“In the Fifties”
In the Fifties all the wonder of pastel was “in,”
The funds so well arranged in bank accounts
Left dormant through the War. Largesse, secured amounts
Were stored, but goods were spare and produce thin,
Production not yet shelved to compliment the newfound peace.
The Sixties featured families rounded off from nine to an even five;
The troops were home, chariots had fins, and promises alive
Throughout the world to put such potential in the fleece
As might be had for children in the doxology to provide
A balance, a nom de plume for a strange apology
For the deprivation of Depression and the horrors of the War Years. Anthologies
Replaced by catalogues from Sears, recruits were down but churches thrived
And so did freedom, and to the sirens of liberty went the clear-eyed youths
Who loved at will and, sur le pouce, found themselves
in the Seventies illumined in haloes of hair and something to close to truths.
Posted in Age, Decades, Imagery, Lyric Poetry, Nostalgia, Peace, Poetry, Sonnet, Youth
Tagged 50's, 60's, 70's, Lyric Poetry, Sonnets
“A Weekend Well Affords a Sleep-in”
A weekend well affords a sleep-in, and a look
At what’s not been put to rest, and in the soft
And casual stroll through halls and closets, lofts
And corners of the home, the memories ordered, books
Rearranged, and music for the soul–the sound
Of dishes, cleaning, sweeping rugs, and then,
Of course, the nagging thought that if and when
The hours allow, perhaps a treasure found,
That deliberate search for lost and oft forgotten articles
That must be somewhere in this place.
He conjures histories in dusty, mundane thoughts—erase
The past, perhaps—and in the end to shift the particles
And portions of the present if only to reinvigorate and nurture
What’s behind the doors, beneath the floors, and repossess the furniture.
“He Savours Moments”
He savours moments in memoria:
The heart is sound, the legs still able,
Potentials swell, situations inescapable.
In short, the runway’s clear, opprobrium
And approbation balanced, and once again,
It seems horizons’re reasonably cloudless.
Were he any younger he would see a seamless
Future with every reason to remain
Calm and confident that enigma’s kiss
Had blessed the road and rung the bells
Of something less than heaven and little more than hell.
Aquarius, it seems, is rising, yes, but no guarantee of bliss.
Ignore the flaw in yesterday’s patterns in the weave
And stitch of isolation’s tapestries with passports up his sleeve,
The blossom’re missing, ’twere not the flowers
But the setting; nothing in the fragrance
But the thought puts a rush of ambivalence,
Perhaps a flood, doubtless a surge of hours
That leave no room for contemplation
But simple interaction feeding on a dream of action
That can not nor ever could bring satisfaction.
But, O such sweet misfires! Oblations
In the last act of living. ‘S true! We only think we love;
So easily we dismiss the warnings of so many lifetimes
Sailing out to seas beyond the reach of actual experience, lifelines
Cast to each of us, an incessant revelation; discovery, the tug and shove
Of pedestrian traffic that tells the heart it’s time to leave.
Ecstasy can wait when all that’s really needed is to breathe.
…painting by Paterio…
Posted in Age, Aging, Imagery, Imagism, Love, Lyric Poetry, Memories, Nostalgia, Poem, Poetry, Samsara, Sonnet, Sonnets
Tagged Age, Aging, Detachment, Dreams, Imagery, Imagism, Immortality, Lyric Poetry, Mortality, Poem, poetry, Relationships, Sonnet, Sonnets
…just a little nostalgia… In my mind’s eye, occasionally, I travel back to the last school in which I taught for so many years…my old room, Room 461…and…used my key―coded red―to take a look…. The room belongs to someone else now, but the class…they are still who they were when I left them…and I’m exactly who I was when the time came to leave the lion’s den for the last time; something about alergies and cats….
“The Key Is Coded Red”
The key is coded red, the lock submits,
The door is opened with the slightest turn;
And while the keys are dangling, a lightning burn
On fingers where the knuckle hits
The doorjamb, there because the knob’s
Still too close to the frame and nicks’re
Inevitable once a week. Nothing’s changed. The flicker
Of morning lights―in winter, more like blobs
Of dawn―to make the classroom bright, and there they are!
The chairs atop the desks to aid the man
Who sweeps at night and empties all the cans:
Now I set me down to teach with last night’s marks,
And there and then, and once again I think it’s time I looked
For something more in this than merely facing lions armed with books.
