“One Further Yesterday”
One further yesterday, the cinders linger still, the greeting on the lips
Of flocks of fine bovine acquaintances and many-frenzied friends
Who must now fall and from whom all consequences flow, the bliss of ends
And obscure sins were deemed a Holy Rapture but not so long ago. The icy tips
Became but sirens to the boys whose tongues were frozen, locked on fences built
To keep the snow bank from the doors and tempt us all as something to explore,
Some infantile rule to contemplate. So much for winters knocking at the doors
Of childhood’s reason; adieu the stuff of puerile goals and purposes. Some quilts
Sewn from plenteous philosophies that never made it to the couch or if they had
Were gathered with no need to make the bed nor turn the covers down.
He sleeps alone tonight as he did then; no need to frown
On frosts on feral days and nights when as it happened he was glad
To be his own best friend and knew whose kin and friendship nearer
Came to roost when before each sleep he gazed once again into the mirror.
Pacific vision; a single cigarette, a candle
In a valley, the briefest transfer from so little matter
To some causal spark seen perhaps for miles, the latter
End of someone’s missing afterthought, and this, the mantle
Of exchange thus expressed is moot before an audience of sand
So far from its former station, progeny of mountains, so utterly lonely
Yet brilliant in insignificance because their present star is the only
Periodic indication seen of its kind. This fogbound hope is contraband
Of just another dawn. A natural barrier, then, between the two
Of us ignites the enigma of a natural force, twice the paradox,
Thrice the witchs’ warning, the latest news from deep within the box.
I rest beside a celestial screaming stream, a protégé of simple views
And even simpler decisions. Dilemmas offered to the least in rhyme
Retain their energies but sacrifice their matter to the woof and warp of time.
Posted in All or nothing, Audience, Dawn, Poetry, Samsara, Sand, Spark, Station
Tagged Existence, Lyric Poetry, Mortality, Sonnet, Sonnets
“Dissent Amongst the Cows”
“Dissent amongst the cows is what it is.
We’re lost out here, my friend, and if we take a step
Back a day or two or perhaps an hour to what we stepped in when we swept
Aside the bull we ask at last where he got his ribbons. This
Last first deep silence in the shallows is the reply that gives us clout,
That margin’s full of error, just a scratch that leads to blood and niggling feelings
Sending all who contemplate the Market and the Mayan Calendar reeling
Sideways to something more than beef and less than doubt.
We’ve asked the magic question and here in time receive
The latest wounds and bulletins in brain disease: “We oppose what
Isn’t there or what’s expressed in mass superlatives, and seconds cut
To save the scions of denial not so hidden in the artificial hay, conceive
Freely and at the ready for an oddly specious fact
Expressed upon the cud, at best inured because
we form the chorus to delight Jocasta caught smiling in the act!”
I also had a brother who was like me a musician and a composer. A man of great talent, far more gifted than I. He died very young
… he killed himself in the prime of his life.
[7 July 1860 - 18 May 1911]
Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired,
signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.
President Dwight David Eisenhower
[October 14, 1890 - March 28, 1969]
…recollection from a day of teaching some time ago….
“I Found the Little Girl Alone”
I found the little girl alone, a leaner ladybug
Forlorn and crying in the cavern of the Cafeteria quite late
One afternoon; she sat with lunchbox and an empty plate.
“What brings you here?” I said. She just shrugged,
And said she didn’t know. I asked if she shouldn’t be
In class, and would she like some help to find her way?
“Oh, no!” she said, and then a lengthy silence. “I have to stay
And hurt a while until I’m done!” To me
She looked so small so delicate, and worn, so “Why the tears?
“My best friend hates me, and I don’t know why.”
“Well, what, then,” made her think she couldn’t try
To ask her friend just what she’d done? “That,” she feared,
“Will make it worse! She told me she’s got another friend at home
And now she took back her ring, and I’m here all alone!”
…I managed to walk the little girl back to her classroom, and in she went apparently in a kind of daze. A few weeks later, I saw her in the playground laughing and seemingly happy as a lark, but from that day forward to the day she showed up in my senior English class, whenever our eyes would meet from time to time in the course of years of crossing paths and there was always a kind of sobriety in her glance that expressed thanks for having heard her and again, for having never mentioned that afternoon again.
A dime, a nickel, some few pennies,
Mementos gleaned from erudition in the arcade,
Treasured trinkets from the boardwalk and what is always made
In China of the Nimble-Fingered Children ever bored by destiny,
Abhorred and reproduced in millions; Luddite transformations
Transfix and fascinate in silence the quire of seekers of the moment,
Momentary movers of unimagined wealth and worth that foment
Profundity in shifts of circumspection. Quakes and admonitions
Break with all tradition to take care, to hold back, to withdraw a pace
To take a second look. How now laughter
At the child that chides the system: “After
English, learn Chinese, my son!” and so the race
Is on to turn the tawdry into excellence and circumstantial skill
That marries slavery and child abuse through cold dictation of the will.
