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Midnight At The ATM Machine

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Midnight At The ATM Machine & Other Poems
by Doug Tanoury

Midnight At The ATM Machine

It greets me by name
And asks quite to the point
Deposit or withdrawal
As I begin my starlight banking

To secure some cash
A collection of crisp twenties
That smell of ink
On new paper and

Dead presidents
Stare at me sternly in moonlight
Their images engraved
With serious rococo themes

New currency
Being bent or crinkled
Sounds like insects
In the night

And bills folded tight
Like mantis wings
Or the torso of a katydid
Bearing marks of the late baroque


My Ethereal Love

My Love is incorporeal and virtual
Like a vapor
Without substance and form
And I often think
That this is what the dead must feel
For each other and how spirits
Must love when touch has passed away
Into the distance of dark impossibility
And all sensuous trace is wrapped
In cold repose

I love you purely like a ghost
With mind and heart but mostly words
Not formed in throat or shaped on tongue
And launched from lips
Nor propelled on the warmth
Of my every breath
But silent they come to you
Like a midnight apparition
That hangs before your eyes
Untouchable and ethereal

From the underworld
My words reach you now
Where these lines appear
Inchoate on the page
And my voice that moves invisibly
From this nether realm
Is the sound of wind in the leaves
And is the ice-cold moonlight
Of a summer night


Magnificat Anima Mea Dominum
(A Song For St. Mary's)

At Old St. Mary's there is pipe organ that is
A vertical fantasy that fills the choir loft
It sometime plays while I study
The light filled faces of stained glass saints
Animated with sunrise high in the clerestory

And I feel each note in the wooden pew
The hair on my arms vibrates to a tingle
As candle flames tremble and sway with the music
That showers down from vaulted ceilings
And I am touched where sound meets light

When bass rattles the glass and shakes these walls
And passes through me like the Spirit of God
I place poetry in the collection plate
And watch it carried to the altar surrounded
With bread and wine and music and light



And somehow there has grown
An icy silence between us
That expands to fill the empty space
Between our words and transform them
Into awkward pauses
And there is a tightness slipping about us
Like a snake that slowly winds and constricts
With ever increasing pressure
Around its prey cutting off movement
Until neither inhale nor exhale can escape

Our sentences are laborsome
And talk tends to lapse as time goes by
Into periods of nervous quiet
That populate and punctuate the conversations
Of those long parted and seldom seen
And there is graceless effort about us
Like a broken wing bird
Unable to fly
That repeatedly tries but always fails
To get airborne once again


Icarus Flying

The skies cold blue against white wings
As I fly above the clouds
Waxen arm extended
Feathers dancing in the wind
As I ride the jetstream
Corkscrewing up
In ever growing spirals

Leaving my past life
The normal and ordinary
To crawl about the ground
And all my earth bound friends
Leaning back their heads to watch
Squinting and shielding their eyes
Until I vanish and wink from site

Alone and invisible
I am reborn
In the ice cold reaches
Of the upper atmosphere
And if my wings fail now
I know I can only fall upward
Into the far deep blue of heaven


At The Lake

Down at the lake today
At sunrise
As I watch the light
Reflected on the waves
I hear music
Not a little fugue or cantata
Neither a short prelude
Nor minuet
But a grand polonaise by Chopin
The one in A flat major
Playing in my head

The silver motion
Of water and wind
Choreographed and synchronized
So finely that the notes
That resonate golden and clear
Are the power
Giving rise to each wave
And the force that drives
The giant black hulls
Of the ore freighters
Slowly down the horizon

Where movement is melody
In the swaying elms and willows
Along the shore
And harmony rises
On the wings of geese
And flies graceful like the gulls
Across a summer sky
Above waters graduating
From green to blue to gray
Accompanied by the soft piano
Of a new day

© 2002 by Doug Tanoury

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