from Works and Works And Days

by Paul Raboff, with illustration by Joakim Lloyd Raboff

Works and Days, 5th Load

Those models,
If they only had
The energy,
They’d be vaguely

The new morality:
Let anyone
Get away
With anything.

I don’t get it
All the time
But it claims
My full attention:
Real poetry.

I bought gifts again,
Otherwise I won’t be able
To look at  the kids’ faces.

We don’t have
To solve it,
Just transcend it.

This marathon:
Banality repeated
Until heroic.

We set the dimensions.
The rough features,
The smooth ledges
Of development.

Review it like me.
How many
Do I owe
My life to?

We travel life
Through each other’s

I always walked into,
When I walked,
A crucial
Relation there.

He was always
There already
With what I thought
I had discovered.

It’s bad luck
To take a census
Of their help.
We might die
Of gratitude.

Can you die
Of gratitude?
Only if your
Heart hurts.

Let me
At least owe
The thanks
Of my mouth.

I haven’t equaled
The gifts
I was given.

One generation
Out of slavery
And she raised
Three generations
Of white children.

From branch
To branch
Of the family,
Always the same.

Her anguished prayer
Was the same form
As her overworked body.

You can’t joke
At such constant
Good will.

You are tiny
Such innocence.

All those saints
I was lucky to meet.
Me with my
Crabby criticism
That it withered.

You don’t repay
With tears.

There, I’ve
Made myself cry
And am poorer
Than ever.

The world
May crush the Jews
But it cannot
Stick to them.

How do you manipulate
Law and order
To the top
Of a hill of trash.

Works And Days, 6th load

You want to tell them.
“Stop lying.”
But they don’t know
The meaning of stop either.

And “bull shit”
Unfortunately blend.

The raisins
Are baked
Tight in the dough.

The overlapping
Is where
The fringes tangle.

Predict disaster.
You’re never wrong.
But can you live?

Through it all
The mourning doves
Pecking seeds, mating,
Always the same song.

I can’t favor sides
For individual salvation.
Is there any other?

I’m not going
To worry about it.
He will never change.
So, hope he’s right.

Don’t try to
Write like me
So you won’t
Do it better.

Coming into us
Hate doesn’t drain.
It finds its pocket
Whirls about
And ferments.

That’s it,
You’re connected
To a well.

What is that
Going all around
The world?
It has as many
As you have
Those pumping.

She’s uncomfortable
Now, finally
Her beautiful face
Shows some compassion.

That constant flow
Has inconsistencies
It doesn’t know
It has.

Move slow.
Pick up freight
Along the way
On flat cars.
Push it off, easily.

I forgot the words
As they appeared
On a scroll
From his mouth
Across the air:
A man of God.

Nature hushed, still,
Not cricket nor bird
Before the war.
He said, “It will be all right.”
And nature began again.

Everything is decided
In heaven, first.

At its central shaft,
Life is a ritual.

I hate habitual.
The guy painting scenes
On olive wood
Always at the same place.
But then I pass him
Day after day.

Categories: Fiction/Poetry

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *