One Had Lived in a Room and Loved Nothing

One had lived in a room and loved nothing.
Full of spiders and what memory remained,
one had loved and she had forgotten things.

Clock stopped and aeroplane lost in the dark,
and who was that voice on the telephone?
One had lived in a room and loved nothing.

It was a rare sleep in helter-skelter;
one awakened a half-blessed and charmed fool.
One had loved and she had forgotten things.

One had lived in a room and loved nothing.
Whose tiffany ring on her ring finger;
who gave one mantis kiss as the jazz played?

The faceless lover and last known address,
a writing pad and table overturned,
one had loved and she had forgotten things.

What was day or night with no hours left
and who were the two in the photograph?
One had loved and she had forgotten things.
One had lived in a room and loved nothing.

 

The Riderless Horse Fell On Sorrow Road

The riderless horse fell on Sorrow Road
thrown off the iced bridge in a half-man trot,
stomped the hollow ground and raised a ghost star.

Its Black Jack boots were reversed in stirrups;
taps played and black ice formed over fieldstone,
they found the gutted horse on Sorrow Road.

Who washed its dying body in limewater,
set the fire, a blessing, under you,
stomped bones into dust and raised a ghost star?

The riderless horse fell on Sorrow Road
raised its hind legs like a praying mantis,
satan’s hooves, holy bell, one thunder cloud.

The ragged poet crawled over fieldstone,
unshaven, left for dead, and pockets out,
stomped the hollow ground and raised a satyr.

There might be some good in burning the dead;
would Auden agree in his English tweed?
The riderless horse fell on Sorrow Road
stomped the hollow ground and raised a ghost star.

 

These Were a Few of My Favorite Things

For John Coltane

These were a few of my favorite things,
summer fan, trap door spider, screech owl,
notes heard in heaven were notes penned in hell.

What spell, curse, rained down from the beggar’s bell
a tainted Absinthe spoon in a bedpan?
Few things were left saving after the flood.

The undiscovered planets, unearthly sounds,
a woman making love in Satan’s arms.
Notes heard in hell were notes penned in heaven.

His tenor saxophone lost in fire
a gas stove exploded and the high winds
left a ship’s masthead in the moon’s wreckage .

It was in perfect pitch and love’s demise,
a bass line rising in the smoke and woe.
Notes heard in heaven were notes penned in hell.

He played heroin like a Minotaur
like a preying mantis with human legs.
His music in a pile of ruined things:
notes heard in hell were notes penned in heaven.

 

I Stooped and Held My Thin Wife’s Diary

At the Good Samaritan Hospital in Kearny, Nebraska, each time a baby was born a lullaby was played on a loudspeaker throughout the hospital rooms and corridors and visitors might briefly pause to its harpsichord and raise their lowered heads.

I stooped and held my thin wife’s diary
her chemotherapy and nine months left.
When the lullaby played a baby was born.

She danced in light and took the sea-cliff stairs
and held the wild moorings against the dark.
I read my thin wife’s diary and wept.

My wife drew her last steps into sketchbooks.
Her wedding dress, first dance, hospital gown,
a baby was born when the lullaby played.

I held my thin wife’s dying hand and stooped,
bad fortune told how she had to let go,
no miracle in a voodoo doll’s mouth.

The nurse turned a key to the music box
dimmed a gas lantern in the corridor.
The lullaby played and a baby was born.

With choreography and nine months left
a blue halo formed over her bald head.
I read her diary and warmed her hands.
A baby was born when the lullaby played.

 

This is Their Story and This is Their Song

This is their story and this is their song.
Buddhist priest sat and set himself on fire
and his heart would not incinerate.
They wept and sang to study war no more.

The deformed children are straight-jacketed
until small pox buries them in boxes.
lay down my sword and shield
for a story on the end of the world.

The sky pilot dropped leaflets that ignite
and float in surrender and blossom.
how high can you fly
People wept at body bags on t.v.

Music followed them into the trenches
young men cut down and trampled like flowers
we shall not be moved
uprooted and sent to the inferno.

His arms moultedand his spine buckled
until it snapped into flames like a psalm
napalmed girl
The angels on horseback looked down on them.

Holy men pray to raise bloated children
from their winter sleep. What has spring revealed?
bullet in the skull
We ask why our children have gone mad.
Look what we have left them.

 

Charles Fort

CHARLES FORT is the author of six books of poetry including, We Did Not Fear the Father (Red Hen Press) and Mrs. Belladonna’s Supper Club Waltz (Backwaters Press).Fort has poems in The Best American Poetry, 2000, 2003, and 2017. He is Distinguished Emeritus Professor at the University of Nebraska at Kearney and Founder of the Wendy Fort Foundation and Theater of Fine Arts. In 2017, Fort completed, Sorrow Road, 200 Villanelles and his first novel, The Last Black Hippie in Connecticut.

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