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Hieroglyphics in Neon

The poetry collection, Hieroglyphics in Neon (Orchises Press), is 71 pages. Here are two poems from the collection. I hope you enjoy them! (Please note: this poetry collection includes the poetry sequence "Hieronymus Bosch's Illustrated Alphabet.")

(Asbury Park, 1965)

I lift the Venetian blind in my bedroom
to watch the young wife swaying indigo

rayon, rhinestones clasping spiked heels,
hair in a French twist, alone, her husband

rarely home, “Moonlight Sinatra” low
on her record player, the needle

grooving Jersey nights of moonlight
serenade, our shingled beach houses

so close I think I smell White Shoulders
perfume, hear her rustling skirt--me

in sweat-damp cotton pajamas,
ribboned ponytail. My parents

and sister sleeping, my bare feet feel
the vibration of the Frigidaire

downstairs, the ocean shusshing moon
song along the shore, boardwalk darkening,

only the top of the Ferris visible, wheeling
toward longing. The moon got in my eyes...

its globe glowing in one window pane
trailed in another pane by a mock moon.

And I know I am this little moon orbiting
her blue nights when we wish for more

than our small, faint hummings, distant
vinyl romance, because I am the only one

to hear the moonlight become us.


In 75 A.D., 50,000 Roman soldiers
surround walled Jerusalem catapulting
30-ton limestone balls, dead animals,
diseased bodies, captured soldiers,
flaming objects, sand bags to blind--
all hurtling from 26-foot stock houses
built from 12 miles of trees in 10 days,
designed by Vitruvius--skeletal silhouettes
darkening a blue Mediterranean sky--
the launching mechanism a sinewy
rope from Achilles’ tendons of cows--
two and a half miles hammered, soaked,
twisted, dried, bowstring stretched
between wood arms, 9-ton torsion
pulling the slider, winch handle manually
cranked, winding the rope around the cylinder,
cocking the claw and trigger block, whipping
back and catapulting the missile 123 yards,
boulders blackened to disguise, demolishing
protective walls, city in flames. For the next
almost 2000 years it’s the same--
only much better, and only far worse.