Happy Birthday

Happy birthday. You sit alone

& play the scratched LP

That’s always been yours,

A dead singer’s uplift

Is all you’ve ever needed.


Memory is a trick—

Like rebellion

In youth

Visions & results

Remain far apart,

But at least

That  (you

think) is

Something one can

Count on.


Through a small window

Under the eaves

You see neighborhood


Walking home

From school

Their rain jackets

Yellow as finches.


A compact life this year,

You & Miles Davis

In the attic—

Happy birthday.

Happy birthday.

& time to turn the record over.



Symphony #4

Hilarious to be the blind boy who loves Brahms

Face pressed to fabric speaker of radio

Holding fast, seaward, first hint

Of big idea—cardamon pastry

In his hand—rain

At the window


1958 & grownups

Sleeping, Helsinki

Late Winter

Ships calling

From the harbor


His heart beating

As if he’d

Inherited it

From a gull



Picking mushrooms

A proper Scandinavian

Original food of poverty

Summer of baby coffins


Where are the songs?

I’ve one or two

Funereal cradle lullabys

Old Finland


Sometimes play them

On a guitar

Now end of Winter

Preparing for Spring

I Started the Day Feeling Fine


That is, my simple trousers

Hung well

On my stippled

Inefficient legs

& I was right with the world



On the street

Had contributions—


The village pump

I sang a short song


The seahorse’s coordinates

Had their way with me then

No longer welcome

In the story teller’s circle

I was far at sea

Without friends by sundown


In my grandmother’s attic I found a silver toothpick

Buried in a small wooden box

Like Egyptian sarcophagi

For mummified crickets

Something funereal


Once there was a grand occasion

1906 the Great Caruso home

After San Francisco

Everyone raising a glass

At Del Pezzo’s


Strangers lovers


To be alive

In the age of song

& the tenor handing out his souvenirs




One more day I’m a poet
Rolling the planet across a table
Infantile game–macassar oil
On the chairs, Victorian bookshelf
Crammed with taxonomies,
Yes, a stuffed owl

Everyone wants the source
Of the Loire or a finely woven
Net, something informative
As we feel
When the moon comes close
& we’re picking mushrooms
In summer