Michael Vitaly

theatre maker, writer, artist

Category: Uncategorized

Sonnet on a Ginkgo Leaf

Through the strains of these veins, water did flow.

Nutrient-rich from root through trunk to tip.

For generations did this Ginkgo owe

None but itself a yearning chance to rip

Through Earth’s sullen view and stand above land,

And yet selflessly did its downturned leaves

Provide a curtain-like home to the ant,

A haven where songs of the birds could weave

Wise ancient tales of unwavering tunes.

Those selfsame leaves dance and shimmer like jewels,

Fluttering freely across many moons,

Bearing witness to all systems of rules.

I rub these veins, asking with my fingers,

“When we’re all gone, what is left, that lingers?”

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Lines on Claude Monet’s “Water Lilies”

Looking at this world through the eyes of others,
I prefer to lose myself in the in between
to gain for myself what I may glean.

Alone no more but quivering with life,
The sun so strong through clouds resplendent,
into your eyes deeper I delve
only to skim only the surface.

What collects on the surface is muck,
green from the air and yellowed from sun,
blossoms of youthful spring
and obfuscation around the edges
you are but lines and shapes and times of day.

Rectangles like bodies of work
at work and at play.

Lilac whispers in coming summer breezes,
while dusk coos me quiet.

The water never is still,
and always full of life.

Living for others is the all.

Where I stand and peer into “now”
I’m pressed by space beyond me –
far off, unreachable distances –
and I only move on
in between.

Claude Monet (French, 1840–1926)

1914-26. Oil on canvas, three panels,
Each 6′ 6 3/4″ x 13′ 11 1/4″ (200 x 424.8 cm),
overall 6′ 6 3/4″ x 41′ 10 3/8″ (200 x 1276 cm).

Moma Link to Water Lilies

Lines to a poet friend

To a poet stranger I’ve never met,
I wish you peace and joy and clarity,
Through the many miles that lay between us,
Of mountains, rivers, and neighbor cities,
I wish you peace of heart and peace of mind,
For the doors to one’s imagination
Are unlocked by an open heart and mind;
I wish you joy to see the pain in life
As lessons for the strength that you possess;
I wish you clarity in thoughts and acts
To be your best and never second guess.
I wish upon the million stars above,
In faith for sure I call upon them now,
“Take my message through this day’s fog to you,
You, oh poet stranger, I’ve never met!”

Fog

Fog

Through a veil against the coming day,
bare tree limbs protrude from the smoky white.
Lifeless trees stand yet reach out for the sky.
Some stubborn brown leaves like skeletons hang
to little limbs caught in night’s caresses.

The sky seems tired of being so high,
so throughout the night she must have fallen
to the earth where she remains entangled,
still here — her laced crown and diadem
do keep my thoughts to stolen nights with you.

Like a shroud keeping out the day, you stay
Near to my heart, and envelop my limbs
with heat from your tender sweet caresses.
I remain like the stubborn leaf, a shell
of my former self, soaking in your sky.

 

Taps

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The white chalk blocks
The wicked electric blue,
The molten orange beneath
And the entrance of you.

I had to offer two beers
In peace when you walked in.

I also threw more wood on the fire.
Two rather skinny pieces as kindling along the sides of the already steady log cabin.
And one long quartered piece besides a small hunk of a mistake,
A split of a split diagonally sliced.

So I looked down at the fire once more,
And saw only shapes and colors and times of day,
And that scarf I picked up
— chartreuse —
The night of our only date.

Someone had left that scarf
A party or two before
And I assumed ownership of if the following morning.
The morning after when I recalled your leaving —
after my rather lascivious display.

I would’ve liked to have been able to tell you how much I enjoyed our date,
But we don’t talk anymore
And I’m too ashamed to say anything
I’m dumb
And see only colors.

The white chalk blocks,
The wicked electric blue,
The molten orange beneath
And the fire’s hottest hues.

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Lines in Section 22 at the Arlington National Cemetery

On this hill facing east. The falling sun warms my eye to stop and notice a fat little Robin walking upon the marble base to this large rectangular rock, this gravestone. There’s Carr and Thomas on either side of this Colonel and Cross and Fuller below. Robinson, Sullivan, Griffin, and Reed. Homer and Klein and Hull and Stokes. Names upon names and stones upon stones, rows upon rows and me upon one hill. One little hill, of so many. One little me, and so many of them.

I trek on but am overcome.

This little grey book

I’ve carried so long,
This little grey book I dropped and lost
Some time ago.

Stop and smell the roses

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Everyday this little rose
Stretches for the morning sun.
And soon to come when no one knows
These petals dry and start to fall
One by heavy little one.
Take heed in this life.
Give and shine and grow until
All the songs you want to dance have come,
And perchance you sat some out
Or if perchance you sit too early
Know the faces in your mind
That broke with everlasting rhyme
Those men and women even strangers
Coming going in your life
How many smiles did you encounter
How much happiness did you give?

lines on passing Arlington Cemetery

The tip of the iceberg
In dashes and lines
The bodies lie waiting
In the thick of the lime.
Six feet or so
Bathed in some moonlight
And hanging like stars
On an alabaster sea.

Lines after St. Michael’s Cemetery

Frozen angels stand guard over the Dead,
While speeding cars on rainy roads bring dread.
Long green or freshly brown they watch the ground
In silent remorse with no one around
But the constant onslaught from up above
Softly falling, slowly washing away
The sins and sadness, stories and madness,
And acid rain in time erases all
These names, while the Lord of Time does his dance,
Locked in his embrace, lost within his trance,
The World spins and reels, stumbling and mumbling
Its philosophies in any language
It knows to any open orifice,
Through hatred or acceptance, bigotry
Or love or carnal competition it
Screams from giant L.E.D or neon
Letters burning through to you telling you
What to do, what to buy, what to feel and
“All is nigh!” “Now is the time!” “it’s all yours!”
“Take it, it’s your right.”

Lost in time and frozen in time, Angels
Guard over the Dead.