The manifesto ministers to millions, and who is it stands
To gain—national pride and glory—who the peoples’ folly,
Who the witness in the valley of coincidence, the volley
Of inventions by the score, the copper’s light wires’ strands
That span the globe uniting minions yet dividing worlds beyond
The surfaces of forest meadows, lakes, and oceans,
Highest cliffs and even now is heard upon the Holy Mountain? Notions
In the cascade from the peaks to every sinkhole are the bonds,
Investments, hedge funds, the ponzis mounted to deflect the future’s
Sure surprise: “Please,” he says, “no more soup!” Too alkaline the innuendo,
Too acidic the gain, too little left to sustain the crescendo
Between what’s desired and what cannot be contained by cultures
Festering in the streets and buried bayous of the brokerage: virtual powers
Take umbrage in the security of the syllogism while fear and profit
induce the latest Book of Hours.
“So Much for Boiling”
So much for boiling when all you’ve got is consommé,
The elements somehow loosed in energies retaining simple dreams of taste.
What choice remains in substance but salt and what might otherwise be waste,
The dregs, the missed but lucid memory of sustenance, and come what may,
The season and antidote to cynosures in broth, a sinister and momentary stall
Of versions of hopes and yearning, long;
The bottom line, the lyrics and the melody of the latest song.
These tides succeed and then recede, retaining all
The borders’ former ramparts in its wake—deposits, dross,
Perhaps from this or from the other shore.
No need to heed the warning of the tides
Nor shift in continental plates; the worship of the ides
Of any period are balanced in the ocean’s roar
While we live shiftless, listless in the lighter cusps
Of what once was and what this is while seeking, moving, touching
former mountains’ peaks reduced to nothing more than dust.
Posted in Change, Continental plates, Dust, Mountains, Ocean, Poetry
Tagged Aging, Existence, Lyric Poetry, Mortality, Relationships, Sonnet, Sonnets
“By What Sardonic Schedule”
By what sardonic schedule carved does she cast her lot,
Yes, and at what cost, my friend, if on the trail
And in the early and latter oblique years she fails
To see her loyalties in office, the goal at ought,
Reduced to provisos and caveats, hors d’oeuvres
To curb her appetite before the meal? She’ll be there no doubt
Wherein the bull’s eye’s reigns— the stops pulled out—
And high above her saddled ass or horse,
Whichever suits the chorus of nocturnal catalysts who’ll be there
To see the deed, to mark both affirmation in the midnight bridal bower
Equalled, overruled by proxy, negation’s dreams throughout more subtle hours,
The natural conflagration at the dawn of search of some lone soul who cares.
Who worships race and rage to summits far beyond the crowd
Will choose the time and place but overlooks the shroud.
It’s small talk, yes, but meaningful and always there.
The slightest gesture, private confidence, but momentary flare,
But solids, frog to frog, the profusion of birds and things
That should come as no surprise in such a setting. These hidden
In the undergrowth we speak to one another
Here, and as it happens always one beside the other
In that singular common way, both so self-satisfied, bidden
By particular amenities, at home both here and on the street.
Yet I once found anger in conversation atop the Empire State,
And in that brief exchange my soul took note that at that rate,
The place made not the slightest difference in the heat
And meaning of the thing. I thought as much when I got home,
And from that day determined, actors not the stage apprise the tone.
Be fit for more than the thing you are now doing. Let everyone know that you have a reserve in yourself; that you have more power than you are now using. If you are not too large for the place you occupy, you are too small for it.
President James A. Garfield
[November 19, 1831 - September 19, 1881]
“Moment to Reflect”
A moment to reflect, these several words hold selective when
Objectives and their peace are won leading to no real choice
Nor rest and celebration; tasks, the last of many, invoiced
Throughout pedestrian years at work will one day send
A massive missive of relief, and thanks
With weighty sentiments and fond farewells; cheer,
And weathered tusks to see me on beyond, and further than fear
To take a few steps–arrogantly, yes, perhaps–down paths that rank
Above all present trumps and peculiars of this world and this earth:
I have now insignificance through to the end, I know,
And still will it so or else the illuminated hours, the weekly flow
Of days and nights, prove life’s lavas’ light might well have spent its worth
On what mysteries engender miseries in days beyond this present strife,
Born within the present, laced with beauty of the past
Relentlessly spreading spores of an even better life.
“Tonight, a Silent Message”
Tonight, a silent message, I can hear the sighs and pleading
Breezes hrough the trees of my old friend; my companion sings,
And I am comforted, the lightest certitude, the fluttering of wings
Accompanies the rhythms of the encore; and here, again, repeating
“Into…” “Out of…” Lift, release so softly, gentle summaries of living whispers,
Musings of what is but is not seen; tunnels and their tributaries,
Rushing, relentless recognition, never-ending applause, obituaries
To the spent and useless, harbingers of blisters
And frostbite, lngering erosion and fresh volcanic blood
And in the ancient chanting of forgotten millions
Strange dirges of more than redundant death. Civilians,
Now, the armed legions follow closely through the flood
To rescue and defend the furthest reaches of what was an empire.
And I’m still here, I’m still here, and I still feel the fire.