Reading Alabama

Jeannie dreamt of cherry blossom times
when falling cherished petals
rode on her shoulders like
dandruff thoughts
of springs past
jumping with him on bikes
pedaling home
to the sitting room
to shared cherries and
dreams of travel assumed
with sitars on their knees
playing hozannas from the West
like gospel cries
by the Alabama mist they’d seen
kissing faux banjos

—- Douglas Gilbert

Poetry Books By Douglas Gilbert



I imagine you drifting
in thoughts on the bus
by the window with
a mystery package

Hear me honk
see me as the bird
that flaps a clap
applauding your reverie

On your way, squealing
with the wheeling of the bus
I am the squeaky brakes
squawking to see you; I am
the roar of the engine

Wake up. Don’t
miss your stop
don’t drop your
precious package

Arrive soon, because
I can’t wait to
open you up
to ride with me
—- Douglas Gilbert

Poetry Books By Douglas Gilbert

Reading In The Circle Square

Oh please let me read
before the acrobats arrive
to drive me batty
claim my turf
near the museum
or in Central Park

Crowds gather to
see the somersaults
and the gray makeup statue people —
a statue that moves; what
is the thrill?

So I say in my false bass
to carry my voice for three blocks
echoing off buildings:

“Carp not the day, but
kiss the past good-bye,
consume the meats of glory
while salad days are over,
green envy of youth begins,
and I say unto you:

friends, toilmen, bumpkins
lend me your eyes to spy;
I have come to bury Caesar salad
not to praise tyrants as Caesar
fishy and salty like an anchovy

See me praise the dance
on the graves of the grave,
and praise the praise
brought to ceremonials

Cheer me
and I shall be cheered,
for no one can tell me
what the sound is
of one tear clapping
in a thunder kiss
applauding the future”

The Vandals and the Visigoths
the hoodlums of heckler youth shout,
“Shut up Shakespeare creep”
(I translate from the key of F)

But I see her of sultry look
turning to pull me into her
like a force field
to tear me from this
mob of barbarians
into her poetic world of fantasy, and
yes, I’d be her Romeo

I turn to her and read:
“I woke up to my
longing for you; coffee
bit my dream
I stirred your cream

If I dress to seek you
will I know where
passion gallivants

You haunt me with
your many haunts. I
feel a phantom kiss
and miss the bliss from
flesh and ardor, belief bones
troubles massaged in a love whisper,
soothing music
melodic compassion

I am out to find you
driven like the mating birds;
walking, I hear the coos
but let them fly unknowing
for I have a gift for us:
wait ’til you
see me smile
everywhere I know you”

I fold down my sign
pack up
walk to her
wanting to ravish

She says,
what do you really do
—- Douglas Gilbert

Poetry Books By Douglas Gilbert

The Employment of Nations

The usurpers’ convention
wrangled out a vote

The Ukrainians of Russian descent
will fly to Iraq, the Sunnis
to Basque territory

Kirkuk shall be
neither Arab nor
but Russian

Basque neither
French nor Spanish
but Sunni

The Basque will bask
in the Swiss Alps

and the Swiss
will seize Hershey Pennsylvania
to make chocolate cuckoo clocks

could take a while
to gather the Sioux

They are all waiting
for Divine inspiration
at the top of the
Tower of Babel West

News flash
at any moment

needed immediately.
Apply now!
—- Douglas Gilbert

Gist-Mill Reporter

Her secret clan
nonplus at dusk
must discuss
later on —
hush the literary
pretensions not macho

She flattered herself
sociologist of the ‘hood
kindred big sister scribbler.

Kind scribe
for hustling masses
on penthouse roof
yearning to be
squeegee squatters,
she fancied herself

A coup:
her street gang
leader friend
who she taught to read

He’s been reading the paper —
seems excited, says:

Never weakness again.
Hush now sister:

Had I annihilated,
blown them,
turned their knives from my brother,
he would be Niyazov, but now

My secret posse
has exterminated all dares, and
I am Turkman,
of the ‘hood,
author of proper terror,

I see the value of reading:
to dream of territory
like Turkmenistan,
to be leader:

prefers newly bare deeds amuck in melee
and I

His portraits are everywhere.
They worship him, but
he can be kind.

I am like that.

She interrupted:
You have graffitti everywhere,
he as portraits.

She ruined
her student,
couldn’t save him.

He splashed
his likeness everywhere

The police
identified him
by his lost face on
every façade that
neighbors hated
—- Douglas Gilbert

[see New York Times, July 5, 2007, “Seeking New Leader’s Persona In Turkmens’ Murky Isolation,” by C.J. Chivers, pp. A1, A7 ]

Periods by “Diane”

I’ve had periods, but
I don’t want them anymore,
anymore than a hole
in the head-
aching to be filled
with pointillist visions
impressionist dots like
the stars I would see
hitting my head in
frustration at
pontificating periods
given voice by grammarians
contrarians who though
might have a point
to run out when the
bleeding of words is
too much to speak

Grammar is the downfall
of many a poor girl
who doesn’t know
if she should lie
down in green pastures
or lay or have a lay or
if she should have lain
to be laid in New Orleans
lying to the setting sun
where the day lies
in sadness and shame
letting night fall by
the broken moon
—- Douglas Gilbert

Poetry Books By Douglas Gilbert