Sunday, March 1, 2015

brass bell: Jack Goldman

Welcome to the March 2015 issue of brass bell, featuring poems by Jack Goldman

snowfall overnight
world seems less complicated
in shadowless light

fresh snow on the creek
unruffled ducks glance at me
over their shoulders

bread of life for birds
cast upon the snowy yard
squandered on squirrels

snow ablaze in sun
contest of fire and ice
cold consolation

under the streetlamp
my shadow hurries ahead —
I’d rather linger

wary of warm day
magnolia blossoms withhold
their sudden glory

that unnoted twig
suddenly lifts from the branch
and becomes a bird

duplicitous March
I’m on to your fickle ways
my boots stand ready

planting a fall bulb
an annual act of faith . . .
two bulbs hedge my bet

in this cold country 
where skies merge with mirrored lakes
stone walls stand their ground

frozen pair of jeans
swinging slowly on the line
Old Man Winter's blues

stones stacked up like books
along the turbulent gorge
“Ancient History”

hip-hopping squirrels 
break dancing in the branches
addle the cool cats

willow trees whisper
secret longings to the wind . . .
that flighty gossip

youth speaks the grammar
of present and future tense —
age speaks past perfect

my friend recommends
meditation and breathing —
I’ll think about it

my mirror reveals
an elderly stranger who
appears to know me

floating in the sea
merging with the ocean sky
I swallow the clouds

strolling on the shore
warm sand caressing my soles
the sun underfoot

twinkling butterflies
swarming in the morning sun
a tropical wink

leaving the islands
returning to a cold home
sand in my sandals

sketchy potted plant
still living at the window
drawing winter light

poor old puckered pear
judging by appearances
we two make a pair

moved by a March breeze
maple trees unpack their trunks
no longer snowbound

something consoling
in the nonchalance of crows
patrolling the storm

handful of haiku
neither poetry nor prose
this side of silence


Jack Goldman:
I graduated from UCLA in 1964 after several years abroad in Israel, France, Germany and Switzerland. I came to Ithaca in 1965 as a graduate student in German Literature; joined Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) in 1967, and devoted several years to opposing the Vietnam War and doing community organizing. In 1975, I opened the Bookery, a downtown bookstore which continues to thrive. I've been married for many years to the extraordinary Barbara Mink
and I'm the father of the equally wonderful Emily, and son Dan* (d. 2013).

*   you were a gazelle
    sensing an instant too late
    the shattering air