Op/Ed in Verse

When I was younger I wrote a great deal of poetry, much of it rather bad, and even more songs. Then there came a time -- 10 years or more -- when I could write nothing but prose, and not much of that. The Muse had fled. In the years since 2000 I have occasionally stirred myself to struggle with verse again. But except for pastiche, no more songs.
The Battle Hymn of the Empire
"O mine eyes have seen the glory of the Pax Americana..."
recruitment office
" whatever is contemptuous and mean / there is someone yearning for an excuse to do it..."
history lesson
"in response to the war / the markets are showing / signs of a rally..."
rules of engagement
"this is what colonialists know / they can recite the rules in their sleep..."
"not even a mess of pottage / just a mess"
O say can you see
"O, say can you see -- / well gosh, yes I can"
Sic Transit
"Can four percent control the other ninety-six by force? / Cecil smiled .... "
Small Stuff
Haiku, grooks, microdoggerel, limericks...

Old Stuff (love, life, loss... pre-1990)

imbecile body
"imbecile body, wingless, dreaming drone: / if I could leave these bones then I would go..."
small fires
"sirens hunting, the house shivers, pages turn / in a steady twilight of cotton wick / and sooted chimney: a defiance of lanterns..."
flowering plum
"they are frail and flame, frivolous and luminous, / ephemeral, extravagant, exquisite, effortless..."
"Our birth being so bright a light / casts the shadow of our every deed..."
"I hold a degree in self-deception / with a strong minor in regret..."
"have a seat here on this pile of lumber and I'll show you / the blueprints of the dream ..."
"I am filled perilously with the grief of joy / its intolerable burden ..."
first rain
"daily I deceive, conceal, control / elaborate are the battlements of soul ..."
"in my heart you are the glimmer of driftwood / beached beyond violence, smooth, structural ..."

Love and Despair 2005-2008

Haiku from the Black Box
The black box is the flight recorder that documents the last few minutes before the crash...
"wanting to be your best friend / get invited to your party / carry your books to school..."
"starfish having fun / entwined secret deep and safe..."
"... christ is there nothing / that doesn't remind me of / you, always of you?"
flying blind
"my dear friend I am flying blind / I am sailing in the dark..."
married man
"you have made a lover of your pain..."
ville ouverte
"you walked past my defences months ago..."
magnetic north
"you are magnetic north. every needle in me / points to you, no deviation..."
haunted, clear as day
"... I can see you / clear as day, around the next corner, waiting..."
prayers to small gods
"if I had gods I would beseech them: / protect him, o you little gods / of tools and perverse material things..."
all my mornings
"all my mornings are sad / all sense of purpose lost... "
people like you
"if the world were run by people like you / what a better place it would be ..."
"there is a sweet spot just below your jaw, sunburnt and tender..."
you say no
"you say No with the finality of God / with the weight of stones..."
"when I fell in love there was a thaw: / springs running (mostly salt) ..."
"I miss you as I miss the days of my youth..."
"elusive you are as the scent of water..."
lost coast
"my heart is an open dory off the Lost Coast..."
"my cheerfulness is artfully / hand-crafted, bill to tail..."
"I miss you -- but only when I'm breathing"


The UC Regents disagree with me on almost every subject. Never assume that anything I say reflects anything that they, or any other members of the UC administrative caste, think or feel. Their lawyers made me say this :-)

De Clarke
UCO/Lick Observatory
University of California
Santa Cruz, CA 95064
Tel: +1 408 459 2630
Fax: +1 408 454 9863