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.

Poetry

On Things that Begin with an Onion

One day a man began to wonder
If he should put an extra onion in his pocket.

The question nagged him until he became restless
So he threw on his jacket, then strode out his door —
Planning to walk up an answer.

But soon he came upon a woman so beautiful
The soles of his feet tingled to be in the same world as her,
And when she began to sing (la la la
La la la), yearning overtook him.

He was at such a loss what to say to her,
The words that fell from his mouth —
His own words —
Sounded to him like complete strangers.

“I like magenta too”, he told her suddenly,
Referring to the color of her spring dress.
“Especially when it glows in the moonlight
On those nights the cicada shake the air
Like a ship’s wake shakes the sea.”

His tongue stumbled, “But I…I mean….”

“Yes”, she said in a golden voice
That flowed with compassion and a deeper understanding,
“I see by your eyes you recognize my beauty,
But do you also see my scars?
And can you read in them my travels,
Can you read in them my stars?”

Then her tongue stumbled, “But I…I mean….”

A light breeze rose and danced away,
Six sparrows burst from a hedge
In a passionate snapping of wings.

The sun fell between gentle branches
To sway across the dappled lawn.

On the horizon, the mountains were
Thrown down from the sky,
Crumpled and piled up
Like faint blue linen rags.

Eyes now fated, met.
Eyes now met, smiled;
Eyes now smiling, bonded
As time cartwheeled by
Like an onion
Tossed and skipping down a hill.


This poem is a reworking and expansion on a poem posted several months ago.

Miscellaneous, Poetry

The High, Proud, and Ugly Wall that We Love

Between my beautiful neighbor
And my beautiful self
Is a high, proud, and ugly wall
Called “Ideology”.

She believes she can prove
What she cannot prove,
And I believe I can prove
What I cannot prove,

And we together believe
What we cannot prove
Is more important
Than what we can prove —

Which is that she lives,
And that I live,
And that we both live
Beautiful neighbors
To each other.

Beautiful neighbors
Who live on the only planet
In the solar system
That has turned loneliness
Into an art,

And an art into an obscenity.

She is wise and I am a fool
Or I am wise and she is a fool.
We have no means to decide
Which one of us is which,
But we both of us know
It just cannot be
We are both of us fools.

It just cannot be
We are both of us fools
Who breathe the same air,
Who waste the same life,
And who will someday
Die the same death.

My neighbor and I
Stand on the same side
Of a high wall
An ugly wall
A proud wall
Called “ideology”,

And on the other side
Is life.

Human Nature, Life, Love, Poetry, Relationships

All That Matters Now

(1)

I hear the leaves blow
Against our door tonight.
Dry leaves passing by,
Scratching against our winter door.

Sometimes I look up thinking, “She’s home”.

But it’s only a creak in the door,
And the leaves, the scratching leaves.

Continue reading “All That Matters Now”

Courage, Human Nature, Learning, Life, Living, Love, Lovers, Poetry, Quality of Life, Regret, Relationships, Resilience, Self, Self-Knowledge, Spirituality, The Art of Living Well

There are Ghosts in Every Heart

The air is warmer
Than the spring tonight,
Cooler than the summer.

A half-moon has risen
But I cannot recall
Whether it waxes or it wanes.

It is three in the morning and thunder
Is rolling off the mountains,
There is lightening to the North.

Continue reading “There are Ghosts in Every Heart”

Critiques, Cultural Traits, Culture, Erotic Dance, Poetry, Sex, Sexuality, Sexualization, Society

The American Costume Party

Flashing lights explode in your eyes
Like colored shrapnel.

Second by second,
Attacking music shakes your eardrums
Near to goo.

Now and then.
Now and then, but rarely
Some woman dances
Her authentic sexuality,

Continue reading “The American Costume Party”