Portals: Every Title an Epitaph

I think I’m getting pretty clever with titles. OK, maybe not pretty clever, but I can speak of two friends who won’t ever speak again of the time they admitted they thought I looked pretty. As for clever, the titles are, at least, halfway, somewhat, encroaching upon the definition. The Queen of the Ice Cream is both an allusion the Wallace Stevens poem, The Emperor of Ice Cream,
as well as…well, you’ll get it right away. Two Poems about it diverges into two poems, maybe, because “it” can be such a connecting moment, how can we separate them?  For Emily Warn, and to, also is both a dedication and consolation to a poet (and myself) who spoke to a class I was in. She said, “When I was young I was messed up. I liked things like Poetry, and going out into the mountains; I liked being alone, and I wasn’t good at talking to people.” That comment made me erupt with laughter!  Between Two Worlds attempts to stand in the tension between many worlds; birth and death, life and loss, religion and mechanism, nature and it’s God. Not such a bad title.

Also (and now I will explain/hypocrite myself), notice that I never touched on the idea of the title as the first entry point into the poem itself. I simply altered a line from TS Eliot’s The Four Quartets, “Every poem an epitaph” to say: a title is poem as much as a poem is a poem, in the titling of this blog as, Portals: Every Title an Epitaph.


The Queen of Ice Cream


This midnight he flies a kite,
The ice cream man
Whose store they boarded up.
Still he wears his cowboy hat
Feathered with a peacock tail,
Struggles to hum the guilty tune
That lured us to his shop.
Suspended in the silence
In the wind of night and gray,
He sobs when the humming stops.


For Emily Warn, and to, also


She said “when I was a kid
I was messed up,”
In the head, maybe
A bit, but not as much
As the statue of David
Has a good head and chest

Without a heart.

You and I like poetry.
And the symmetry
Of larches, jutting
Angular as bad geometry.

You and I like rivers.
The righteous anger of the brook
Serenely disrupting peacetime
Like the bad mannered baby
Giggly during church.

She said “I was messed up”
For getting knotted up when speaking.
So we agree to disagree
With the rest of them,
To believe in the quiet turning
Of words and their disappearing
Into water, as sun does.



Two Poems about it


She scratched words
Like hell
Into your back.

You want to see
What’s left without
Looking in the mirror.

But she left
Before you woke.
So, you cant

Read what you wrote
With fingernails
On her throat.


Between Two Worlds


Moss devours the rock
Of a churchstone,
All crumbs now
Since the old ghost has gone
And the new age has come
With its smart roots
Upturning bedrock.
All is gravestone, now
Wet with scars, lashed
With the tongues
Of widow grass
Panting upon their tufts.
There gathers, still,
In the bed leaves,
At the feet of memory,
A pregnant scrap
Of dirt, powerless
Beyond its mystery
To kick in the belly
Where our own
Soul is growing
Into this ruined earth.


I welcome you(r thoughts)


One response to “Portals: Every Title an Epitaph

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