Astrophysics Of Missing You
At the center of our galaxy there is
A black hole so massive
Fifteen million of our suns
Could fit within it.
I tell my daughter: "I dreamt
I had a daughter who got married
And never called me. Aren't dreams strange?"
I smile at the sound of her laughter.
The black hole was discovered by observing
Telltale orbital anomalies of nearby stars
And odd behavior of light of a certain wavelength-
Now ultra-violet or infrared, I don't recall.
She loves him, so I love him,
But if she should ever grow to hate him...
I ask about her husband.
Courtesy and propriety first, I say.
Astrophysicists believe the black hole
Is the residual material
Of first generation stars
That formed most galactic matter.
"How is baby Alex?" I ask.
"Fine" She replies.
"And little Mini-Me?"
"Oh, Dad, he's gotten big."
This black hole at the center
Of the Milky Way is a primordial
Remnant of the current universe
And is a byproduct of its evolution.
We say goodbye and the line falls silent.
I hang up the phone and walk from the kitchen
To the living room and flop down on the loveseat.
I lay with head and feet elevated on its armrests.
I met my father
Walking down Russell Street,
Somewhere along the line of low storefronts
Between Gabriel Brothers Imports
And The Rocky Peanut Company.
The gothic spires of St. Joseph's,
Green with weathered bronze,
Stand against the sunrise
That is a nimbus of glowing blue light
Handing over the far east side.
In this old section of the city
Steam is exhausted through
Manhole covers in the street
That billow thick gray clouds
On winter mornings.
He is wearing the same wrinkled pants
He always did, and he had not shaved in several days.
When I embrace him and hold him close
He smells of cigarettes and clothes
Worn for too many days.
Amid the rooftop ornaments
And gothic stubble there is a lone cross
Bent slightly to the south,
That has leaned in that direction
For as long as I remember.
It seems fitting that these desolate
And deserted streets should expel
Smoke in eerie fashion
As a warning to the fainthearted
And casual pedestrian
The stones of each arch and buttress,
Blackened by soot, rise graceful
Above low red brick structures surrounding it
And seems to belong more to the skyline
Than to the landscape.
I stand squarely on the iron grating as the steam envelopes me,
And transforms me, ghost-like,
Into a phantom of these streets,
An angry urban spirit that does not want to scare you,
But kick your ass if not beat you to death.
I start to chide him
For never calling or stopping by,
And when I ask him:
"Where the hell have you been for so long?"
He smiles impishly and replies: "Dead."
Each December night is a large block of black ice
That never quite seems to give up its grip
But lingers lazily, most persistently,
And imparts across the day
A dimness that never graduates beyond
The softness of a violet glow.
I am daydreaming at the bus stop
Awaiting the arrival of a coach
That is running typically late.
Its arrival at the curb is announced by the squeal of brakes
And the hisses of hydraulics that swing open the door.
I awaken to climb the steps.
I hear the low rumble of steam whistle
As a lake freighter negotiates a course
Through a narrow channel, and few seconds later,
There is a reply signal
Booming through the summer morning
A declarative always follows the interrogative.
I am a shadow
Who inhabits the small dark places of a world
And moves through graphite days
And charcoal nights
Performing shadow tasks and going
About my shadow business.
Change clangs into the coin box
And the rpms grow loud in the diesel
While someone seated in the back
Coughs loudly. I sway to the jolts and
Bounces as the driver pulls away
And into traffic heading downtown.
Across Macarthur Bridge
There are green trees and grass
And the rising arches that span the river
Graceful they hover
The green water and blue sky.
I watch for Harmonie Park,
A few trees and benches wedged between
The low gray buildings, and when I see it
I pull the red wire in the coach twice
To signal my stop and stand to
Make my way to the door.
I hear the call of gulls
That fly stationary in the wind
And skim the waves with white wings.
I remember the smell of the river
And the sound of the water
On the rocks along the shore.
Winter trees are frozen still
In iced moonlight
And I wonder if asleep as they are
They somehow dream of sunlight
On an afternoon in June'
And the touch of wind in the fullness of August foliage.
Gloria For Three Voices
Oh, the road not taken,
Torments me still, and I grow to regret
The choices I've made
That brought me to this sorry place
And this sad time.
Glory to you, Oh God,
From a sparrow fallen from the sky,
A fig tree that bears no fruit
In this dry season, a worker
Grumbling in the vineyard.
All the Gospels somehow
Translate for me into a single imperative
A holy and sacrosanct admonition
Uttered from the mouth of God:
"Don't be an asshole."
It is illusion that the forgone
Is somehow better than the chosen
Or some misguided poetic longing
That makes every course of action
Seem badly mistaken.
Mercy me, Oh Lord,
A moneychanger in the Temple,
Selling to the devout
A simple sacrifice of two turtledoves
Or a few young pigeons.
These days are prone to confusion
And I ponder every decision,
Weighing every choice,
So that free will is
A burden I cannot bear.
And I know now
The hidden meaning of every parable,
It is all a mystery made clear to me,
A simple law, the divine fiat of:
"Don't be a dumbfuck."
Wisdom is a condition of the heart,
That carries us straightway to God
And lifts up our most heartfelt prayers
With the feather-light swiftness
Of sparrow wings.
Raise me up like your friend Lazarus,
Let me walk into a new sunlight,
Shielding my eyes with one hand
And tearing off all the wrappings of the tomb
With the other.
Rolling In The Aisles
In my little corner of the cosmos confusion reigns
And randomness has taken a rather malicious turn.
Causality has conspired so comically against me
It would make even Shakespeare slap his thighs
And writhe with the most mad and unmanageable mirth.
It would send the audience rolling in the aisles.
But me, I'm feeling rather somber and not the least amused,
For I fail to see the humor of a fortune so befuddled,
Where providence wears the most profoundly puzzled look
Of an old woman standing dazed in the aisle at the local grocery,
Staring silent and stupefied over a stainless steel meat counter,
Unable to speak, all her plans and purposes momentarily forgotten.
Doug Tanoury is primarily a poet of the Internet with the majority never leaving electronic form. His verse can be read at electronic magazines and journals across the world. Collections of poetry by Doug Tanoury can be found at Funky Dog Publishing and Athens Avenue
Doug grew up in Detroit, Michigan and still lives in the area. Doug Tanoury credits his 7th grade poetry anthology from Sister Debra's English class, Reflections On A Gift Of Watermelon Pickle And Other Modern Verse (Stephen Dunning, Edward Lueders and Hugh Smith, (c)1966 by Scott Foresman & Company) as exerting the greatest influence on his work. He still keeps a copy of it at his writing desk.
Your Email Comments Welcome
Avon Poems by Doug Tanoury