Tarzan dead in Baltimore
for Gordon Scott (1926-2007)
Tantor raises his ancient gray head
and hears the call deep in his memory
that summoned him to duty and action.
He recalls the weight of the man
perched on his mighty back.
Cheetah's offspring scurry in the trees
escaping the jaws of Sabor and Numa.
The Lord of the Jungle rests his head
on the Johns Hopkins' hospital pillow,
his eighty years rising in the air
like the smoke of a village fire.
"The dog and bird they miss you,"
his caregiver and truest fan tells him,
and Tarzan opens his eyes, but he hears
only a rustle in the tall grass.
Why I Wear Barbed Wire Underwear
it keeps me alert
and protects against predators,
less painful than my father's
reminds me of the range wars
that tamed this great country of ours,
it's a good look for me
in any season,
warm in the winter
cool in the summer,
only comes in one color,
one size, and one style,
gives me something to write about
when all else fails.
The History of Shadows
In Plato's cave the silhouettes of our parents
Watch Dark Shadows on TV
While Peter Pan sits in the corner sewing.
Outside in pre-twilight afternoon, Ted Lewis
Strolls down the boulevard with his dark brother
Who stretches back into yesterday
Where Lamont Cranston searches
For the evil that lurks in the hearts of men.
Near the umbrella stand kiosk
Someone hums "The Shadow of Your Smile"
Much to the dismay of Robert Louis Stevenson
Who goes in and out
As Macbeth walks back and forth, strutting and fretting.
Nosferatu's dark image rises on the castle wall,
And Bob Dylan shadow boxes with Cassius Clay.
Sam Spade shadows Miles Archer's female killer
Down a blind alley on a dead-end street
Only to find the Lady of Shallot looking half sick
Making hand shadows on the wooden warehouse.
Along the beach, Eliot and Prufrock stroll hand in hand
Pants legs rolled up, eating peaches, listening for the whimper.