After Tagore

Demons in the Diner

Winner of the Richard Snyder Memorial Publication Prize
Ashland Poetry Press

Demons in the Diner includes poems on classical themes (the art of Hiroshige, Henry Moore, Coleridge, Robert Burns, et al), current events such as war, homage to African-American greats W.E.B. Du Bois and the Delany sisters, the Holocaust, and personal relationships.

Protest March

Where should I take it,
my sign, now that I have painted it
on the back of an old valentine?

In the cities they are heading
for embassies. At air fields
they are burning the flag,

but I have sailed here,
to the sacred island of Delos
where even the winds turned round,

have come to face the white bones,
the columns lying like broken bombers,
the ambitious stones.

I face the archaic holy lions,
the busts and rain-beaten
faces of tyrants who thought

their time was forever.
Now they are reading, and I,
when I hold up my sign,

must at last understand
that only the trembling red
heart can bring peace

in our time, silence again
over the stones, that we may hear
the small creatures singing.

Demons in the Diner

Bowtie, mustache,
slant smile--
all such men
are my father,
or especially
Adolf Hitler
with his fedora
laid on the counter.

A waitress
in a yellow uniform
setting a spoon
next to the hat
and a mug
full of coffee,
her dark eyes
confessing torture,
with even her own son
or some monster
who has stopped by
in the night--
all such women
are my mother
and the diner
my dream museum,
my house of horrors.

Contents of this website © David Ray 2011