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.
and some shade
moving to a time
as slow as roots
along a stream
in a dream
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.
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.
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
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
And that no one
can stop, not for a moment, the
constant flow and inexorable
passage of life.