Tag Archives: L. Ward Abel

From a Late Vantage

by L. Ward Abel


“The best cure for illusions
is hunger, patience and obedience”
                                                  Czeslaw Milosz

Who lives now by incantation?
I can think of no one, although
many may live that way.
They are probably homebound
on mountaintops; they weather
and rock like old clippers
seaward and gone.

                 There is a breathing
when days become shorter, a
praying that dictates frequency
but only in those who have relented.
Hemlock grows inside deep woods
all around here. But holy men have
been known to approach such thrones
one time too many.

A hilarity of carols fills the cities
down below. Their cobblestone their ritual
bypasses the higher country where memory
has more meaning than a onetime forever,
and songs are like triggers connoting
places where food has been cooked.

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Orson Welles was a Liar

by L. Ward Abel


I have to write
something about him,
he the giant,
he the loser of cash.

His demonstration
of a point in space,
his lazar stare, his plans–
all were aeonian:

how he scraped together
just enough money
to fail at a project,
enough for a story

to stay barely afloat, enough
to start the next script and
enough for caviar
and other inspiration—

there’s a special way
to lie that requires
talent and foresight—
not just anyone can do it.

Waning Confluence

by L. Ward Abel


There are a thousand poets out in these fields; there’s
just no paper to write anything down. Words are
in every row, plowed and seeded. Each farmer
forgets his lines and resorts to teleprompt emotions.
As for me, I know my boundary lines, having
blue-line surveys of this part of the county.
Sonnets ring out in parcels subdivided by civil war.
The Christopher brothers drew this whole neck
of the woods, where four counties meet at a confluence.
And what do our wordsmiths recite where the new trees
gather and rise on edges of Pastureridge? Just lines
resolved at the point of ink joining faux paper. And
a breeze accompanies the end of dusk, saying every name
every contact in the day’s loss of influence.

Survival in the Footfall of Storms

by L. Ward Abel


Within the summer rains
is a field. The field is
full of water but
only to the depth of a refusal.

Glory’s utterance belies silent
rooms, walled only by
a scintilla- a wisp-
a nothing really

that gives dreamers a sensation
of being outside when
most decidedly inside
a thought.

The weatherman said he had
the feeling of weightlessness
when God embraced in
Oklahoma

the tempestuous voyeur
who came so close to the Gate
that it looked like a curtain
and not a door.

Up Missouri

by L. Ward Abel


Somebody screamed out
Monk’s name, but with-
out knowing the essence

of improv. It was New
Orleans without need to
blame anyone but herself,

and it was right that she
typed instant prose
on an old Brother typeset;

the keyboard between her legs,
a cigarette hanging from
stubborn lips

damp in a sweat that
clocked the cold heart
of bad parenting,

and the river a mile wide
by then, held tears
from nude Missouri widows.

Concord Gate

by L. Ward Abel


              Upon the death of a friend’s father
I.
My neighbor cut through
thick brush along the fence line.
An old gate, still chained,
emerged. It had been there
all the time.

II.
Minutes of peace have a proto-
typical feel, follow penultimation,
are parts of a larger more permanent
model…there is a restful focus
in these afternoon fields. There is
a piece of the Robe here.

III.
The loss of parents, passing of
the world onto us children now olding,
leaves more than stages in its wake.
It has a home-hitting jolt.
What follows are shades in various
brightenings, but never a healing.
More of a joining. And the child
knows.

IV.
I’ll call it the new gate…my neighbor’s
new gate makes me think of
thresholds. The door that follows
all of us. Thin door. Imperceptible.
Final. And we go. And we all do
go to Concord.

V.
My bird dog chases dragonflies.
Her perfection is not of any time.
Sweet summer boils to the west,
a groan of thunder is ignored.
She pants, she gallops up the path.
She is covered with lake. Dances.
Truly. She knows heaven. There
are streets of gold in this place.
And the Godhead smiles at the
easternmost gate.