Alan Britt



archaic symbols or dark-eyed Iranian poets?

Blackbirds enter childhood

as easily as any myth.


their symbols

like all symbols


when coaxed

by kindly 6th grade Language Arts teachers.


Well, symbols

were never meant

to pace like Rilke’s panther

East to West

behind the dreadful bars

of melancholy.

Symbols were always meant

to be wild




Honduras ,

or typhoons

blowing the silken doors

off ancient Japanese rights of passage,

which proves

what I’ve said

all along,

that symbols


are nothing more

than faint Methodist bells


oddest hours,

of the night

like tonight,

2:44 am

here in Reisterstown , Maryland ,

June 19, 2004.

Alan Britt © 2010


Feeling at home on the page,

words pretend

to capture

our universe.

Tiger hunting,

more like it.


of experience

leave deep scars.

A melancholy


can destroy

about 25 years

in one good exchange

of suicidal notes.

Ah, but the smoothest notes of all,

make no mistake,

are carved by knives hidden

beneath the accordion skirts

of Ukraine girls

who find themselves


to desperate songs


by the dead

living among us.

For Salvadore Allende And Pablo Neruda

I crawled from a lily pad

ripped by the claw of a caiman

gliding Zen-like down the muddy Amazon.

I hopped onto the best consciousness

I could muster,

leaning on one forelimb,

gills flared.

I thrust myself,

utilizing massive, amphibious fins,

into a bank vault

filled with echoes

left behind by CIA trainees

designed to procure the deaths

of a newly elected Socialist Democrat

and his Communist poet running mate.

Profits for U.S. corporations

were valued over peace and prosperity,

over an elevated life for lowly Chileans.

The United Fruit Company revisited.

No wonder imagination remains the final

uncharted landscape

for our ego-imprisoned souls.

In fact, it’s a wonder love poems

weren’t outlawed eons ago!

Sorry. I forgot.

Sometimes I get like that.

Alan Britt © 2010