Monthly Archives: December 2011

Love Poem For The New Year

Any day can start a year,
and any day can end one.

If any day can be celebrated,
then any day can be regretted,
but you only need to to regret one day for one day
before the celebration of the next can begin.

My New Year’s wish:

just one with whom to celebrate,
just one with whom to commiserate,
every day.

Just one
with whom to share the New Year
of every single day.

Just one
with whom to straighten up after the labor,
one with whom to soothe and be soothed.

Just one to whom the calendar
is merely a suggestion,
and with whom I can start anew
on each daily New Year’s Day.


The Sand-Lemurs Of Arcturus 7

Sun, candle quite ordinary
for this neck of the galaxy.

Earth, just far enough away
not to burn.

Air, adequate at the moment
for growth and life.  

Enough
water for the same.  

All these
mediocracies aligned, and you

want to claim as a result
the most exalted position

in the entire universe? 
Try to be serious.

That title belongs
to the sand-lemurs of Arcturus 7.

When we try to tell them that,
they can’t stop laughing.  That’s why

they’re so beloved.  That’s why
we gave them the title.

 


Justice Watch

Bigfoot exists
to seek justice
everywhere

Unicorms and
chupacabras thirst
for justice

Nessie and Champ
are holding their breath
until justice is done

Ghosts
hold out for justice
before departing

Vampires swear
they’ll seize injustice by the throat
and lay it low

It’s justice
that’s the cryptid
mythological beast

The imaginary world
is with us — solidarity!
It’s justice that’s hiding from us

so much so that Bigfoot
is thinking of coming out of the woods
to prove to all that searching and faith pay off

 


Stories From The Deck

1.
I read the cards myself, you know,
but not often these days, and no longer
for anyone else.  I have to be
“in the mood,” and it seems
I’m only in that mood these days
when I am utterly alone.

2.
You want to know, are they
parlor trick or font of wisdom?
Fool, who says one thing can’t be both?
If you hold them one way
they shine, another way they blind.
Put it this way: the map
is not the territory
but now and then
the map is where
you have to make camp.

3.
I was taught to read the cards
by a woman who could not read the cards.
It took me one spread to learn this.
Staring into the pattern I felt it:
a mansion rising on the table before me
and my best possibility dwelling within.
My hand itched for the door to that life
even as my mentor droned on about
paths not taken, choices to be made,
a trip over water I should not take.

4.
It wasn’t long before
I was sitting in bars cold reading for strangers
in exchange for drinks;
sitting in living rooms cold reading for strangers
in exchange for cash;
sitting in kitchens hot reading for a stranger,
hoping for sex.

Sitting in bedrooms reading for myself,
imagining myself as a stranger.

5.
If you think,
they fail you.  The point
is to go with the story
no matter where it goes.
That’s why I’m here, I guess.

6.
Nowadays it’s more often
penny-ante poker in a basement.
I surely miss
the Hermit, the Star,
and the Sun.  But when 
the Jack Of Hearts
shows up in my hand,
I remember how good 
he used to look
when he called himself
the Knight Of Cups.
I remember how good
that used to feel.

7.
Yes, I’ve been over water
a few times in my life.
Once upon a time in Venice
I almost bought a new deck
just for old times’s sake,
but the woman in the shop
muttered something
and shook her head
when I pointed
and I walked out before
anything odd could happen,
but I lived happily ever after anyway,
I guess.

8.
They tell you
your first deck
should be a gift.
Mine was.  I still have it.
All the others
were my own choices
and they’re all gone.

9.
I should end, I suppose,
with predictions. So:
two countries will go to war
and one will win. Two lovers
will meet, part, spend their days
recasting what happened
until in retrospect they can say
the signs were clear. An old man
will die, and so will a young one,
and a child and a dog and a tree.
Someone’s going to act a Fool
while being utterly certain and alone
on a path they devote themselves to walking,
and a deck of ancient cards will be collected up
and rewrapped in silk
while congratulations and mystic chatter
echo all around. 

 


Thanks.

Since this blog was created in May of 2009, there have been a lot of poems posted, a lot of comments, and a lot of readers coming by.

We’ve just passed 100,000 unique hits.

Thank you.


How To Recognize Love

It’s love if it’s

a politics of
physics and
brutality, bitten skin
soothed by cool breath;

bruise and 
replay.

It’s love if it’s

one day continuous from free coffee
to turn-down service,
walking miles in mist
and fog;

charm and
side-glance.

It’s love when it’s

an arm thrown across
the passenger seat
when the car skids
before the near-crash;

hurry up
and explain.

It’s love: 

that big stone,
that cold wine,
the smoke in a mirror,
the smell of mushrooms
in a closet
wafting out. No one
willing to speak of it.
No one afraid
more than the other.

And it’s love if it’s
slippery and 
different and
always. And it’s love 
if it’s inconsistent.
And it’s love
if it feels like a rocking chair
at the instant it is
tipped too far back.

 


That One Thing

It is a form of peace
to become comfortable
with how lost you are
and will always be,

to know how ignorant
you will always be
of so many subjects,
even of the one 

that touched you most;
it is wisdom
to accept the lack of wisdom
you bring to most events.

Whether you burn
in hell or lounge in heaven
when you are deceased,
you will at least have one cell

committed to a certainty
of mystery.  You can be
secure wherever you go
knowing you’ll never reach the end

of what you might have learned
with a little more energy,
a little more focus, a little less
arrogance.  When you lie down

for the last time, you can be sure
there was something you missed.
It’s a legacy you’ll leave behind.
You will be remembered for it,

it will be discussed at your funeral
with lots of headshaking and wrung hands.
“Pity,” they’ll say.  “He had potential.
If only he’d mastered that one thing.”


