Sunday, February 6, 2011

Heart and Lung

Two new poems, one for MJ, one for Egypt:

Aortic Call to Prayer

Perhaps the amazed embrace of millions
can turn pumping asymmetrical.
Your two weaving fingers,
a hummingbird minuet
but an oscillatory fever as well.
Can I leap this far?
Will you return again?

I have watched my father gaily disengage,
a delightful way to say farewell.
No amyloid plaque turns faces strange
merely a toss of mooring ropes,
slipknots undone,
a harbor in a rearview mirror.
Distant marina obscures a canine carcass.
Skiff masts clustered in Wullenweber now.
Daddy greets green flash of sun.

I can’t wave from leaving trains.
Better a crisp lift of tone arm,
last breath in a thousand arms.
Your unceasing revelations display uncertain breaths.
No stutter, no fibrillation
can stop the next verse, the next verse,
the critical lesson.
I cannot blink I cannot miss this.
How to say goodbye.

Your two fingers bedaze hypnotize.
I see the red swim cap shaping octogenarian speedo.
Air Force Academy’s highest dive.
No apogee pause.
Withered body cleaves water,
as sure as the scalpel can find the aorta.
Towel dry edits gasp laugh gasp laugh
Every dive lets him fall in love with the world again,
a columbine waltz, a contra dance.

Your two fingers snap.
The diver, forgotten.
Yet I plunge and I plunge,
disciple to your weakened voice.
The unkillable human allows no dimmer control,
no skylight departure.
Bring every wallflower up to the line.
Alleman left and do-si-do.
No pruning of synapse –
Hold ever tighter lips ever lusher.
No face forgotten
until aneurism, TIA, aortic muezzin,
seizes the piston in mid-iloveyou.
Two fingers plunge.
Tone arm lifts.
I’m learning to lose at musical chairs.

Loring Wirbel
Feb. 6, 2011


The alveoli lining is distressed property
Eruptive barking of sputum a foreclosure
an unpaid invoice
You listen to my rutting-elk breath of kazoo orchestras,
lamentations as collateral for the gumdrops of evil.
“and he was the kind one”
You whisper condescendingly,
for a prodigal underbidder
the cheater at Angry Birds
who would crack the foundation
drill holes in oaken I-joists.
Another tracheal bubble pops.
I gasp.

Alexandria, too, is a clinging for air.
Too many Maghreb decades can turn waterboard mucosal.
We no longer sputter,
But hack a glue of least resistance.
“Can you swallow the greenies that come after?
Hopscotch the pavement of vomit underfoot?”
Apres moi, chant a chorus of Pahlavi, al-Abidine, Mubarak
Kazoo orchestra for an unruly encore.
Egyptian streets, a George Antheil audience of poor sports.

Here’s one fallow lung
that will not cheat
in a tranched mortgage
a shuttered Cisco router
a misdirected tear gas canister
Let deluge be phlegm be library mucilage
The edifice tumbles, but suddenly we breathe.

Loring Wirbel
January 29, 2011

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