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1983-2015
tearing the rag off the bush again
M.G. Stephens: New Poems PDF E-mail
M.G. Stephens: New Poems

VISITORS

The Piccadilly Line to Leicester Square,
I said, and then change for the Northern Line,
But make sure it is the Edgware Branch,
Get off in Hampstead, I’ll be waiting outside,
Old, bald, worn, your classmate from grade school,
Our old parochial school on Long Island,
Many lives ago, when we still believed
In the transubstantiation, and thought ourselves
Quite cool souls migrating through the universe.


AUTUMNAL

A detour of ammonia and
Shimmer, as if moonstruck
On dappled leaves, trees
Onward dalliance of light
Of the atmospherics, the everness
Of machine parts, unafraid,
A kind of sympathetic whistle
To the clever dampness,
Friday’s grace holds us up.


APPLES (2)

Apples of the earth are potatoes by another name. The apple of her eye is love by any other name. Yet if I say your name, I see apples—Matisse apples in a bowl.


SWELTER

Tempers flare
Everywhere


ALLIGATOR ALLEY

I stepped out into a street of alligators
in London, wondering where I went wrong.
The alligators were hungry, and tried to eat me,
but I side-stepped them, and still they were angry with me.
I ran sideways away from them, zigging and zagging
through the dense city traffic, so that even far away, I could hear them.
They cried, the alligators, for their old friend.


TOLMERS SQUARE
 
The rain’s aftermath--
junkies sit around talking loudly:
7 AM on Good Friday.


THE GLASS OF MILK

When I contemplate the end, whose sell-by date, stamped on their ass, has come due? Who’s date just expired, like an old bottle of milk in the refrigerator that was left there too long? Who is next? By the grace of god, by dumb luck of my gene-pool, not being hit crossing the street, I am here right now, at this moment, writing this down, drinking a glass of soya milk.


WHAT’S LEFT

Red leaves, yellow, on the ground.
Autumn leaves, and winter arrives.


THE DRAWING

This is what you draw,
neither inference nor conclusion.
The body of work. The body
of knowledge. Light over
dark. Chiarascuro.


OBIT

The death of poetry
was kept from
the poets


THE EARTH’S TILT

The pot is filled with spring posy (though it is late December),
astromeria, pastel tulips (not my name for them, it says so
on the wrapper from Waitrose), and daffodils, and all this love streams
from it, like rain from a cloud or sunlight from the sun, like clouds
moving towards summer, solstice to equinox, a cold fact,
but warmest regards, and welcome back.


SOBER

The person
I was
Will always be
Drunk
 
The person
I am
Is not
 
One day at
A time


A FOGGY DAY

I walk these streets daily, learning bumps and fissures
in the pavement, and I know who will say hello or nod or walk
past me, the eternal stranger,  though more often people
smile and they’ll say, “Are you all right?”
 
Home is here, even if I was not born here,
and I grew up elsewhere. Besides I have the soul of
an old Italian, the temperament of my long-lost French
ancestors. But my accent is New York,
 
My passport is Irish, and London is now home.


OBAMA

We the people
You the man


IN THE GROOVE

One
good
poem
follows
another


IN THE BEGINNING (2)

There was noise,
And then there was nothing.
There was nothing more.
 
There was only this,
Only this, and nothing more:
The rest is silence
 
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