Poem – The Rain 

When my older brother 

came back from war 

he had on his forehead a little silver star 

and under the star 

an abyss 

a splinter of shrapnel 

hit him at Verdun 

or perhaps at Grünwald 

(he’d forgotten the details) 

he used to talk much 

in many languages 

but he liked most of all 

the language of history 

until losing breath 

he commanded his dead pals to run 

Roland Kowaski Hannibal 

he shouted 

that this was the last crusade 

that Carthage soon would fall 

and then sobbing confessed 

that Napoleon did not like him 

we looked at him 

getting paler and paler 

abandoned by his senses 

he turned slowly into a monument 

into musical shells of ears 

entered a stone forest 

and the skin of his face 

was secured 

with the blind dry 

buttons of eyes 

nothing was left him 

but touch 

what stories 

he told with his hands 

in the right he had romances 

in the left soldier’s memories 

they took my brother 

and carried him out of town 

he returns every fall 

slim and very quiet 

he does not want to come in 

he knocks at the window for me 

we walk together in the streets 

and he recites to me 

improbable tales 

touching my face 

with blind fingers of rain 

Poem – Architecture 

Over a delicate arch–

an eyebrow of stone–

on the unruffled forehead

of a wall

in joyful and open windows

where there are faces instead of geranium

where rigorous rectangles

border a dreaming perspective

where a stream awakened by an ornament

flows on a quiet field of surfaces
movement meets stillness a line meets a shout

trembling uncertainty simple clarity
you are there

architecture

art of fantasy and stone
there you reside beauty

over an arch

light as a sigh
on a wall

pale from altitude
and a window

tearful with a pane of glass
a fugitive from apparent forms

I proclaim your motionless dance 

Poem – Three Poems By Heart

I
I can’t find the title

of a memory about you

with a hand torn from darkness

I step on fragments of faces
soft friendly profiles

frozen into a hard contour
circling above my head

empty as a forehead of air

a man’s silhouette of black paper
II
living–despite

living- -against

I reproach myself for the sin of forgetfulness
you left an embrace like a superfluous sweater

a look like a question
our hands won’t transmit the shape of your hands

we squander them touching ordinary things
calm as a mirror

not mildewed with breath

the eyes will send back the question
every day I renew my sight

every day my touch grows

tickled by the proximity of so many things
life bubbles over like blood

Shadows gently melt

let us not allow the dead to be killed–
perhaps a cloud will transmit remembrance–

a worn profile of Roman coins
III
the women on our street

were plain and good

they patiently carried from the markets

bouquets of nourishing vegetables
the children on our street

scourge of cats
the pigeons–
softly gray
a Poet’s statue was in the park

children would roll their hoops

and colorful shouts

birds sat on the Poet’s hand

read his silence
on summer evenings wives

waited patiently for lips

smelling of familiar tobacco
women could not answer

their children: will he return

when the city was setting

they put the fire out with hands

pressing their eyes
the children on our street

had a difficult death

pigeons fell lightly

like shot down air
now the lips of the Poet

form an empty horizon

birds children and wives cannot live

in the city’s funereal shells

in cold eiderdowns of ashes
the city stands over water

smooth as the memory of a mirror

it reflects in the water from the bottom
and flies to a high star

where a distant fire is burning

like a page of the Iliad 

Poem – To My Bones

In my sleep it rips throughmy meagre skin

throws off the red bandage of the flesh

and goes strolling through the room

my monument a little incomplete
one can be prodigal

with tears and blood

what will endure here the longest

must be thoughtfully provided for
better (than with a priest’s dry finger

to the rains which drip from a cloud of sand)

to give one’s monument to the academey
they will prop it up in a glass display case

and in Latin they will pray before

the little altar made from an os frontalis
they will reckon the bones and surfaces

they will not forget not overlook
happily I will give my color of eyes

pattern of nails and curve of eyelids

I the perfectly objective

made from white crystals of anatomy

Poem – What Our Dead Do

Jan came this morning—

I dreamt of my father

he says
he was riding in an oak coffin

I walked next to the hearse

and father turned to me:
you dressed me nicely

and the funeral is very beautiful

at this time of year so many flowers

it must have cost a lot
don’t worry about it father

—I say—let people see

we loved you

that we spared nothing
six men in black livery

walk nicely at our sides
father thought for a while

and said—the key to the desk

is in the silver inkwell

there is still some money

in the second drawer on the left
with this money—I say—

we will buy you a gravestone

a large one of black marble
it isn’t necessary—says father—

better give it to the poor
six men in black livery

walk nicely at our sides

they carry burning lanterns
again he seemed to be thinking

—take care of the flowers in the garden

cover them for the winter

I don’t want them to be wasted
you are the oldest—he says—

from a little felt bag behind the painting

take out the cuff links with real pearls

let them bring you luck

my mother gave them to me

when I finished high school

then he didn’t say anything

he must have entered a deeper sleep
this is how our dead

look after us

they warn us through dreams

bring back lost money

hunt for jobs

whisper the numbers of lottery tickets

or when they can’t do this

knock with their fingers on the windows
and out of gratitude

we imagine immortality for them

snug as the burrow of a mouse