Happy holidays!

I’ll be gone for the next couple of days doing the family thingie, so Happy Holidays to all!  Enjoy and be at peace.


The Bitter And The Sweet

No matter the bitter,
I’ll not deny the sweet

that polishes the bitter
to a high, taut sheen

so that when I take it in
(as I am inclined to do)

I still may see reflected in it
the sweet which touched it once

and left its subtle tinge
upon the sting of bitter.

No matter the bitter
and its effect upon my face

and core, I will never deny
that sweet and bitter fall equally well

upon my tongue; though sweet
may not be common, though bitter

somehow fills me more, sweet is present
somewhere and even as I twist

my cheeks and pout my lips,
even as I cough my praise

of bitter and its bracing charm,
sweet holds its firm and distant sway

if only because it sets me free
from too much bitter to think

and dream of sweet as
a possibly different way to be.

 


What You Most Despise Explains You Best

Blue bottled,
bushy-tailed,
windburnt
and ready.
Sleeked by
darkness into
menace on track.
Removed,
relegated,
remonstrated
and shunned but
the party’s not the same
without me lurking,
is it? So keep
some portion of an eye out,
whisper of my absences
and sudden arrivals —
God, it feels good
to be a god. To be
Mars or maybe
Loki or maybe one
unknown yet, blue-
tailed, bushyfaced,
glimmering clean
and sharp enough to cut
silk.  Here comes someone
jumping toward you from shadow
to murk to ink —
is it still me
or am I nearby
laughing in the light
at what you have created
from my being forbidden
and cast into the night?


Hole

Alive in this encrusted moment
of tasting, feeling,
seeing, listening to
the air.

Loud pressure, always,
to speed up, get loud,
rock out.

No.

Rip a hole in that noise
and crawl through
to where
depths
are transcended through
details.

What to bring back
through the hole —
nothing.
Don’t speak of it.
Leave it for
revisiting, as ancient pottery
should be left in place
when found in
the forest.
One day, someone will ask
if there is still a forest
beyond the noise,
and then you will be able to
show them the hole and
they’ll hear you say
yes.


Brave In Winter

In a moment we’ll get back 
to our regularly scheduled nonsense
but for now, let’s break for a wintry trance
as the wind cuts and swoops
across the bare skin of our faces.
Let’s face nature threatening
with a knife in her hand
and us standing there
shivering but not budging.
In a moment we can go back inside
but we ought to be able to walk and not run
when we do.  We ought to be able to say
that we’re barely connected enough
back to the days of hide and fur
to be able to stand up to something
that comes every year and never relents.
In a moment we can forget this
before the fire or the radiator
but right now let’s act like original humans
and be glad we remember how,
even for a moment.

 


Mountain For Breakfast

Ate a mountain this morning.
All of it, base to peak.

I sat around fat as a dam
waiting to burst.

Lightning and fog
gathered around my head.

I was huge; if you’d been there
and tried to scale me, you’d have perished.

“I’m geographical!” I exclaimed.
“I’m on the map!”

Then someone tried to rename me.
I resisted that successfully

but damned if then I didn’t start wondering
who I was.

When and if I push this rock out of me
will I be the same person?

Can anyone take in that much of the world
and be unchanged?

All that I can say is that a mountain
presented itself, I took it in,

and now I’m staring down from a cliff
whenever I look in the mirror.


The Master’s House

In the master’s house
they know how to have a good time
and still make it seem to those outside
that they’re as broken-down as the rest of us 

In the master’s house
they’ve got the know-how
that lets them kick up their heels
with the curtains closed

In the master’s house
all the pillows in the guest house
are filled with ultra-soft down
and lined with shattered Baccarat crystal

The master’s house is divided
There are wings for each of the children
The children keep their rooms slum-messy
All linked by corridors of marble

In the master’s house
There are a lot of doors that open out
But only a few that open in
The signs on those doors read “This Way Out”

In the master’s house they have televisions
Computers and phones and music on demand
Our music, our computers, our blessed wide screens
Everything we make they embrace and sell back

When the prodigal comes home to the master’s house
Nothing is slaughtered for the welcome feast
Nothing’s laid before him for his humble approval
Except a bill and a piece of cake

In the master’s house the halls echo and the walls stand pat
Outside the house crowds gather
to see the inside and measure themselves for the fit
in case one day they master themselves and move in


La Vie En Rose

Woke beautifully alert
from midday nap
to Grace Jones’ take
on “La Vie En Rose”

Thought of you at once
and said it out loud
“I’ll bet he’s dead”
Still don’t know for sure

but I’ll bet you still like Grace Jones 
whether you are dead or not
The two of you were as scary
as Paris is beautiful, dear

Your beauty
was long-limbed and capable
of anything short of murder
when it was hungry enough 

capable of chilling the blood
at first touch or sight
I cannot imagine that’s changed
I cannot imagine a different you

Are you in Dublin
are you in Dubai
Are you somewhere in the States
Under or aboveground

I’m so well rested 
This afternoon is perfect
without you being anywhere close by
except in speculation

There are two ways
to chill the blood
a good way and a bad way
I have to say you were good at both

even with my rose-colored glasses on
and I hope you stay lost in time
with Edith Piaf
and Grace Jones