Posted in Age, Aging, Apostrophes, Classroom nostalgia, Imagery, Imagism, Lyric Poetry, Nostalgia, Poem, Poetry, Samsara, Sonnet, Sonnets, Tableaus, Teacher, Teachers, Teaching
Tagged Aging, Emotion, Lyric Poetry, Relationships, Sonnet, Sonnets
Order comes to counter what’s been settled
In the extra room. Chaos speaks: eyes today
Stray south to storms in brew, but thoughts at play
Are not contiguous. Reminder! kettle’s
On, and minutes from the inspiration,
Coffee, and that special toast
I’d meant to have with friends.
No, there’ll be no invitations sent
Today, but in these simple transportations
Warm reminders to the nose.
Seize the season, sit back, smile, and savour
Silence in the afternoon and windblown flavours
Wafting in like ghosts of days long petrified—the rose,
For instance, the night I found that message taped to my front door.
I tossed the flower on the table and read the note right there on the floor.
Posted in Age, Aging, Chaos, Coffee and toast, Imagery, Imagism, Kettle, Lyric Poetry, Nostalgia, Poem, Poetry, Rose, Samsara, Sonnet, Sonnets
Tagged Age, Aging, Autumn, Imagery, Imagism, Lyric Poetry, Relationships, Sonnet, Sonnets
It’s something I would dearly love,
A lingering hour over some laboured coffee,
Endless silent memos, axioms and nuances, copies
Of all thought never filed, perhaps an argument, a sweet denial; gloves
That fit and one long last diatribe about the meaning of it all
In the suffocating smoke of numbing consummation
from billows of noxious odours from the bar and grill.
I would cherish nonsense from the waitresses about the change of shifts
and what she should but does not leave the busboys; a shrill
Declaration that it’s closing time with no one left but me to heed the call.
The betterment of the world requires a slightly jaundiced nod
To the righteous riots of the right, and lascivious liaisons to the left of things;
Feeble salutes to régimes of former times and how things used to be, such rings
Around the bathtub and imperatives as flush the overshadowed
wonders of the cellphone and the iPod.
Well, after all,…it’s late and I’ve some few important things to do
Before I hit the sack with little left of lean and loads of fat to chew.
…a revision of the poem…
Swept aside, all moments and celestial mementos collide
And waste no never-mind on credence and retention
In the wake of greater cosmic rinds and supine celestial reflection.
Mortality by definition lies; not so through what histories imply
But in the daily interaction of missives from the Goal
And penultimate ilunga * of the Source or
Sanctions of interaction in the triumphant triad of the coarsest
Ores of time, of space, and all that matters. Time, the cosmic linen folds
Of space and active order; space, the theatre of experience at the heart
Of the observer; matter, but an audience, a phenomena in passive
Active shadows of Creation and its nemesis. Simplicity is massive,
Complexity but a word; a question’s languages are art
And science while the answers form the pathos and the abstract.
What is more pathetic than to be and yet be nothing in the act?
Simplicity in the classic form requires
The prefects of a perfect vacuum
Combined in such a way as compliments the acumen
Of a strident meme, the jealous zeitgeist, tests that to the whole inspire
An urgent need to pause, to linger over bodies no longer really there,
A little more than a half a generation’s substance in a given time.
So granted this, so beautifully and tragically resigned,
Aloud comes the elegies of episodes to “Move along!”or “Retire!”
With such a cry inscribed, there was and always is
A here and there in rapid profit worshipped, fierce
As gallstones of desperation: “This, our chosen age, rehearsed
Upon a cross of memories little more than lyrics of an ancient tryst!”
And, equally, the many crowned and catalogued, remain aloof
Through symmetries of perfection in a sacred dynasty of embroidered truth.
*The word is ilunga, from the Bantu language of Tshiluba, and means a person ready to forgive any abuse for the first time, to tolerate it a second time, but never a third time.
When there is this, that is.
With the arising of this, that arises.
When this is not, neither is that.
With the cessation of this, that ceases.
His Holiness The Buddha
Posted in Affirmation, Age, Aging, Antithesis, Arts, Buddhism, Change, Classic, Cycles, Double Sonnet, Elegies, End Times, Ends, Generations, Hubris, Hustlers, Hyperbole, Idolatry, Matrix, Meme, Memory, Negation, Nostalgia, Numinosum, Pathos, Poetry, Posterity, Pragmatism, Pyrrhic Victory, Relativity, Retirement, Samsara, Sciences, Seasons, State of Being, Stations, Synthesis, Thesis, To be or not to be, Tragic Flaw, Tshiluba, Yearning, Zeitgeist
Tagged Double Sonnet, Lyric Poetry, Sonnet, Sonnets
“Plans; the Summer Vapours”
Plans; the summer vapours through livings while they last
And wonders of a sudden clime where suns beat furiously through
The year and winters never come. They share eternities and views
Of strife that feed on life, or then again, the days become the year, the past
Is yesterday buried in deposits, today, in streams of sweat and constant growth.
