Like an Aperitif

                                                                                                        Like an Aperitif

     Here's the charge, the chance to impress, negotiate,
explore the woods and fields,
enjoying the sense of property, the inspired ownership
you feel among the poems, prints,
the quilts in progress or completed, and only a step or so
from summer-times in Maine
or Mexico, from our dreams, Elizabeth, care-taken
through predicaments
and pleasures, with this day-lit moon to suit,
and this noon light
fit to the equation, like an aperitif
cannot help but share



     What if the Gouda Buddha, the Beckster down
their snack-stick dynamite,
then slip out past the cops to a more-isolated courting,
bristling at a thought, and
if the GB's propped, that squeaky wheel under him,
believing he'll wash himself
tonight to start the weekend, to celebrate the cold
and detonations a man brings on himself,
filled with the leftovers a winter afternoon's arranged for him? 
Doesn't this last glow suit, and these crumbs,
shooed along curb-lines, picked up as his distractions,
shouldn't these crumbs appeal to him,
no less than this dark he cannot identify, just as that bird
wings off, and a second, with Beck's faces? 
He wakes himself, imagining the broader destinations
between one eye and another, and
the winds between, so that the dark itself holds suit,
deposits what it will, when
the President's set to speak, to exorcise the likes
of GB and the Beckster, so
that their meanness does not add up,
even today, to
that dead woman's moment,


                                                                                                       Second Guess

     So we'll pass up the hoops tonight, to hear the President,
and see some pretended courtesy,
short with applause allowed, and silence then, no less composed
than the lies and invented histories,
than the ignorance these northern gals make their trademark,
and their gospel synergy, than these fifty years
since a pre-Watergate, pre-panicked exit from Southeast Asia
January birthday set its meaning in her passing,
in their minds of kids who do not talk, and in the minds
of friends, today, some few
who had said her name and knew she'd listen, leaving
this afternoon to us, and to us this love,
this wintering, this Ohio, say, she never thought
I'd spend a life in, these homecomings
after all, trying to second-guess
the blogs, and lives in motion



                                                                                                       Up for Grabs

     Among our pads, our stitchings, and the house-sounds,
the prints we've matted, matted
and framed and hung, we'll share our takes on an agenda,
on the melt, glazed over and hardened some,
glad for the indoors under us, with nothing of note blocked in
to distract us from attention, nothing
to resist or make up for, intending to start with this, the next
or next to follow entry, on this holiday
for some, with lines I rededicate, imagining what half-lives mean
might, or a refinished home, and
what adds up to a collection, while an administration charms,
and the GOP presumes its odd refinements,
old refrains to denigrate, as if this were only a reinvented history,
or only pre-Civil War America, a fiction
up for grabs, recast by their desires, modeling their compact,
if you will, and, as ever, ignoring
the inconvenient details, making do with pasts, as they believe
pasts should have happened, their
ideas of a century, by design and calculations, and this,
the property of wizards, branched,
branching away in anarchies a tea-party's supplanted,
forgetting how men agreed
to amend their loosely-strung confederation, and
how the world looked on,
approved the second look, and these,
the least,     and
most unfinished touches
     on a nation.


                                                                                                       Means to Pay

     Leftovers tonight.  French onion soup,
penne in vodka sauce, the wine
to be chosen still, after a day the talk buffoons
played spatter-cast
with fact-less arguments, schooled to undercut,
and so clad by roles
and wounds they've self-inflicted or invented,
by their choice eats,
shared besides the gargoyles, on ledges powdering,
with ladders
well-below, that never reached to such high spots
and loneliness, seeming
to gesture at the scene and the depending, at
spent in specious and madder animations, peddling
sensation for sense,
gesticulation for commencement, and influence,
evolving as we watch,
an under-schooled host's been famous for.   There
will be books beyond,
besides, and a third, maybe, sensibly unbound,
adapted to unmoved grey,
and to these snow-backed crossing branches, this
daylong calm we celebrate,
a State of the Union say, and gifted president,
to woo the nation back, from worlds the right
scares up, from
that dreaded packaging an audience apart
enlisted for,
as the whispers aggregate, and prices
set, for ballots
as delivered, by some with
     means to pay.


A Sequence of poems composed in recognition
of my late mother’s ninety-first birthday,
and in anticipation of President Obama’s second
State of the Union address.





Thespian Debut

                              Then It's this

     this afternoon I'm thinking on. And it's been years
I guess, since Pete, the trapeze catcher,
     studied to break down knots, to put a body back in order,
a work I suppose the circus work
     prepared for him to master, and now I'm thinking of Chris,
flat-topped, with years done
     in surveillance, if all went well, as planned, went privately,
without a day to brag, with
     grid-irons and pre-millennium classes well behind them, and
west Ohio theater, solicitations,
      a "thespian debut" and weeks of yearbook column-space
to peddle, to northwest
     Ohio interests.  Imagine the spirited refusals a half-dressed 
teenage escort
     saved for him, sharing her better wisdom then, missing
the broader horrors
     the planet held in store, as the pro-leagues failed, as brothels
closed for good,
     vanished in rites of circumstance, in usurpations you think
you might know better than,
     time beings we can guess, re-lived among the gizmos,
punch-lines, and
     the remnants of a century, the whims of delegates, fixed
by their collective influence,
     by the meanness shared, the subjects of lives, lifetimes,
and intersecting fictions
     interest never played a hand in, with no need
for reason,
     no match for the flakey deposits
     they divine by.





Lightning Matches

     See how the lightning matches escalate, depend
alike on intellect and instinct. 
See how the shoes beside the shoes show off designs
you might improve on, released,
as it were, from an antique dispensation, so long
as the Party's up for it,
the sportsmen and sports-mentors, authoring tomes,
words put out for hire, straight
to the fading ends of conversation,  with the words
paid for, paid on,
mistakable and tawdry, hinting Ecclesiastes
say, and rendering redress,
practiced, up to now, by the demoiselles
and prune-suck ancients
     as appointed.

     A randier ill-witted tribe, absorbed and packing, displays
its range and consequence, while
conversations chirr, according to the program, say, with
these first large flakes falling in the Capital,
pretending to talk this out, and investing themselves in jacks,
in tanned birds trained to sing
to their desires, once the expression's set, and
the monologues, conspired
as exegeses, begun in the windy niches say,
where the tan man
sneaks away, and lessons

     Consider the rows, the tables and times, the lightning
there, and the inspired plays, the luncheons
with whom as scheduled, and a last beverage then,
while an afternoon completes
another narrowing of rosters, your sense of the cadence,
as that was, and the contenders, reputed
for cleverness if not for finer thought and details, for
the responses you'd expect,
catching the whims of focus groups, interrupted
in yacht season,
convincing the same who'd been
     by packaging. 






[Robert Lietz's poems have appeared in more than one hundred journals, including Agni Review, Antioch Review, Carolina Quarterly, The Colorado Review, Epoch, The Georgia Review, Mid-American Review, The Missouri Review, The North American Review, The Ontario Review, Poetry,and Shenandoah.  Eight collections of poems have been published, including Running in PlaceAt Park and East DivisionThe Lindbergh Half-century (L’Epervier Press), The Inheritance (Sandhills Press), and Storm Service and After Business in the West: New and Selected Poems (Basal Books). Besides the print publications, poems have appeared in several webzines.]

Copyright © 2017 by Robert Lietz, all rights reserved. This text may be used and shared in accordance with the fair-use provisions of Copyright law. Archiving, redistribution, or republication of this text on other terms, in any medium, requires the notification of the journal and consent of the author.