Monday, February 24, 2014

Eric Robert Nolan- Two Poems


Greenwich grows cold
Early in January.
The lights on the affluent avenue
Dim a little in
The great, gray, and opaque
Gauntlet of early night,
Chilling a quaint Connecticut.

This midwinter street
Has all its doors adorned.
The colorful shops and boutiques
Are still convivial, with
The festive season.  Each
Door resembles a gift.
Brightly, gaily lit,
And traced with laurel.

Janus, God of Doors,
God of Bridges, God of
Vision and hindsight both –
What better a month’s motif
For me in my apostasy
Than a two-faced God?

Garrulous, I arrive
Drugged to the eyes:
Swimming in cheap caffeine,
Smelling of nicotine,
All doped up
On the intellectual chic:
Jefferson’s exhortation
About “the price of freedom,”
Christopher Hitchens’ analyses.

Sonnets once softened
Footfalls around my bed.
Scribbled on reams, my dreams
Cushioned a hardwood floor
In my apartment in Queens,
At the age of 33.

Gone is the Bard of my summers.
Gone is the young man’s heart.
Gone is the carefree verse.
Gone is inculpable art.
This winter day
The poem in my pocket
Is a militant tract.

The door where I arrive
Is inscripted, “Caroline’s Coffees.”
It’s Blue. 
The little pedant in me
Ponders its use of the plural.
Within, the wealthy lament
The traffic at the Whitestone Bridge.
The flavor of aged grapes mates
With the delectable scents
Of their expensive coffee (“coffees?”)
Some winery among
The darkened Blue-blooded hills
Has struck some deal and now
Its twenty-something delegate
Offers me a taste.
To you, I move in haste.

Your peck at my cheek
Brings in the scents
Of tea, used books and irises.
Isn’t it just like you
To drink tea at a coffee house?

Knowing your favorite perfume
I’ve brought you one as a joke.  Its
Blue is the symbol for Faith, Belief.
Its White is for Purity.
Its deepening petals
Symbolize eloquence too.
I know these things from you.
After I brought you
Antipathy’s lexicon
You taught me the language of flowers.

“You’re misunderstanding Janus,”
You say patiently,
Raising the Blue porcelain
Again to your angular lips.
I love the way that they dip
Lithely down at their center
Vaguely making the shape
Of a swallow flying at dusk.
All your rebuttals fall
As softly as flower petals
On water.

“It isn’t a dichotomy.”
You tell me, gently suggesting
The eisegesis of
My own divided heart.

“It’s about transitions,
“Passages and changes.
“Janus is the God of Gates.
“One face looks
“Back to recall the past,
“One face looks
“To a new and better future.
“It’s about beginnings.
“The future is a Gift.”

Your fingers trace
Down the length of my jaw
As ivy is known to trace
The face of an aging edifice, and its
Slowly eroding stone.

All at once, your touch
Is as eloquent as Jefferson,
As judicious as Hitchens.
“Sometimes, Eric,” you tell me,
“To look back is to forgive.”

And at once you are my Blue,
My Belief, my Bridge
My Gift, and now my Gate,
The high and nearly blinding
Azure of my every
Nascent New Year
From this until the last,
Moving past each past,
Enshrined in memory here,
Like dried flower petals
In a favorite book.

If words ever fail me,
And I am consigned to arrive
At Auden’s “Lion’s Mouth,”
Ever unsated by poetry,
I will bring as sustenance,
My memories of you
And eloquence in flowers –
A poet struck dumb but holding
Fistfuls of irises.

© Eric Robert Nolan 2014

Elizabeth Mitchell Haiku:
Elizabeth Mit–
–chell, I suck at haiku. Please!
Love me anyway!
© Eric Robert Nolan 2014

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