Chronogram Poetry | November 2018 Issue | Poetry | Hudson Valley | Hudson Valley; Chronogram
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Chronogram Poetry | November 2018 Issue 

I lost a friend and the poetry world lost a unique voice when Donald Lev passed away this September. Included below are poems by Donald and by his late wife, Enid Dame.
Both are missed and remembered here.
—phillip


(from “Where Is the Woman”)
This is a missing-Don letter. Here,
I count the pills myself
imagining you sitting across from me:
your voice your face your hands
opening a bottle,
breaking the stillness of the morning.
We talk of poetry or friends or shopping
over bread cheese almond butter
fresh blueberries in season.

Because food is a benediction
because sharing food is a sacrament
because shared language is a morning prayer
because I miss the tabernacle
in which our love increases,

it is difficult to eat alone
in this place of healing.
—Enid Dame


Shiva
They have rent all my garments.
They make me sit upon the hard wet ground.
They have sent their children away from me.
They have crushed my mirrors.
And they command me to mourn.
I ought to rejoice in the commandment.
And I do. I do.
I have always loved you, my buried bride.
As now I am commanded to do.
I will always love you my beautiful one.
As I am and am not commanded to do.
—Donald Lev


Fate
Like a whisper you can’t hear,
Like a gray cloud that never rains,
It’s a decision unmade.

Nothing to be heard,
Nothing to be controlled,
It comes and it goes.

Like a mystery that can’t be solved,
A book with an unpredictable end,
Science with no answers.

A word with no meaning,
A song without a tune,
An instrument that makes no sound.

A stranger you don’t know,
Is the future your friend
Or your enemy?

What lies beyond now?
You will never know.
—Jahnvi Mundra (11 years)


Don’t Split

hairs or infinitives—they’re equally sinister practices—
persnickety, clock-like, tock-tickedy. Iconoclasts:
to boldly break, to breakingly fall; all old and quixotic,
antediluvian thoughts and ethics sclerotic; the world
is full of eager comparatives, and every superlative is idiotic.
Instinct says “look for needles in haystacks”; yes, temptation
is the root of every creation, and human nature’s dare
prods you to sin, to swear, to damnation’s snare (the trinity);
I promise that in every agony there is epiphany,
and in every split hair there is infinity; (infinity’s finicky);
in every flinch or wince or wisp, in lip and lisp, and every pinch—
to softly find the sorry source in every wretched syllable
(silly you!—your Latin ought to stay invisible);
so don’t cry, whatever you do, over spilled milk—
the mortal coil or antique toil, the roughest silk—
take care and take advice, rhyme not imperfectly,
nor double negative, nor adverb, churlishly;
because it’s in the details—the devil, I mean,
is in every sip and trip, Freudian slip and treacherous snip,
in minutiae and bloated verse, in adjectives (and even worse).
They say you have to know the rules in order to break them.
And you have to make mistakes in order to unmake them.
And if you want to meet the devil, he’s a very ubiquitous fellow:
the snip, the spark, the treble, the rough of every pebble.
Beware the particulars of life (there’s the rub, the snare)—
the devil’s not in everything, but hell is everywhere,
bureaucratic fussiness, quibbling, fumbling, fastidiousness—
and every detail a witless plunge, a thrust towards despair!
Man and woman are obscene inventions (parthenogenesis)
with more diabolical than godly intentions (nemo and nemesis);
tears and stitches, breaking and mending—and all of their premises
are only the glitches in human intending (ending or genesis);
god or dog or dyslexic; the promise of heaven: just a daydream dose,
and the threat of a devil (pervasive, kinetic)
is only to stop you from looking too close.
We live in a ludicrous tapestry; we invented gods
to explain its weaving; we invented devils to explain its gore;
the devil’s in every prepositional ending, but as per usual,
it isn’t the devil you ought to look out for.
—Lachlan Brooks


Her Grace, The Moon

I wonder
if the moon and I
are kindred.
Will one stay empty
while the other remains full?
The other shines bright
while I feel dull.
I can grasp to nothing;
I have no gravitational pull.
—Meg Tohill


Street Poem, Kingston

More buckles
on her boots
than I’ve worn
in a lifetime.

She takes her time
wherever she goes.
—Will Nixon


Channeling Garfunkel

You take a break
from trying to like
the vegetarian ravioli
she whipped up at her place
to say a trademarked name
and turn another female off—probably two.