He’ll never know, of course, because his choice prefers the seasons
To the season and the many to single lives they breed. His sanity his reason
Tempered only by the change of venue, moods by grace bestowed,
And whom he’ll know for just a little while. Loneliness; no.
Alone, but, yes, of course, and is there any better company
Than what just came strolling down the lane or some symphony
That’s never finished, what was heard but moments in the rain? The “lo!”
The turning of a page and there scribbled in the margin
The word, the phrase that spoke but once is missing in the bargain.
And once again, the rocking chair is carelessly placed
There beside the balcony rail along with some makeshift table,
Discarded relics from a marriage vow, so worn, so outcast yet so able
To the task and uses of a former front page story from a case
Of misplaced destiny and that last unbroken glass. I stir the brew with ease,
The instrument an orphan from the spoons
she used in warm Nebraska noons and jars
Let years ago to contemplate the morning
beneath the clothesline by my mother’s hand:
A bag or two, the backyard sun, and some few hours to see
Three gallons full of topaz in the fridge; scars,
Perhaps, or something dear, a badge of honour
In the meaning; I was of one of hers. She’s gone the distance so much farther
While the mighty Platte’s gone shallow, but magic brews within my hardened
Heart’s plucked tranquilities in hyacinths of memory and thinking deeply on her
Comes as simple as lemon laced with sugar in the brew, and afternoons in amber.
A word of caution…when I was still living at home with Mom and Dad, there was nothing quite like the sun tea my mother made; it was always perfect, it was always fresh because she made it every day in a two or three-gallon jar with two teabags left in the sun for several hours. Delicious as it was (and probably still is) it has been learned of late that it is not a good idea to let the sun do the trick on the tea; it sits there at just the right temperature to allow the nurturing of bacteria in the water and the tea leaves normally eliminated by the longer but more healthy boiling of the water to make the tea. I was surprised to learn this; yes, well, obviously I escaped from my parents kitchen (or backyard where she left the sun tea to brew) and am still alive to tell the tale. As a matter of fact, I don’t remember ever hearing of anyone getting sick in my hometown or in my state from what they caught from drinking sun tea, and of course, my mother would never have served me anything that would harm me….but of course, there was always my Aunt Lillian’s fried chicken…and Mary Kitchen hash….by the case….
Earthbound minds’ remains
Strike supernals in the memory,
The reputation; a canopy
Of means, a certain gravitas in gains
That whet the appetite to maintain
Forever somewhere in a panoply
Of names. Icons, but samples of history,
Such denizens breed to read as fame,
The goal—lingering doubt in shallows,
Negatives—whether goat or lamb, the standards
desiccated to utter nothingness reward
The ephemeral and untoward,
And no one seems the wiser. Shadows
With the shades seek belief from nihilists and wild cards.
Radiations of the body’s appetites leave little doubt
As to who will win and who, like others in the cast, remain invisible.
Endowments rule, and somewhat less than these, the indivisible
As the people say, my misery loves company and company its clout
And so the chosen court pariahs will attain their stations spiked to flout
A mutual advantage, powers and blessed assurance, the irresistible
Conclusions of equals in collusion, equals in delusion,
but at last sanctified within the ballot, tranquilized as sequels
In costumes of saints and mystics, mahatmas—and the truth is out,
Their stories told, perhaps—but as the sun blots out the stars,
So, too, their majesties are put to flight for want of oxygen. Soon
The latest, faintest, and first recite as advertised, and we delight
In gazing not through distances, but at the destination of the light
With origins counting billions in years while within this single room
We, the sods and consequences, lay inert beneath the silent moon.
“They’ll Not Long Remember”
They’ll not long remember what I taught,
The wrong denied or calcified forgetfulness of what it meant
To know me. What was it then that never happened, what natural scents
Of some exchange or least intended subtle gestures sought
Assuaged a need in merely asking questions and receiving
Nothing in return where nothing much was said and no one yet
Suspected values or the price of precious seconds? What mattered set
Itself against the background of a potpourri of lies and phatic dialogue achieving
Benchmarks in absurdity in the classroom, yes,
but far beneath the need for scrutiny
To whom it never did concern. There is a personal indifference
In these shifts of fantasies of childhood, perfect foils to conscious interference
Spliced with tokens spoken once and then again–malicious unintended mutiny
In the end–a welcome respite from a single thought that was sustained in time.
The memory’s minutes neuter joys of every passing day
with nothing left to rhyme.
Posted in Age, Aging, Denial, Maturation, Memory, Nostalgia, Poetry, Teaching, Youth
Tagged Lyric Poetry, Sonnets, Students, Teacher