poems

Fittest

So you want to wrestle my
arm, mind, dreams?

We could have shared a
drink, bench, confidence.

We could have been so good,
Together.

Getting Mugged

It’s a dangerous way to live:
a cup of coffee each morning,
maybe 10 cigarettes a week,
afternoons reading in a park
watching people & their dogs.

On a bright sunny day like this,
surrounded by kind humanity,
enjoying the simple pleasures
& loving everything so much,
my heart beats me to death.

It's the Little Things

In the course of an evening,
as though by a mere glance,
or an interruption of the light,
a shift in the wind, a subtle scent,

a wall is built, a door shut,
a moat dug, a forest established,

so that now between my wish
for a goodnight & that kiss
I find a world of difference.

In the same way, one day it's known
by the slightest coolness
that summer has passed.

Lost Boys

When we are 6, ships of ministers
come to trade against our wilderness,
to make-up names & seek a fortune
where no man has yet laid claim.

Yet, here they are wrong — we are native:
rolling, winding, tangled, of one blood
with the sacred oak & the Spirit Bear,
who tell us to dream & take care.

I have learned that my innocence is savage;
my head is in the clouds, with the eagle.

Masters & Pupils

There is a lie
in the eye, in the moon,

that didn't move
in the heart, in the arm,

or doesn't stir
in the paint, on the brush,

but in the final touch —

though nature declines in
such closures as art must,
design for to fool us
or conclude by divine

pronouncement - fine:
it is done, it is good,

& it is true to life.

Nature Study

Maybe I get to experience & record
40 more spring/summer transitions.
I get 30 dawns & dusks a month -
but what could I tell of them even now?

90% of all creatures have no backbone,
not to mention imagination, humor
or a sense of awe about the universe.
What a miracle it is to doubt!

Also, what faith it takes just to get up!
I rely on Gravity, Electricity, The Strong Force
& The Weak Force to open my eyes each day.

Journal entry June 2nd, 2012:

Earthworms surface to escape drowning.
Fireflies "etch" the night with fire.

The Ocean Declines

On a clear night we might see forever,
For no line severs heaven from the earth.
We might see the ancient darkness tether
To the brightest brides of our universe,
Again for flooded vaults before the dawn.

But in morning's light everything is wrong.
As the mighty behemoths roll beneath,
The secret deep displays their girth, then gone -
I turn my head unsettled by the seas,
I toss and heard the sirens in my head:

Like trumpets wailed against cool silence,
Like traffic's crescendo from quiet streets,
I saw the industrious boys get dressed,
Tall in trespass, walked in sad companies,
Their golden touch turns everything to king.

I hear doldrums sound across the water,
Touching tribeless ears, kissing beardless cheek,
Betraying better sorrow with laughter,
As righteous dew refreshes bold and meek,
As the joyous crowds released Barabbas.

Just as gloomy clouds release a rainbow,
We see the ocean lands imbued with crook.
Never a straight way laid beyond a show,
Never a blazoned day's charade forsook,
Ever the rudest objects shadowed forth.

Here is death ship-shaped on the horizon,
Made-shift of shimmer and glittered disguise.
By God! Let this and that divide anon
And how the firmament bestowed me cries,
And how azurance lapses in my dome.

In morning, dulls a mist over my head,
In morning, damps my spirit with its day,
As clever children say all that we've said
The sun explains with reason of its ray,
The blue below belies the blue above.

For truth is truth found troubled on the sea,
For truly there is comfort in such rues
Though babbling babe may fountainhead be,
Though prism of shades is of solest hues,
Even so cold hearts have flowery words.

Some brave sprigs stay up against the frost bite,
Pulleys up and lullabies down draught dreams
From the well of hope, for in this grave plight
Life quickens before each bright and chill beam.
Godspeed spring blossom onto the sunrise!

