The Earl of Rollercoaster

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The Earl of Rollercoaster found
It inconvenient to expound
On why it was he loved to race
Continually from place to place
Whilst whirling rapidly around —
Now here, now there, now soaring high,
Now falling freely toward the ground,
And screaming all the while.

That’s why he built those crazy trains
That bear his name:
It’s easier to experience
than to explain.

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No magic, child

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There is no magic, child.
No mysterious stranger
awaiting the proper stormswept night
on which to introduce you to your destiny.
Your mother and father
are really your mother and father.
There are words for everything.
Behind every bookcase is only a wall,
and the walls are solid walls
and behind them only two by fours
plaster and pink insulation and thick wires
through which ordinary currents pulse invisibly.

There is no magic, child,
because it is entirely usual
to have been born to people
about whom you know nothing
and who have secrets they themselves will never fathom.

There is no magic, child,
because it is entirely mundane
to live side by side
with the passionate electricity
that lurks behind your bedroom walls.

There is no magic, child,
since the world is just the world
and there are words for everything
even if the ones you will someday require
may be in a language no one living speaks.

There is no magic, child,
because it is entirely ordinary
for entire peoples to spring up
and sing for a hundred years
only to vanish with their only traces
to be found in a bookcase
with a solid wall behind it
while within the wall seethes
the invisible electricity
that powers the screens and machines
that belong to the parents
who are really your parents.

There is no magic, child.
The stranger who will appear
some unexceptional day
and make truths of wishes
you never even knew you were capable of

is no more mysterious than you.

 

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Some tasks can’t wait

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In the back yard the girl is digging a hole
to China, while in the lavender the bees mutter
in anticipation and in the tree red winged blackbirds
flash their epaulets. The girl strikes gold!
The bees hum out the news, the blackbirds flutter
semaphore. Now for the hose, the hole wants to become a lake.
Did mother call? The birds, the bees, the girl pretend they haven’t heard.
Doesn’t she know about digging holes? Some tasks can’t wait.

 

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One day this

Free Spirit
One day this
will be recalled (if
at all) by you
as a golden
day a beach of pure
sand and flocks of
majestic white birds that
spreading curved wings
rose at first
imperceptibly then
inexorably into
aching flight as
we watched them knowing
all would be well and

no one will be left to say
that’s
inaccurate
since my present vision of
this will perish
lacking the heft and
polish of history but

for the record here
is what breaks my present heart this
little girl now running across
low tide’s litter now daring
those greasy waves now
scattering the dirty gulls that are
yammering and (I can
see it all
now) about to
take off
clumsily into an
implacable
future.

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