November 4, 2003

Three Poems by William Corbett

Dead of Winter

Factories close, the harbor stinks
our bridges rot and roads decay
we sail farther and farther out
to take fewer fish,
we refuse to educate our children
and they are murderous and murdered,
our leaders tell us nothing
we do not want to hear.
Real Estate robbed some of us
and illness bankrupts others.
Out of complicated laws
endless litigation.

For Joe Pernice

The sky behind
grape jelly clouds
shows through in white
cuts and rips.
It's cold enough
to be under the electric
blanket with a book
and not yet 9 p.m.
watching the jelly clouds
come to a rolling boil
and for a flicker
think nothing.
The book falls
from my hands
and I catch myself.
Frost's wand might
zap the baby tomato
and pepper plants black.
Let it come.
Is there a farewell
poem the equal
of Raymond Carver's
"No Need"?
Reach out the light
cold too beyond
the clouds where
stars swarm.
So much to take in,
so hard to hold,
so little we can say.

Thelonious Sphere Monk

cold, the day you leave
you can use that hat.
Ahh Monk, the station fades
as the suburbs begin
you bent the notes right
they will not lose their ring.
I see your shuffle dance
up from the 5-Spot piano
and hear you, wordless, sing.

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