Out on errands, out on foot seeing and breathing
whatever passes for Nature
I – which means you-me-we-us – you were doing what you always do on gentle mornings
cinematically sunlit from the back:
you were noticing. Walking and noticing
energy organizing in most attractive and repellent ways. Seeing a fraction of the all and, overwhelmed
by the majesty and the emptiness,
the majesty of the emptiness,
you sigh smile
stepping once more into the opposite of the abyss.
Earlier this morning you returned the phone message of
someone who calls you only when she wants something.
(She wanted something; you tried to be generous.)
Later today you’ll rendezvous with
someone who meets you only when he wants something.
(You will try to be generous.)
Now you’re at the stoplight, waiting to cross the Boulevard thrumming with the echoes of Kenyan feet.
. . . → Read More: Poem: Better Angels
The 2014 MK SPRING POETRY FESTIVAL, March 9-22!
Death and life are interchangeable,
Without a brain there is no thinking,
no motoring of the mind.
Fret not about the end impending
when you suppose you’ll not be able
to kiss and laugh – oh, all the pleasures
almost justifies the pain.
Without a wound there is no succor,
unwelcome drought, cherished rain.
Call it fated, then call it luck, or
consign your dance to humble measures.
But dance you must. And singing! Loudly.
And loving oddly. And now
you see that when the playing concludes
what’s left is not about how
or when you tamed unbearable moods.
No. Embrace your death – and life – proudly.
When we make contact
with the extraterrestrials, the Aliens as they’re called – the Other in its most foreign form –
when we do, what do you think will happen?
What will you feel?
Relief? Fear? Bewilderment? Ecstasy?
Will they be exactly like us, much improved? Or – and this seems more likely – will they
be nothing like us, magically so?
Who will be more intelligent? More evolved? Who will have
figured out the mystery of the universe most fully?
Could it be us? Would that make you happy or sad?
Will black holes and fifteenth dimensions and all that’s sublime and inscrutable
become known and understood?
Would that make life better or worse for you?
When we make contact with whoever is out there,
anything could happen.
Anything might happen.
And though we can’t quite yet hear their calls across the galaxies, maybe that’s
. . . → Read More: Poem: When We Make Contact
If it’s not too early,
a bit premature for a fellow not quite ready,
I should like to look backward
on the imaginary continuum of then and now.
How marvelous it would be
to gaze beneficently
upon my childhood,
and maybe weeping softly
at all that’s been lost.
We called it the Court. Forty yards of hard-packed grass.
A giant elm was one goalpost, and a shorter piney thing was the other
and there was an asphalt ring around it
for racing and chasing
and we spent our childhoods there,
inventing games, skinning elbows, making friends, running away and running back
unable to imagine we would one day miss it all terribly,
as though it were dead,
as though it weren’t still there,
where it’s always been.
. . . → Read More: Poem: Nostalgia
When the angry mother of two successors to her gene pool
behaved with an absence of cool
failed to set a good example for her precious offspring
neglected to teach them the importance of thinking
as though they were sisters or brothers
not competitors at a shrinking trough
she was at that moment a suckling sow
and knowing that this was known and henceforth always would be
by those who had seen her dereliction of parental duty
she lashed out at the one most aware
of her pugnacious absence of care
yelling almost screaming but not from sheer bliss
instructing onlookers to mind their own business.
My friend the genius musician artist
said: “The three words that define Los Angeles are
Why Not Me?”
The correct question, as any enlightened person could tell you –
and probably would if given an opportunity
no matter how slender or conversationally tenuous, like a run-on sentence in an increasingly ponderous poem – the correct question, of course, is
Why have I been so extravagantly blessed with every single thing I have and
Where you want to put it, fool?
On the dark?
I’ll say it again: All right.
All right. You know it’s gonna be
Everything is gonna be all right
even when it’s not.
Perfection includes imperfection.
And that includes you, fool.
Perfectly imperfect worry machine,
forgetting to clean
behind the scene, where we find your centrum, the magic locus,
the secret room where you choose to focus
on the one or the other, the either or the or,
the acceptance of less or the addiction to more,
the sympathetic fight or flight,
the brooding darkness and the eternal light.
Where you want to put it, fool?
On the light?
Yes. All right.
Find someone else to do the actual work for you
While you sit in a chair
Pay this person less than their labor is worth
Add value to their labor by doing clever things
Such as advertising and storytelling
Conjure fantastical tales of how beneficial and sexy it would be to drink
South Pacific water shipped across the ocean
Arriving like salvation
Making the drinker’s life altogether better and certainly more sophisticated than
The average tap-slurping worker type
Who made the plastic bottle and put the liquid inside and carried it to a truck
Unloading it and loading it and unloading it until
Something that started out being free
Now magically costs several dollars
Because you have to pay for quality
The darker the berry the sweeter the fruit.
The higher the thread count the better the suit.
Extraneous issues pretend to be moot.
But inside our dreams they squawk and they hoot.
Now you want to challenge me?
Pay the fee? Catastrophe
of misunderstanding and misoversitting
of petty hair-splitting and imprecise fitting –
it’s coming our way like a tropical storm
heaving and howling and breaking the norm
the usual form
once hot now warm
dispensed with gleefully, wistfully, fitfully, cheerfully.
Knowing the new means knowing the free
means knowing you’re part of the air and the sea
and everything then and all that will be
means knowing that you are actually me.
Let me show you my gift.
Telling has been discouraged.
If it hadn’t, I would be telling you that I can see into the future, years ahead.
Instead I shall show you my alleged gift, and I’ll hope, as I always do when I remember, that what I share will be useful to you.
I don’t know how that could be, but it’s worth imagining.
Ready steady, Freddy?
Good! It’s all good.
(That was my first subtle demonstration. The second is coming up next).
When you can dream with your eyes wide and the light pouring in and God everywhere –
and yet still however
the magic screen you possess, the one that’s like everyone else’s magic screen
in no way whatsoever – that one! — projects a storypoem
of startling clarity and prescience you’ll one day discover and confirm…
Then you’re me. Hello! Welcome. We’re seeing
. . . → Read More: Poem: Instead of Telling