Poetry

Travel Advice

Do not travel with the crowd for companionship.
For there is no companionship in crowds,
Only company.

Do not travel alone to avoid the madness of crowds
For hermits and prisoners in solitary confinement
Lose their sanity.

In life, travel neither with the crowds
Nor travel alone,
But rather travel with the wise.

Poetry

The Teammate

“I love you”, I said.

“Come in”, she replied,
“The water is warm.”

“But I have not swam in years”. I balked,
And the waters are deeper than I’ve known.”

“No worries, my friend
All you need is to trust.”

“Forgive me, but what if my trust is misplaced?”

“It is not me you must think of,
But yourself.
It is not the sky that a bird trusts,
But his own wings.”

“What if I cannot keep up with you?”

“Love is patient”, she replied,
“Love is teamwork.  In the end,
Love always comes down to teamwork.”

Poetry

The Wait

I

You were young,
So young when it happened,

So young that I remember
You still needed to believe
Good always comes to good people
And evil never comes to good people,

And evil never comes.
To good people.

And so you blamed yourself,
You blamed yourself.
My niece, you blamed yourself
Though you were without fault
And blameless.

My niece,
How many souls would a person need
If she needed one for each soul
Stolen from her or lost
Along the way?

How many souls would she need
If she needed one for each soul
Ripped from her or stolen
Even before she has known love?

And what sum of souls
Is tallied by the years
She spends pressed against a wall,
Shot through by nightmares,
Shot through,
Shot down?

And what sum of souls
Is tallied by the years
She spends out in the cold,
Trembling in hope of love,
Shaking in fear of love?
What sum of souls?

II

So you are now come to these mountains,
To a high place in the wind,
Ostensibly to visit me,
Ostensibly to spend time with your uncle,
But in reality,
In reality to thirst among the dry stones,
Thirst for the soul you have not yet known.

At night I hear you in your room
Praying to your heart,
In your sleep, your trembling lips
Are praying to your heart.

Your faithful heart that has held
Itself receptive and open
Over the decades now, the decades now,
Your faithful heart that has done the impossible
And held itself receptive and open.

To your faithful heart your lips pray:
“If only you will wait long enough
If only you will wait long enough

If only you can wait long enough
If only you can wait long enough

Out in the cold.”

III

And now in the valley far below comes this way walking
a figure
Wearing a wreath of tender leaves,
Singing songs of healing,
Singing songs.
And now in the valley far below comes this way walking
a figure
With one foot stepping on the earth
And one foot stepping in beauty,
Singing songs.
Singing songs.

But

The slope is steep, the rocks are sharp,
The path is long, the night approaches
And he might yet turn away,

If only you will wait long enough.
If only you will wait long enough.
If only you can wait long enough.
If only you can wait long enough.
Out in the cold.

Poetry

“Bad Poem! Bad Poem!”

Writing a poem
Is like training a dog.

The poem loves you.
It loves you and it is loyal to you.
It is loyal to you and it wants to obey you – but
But sometimes…

Sometimes it looks at you, cocks its head,
And just does not understand what you
Are telling it to do.

You want it to bark and growl and bite – but
It thinks you want it to fetch,
So it drops your slippers
At the feet of the thief
Who broke into your house.

Or it looks at you, cocks its head,
And is on the edge,
On the very edge
Of understanding you,
Of getting you,
Of getting you at last — but
SQUIRREL!
And it’s off racing in a direction
You never wanted it to go.

I love my poems, but I can get upset,
I can raise my voice.

“Bad poem! Bad poem!
No treat for you!”

Sometimes I yell it, really yell it.
“Bad poem! Bad poem!”

My neighbor is shocked.

She phones me, “You’re cruel! Cruel!
I’ll call the Society on you!”

I tell her, “The American Poet’s Society
Is not the American Humane Society.”

She doesn’t listen.

And neither does the Poet’s Society.
They send their inspector around.
“Sir, we’ve had a report.”

“A what?”

“A report, Sir.”

You still don’t think poems are like doggies?
You still doubt me?

Then explain to me how come,
How come it is always just about then
That my poem drops my very best slippers
Right at the inspector’s feet.