With feathered oars in search of furtive stars,
With a wish to purchase more than water,
In veins and vesselled courses to my heart,
Christ, the spitting image of the father,
I've sputtered for a better metaphor...

There's a certain slant approaching these shores,
An ominous sleight led by summer's horns.
Who will run down strange paths and through tight doors
Wide lanterns blazing, starry eyes to warn
That these young heaven are yet up for grabs?

My favorite forms turn under eventide,
As waves that break the sky are meant for time:
Here - a crescent moon sails to one side,
Here - a crescent sail wakes to its rhyme,
Here am I with eyes for blinking, blinking.

On My Off Day

O happiness, happiness!
Too much children and parents
in the rain, with off day umbrellas,
or soft collapses on thawed earth,
the snowless angels!

O happiness, happiness!
Too much children and parents
in the park, with off hats and jackets,
or pineconed paths on through winter,
the firless saplings!

O happiness, happiness!
Too much children and parents
in the night, with off schedule bedtimes,
or chocolates on tall shoulders,
the ageless seconds!

I long for a day of sadness,
or much too much life passes.

Poser Reposed

Did you know the wolf in sheep's clothing
is back in lupine furs?
It's true. It's all the rage!
No, rather, it's cool, disconnected,
like the moon, the rock, the clenched fist,
which crushes literary critique every time.

Shrewd-as-snakes gets more hits
than innocent-as-doves,

especially with the youth demographic —
those dulled wits lined-up to see
Caligula the rock opera by Tool.

The Side Step

Left forward, right forward — this is The Walk.
Let go. You are on your own now —
watch closely the children on the playground
for the Skip, Hop, Long Stride, Cock-Strut.

Here's a new one: left slowly, right slowly,
left quick to the side, right together —
they call it the Foxtrot, Rock n' Roll.
It's Electricity, Commodity, Sex.

One last move, the most important:
Left sideways, right together, hold —

hold while the man behind you passes,
wait for the bicyclist and the automobile,
wait for the high-speed train and the satellite,
let the pretty girl who brushes your heart slip by
& the tailored men who promise tomorrow —

let loved ones come & go.

Consider carefully your next step
while watching the sun set & rise —
there's an old man on a park bench crying,
his son minds his own business,
his daughter's been taken by a man he doesn't know.
Offer what you've seen of the long shadows —
consider carefully your next step.

So Many Possibilities

This stone, balancing delicately upon a precipice
sees all around the mountains thrusting upwards,
sees below the rapids negotiating their courses,
hears in the wind the potential of its mass.

This stone, balancing delicately upon a precipice
touching only minimally a tiny territory of earth
smells the mineral nature of the environment,
feels in the wind against its mass the potential.

This stone, balancing delicately upon a precipice,
What must one do to become active?

S.O.P.

Gadget heart, atlantic fishbowl pump,
this vessel is 70% sunk
& sets my eyeballs swimming —
only yesterday I teemed with koi.

I must adjust a memory, the engine
room of despair, work-clock-like-tuned-fine,
so by a screw loosened here & there
I might record with factual nonchalance:

that in spring the trees leave —
that water rewound is rewined —
that a river reversed is strengthened —
That love calculated = love.

Even the passions of romantic mechanics
might bring a ship to rest.

Talks With Creeps

I do slightly believe
in another sense,
perhaps an all-seeing spirit
around each creature...

So when I noticed
a small jumping spider
cross the park bench
onto the napkin held
down by my coffee,
I gave him the eye —

"Turn around. Go away."

Then it continued
forward, up, around,
(hidden) —
hours turned to minutes —

At last I turned
& flicked him off.

This Moment Everlasting

This is eternal life—
this moment everlasting—
the sun shines on the leaf
giving fruit to the flower,
pleasure to the eye of man,
& glory to God.

Our heart's reflex is love—
an opening of the seed within,
to the delight of the weary.

Sustain this moon, O Lord,
that from philosophy
might compassion bloom,
& I will sleep in peace.