,
Stepping over the ants turning back.
Palm fronds sway idly in the spring
breeze before the brutal summer.
Jenetta’s hand still holds mine
as we reach the bathroom.
I let go, opening the cabinet,
unaware of the distance
we’d just travelled.

Finding Faith

I’ve always loved words
Counting them like stars
That gave meaning

Though words held meaning
There were nights like stars
When I found no words

To hold meaning
Which lay beyond words
I found faith in stars—

Meaning words, not stars.

Transience

I found in a book some leaves
I had picked up from a road

one rainy day last fall. I could
not bear to let their beauty lie

there on the cold, wet ground,
waiting to disintegrate under

the wheels of oblivious drivers.
I tried to save them from their
transience,

as we all have tried

in similar ways to save ourselves

from time. It is nearly Spring,

but these leaves, like memories,

say to me, again, how fleeting

everything is.

And that no one

can stop, not for a moment, the

constant flow and inexorable

passage of life.

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Michael Seeger is a poet and educator residing in the Coachella Valley near Palm Springs, California. Prior to his life as a middle school English instructor, he worked as a technical writer for a baseball card company and served as a Marine Infantry Officer during Desert Storm.
image: Palais Dorotheum via Wikimedia Commons (public domain)