“I like background noise,”
she protests between bites.
You mention the crickets
the window fan, the creaking
of old wood in her Victorian
and the voice that you’re using
for no apparent good.
“Not on the table, then,”
she states in singular compromise
though the hockey puck’s still quiet—
only listening, recording words
without her innocent blue light.

You think the next day after work
in your shower, where you focus best
that from seven years of living alone
silence to you is silver—
not a perfect gold, but close.

Silence is waiting for an ambush at dawn—
war paint donned; no prisoners.
Silence is an Irish goodbye
when it’s warranted.
Silence is a humbled contrarian
biting his tongue ‘til it bleeds.
Silence is the comfort
of purging your apartment
and tossing out mementos
with no one there to see you cry.
Silence is the black towel you lay out
to protect the sheets when necessary
for modified passion in the moment.
Silence is what makes you appreciate
the least important fingers
on your most important hand.
Silence is giving keys to your lover
yet receiving none in return.
Silence is the slight hangover
caused by a splash of weekday wine.
Silence is the peace
that calms you after labor
in the heat and in the dirt
and alongside those who loathe you.
Silence is what you hear at Union meetings
when you know better
than to voice your concerns.

Silence is the list
of heartaches you don’t write.
Silence is when it ends
as it should
instead of well.
Silence is a friend
who is never inconsistent.
The same applies to family
since silence knows your blood.
—Mike Vahsen


Ode to “The Science of Selling Yourself Short”

She feels pressured to like the smell of rain and wonders about those things the things that set her apart from everyone else—the people who like that country song which she just agrees to like when really she hates his voice and relates it to all things wrong with her. Like when she watches the news and sees a girl beaten debased ripped apart and wonders if she’s pretty enough to be raped and killed and those thoughts haunt her and distance her from society. It makes her remember how far Heaven is when she puts it into your GPS knowing God only gave her the address to Hell. She’s scared you’ll be mad at her and not because she sent you to Hell or because she thinks that’s where you belong but because she wasted your gas to get there. She’ll offer to pay for it but she won’t have cash or card so she’ll ask, “Can I Venmo you?” and then panic when you answer “Only if you like the smell of rain.”
—Christine Donat


Injured Shadow

In nakedness of life moves
this male shadow worn out dark clothes,
ill fitted in distress, holes in his socks, stretches,
shows up in your small neighborhood,
embarrassed,
walks pastime naked with a limb
in open landscape space-
damn those worn out black stockings.
He bends down prays for dawn, bright sun.
—Michael Lee Johnson


3 a.m.

Paint her body
with the knowledge you hold
on your tongue
—Meagan Towler


A Red Scarf

Je vais à l’amour. —Isadora Duncan

I wanted to be a cardinal, landing
on the white shoulders of a lady.
I never wanted to be a slash of blood or a ghost

gathering pieces of a heart. But when
she brought me on stage, I got the taste
of a thunderous moment. It seemed

like a kind of destiny. It seemed like
I made a pact with a silent assassin. That
I was summoned somehow to always be with her.
—Laurie Byro


Celebration of Life

It was the summer of poached eggs.
Slotted spoon, vinegar
Burnt toast
Jarring memories
Dangling like deflated balloons in the branches of a tree.
—Megan Coder


Autumn Haiku

the campfire
sparks back to life
autumn stars drift

icy foliage sways
in the gathering dusk
late autumn

daylight wanes
an autumn breeze finds
the last pine cone
—Gary Hittmeyer


Café 210

I miss our café days
where we might stab each other’s ego,
but before the night was over
kiss the wounds.

I have not thought of the naked heart
since you.
—Jean Tock


Piano Keys Glew

Never really knew I,
had this spiritual
glue,
like I due.

I really never Knew.
It’s an invisible
glue.

A transparent mew;
when blue,
comes through.

You.

Like smooth keys do;
tinkling too,
a melody’s coo.

I really never knew,
but it comes through.
Few.

A Sifting hue
waves of true.

Never really knew,
it’s an invisible glue,
comes through,
tinkling too,
like a melody’s coo.

Spiritual…it’s true.
—A. Carlzon


Gravity

To you I’m the moon.
To me you’re the sun.
To our child we rotate,
for that is the only thing about us
we still love.
—Michaela Brannigan

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