Monday, February 4, 2013

Old Poem #4

big break

i have walked on for too long
noticing nothing but my own thoughts
worrying about my grey hairs
knowing full well
that i stirred cream & sugar into my coffee
with a flathead screwdriver this morning
the bittersweet smell in the air
the mixture of funk on the lake breeze
sewer fumes & smoke plumes from automobile exhaust pipes
barely noticing the sirens & hostile squealing brakes

the flowers fight through the traffic

all i want to do is hear my friend
sing to the delight of strangers

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Old Poem #3

when all else fails

back to the poetry for me
sounds associated freely
images arranged randomly
strange though they appear to be
the words occur deceptively

though another childish rhyme
is hardly the best use of my time

it cannot be denied by anyone

that there are the ghosts of cats
trapped in these walls

& it is cooler in the mountains
where the vines give forth their grapes
than in this structure made of clay
taken from the very same land

& where the beam meets the lintel
the claw marks can be seen

but worse fates are known to man
than that of a raisin in the sun

the spoiled kitten claws to get out
only to be jealous of the one that snuck in

the clock is broken & the frame is cracked
but the cards are shuffled & the deck is stacked

this house is almost ready to collapse
so we can bury our secrets & burn our old maps

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Old Poem #2

in retrospect it all sounds so funny

he threw a coin into a well
& wished for money

he regretted that he let it go
before he even finished the throw

he immediately wondered how often in the past he had done that before
& how much it had cost him to have a desire for more

he sang at the top of his lungs with the record album on the jukebox
he killed time mercilessly but he loathed murderers as much as he doubted priests

he watched the news broadcast nightly with a hand over one eye
every minute of footage drove him closer to tears
he expected each & every scene to end in fire

he carried a pencil to draw pictures of the world that he wanted to see
& to write down the words he was too scared to say aloud

he never read the numbers on the currency but he always remembered the faces

he tried to avoid listening to conversations around him
& hunched over to prevent people from looking over his shoulder
even though he knew that they would see it all eventually
& he knew that he had heard it all before

he was relieved when he looked up from his notebook & across the bar
& saw the promotional calendar for the local liquor distributor taped to the mirror
in exactly the place where he expected to look himself right in the eyes
but instead he got to stare at a pretty girl in a cute little dress for far too long

so it was easy for him to recognize what makes it all funny in retrospect when he thinks about
how much he thinks about the future & how little he understands how to get there

soon the blackness will burn away from the tainted seas
& the sky will be red upon reflection of the flames

soon there will be another great howl from the poets
another universal chant
another name for the spirits & their forces & the muses & the deities combined
another glorious simplification
another fine union of forms & styles

soon their will be too many tragic historical dates for the wall painted in memorial
& shortly thereafter those walls will crumble
& the survivors will wonder where to mourn those moments
& the mourners will wonder where to survive

but the salty stains on the cheeks of the concrete cherubs
will always remain & the laughter will linger, too
on the facades of the government buildings & the lofty cathedrals ceilings
the echoes will resound again & again & again

& again the children will giggle, guffaw, grope, grab, grapple
& again raise their voices higher than intended
& belie their secrets to the strangers they befriended accidentally

somehow this history will continue

in retrospect it all sounds so funny
but it is all so sad & very true

Friday, February 1, 2013

Old Poem #1

another friday downtown

an office is hardly the place to write a poem
but all the bars are full first thing in the morning
& the street corners are occupied until well after noon

by musicians & singers with hats to pass
politicians & beggars with tin cups & soap boxes
biding their time to bay at the harvest moon

the wind whistles to get our attention
the city sleeps later & later each day

so leave for work as soon as you are able
& remember to leave that love note on the dining room table

go into the building & sit at the desk
& hope that the images all go away

climb up the stairs & put down the pen
finally you will forget the way the others do

how autumn makes us all feel red so the colors
of our skins match the colors in our heads

it is the fire again the blood again the leaves again
rubber tires smolder in the parking lot of the post office
& the checks are indeed in the mail
yet no one believes in the power of the snail

until the snow//falls///again

meanwhile, smile when the smoke makes your throat hurt
hit the dirt when you hear the report

the sirens will get closer//closer///the sirens will get here
eventually & tell you that it was all your imagination

you never even got out the front door

pants on one leg at a time/then the shoes
tie that ugly tie sing that beautiful melody/that reminds you of the blues

bring that mechanical pencil & draw them a detailed picture
be the man of the house even though it may not even be your home
& appreciate the fact that you are supposed to be dissatisfied
with how things are here now to make them the way they should be
eventually & make you what you are in your imagination

sing that beautiful melody that reminds you of the blues/though it may be to yourself

even though it may be the sound of a broken copy machine
even though it may be the sound of a leaky faucet
even though it may be the sound of a war

sing that beautiful melody/that reminds you of the blues/though it may be to yourself
all the live long day as the railroaders used to say

over & over & over & over again until it is over & although
the workweek might be over for you
someone must still throw the light switch at dusk
someone must be crazy enough to write the poetry
someone must be bold enough to read aloud
someone must be stupid enough to care

not me though
it is payday & i have a date