Frank Praeger

The Welter of the Fragmentary

A leader mislead, a sycophant charged with not caring.

Cuttings that do not take.

Relaxed, a human face, a muskrat's,


and what to make of enough?

Rejoice in the acute,

in the imagined magic of the ceaseless incremental.

Lilies bloom, indiscreet in their profusion,

their cultivated variation,

and the unwarranted continuation of now,

as much as the outpouring petal surging fate of flowers,


the welter of the fragmentary.

Who could be morose in the midst of more,

in the bracken dense undergrowth culminating

in soul, apostolic hymnals, a constant muttering of forever?

What if each walk does tend downward?

The extraneous distances that were never ours.

The habitats of dreams dissembled in the waking hours,

lettuce patches, dwarf trees, fields of twigs,

odd shaped rooms replete with brass gadgets.

Though constant in my walking out, inconstant

in my troubled speech;

cited for confusing incontinence with inbetween,

for talking in my sleep.

If I wasn't then who have I been?

Who was it the last fifty years,

and before that who was that young man?

A Tad Too Far

The singer's tortured self in sweet surrender,

it takes so long, I almost palpate my own illusion.

It's as if we had been together, dreaming in an indeterminate

location of a still more indeterminate occasion,

now, all forgiven, puzzled by what may have been forgotten,

we swing on trapezes a tad too far.

Who could have been happier under such duress.

We might have pondered over the night's coming,

the dark that brought us further on,

but, now, another singer sings of the imagination

and we both chuckle,

unable to sleep waiting out another starry-ridden night.

Frank Praeger © 2010

A Summer's Rage

Summer not yet fully articulated, then, cicadas.

Where had they been,

what could have happened?

Crocuses, violets gone, lilies going, and I am wonder,

starred, felled, formulaic, stayed, lost

in innumerable pathways, summer's seizure

prolonging an ageing sexual ardour.

Cicada and late summer with its wild blackberries,

incessant flowering of tansy, knapweed, goldenrod,

yellow and purple and sunlight across the furthering fields,

imagination and birds in flight,

does and their fawns.

What could they tell of?

Does the rain-soaked foliage quiver?

For every query a multiplicity in response.

The cicada calls and I have no rejoinder,

no sequestered polyphony that I can call my own,

no final umbrage or celestial calm

in any scattering of breath.

A sojourner rests,

each stillness withers.

Alongside stiffness, aches, recurring premonitions of oblivion,

a token or, maybe, more of what might yet be,

of the salutary edge to the unfinished,

or of a final flinging out of one last Queen Anne's lace.

Gated Neighborhoods & ID Checks

We have had princes among us,

lords of haberdashery,          truants from idiocy.

We have had double-petaled roses,

outpourings of grief.

We have fingered the untraceable -

needy speculators of the unforeseen.

We will not trumpet down any,

we will not parley,

talk down the least among us,

revoke death certificates,

argue for any foreseeable fantasy,

reinstate briefs.


Students tumble out of a seaside chute.

Sidewalk dancers elbow wiggle room for their pelvic ventures.

Street corner sermons chastize the late evening air.

Gated neighborhoods, ID checks.

Dogs peeing on fire hydrants, wrought iron fences.

Crosstown a neighborhood patrol appears.


No one knows who will be summoned.