Swan Lake in Lynn

Last night Dave and I

Mushed over to the Lynn Auditorium

Through 6 feet snow embankments

Up Monroe down Market into city

Hall where it all opened up for us

Behind the plush red velvet curtain

Swan Lake in Lynn! Black and White flutter-

Swan-dream- creatures court jester evil sorcerer

Enchanted lovers resplendant lush ensembles deux trois quatre

Romance death- strifed fate-mad  star- crossed embrace

Dave and I entranced amidst an audience murmur of Russian and Lynn

Argot and exotic women in tightly fit over the knee black leather high heel

Boots and sensuous furry garments  with tiny waists and big skirts

We bathe in a a snowy swath of swans we open our arms to the whole

Swanly affair and I remember my nine year old dancing self

When my ma took me to see the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo

at the Bushnell Memorial in Hartford Connecticut

and the red curtain opened and parted

like the first red sea and…

I saw Alexandra Danilova prima ballerina

And her troupe of enchantment

And went backstage afterward with Ma

And all I remember  from here is she took off

Her eyelashes and put them in a jar and kissed me

and for months after that I  kissed each night

her autographed photo and I knew

I knew what it meant to be in the magic zone

and now at my austere and snowy age

I know ah oui… je connais encore

Signing off respectfully… e/liz: jazz poet of lynn

Against, Ornate Rhetorical Verse By Jose Marti/ transl. Tomas O leary

Against ornate, rhetorical verse
A poetry that’s natural. There’s a torrent here:
Here too, a dry stone. Over there a golden
Bird gleaming in the green branches, like a flower
Bright as fire on a bed of emeralds.
And here’s the fetid, viscous track of a gross,
Slimy, brown-bellied worm, its eyes
Two bubbles of mud. High above the tree, in a sky
Like steel, a solitary, steadfast star,
While underfoot, all around, roars the oven
Whose heat cooks the earth. The flames won’t quit:
Flames with open pits like eyes, tongues
Like arms, vicious as a man, sharp-pointed as a sword:
The sword of life, which flashes fire
Again and again, until it takes the earth at last!
The fire climbs out of its own heart, howls, and that’s that:
A man begins in fire, and ends on the wing.
But as he makes his triumphal leap, the reprobates
Go mad!–the vile ones, the cowards, the conquered,
Like serpents, like little yapping dogs, like
Crocodiles with their double rows of teeth,
From here, from there, from the tree that protects him
And the soil that sustains him, from the stream
Where he slakes his thirst, from the very
Anvil where he forges his bread, they come
Barking and biting his feet, hurling dust and mud
In his face, hoping to blind him on his way.
But watch: with one blow of a wing he sweeps the world
And ascends through the burning atmosphere,
Dead like a man, and like the sun, serene.
If poetry wants to be noble, it has to be
Like life: the star, the yapping dog, the cave
That wears the teeth-marks of fire:
The pine, in whose redolent branches
A nest sings in the moonlight.
–José Martí

(translated by Tomas O’Leary)

It’s Snowing I’m Hitching : Dream Sequence 4

Moving toward Flagstaff  I’m out

On the highway I’m hitching

And at night too, when the blurring

Lights hunt me down

I think about you looming

So big and imponderable

LIke a giant hulk


Dave looks up from the dining room table

Where he is doing something on the computer

He has that serious look that slow imponderable gaze and says

I’m looking up Flagstaff Arizona

Why don’t we go there and get out of this damn snow

Let’s go babe let’s go clear across tomorrow

All the way to Flagstaff Arizona


I see you America

I see you when Rozi

from Albania appears

Wrapped in your flag and singing

Oh Holy Nigh at the Walnut st cafe


or when Etheridge ambles in

from his corner on 4th and Martindale

and says no black man

can ever be a citizen can ever be president

so what the fuck, and I see you america

in my swamp yankee Dad

Who believed that any one could do any thing

aka any white man

if he worked hard enough no problem no prison

and I hear you when Woody Guthrie

Sings home the deportees and I hear you

On Sunday when the Somali women

Chant up a righteous storm in the storefront church

Right next to the Flag Pharmacy run by Russians

and now I am stuck in the Milwaukee Airport and it’s snowing

It’s been snowing all night and there’s a second hand book store

Here in the airport I’m happy

And now I am in Allston at a party of sex workers

All women and one Cuban pimp in wingtip shoes

and they’re scooping white powder up from a candy bowl

I’m leaving and Maria is crying her mascara is smearing

And I am right on time

waiting like Ferlinghetti

for a rebirth of wonder will I  stay

Or go far away

All night  it is snowing it keeps on

Snowing it will snow forever

I look up to my highest window

And I see you america

Tattered but still flying

I look up and look out my high window

And outside I see you waving America  you bitch


Tattered and raggedy and lovely still waving

Somewhere Else Dream Sequence

In the backroom. Barely

Perceived. Realised. Slowly

Takes off veils of clothes

In slow-time. Watching me

Through sea-weed, sow belly lace,

solitary, hunger strike, the muslim brothers.

“Gimmee some meat. So hungry

I’m hallucinatin.”

“Naw man, just hang.”

Companero de la vida,

I have not slept beside you

For 25 years. The leaves turn. You die in my arms.

Pussy willow weeps. Solitary. Tears like

Black eggs. Lip-lap the lala moon.

All the way to the sea.

The sea.